Fiction Affliction: July Releases in Urban Fantasy and Horror

Call it urban fantasy, paranormal fantasy, contemporary, or horror—there are twenty-six new releases set in odd versions of the modern world to spark the imagination this month, including new series additions from, among others, Charles Stross (Laundry Files), Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim), Jennifer Estep (Elemental Assassin), Keri Arthur (Souls of Fire), Dianna Love (Belador), Alis Franklin (The Wyrd), and Hailey Edwards (Black Dog).

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

Darkness Brutal (The Dark Cycle #1)Rachel A. Marks (July 1, Skyscape)

Young Adult. Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer. Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. When he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, he awakens powers he didn’t know he had, and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness. With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness at bay and accept his brilliant, terrifying destiny?

Nightlife: Night Terrors (Nightlife #4)Matthew Quinn Martin (July 6, Pocket Star)

Nightlife, the story of two monster hunters determined to save the city of New Harbor from the Night Angels, bloodthirsty creatures that feed on the forgotten. Jack Jackson and Beth Becker are among the few who can see these creatures for what they really are. As they hunt the creatures, a mysterious organization known only as The Division is hunting them. In the novella Hazardous Material, we get a glimpse of The Division’s origins and aims when a young man stumbles onto a long-abandoned video arcade and unwittingly uncovers a relic of unimaginable power and mind-altering terror. In As the Worm Turns, Jack and Beth are back, along with their faithful dog, Blood. For months they’ve been keeping just one step ahead of The Division. Jack and Beth find themselves facing off against something even more terrifying than the Night Angels, something that could hold the key to humanity’s salvation, or its doom. (Digital)

Beneath Still Waters (Rogue Angel #55)Alex Archer (July 7, Gold Eagle)

All it took was one phone call and TV show host and archaeologist Annja Creed is in mortal danger. Her producer Doug Morrell has been abducted by a treasure hunter who’s seeking the lost raubgold, or looted gold of Nazi Germany. The terms are simple: retrieve the bounty and Doug lives. Fail, and he dies. Annja and her friends must find a missing German fighter plane that was shot down 1945. The aircraft not only holds a shipment of gold the Nazis had stolen, but also carried the last letters of the führer himself. Letters that point to a more startling treasure buried underwater. Annja isn’t interested in treasure, or even unearthing historic relics. Annja has one agenda: get Doug out alive, even if it means drawing her sword from its otherworldly sheath. Even if it means death. Once greed drives a man to violence, nothing will stop him.

Flight from Death (Fly by Night #1)Yasmine Galenorn (July 7, Berkley)

I’m Shimmer, a blue dragon shifter. Thanks to a mistake, I was exiled from the Dragon Reaches and sentenced to work for Alex Radcliffe, a vampire who owns the Fly by Night Magical Investigations Agency. Not only do I have to adapt to Earthside culture, but every time I turn around, somebody’s trying to kill us. Alex is as gorgeous as he is exasperating. But you know what they say: All’s fair in love and bounty hunting. When an old friend of Alex contacts him about a haunting at the High Tide Bed & Breakfast in Port Townsend, Washington, we think we’re on a simple ghost hunt. Our investigation quickly transforms into a deadly fight as we uncover an eighty-year-old murder, a cursed house, and a dark force trapping the spirits within. To stop impending disaster we must break the curse and lay the angry spirits to rest.

Silver in the Blood (Silver in the Blood #1)Jessica Day George (July 7, Bloomsbury USA)

Young Adult. Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. Upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate, or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

Splintered (Arcane Underworld #2)Jamie Schultz (July 7, Roc)

Anna Ruiz is on a mission: Help her friend and partner-in-crime, Karyn Ames, break free of the tangle of hallucinations and premonitions that have cut her off from reality. With the aid of her crew, ex-soldier Nail and sorcerer Genevieve, she’ll do whatever it takes to get Karyn help, even if it means tracking down every informant and magic practitioner in the occult underworld. Since a magical heist went to hell, the crew has been working for crimelord and doomed magus Enoch Sobell. Between fighting Sobell’s battles with some seriously scary demonic forces and tangling with a group of violent fanatics who want to manipulate Karyn’s abilities for their own gains, Anna, Nail, and Genevieve begin to realize they’re in way over their heads. Now that Karyn’s secret about seeing the future is out, even more unpleasant parties are about to come knocking.

