URBAN FANTASY (and choice associated fictions) Books in 2017!

Car - Urban Fantasy We love our Urban Fantasy here at Carabas and one of the sub-genre’s we particularly focus on, having appeal both to genre fans and mainstream readers. So here’s a round-up of the great UF books and graphic novels publishing/ed in 2017!
NB. This is pretty comprehensive round-up of the UK scene though necessarily arbitrary in some inclusions and omissions. As mentioned elsewhere we tend to assume that anyone looking for their next paranormal romance and / or vampire-werewolf led read will know exactly where to find it. This isn’t an attempt to define the sub-genre and while we’re more than happy to hear about obvious omissions we all have to draw a line somewhere.



CB - HZ - Jun - Stiletto

STILETTO * Daniel O’Malley * 9781781853948 * PB * £7.99 * Head of Zeus * The Checquy Files * 2

THE CHECQUY: A centuries-old covert organization that protects the nation from supernatural threat.

THE GRAFTERS: A centuries-old supernatural threat.

After centuries of rivalry and bloodshed, two secret and otherworldly organisations – The Checquy and The Grafters – are on the verge of joining forces, and only one person has the supernatural skills – and the bureaucratic finesse – to get the job done: Myfanwy Thomas.

But as a wave of gruesome atrocities sweep London, ingrained paranoias flare, old hatreds ignite and negotiations grind to a halt. It is up to Myfanwy to find the culprits before they trigger a devastating, all-out, supernatural war between the reluctant allies.”

With The Checquy Daniel O’Malley joined the (un)hallowed halls of the popular #UrbanFantasy subgenre. Here’s the sequel. #London Based
Buy from Waterstones



B - Feb 17 - A Conjuring of Light

A CONJURING OF LIGHT * V.E. Schwab * 9781785652448 * PB * £7.99 * Titan * A Darker Shade of Magic * 3

The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise. Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari -begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. Lila Bard, once a commonplace but never common thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery and the Night Spire crew are attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible, as an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown and a fallen hero is desperate to save a decaying world…

Buy from Waterstones
B - Feb 17 - Smells Like Finn Spirit

SMELLS LIKE FINN SPIRIT * Randy Henderson * 9781783297290 * PB * £7.99 * Titan * Finn Fancy Necromancy * 3

Finn’s re-adaptation to the human world is not going so well. He’s got a great girlfriend, and is figuring out how things like the internet work, but he is still carrying the disembodied personality of Alynon, Prince of the Silver Demesne, the fae who had occupied his body during his imprisonment. And he’s not getting along at all with his older brother. And oh, by the way, his dead grandfather is still trying to possess him to bring about Armageddon.

Buy from Waterstones
G - Feb 17 - Weird Detective

WEIRD DETECTIVE * Fred Van Lente, Guiu Villanova * 9781506700380 * PB * £14.99 * Dark Horse

* Graphic Novel * The streets of New York have been plagued by a pattern of crimes too weird and bizarre for the average detective. Lurking in the evidence are shadows of loathsome horrors from beyond space and time, seeking to usher in the unimaginable evil of the Old Ones. And the only man capable of fighting against the unspeakable terrors isn’t a man at all. Detective Sebastian Green is one of them it takes a monster to catch a monster.

Buy from Forbidden Planet



CB - Ho - Aug 16 - Poison City

POISON CITY * Paul Crilley * 9781473631601 * PB * £7.99 * Hodder * London Tau * 1

Cop. Drunkard. Low-grade magic user. My name is Gideon Tau, but most people just call me London.

Three years ago, someone killed my daughter. I sacrificed everything to learn his name – and then allowed that knowledge to be erased from my mind.

It was for a good cause: I was saving the world, after all.

But now I have to start over from scratch, with only my boss and my dog to help me find my daughter’s killer. The reanimated corpse of my boss, and my alcoholic, foul-mouthed demonic sidekick dog, that is.

Our journey will take us from Durban, South Africa to London, England.

And once we’re there… well, if things seemed dark before, they’re about to get a lot darker.

Buy from Waterstones
B - Mar - Relics

RELICS * Tim Lebbon * 9781785650307 * PB * £7.99 * Titan

There’s an underground black market for arcane things. Akin to the trade in rhino horns or tigers bones, this group trafficks in mummified satyrs, gryphons claws, and more. When Angela Gough’s lover Vince goes missing, she sets out to find him whatever the risk. She learns that he was employed by the infamous London crime lord Frederick Meloy, providing bizarre objects beyond imagining. Descending into the city’s underbelly, she uncovers a deadly side to the black market. It might have claimed Vince, and Angela may be next. Gripping supernatural terror launching a new trilogy by the acclaimed author of Coldbrook ( distinct, unique, and absorbing ), The Silence ( truly addictive ), and the Alien-Predator Rage War.

