Every month, Fiction Affliction provides a handy reference of the upcoming month’s releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and young adult paranormal. Today’s column examines URBAN FANTASY, HORROR, and PARANORMAL ROMANCE.
The Symptoms: Urban fantasy has held the lead the last two months in the battle for dominance over paranormal romance, but the kiss ’em deadly crowd surges ahead in September despite UF’s attempt to bolster its numbers by incorporating horror.
The Diagnosis: Forty-seven new urban fantasy and horror (21) and paranormal romance (26) books weigh down the shelves in September, with vampires holding their own against lesser beings such as demons. Zombies appear to be dying out faster than they can scramble up some brains.
The Cure: Haven’t succumbed to the lure of urban fantasy or the allure of paranormal romance yet? Then settle in for some ghost stories this month. We’re on the march toward Halloween, after all.
Urban Fantasy and Horror
Gathering short fiction previously available only in limited editions, this collection explores the mysteries of souls—whether they are sacrificed on the pinnacle of Mount Parnassus or lodged in a television cable box. The cornerstone of the collection is a postscript to the novel of the haunting of the Romantic poets, The Stress of Her Regard. Once Byron and Shelley break free of the succubus that claimed them, their associate, Trelawny, forges an alliance with Greek rebels to reestablish the deadly connection between man and the nephilim.
They are the stories that have enthralled readers for generations, tales of the supernatural featuring haunted houses, phantoms beneath the floorboards, ghostly coachmen, figures in the carpet, ghosts in the machine, and foggy, gaslit streets. Includes seventeen stories by authors including Peter S. Beagle, Sean Williams, Gene Wolfe, Garth Nix, Jeffrey Ford, and Robert Silverberg.
October “Toby” Daye is settling into her new role as Countess of Goldengreen. She’s actually dating again, and she’s taken on Quentin as her squire. So, of course, it’s time for things to take a turn for the worse. Someone has kidnapped the sons of the regent of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist.To prevent a war between land and sea,Toby must find the missing boys and prove the Queen of the Mists was not behind their abduction. But someone is determined to stop her—and whoever it is isn’t playing by Oberon’s Laws. Fifth in the October Daye series.
Lara Jansen, a reserved young woman whose great joy is her job creating high-quality clothing for a tailor in Boston, thinks she’s nobody special—until the day a gorgeous young man who reveals himself to be a prince of Faerie begs for her help in solving his brother’s murder. The only way to solve the puzzle is for Lara to follow Dafyyd to Faerie, where an attack is made on her own life, and the mystery only deepens. As accusations fly from all sides, only Lara’s power to tell truth from lies will keep her safe.
Vampire thief Raylene Pendle doesn’t need more complications. Her Seattle home is already overrun by a band of misfits, including Ian Stott, a blind vampire, and Adrian deJesus, an ex-Navy SEAL/drag queen. But Raylene still can’t resist an old pal’s request: seek out and steal a bizarre set of artifacts. Raylene’s biggest problem is that the death of Ian’s patriarch appears to have made him the next target of some blood-sucking sociopaths. Now Raylene must snatch up the potent relics, solve a murder, and keep Ian safe—all while fending off a psychotic sorceress. But at least she won’t be alone. A girl could do a lot worse for a partner than an ass-kicking drag queen—right? Second in the Cheshire Red Reports series.
With the man she loves set to marry a lookalike princess, Kim Murray returns to California from the magical country of Dobrenica to heal her broken heart. But family politics soon have her leaving for London, where she is forced into a duel with a Dobrenican nobleman. He reveals that her great sacrifice, leaving Alec, was a disaster. To fix her mistake, Kim returns to Dobrenica, only to find ghosts and magic, murder and mystery await her. Once again Kim has to take sword in hand as she tries to make peace and learn the truth. Only, whose truth?
Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves, and Ghosts: 25 Classic Stories of the Supernatural, edited by Barbara H. Solomon and Eileen Panetta (Sept. 6, Signet Classics)
A collection of classic stories from literary masters past and present, including Henry James, Oscar Wilde, H. P. Lovecraft, Angela Carter, Stephen King, Anne Sexton, Joe Hill, and many others. Includes an introduction of and biographical notes about each contributor.
