Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing January Releases in Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance

Fiction Affliction is a monthly column written by Royal Street author Suzanne Johnson that examines upcoming releases by genre or sub-genre. Check back every day this week for coverage of January releases in fantasy, young adult paranormal, and science fiction. Today’s column examines new releases in URBAN FANTASY and PARANORMAL ROMANCE.

The Symptoms: War is brewing, as vampires, demons, fallen angels and werewolves battle for the very soul of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Vampires are most prevalent in European and Asian cities, while demons and wolves hold the United States at the point of a claw.

The Diagnosis: Forty-four new urban fantasy (19) and paranormal romance (25) books shoot and sizzle their way through January, including nine vampires, eight werewolves, seven demons, five angels, six magical practitioners, and an assortment of stray genies, faeries, sorcerers and dragons.

The Cure: Choose your poison. If you don’t mind making a few blood donations, take a winter trip to Europe (Paris is especially fangy these days). Domestic day-trippers can opt for the fur-clad wolves of the rural areas, or take an urban post-holiday outing that could heat up fast—demons are roaming the cities.


Managing Death, by Trent Jamieson (Jan. 3, Orbit)

It’s not easy being Death. For starters, people keep dying. And then they keep getting up again. Steven de Selby got promoted, which makes the increasing number of stirrers (and the disturbing rumors of a zombie god rising sometime soon) his problem. He’s also got a Death Moot to plan, a Christmas party to organize, and an end-of-the-world thing to avert—or this time the Apocalypse will be more than regional.

Tempest’s Legacy, by Nicole Peeler (Jan. 3, Orbit)

After a peaceful hiatus at home in Rockabill, Jane True thinks her worst problem is that she still throws like a girl—at least while throwing fireballs. Her peace of mind ends, however, when Anyan arrives one night with terrible news. After demanding to help investigate a series of gruesome attacks on females—supernatural, halfling and human—Jane quickly finds herself forced to confront her darkest nightmares as well as her deepest desires. And she’s not sure which she finds more frightening.

Flip This Zombie, by Jesse Petersen (Jan. 3, Orbit)

The Zombie Apocalypse has been good to Sarah and David. Their marriage is better than ever. They communicate well, share responsibilities, and now they’re starting a business: ZombieBusters—for all your zombie extermination needs. There are lots of zombies, and that means lots of customers. Except one wants the zombies alive and ready for experimentation. Mad scientists make for difficult clients.

Home for a Spell, by Madelyn Alt (Jan. 4, Berkley)

As the newest witch in Indiana, Maggie O’Neill already has plenty to deal with. So being hobbled by a broken leg doesn’t help. Neither does the fact that her best friend/neighbor is getting ready to tie the knot and move away. When Maggie finds a new place to live, her dream of new digs turns into a nightmare: the apartment manager is found dead before she can even sign the lease.

The Lost Gate (Mithermages), by Orson Scott Card (Jan. 4, Tor)

Danny North knew from childhood that he was different. While his cousins in West Virginia learned to create the things that commoners called fairies, ghosts, golems, trolls, werewolves, and other such miracles that were the heritage of the North family, Danny worried he would never show a talent. Unfortunately, there are some secrets being kept from Danny as well—ones that will lead to disaster for the whole North family.

A Hard Day’s Night, by Simon R. Green (Jan. 4, Ace)

John Taylor is a P.I. with a special talent for finding lost things in the dark and secret center of London known as the Nightside. He’s also the reluctant owner of a very special—and dangerous—weapon: Excalibur, the legendary sword. To find out why he was chosen to wield it, John must consult the Last Defenders of Camelot, a group of knights who dwell in a place that some find more frightening than the Nightside: London Proper. It’s been years since John’s been back, and with good reason.

Mercy Blade, by Faith Hunter (Jan. 4, Roc)

In the third Jane Yellowrock book, Jane, a shapeshifting vampire-hunter-for-hire, crosses paths with a stranger who has arrived in New Orleans, enlisted to hunt vampires who have gone insane. Or so he says.

Secrets of the Demon, by Diana Rowland (Jan. 4, Daw)

Homicide detective Kara Gillian has a special talent: she can sense the “arcane” in our world, and there’s quite a bit of it, even in Beaulac, Louisiana. She’s also a summoner of demons and works on a supernatural task force with non-magical FBI agents who aren’t big on sharing information. To make things worse, Kara has pledged herself to a Demon Lord who helped save her partner’s life, and now he expects things in return.

