April 2016 Must Reads in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in SFF and Horror for April (so, SO, much awesome)! What are you looking forward to?


Daughters of Ruin by K.D. Castner (Margaret K. McElderry Books-April 5, 2016)

Synopsis (all synopsis are from B&N or Amazon)-Rhea, Cadis, Suki, and Iren have lived together since they were children. They are called sisters. They are not. They are called equals. They are not. They are princesses…and they are enemies.

Not long ago, a brutal war ravaged their kingdoms, and Rhea’s father was the victor. As a gesture of peace, King Declan brought the daughters of his rivals to live under his protection—and his ever-watchful eye. For ten years the girls have trained together as diplomats and warriors, raised to accept their thrones and unite their kingdoms in peace.

But there is rarely peace among sisters. Sheltered Rhea was raised to rule everyone—including her “sisters”—but she’s cracking under pressure. The charismatic Cadis is desperately trying to redeem her people from their actions during the war. Suki guards deep family secrets that isolate her, and quiet Iren’s meekness is not what it seems.

All plans for peace are shattered when the palace is attacked. As their intended futures lie in ashes, Rhea, Cadis, Suki, and Iren must decide where their loyalties lie: to their nations, or to each other.


Jericho by Alex Gordon (Harper Voyager-April 5, 2016)

Synopsis-In this follow-up to the masterful debut Gideon, a young witch must risk death and damnation to defeat a powerful ancient evil.

In unearthing her father’s secret past, Lauren Reardon discovered a shocking truth about herself. She is a Child of Endor, a sect of witches who believe they are the guardians of the “thin places”—areas across the globe where evil can seep through the divide between the worlds separating the living and the restless dead. At any time, she can be called upon to close one of these breaches and prevent demons from infiltrating our realm. When Lauren has a disturbing vision of an Oregon forest, she is drawn back to the familiar woods of the misty Pacific Northwest to investigate.

Locals had long whispered about an abandoned logging camp known as Jericho—of the strange disappearances and eerie sounds heard in the woods deep in the night. But these ghost stories only hint at the true evil lurking within the camp’s dilapidated buildings, a primeval malevolence far more terrifying than Lauren’s darkest imaginings. And now, Lauren must face this evil, even if it takes her life . . . even if it costs her soul.


The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski (Rock-April 5, 2016)

Synopsis-There is more to our world than meets the eye—darker things, crueler things. Exorcist John Fogg and his wife, psychic medium Theodora Knight, know what lurks in the shadows. But even they’re not prepared for the worst Hell has to offer…

It was supposed to be a simple exorcism, a publicity stunt to firmly establish John and Theodora’s thriving paranormal investigation empire in the public eye. But something went wrong, leading to an on-air massacre that unleashed a malicious host of demons and left Theodora catatonic, possessed by countless spirits.

John sets out on a desperate quest to find a cure for his wife, but his obsession brings him face-to-face with an even more terrifying problem: Theodora’s possession is only one piece of a deadly plot that is threatening the entire world. Because an ancient evil is about to make Earth its battlefield—and without John and Theodora’s intervention, there is no chance for salvation…


The Broken Hours by Jacqueline Baker (Talos-April 5, 2016)

Synopsis-In the cold spring of 1936, Arthor Crandle, down-on-his luck and desperate for work, accepts a position in Providence, Rhode Island, as a live-in secretary/assistant for an unnamed shut-in.
He arrives at the gloomy colonial-style house to discover that his strange employer is an author of disturbing, bizarre fiction. Health issues have confined him to his bedroom, where he is never to be disturbed. But the writer, who Crandle knows only as “Ech-Pi,” refuses to meet him, communicating only by letters left on a table outside his room. Soon the home reveals other unnerving peculiarities. There is an ominous presence Crandle feels on the main stairwell. Light shines out underneath the door of the writer’s room, but is invisible from the street. It becomes increasingly clear there is something not right about the house or its occupant.

Haunting visions of a young girl in a white nightgown wandering the walled-in garden behind the house motivate Crandle to investigate the circumstances of his employer’s dark family history. Meanwhile, the unsettling aura of the house pulls him into a world increasingly cut off from reality, into black depths, where an unspeakable secret lies waiting.