Survive the NightDanielle Vega (July 7, Razorbill)

Young Adult. Just back from rehab, Casey regrets letting her friends Shana, Julie, and Aya talk her into coming to Survive the Night, an all-night, underground rave in a New York City subway tunnel. Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse. Until she comes across Julie’s mutilated body in a subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Casey thought she was just off with some guy, no one could hear her getting torn apart. By the time they get back to the party, everyone is gone. Casey and her friends find themselves running through the subway tunnels, searching for a way out. Every manhole is sealed shut, and every noise echoes eerily in the dark. They’re being hunted. Trapped underground with someone, or something, out to get them, Casey can’t help but listen to Aya’s terrified refrain: “We’re all gonna die down here.”

The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files #6)Charles Stross (July 7, Ace)

Dominique O’Brien, her friends call her Mo, lives a curious double life with her husband, Bob Howard. They’re middle-aged civil servants. Within the secret circles of Her Majesty’s government, they’re operatives working for the nation’s occult security service known as the Laundry. Mo’s latest assignment is assisting the police in an unusual outbreak: ordinary citizens suddenly imbued with extraordinary abilities. The Mayor of London being levitated by a man in Trafalgar Square would be a source of shared amusement for Mo and Bob, but they’re currently separated because something’s come between them, something evil. An antique violin, an Erich Zann original, was designed to produce music capable of slaughtering demons. Mo is the custodian of this instrument. It invades her dreams and yearns for the blood of her colleagues, and her husband. Despite Mo’s proficiency as a world class violinist, it cannot be controlled.

The UnnoticeablesRobert Brockway (July 7, Tor)

Standalone. There are angels, and they are not beneficent or loving. They watch our lives unfold, analyzing us for repeating patterns and redundancies. The angels simplify those patterns, they remove the redundancies, and the problem that is you gets solved. As a punk living in New York City, 1977, Carey is tired of watching the strange kids with the unnoticeable faces abduct his friends. He doesn’t care about the rumors of tarmonsters in the sewers, or psychopaths invading the punk scene….Kaitlyn isn’t sure what she’s doing with her life. She came to Hollywood to be a stunt woman. Last night a former teen heartthrob tried to eat her, her best friend has gone missing, and there’s an angel outside her apartment. There are angels and demons. They are the same thing. It’s up to Carey and Kaitlyn to stop them. The survival of the human race is in their hands.

WeaversAric Davis (July 7, Thomas & Mercer)

Nine-year-old Cynthia Robinson’s life was perfectly normal until the day she knew, without being told, of her parents’ impending divorce. Things got stranger, and now not only does she have premonitions, but she can also read and influence the minds of those around her. Cynthia is not the only one with the ability to “weave.” All over the country, people with similar abilities struggle to balance their lives with their powers. Some with this gift are weavers with dark motives who want to use people like Cynthia for their own purposes. A top-secret government organization, the Telekinetic Research Center, has been looking for telekinetics to use for its own clandestine agenda. When TRC agents learn of Cynthia and her dangerous pursuers, will they come to her rescue? Or will they capture her and take her power for themselves?

Wicked Embers (Souls of Fire #2)Keri Arthur (July 7, Signet)

Crimson Death, the plague-like virus spawned from a failed government experiment to isolate the enzymes that make vampires immortal, continues to spread. Emberly and her partner, Jackson Miller, are desperately seeking the stolen research for a cure before the virus becomes a pandemic. But their mission is jeopardized by another threat uncovered in Emberly’s prophetic dreams. A creature of ash and shadow has been unleashed on a murdering spree. Now Emberly must summon all her gifts and investigative knowledge to put an end to this entity’s brutal rampage, even if it means placing herself in harm’s way.

Witchlock (Belador #6), by Dianna Love (July 7, Silver Hawk)

Witchlock vanished in the 13th century… or did it? If Atlanta falls, Witchlock will sweep the country in a bloodbath…After finally earning her place among the Beladors, Evalle is navigating the ups and downs of her new life with Storm when she’s sucked into a power play between her Belador tribe and the Medb coven. Both groups claim possession of the Alterants-turned-gryphons, especially Evalle, the gryphon leader. But an influx of demons and dark witches into Atlanta threatens to unleash war between covens, pitting allies against each other as a legendary majik known as Witchlock invades the city and attacks powerful beings. Evalle has one hope for stopping the invasion, but the cost may be her sanity and having to choose which friend to save.