Blood Challenge, by Eileen Wilks (Jan. 4, Berkley)

New in the Worlds of the Lupi series. Ex-cop Lily Yu and werewolf Rule Turner’s engagement announcement is stirring up ugly passions in the Humans First camp. There’s hate mail, followed by death threats. And when a lupus in Tennessee goes on a killing spree, Lily realizes that it’s only the opening skirmish in an all-out war.

The Naming of the Beasts, by Mike Carey (Jan. 5, Little, Brown)

The fifth outing for freelance London exorcist Felix Castor resolves a long-running arc, and finds Castor making a brutal choice. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but if you ask Castor he’ll tell you there’s quite a bit of arrogance and reckless stupidity lining the streets as well. He should know. There are only so many times you can play both sides against the middle and get away with it. Castor drowns his guilt in cheap whiskey while an innocent woman lies dead and her daughter comatose, his few remaining friends fear for their lives, and a demon runs loose on the streets. It’s not just any demon—this one rides shotgun on his best friend’s soul and can’t be expelled without killing him. It seems that Felix Castor’s got some tough choices to make, because expel the demon he must or all Hell will break loose—literally.

Hell’s Horizon, by Darren Shan (Jan. 5, Grand Central)

In the City, The Cardinal rules, and Al Jeery is a loyal member of his personal guard. But when Al is pulled from his duties at Party Central to investigate a murder, an unexpected discovery leads him in a new direction, where his loyalties and beliefs will be severely tested. Soon he is involved in a terrifying mystery that draws in the dead, the City’s Incan forefathers, the imposing figure of The Cardinal, and the near-mythical assassin Paucar Wami. Wami is a law unto himself, a shadowy, enigmatic figure who can apparently kill anyone he chooses without fear of retribution. And Al is about to find out that he has a lot more in common with Wami than he could ever have imagined.

The Witch’s Daughter, by Paula Brackston (Jan. 18, Thomas Dunne)

In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate: the Warlock Gideon Masters. Secluded at his cottage in the woods, Gideon instructs Bess in the Craft, awakening formidable powers and making her immortal. She couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.

The Kensei, by Jon F. Merz (Jan. 18, St. Martin’s Griffin)

Meet Lawson, a cynical, wise-cracking vampire charged with protecting the Balance between vampires and humans. He is part cop, part spy, and part commando—think James Bond with fangs. He tries his best to dismantle conspiracies, dispatch bad guys, and live long enough to get home. In The Kensei, a battle-weary Lawson heads to Japan for a little rest and some advanced ninja training. But he no sooner steps off the plane than he lands in the midst of a Yakuza turf war orchestrated by a shadowy figure known as the Kensei. With the help of Talya, a former KGB-assassin, Lawson must put a stop to the Kensei’s organ trafficking networks, prevent the creation of an army of vampire-human hybrids, and save his own skin in the process.

Play Dead, by John Levitt (Jan. 25, Ace)

Mason used to be an enforcer, ensuring that those magic practitioners without a moral compass walked the straight and narrow. But now he just wants to keep his head down, play guitar, and maintain a low profile with Lou, his magical canine companion. But Mason is down on his luck, and when a job with a large payout comes along he finds the offer hard to resist—not knowing it might mean sacrificing what both man and his best friend hold most dear.

Crossed, by J.F. Lewis (Jan. 25, Pocket)

Book three of the Void City series. In spite of his continuing affair with his soon-to-be sister-in-law Rachel, Eric’s plan is simple: Give his vampire girlfriend Tabitha the fancy wedding she’s always wanted, then head off to Paris for their honeymoon in the hopes of tracking down his sire, the Empress vampire Lisette. The City of Love proves anything but romantic when the True Immortal rulers of Europe try to block Eric from entering the Continent—and subject Tabitha to a series of challenges to prove her vampire worth.

Death’s Sweet Embrace, by Tracy O’Hara (Jan. 25, Eos)

After centuries of secret conflict, humans and parahumans have reached an uneasy truce—and then the murders begin. A task force forms to halt the slaughter of teen shapeshifters, a team that includes the vampiric Aeternus Antoinette Petrescu, as well as Kitt Jordan and Raven Matokwe, members of enemy Animalian tribes—and forbidden lovers.  A centuries-old blood feud has divided their shapeshifting peoples, and if their passion is discovered it will doom them both. But past hostilities must be put aside, for the killer they seek is but the first sign of the all-consuming nightmare of the Dark Brethren.

