Wednesday, March 01, 2017

2017 Debut Author Challenge - March Debuts

There are 18 debut novels for March.

Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The March 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 March cover for the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on March 15, 2017.

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 2017 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for March 2017 The list is correct as of the day posted.

Hannah Lillith Assadi

Soho Press, March 28, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 208 pages
     Coming Of Age, Magical Realism, Literary Fiction

Ahlam, the daughter of a Palestinian refugee and his Israeli wife, grows up in the arid lands of desert suburbia outside of Phoenix. In a stark landscape where coyotes prowl and mysterious lights occasionally pass through the nighttime sky, Ahlam’s imagination reigns. She battles chronic fever dreams and isolation. When she meets her tempestuous counterpart Laura, the two fall into infatuated partnership, experimenting with drugs and sex, and watching helplessly as a series of mysterious deaths claim high school classmates.

The girls flee their pasts for New York City, but as their emotional bond heightens, the intensity of their lives becomes unbearable. In search of love, ecstasy, oblivion, and belonging, Ahlam and Laura’s drive to outrun the ghosts of home threatens to undo them altogether.

Odafe Atogun

Taduno's Song
Pantheon, March 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 240 pages
     Literary, Historical, Cultural Heritage

HERE IS THE STUNNING DEBUT from a fresh Nigerian literary voice: a mesmerizing, deceptively simple, Kafkaesque narrative, resonant of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and lightly informed by the life of Nigerian musical superstar Fela Kuti—powerful story of love, sacrifice and courage.

The day a stained brown envelope is delivered from Taduno’s homeland, he knows that the time has come to return from exile. Arriving full of hope, the musician discovers that his people no longer recognize him, and no one recalls his voice. His girlfriend, Lela, has disappeared, abducted by government agents. Taduno wanders through his house in search of clues, but all traces of his old life have been erased. As he becomes aware that all that is left of himself is an emptiness, Taduno finds new purpose: to unravel the mystery of his lost life and to find his lost love. But soon he must face a difficult decision: to fight the power or save his woman, to sing for love or for his people.

Lucy Banks

The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost
Dr Ribero's Agency of the Supernatural 1
Amberjack Publishing, March 7, 2017
     Urban Fantasy, Ghosts, Supernatural, Occult

Kester Lanner didn’t know what to expect when he followed his mother’s dying request to contact the mysterious Dr. Ribero, but he wasn’t expecting to find his long lost father. Nor was he expecting to join the family business: catching supernatural spirits.

Kester is intrigued despite his fear, and finds himself drawn into an ancient ghost story that will test the entire agency.He soon becomes enmeshed in a struggle with the spirit, who is so malevolent and haunting that his first real case might just be his last.

Ann Claycomb

The Mermaid's Daughter
William Morrow Paperbacks, March 7, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 448 pages
     Contemporary Women

A modern-day expansion of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, this unforgettable debut novel weaves a spellbinding tale of magic and the power of love as a descendent of the original mermaid fights the terrible price of saving herself from a curse that has affected generations of women in her family.

Kathleen has always been dramatic. She suffers from the bizarre malady of experiencing stabbing pain in her feet. On her sixteenth birthday, she woke screaming from the sensation that her tongue had been cut out. No doctor can find a medical explanation for her pain, and even the most powerful drugs have proven useless. Only the touch of seawater can ease her pain, and just temporarily at that.

Now Kathleen is a twenty-five-year-old opera student in Boston and shows immense promise as a soprano. Her girlfriend Harry, a mezzo in the same program, worries endlessly about Kathleen's phantom pain and obsession with the sea. Kathleen's mother and grandmother both committed suicide as young women, and Harry worries they suffered from the same symptoms. When Kathleen suffers yet another dangerous breakdown, Harry convinces Kathleen to visit her hometown in Ireland to learn more about her family history.

In Ireland, they discover that the mystery—and the tragedy—of Kathleen’s family history is far older and stranger than they could have imagined. Kathleen’s fate seems sealed, and the only way out is a terrible choice between a mermaid’s two sirens—the sea, and her lover. But both choices mean death…

Haunting and lyrical, The Mermaid’s Daughter asks—how far we will go for those we love? And can the transformative power of music overcome a magic that has prevailed for generations?