 

WEEK TWO

Mania (The Night Walkers #3)J.R. Johansson (July 8, Flux)

Young Adult. Jack and his half-brother Parker have no time to mourn the loss of their father, Daniel Chipp. With an attack by the body-stealing Takers imminent, the pair must put aside their grief and track down the ingredients of Daniel’s formula, one that will rein in the power-hungry Takers, to keep their family and friends out of danger. Their only hope lies in a puzzle their father left behind, a riddle where each brother unknowingly possesses a piece of the solution. The puzzle sets them on a deadly path, spiraling between reality and the world of dreams where nothing and no one can be trusted entirely. And when Parker finds himself deep in the fray between the Takers and the other Night Walkers, it’s up to Jack to complete the formula and save his brother’s life.

The Key (The Englesfors #3)Sara Bergmark Elfgren and Mats Strandberg (July 14, Overlook Press)

The Chosen Ones are still coming to terms with their loss when evil strikes again, barely a month after the showdown in the school gym. They have no chance to recover, and no choice but to rally together to try to prevent the apocalypse, even while their personal dramas threaten to tear them apart. Time is running out for the Chosen Ones to fulfil the prophecy and save the world, but whether they succeed or not, one thing is certain: Everything will change. (U.S. Release)

Trollhunters (Trollhunters #1)Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus (July 14, Disney-Hyperion)

Young Adult. Jim Sturges is your typical teen in suburban San Bernardino, one with an embarrassingly overprotective dad, a best friend named Tubby who shares his hatred of all things torturous (like gym class), and a crush on a girl who doesn’t know he exists. But everything changes for Jim when a 45-year old mystery resurfaces, threatening the lives of everyone in his seemingly sleepy town. Soon Jim has to team up with a band of unlikely (and some un-human) heroes to battle the monsters he never knew existed.

 

WEEK THREE

Resonance (Dissonance #2)Erica O’Rourke (July 21, Simon & Schuster BYR)

Young Adult. As a Walker between worlds, Del is responsible for the love of her life, and the fate of millions. Del risked everything to save Simon, and now he’s gone, off in another world with no way for Del to find him. She’s back at the Consort, training to be a Walker like everyone in her family. But the Free Walkers have other plans for her. This rebel group is trying to convince Del that the Consort is evil, and that her parents are unwittingly helping the Consort kill millions of people. The Free Walkers make Del the ultimate promise: if Del joins their fight, she will be reunited with Simon. In agreeing, Del might be endangering her family. But if she doesn’t, innocent people will die, and Simon will be lost to her forever. The fate of the multiverse depends on her choice.

Return to the Dark House (Dark House #2)Laurie Faria Stolarz (July 21, Disney-Hyperion)

Young Adult. Two months have passed since Ivy narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there, somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it’s up to Ivy to piece together the clues to find him. When a cryptic video arrives in her inbox, Ivy soon finds herself back in the spotlight, this time on a twisted scavenger hunt through the dark, ancient halls of a long-forgotten Gothic school building. Ivy’s not alone, either. Taylor Monroe has returned to the scene. But can Taylor be trusted? Or is she another pawn in the Nightmare Elf’s deadly game?

Stormbringer (The Wyrd #2)Alis Franklin (July 21, Hydra)

Ragnarok, aka the end of the world, was supposed to doom the gods as well. Instead, it was a cosmic rebooting. IT tech and comic-book geek Sigmund Sussman finds himself an avatar of a Norse goddess. His boyfriend, the wealthy entrepreneur Lain Laufeyjarson, is channeling none other than Loki, the trickster god. His best friends, Em and Wayne, harbor the spirits of slain Valkyries. The children of Thor are hellbent on reclaiming their scattered birthright. The dwarves are scheming, the giants are pissed, and the goddess of the dead is demanding sanctuary for herself and her entire realm. Caught in the coils of the Wyrd, the ancient force that governs gods and mortals alike, Sigmund and his crew are facing a second Ragnarok. All that stands in the way are four nerds bound by divine powers, and an encyclopedic knowledge of gaming lore. (U.S. Release, Digital)

The Devil’s Bag Man (Jess Galvan #2)Adam Mansbach (July 21, Harper Voyager)

Locked in a Mexican jail for a crime he didn’t commit, Jess Galvan made a devil’s bargain to escape and make it back home. He’s trapped in his own personal hell, his mind and body inhabited by the soul of Cucuy, a five-hundred-year-old Aztec priest and major crime kingpin determined to bring about hell on earth. Galvan’s every moment is a battle to keep the evil priest at bay. Cucuy’s presence has endowed Galvan with superhuman strength and endurance. In the bowels of Ojos Negros prison, Cucuy’s second-in-command, Domingo Valentine, is trying to run the empire Cucuy left behind. The drug cartels they once controlled are at war. Valentine springs the imprisoned leader of a deadly biker gang and now they’re on the hunt for Galvan, who must find a way to exorcise his inner demon and save the world from annihilation.