“Tim Lebbon’s RELICS opens a darkly beautiful glimpse into another world, one lurking in the shadows, hovering at the corner of the eye. If Anne Rice and Clive Barker had written a story together, it might have looked something like this novel: richly imagined, fantastical, yet grounded in the grit and reality of modern-day London. I look forward to the wonders and terrors yet to come.” – JAMES ROLLINS, New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Labyrinth.

“A magical, perilous drama full of characters who live and breathe, darkness you can feel… “–Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Ararat.

“Tim Lebbon is an immense talent”;–Joe R. Lansdale, creator of Hap and Leonard.

Buy from Waterstones
B - Mar - Wild Chamber

WILD CHAMBER * Christopher Fowler * 9780857523433 * HB * £16.99 * Transworld * Bryant & May * 14

Our story begins at the end of an investigation, as the members of London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit race to catch a killer near London Bridge Station in the rain, not realising that they’re about to cause a bizarre accident just yards away from the crime scene. And it will have repercussions for them all…

One year later, in an exclusive London crescent, a woman walks her dog – but she’s being watched. When she’s found dead, the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to investigate. Why? Because the method of death is odd, the gardens are locked, the killer had no way in – or out – and the dog has disappeared.

So a typical case for Bryant & May. But the hows and whys of the murder are not the only mysteries surrounding the dead woman – there’s a missing husband and a lost nanny to puzzle over too. And it seems very like that the killer is preparing to strike again.

As Arthur Bryant delves in to the history of London’s ‘wild chambers’ – its extraordinary parks and gardens, John May and the rest of the team seem to have caused a national scandal. If no-one is safe then all of London’s open spaces must be closed…

With the PCU placed under house arrest, only Arthur Bryant remains at liberty – but can a hallucinating old codger catch the criminal and save the unit before it’s too late?

Buy from Waterstones
B - Mar - The Remnant

THE REMNANT * Charlie Fletcher * 9780356502960 * HB * 18.99 Little Brown

The Oversight is most dangerous when most reduced. There are many dead and gone who did not remember that.””

The Oversight of London has been sworn for millennia to prevent the natural and the supernatural worlds from preying on each other.

Now, at its lowest ebb, with its headquarters destroyed and its last members scattered far and wide, this secret society will battle for survival and face the harshest foe it has ever met: itself.

Click here for Book 2, the Paradox
Buy from Waterstones



BOUND * Benedict Jacka * 9780356507194 * PB * 8.99 * Little Brown * Alex Verus * 8

Alex Verus can see the future. But he never thought he’d see this day.

Manoeuvred by forces beyond his control, the probability mage has made a terrible choice: he’s agreed to work for his old master once more.

Richard Drakh, the sadistic dark mage Alex escaped as an apprentice, has him in his clutches again. And this time, he won’t let go so easily.

The latest from Mr Benedict Jacka and the exploits of his Camden-based wizard. #London #UrbanFantasy
Buy from Waterstones



THE NIGHTMARE STACKS * Charles Stross * 9780356505367 * PB * 8.99 * The Laundry Files * Little Brown

Alex Schwartz had a great job and a promising future – until he caught an unfortunate bout of vampirism, and agreed (on pain of death) to join the Laundry, Britain’s only counter-occult secret intelligence agency.

His first assignment is in Leeds – his old hometown. But the thought of telling his parents he’s lost his job, let alone their discovering his ‘condition’, is causing Alex almost as much anxiety as his new lifestyle of supernatural espionage.

His only saving grace is Cassie Brewer, a student from the local Goth Festival who flirts with him despite his fear of sunlight (and girls). But Cassie has secrets of her own – secrets that make Alex’s night life seem positively normal . . .

James Bond meets H. P. Lovecraft in the latest occult thriller from Hugo Award winner Charles Stross, in a series where British spies take on the supernatural.”

#UrbanFantasy Check out the previous Laundry Files titles on Carabas: The Annihilation Score… 
Buy from Waterstones

SUMMER MAGIC * Alan McKenzie, John Ridgway, Steve Parkhouse * 9781781085417 * PB * £19.99 * 2000 AD

* Graphic Novel * In the summer of 1962, young Luke Kirby is sent to stay with his Uncle Elias(a man he had never met) in a British village called Lunstead, while his mother recuperates from an illness. Elias reveals himself to be a magician, well versed in the alchemical arts and eager to pass his skills onto his young nephew. But as the apprenticeship begins a new, bestial horror begins to stalk those unfortunate enough to wander alone at night in the woods. Will the burgeoning magician be powerful enough to confront the monster? To enter this world of wonder, childhood innocence must be sacrificed…

Before Harry Potter there was Luke Kirby. This rather blew our minds when we read it in the late 80s in the pages of 2000 AD. Available again for your enjoyment in collected form. Recommended.
Buy from Forbidden Planet

HELLBOY: INTO THE SILENT SEA * Mike Mignola, Gary Gianni, Dave Stewart * 9781506701431 * PB * £12.50 * Dark Horse

* Graphic Novel * Hellboy sets sail from the wreckage of a deserted island only to cross paths with a ghost ship. Taken captive by the phantom crew that plans to sell him to the circus, Hellboy is dragged along by a captain who will stop at nothing in pursuit of a powerful sea creature. Following the events of Hellboy: The Island (Dark Horse), Gary Gianni draws Hellboy in an original graphic novel.

