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 March releases in science fiction, urban fantasy, and epic fantasy. Today’s column examines new releases in URBAN FANTASY and PARANORMAL ROMANCE.
The Symptoms: Those bad, bad humans. Either they’re in danger of self-destructing upon learning about the existence of All God’s Paranormal Creatures—or they want to control them. From vampires to valkyries, shapeshifters to sirens, it’s an urban jungle out there.
The Diagnosis: Forty-three new urban fantasy (25) and paranormal romance (18) books love and fight their way into March, including vampires, demons, wizards, sirens and several star-studded anthologies.
The Cure: If you’re in law enforcement and your boss wants to give you an “interesting new assignment,” you might want to consider a career change—unless, of course, the idea of a sexy siren (literally) makes you sit up and sing.
The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was supernatural. With the help of the last registered wizard in England and the assistance of a beautiful jazz aficionado, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant, otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.
In a world where magic is real and the supernatural is almost normal, bodyguard Celia Graves has survived a vampire attack that made her a half-vampire and awakened her latent Siren abilities. She’s battled a Siren Queen to the death and twice faced down a demon that wants to kill her—slowly. She’s also had her heart broken (twice) by her old flame, magician Bruno DeLuca. Perhaps the worst thing was the discovery that Celia’s life has been warped by a curse laid on her during childhood, the cause of everything from the death of her little sister to the murder of her best friend the same night that Celia became an Abomination. An ancient rift between the demonic dimension and our own, sealed during the destruction of Atlantis, begins to open, threatening to loose all the demons of hell on humanity—including the one personally bent on destroying Celia.
Welcome to Nevermore, Texas, population 503, where witches and wizards live side by side with humans, and where witch Lucy Rackmore is in trouble. Ever since her former lover snuffed out her magical abilities, everyone in town is looking to settle a score with her family. And Lucy’s only hope for survival may be the ex-brother-in-law her sister betrayed. A Wizards of Nevermore book.
Abundant with tales of quiet heroism, life-changing decisions, and determined searches for deep answers, this collection of contemporary fantasy explores the realms between this world and the next. From the top of the Berlin Wall to the depths of the seas, gods and monsters battle their enemies and innermost fears, yet mere mortals make the truly difficult choices. A slightly regretful author and a vengeful-but-dilapidated dragon square off over an abandoned narrative; the children of the Shark God demand painful truths from their chronically absent father; and a bereaved women sacrifices herself to change one terrible moment, effortlessly reversed by a shuffle of the deck.
Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a skinwalker, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind—until now. An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River—one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help. Sixth in the Mercy Thompson series.
Guided by the crazed visions of his adviser Merle, King knows that he must unite the opposing factions before the streets of Indianapolis erupt in all-out war. But how can he preach peace when even his own warriors are plotting against him? A mix of ancient myth and powerful gang action from the author of King Maker (2010). Second in the Knights of Breton Court series.
In this fifth entry in the Accidental series, Katie Woods never thought she’d be 41, divorced and thrust back into the dating world. To start fresh, Katie uproots her veterinary practice to upstate New York (not exactly the hottest dating scene on the planet). But when an unconscious cougar appears at her clinic, Katie’s newly single life gets a much-needed jolt of the supernatural kind.
Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives, edited by J. Justin Gustainis (March 1, EDGE)
Fourteen urban fantasy sleuths are gathered in this all-original collection of stories from authors Laura Anne Gilman, Julie Kenner, Simon R. Green, Lilith Saintcrow, Carrie Vaughn, Justin Gustainis, T.R. Pratt, Tanya Huff, Chris Marie Green, Caitlin Kittredge, C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp, Jackie Kessler, C.J. Henderson, and Rachel Caine.
As a human immune to magic, Sophie Lawson can help everyone from banshee to zombie transition into normal, everyday San Francisco life. With a handsome werewolf as her UDA boss and a fashionista vampire for a roommate, Sophie knows everything there is to know about the undead, the unseen and the uncanny—until a rash of gruesome murders has demons and mortals running for cover, and Sophie finds herself playing sidekick to detective Parker Hayes. But when Sophie discovers Parker isn’t what he seems, she’s only got one chance to figure out who to trust.
In the fourth book in the October Daye series, someone is targeting the nearest and dearest of “Toby” Daye, the half-human, half-fae who’s the only changeling to earn knighthood. Toby is still reeling from her encounter with Blind Michael but gradually beginning to recover—until her old enemy Oleander de Merelands returns to San Francisco, or so it seems. And with the Queen of the Mists involved, Toby must find a way to learn about her place in Faerie and sort truth from lies.
