cover image Sister, Maiden, Monster

Sister, Maiden, Monster

Lucy A. Snyder. Nightfire, $17.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-82565-0

Bram Stoker Award winner Snyder (Exposed Nerves) infuses chills and eroticism into this gothic near-future tale of viruses, gore, and the emergence of ancient Lovecraftian gods. A new pandemic rages: the debilitating polymorphic viral gastroencephalitis, or PVG. After computer support tech Erin Holdaway contracts PVG, she endures a degrading hospital treatment involving consuming cow brains—and it leaves her with an insatiable craving. After she’s discharged, she develops a tumor on her tongue that sprouts teeth and urges her to take violent action to fulfill her desire for human brains. In a delusional haze during one such feeding, Erin hears an eldritch intelligence declaring her the chosen one and that it’s her job to eat the brains of the human race and devour their memories: “We will use the blood of this world to write dark, beautiful poetry across the walls of the universe.” Also drawn into this sinister plan are Erin’s coworker Mareva, who suffers from multiple tumors; Savannah, a sex worker specializing in BDSM; and Erin’s ex-fiancé, Gregory, who calls himself an Archivist for the elder gods. Snyder’s bold and succinct descriptions create a visceral aura of terror and desperation. Readers will feel dread as they’re pulled along on this thrilling ride. (Feb.)