There are 7 debut novels for May.
Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.
The May debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite May cover for the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on May 15, 2019.
Harper Voyager, May 7, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
"Bracing, quite possibly hallucination-inducing, and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before…The illegitimate love child of Algernon Blackwood and Raymond Chandler.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“The Alienist meets The City & The City in this brilliant debut that mixes fantasy and mystery. Gilda Carr’s ‘tiny mysteries’ pack a giant punch." --David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of Murder As a Fine Art
New York is dying, and the one woman who can save it has smaller things on her mind.
A young detective who specializes in “tiny mysteries” finds herself at the center of a massive conspiracy in this beguiling historical fantasy set on Manhattan’s Westside—a peculiar and dangerous neighborhood home to strange magic and stranger residents—that blends the vivid atmosphere of Caleb Carr with the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman.
It’s 1921, and a thirteen-mile fence running the length of Broadway splits the island of Manhattan, separating the prosperous Eastside from the Westside—an overgrown wasteland whose hostility to modern technology gives it the flavor of old New York. Thousands have disappeared here, and the respectable have fled, leaving behind the killers, thieves, poets, painters, drunks, and those too poor or desperate to leave.
It is a hellish landscape, and Gilda Carr proudly calls it home.
Slightly built, but with a will of iron, Gilda follows in the footsteps of her late father, a police detective turned private eye. Unlike that larger-than-life man, Gilda solves tiny mysteries: the impossible puzzles that keep us awake at night; the small riddles that destroy us; the questions that spoil marriages, ruin friendships, and curdle joy. Those tiny cases distract her from her grief, and the one impossible question she knows she can’t answer: “How did my father die?”
Yet on Gilda’s Westside, tiny mysteries end in blood—even the case of a missing white leather glove. Mrs. Copeland, a well-to-do Eastside housewife, hires Gilda to find it before her irascible merchant husband learns it is gone. When Gilda witnesses Mr. Copeland’s murder at a Westside pier, she finds herself sinking into a mire of bootlegging, smuggling, corruption—and an evil too dark to face.
All she wants is to find one dainty ladies’ glove. She doesn’t want to know why this merchant was on the wrong side of town—or why he was murdered in cold blood. But as she begins to see the connection between his murder, her father’s death, and the darkness plaguing the Westside, she faces the hard truth: she must save her city or die with it.
Introducing a truly remarkable female detective, Westside is a mystery steeped in the supernatural and shot through with gunfights, rotgut whiskey, and sizzling Dixieland jazz. Full of dazzling color, delightful twists, and truly thrilling action, it announces the arrival of a wonderful new talent.
Daniel FindlayYear of the Orphan
Arcade, May 21, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages
The Road meets Mad Max in this stunning debut with a gutsy, charismatic young female protagonist—for fans of Station 11, The Passage, and Riddley Walker.
In a post-apocalyptic future where survivors scavenge in the harsh Australian Outback for spoils from a buried civilization, a girl races across the desert, holding her treasures close, pursued by the Reckoner.
Riding her sand ship, living rough in the blasted landscape whose taint she carries in her blood, she scouts the broken infrastructure and trades her scraps at the only known settlement, a ramshackle fortress of greed, corruption, and disease known as the System. It is an outpost whose sole purpose is survival—refuge from the hulking, eyeless things they call Ghosts and other creatures that hunt beyond the fortress walls.
Sold as a child, then raised hard in the System, the Orphan has a mission. She carries secrets about the destruction that brought the world to its knees. And she's about to discover that the past still holds power over the present. Given an impossible choice, will the Orphan save the only home she knows or see it returned to dust? Both paths lead to blood, but whose will be spilled?
With propulsive pacing, a rich, broken language all its own, and a protagonist whose grit and charisma are matched by a relentless drive to know, The Year of the Orphan is a thriller of the future you won’t want to put down.
Fernando A. FloresTears of the Trufflepig
MCD x FSG Originals
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
One of Lit Hub and The Millions's Most Anticipated Books of 2019 and one of Buzzfeed and Tor.com's Books to Read This Spring
“Funny, futuristic, phenomenal, Fernando A. Flores is from another galaxy. Fasten your seat belt. You are in for a stupendous ride.” ―Sandra Cisneros
A parallel universe. South Texas. Narcotics are legal and there’s a new contraband on the market: ancient Olmec artifacts, shrunken indigenous heads, and filtered animals—species of animals brought back from extinction to clothe, feed, and generally amuse the very wealthy. Esteban Bellacosa has lived in the border town of MacArthur long enough to know to keep quiet and avoid the dangerous syndicates who make their money through trafficking.