For fifteen years, Amber, Drew, and Trevor have barely been able to recall—let alone explain—what happened the terrifying night they decided to explore the old, abandoned Lowry House. According to local legend, the house was cursed by a dark past and inhabited by evil. It burst into flames on the night of their visit, leaving the friends traumatized and nearly dead, with only vague memories of the events they witnessed inside. Now, on the eve of their high school reunion, they have gathered to reopen their investigation and figure out what took place that fateful night.
Steven de Selby has a hangover. Bright lights, loud noise, and lots of exercise are the last thing he wants. But that’s exactly what he gets when someone starts shooting at him. Steven is no stranger to death—Mr. D’s his boss after all—but when a dead girl saves him from sharing her fate, he finds himself on the wrong end of the barrel. His job is to guide the restless dead to the underworld but now his clients are his own colleagues, friends, and family. Mr. D’s gone missing and with no one in charge, the dead start to rise, the living are hunted, and the whole city teeters on the brink of a regional apocalypse. Third in the Death Works series.
Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings—but always exploring the strength and resilience of the human heart. Stories from Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Vincent, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jeri Smith-Ready, Mary E. Pearson, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Jessica Verday, Claudia Gray, Jackson Pearce, Carrie Ryan, Rachel Caine, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Ally Condie and Kimberly Derting.
Being half werewolf and half Aedh, Risa Jones can enter the twilight realms between life and death and see the reapers, supernatural beings that collect the souls of the dead. But she soon makes a terrifying discovery: Some sinister force is stealing souls, preventing the dead from ever knowing the afterlife. Reapers escort souls—not snatch them—but Risa is still unnerved when a reaper shadows her in search of someone Risa has never met: her own father, an Aedh priest, who is rumored to be tampering with the gates of hell for a dark purpose. First in the Dark Angels series.
Three months ago, Celeste Jackson was pulled into a supernatural world by her guardian angel, Azrael, only to learn that not only was he super hot, but he was also the Angel of Death. Now, Azrael’s angel brother, Bath Kol, receives a disturbing vision. Those members of the fallen that were conquered have found a key to rebirth within the sacred tombs of Egypt. Now able to raise their full armies of darkness against the small twenty-one angel battalion charged with protecting the Remnant, evil has the advantage—unless Celeste, one of only three half-angel/half-human hybrids left on the planet, can sway the balance. L.A. Banks passed away on August 2.
Monsters: As old as the oldest of stories, as new as our latest imaginings. From the ancient stone corridors of the labyrinth to the graffitied alleyways of the contemporary metropolis, they stalk the shadows. Creatures features the best monster fiction from the past thirty years as well as contemporary authors such as Clive Barker, Joe R. Lansdale, Kelly Link, China Mieville, and Cherie Priest.
No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the mountains of East Tennessee. Dark-haired and enigmatic, they live quietly in the hills and valleys of Cloud County, their origins lost to history. But there are clues in their music, hidden in the songs they have passed down for generations. Private Bronwyn Hyatt, a true daughter of the Tufa, has returned from Iraq, wounded in body and spirit, but her troubles are far from over. Cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, while a restless “haint” has followed her home from the war.
When Emma Donahoe took the position of nanny to John Chen’s daughter Simone, she never expected to be caring for the child of a Chinese god, and she didn’t expect that demons would want him dead. Nor has moving from nanny to partner in his heavenly realm made Emma’s life any easier. Now a powerful race of demons has been created to hunt her and her family from Hong Kong to Europe. And she and Simone have become targets—pawns to be used in a deadly celestial power play. Book two in the Dark Heavens series. U.S. release.
They are monsters: Mariah—the reluctant rebel who has become a god to others of her kind. And Gabriel, the vampire, who loves her at his own peril. Together, they freed the unhuman and inhuman from captivity, to lead them in reclaiming the land. But even Mariah can’t keep the newly liberated monsters from quarreling among themselves. Third in the Bloodlands series.
The zombie-monster onslaught is heralded one day by a predawn flash of unearthly light that cuts off Jesman’s Bend from communication with the outside world. When four employees of local radio station KMRT investigate, they find the town mysteriously depopulated, apparently in the middle of regular routines. Familiar folk reappear shortly afterward, all wearing concealing sunglasses and gloves and driven by malignant alien motives revealed when they descend en masse upon the terrified foursome. First in a new series.