The New Order (The Young World Trilogy #2)Chris Weitz (July 21, Little, Brown BYR)

Young Adult. They thought they were the only ones left. They were wrong. After the unexpected revelation at the end of the first book, Donna and Jefferson are separated. Jefferson returns to NYC and tries to bring a cure to the Sickness back to the Washington Square tribe, while Donna finds herself in England, facing an unimaginable new world. Can the two reunite and prevent an even greater disaster than the Sickness?

 

WEEK FOUR

Killing Pretty (Sandman Slim #7)Richard Kadrey (July 28, Harper Voyager)

Someone has tried to kill Death, ripping the heart right out of him, or rather the body he’s inhabiting. Death needs Sandman Slim’s help. He believes anyone who can beat Lucifer and the old gods at their own game is the only one who can solve his murder. Stark follows a sordid trail deep into LA’s subterranean world, from vampire-infested nightclubs to Weimar Republic mystical societies. Along the way he meets a mysterious girl, distinguished by a pair of graveyard eyes, as badass as Slim; she happens to be the only person who ever outwitted Death. But escaping her demise has had dire consequences for the rest of the world, and a few others.

Oblivion (Nevermore #3)Kelly Creagh (July 28, Atheneum BYR)

Young Adult. The fine line between life and death blurred long ago for Isobel Lanley. After a deadly confrontation with Varen in the dreamworld, she’s terrified to return to that desolate and dangerous place. But when her nightmares resume, bleeding into reality, she is left with no choice. Varen’s darkness is catching up to her. To everything. Threatening to devour it all. Isobel fears for her world. For her sanity and Varen’s, especially after a fresh and devastating loss. To make matters worse, the ghostly demon Lilith wants Varen for her own, and she will do anything to keep him in her grasp, anything.

Spider’s Trap (Elemental Assassin #13)Jennifer Estep (July 28, Pocket Books)

One lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld, a lot more punches are being thrown my way. That’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. The real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be. My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. This Spider weaves her own webs of death.

The Drowning GodJames Kendley (July 28, Harper Voyager Impulse)

To uncover modern Japan’s darkest, deadliest secret, one man must face a living nightmare from his childhood. Few villagers are happy when Detective Tohru Takuda returns to his hometown to investigate a string of suspicious disappearances. Even the local police chief tries to shut him out from the case. For behind the conspiracy lurks a monstrous living relic of Japan’s pagan history: the Kappa. Protected long ago by a horrible pact with local farmers, and now by coldly calculating corporate interests, the Kappa drains the valley’s lifeblood, one villager at a time. As the body count rises, Takuda must try to end the Drowning God’s centuries-long reign of terror, and failure means death, or worse. (Digital)

The Fifth House of the HeartBen Tripp (July 28, Gallery Books)

Standalone. Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang, a vainglorious and well-established antiques dealer, has made a fortune over many years by globetrotting for the finest lost objects in the world. Only Sax knows the true secret to his success: at certain points of his life, he’s killed vampires for their priceless hoards of treasure. But now Sax’s past actions are quite literally coming back to haunt him, and the lives of those he holds most dear are in mortal danger. To counter this unnatural threat, and with the blessing of the Holy Roman Church, a cowardly but cunning Sax must travel across Europe in pursuit of incalculable evil, and immeasurable wealth, with a ragtag team of mercenaries and vampire killers to hunt a terrifying, ageless monster, one who is hunting Sax in turn.

Old Dog, New Tricks (Black Dog #4)Hailey Edwards (July 30, Self)

While Thierry is away, the Morrigan will play. Snatching the crown from her daughter-in-law’s head wasn’t the motherly thing to do, but Thierry doesn’t mind trading the throne in Faerie for the ratty couch in her Texas apartment. The old crow is welcome to it. But ruling one world is not enough. The Morrigan wants an all-access pass to the mortal realm too. An attack on the marshal’s office leaves Thierry shaken, and Shaw missing. Now the fight brewing since Thierry took up the Black Dog’s mantle has landed on her doorstep, and the only way to save the man she loves is to defend the title she never wanted. (Digital)

Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, and, as Susannah Sandlin, the Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and The Collectors thriller series. You can find Suzanne on Facebook and on her website.

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