Patrick Edwards

Space Tripping
Inkshares, March 7, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 265 pages
     Fantasy, Humorous

Chuck never gave much thought to whether aliens actually exist. Then an intergalactic transport pilot named Jopp drunkenly crashed into his life. Now Chuck finds himself roped into helping Jopp work off a debt to the universe’s most powerful corporation. Things are not as they seem, however, as the duo unwittingly finds themselves in possession of a mysterious black case. In order to survive long enough to enjoy their next drink, they have to navigate murderous marauders, an interplanetary police force, a peculiar crime boss, and greedy executives. Along the way, they’ll find allies in an alien redneck, a well-meaning scientist, and a hard-nosed intergalactic detective. It’s a big and scary universe out there, and Chuck and Jopp will be damned if they’re going to face it while sober.

Amy Engel

The Roanoke Girls
Crown, March 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages
     Suspense, Thrillers, Psychological, Contemporary Women
     (Adult Debut)

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

Joseph Helmreich

The Return
Thomas Dunne Books, March 14, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 256 pages
     Science Fiction, Thriller

During a live television broadcast on the night of a lunar eclipse, renowned astrophysicist Andrew Leland is suddenly lifted into the sky by a giant spacecraft and taken away for all to see. Six years later, he turns up, wandering in a South American desert, denying ever having been abducted and disappearing from the public eye.

Meanwhile, he inspires legions of cultish devotees, including a young physics graduate student named Shawn Ferris who is obsessed with finding out what really happened to him. When Shawn finally tracks Leland down, he discovers that he’s been on the run for years, continuously hunted by a secret organization that has pursued him across multiple continents, determined to force him into revealing what he knows.

Shawn soon joins Leland on the run. Though Leland is at first reluctant to reveal anything, Shawn will soon learn the truth about his abduction, the real reason for his return, and will find himself caught up in a global conspiracy that puts more than just one planet in danger.

Equal parts science-fiction and globe-hopping thriller, Joseph Helmreich's The Return will appeal to fans of both, and to anyone who has ever wondered... what’s out there?

Amanda Hickie

Before This is Over
Little, Brown and Company, March 28, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
     Family Life

In the midst of a devastating epidemic, how far will a desperate mother go to keep her loved ones safe?

There is a deadly virus spreading around the world. At first it is a distant alarm bell in the background of Hannah's comfortable suburban life. Then suddenly, it has arrived on the doorstep.

The virus traps Hannah, her husband, and their young sons in their city, then their neighborhood, and finally their own home. As a formerly idyllic backyard and quiet street become battlefields, fear and compassion collide. But what happens when their water supply is cut, and then the power, and the food supply dwindles?

Chilling and suspenseful, at once deeply personal and terrifying in its implications, BEFORE THIS IS OVER invites us to imagine what a family must do to survive when pushed to the extreme.

Jaroslav Kalfar

Spaceman of Bohemia
Little, Brown and Company, March 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages
     Literary Fiction

An intergalactic odyssey of love, ambition, and self-discovery

Orphaned as a boy, raised in the Czech countryside by his doting grandparents, Jakub Procházka has risen from small-time scientist to become the country's first astronaut. When a dangerous solo mission to Venus offers him both the chance at heroism he's dreamt of, and a way to atone for his father's sins as a Communist informer, he ventures boldly into the vast unknown. But in so doing, he leaves behind his devoted wife, Lenka, whose love, he realizes too late, he has sacrificed on the altar of his ambitions.

Alone in Deep Space, Jakub discovers a possibly imaginary giant alien spider, who becomes his unlikely companion. Over philosophical conversations about the nature of love, life and death, and the deliciousness of bacon, the pair form an intense and emotional bond. Will it be enough to see Jakub through a clash with secret Russian rivals and return him safely to Earth for a second chance with Lenka?

Rich with warmth and suspense and surprise, Spaceman of Bohemia is an exuberant delight from start to finish. Very seldom has a novel this profound taken readers on a journey of such boundless entertainment and sheer fun.

Jess Kidd

Atria Books, March 14, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages
     Literary Fiction

“A highly unusual tale set in a highly unusual Irish village full of dark secrets…Lushly imagined, delightfully original, and very, very funny, it hurtles along from the very first page” (M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans).

Having been abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, lovable car thief and Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life that his mother had simply given him up. But when he receives an anonymous note suggesting that foul play may have led to his mother’s disappearance, he sees only one option: to return to the rural Irish village where he was born and find out what really happened twenty-six years ago.

From the moment he sets foot in Mulderrig, Mahony’s presence turns the village upside down. His uncannily familiar face and outsider ways cause a stir among the locals, who receive him with a mixture of excitement (the women), curiosity (the men), and suspicion (the pious).