Science fiction and fantasy readers have long shown an affinity for a good “bar story.” Now some of today’s most inventive scriveners have decided to tell their own tall tales—from an alewife’s attempt to transfer the gods’ curse to Gilgamesh, to Odin’s decision to introduce Vikings to the Ur-Bar. Features stories by Benjamin Tate, S.C. Butler, Jennifer Dunne, Barbara Ashford, Maria V. Snyder, Kari Sperring, D.B. Jackson, Patricia Bray, Seanan McGuire, Juliet McKenna, Laura Anne Gilman, Ian Tregillis, Avery Shade, Jackie Kessler and Anton Strout.
In book two of the Messenger series, there are two men who have bitten the dust after a delivery from Messenger Melina Markowitz. As she tries to put together the pieces of this puzzle, she discovers that the two victims share common friends, common unexplained absences, and a common crime. Now, dark forces from the local community have been unleashed, drawing Melina into the web of a powerful woman, her voodoo and her vengeance.
As an angel, Remy possesses powers and skills only to be used if the situation calls for it. And the sudden reappearance of the Garden of Eden is just such a situation. Two opposing forces of immortals want the key to the Gates of Eden, so Remy must turn for help to a fallen angel who is sometimes friend, sometimes foe—and always deadly. Fourth in the Remy Chandler series.
When half-human Cal Leandros wakes up on a beach littered with the slaughtered remains if a variety of hideous creatures, he’s not that concerned. In fact, he can’t remember anything—including who he is. And that’s just the way his deadly enemies like it. Sixth in the Cal Leandros series.
Matt Richter’s going to pieces—literally. You’ve got to keep your head to survive in the teeming undead city known as Nekropolis. It’s a pity crazed genius Victor Baron couldn’t manage that. Now everyone wants a piece of him. Zombie detective Matt and his glamorous she-vampire companion Devona are back on the case, with another wild investigation. Second in the Matt Richter series.
The vampire Count Saint-Germain finds himself a virtual prisoner in the Court of Kunigunde in Bohemia in the 1600s. Rakoczy Ferancsi, as Saint-Germain is known, passes his days making jewels to delight Queen Kunigunde and trying not to become involved in the Court’s intrigues. In this, the vampire fails. Handsome, apparently wealthy, and obviously unmarried, he soon finds himself being sexually blackmailed by Rozsa, an ambitious lady-in-waiting. If he does not satisfy her, she will denounce him to the priests and he’ll be burned at the stake, resulting in his True Death.
The omnibus edition of the Dante Valentine series contains all five books: Working for the Devil, Dead Man Rising, The Devil’s Right Hand, Saint City Sinners, and To Hell and Back. As a Necromancer for hire, Dante Valentine was choosy about her jobs. But there were some she just couldn’t turn down. Like when the Devil showed up at the door and offered her a deal: her life in exchange for the capture and elimination of a renegade demon. But how do you kill something that can’t die?
Jasper Fforde’s return to BookWorld opens during a time of great unrest. All-out Genre war is rumbling, and the BookWorld desperately needs a heroine like Thursday Next. But with the real Thursday apparently retired to Realworld, the Council of Genres turns to the written Thursday. The Council wants her to pretend to be the real Thursday and travel as a peacekeeping emissary to the warring factions. A trip up the mighty Metaphoric River beckons—a trip that will reveal a fiendish plot that threatens the very fabric of the BookWorld itself.
Lepore returns with Victorian vampire slayer Emma Andrews as Emma travels to a girls’ school plagued by the undead. She hopes to fulfill her destiny as an avenger—and perhaps confront her sworn nemesis, the elusive monster Dracula himself.
The undead are more alive today than ever. Slake your insatiable thirst with the this reprint anthology featuring stories by Kelley Armstrong, Holly Black, Rachel Caine, Charles De Lint, Charlaine Harris, Tanya Huff, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Nancy Kilpatrick, J.A. Konrath, Tanith Lee, Kim Newman, Susan Sizemore, Michael Marshall Smith, Jeanne C. Stein, Carrie Vaughan, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and more.
War is coming to London. A daimyo of the Neon Court is dead and all fingers point toward their ancient enemy, The Tribe. And when magicians go to war, everyone loses. But Matthew Swift has his own concerns. He has been summoned abruptly, body and soul, to a burning tower and to the dead body of Oda, warrior of The Order and known associate of Swift. There’s a hole in her heart and the symbol of the Midnight Mayor drawn in her own blood. Except, she is still walking and talking and has a nasty habit of saying “we” when she means “I.” Now, Swift faces the longest night of his life. Lady Neon herself is coming to London and the Tribe is ready to fight.