But his simple life starts to get complicated when the swashbuckling investigative journalist Paco Herbert invites him to come to an illegal underground dinner serving filtered animals. Bellacosa soon finds himself in the middle of an increasingly perilous, surreal, psychedelic journey, where he encounters legends of the long-disappeared Aranaña Indian tribe and their object of worship: the mysterious Trufflepig, said to possess strange powers.
Written with infectious verve, bold imagination, and oddball humor, Fernando A. Flores’s debut novel, Tears of the Trufflepig, is an absurdist take on life along the border, an ode to the myths of Mexican culture, a dire warning against the one percent’s determination to dictate society’s decline, and a nuanced investigation of loss. It’s also the perfect introduction for Flores: a wonderfully weird, staggeringly smart new voice in American fiction, and a mythmaker of the highest order.
Simeon MillsThe Obsoletes
Gallery Books, May 14, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
The Obsoletes is a thought-provoking coming-of-age novel about two human-like teen robots navigating high school, basketball, and potentially life-threatening consequences if their true origins are discovered by the inhabitants of their intolerant 1980s Michigan hometown.
Fraternal twin brothers Darryl and Kanga are just like any other teenagers trying to make it through high school. They have to deal with peer pressure, awkwardness, and family drama. But there’s one closely guarded secret that sets them apart: they are robots. So long as they keep their heads down, their robophobic neighbors won’t discover the truth about them and they just might make it through to graduation.
But when Kanga becomes the star of the basketball team, there’s more at stake than typical sibling rivalry. Darryl—the worrywart of the pair—now has to work a million times harder to keep them both out of the spotlight. Though they look, sound, and act perfectly human, if anyone in their small, depressed Michigan town were to find out what they truly are, they’d likely be disassembled by an angry mob in the middle of their school gym.
Heartwarming and thrilling, Simeon Mills’s charming debut novel is a funny, poignant look at brotherhood, xenophobia, and the limits of one’s programming.
S. D. NicholsonMischief and Mayhem
Faerlands Chronicles 1
Koehler Books, May 24, 2019
Hardcover, Trade Paperback, 238 pages
After lying dormant for centuries, a dark presence awakes and invades the realm of the Faers. While malicious forces quietly stir in the southern nation of the Meadows, Ophelia Maplewood, along with her companions from the Woodland Scouts, finds an unexpected human, new strength, and allies in the north. Will their journey bring balance to the homeland and prevent chaos from spreading to the other realms? Only time will tell. Part One of the Faerlands Chronicles.
Domenica RutaLast Day
Spiegal & Grau, May 28, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 272 pages
The fates of a cast of seemingly unconnected people converge during the celebration of an ancient holiday in a thought-provoking debut that brings to mind such novels as Station Eleven and The Age of Miracles.
In Domenica Ruta’s profoundly original novel, the end of the world comes once a year. Every May 28, humanity gathers to anticipate the planet’s demise—and to celebrate as if the day is truly its last.
On this holiday, three intersecting sets of characters embark on a possibly last-chance quest for redemption. In Boston, bookish wunderkind Sarah is looking for love and maybe a cosmic reversal from the much older Kurt, a tattoo artist she met at last year’s Last Day BBQ—but he’s still trying to make amends to the family he destroyed long ago. Dysfunctional Karen keeps getting into trouble, especially when the voices she’s been hearing coax her to abandon everything to search for her long-lost adoptive brother; her friend Rosette has left the Jehovah’s Witnesses to follow a new pastor at the Last Kingdom on Earth, where she brings Karen on this fateful day. Meanwhile, above them all, three astronauts on the International Space Station, Bear, an American; Russian Svec; and billionaire Japanese space tourist Yui, contemplate their lives as well as their precious Earth from afar.
With sparkling wit, verbal ingenuity, and wild imagination, Ruta has created an alternate world in which an ancient holiday brings into stark reflection our deepest dreams, desires, hopes, and fears. In this tour-de-force debut novel she has written a dazzling, haunting love letter to humanity and to our planet.
Henry ThomasThe Window and the Mirror
Oesteria and the War of Goblinkind 1
Rare Bird Books, May 14, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
A captured soldier must escort a mysterious girl to a distant city to broker peace between two peoples poised on the brink of war. Left to die in a deep chasm, his commander stumbles on to a dark and powerful secret: how to harness the energy of men’s souls and bend them to his will. Is this the secret that Goblinkind has been hiding from the race of men? That all the shiny trinkets of the fabled Goblincrafters are powered by the trapped souls of humans? For Mage Imperator Rhael Lord Uhlmet, the lure of such power is irresistible, even if he must start a war to attain it.