There are 11 debuts for October 2020.
Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.
The October 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 October cover for the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on or about October 15, 2020.
The Whiteland Novels 1
BHC Press, October 15, 2020
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 328 pages
In a lonely Swiss mountain village, Kira’s holiday erupts. It’s winter, it’s eerie, and out in the woods something imbeds its claws into her sister.
When Romy returns, she’s different. She’s violent, inhuman, and by rights, should be dead. Even though things aren’t normal, all their parents care about is that she’s still alive.
In the otherworldly forest, Kira starts to pry, but secrets like to be kept. With the help of Callum, a sarcastic Scotsman, Kira stumbles upon the folkloric world of Whiteland, eating all she knows.
If Kira runs away, she’ll be safe. If she doesn’t, her family might not survive. In the end, there’s no mercy in revenge.
Shadows of the Short Days
Titan Books, October 20, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages
For fans of China Mieville and Neil Gaiman. A tale of revolution in a Reykjavik fuelled by industrialised magic, populated by humans, dimensional exiles, otherworldly creatures, psychoactive graffiti and demonic familiars.
A tale of revolution in a Reykjavik fuelled by industrialised magic, populated by humans, dimensional exiles, otherworldly creatures, psychoactive graffiti and demonic familiars.
HERE LIES A CITY…
FUELLED BY INDUSTRIALISED MAGIC. RULED BY A DESPOTIC CROWN. DEMANDING REVOLUTION.
WELCOME TO REYKJAVIK
Rebels and revolutionaries disappear into the infamous prison, the Nine, never to be heard from again. Masked police roam the streets, dark magic lurks in the shadows, and the implacable flying fortress casts its baleful eye over all below.
Sæmundur, addict and sorcerer, has been cast out from university, and forbidden to study magic. Dissident artist, Garún, is desperate for a just society and will do anything to achieve it. Both seek revolution in their own ways. Both seek power.
Together, they will change Reykjavik forever.
Plain Bad Heroines
William Morrow, October 20, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 640 pages
“Full of Victorian sapphic romance, metafictional horror, biting misandrist humor, Hollywood intrigue, and multiple timeliness—all replete with evocative illustrations that are icing on a deviously delicious cake.” –O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE
“Brimming from start to finish with sly humor and gothic mischief. Brilliant.” — SARAH WATERS
Named a Most Anticipated Book by O, The Oprah Magazine • Vulture • Parade • Popsugar • Bustle • GoodReads • Autostraddle • Literary Hub • and more!
The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit
Our story begins in 1902, at the Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it the Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, the Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.
Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer Merritt Emmons publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.
A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period-inspired illustrations, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read.
The Mirror Man
MIRA, October 20, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
Meet Jeremiah Adams. There are two of him.
The offer is too tempting: be part of a scientific breakthrough, step out of his life for a year, and be paid hugely for it. When ViMed Pharmaceutical asks Jeremiah to be part of an illegal cloning experiment, he sees it as a break from an existence he feels disconnected from. No one will know he’s been replaced—not the son who ignores him, not his increasingly distant wife—since a revolutionary drug called Meld can transfer his consciousness and memories to his copy.
From a luxurious apartment, he watches the clone navigate his day-to-day life. But soon Jeremiah discovers that examining himself from an outsider’s perspective isn’t what he thought it would be, and he watches in horror as “his” life spirals out of control. ViMed needs the experiment to succeed—they won’t call it off, and are prepared to remove any obstacle. With his family in danger, Jeremiah needs to finally find the courage to face himself head-on.
Grand Central Publishing, October 6, 2020
Hardcover and ebook, 320 pages
The Craft for the #MeToo era, this debut unfolds a riveting psychological drama shot through with sharp humor and dark magic for readers of Ninth House and The Power.
When Lee, a first year at Smith, is raped under eerie circumstances during orientation week by an Amherst frat boy, she's quickly disillusioned by her lack of recourse. As her trauma boils within her, Lee is selected for an exclusive seminar on Gender, Power, and Witchcraft, where she meets Luna (an alluring Brooklyn hipster), Gabi (who has a laundry list of phobias), and Charlotte (a waifish, chill international student). Granted a charter for a coven and suddenly in possession of real magic, the four girls are tasked by their aloof Professor with covertly retrieving a grimoire that an Amherst fraternity has gotten their hands on. But when the witches realize the frat brothers are using magic to commit and cover up sexual assault all over Northampton, their exploits escalate into vigilante justice. As Lee's thirst for revenge on her rapist grows, things spiral out of control, pitting witch against witch as they must wrestle with how far one is willing to go to heal.
Consensual Hex is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of a young woman coming of age, uncovering the ways in which love and obsession and looking to fit in can go hand in hand. Lee, an outstanding, magical anti-heroine, refuses to be pigeonholed as a model victim or a horrific example. Instead, her caustic voice demands our attention, clawing out from every page, equally vicious and vulnerable as she lures us, then dares us, to transgress. Dark, biting, and archly camp, Consensual Hex announces Harlowe as a significant talent.
The Hanged God Trilogy 1
Solaris, October 27, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 700 pages
"Packs a punch worthy of the Thunderer himself. It rocks!" -- Joanne Harris, author of The Gospel of Loki
“Holdt wows in her Norse mythology–inspired debut…an electrifying adventure” -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods. A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim. A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.
The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief's wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.
Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.