Dead Letters Anthology edited by Conrad Williams (Titan-April 5, 2016)

Synopsis-The Dead Letters Office: the final repository of the undelivered. Love missives unread, gifts unreceived, lost in postal limbo. Dead Letters: An Anthology features new stories from the masters of horror, fantasy and speculative fiction, each inspired by object from the Dead Letters Office. Featuring original stories by:

Joanne Harris * Maria Dahvana Headley & China Miéville * Michael Marshall Smith * Lisa Tuttle * Ramsey Campbell * Pat Cadigan * Steven Hall * Alison Moore * Adam LG Nevill * Nina Allan * Christopher Fowler * Muriel Gray * Andrew Lane * Angela Slatter * Claire Dean * Nicholas Royle * Kirsten Kaschock


Fellside by M.R. Carey (Orbit-April 5, 2016)

Synopsis-The unmissable and highly anticipated new literary thriller from the author of the international phenomenon The Girl with all the Gifts.

Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It’s not the kind of place you’d want to end up. But it’s where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.

It’s a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

Will she listen?


Alight by Scott Sigler (Del Rey-April 5, 2016)

Synopsis-In Alive, Scott Sigler introduced readers to an unforgettable young heroine and a mysterious new world reminiscent of those of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Red Rising. Now he expands his singular vision in the next thrilling novel of this powerful sci-fi adventure series.

“If it’s war they want, they messed with the wrong girl.”

M. Savage—or Em, as she is called—has made a bewildering and ominous discovery. She and the other young people she was chosen to lead awoke in strange coffins with no memory of their names or their pasts. They faced an empty, unknown place of twisting tunnels and human bones. With only one another to depend on, they searched for answers and found the truth about their terrifying fate. Confronted by a monstrous enemy, they vowed never to surrender—and, by any means, to survive.

The planet Omeyocan may be the sanctuary Em and her comrades seek. But the planet for which they were created turns out not to be a pristine, virgin world. Vestiges of a lost civilization testify to a horrifying past that may yet repeat itself. And when a new enemy creeps from the jungle shadows, Em and her young refugees learn there’s nowhere left to run. They face a simple choice: fight or die.

In the midst of this desperate struggle, their unity is compromised from within—and a dangerous zealot devoted to a bloodthirsty god moves to usurp Em’s command, threatening to lead them all down a path to violent doom.


Thirst by Benjamin Warner (Bloomsbury-April 12, 2016)

Synopsis-On a searing summer Friday, Eddie Chapman has been stuck for hours in a traffic jam. There are accidents along the highway, but ambulances and police are conspicuously absent. When he decides to abandon his car and run home, he sees that the trees along the edge of a stream have been burnt, and the water in the streambed is gone. Something is very wrong.

When he arrives home, the power is out and there is no running water. The pipes everywhere, it seems, have gone dry. Eddie and his wife, Laura, find themselves thrust together with their neighbors while a sense of unease thickens in the stifling night air.

Thirst takes place in the immediate aftermath of a mysterious disaster–the Chapmans and their neighbors suffer the effects of the heat, their thirst, and the terrifying realization that no one is coming to help. As violence rips through the community, Eddie and Laura are forced to recall secrets from their past and question their present humanity. In crisp and convincing prose, Ben Warner compels readers to do the same. What might you do to survive?


New Charity Blues by Camille Griep (47North-April 12, 2016)

Synopsis-In the wake of a devastating plague, two communities emerge as bastions of survival. One is called the City, and its people scrabble for scraps in the wasteland. The other, New Charity, enjoys the bounty of its hydroelectric dam and refuses City denizens so much as a drop of precious water. When City-dweller Cressyda inherits her father’s ranch within New Charity, she becomes intent on opening the dam to all—no matter the cost.

But when Syd reunites with her old best friend, Casandra, a born seer and religious acolyte, she realizes that her plans could destroy the fragile lives they’ve built in order to survive. What’s more, the strange magic securing the dam’s operations could prove deadly if disturbed. Yet when Syd discovers evidence that her father might have been murdered, she is more determined than ever to exact revenge on New Charity’s corrupt.