Killing used to be my regular gig, after all. Gin Blanco, aka the Spider, assassin-for-hire. And I was very, very good at it. Now, I’m ready to make the one hit that truly matters: Mab Monroe, the dangerous Fire elemental who murdered my family when I was thirteen. Oh, I don’t think the mission will be easy, but turns out it’s a bit more problematic than expected. The bitch knows I’m coming for her. Good thing I’ve got my powerful Ice and Stone magic—and my irresistible lover, Owen Grayson—to watch my back.
Boston’s Back Bay district is known for high society, not lowlifes. So when mutilated human bodies begin turning up in the area, the entire city takes notice. And even though there’s no real evidence pointing to a paranormal culprit, the deaths are straining relations between human and inhuman residents. As the bodies pile up, demon-hunter Vicky Vaughn investigates, only to find that the creature behind the carnage is after much more than just blood. Third in the Deadtown series.
He sought to flee his tragic past, but when Thomas Usher hears a clockwork voice on the phone and sees ever-more disturbing visions in a derelict warehouse, he realizes that he has to return home—for the sake of his own sanity. Meanwhile, a deadly figure from Usher’s past threatens to undermine the very fabric of reality. A Thomas Usher novel.
Homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis answers to no one. Especially not to the arrogant new partner assigned to her in the middle of a gruesome serial killer case. Aramael is a Power—a hunter of the Fallen Angels. A millennium ago, he sentenced his own brother to eternal exile for crimes against humanity. Now his brother is back and wreaking murderous havoc in the mortal realm. To find him, Aramael must play second to a human police officer who wants nothing to do with him and whose very bloodline threatens both his mission and his soul. First in a new Grigori Legacy series.
England, 1888. The trees are green, the birds are singing, and in 200 years demons will destroy it all. Unless Joan, an assassin from the future, can take out the dark magician responsible. But to get close to her target she’ll need help learning how to fit into Victorian society. Simon has his own reasons for wanting to destroy Alex Reynell, and Joan may be his perfect revenge. But as each day passes, Simon is less sure he wants her anywhere near Reynell.
AlecMacQuarrie’s afterlife has become an endless search for pleasure in an effort to overcome his despair. Wandering through the seedy world of London’s demimonde, he’s changed into a dark creature even he doesn’t recognize until he stumbles into a woman who gives him a glimpse of the life he could have had. After watching each of her coven sisters happily marry, Sorcha Ferguson is determined to capture a Lycan husband of her very own. Over his dead body is Alec going to allow her to throw herself away on an unworthy werewolf, but he’s the worst monster of them all.
Demetrius is the hulking, brooding warrior his fellow Guardians avoid. Too dark. Too damaged. For Isadora’s own protection, he had done all he could to avoid the fragile princess—his soul mate. But Isadora has been kidnapped. And finally letting her into his heart may be the only way to save them both.
Rhona the Fearless was raised for battle. Yet now she fights alongside uncivilized male Northland dragons who think a female is only good for breeding. But it’s the foolish and foolhardy who would try to stop her from doing what she does best—destroying the enemies of her kind. So the smartest thing wily barbarian Vigholf the Abhorrent can do is stay out of her way as she risks all on a deadly mission in enemy territory. Fifth in the Dragon Kin series.
Since the moment Damien showed up—gloriously naked— Kelsey Morningstone has been having a hard time keeping her relationship with the clinic’s latest amnesiac strictly professional. Even with her empath abilities Kelsey’s not sure she can get past Damien’s anger to find the cause of his delusions. After all, falling for a patient is bad enough, but falling for a patient who thinks he’s a werewolf is a whole other kind of crazy. Eighth in the Broken Heart series.
Nicholas St. Croix knows the evil of demons intimately—he was raised by one. Now the woman he loves has disappeared, and he knows his “mother” is responsible. But Nicholas swears he’ll find her, even if he has to go to Hell and back. Seventh in the Guardian series.
