What’s more heartwarming during the cold winter months than a good vampire or shifter tale? Twenty-five new urban fantasy and horror releases leave the pack in January, including new series titles from, among others, Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson), Erica Hayes (Saphhire City), Karen Marie Moning (Fever), Lilith Saintcrow (Gallow and Ragged), Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid Chronicles), and Lisa Shearin (SPI Files).
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.
When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between this world and the next, they allowed entry to the Others, demons, wraiths, and death spirits who turned the shadows into their hunting grounds. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay. As a déchet, a breed of humanoid super-soldiers almost eradicated by the war, Tiger has spent her life in hiding. But when she risks her life to save a little girl on the outskirts of Central City, she discovers that the child is one of many abducted in broad daylight by a wraith-like being, an impossibility with dangerous implications for everyone on earth. Because if the light is no longer enough to protect them, nowhere is safe.
Hitman Don Drake owes a gambling debt to a demon. Forced to carry out one more assassination to clear his debt, Don unwittingly kills an innocent child and brings the Furies of Greek myth down upon himself. Rescued by an almost-fallen angel called Trixie, Don and his magical accomplice The Burned Man, an imprisoned archdemon, are forced to deal with Lucifer himself whilst battling a powerful evil magician. Now Don must foil Lucifer’s plan to complete Trixie’s fall and save her soul whilst preventing the Burned Man from breaking free from captivity and wreaking havoc on the entire world.
Carlos Delacruz straddles the line between the living and the not-so alive. As an agent for the Council of the Dead, he eliminates New York’s ghostlier problems. This time it’s a string of gruesome paranormal accidents in Brooklyn’s Von King Park that has already taken the lives of several locals, and is bound to take more. The incidents in the park have put Kia on edge. When she first met Carlos, he was the weird guy who came to Baba Eddie’s botánica, where she worked. But the closer they’ve gotten, the more she’s seeing the world from Carlos’s point of view. In fact, she’s starting to see ghosts. And the situation is far more sinister than that, because whatever is bringing out the dead, it’s only just getting started.
Ruth and Nat are orphans, packed into a house full of abandoned children run by a religious fanatic. To entertain their siblings, they channel the dead. Decades later, Ruth’s niece, Cora, finds herself accidentally pregnant. After years of absence, Aunt Ruth appears, mute and full of intention. She is on a mysterious mission, leading Cora on an odyssey across the entire state of New York on foot. Where is Ruth taking them? Where has she been? Who, or what, has she hidden in the woods at the end of the road? Two separate timelines move toward the same point of crisis. Their merging will upend and reinvent the whole. A subversive ghost story that will set your heart racing and your brain churning. Mysteries abound, criminals roam free, utopian communities show their age, the mundane world intrudes on the supernatural and vice versa.
Lyse MacAllister did not step into an easy role when she took over as master of the Echo Park coven of witches after her great-aunt Eleanora’s death. As she begins to forge the bonds that will help her lead her sisters, she struggles to come to terms with her growing powers. And she soon faces a deadly new threat. A group of fanatics intent on bringing about the end of times has invaded the witches Council, but the Council is turning a blind eye to the danger growing in its midst. Only one witch is prophesied to be able to stop the encroaching darkness. And if Lyse and her blood sisters are to have any chance at protecting all we know from being lost forever, they must keep her safe, no matter what the cost.
The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools—Nick Mamatas (January 5, Night Shade)
Vasilis “Billy” Kostopolos is a Bay Area Rust Belt refugee, failed sci-fi writer, successful barfly and, since the exceptionally American zombie apocalypse, an accomplished “driller” of reanimated corpses. There aren’t many sane, well-adjusted human beings left in San Francisco, but facing the end of the world, Billy’s found his vocation trepanning the undead, peddling his one and only published short story, and drinking himself to death. Billy discovers that both his girlfriends turn out to be homicidal revolutionaries. He collides with a gang of Berkeley scientists gone berserker. The long-awaited “Big One” shakes the foundation of San Francisco, and the crumbled remains of City Hall can no longer hide the awful secret lurking deep in the basement. Can Billy unearth the truth behind America’s demise and San Francisco’s survival, and will he destroy what little’s left of it in the process? (U.S. Release)
The Addisons-Julia and Tonio, ten-year-old Dewey, and ne’er-do-well Uncle Robbie-are driving home, cross-country, after collecting Robbie from detox. When a blizzard strikes outside the eerie town of Good Night, Idaho, they seek refuge at the Travelers Rest, a once-opulent but now crumbling hotel where, they soon discover, the laws of the universe are bent. Once inside the hotel, the family is separated. Something mysterious, tied to a tragic event more than a century past, prevents them, day after day, from reuniting, until Julia is faced with an impossible choice. Can she save her family from the fate of becoming Souvenirs, those citizens trapped forever in magnetic Good Night, or disappearing entirely?