A Brush of Darkness, by Allison Pang (Jan. 25. Pocket)

Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod, a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer, and a magical marketplace to manage. But despite her growing knowledge of the OtherWorld, Abby isn’t prepared for Brystion, the dark, mysterious, and sexy-as-sin incubus searching for his sister, convinced Abby has the key to the succubus’s whereabouts.

The Fallen Blade: Act One of the Assassini, by Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Jan. 27, Orbit)

First in a new Vampire Assassin trilogy. History, politics and dark fantasy blend into the serpentine alleys and canals of early fifteenth-century Venice, where power is often wielded in shadows. Duke Marco is a figurehead leader, while his cousin Lady Giulietta finds her privileged status will demand a price. Atilo Il Mauros is head of the Assassini, the shadow army that enforces Venice’s will, while Prince Leopold zum Bas Friedland is the bastard son of the German emperor and leader of the krieghund, the only force in Venice more feared than Atilo’s assassins. And then there is Atilo’s angel-faced apprentice. Only a boy, Tycho is already stronger and faster than any man has a right to be. He can see in the dark, but sunlight burns him—and it is said that he drinks blood.



I Dream of Genies, by Judi Fennell (Jan. 1, Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Having a 2,000-year-old magic genie fall right into your lap should be a good thing. At least, that’s what down-on-his luck Matt Ewing thought. But Eden is no subservient fairy tale genie—especially one she finds herself falling for her new master.

Seducing the Vampire, by Michele Hauf (Jan. 1, HQN)

In Marie Antoinette’s Paris, the beautiful vampire Viviane seeks a male patron who will allow her to live on her own terms. Courted by two feuding brothers, Viviane is caught between them and to a living death inside a glass coffin. Two centuries later, Rhys hears the legend of the Snow White vampiress, imprisoned deep in the tunnels under Paris. He must find her and set her free, but will he be able to save her from the evil still intent on destroying them?

Incubus, by Janet Elizabeth Jones (Jan. 1, Nocturne)

To save his kind, Meical Grabian agrees to participate in a dangerous experiment—one that takes his vampire’s thirst for blood and leaves him hungering for something new. An incubus can be sated only with passion—but what woman could love what he’s become? Yet when Caroline Bengal finds him abandoned in a snowy wood, she senses his emotional turmoil, unaware that another predator has set his sights on her, with more sinister intentions.

Enchanted No More, by Robin D. Owens (Jan. 1, Luna)

As one of the last surviving Mistweavers, half-blood Jenni knows what it’s like to be caught between two worlds: faery and human. But the time has come to choose. The Lightfolk require her unique talent for balancing the elements to fend off a dangerous enemy—and rescue her missing brother. Only for him will she agree to work with her ex-lover, Tage, and revisit the darkest corners of her life.

Kiss at Your Own Risk, by Stephanie Rowe (Jan. 1, Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Trinity Harpswell is a cursed Black Widow—death and mayhem are all part of the job description. If she can manage to go just one more week without accidentally killing someone, she’ll break this killer curse and put her Black Widow days behind her. When sexy Blaine Underhill shows up at her door and asks her help rescuing his friend from the clutches of Death’s evil grandma, Trinity gets pulled into a daring high-stakes adventure.

Lone Wolf, by Karen Whiddon (Jan. 1, Nocturne)

Disillusioned from his time serving as a Protector under a corrupt Council, Anton Beck has vowed to have nothing to do with anything Pack. He is enjoying a few months of peace and quiet—until he’s abducted and held captive by his ex-lover-turned-nemesis, Vampire Huntress Marika. Turns out—surprise—she bore his miracle child, who’s now been kidnapped. In a race against time, two former lovers must overcome bitterness and broken hearts in order to save their daughter.

My Immortal Assassin, by Carolyn Jewel (Jan. 3, Forever)

Grayson Spencer is hellbent on killing the dark mage who destroyed her life. But when her attempt fails, she is forced to turn to Durian, a feared demon and expert assassin. Newly armed with powerful magic she’s barely able to control, she’ll do whatever it takes to complete her mission—even surrender to a dangerous fiend whose eyes promise unimaginable pleasure.