A new paranormal series set in a world where Dark and Light are trapped in an eternal struggle for the fate of mankind. Celeste Jackson has fought all her life against a fog of hallucination and substance abuse, but it’s not until she meets her protector, Azrael, an angel who has left the safety of the Light, that she learns of the evil forces that have been trying to ruin her, and why. A fierce battle for control of the mortal realm is brewing, and only Celeste—with the help of the Remnant, her half-human, half-angel brethren—can stand in the way. To save the world, Celeste must draw on her own dark experiences with addiction to help Azrael overcome the one temptation that could possibly make him an eternal prisoner—his obsession with her.
When two college freshmen decide to spend spring break using their magic to fleece the gambling tables of Las Vegas, little do they imagine that Vegas harbors some magical secrets of its own. And of course what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas—alive or dead. U.S. release.
Peter Octavian, once a vampire, now a powerful mage, has been living a quiet life in San Francisco. But when the barrier that used to prevent demons and monsters from entering the world have fallen, Octavian is compelled to do what he can to hold back the darkness.
A secret government unit is formed under the oversight of Adam Harrison, famed paranormal investigator. The six members he’s gathered know a little of the otherworldly—each has honed a psychic talent. The new case: In a historic mansion in New Orleans’ French Quarter, a senator’s wife falls to her death from a balcony. Most think she jumped, distraught over the loss of her young son. Some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits that inhabit the house—once the site of a serial killer’s grisly work.
In the third Karmic Consultants novel, when a mischief demon threatens a wedding, Brittany Hylton-VanDeere springs to action. She has never planned a wedding, but how hard could averting demon-induced matrimonial disasters be? A tattooed, badass exorcist who’s tempting her to break the no-office-dating rule. Luis Rodriguez isn’t sure what to make of bright-eyed, somewhat illogical Brittany, but he’ll take any job that gives him a break. As the demon keeps finding ways to throw Brittany and Rodriguez together, they slide deeper into a forbidden romance.
When a female Shifter comes to town seeking refuge, Feline Shifter Sean Morrissey claims the new arrival and finds a beautiful woman who looks him straight in the eye without fear, stirring the mating frenzy within him. To relocate to a new Shiftertown, half-Fae, half-Shifter Andrea Gray must accept a new mate. But Andrea’s intense attraction to Sean is something she never expected—a perilous complicationi for a woman with a troubled past. From the Shifters Unbound series.
Wrongly accused of using her magic to harm, the closest Catherine Baker comes to helping others is serving their coffee. Life as an outcast is nothing new, thanks to her father’s reputation, but the injustice stings. Especially since the man she loved turned her in. Now the man has the gall to show up and suggest she become the next Titania? She’d rather wipe that charming grin off his face with a pot of hot java to the groin. Alexander Duquesne has never faltered in his duties as a guardian—until now.
Feisty 19th-century battle-born witch Blaire Lindsay isn’t happy that her brother Aiden has inherited a musty old castle in the Scottish Highlands—she’d rather stay in Edinburgh with her coven mates and friends. But off to the Highlands they go, and in the castle Blaire discovers secrets her deceased witch mother never shared with her—like the fact that gentleman vampire James Maitland, Lord Kettering, is locked in the basement. James is glad to escape his prison, but finds he doesn’t want to escape Blaire.
Rumplestiltskin is not his name and this hunk’s no gnarled old goblin. In his quest to land her a rich husband, Gwyneth’s father has gone one step too far and bragged to the king’s steward. Now she faces an impossible task: spin a room full of straw into gold by morning, or their lives are forfeit. She despairs, until a black-garbed figure offers to solve her problem for a price. One kiss. He returns the second night, and the third. With each sensual encounter, the stakes escalate, along with her attraction to her mysterious visitor. Then he claims the ultimate price—her child—and she realizes too late she’s made a deal with the king of the Underworld.
Kristin Daniels is passionate in her pursuit of the truth. As the host of the television show “Hoax Hunters,” she’s traveled the world to explore—and expose—life’s most enduring myths. Her latest undertaking is no exception: Kris is bound for Scotland, where she intends to get to the bottom of the Loch Ness monster legend. Instead, she encounters something far more mysterious, for in the ruins of the lake’s Urquhart Castle lies a sleek, muscled man with a seductive brogue named Liam. Is he for real? Or has the spell of the moon touched them both?
For pleasure operative Gemma, patrolling Newcity’s Lovehuts and Pleasurebots isn’t much of a pleasure. But it’s work she clings to after an accident destroyed her marriage and left her with half her body made of replacement parts. She keeps her head down and her mind on her job, waiting for the proverbial hammer to fall. The head of the ruling council is out to make those like her illegal. If anyone finds out she’s mecho, she’s toast. A routine inspection of a Pleasurebot turns into a strictly forbidden—and mind-blowing—encounter with a human with his own dark secrets.
