Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for November

Twenty-two genre-bending releases fill the shelves in November, including a handful of cozy mysteries with paranormal bents, expanding the “whodunit” to “whatdunit.” Also look for series additions from, among others, Cherie Priest (Clockwork Century), Tim Lebbon (Toxic City), Gail Carriger (Finishing School), J.A. Souders (Elysium Chronicles), and Stephen Baxter (Northland).

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.

Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

WEEK ONE

A Potion to Die For: A Magic Potion MysteryHeather Blake (November 5, Signet)

Trouble is brewing. As the owner of Little Shop of Potions, a magic potion shop specializing in love potions, Carly Bell Hartwell finds her product more in demand than ever. A local soothsayer has predicted that a couple in town will soon divorce, and now it seems every married person in Hitching Post, Alabama, wants a little extra matrimonial magic to make sure they stay hitched. When Carly finds a dead man in her shop, clutching one of her potion bottles, she goes from most popular potion person to public enemy number one. The murder investigation becomes a witch hunt. Carly is going to need to brew up some serious sleuthing skills to clear her name and find the real killer, before the whole town becomes convinced her potions really are to die for.

After Eden (After Eden #1)Helen Douglas (November 5, Bloomsbury)

Young Adult. The day Eden met Ryan changed her world forever. Actually, not just her world. Ryan has time traveled from the future to save the world. In a few weeks, Eden’s best friend Connor will discover a new planet, one where human life is possible. The discovery will make him famous. It will also ruin the world as we know it. When Ryan asks Eden for help, she must choose between saving the world and saving her best friend’s greatest achievement. And a crush on Ryan complicates things more than she could have imagined. Because Connor is due to make the discovery after the girl he loves breaks his heart. That girl is Eden.

Bellman & BlackDiane Setterfield (November 5, Atria/Emily Bestler)

William Bellman, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and grew up to be someone, his neighbors think, “could go to the good or the bad.” William’s life at first seems blessed. He has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright children, and thrives in business, but one by one, people around him die. At each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favorite, Dora. William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife’s fresh grave, and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William, a mysterious business called “Bellman & Black.”

Contagion (Toxic City #3)Tim Lebbon (November 5, Pyr)

Young Adult. Jack and his friends are in a race to save the remaining inhabitants of a postapocalyptic London from a nuclear bomb. Two years after London is struck by a terrorist attack, it is cut off from the rest of the world, protected by a force of soldiers (known as Choppers) while the rest of Britain believe that their ex-capital is a toxic wasteland. The remaining survivors in London are changing; developing fantastic powers; evolving. Jack’s powers are growing. His friend Lucy-Anne’s powers are developing too. Nomad, the mysterious woman who started it all, is close by. The Choppers have initiated their final safeguard, a nuclear bomb that will wipe out London. Jack and his friends must spread the news of the bomb. Jack must face his father, the deadly Reaper, in their final showdown.

Curtsies and Conspiracies (Finishing School #2)Gail Carriger (November 5, Little, Brown)

Young Adult. Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing. Finishing school is training her to be a spy (won’t Mumsy be surprised?). Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners. Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot, one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot, and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

Gossamer Wing (Steam and Seduction #1)Delphine Dryden (November 5, Berkley Sensation)

After losing her husband to a French agent, Charlotte Moncrieffe wants to make her mark in international espionage. What could be better for recovering long-lost documents from the Palais Garnier than her stealth dirigible, Gossamer Wing? Her spymaster father has one condition: He won’t send her to Paris without an ironclad cover. Dexter Hardison prefers inventing to politics, but his title as Makesmith Baron and his formidable skills make him an ideal husband-imposter. The undercover arrangement would help him in his own field of discovery. From Charlotte and Dexter’s marriage of convenience comes a passion that complicates a dangerous mission. For Charlotte, the thought of losing Dexter also opens her heart to a new future of love and adventure.

Iron Winter: The Northland Trilogy (Northland #3)Stephen Baxter (November 5, Roc)

It is 1315. And darkness is falling. Many generations ago the Wall was first built to hold back the sea. Northland has become a thriving civilization centered on the ancient home of the first builders, Etxelur. The whole of Europe, spanned by the Northlanders’ steam caravan lines, has been changed in ways that could never have been predicted. The weather is changing, growing colder, and in the wake of the long winters come famine, destruction and terror. It seems that even Northland may not be able to endure. There is one man who believes he can calculate why the world is cooling, and even salvage some scraps of Etxelur. As he embarks on his grand quest across the world, only one thing is certain. The Ice is coming. (U.S. Release)

Nightmare CityAndrew Klavan (November 5, Thomas Nelson)

Tom Harding only wants the truth. As a reporter for his high school newspaper, Tom Harding was tracking the best story of his life, when, suddenly, his life turned very, very weird. He woke up one morning to find his house empty, his street empty, his whole town empty, empty except for an eerie, creeping fog, and whatever creatures were slowly moving toward him through the fog. Now Tom’s world has become something out of a horror movie. Tom is a good reporter, he knows how to look for answers. With the fog closing in and the hungry creatures of the fog surrounding him, he has only a few hours to find out how he lost the world he knew. In this bizarre universe nothing is what it seems and everything, including Tom’s life, hangs in the balance.

