There are 12 debut novels for April.
Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.
The April 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 April cover for the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on April 15, 2018.
If you are participating as a reader in the Challenge, please let us know in the comments what you are thinking of reading or email us at "DAC . TheQwillery @ gmail . com" (remove the spaces and quotation marks). Please note that we list all debuts for the month (of which we are aware), but not all of these authors will be 2018 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for April 2018. The list is correct as of the day posted.
The City of Lost Fortunes
A Crescent City Novel 1
John Joseph Adams / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 17, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages
The fate of New Orleans rests in the hands of a wayward grifter in this novel of gods, games, and monsters.
The post–Katrina New Orleans of The City of Lost Fortunes is a place haunted by its history and by the hurricane’s destruction, a place that is hoping to survive the rebuilding of its present long enough to ensure that it has a future. Street magician Jude Dubuisson is likewise burdened by his past and by the consequences of the storm, because he has a secret: the magical ability to find lost things, a gift passed down to him by the father he has never known—a father who just happens to be more than human.
Jude has been lying low since the storm, which caused so many things to be lost that it played havoc with his magic, and he is hiding from his own power, his divine former employer, and a debt owed to the Fortune god of New Orleans. But his six-year retirement ends abruptly when the Fortune god is murdered and Jude is drawn back into the world he tried so desperately to leave behind. A world full of magic, monsters, and miracles. A world where he must find out who is responsible for the Fortune god’s death, uncover the plot that threatens the city’s soul, and discover what his talent for lost things has always been trying to show him: what it means to be his father’s son.
Under the Northern Sky 1
Orbit, April 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook,400 pages
Violence and death come to the land under the Northern Sky when two fierce races break their age-old fragile peace and start an all-out war in this thrilling and savagely visceral epic fantasy.
Ready or not, Roper has been thrust into a position of leadership that he's woefully ill prepared for. Now, a massive army approaches from the south, old allies turn against him, and new rivals seek to undermine his rule. Facing attack from within and without, Roper must forge reckless alliances, no matter the cost, to save his kingdom.
Bellamus is a brash but capable southern general, a commoner with the rare honor of having the discreet support of the Queen. Rising quickly from the minor ranks he was born into, Bellamus leads the march on the North. Victory means glory, power, and the favor of the king, but defeat promises much worse than disgrace.
A tale of war, rivalry, and honor, The Wolf creates a world that is both familiar and uncanny - one where the fiercest enemies are always closer than they seem.
Under the Northern Sky
The Waters & The Wild
Random House, April 3, 2018
Hardcover and eBook 320 pages
Haunted by a past crime and a past lover, a psychoanalyst tries to protect his daughter from his mistakes—but at what cost?
“This dazzling gothic-tinged thriller takes us deep into a labyrinth of secrets, lies, and deceptions.”—Dan Chaon, New York Times bestselling author of Ill Will
Daniel Abend is a single parent in New York City, with a successful therapy practice and a comfortable life: an apartment on the Upper West Side, a teenage daughter, a peaceful daily routine. When one of his patients commits suicide, it is a tragedy, but one easily explained: The young woman suffered from depression and drug addiction.
But soon after, Daniel receives an ominous note that makes him question the circumstances surrounding his patient’s death. He is provided with a provocative series of clues—a mysterious key, a cryptic poem, a photograph with a chilling message. A few days later, his daughter abruptly disappears.
Daniel is swept into an increasingly desperate search for his daughter, and for the truth—a search that stretches back decades, to when he was a young man living in Paris, falling in love with a woman who would ultimately upend his life. As he is tormented by a steady flow of anonymous letters, Daniel recognizes that he must confront the secrets of his past: There is a debt to be paid, an account to be settled.
Sam J. Miller
Ecco, April 17, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
“Miller gives us an incisive and beautifully written story of love, revenge, and the power (and failure) of family in a scarily plausible future. Blackfish City simmers with menace and heartache, suspense and wonder. Plus, it has lots of action and a great cast of characters. Not to mention an orca and a polar bear!” —Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Clarke Awards
After the climate wars, a floating city is constructed in the Arctic Circle, a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, complete with geothermal heating and sustainable energy. The city’s denizens have become accustomed to a roughshod new way of living, however, the city is starting to fray along the edges—crime and corruption have set in, the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside direst poverty are spawning unrest, and a new disease called “the breaks” is ravaging the population.
When a strange new visitor arrives—a woman riding an orca, with a polar bear at her side—the city is entranced. The “orcamancer,” as she’s known, very subtly brings together four people—each living on the periphery—to stage unprecedented acts of resistance. By banding together to save their city before it crumbles under the weight of its own decay, they will learn shocking truths about themselves.