Cat’s Cradle, by Biana D’Arc (Jan. 4, Samhain)

As bad days go, this one qualifies as one for the books. Elaine knew being late for her jiu jitsu class could earn her a reprimand from her sensei. But the sensei’s not there. And suddenly, neither is her car. Even walking home becomes problematic when she stumbles onto things that most definitely go bump in the night, one of whom is too handsome for his own good—and too sexy for hers. Thrust into a world where the supernatural is commonplace, Elaine finds her martial arts skill tested to the limit—and her ability to resist Cade crumbling by the second.

Everlong, by Hailey Edwards (Jan. 4, Samhain)

Madelyn’s life is far from fairytale perfect. She is second in line for the throne of a corrupt, brutal monarchy. Or at least she was until her dark guardian sacrificed his life to hide her safely in a realm of infinite possibilities. For years she’s lived among a colony of escaped slaves as her guardian’s widow. Even in this simple life, though, nothing is as it seems. Her hero kept a secret—a younger brother named Clayton Delaney. Warrior, winged demon, and the man who now wants to lay claim to her heart.

Demon Marked, by Anna J. Evans (Jan. 4, Signet Eclipse)

Emma Quinn satisfies her demonic cravings by feeding on human life force, and keeps her conscience clean by preying only upon those who deserve it. But when Emma overindulges one night, she’s in trouble with her victim’s gang—or she will be if they find his body. She turns to mob lawyer Andre Conti, an arrogant womanizer who doesn’t believe in her powers, but who will awaken sensual cravings Emma wasn’t sure she possessed—and that might kill them both.

Skin Heat, by Ava Gray (Jan. 4, Berkley)

Veterinarian Geneva Harper finds herself irresistibly drawn to Zeke Noble, the mysterious young man to whom wild is second nature. When a killer threatens Neva, Zeke’s need to protect her is as fierce as his desire to claim her as his mate.

Taken by the Others, by Jess Haines (Jan. 4, Zebra)

Once, New York P.I. Shiarra Waynest’s most pressing problem was keeping her agency afloat. Now she’s dealing with two seductive vampires who have been enemies for centuries. The only thing Max Carlyle and Alec Royce agree on is that they both want Shia, for very different reasons. Max is determined to destroy her for killing his progeny, while Royce’s interest is a lot more personal. Shia has always believed vamps were the bad guys, but she’s discovering unexpected shades of grey that are about to redefine her friends, her loyalties, and even her desires.

Immortal Champion, by Lisa Hendrix (Jan. 4, Berkley)

Part of a cursed Viking crew, Gunnar the Red must toil through eternity as a half-man, half-beast. Only the magic of true love can release him. Though she is betrothed to another, could Lady Eleanor de Neville be his salvation?

Angel at Dawn, by Emma Holly (Jan. 4, Berkley)

Five hundred years ago, Grace Gladwell had captured Christian Durand’s heart and then abandoned him in his darkest hour. Seeing Grace again after all these years has sent Christian reeling—even though she seems to remember nothing of the medieval soldier, he wants her more than ever. But is Grace merely a pawn of the vampire queen who has set her immortal sights on Christian? A Novel of the Upyr.

Nocturne, by Syrie James (Jan. 4, Vanguard)

When Nicole Whitcomb’s car runs off a Colorado mountain road during a blinding snowstorm, she is saved by a handsome, enigmatic stranger. Snowbound with him for days in his beautiful home high in the Rockies, she finds herself  attracted to him, but there are things about him that mystify her—and Nicole can’t shake the feeling that he doesn’t want her there. Who is Michael Tyler? Why does he live alone in such a secluded spot and guard his private life so carefully? What secret—or secrets—is he hiding?

Finding Destiny, by Jean Johnson (Jan. 4, Berkley)

Four new novellas from the author of the Sons of Destiny series. The Slave: Chanson, a privileged Arbran dyara, discovers an unexpected connection with Eduor, a war-slave who desires his freedom. The Knight: Arbran diplomat Sir Zeilas must turn the Guildaran people from former enemies into allies. The Mage: Gabria never expected to become a Guildaran envoy to Aurul. But the most stunning surprise was what waited for her in His Majesty’s winter palace. The Pirate: Captain Ellett would do anything for his king—even hunt down the pirates plaguing the Jenodan Isles. But he never counted on the seductive powers of the pirate’s beautiful captain.