Three years of wandering the postapocalyptic wasteland has stripped Dr. Chris Welsh of hope—until he encounters Valle de Bravo, a haven of civilization amid the chaos of the Change. Soldiers take their orders from Rosa Cortez—the iron hand within a velvet glove. The last thing Rosa needs is a feral loner upsetting the town’s balance. However, she lets Chris stay, and as bloodthirsty raiders strike again and again, Chris and Rosa battle hellhounds and dust pirates while also fighting a desperate attraction. Second in the Dark Age Dawning series. Ellen Connor is a pseudonym for authors Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty.
As brutal as the undead he hunted, Zacarias De La Cruz was a master executioner. Now his stark and savage journey has ended. For his brothers, Zacarias had walked to the edge of madness, but with centuries as a killing machine now left to the past and without a hunt to define him, Zacarias wonders who he really is. The answer awaits him in Peru, in the betrayal of a woman readying her trap, in the vengeance of an old enemy, in the inevitable consequences of a bloody family legacy—and in the deliverance of a lifemate he never could have imagined. The 22nd Carpathian novel.
Immortal, by V.K. Forrest (Sept. 6, Zebra)
Magnetic, fearless Fin Kahill has dedicated his life to ridding the world of its most vicious serial killers. Fin is used to roaming the earth freely—not getting stuck in sleepy Clare Point. But when the clan needs him close by, Fin agrees to take a summer job on the town’s tiny police force. He expects little excitement—until he meets Elena, an ethereal Italian beauty. When a serial killer strikes, Fin wonders if a member of his own clan is responsible. The only one he can turn to is Elena, but he discovers Elena may not be exactly who, or what, she appears. Third in the Clare Point series.
Years ago, while lowly kitchen maid Notsah was fleeing the king’s guard, she burst into the private chambers of the very man she was stealing from: Prince Jarron Bydelay. But he showed her mercy and dismissed her pursuer, Erekon, Captain of the King’s Guard. Ten years later, Notsah has returned as Handmaiden to the new king. He might not remember her past, but Erekon does—and is determined to use her to get what he wants.
Claire has an extraordinary secret ability—she can go anywhere at all, just by wishing it. And if the intensely attractive man who suddenly materializes in her car one day is any indication, Claire’s not the only one. Ever since Darl James learned of his true origins, he’s been searching for his partner and life mate, the one whose gift will complement and complete his own. Now that he’s found Claire, he vows to never lose her again. But keeping her safe won’t be easy when they’ve been marked for destruction by an evil, power-hungry race.
There is a place between life and death known as Twilight. It’s there that the Shadowman waits and when a human life flickers out, it is the Shadowman who ferries us from one world to the next. Forbidden entrance to our world and the other, all he can do is watch and wait. Until the night love beckons him and recklessly, unlawfully, he crosses over and claims it. A terrible price must be paid, one that all humanity will suffer as well as the two lovers.
Half-demon Taeg is desperate to free his pregnant sister-in-law from an indestructible book that will create an army of the undead—but to do it, he must uncover nothing less than the magically hidden sword Excaliber. Librarian Maya Flores has a secret: she’s immune to magic, Maya is Taeg’s best hope for uncovering the sword. Unfortunately, she wants nothing more than to kill him. Second in the Demons of the Infernum series.
When a regular night of Robin Hoodery results in the manifestation of some, um, unusual paranormal abilities, perfume-maker Elleodora Fredricks realizes the normal world she lives in isn’t quite… normal. And neither is she, thanks to her father, king of the shadow elves. Not only is he evil incarnate, but he’s stolen her memories. And only reading her fate can fix that. Good thing she s got a trio of hotties willing to help her find said fate—if she gives them something in return. First in the Set in Stone series.
A new collection of novellas. In McCarthy’s The Howling, Liv faces the feral danger that comes alive only when she sleeps. In D’Arc’s Smoke On The Water, zombies roam wild in a lakefront village, and zombie hunter John Petit—and his new partner, Donna, must stop them. In Lyon’s Redeeming the Wizard, a once-powerful wizard, now a recluse, opens his door to the one woman who might be his ruin.
Hearing that Henry VIII’s new queen is in danger, Rhys Williams engages the help of Verity Llewellyn, a lady-in-waiting eager to prove her abilities as a vampire hunter. Rhys suspects the weakening queen has fallen victim to a vampire. And the fact that she is pregnant makes the situation all the more dangerous. Third in the Tudor Vampire Chronicles series.