The first in a gritty, fast-paced urban fantasy romance series featuring a world where incubi, sirens, valkyries, vampires, and werewolves live undetected alongside humankind. Someone has to keep the peace—and the secrets. Lukas Sebastiani, incubus and head of Sebastiani Security, handles the task with relish until Siren rock star Scarlett Fontaine comes home after an exhausting year on tour with her band and Lukas is asked to protect her. It’s a job he isn’t thrilled about since their one encounter left them bitter and fearful—and overcome with attraction.
Christina Astor’s telepathic ability is an asset in her job as a psychiatric social worker. What’s driving her crazy, though, is her elusive, gorgeous landlord. She senses that Saint Sevliss wants her with an all-consuming hunger that’s somehow…different. Just how different becomes all too clear when his dangerous world collides with hers. For centuries, Saint’s kind have been called vampire and werewolf. Even soulless. But their true nature remains a mystery. Bound by a magical mandate to control his bloodthirsty clone, Teslar, at all costs, Saint will do anything to keep Christina away. She infuses his gray universe with life and color, but his world—and his need—would destroy her. First in a new series.
Devlin Grace’s experience with child exploitation cases lands him a new assignment with the Special Crimes Investigators unit of the Federal Justice Agency, plus a new partner who could make the job tougher than expected. Connor Hutchens possesses incredible, scientifically enhanced senses, and zero social skills. Word on the street is that his last partner left under a cloud—and it was Connor’s fault. With the dangerous, perplexing case facing them, there’s no one Devlin would rather have at his back than Connor. But the longer they work together, the higher the sexual tension rises—until attraction boils over and puts everything at risk.
Calling all fans of Christine Feehan’s best-selling Dark series: This “Author’s Cut Special Edition” revisits the first book in the series, Dark Prince, and features 100 additional pages in the story of the beautiful hunter with telepathic abilities captivated by the allure of the mysterious, tormented Carpathian prince.
Regency London: a dizzying whirl of balls and young ladies pursued by charming men. But the Woodmore sisters are hunted by a more sinister breed. Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member of the Dracule, a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls, the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral—until Angelica Woodmore. She possesses the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule.
Wanting to be a part of mankind, the angel fell—losing his halo, the prize that held his earthbound soul. Now Cooper must retrieve it. But wherever the Fallen walk, a Sinistari demon intent on slaying one is not far behind. Cooper knows he must be wary of this demon. But his first encounter with her leaves him curiously hungering for more. To reclaim her own soul, Pyxion must kill an angel. Not just any angel, but one who’s fallen to earth and taken on an irresistible, seductive human form. She never expected that she would feel an attraction for the man she hunted—or that she might need his help.
For Seattle detective Joanne Walker, spring is about new beginnings. She’s mastered her shamanic abilities (mostly), survived a cannibalistic serial killer (barely) and now she’s facing the biggest challenge of her career—attending a dance concert with her sexy boss, Captain Michael Morrison. But when the performance, billed as transformative, actually changes her into a coyote, she and Morrison have bigger things to deal with. And there’s more. Homeless people are disappearing, a mystical murder puts Joanne way out of her jurisdiction and with the full moon coming on, it’s looking like the killer is a creature that can’t possibly exist.
For former cop Jesse Stewart, giving herself—mind and body—to sexy vampire Lance Van Baaren meant losing her soul. Hired by the government to find a senator’s missing daughter, she instead found a haunting link to her past. And now something is drawing her to the one man she should despise. Once a knight, Lance had sworn to protect the innocent. And one of those young innocents had been Jesse. Now face-to-face with the alluring woman she has become, he’s determined to help Jessie solve her case and make her his own. But would finding the truth of her past—and the Blood Moon—push her further away?
Generations of werewolves have been secretly residing in a secluded valley a stone’s throw from Grundy, Alaska. So when a snooping Outsider comes to Grundy to investigate rumors of lycanthropic shenanigans in the area, the valley’s pack alpha, Maggie Graham, resolves to chase him away, even if doing so takes a quick bite on the butt. What a pity that researcher Nick Thatcher turns out to be so drool-worthy, and that his kisses make Maggie want to sit up and beg. Maggie just can’t seem to convince Nick to leave—or convince herself she wants him to. But with interpack war threatening, Maggie can’t afford to be distracted.
When Colin MacAlister is cursed by the Faerie Queen and ends up in the bed of a 21st-century woman, he’s torn between anger and lust. Colin is determined to see Scotland free of English control and must return to the 14th century, yet he cannot forget the woman who haunts his dreams. Abigail Porter can’t believe her luck. After making a wish to find her soul mate, she wakes up to find a gorgeous medieval Highlander. It seems crazy, but when Abby discovers someone wants to enslave her because of her Faerie heritage, she agrees to flee with Colin to 1306 Scotland to avoid capture.
Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself—only to face a devastating injury. Dr. Manuel Manello is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can—but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates them? Book nine in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
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.