Master of Smoke, by Angela Knight (Jan. 4, Berkley)

After being attacked by a werewolf, Beth Roman is now able to shift into one. Luckily, she saves a handsome shapeshifter from a similar attack. Beth does not know his true identity as Smoke, a Sidhe warrior. His attacker was Warlock, the magic-imbued leader of a cult of werewolf assassins trained to destroy all others. As a war ignites between all the immortals in the Mageverse, Beth and Smoke will need more than love to survive.

Must Love Kilts, by Allie Mackay (Jan. 4, Signet)

Margo loves everything Scottish—especially the legendary warrior hero Magnus MacBride. But while exploring in the Highlands she picks up a magical stone on the shore and awakens to the sight of MacBride himself. And the reality may be much more dangerous, and passionate, than her dreams could ever be.

Surrender to Darkness, by Annette McCleave (Jan. 4, Signet)

Sent to Japan to investigate a mystical weapon that can destroy demons, Soul Gatherer Jamie Murdoch must control his rage in a society that values tranquility and self-control. Kiyoko Ashida dedicated her life to fighting evil. Now she’s dying, her remaining days linked to a mysterious artifact. But when the malicious ambitions of a fallen angel target the artifact, Jamie is torn between fulfilling his duty and saving the life of the woman he has grown to love.

A Werewolf in Manhattan, by Vicki Lewis Thompson (Jan. 4, Signet)

Emma Gavin writes about werewolves, but that doesn’t mean she believes in them—not until a pack of real-life New York weres decides to investigate the striking accuracy of her “fiction.” When Aiden Wallace, son and heir of the pack leader, tries to sniff out Emma’s potential informant, he discovers something even more dangerous—an undeniable attraction to her.

Frostfire, by Lynn Viehl (Jan. 4, Signet)

In the newest in the series about the genetically enhanced Kyndred, Lilah’s mind-reading powers make her vulnerable to a mysterious biotech company willing to murder to acquire her superhuman DNA. But her biggest danger may come from her own Kyndred brethren.

Dragon Warrior, by Janet Chapman (Jan. 25, Pocket Star)

In the second book of the Midnight Bay series, Maddy Kimble has no time for a suitor—not with caring for her spunky nursing home patients, her shy nine-year-old daughter, her widowed mother, and her rebellious teenage brother. William Kilkenny’s stunning lack of modern dating protocol doesn’t help. Of course, Maddy doesn’t realize he’s a ninth-century Irish nobleman trapped in a dragon’s body.

Raziel, by Kristina Douglas (Jan. 25, Pocket)

“You’re dead” is so not what Allie Watson wants to hear. Unfortunately, it explains a lot. Like the dark, angelically handsome man who ferried her to this strange, hidden land. The last thing she remembers is stepping off a curb in front of a crosstown bus. Now she’s surrounded by gorgeous fallen angels with an unsettling taste for blood—and they really don’t want her around. Raziel is unsure why he rescued Allie from hellfire against Uriel’s orders, but she stirs in him a longing he hasn’t felt in centuries. Now the Fallen are bracing for the divine wrath brought by his disobedience, and they blame Allie for the ferocious Nephilim clawing at the kingdom’s shrouded gates.

Archangel’s Consort, by Nalini Singh (Jan. 25, Berkley)

A Guild Hunter novel. An ancient and malevolent female immortal is rising in Manhattan to reclaim her son, the archangel Raphael. Only one thing stands in her way: Elena Deveraux, a vampire-hunter-and Raphael’s lover.

Captive Heart, by Anna Windsor (Jan. 25, Ballantine)

A Novel of the Dark Crescent Sisterhood. As the world’s only fully trained water Sybil, Andy Myles is too busy battling New York’s demonic population and coping with personal tragedy to trust her broken heart to the wrong man. Jack Blackmore, FBI adviser to Manhattan’s Occult Crimes Unit, is Army-tough and rattling Andy’s nerves big-time, criticizing her strategies for attacking the powerful flesh-feasting Rakshasa. She could happily drown Jack with a rogue wave of her water energy—or her kisses. Honestly, when did hating a man become so hot?

Urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson finds demonic romance vaguely unsettling. Her new urban fantasy series, scheduled to begin with the release of Royal Street in April 2012 by Tor Books, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter and Facebook.


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