Head below for a list of genre-bending titles—horror, mystery, short fiction collections, and more—heading your way in January!
Keep track of all the new SFF releases here. All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher. Release dates are subject to change.
Week One (January 3)
The Thing in the Snow — Sean Adams (William Morrow)
At the far reaches of the world, the Northern Institute sits in a vast expanse of ice and snow. Once a thriving research facility, its operations were abruptly shut down after an unspecified incident, and its research teams promptly evacuated. Now it’s home to a team of three caretakers—Gibbs, Cline, and their supervisor, Hart—and a single remaining researcher named Gilroy, who is feverishly studying the sensation of coldness. Their objective is simple: occupy the space, complete their weekly tasks, and keep the building in working order in case research ever resumes. (Also: never touch the thermostat. Also: never, ever go outside.) The work isn’t thrilling—test every door for excessive creaking, sit on every chair to ensure its structural integrity—but for Hart, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to hone his leadership skills and become the beacon of efficiency he always knew he could be. There’s just one obstacle standing in his way: a mysterious object that has appeared out in the snow. Gibbs and Cline are mesmerized. They can’t discern its exact shape and color, nor if it’s moving or fixed in place. But it is there. Isn’t it? Whatever it might be, Hart thinks the thing in the snow is an unwelcome distraction, and probably a huge waste of time. Though, come to think of it, time itself has been a bit wonky lately. Weekends pass in a blur, and he can hardly tell day from night. Gravity seems less-than-reliable. The lights have been flickering weirdly, and he feels an odd thrumming sensation in his beard. Gibbs might be plotting to unseat him as supervisor, and Gilroy—well, what is he really doing anyway? Perplexed and isolated—but most certainly not alone—Hart wrestles for control of his own psyche as the thing in the snow beguiles his team, upends their work, and challenges their every notion of what is normal.
Abandon — Blake Crouch (Ballantine Books)
On Christmas Day in 1893, every man, woman, and child in a remote mining town disappeared, belongings forsaken, meals left to freeze in vacant cabins, and not a single bone found. Now, journalist Abigail Foster and her historian father have set out to explore the long-abandoned town and learn what happened. With them are two backcountry guides—along with a psychic and a paranormal photographer who are there to investigate rumors that the town is haunted. But Abigail and her companions are about to learn that the town’s ghosts are the least of their worries…
Week Two (January 10)
Hell Bent (Alex Stern #2) — Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron Books)
Find a gateway to the underworld. Steal a soul out of hell. A simple plan, except people who make this particular journey rarely come back. But Galaxy “Alex” Stern is determined to break Darlington out of purgatory—even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale. Forbidden from attempting a rescue, Alex and Dawes can’t call on the Ninth House for help, so they assemble a team of dubious allies to save the gentleman of Lethe. Together, they will have to navigate a maze of arcane texts and bizarre artifacts to uncover the societies’ most closely guarded secrets, and break every rule doing it. But when faculty members begin to die off, Alex knows these aren’t just accidents. Something deadly is at work in New Haven, and if she is going to survive, she’ll have to reckon with the monsters of her past and a darkness built into the university’s very walls.
Ghost Music — An Yu (Grove Press)
For three years, Song Yan has filled the emptiness of her Beijing apartment with the tentative notes of her young piano students. She gave up on her own career as a concert pianist many years ago, but her husband Bowen, an executive at a car company, has long rebuffed her pleas to have a child. He resists even when his mother arrives from the southwestern Chinese region of Yunnan and begins her own campaign for a grandchild. As tension in the household rises, it becomes harder for Song Yan to keep her usual placid demeanor, especially since she is troubled by dreams of a doorless room she can’t escape, populated only by a strange orange mushroom. When a parcel of mushrooms native to her mother-in-law’s province is delivered seemingly by mistake, Song Yan sees an opportunity to bond with her, and as the packages continue to arrive every week, the women stir-fry and grill the mushrooms, adding them to soups and noodles. When a letter arrives in the mail from the sender of the mushrooms, Song Yan’s world begins to tilt further into the surreal. Summoned to an uncanny, seemingly ageless house hidden in a hutong that sits in the middle of the congested city, she finds Bai Yu, a once world-famous pianist who disappeared ten years ago. A gorgeous and atmospheric novel of art and expression, grief and survival, memory and self-discovery, Ghost Music animates contemporary Beijing through the eyes of a lonely yet hopeful young woman and gives vivid color and texture to the promise of new beginnings.
Week Three (January 17)
Mr. Breakfast — Jonathan Carroll (Melville House)
Graham Patterson’s life has hit a dead end. His career as a comedian is failing. The love of his life recently broke up with him and he literally has no idea what to do next. With nothing to lose, he buys a new car and hits the road, planning to drive across country and hopefully figure out his next moves before reaching California. But along the way Patterson does something his old self would never have even considered: he gets tattooed by a brilliant tattoo artist in North Carolina. The decision sets off a series of extraordinary events that changes his life forever in ways he never could have imagined. Among other things, Patterson is gifted with the ability to see in real time three different lives that are available to him. The choice is his: The life he is leading right now, or two very different ones. In all of them there is love or fame and of course danger because once he has chosen, there is no telling what will happen next.
