This month’s genre-bending list begins with a spooky version of the Donner Party and ends with a book that features the returning souls of murdered children, so … brace yourself, is all we’re saying! But you can also pick up Daniel H. Wilson’s new collection of short stories, Mallory Ortberg’s updated children’s stories in The Merry Spinster, the latest horror anthology edited by Ellen Datlow, and Elizabeth Bear’s new Karen Memory adventure. You might be up all night reading—but in a good way. We swear.
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
The Hunger—Alma Katsu (March 6, G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos. They cannot seem to escape tragedy … or the feelings that someone—or something—is stalking them. Whether it’s a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history. As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains … and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along.
Bone Music—Christopher Rice (March 1, 47North)
Charlotte Rowe spent the first seven years of her life in the hands of the only parents she knew—a pair of serial killers who murdered her mother and tried to shape Charlotte in their own twisted image. If only the nightmare had ended when she was rescued. Instead, her real father exploited her tabloid-ready story for fame and profit—until Charlotte finally broke free from her ghoulish past and fled. Just when she thinks she has buried her personal hell forever, Charlotte is swept into a frightening new ordeal. Secretly dosed with an experimental drug, she’s endowed with a shocking new power—but pursued by a treacherous corporation desperate to control her. Except from now on, if anybody is going to control Charlotte, it’s going to be Charlotte herself. She’s determined to use the extraordinary ability she now possesses to fight the kind of evil that shattered her life—by drawing a serial killer out from the shadows to face the righteous fury of a victim turned avenger.
Guardian Angels and Other Monsters—Daniel H. Wilson (March 6, Vintage)
In “All Kinds of Proof,” a down-and-out drunk makes the unlikeliest of friends when he is hired to train a mail-carrying robot; in “Blood Memory,” a mother confronts the dangerous reality that her daughter will never assimilate in this world after she was the first child born through a teleportation device; in “The Blue Afternoon That Lasted Forever,” a physicist rushes home to be with his daughter after he hears reports of an atmospheric anomaly which he knows to be a sign of the end of the earth; in “Miss Gloria,” a robot comes back to life in many different forms in a quest to save a young girl. Guardian Angels and Other Monsters displays the depth and breadth of Daniel H. Wilson’s vision and examines how artificial intelligence both saves and destroys humanity.
The Hollow Tree—James Brogden (March 13, Titan)
After her hand is amputated following a tragic accident, Rachel Cooper suffers vivid nightmares of a woman imprisoned in the trunk of a hollow tree, screaming for help. When she begins to experience phantom sensations of leaves and earth with her missing limb, Rachel is terrified she is going mad… but then another hand takes hers, and the trapped woman is pulled into our world. This woman has no idea who she is, but Rachel can’t help but think of the mystery of Oak Mary, a female corpse found in a hollow tree, and who was never identified. Three urban legends have grown up around the case; was Mary a Nazi spy, a prostitute or a gypsy witch? Rachel is desperate to learn the truth, but darker forces are at work. For a rule has been broken, and Mary is in a world where she doesn’t belong…
The Merry Spinster: Tales of Ordinary Horror—Mallory Ortberg (March 13, Henry Holt)
Adapted from Ortberg’s beloved “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series, The Merry Spinster takes up the trademark wit that endeared Ortberg to readers of both The Toast and Texts From Jane Eyre. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children’s stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief. Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Ortberg’s boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Ortberg’s oeuvre will delight in their unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface. Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently, alarming emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves, and each other, as we tuck ourselves in for the night. Bed time will never be the same.
Lacking Character—Curtis White (March 13, Melville House)
In the spirit of “transcendent buffoonery” Curtis White’s miraculous return to fiction is fun in the extreme. When a masked man arrives in N—-, Illinois bearing a letter and claiming its contents a matter of life or death, the small town—and the fabric of reality—will never be the same.