Blackfish City is a remarkably urgent—and ultimately very hopeful—novel about political corruption, organized crime, technology run amok, the consequences of climate change, gender identity, and the unifying power of human connection.
From Unseen Fire
Aven Cycle 1
DAW, April 17, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
From Unseen Fire is the first novel in the Aven Cycle, a historical fantasy set in an alternate Rome, by debut author Cass Morris
The Dictator is dead; long live the Republic.
But whose Republic will it be? Senators, generals, and elemental mages vie for the power to shape the future of the city of Aven. One such mage, Latona of the Vitelliae, must rediscover her incredible powers of Fire and Spirit—which she suppressed for years at the Dictator’s court—in order to protect her family and the city she loves.
Her siblings—a widow who conceals a canny political mind in the guise of a frivolous socialite, a young prophetess torn from the sanctuary of her temple, and a military tribune leading a dangerous expedition in the province of Iberia—will be her allies as she builds a place for herself in this new world, against the objections of their father, her husband, and the strictures of Aventan society.
Their paths intersect with that of Sempronius Tarren, a rising politician who dreams of a vast and harmonious empire growing from the nexus of their beloved city. He believes the gods have thrown down a personal challenge, and equipped him with the skills to steer Aven towards this glorious future—but in order to realize his goals, he will have to break the Republic’s most sacred law. Although centuries-old custom dictates that no mage may hold the highest political offices, Sempronius, a Shadow mage who has kept his abilities a life-long secret, intends to do just that.
As rebellion brews in Iberia, Sempronius must outwit the ruthless leader of the opposing Senate faction to claim the political and military power he needs to achieve his—and Aven’s—destiny. As Latona unleashes her magical potential, she discovers that Sempronius’s extraordinary vision for their nation aligns with her desires to protect its people—but their burgeoning relationship may jeopardize the very future they seek to build in Aven.
From Darkest Skies
From Darkest Skies 1
Gollancz, April 10, 2018
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
After a five year sabbatical following the tragic death of his wife and fellow agent Alysha, Keon Rause returns to the distant colony world of Magenta to resume service with the Magentan Intelligence Service. With him he brings an artificial recreation of his wife's personality, a simulacrum built from every digital trace she left behind. She has been constructed with one purpose - to discover the truth behind her own death - but Keon's relationship with her has grown into something more, something frighteningly dependent, something that verges on love.
Cashing in old favours, Keon uses his return to the Service to take on a series of cases that allow him and the artificial Alysha to piece together his wife's last days. His investigations lead him inexorably along the same paths Alysha followed five years earlier, to a sinister and deadly group with an unhealthy fascination for the unknowable alien Masters; but as the wider world of Magenta is threatened with an imminent crisis, Keon finds himself in a dilemma: do his duty and stand with his team to expose a villainous crime, or sacrifice them all for the truth about his wife?
The Oracle Year
Harper Perennial, April 3, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages
From bestselling comic-book franchise writer Charles Soule comes a clever and witty first novel of a twentysomething New Yorker who wakes up one morning with the power to predict the future—perfect for fans of Joe Hill and Brad Meltzer, or books like This Book Is Full of Spiders and Welcome to Night Vale.
Knowledge is power. So when an unassuming Manhattan bassist named Will Dando awakens from a dream one morning with 108 predictions about the future in his head, he rapidly finds himself the most powerful man in the world. Protecting his anonymity by calling himself the Oracle, he sets up a heavily guarded Web site with the help of his friend Hamza to selectively announce his revelations. In no time, global corporations are offering him millions for exclusive access, eager to profit from his prophecies.
He's also making a lot of high-powered enemies, from the President of the United States and a nationally prominent televangelist to a warlord with a nuclear missile and an assassin grandmother. Legions of cyber spies are unleashed to hack the Site—as it's come to be called—and the best manhunters money can buy are deployed not only to unmask the Oracle but to take him out of the game entirely. With only a handful of people he can trust—including a beautiful journalist—it's all Will can do just to survive, elude exposure, and protect those he loves long enough to use his knowledge to save the world.
Delivering fast-paced adventure on a global scale as well as sharp-witted satire on our concepts of power and faith, Marvel writer Charles Soule's audacious debut novel takes readers on a rollicking ride where it's impossible to predict what will happen next.
The Unnamed Press, April 24, 2018
Trade Paperback, 256 pages
The dead aren’t really gone, they persist as phone numbers, social media accounts, newsletter recipients, and as members of fan-fiction forums. Digital ghosts move and connect us: we feel we know people we have only seen online just as corporations masquerade as familiar friends.
In Rubik, darkly comedic interconnected stories follow Elena Rubik, her best friend Jules Valentine, and wannabe investigative reporter April Kuan, as a viral marketing scheme’s motivations become cause for concern. There are the adventures of a model turned visual artist, a voice actor primarily used for tech support, enigmatic schoolchildren, clever anime characters, and more. Deftly blending the real and imagined with biting social satire, Elizabeth Tan explores the lives of her diverse group of characters with deep empathy and insight into our contemporary world.