Determined to uncover the truth about what happened to his mother, Mahony solicits the help of brash anarchist and retired theater actress Mrs. Cauley. This improbable duo concocts an ingenious plan to get the town talking about the day Mahony's mother disappeared and are aided and abetted by a cast of eccentric characters, both living and dead.

Himself is a simmering mixture—a blend of the natural everyday and the supernatural, folklore and mystery, and a healthy dose of quintessentially Irish humor. The result is a darkly comic crime story in the tradition of a classic Irish trickster tale, complete with a twisting and turning plot, a small-town rife with secrets, and an infectious love of language and storytelling that is a hallmark of the finest Irish writers.

Caitriona Lally

Melville House, March 14, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 288 pages
     Contemporary Women, Humorous, Literary Fiction

Vivian doesn’t feel like she fits in — and never has. As a child, she was so whimsical that her parents told her she was “left by fairies.” Now, living alone in Dublin, the neighbors treat her like she’s crazy, her older sister condescends to her, social workers seem to have registered her as troubled, and she hasn’t a friend in the world.

So, she decides it’s time to change her life: She begins by advertising for a friend. Not just any friend. She wants one named Penelope.

Meanwhile, she roams the city, mapping out a new neighborhood every day, seeking her escape route to a better world, the other world her parents told her she came from.

And then one day someone named Penelope answers her ad for a friend. And from that moment on, Vivian’s life begins to change.

Debut author Caitriona Lally offers readers an exhilaratingly fresh take on the Irish love for lyricism, humor, and inventive wordplay in a book that is, in itself, deeply charming, and deeply moving.

Christopher Mari

The Beachhead
47North, March 21, 2017
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 332 pages
     Science Fiction, Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic
     (Solo Debut)

After Earth is decimated, the entire remaining human population is marooned on an unfamiliar beach. The enigmatic winged Orangemen leave the survivors with instructions to remake their society, basic tools and weapons, and a few thousand books, including Bibles in many languages. As two generations are born and raised, conflicting theories as to the nature of the apocalypse continue to simmer.

Fifty years later, the arrival of a new family that shouldn’t exist threatens the delicate peace holding humanity together. Two young soldiers, John Giordano and Kendra McQueen, venture into the unexplored wilderness beyond the city walls in search of answers. But their disquieting discoveries only raise more questions, forcing mankind to reconsider what it means to be human.

In this reflective, provocative postapocalyptic novel, John, Kendra, and the remnants of humanity must find the strength to love and the will to forgive—or they will all perish.

Julianne Pachico

The Lucky Ones
Spiegel & Grau, March 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 272 pages
     Magical Realism, Literary Fiction, Cultural Heritage

A literary jigsaw puzzle of a debut novel set in Colombia during the peak of its decades-long conflict, and in New York City

While her parents are away, a teenager finds herself home alone, with the household staff mysteriously gone, no phone connection, and news of an insurgency on the radio—and then she hears a knock at the door. Her teacher, who has been kidnapped by guerrillas, recites Shakespeare in the jungle to a class of sticks, leaves, and stones while his captors watch his every move. Another classmate, who has fled Colombia for the clubs of New York, is unable to forget the life she left behind without the help of the little bags of powder she carries with her. Taking place over two decades, The Lucky Ones presents us with a world in which perpetrators are indistinguishable from saviors, the truth is elusive, and loved ones can disappear without a trace.

A prismatic tale of a group of characters who emerge and recede throughout the novel and touch one another’s lives in ways even they cannot comprehend, The Lucky Ones captures the intensity of life in Colombia as paramilitaries, guerrillas, and drug traffickers tear the country apart. Combining vivid descriptions of life under siege with a hallucinatory feel that befits its violent world, The Lucky Ones introduces a truly original and exciting new voice in fiction.

Renee Macalino Rutledge

The Hour of  Daydreams
Forest Avenue Press, March 14, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 232 pages
     Literary Fiction, Small Town & Rural, Asian American, Magical Realism

Manolo Lualhati, a respected doctor in the Philippine countryside, believes his wife hides a secret. Prior to their marriage, he spied her wearing wings and flying to the stars with her sisters each evening. As Tala tries to keep her dangerous past from her new husband, Manolo begins questioning the gaps in her stories—and his suspicions push him even further from the truth. The Hour of Daydreams, a contemporary reimagining of a Filipino folktale, weaves in the perspectives of Tala’s siblings, her new in-laws, and the all-seeing housekeeper while exploring trust, identity, and how myths can take root from the seeds of our most difficult truths.