Danni always believed she was an abandoned child. Then the seductive Sean Ballogh appears out of nowhere with a startling story challenging everything Danni thought was true. He claims that Danni’s family has been searching for her ever since she disappeared twenty years ago. He’s come to take her home to Ireland. Now, Danni must rewrite history to save her family, to fight a force more evil than she ever imagined, and to reunite herself with the man she was destined for.
The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, but Dmitri’s need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo. Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel’s right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality. Fourth in the Guild Hunter series.
As the son of a serial killer, homicide detective Thomas DelVecchio Jr grew up in the shadow of evil. Now, on the knife-edge between civic duty and blind retribution, he atones for the sins of his father. Hired to monitor Veck is Internal Affairs officer Sophia Reilly, whose interest is both professional and arousingly personal. But Veck and Sophia have a common interest. He’s Jim Herron, a mysterious stranger enlisted to save the soul of a killer’s latest victim, one precariously hovering between heaven and hell. Third in the Fallen Angels series.
In the first century, Ionian priestesses made a bargain with cursed warriors called the Minot. When the truce fell apart, the Minot remained cursed, and the Ionians remained mistrustful of men. In modern-day Arizona, Jason Tyrone, son of a Minot and an outcast Ionian, has come to reclaim his heritage. At the Seven Sisters Spa, where the Ionian women live and hide their true identity, Jason falls in love with the beautiful Sophia Thalia—and their passion will re-ignite a conflict that could destroy the Ionians. First in a new series.
Rose Fairburn is on the run. Her vampire nature can’t protect her from everything and now, when she should be worried about escaping her past, she can only think about one thing. Her kind can’t live without blood or sex. Love they must forego. Jack Tallis can slake her thirst. Tall. Handsome. Trustworthy. And not a man alive can resist a vamp’s allure. But…Jack can. And he has other secrets, like why underworld hit men are on his trail. The shadows hide mysteries darker than Rose can dream, and all will be revealed in the fetish clubs of one strange Louisiana town.
Once upon a time, the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out. Princess Breena had been dreaming of her warrior lover when she was ripped from her Elden castle and thrown into a strange, dangerous realm. Lost and alone, she prayed for survival and vengeance for her stolen kingdom. She found both in a woodland cottage…in a dark bear of a man named Osborn. Now Osborn had a choice—risk his life or deny his princess her fairy-tale ending. Second in the Royal House of Shadows series.
Utanapishtim has paid dearly for the sin of creating the vampire race—imprisoned in a living death for centuries, driven to near madness. With a single white-hot glance, he immolates his descendants—and the vampire Armageddon begins. Beautiful and deadly Brigit Poe, not wholly vampire but fiercely loyal to that shared bloodline, is called into action. Two warriors are soon locked in an unwinnable battle, only to discover a passion so shocking it threatens every truth they’ve ever known. Eighteenth in the Wings in the Night series.
On the heels of saving mankind from destruction at the hands of the Medb coven, Evalle attempts to convince the Tribunal that she is an Alterant who can be trusted around humans. But the gods and goddess ruling over this Tribunal twist words she’d uttered in the heat of combat and hold her responsible for three dangerous Alterants that escaped their prisons. Unsure that she can condemn another Alterant to a life she’d die before accepting, Evalle takes on an impossible task only to learn that the entire future of the Beladors rides on her success.Second in the Belador Code series.
Possessed by the demon of Defeat, Strider cannot lose a challenge without suffering unimaginable pain. Until Kaia, an enchanting Harpy, tempts him to the edge of surrender. Known among her people as The Disappointment, Kaia must bring home the gold in the Harpy Games or die. Strider is a distraction she can’t afford because he has an agenda of his own. Latest in the Lords of the Underworld series.
When a video reveals to the world that vampires live among us, it’s up to “young” vamp Gregori Holstein to persuade the U.S. government to declare the video a hoax. But first the president wants a favor, one that requires Gregori to spend forty-eight hours in very close contact with the First Daughter. Abby Tucker would rather spend her nights in a lab than attend her father’s state dinners. She’s dedicated her life to finding a cure that will save her dying mother and needs only two more ingredients. To find them, she’ll have to venture into the most dangerous region of the world—with a vampire. Eleventh in the Love at Stake series.
Urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson is warming up to demon romance but draws the line at zombie love. 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.