Revelations (The Elysium Chronicles #2)J.A. Souders (November 5, Tor Teen)

Young Adult. Six weeks after her arrival on the Surface, Evelyn Winters is no closer to unlocking the memories lost in her subconscious than she was when she first came. Evie has only Gavin Hunter to remind her of who she once was. Evie doesn’t fit in on the Surface. She can’t help but yearn for that place she doesn’t remember: the city hidden in the depths of the ocean. Elysium. She can’t tell Gavin what she’s feeling. He’s the one who helped her escape Elysium in the first place. Evie’s memories begin to collide with reality. People and images from her past appear in the most unlikely places. Evie and Gavin can’t wait around for her memories to return. They’ll have to journey across the Outlands of the Surface to find help, and their search may just lead them back to the place it all started.

The Thrill of the Haunt (A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery #5)E.J. Copperman (November 5, Berkley)

Alison Kerby’s guesthouse is already crowded with spirits. The last thing she needs is a new batch of haunts settling in. As Alison’s reputation as “the ghost lady” grows, so does her business. Tourists may be flocking to her guesthouse for a chance to glimpse her resident spirits, but her special abilities are bringing unwanted private investigation cases to her door. She has no choice but to take a case when the local homeless man is found murdered under mysterious circumstances, just hours after asking for help in exorcising a specter. Alison’s other PI case soon turns fatal, as the mistress she was spying on for a jealous wife turns up dead as well. With a mountain of clues, motives and suspects, both living and dead, Alison will have to think fast before someone else checks out for good.

 

WEEK TWO

Fiddlehead (The Clockwork Century #6)Cherie Priest (November 12, Tor)

Ex-spy ‘Belle Boyd’ is retired, more or less. Her short-lived marriage to a Union navy boy cast suspicion on those Southern loyalties, so her mid-forties found her unemployed, widowed and disgraced. Until her life-changing job offer from the staunchly Union Pinkerton Detective Agency. When she’s required to assist Abraham Lincoln himself, she has to put any old loyalties firmly aside, for a man she spied against twenty years ago. Lincoln’s friend, Gideon Bardsley, is targeted for assassination after the young inventor made a breakthrough. Fiddlehead, Bardsley’s calculating engine, has proved an extraordinary threat. Bardsley and Fiddlehead are in great danger as forces conspire to keep this secret. Can even the notorious Belle Boyd hold the war-hawks at bay?

The Waking That KillsStephen Gregory (November 12, Solaris)

A long, hot summer’s dream. A suffocating nightmare. Shattered by a violent awakening. When his elderly father suffers a stroke, Christopher Beale returns to England. Adrift, he answers an ad for a live-in tutor for a teenage boy. The boy is Lawrence Lundy, who possesses the spirit of his father, a military pilot, missing, presumed dead. Lawrence keeps his presence alive, in the big old house, in the overgrown garden. His mother, Juliet Lundy, a fey, scatty widow living on her nerves, keeps the boy at home, away from other children, away from the world. Christopher Beale becomes entangled in the strange household, enmeshed in the oddness of the boy and his fragile mother. Only by forcing the boy to release the spirit of his father can there be any escape from the haunting.

 

WEEK THREE

Firebrand (Elemental Trilogy #2)Antony John (November 14, Dial)

Thomas and his friends have rescued the Guardians and commandeered the pirates’ ship, but the pirates still hold fast to Roanoke Island. Using his newly discovered element, Thomas hears a radio message calling for refugees to head to Fort Sumter. They sail south, but quickly discover that their elements wane as they leave Roanoke behind. There is something sinister going on in the refugee colony too. From the perilous food-gathering squads, to the constant threat of rat infestation, to dangerous secrets, Thomas and his colonists begin to realize that this promising new world may be even more terrifying than the one they left behind.

Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War (Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin #2)Richard Ellis Preston Jr. (November 19, 47North)

The frozen wasteland of Snow World is home to warring steampunk clans. Crankshafts, Imperials, Tinskins, Brineboilers, and many more all battle one another for precious supplies, against ravenous mutant beasts for basic survival, and with the mysterious Founders for their very freedom. Through this ruined world soars the Pneumatic Zeppelin, captained by the daring Romulus Buckle. Founders raids threaten to shatter the fragile alliance Buckle has risked everything to forge among the clans. Buckle learns that the most mysterious clan of all is holding his long-lost sister in a secret base, and that she holds the ultimate key to victory over the Founders. Rescuing her means abandoning his allies and praying they survive long enough for there to be an alliance to return to.