Cat Sparks

Lotus Blue
Talos, March 7, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 388 pages
     Science Fiction, Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic, Genetic Engineering

Powerful war machines of the far-future collide across a barren desert world in this post-apocalyptic debut novel from award-winning Australian author Cat Sparks.

Seventeen-year-old Star and her sister Nene are orphans, part of a thirteen-wagon caravan of nomadic traders living hard lives travelling the Sand Road. Their route cuts through a particularly dangerous and unforgiving section of the Dead Red Heart, a war-ravaged desert landscape plagued by rogue semi-sentient machinery and other monsters from a bygone age.

But when the caravan witnesses a relic-Angel satellite unexpectedly crash to Earth, a chain of events begins that sends Star on a journey far away from the life she once knew. Shanghaied upon the sandship Dogwatch, she is forced to cross the Obsidian Sea by Quarrel, an ancient Templar supersoldier. Eventually shipwrecked, Star will have no choice but to place her trust in both thieves and priestesses while coming to terms with the grim reality of her past—and the horror of her unfolding destiny—as the terrible secret her sister had been desperate to protect her from begins to unravel.

Meanwhile, something old and powerful has woken in the desert. A Lotus Blue, deadliest of all the ancient war machines. A warrior with plans of its own, far more significant than a fallen Angel. Plans that do not include the survival of humanity.

Alex Wells

Hunger Makes the Wolf
Angry Robot, March 7, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages
     Science Fiction, Space Opera

The strange planet known as Tanegawa’s World is owned by TransRifts Inc, the company with the absolute monopoly on interstellar travel. Hob landed there ten years ago, a penniless orphan left behind by a rift ship. She was taken in by Nick Ravani and quickly became a member of his mercenary biker troop, the Ghost Wolves.

Ten years later, she discovers that the body of Nick’s brother out in the dunes. Worse, his daughter is missing, taken by shady beings called the Weathermen. But there are greater mysteries to be discovered – both about Hob and the strange planet she calls home.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Road of Fury | Hob’s Angels | Ghost on the Highway | The Weatherman Says ]

J.D. Wilkes

The Vine That Ate the South
Two Dollar Radio, March 14, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 218 pages
     Science Fiction, Absurdist, Magical Realism

With the energy, wit, and singularity of vision that have earned him a reputation as a celebrated and charismatic musician, The Vine That Ate the South announces J.D. Wilkes as an accomplished storyteller on a surreal, Homeric voyage that strikes at the very heart of American mythology.

In a forgotten corner of western Kentucky lies a haunted forest referred to locally as "The Deadening," where vampire cults roam wild and time is immaterial. Our protagonist and his accomplice—the one and only, Carver Canute—set out down the Old Spur Line in search of the legendary Kudzu House, where an old couple is purported to have been swallowed whole by a hungry vine. Their quest leads them face to face with albino panthers, Great Dane-riding girls, protective property owners, and just about every American folk-demon ever, while forcing the protagonist to finally take stock of his relationship with his father and the man's mysterious disappearance.

The Vine That Ate the South is a mesmerizing fantasia where Wilkes ambitiously grapples with the contradictions of the contemporary American South while subversively considering how well we know our own family and friends.

Han Yujoo

The Impossible Fairy Tale
Graywolf Press, March 7, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 192 pages
Translated from the Korean by Janet Hong
     Literary Fiction

A chilling, wildly original novel from a major new voice from South Korea

The Impossible Fairy Tale is the story of two unexceptional grade-school girls. Mia is “lucky”—she is spoiled by her mother and, as she explains, her two fathers. She gloats over her exotic imported colored pencils and won’t be denied a coveted sweater. Then there is the Child who, by contrast, is neither lucky nor unlucky. She makes so little impression that she seems not even to merit a name.

At school, their fellow students, whether lucky or luckless or unlucky, seem consumed by an almost murderous rage. Adults are nearly invisible, and the society the children create on their own is marked by cruelty and soul-crushing hierarchies. Then, one day, the Child sneaks into the classroom after hours and adds ominous sentences to her classmates’ notebooks. This sinister but initially inconsequential act unlocks a series of events that end in horrible violence.

But that is not the end of this eerie, unpredictable novel. A teacher, who is also this book’s author, wakes from an intense dream. When she arrives at her next class, she recognizes a student: the Child, who knows about the events of the novel’s first half, which took place years before. The Impossible Fairy Tale is a fresh and terrifying exploration of the ethics of art making and of the stinging consequences of neglect.


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