I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself — Marisa Crane (Softskull/Catapult)
In a United States not so unlike our own, the Department of Balance has adopted a radical new form of law enforcement: rather than incarceration, wrongdoers are given a second (and sometimes, third, fourth, and fifth) shadow as a reminder of their crime—and a warning to those they encounter. Within the Department, corruption and prejudice run rampant, giving rise to an underclass of so-called Shadesters who are disenfranchised, publicly shamed, and deprived of civil rights protections. Kris is a Shadester and a new mother to a baby born with a second shadow of her own. Grieving the loss of her wife and thoroughly unprepared for the reality of raising a child alone, Kris teeters on the edge of collapse, fumbling in a daze of alcohol, shame, and self-loathing. Yet as the kid grows, Kris finds her footing, raising a child whose irrepressible spark cannot be dampened by the harsh realities of the world. She can’t forget her wife, but with time, she can make a new life for herself and the kid, supported by a community of fellow misfits who defy the Department to lift one another up in solidarity and hope.
How to Sell a Haunted House — Grady Hendrix (Berkley)
When Louise finds out her parents have died, she dreads going home. She doesn’t want to leave her daughter with her ex and fly to Charleston. She doesn’t want to deal with her family home, stuffed to the rafters with the remnants of her father’s academic career and her mother’s lifelong obsession with puppets and dolls. She doesn’t want to learn how to live without the two people who knew and loved her best in the world. Most of all, she doesn’t want to deal with her brother, Mark, who never left their hometown, gets fired from one job after another, and resents her success. Unfortunately, she’ll need his help to get the house ready for sale because it’ll take more than some new paint on the walls and clearing out a lifetime of memories to get this place on the market. But some houses don’t want to be sold, and their home has other plans for both of them…
What Lies in the Woods — Kate Alice Marshall (Flatiron)
Naomi Shaw used to believe in magic. Twenty-two years ago, she and her two best friends, Cassidy and Olivia, spent the summer roaming the woods, imagining a world of ceremony and wonder. They called it the Goddess Game. The summer ended suddenly when Naomi was attacked. Miraculously, she survived her seventeen stab wounds and lived to identify the man who had hurt her. The girls’ testimony put away a serial killer, wanted for murdering six women. They were heroes. And they were liars. For decades, the friends have kept a secret worth killing for. But now Olivia wants to tell, and Naomi sets out to find out what really happened in the woods—no matter how dangerous the truth turns out to be.
Tell Me I’m Worthless — Alison Rumfitt (Nightfire)
Three years ago, Alice spent one night in an abandoned house with her friends, Ila and Hannah. Since then, Alice’s life has spiraled. She lives a haunted existence, selling videos of herself for money, going to parties she hates, drinking herself to sleep. Memories of that night torment Alice, but when Ila asks her to return to the House, to go past the KEEP OUT sign and over the sick earth where teenagers dare each other to venture, Alice knows she must go. Together, Alice and Ila must face the horrors that happened there, must pull themselves apart from the inside out, put their differences aside, and try to rescue Hannah, whom the House has chosen to make its own.
Week Four (January 24)
All Hallows — Christopher Golden (St. Martin’s Press)
It’s Halloween night, 1984, in Coventry, Massachusetts, and two families are unraveling. Up and down the street, secrets are being revealed, and all the while, mixed in with the trick-or-treaters of all ages, four children who do not belong are walking door to door, merging with the kids of Parmenter Road. Children in vintage costumes with faded, eerie makeup. They seem terrified, and beg the neighborhood kids to hide them away, to keep them safe from The Cunning Man. There’s a small clearing in the woods now that was never there before, and a blackthorn tree that doesn’t belong at all. These odd children claim that The Cunning Man is coming for them…and they want the local kids to protect them. But with families falling apart and the neighborhood splintered by bitterness, who will save the children of Parmenter Road?
Week Five (January 31)
Vampire Weekend — Mike Chen (Mira Books)
Everything you’ve heard about vampires is a lie. They can’t fly. No murders allowed (the community hates that). And turning into a bat? Completely ridiculous. In fact, vampire life is really just a lot of blood bags and night jobs. For Louise Chao, it’s also lonely, since she swore off family ages ago. At least she’s gone to decades of punk rock shows. And if she can join a band of her own (while keeping her…situation under wraps), maybe she’ll finally feel like she belongs, too. Then a long-lost teenage relative shows up at her door. Whether it’s Ian’s love of music or his bad attitude, for the first time in ages, Louise feels a connection. But as Ian uncovers Louise’s true identity, things get dangerous–especially when he asks her for the ultimate favor. One that goes beyond just family…one that might just change everything vampires know about life and death forever.
The Drift — CJ Tudor (Ballantine)
Hannah awakens to carnage, all mangled metal and shattered glass. Evacuated from a secluded boarding school during a snowstorm, her coach careered off the road, trapping her with a handful of survivors. They’ll need to work together to escape—with their sanity and secrets intact. Meg awakens to a gentle rocking. She’s in a cable car stranded high above snowy mountains, with five strangers and no memory of how they got on board. They are heading to a place known only as “The Retreat,” but as the temperature drops and tensions mount, Meg realizes they may not all make it there alive. Carter is gazing out the window of an isolated ski chalet that he and his companions call home. As their generator begins to waver in the storm, something hiding in the chalet’s depths threatens to escape, and their fragile bonds will be tested when the power finally fails—for good. The imminent dangers faced by Hannah, Meg, and Carter are each one part of the puzzle. Lurking in their shadows is an even greater danger—one with the power to consume all of humanity.