The Curse KeepersDenise Grover Swank (November 19, 47North)

Ellie Lancaster has lived her life by the site of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, the settlement that vanished without a trace around 1590. Only the descendants of the two men who banished the spirits of an enemy tribe from the material realm know what really happened to the colony. Ellie is one of those descendants, a Curse Keeper. Her father taught her what he knew of the curse, including that if the two Curse Keepers ever meet, the curse will be lifted and the raging Native American spirits will be unleashed. Ellie has always taken the legend for a fairy tale. Until she meets Collin Dailey and realizes everything she was told is true. Ellie and Collin must battle supernatural forces and their loathing, and passion, for each other to set things right.

Wild FellMichael Rowe (November 19, ChiZine)

The crumbling summerhouse called Wild Fell, soaring above the desolate shores of Blackmore Island, has weathered the violence of the seasons for more than a century. Built for his family by a 19th-century politician of impeccable rectitude, the house has kept its terrible secrets and its darkness sealed within its walls. For a hundred years, the townspeople of Alvina have prayed that the darkness inside Wild Fell would stay there. Jameson Browning, a man well acquainted with suffering, has purchased Wild Fell with the intention of beginning a new life, of letting in the light. But what waits for him at the house is devoted to its darkness and guards it jealously. It has been waiting for Jameson his whole life, or even longer. And now, at long last, it has found him.

 

WEEK FOUR

City of Lost Dreams (City of Dark Magic #2)Magnus Flyte (November 26 Penguin)

Musicologist Sarah Weston is in Vienna in search of a cure for her friend Pollina, who is now gravely ill. Nicolas Pertusato, in London in search of an ancient alchemical cure for the girl, discovers an old enemy is one step ahead of him. In Prague, Prince Max tries to unravel the reappearance of a long dead saint while being pursued by a seductive red-headed historian with dark motives of her own. Sarah becomes the target in a deadly web of intrigue that involves a scientist on the run, stolen art, seductive pastries, surprises from long-dead alchemists, a distractingly attractive horseman and a trail of secrets and lies. Nothing will be more dangerous than the vindictive villain who seeks to bend time itself. Sarah must travel deep into an ancient mystery to save the people she loves.

The End of the Road: An Anthology of Original Fiction&mdashedited by Jonathan Oliver (November 26, Solaris)

Strap on your seatbelt, shoulder your backpack, or wait for that next ride, into darkness. Each step will lead you closer to your destination, but who, or what, can you expect to meet at journey’s end? Here are stories of misfits, spectral hitch-hikers, nightmare travel tales and the rogues, freaks and monsters to be found on the road. An anthology of original short stories from writers including Philip Reeve, Lavie Tidhar, Sarah Lotz, Ian Whates, Jay Caselberg, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Zen Cho, Sophia McDougall, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Anil Menon, Rio Youers, Vandana Singh, Paul Meloy, Adam Nevill, and Helen Marshall.

The Land AcrossGene Wolfe (November 26, Tor)

A novel of the fantastic set in an imagined country in Europe. An American writer of travel guides in need of a new location chooses to travel to a small and obscure Eastern European country. The moment Grafton crosses the border he is in trouble, much more than he could have imagined. His passport is taken by guards, and then he is detained for not having it. He is released into the custody of a family, but is again detained. It becomes evident that there are supernatural agencies at work, but they are not in some ways as threatening as the brute forces of bureaucracy and corruption in that country. Is our hero in fact a spy for the CIA? Or is he an innocent citizen caught in a Kafkaesque trap?

Bleeding ShadowsJoe R. Lansdale (November 28, Subterranean)

20 tales and 10 poems that explore the shadier impulses of human (and nonhuman) nature. Straight-up noir about a triple-crossed bounty hunter (“Six-Finger Jack”) shares the same East Texas setting as yarns that take a turn into territory first explored by H.P. Lovecraft (“The Bleeding Shadow”) and Stephen King (“Dead Sister”). Readers will get glimpses of the legend of Deadwood Dick (“Soldierin’”; “Hide and Horns”) and a look at a sociopathic Smokey Bear (“Mr. Bear”). Lansdale pays tribute to Richard Matheson in “Quarry,” Edgar Rice Burroughs in “The Metal Men of Mars,” and Mark Twain in “Dread Island,” a yarn that pits Huck Finn and Brer Rabbit against an eldritch entity. “The Stars Are Falling,” a Greek tragedy about a soldier’s unexpected return home.

The Ape’s Wife and Other StoriesCaitlin R. Kiernan (November 28, Subterranean)

Well-known tales are reshaped in Kiernan’s distinct style, Beowulf in “The Sea Troll’s Daughter,” King Kong in “The Ape’s Wife”, while characters as familiar as an artist struggling with a painting, in “Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash,” or a science writer researching an article, in “One Tree Hill (The World as Cataclysm),” are plucked from the ordinary and set down in the uncanny. Other expeditions include “Galápagos,” featuring a woman trying to record and come to terms with what she saw on an interplanetary journey; “As Red as Red,” an unsettling Rhode Island interlude; and the title story, in which Ann Darrow is “lost in All-At-Once time” and the possible lives she might have led.


Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Her Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series continued this fall with the release of Elysian Fields. You can find Suzanne on Twitter and on her daily speculative fiction blog, Preternatura.

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