Jon Michael Varese
The Spirit Photographer
The Overlook Press, April 17, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
For fans of Cold Mountain and The Alienist, the stunning debut novel of historical suspense about a charismatic conman haunted―perhaps literally―by a ghost from his past
Boston, 1870. Photographer Edward Moody runs a booming business capturing the images of the spirits of the departed in his portraits. He lures grieving widows and mourning mothers into his studio with promises of catching the ghosts of their deceased loved ones with his camera. Despite the whispers around town that Moody is a fraud of the basest kind, no one has been able to expose him, and word of his gift has spread, earning him money, fame, and a growing list of illustrious clients.
One day, while developing the negative from a sitting to capture the spirit of the young son of an abolitionist senator, Moody is shocked to see a different spectral figure develop before his eyes. Instead of the staged image of the boy he was expecting, the camera has seemingly captured the spirit of a beautiful young woman. Is it possible that the spirit photographer caught a real ghost? When Moody recognizes the woman in the photograph as the daughter of an escaped slave he knew long ago, he is compelled to travel from Boston to the Louisiana bayous to resolve their unfinished business―and perhaps save his soul. But more than one person is out to stop him . . .
With dramatic twists and redolent of the mood of the Southern Gothic, The Spirit Photographer conjures the Reconstruction era South, replete with fugitive hunters, voodoo healers, and other dangers lurking in the swamp. Jon Michael Varese’s deftly plotted first novel is an intense tale of death and betrayal that will thrill readers as they unravel the dreadful mystery behind the spirit in the photograph and what ultimately became of her.
Pushkin Vertigo, April 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 288 pages
The acclaimed debut thriller from Australia’s most exciting new crimewriting talent.
The 2nd Caleb Zelic title, AND FIRE CAME DOWN, will be published October, 2018, and the author is already writing a 3rd installment.
Caleb Zelic can’t hear you but he sees everything, and he never forgets a face.
Caleb Zelic’s childhood friend has been brutally murdered – fingers broken, throat slit – at his home in Melbourne. Caleb vows to track down the killer, but he’s profoundly deaf; missed words and misread lips can lead to confusion, and trouble. Fortunately, Caleb knows how to read people; a sideways glance, an unconvincing smile, speak volumes. When his friend Frankie, a former cop, offers to help, they soon discover the killer is on their tail. Sensing that his ex-wife may also be in danger, Caleb insists they return to their hometown of Resurrection Bay. But here he learns that everyone – including his murdered friend – is hiding something. And the deeper he digs, the darker the secrets…
St. Martin's Press, April 3, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
Set 500 years in the future, a mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off most of the U.S. population. Those remaining turn to magic and sacrifice to cleanse the Earth.
Wonderblood is Julia Whicker's fascinating literary debut, set in a barren United States, an apocalyptic wasteland where warring factions compete for control of the land in strange and dangerous carnivals. A mad cow-like disease called "Bent Head" has killed off millions. Those who remain worship the ruins of NASA's space shuttles, and Cape Canaveral is their Mecca. Medicine and science have been rejected in favor of magic, prophecy, and blood sacrifice.
When traveling marauders led by the bloodthirsty Mr. Capulatio invade her camp, a young girl named Aurora is taken captive as his bride and forced to join his band on their journey to Cape Canaveral. As war nears, she must decide if she is willing to become her captor's queen. But then other queens emerge, some grotesque and others aggrieved, and not all are pleased with the girl's ascent. Politics and survival are at the centre of this ravishing novel.
Adrian Todd Zuniga
Rare Bird Books, April 17, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 160 pages
It would be easier for Thomas Mullen to move on from what he’d seen if Sarah stopped calling. It would be even better if she stopped appearing to him, and only him, to remind him of what he was powerless to stop.
But, months later, after Thomas loses his phone and the random woman who recovers it arranges to return it to him, his predicament intensifies. This woman tells him that while she’s had his phone, his mother has called. His mother really needs him to call her back. And who is Sarah, this woman asks Thomas. His mother asked her if she was Sarah. And how could she not have said yes? It seemed to make his mother so happy.
Collision Theory, Adrian Todd Zuniga’s memorably heartfelt and headlong debut novel, unfolds with its own particular velocity. After Thomas was an unexpected witness to a suicide he scrambles to reconcile whether there might have been any way to prevent it. And he wonders whether the only way to undo the impact of an unexpected thing is to do something unexpected in turn. But the phone won’t stop ringing.
Collision Theory’s suddenness, its unexpectedness, its humor, and its humanity make for an unforgettable, surprising, and emotional read.