Pitted against Cas, as well as her own family, Syd must decide how to secure the survival of both settlements without tipping them over the brink to utter annihilation. In this intense and emotional reimagining of the Trojan War epic, two women clash when loyalty, identity, community, and family are all put to the ultimate test.


Wrapped in Skin by Mark Morris (ChiZine-April 12, 2016)

Synopsis-A woman haunted by a mysterious upside-down door… a meeting between a famous punk rocker and a voodoo priestess… a group of friends who willingly place themselves in the path of bullets that travel through time… Mark Morris’s stories are wrapped in strange skin. Skin suffused with regret and grief and anger. Skin that twitches with bad dreams and appalling memories. Skin that is so thin it is unable to prevent the terrors of the past from breaking through…


Devotion by Ros Barber (Oneworld Publications-April 12, 2016)

Synopsis-The new novel from the award-winning author of THE MARLOWE PAPERS,
winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize, and long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013

It is the near future, and moves have been made to classify religious fundamentalism as a form of mental illness. Criminal psychologist Finlay Logan must assess the sanity of a young woman who has committed a religiously-inspired atrocity, but in a state of grief after the death of his daughter, he is struggling with his own mental stability.

In an attempt to reach his patient, an elective mute, Logan seeks the help of Gabrielle Salmon, a cognitive scientist whose experimental procedure — “the process” — is said to alleviate guilt, shame and suffering by creating a direct experience with God.

After seeing the results of “the process” in his patient, Finlay must choose either to medicate his grief or undergo “the process” to try to save himself.

With nimble, provocative thinking at the intersection of science and religion — as well as brilliant storytelling through use of a dual narrative — award-winning author Ros Barber creates a daring novel


Alt.Sherlock Holmes by Gini Koch, Jamie Wyman, and Glen Mehn(Abaddon-April 12, 2016)

Synopsis-Sherlock Holmes as you’ve never seem him – or is it her? – before, as the Great Detective travels through time and across continents to master a set of three new mysteries.

A Study in Starlets, by Gini Koch

Sherlock Holmes and her partner Dr. John Watson have barely set up as consulting detectives in LA before Tinsel Town’s finest come calling. Joey Jackson and Tony Antonelli are in trouble: their partner, Cliff Camden, has disappeared without a trace on the eve of filming for a new show. The LAPD don’t care and Watson has his own reasons for wanting to stay out of it, but Holmes takes the case.

But she gets to work amidst neurotic actors, grumbling film crews and low-level sleaze that permeates LA, a fresh murder turns everything on its head…

The Case of the Tattooed Bride, by Jamie Wyman

Winter, and the Soggiorno Brothers’ Traveling Wonder Show has pulled into its berth in Peru, Indiana. Sanford “Crash” Haus, proprietor and genius, and his friend, the retired soldier-turned-surgeon Jim “Dandy” Walker, are looking forward to a quiet few months. By happy coincidence, just as the Strong Man and the Tattooed Lady announce their betrothal, the Wonder Show’s old manager Professor Sylvestri – a minister, no less – rolls into town with his ward in tow.

Preparations for the happy day begin, but violence and misfortune attend on them…

Half There/All There, by Glen Mehn

Glen Mehn’s novella is a drug-fuelled descent into the experimental world of Warhol’s Factory. Holmes and Watson are faced with a mystery unlike any other, set against the backdrop of social, cultural and racial issues that rocked society and brought about the fierce (and sometimes violent) changes at the end of the swinging sixties…


A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry (Algonquin-April 12, 2016)

Synopsis-In this stunning debut, legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison.

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl–Isabel, the one the senoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers–and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.


Almost Dark by Letitia Trent (ChiZine-April 5, 2016)

Synopsis-Claire, a private and outwardly content librarian, carries a secret: she is wracked with guilt over her twin brother Sam’s accidental death fifteen years earlier. Claire’s quiet life is threatened when Justin, an aggressive business developer, announces the renovation of Farmington’s oldest textile factory, which is the scene of Sam’s death along with many other mysterious accidents throughout its long history. Claire not only feels a personal connection to the factory, but she also begins to receive “visitations” from her brother, which cause her to question her sanity. As Justin moves forward with his plans to renew the factory, Claire, and the town as a whole, discover that in Farmington, there is no clear line between the past and the present.