Stone Mad (Karen Memory)—Elizabeth Bear (March 20, Tor.com Publishing)
Readers met the irrepressible Karen Memory in Elizabeth Bear’s 2015 novel Karen Memory, and fell in love with her steampunk Victorian Pacific Northwest city, and her down-to-earth story-telling voice. Now Karen is back with Stone Mad, a new story about spiritualists, magicians, con-men, and an angry lost tommy-knocker—a magical creature who generally lives in the deep gold mines of Alaska, but has been kidnapped and brought to Rapid City. Karen and Priya are out for a night on the town, celebrating the purchase of their own little ranch and Karen’s retirement from the Hotel Ma Cherie, when they meet the Arcadia Sisters, spiritualists who unexpectedly stir up the tommy-knocker in the basement. The ensuing show could bring down the house, if Karen didn’t rush in to rescue everyone she can.
The Wild Inside—Jamey Bradbury (March 20, William Morrow)
Tracy Petrikoff spends her days tracking animals and running with her dogs in the Alaskan forests surrounding her family’s home. Though she feels safe in this untamed land, Tracy still follows her late mother’s rules: Never Lose Sight of the House. Never Come Home with Dirty Hands. And Never Make a Person Bleed. These precautions aren’t enough to protect Tracy when a stranger attacks her in the woods and knocks her unconscious. The next day, she glimpses an eerily familiar man emerge from the tree line, gravely injured from a vicious knife wound—from a hunting knife similar to the one she carries. Was this the man who attacked her and did she almost kill him? With her memories of the events jumbled, Tracy can’t be sure. Then a mysterious wanderer appears, looking for a job. Tracy senses that Jesse Goodwin is hiding something, but she can’t warn her father without explaining about the attack—or why she’s kept it to herself. It soon becomes clear that something dangerous is going on … the way Jesse has wormed his way into the family … the threatening face of the stranger in a crowd … the boot-prints she finds at the forest’s edge. Her family is in trouble. Will uncovering the truth protect them—or is the threat closer than Tracy suspects?
The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea—Ellen Datlow, editor (March 20, Night Shade Books)
Stranded on a desert island, a young man yearns for objects from his past. A local from a small coastal town in England is found dead as the tide goes out. A Norwegian whaling ship is stranded in the Arctic, its crew threatened by mysterious forces. In the nineteenth century, a ship drifts in becalmed waters in the Indian Ocean, those on it haunted by their evil deeds. A surfer turned diver discovers there are things worse than drowning under the sea. Something from the sea is creating monsters on land. In The Devil and the Deep, award-winning editor Ellen Datlow shares an all-original anthology of horror that covers the depths of the deep blue sea, with brand new stories from New York Times bestsellers and award-winning authors such as Seanan McGuire, Christopher Golden, Stephen Graham Jones, and more.
Tomorrow—Damian Dibben (March 20, Hanover Square)
Tomorrow tells the story of a 217-year-old dog and his search for his lost master. His adventures take him through the London Frost Fair, the strange court of King Charles I, the wars of the Spanish succession, Versailles, the golden age of Amsterdam and to nineteenth-century Venice. As he journeys through Europe, he befriends both animals and humans, falls in love (only once), marvels at the human ability to make music, despairs at their capacity for war and gains insight into both the strength and frailties of the human spirit.
Two Moons—Krystal A. Smith (March 20, BLF Press)
A debut collection of speculative fiction that traverses the connections between earth and the heavens, the living and the spectral, human and animal. In “Cosmic,” a former drug addict has a chance to redeem herself and restore honor to her family’s name. In “Harvest,” a woman tasked with providing for her community ponders her inability to bear live children. In the title story, “Two Moons,” a young woman falls in love with the moon, and is astonished by the moon’s response. In “What the Heart Wants,” a rejected lover discovers that her physical and emotional desires are incongruent with the organ pumping blood through her veins.
A Guide for Murdered Children—Sarah Sparrow (March 20, Blue Rider Press)
We’ve heard it said that there is no justice in this world. But what if there really was? What if the souls of murdered children were able to briefly return, inhabit adult bodies and wreak revenge on the monstrous killers who stole their lives? Such is the unthinkable mystery confronting ex-NYPD detective Willow Wylde, fresh out of rehab and finally able to find a job running a Cold Case squad in suburban Detroit. When the two rookie cops assigned to him take an obsessive interest in a decades-old disappearance of a brother and sister, Willow begins to suspect something out of the ordinary is afoot. And when he uncovers a series of church basement AA-type meetings made up of the slain innocents, a new way of looking at life, death, murder—and missed opportunities—is revealed to him.
No new titles.