Two hundred years after Mary Shelley dreamed Frankenstein’s monster into being, spawning a tale that may be read in many ways—as a warning against scientific hubris, or an admonition to take responsibility for one’s actions—horror novels continue to scare readers silly while offering a perverse brand of comfort.
“We’re dealing with a lot of tumultuous situations across our own country and across the globe,” says Courtney Miller, editorial director at Amazon’s Skyscape, 47North, and Jet City Comics imprints. “Literature can provide a reflection of that, but also a safe place to explore that darkness—because it can be confined within the pages of a book and not splashed across news headlines.”
Here’s a look at 47North’s The King of Bones and Ashes and other forthcoming books that plumb the depth of our nightmares: the aftermath of natural disasters, the bloody toll of war, and other dark chapters of history.
Jonathan Maberry (St. Martin’s, Apr. 2018)
The Bram Stoker Award–winning author returns with the story of Rain, a recovering drug addict who discovers a pair of glasses that offer a window into an alternate reality. She sees a boy being pursued by a terrifying boogeyman and believes he may be her long-lost son: when Rain was a teenager, her first love died while serving in Iraq, and she put their baby up for adoption. She struggles to maintain a grip on reality while trying to uncover the truth about the visions.
The King of Bones and Ashes
J.D. Horn (47North, Jan. 2018)
In this dark fantasy, which launches the Witches of New Orleans series, Alice Martin loses her home in the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina and struggles to preserve the legacy of her fellow witches in a menacing world.
I Am the River
T.E. Grau (Lethe, Feb. 2018)
Grau probes the legacy of the Vietnam War through the story of Israel, an American soldier who terrorized the North Vietnamese in a top-secret psychological warfare operation. Returning home, the veteran grapples with post-traumatic stress and crippling guilt about his actions during the war. The author debuted with the 2015 short story collection The Nameless Dark, which was nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award.
Joe Hill (Morrow, Oct.)
The author, most recently, of the postapocalyptic novel The Fireman offers a quartet of novellas that PW’s review said “have powerful emotional and political resonance.” Scenarios and subjects include a rainstorm of crystal shards, a camera that steals memories, a parachutist stranded in the clouds, and a security guard who loses his mind in the media spotlight.
Laura Bickle (Harper Voyager, Feb. 2018)
Bickle continues her Wildlands series starring Petra Dee, an alchemist’s daughter living in contemporary small-town Wyoming, where she battles wraiths, monstrous snakes, and other occult beasts. In this installment, Petra faces a cancer diagnosis as well as a flesh-eating sea creature that an old enemy has summoned. The series began with two e-books and made its print debut with 2016’s Nine of Stars, which earned a starred review from PW.