"Ferocious, compelling, fiercely beautiful. Fantasy at its very best." -- Anna Smith Spark, author of the Empires of Dust series
“This is fantasy as it should be written: savage, liminal, full of wonder and magic.” -- Gavin G. Smith, author of The Bastard Legion series
“A promising start for a series that will gratify lovers of epic tales.” -- Aurealis
Alcove Press, October 6, 2020
Hardcover and eBook
An imaginative, emotional debut novel for fans of Ann Patchett about one woman’s fight to save her daughter from repeating a deadly fate.
What if you had one chance to save someone you lost?
Isolated in the aftermath of tragedy, Erin Fullarton has felt barely alive since the loss of her young daughter, Korrie. She tries to mark the milestones her therapist suggests–like today, the 500th day without Korrie–but moving through grief is like swimming against a dark current.
Her estranged husband, Zac, a brilliant astrophysicist, seems to be coping better. Lost in his work, he’s perfecting his model of a stunning cosmological phenomenon, one he predicts will occur today–an event so rare, it keeps him from being able to acknowledge Erin’s coinciding milestone.
But when Erin receives a phone call from her daughter’s school, the same call she received five hundred days earlier when Korrie was still alive, Erin realizes something is happening. Or happening again. Struggling to understand the sudden shifts in time, she pieces together that the phenomenon Zac is tracking may have presented her with the gift of a lifetime: the chance to save her daughter.
Unable to reach Zac or convince the authorities of what is happening, Erin is forced to find the answer on her own. Erin must battle to keep the past from repeating–or risk losing her daughter for good.
David Winkler (Translator)
You Will Love What You Have Killed
Biblioasis, October 6, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 186 pages
Faldistoire’s grandfather thinks he’s a ghost. Sylvie’s mother reads tarot and summons stormclouds to mete her witch’s justice. Behind his Dad of the Year demeanour, Sébastien’s father hides dark designs. It’s Croustine’s grandfather who makes the boy a pair of slippers from the dead family dog, but it’s his father, the cannily-named Kevin Lambert, who always seems to be nearby when tragedy strikes, and in the cemetery, under the baleful eyes of toads, small graves are dug one after the other: Chicoutimi, Quebec, is a dangerous place for children. But these young victims of rape, arbitrary violence, and senseless murder keep coming back from the dead. They return to school, explore their sexualities, keep tabs on grown-up sins—and plot their apocalyptic retribution.
Surreal and darkly comic, this debut novel by Kevin Lambert, one of the most celebrated and controversial writers to come out of Quebec in recent memory, takes the adult world to task—and then takes revenge.
The Night Will Find Us
Keylight Books, October 20, 2020
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
They say never go into the woods at night…
School’s out for summer and that means one thing to Parker, Chloe, and their four friends: a well-deserved camping trip in the Pine Barrens, a million-acre forest deep in the heart of New Jersey. But when old grudges erupt, an argument escalates into the unthinkable, leaving one of them dead and the killer missing. As darkness descends and those left alive try to determine a course of action, the forest around them begins to change…
In the morning, more of the group has vanished and the path that led them into the woods is gone―as if consumed by the forest itself. Lost and hungry, the remaining friends set out to find help, only to realize that the forest seems to have other plans―a darker, ancient horror lies dead and dreaming in a lake in the center of the woods. And it’s calling to them.
Meanwhile, deep in the trees, the killer is still at large, and one of the group’s own has started to transform and warp into something other. Something inhuman. Something that wants to feast.
Banding together to survive, the friends soon begin to understand the true nature of the horror waiting for them in the Pine Barrens―and that not all of them will make it out alive.
The Witch Hunter
Berkley, October 27, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
A shocking murder in an affluent Helsinki suburb has ties to witchcraft and the occult in this thrilling U.S. debut from Finnish author Max Seeck.
A bestselling author’s wife has been found dead in a gorgeous black evening gown, sitting at the head of an empty dining table. Her most chilling feature—her face is frozen in a ghastly smile.
At first it seems as though a deranged psychopath is reenacting the gruesome murders from the Witch Hunt trilogy, bestsellers written by the victim’s husband. But investigator Jessica Niemi soon realizes she’s not looking for a single killer but rather for dozens of believers in a sinister form of witchcraft who know her every move and are always one step ahead.
As the bodies start piling up, Jessica knows they won’t stop until they get what they want. And when her dark past comes to light, Jessica finds herself battling her own demons while desperately trying to catch a coven of killers before they claim their next victim.
White Trash Warlock
The Adam Binder Novels 1
Blackstone Publishing, October 13, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
Not all magicians go to schools of magic.
Adam Binder has the Sight. It’s a power that runs in his bloodline: the ability to see beyond this world and into another, a realm of magic populated by elves, gnomes, and spirits of every kind. But for much of Adam’s life, that power has been a curse, hindering friendships, worrying his backwoods family, and fueling his abusive father’s rage.
Years after his brother, Bobby, had him committed to a psych ward, Adam is ready to come to grips with who he is, to live his life on his terms, to find love, and maybe even use his magic to do some good. Hoping to track down his missing father, Adam follows a trail of cursed artifacts to Denver, only to discover that an ancient and horrifying spirit has taken possession of Bobby’s wife.
It isn’t long before Adam becomes the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, save his sister-in-law, and learn the truth about his father, Adam will have to risk bargaining with very dangerous beings … including his first love.