The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey (Harper Voyager-April 19, 2016)

Synopsis-Reminiscent of the edgy, offbeat humor of Chris Moore and Matt Ruff, the first entry in a whimsical, fast-paced supernatural series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Sandman Slim novels—a dark and humorous story involving a doomsday gizmo, a horde of baddies determined to possess its power, and a clever thief who must steal it back . . . again and again.

22000 B.C. A beautiful, ambitious angel stands on a mountaintop, surveying the world and its little inhabitants below. He smiles because soon, the last of humanity who survived the great flood will meet its end, too. And he should know. He’s going to play a big part in it. Our angel usually doesn’t get to do field work, and if he does well, he’s certain he’ll get a big promotion.

And now it’s time . . . .

The angel reaches into his pocket for the instrument of humanity’s doom. Must be in the other pocket. Then he frantically begins to pat himself down. Dejected, he realizes he has lost the object. Looking over the Earth at all that could have been, the majestic angel utters a single word.

“Crap.”

2015. A thief named Coop—a specialist in purloining magic objects—steals and delivers a small box to the mysterious client who engaged his services. Coop doesn’t know that his latest job could be the end of him—and the rest of the world. Suddenly he finds himself in the company of The Department of Peculiar Science, a fearsome enforcement agency that polices the odd and strange. The box isn’t just a supernatural heirloom with quaint powers, they tell him.

It’s a doomsday device. They think . . .

And suddenly, everyone is out to get it.


The Emperor’s Railroad by Guy Haley (Tor.com-April 19, 2016)

Synopsis-Global war devastated the environment, a zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place.

Conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out.

Until now…


Join by Steve Toutonghi (Soho Press-April 19, 2016)

Synopsis-What if you could live multiple lives simultaneously, have constant, perfect companionship, and never die? That’s the promise of Join, a revolutionary technology that allows small groups of minds to unite, forming a single consciousness that experiences the world through multiple bodies. But as two best friends discover, the light of that miracle may be blinding the world to its horrors.

Chance and Leap are jolted out of their professional routines by a terrifying stranger—a remorseless killer who freely manipulates the networks that regulate life in the post-Join world. Their quest for answers—and survival—brings them from the networks and spire communities they’ve known to the scarred heart of an environmentally ravaged North American continent and an underground community of the “ferals” left behind by the rush of technology.

In the storytelling tradition of classic speculative fiction from writers like David Mitchell and Michael Chabon, Join offers a pulse-pounding story that poses the largest possible questions: How long can human life be sustained on our planet in the face of environmental catastrophe? What does it mean to be human, and what happens when humanity takes the next step in its evolution? If the individual mind becomes obsolete, what have we lost and gained, and what is still worth fighting for?


Kill Switch by Jonathan Maberry (St. Martin’s-April 26, 2016)

Synopsis-What do you do when the power goes off?

Terrorists have acquired a terrible new weapon that can crash the power grid and plunge America into a new dark age. A coordinated attack is planned to shut out all lights and emergency services to ten major cities. Planes will fall, hospitals will go dark, no help will come.

And in that terrible darkness a dreadful plague will be released. If the lights go off, nothing can stop the bioweapon from killing millions.

At the same time the intelligence services are being torn apart from within by a plague of betrayal, murder and suicide. Even the Department of Military Sciences is stumbling in its response to the growing threat.

Time is running out. And Joe is being hunted by a terrifying new kind of assassin. A team of remote viewers have the ability to take over any person and turn ordinary citizens into killers. Where can you turn when there’s nobody left to trust?

Joe Ledger faces his deadliest challenge as friends and allies become enemies and all of the lights begin to go out…


Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (Del Rey-April 26, 2016)

Synopsis-An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and a fight for control of earthshaking power.

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?


HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor Books-April 26, 2016)

Synopsis-The English language debut of the bestselling Dutch novel, Hex, from Thomas Olde Heuvelt–a Hugo and World Fantasy award nominated talent to watch

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

This chilling novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in mainstream horror and dark fantasy.


2 Comments:

  1. Where’s Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter?

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