The struggle against not-so-charming storybook narratives isn’t the only complicating factor in Henrietta “Henry” Marchen’s life. As part of the ATI Management Bureau team protecting the world from fairy tales gone awry, she’s juggling her unwanted new status as a Snow White, dealing with a potentially dangerous Pied Piper, and wrangling a most troublesome wicked stepsister—along with a budding relationship with Jeff, her teammate. But when a twisted, vicious Cinderella breaks out of prison and wreaks havoc, things go from disenchanted to deadly. And once Henry realizes someone is trying to use her to destroy the world, her story becomes far from over—and this one might not have a happily ever after.
Young Adult. It was a dark and stormy night when Tor Frankenstein accidentally hit someone with her car. And killed him. But all is not lost, Tor, being the scientific genius she is, brings him back to life. Thus begins a twisty, turn-y take on a familiar tale, set in the town of Hollow Pines, Texas, where high school is truly horrifying.
In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. She is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. She senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook. The more lies that swirl around her, the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. To find her identity and recover what she’s lost will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him.
Digital. Superpowers don’t make you a hero. Verity Fortune’s crime-fighting days are over. In exile, defeated by her smug supervillain nemesis, her shady past exposed, even her own superpowered family condemn her as a traitor. Whatever it takes, Verity’s determined to prove she can still be a force for good. Now, Sapphire City faces a new threat. A delinquent duo with extraordinary powers and a terrifying talent for destruction. Outmatched and on the run, her telekinetic powers faltering, Verity can’t defeat this menace alone, but who can she trust, when the only person who believes in her is her arch-enemy?
When the immortal race of the Fae destroyed the ancient wall dividing the worlds of Man and Faery, the very fabric of the universe was damaged and now Earth is vanishing bit by bit. Only the long-lost Song of Making, a haunting, dangerous melody that is the source of all life itself, can save the planet. Those who seek the mythic Song, Mac, Barrons, Ryodan and Jada, must contend with old wounds and new enemies. The challenges are many: The Keltar at war with nine immortals who’ve secretly ruled Dublin for eons, Mac and Jada hunted by the masses, the Seelie queen nowhere to be found, and the most powerful Unseelie prince in all creation determined to rule both Fae and Man. The task of solving the ancient riddle of the Song of Making falls to a band of deadly warriors divided among, and within, themselves. Mac will come face to face with her most savage enemy yet: herself.
In the wake of their Aunt Amity’s suicide, Scott and Madeline Madden are summoned to Caveat, the eerie, decaying mansion in the Hollywood hills in which they were raised. But their cousins, the malicious wheelchair-bound Claimayne and beautiful, bitter Ariel, do not welcome Scott and Madeline’s return to the childhood home they all shared. Caveat hides a dark family secret that stretches back to the golden days of Rudolph Valentino. A collection of hypnotic eight-limbed abstract images inked on paper allows the Maddens to briefly fragment and flatten time, to transport themselves into the past and future in visions that are puzzling and mesmerizing. As Madeline falls more completely under Caveat’s spell, Scott discovers that to protect her, he must use the dangerous spiders himself. Will he unravel the mystery of the Madden family’s history and finally free them from the past, or be pulled deeper into the deadly web?
Young Adult. After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they’ll inhabit the house Clare was born in, a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the fairy-making magic, and that they’re both in great danger from an ancient foe.
Digital. Sleight of hand, in another land. Stage magician Quinn Bradley has one dream: to headline his own show on the Vegas Strip. And with talent scouts in the audience wowed by his latest performance, he knows he’s about to make the big-time. What he doesn’t expect is an offer to go on a quest to a place where magic is all too real. That’s how he finds himself in Alissia, a world connected to ours by a secret portal owned by a powerful corporation. He’s after an employee who has gone rogue, and that’s the least of his problems. Alissia has true magicians, and the penalty for impersonating one is death. In a world where even a twelve-year-old could beat Quinn in a swordfight, it’s only a matter of time until the tricks up his sleeves run out.
Broken Hero—Jonathan Wood (January 26, Titan)
How’s a secret agent meant to catch a break? If it’s not a demi-god going through puberty, it’s a renegade Nazi clockwork army going senile. Or a death cult in Nepal. Or a battery-chewing wizard’s relationship problems. Arthur Wallace, agent of MI37, Britain’s agency for dealing with the supernatural, the extraterrestrial, and the generally odd, has to pull everything together, and he has to do it before a magical bomb tears reality apart.
Digital. How do you kill with honor? When is murder not a murder? Assassin Kiam Miar will find out when his first assignment goes awry and he is faced with an ethical choice, as if assassins could have ethics. And if he makes the wrong choice, he could not only lose his life but throw a good chunk of his world into chaos.
2069, Los Angeles. Decades after a bioterrorist attack decimated the population and left many of the survivors horribly mutated, the “norms” have forced mutants into dangerous areas known as red zones. The tensions between the two groups are threatening to boil over. LAPD detective Cassandra Lee is known for her single-mindedness, and right now, she’s got only one goal, track down the Bonebreaker, the man who murdered her father. Her quest for justice is derailed when LA comes under attack. The Aztec Empire, a Central American group determined to take back the U.S. territories that their Spanish ancestors once controlled, has led a mutant army into California. Lee must put all her energy into keeping her city safe while unearthing the political secrets of LA’s shady mayor. With the Bonebreaker hunting her down, losing focus even for a second could mean death.
Never Let Me: Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, Never Let Me Die (Melissa Allen Trilogy #1-3)—Jennifer Brozek (January 26, Permuted Platinum)
Omnibus. Melissa Allen, a troubled teen under house arrest, is the only person left alive in South Dakota. After discovering the mysterious deaths of her guardians and hearing of the massacre on the news, she realizes that there are monsters out there. They are pretending to be human, and they’ve have begun a door-to-door search, for her. Melissa is unable to leave the quarantine zone and has no help except for Homeland Security agent David Hood on the phone. Before the government takes drastic action, she must figure out what killed everyone and stop it from happening again. Or did Melissa herself, in a psychotic fit, murder her guardians–and the rest of the apocalypse is only happening inside her mind? This special edition features the first three books the Melissa Allen Series as well as a previously unpublished short story.
The Seelie and unSeelie Courts are both in plague-ravaged tatters. The Wild Hunt roams unchecked, taking who and what it will, and the walls between the human world and the world of the sidhe are thinning rapidly. Gallow is the only hope of human and sidhe both. But all Jeremy wants to do is find Robin Ragged, and survive. Unfortunately, everyone who meets him has other plans. Including the Ragged, who is fleeing for her life, and the King of Unwinter, whose poisoned blade has cut deep into Jeremy’s flesh.
Young Adult. When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious, and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs, where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.
When a Druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he’s bound to run afoul of a few vampires. His former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers, led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus, have become a huge problem. Atticus wouldn’t mind a little backup. His allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: When you stiff a troll, it’s not water under the bridge. Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki’s mark and elude his powers of divination, a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares. As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won’t come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.
The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) know that fighting evil is a full-time job, especially when a new designer drug hits the streets. It’s called Brimstone. After the first few hits, you’ll see every supernatural beast sharing the sidewalk, train, or office with you. After that, you’ll start seeing the really scary stuff. I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for the SPI. The collateral damage caused by Brimstone is something I’d like to unsee: dead drug dealers missing their hearts, and souls. Because your local pusher doesn’t stand a chance against the new cartel muscling its way into New York. Since the drug can only be produced with magic and molten brimstone fresh from Hell, that means a rift to the underworld is open somewhere in the city. And when, not if, the cartel loses control of it, well, It’s going to be Hell on earth.
Novelette; Digital. A dark fantasy novelette about a teenager whose town is plagued by the annual disappearances of girls and young women. Her father blames her when one of her sisters is one of the taken.
Novella. Cains are known for being big, brutish and not-too-bright. The mutt clan embodies all the supernatural world’s worst stereotypes about werewolves. But not even the Cains deserve to be hunted down and skinned like animals. When young Davis Cain comes to the Pack for help, Alpha Elena Michaels can’t refuse him. It isn’t about morality or justice. It’s about not letting anyone think they can do this to werewolves and get away with it. But Elena is also dealing with the Pack’s homegrown monster, Malcolm Danvers, onetime enforcer, full-time psycho. Malcolm is now under Elena’s control, as part of the most difficult decision she’s had to make as leader. But if she has to let Malcolm in, she’s going to make full use of him, and the best person to catch monsters is one who knows exactly how they think.