Original Graphic Novel – ie. not a collection of previously available comics: Hellboy fans will be after this volume
Buy from Forbidden Planet

A CITY DREAMING * Daniel Polansky * 9781473634282 * PB * £8.99 * Hodder

Imagine a city within a city, where monsters walk the street and magic fills the night. This is New York, but not as you know it. This New York is a city of magic and monsters. Where ordinary people live alongside demons and nightmares, completely unaware of them. New York is home to M, a man with a past…and a secret. He knows more about the creatures who call his city home than anyone else in the world. He walks between the two worlds, at home in neither but more than comfortable in both. M is the man the monsters call when things get bad. And things are about to get really, really bad.

Buy from Waterstones



STRANGE TIDE * Christopher Fowler * 9780857503091 * PB * £8.99 * Transworld * Bryant & May * 13

The river Thames is London’s most important yet neglected artery. When a young woman is found chained to a post in the tide, no-one can understand how she came to be drowned there. At the Peculiar Crimes Unit, Arthur Bryant and John May find themselves dealing with an impossible crime committed in a very public place.

Soon they discover that the river is giving up other victims, but as the investigation extends from the coast of Libya to the nightclubs of North London, it proves as murkily sinister as the Thames itself. That’s only part of the problem; Bryant’s rapidly deteriorating condition prevents him from handling the case, and he is confined to home. To make matters worse, May makes a fatal error of judgement that knocks him out of action and places everyone at risk.

With the PCU staff baffled as much by their own detectives as the case, the only people who can help now are the battery of eccentrics Bryant keeps listed in his diary, but will their arcane knowledge save the day or make matters even worse? Soon there’s a clear suspect in everyone’s sights – the only thing that’s missing is any scrap of evidence.

As the detectives’ disastrous investigation comes unstuck, the whole team gets involved in some serious messing about on the river. In an adventure that’s as twisting as the river upon which it’s set, will there be anything left of the Peculiar Crimes Unit when it’s over?”

Buy from Waterstones

RESURRECTION * Derek Landy * 9780008169022 * HB * £14.99 * Harpercollins * Skullduggery Pleasant * 10

* Kids / YA * The skeleton detective is coming back to life… again! It’s the tenth, triumphant novel in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, and it will rearrange your world.

Skulduggery and Valkyrie are back in the tenth instalment in the bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series – an incredible and unexpected treat for the legions of fans around the world.

We can’t say much but we can say this: Skulduggery and Valkyrie are going to team up with beloved characters from the first 9 books as well as an all-new cast, including new teen co-star Omen Darkly, for an adventure that takes the story to truly global proportions… while answering questions that go right back to the beginning.

And Derek says this: “I was halfway through Last Stand of Dead Men, I think, when I realised that I had more stories to tell. I told myself that if Skulduggery and Valkyrie survived the series, I would leave the option open of returning to their world. There were still secrets I need to reveal, after all, and there were still horrors they had to face. They survived the first series. But they’re really going to wish they hadn’t.”

#YoungAdult / #MiddleGrade
Buy from Waterstones

RIVERS OF LONDON VOL 3 BLACK MOULD * Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan * 9781785855108 * PB * £13.99 * Titan Comics

CSI meets Harry Potter in this fantastic new graphic novel from Ben Aaronovitch, writer of the bestselling Rivers of London novel series! Something dark and slimy is dripping through the walls of suburban London. Not the usual stuff, this mould is possessed by some dark power full of bad intentions. Looks like it’s another case for London’s one and only trainee wizard cop, Police Constable Peter Grant, and his reluctant partner, Sahra Guleed!

Canonical comic series expanding the adventures of policeman-wizard PC Peter Grant…
Buy from Forbidden Planet


*** INTERLUDE AND NOTE: We switched to a new condensed preview format from July with smaller jackets and headline text instead of the full publisher copy. Just to be clear, the books from the latter half of the year are every bit as awesome as those from the former 🙂 ***



THE HANGING TREE * Ben Aaronovitch * 9780575132573 * PB * £8.99 * Gollancz * Ben A’s latest in his blockbuster London-set Urban Fantasy that’s hit the big time by tapping the police procedural market. Always great stuff…
THE DELIRIUM BRIEF * Charles Stross * 9780356508283 * HB * £18.99 * Orbit * The latest in UK SF mainstay Charles Stross Lovecraftian Urban Fantasy series, now with the attention returned to core protagonist Bob Howard…
HANNAH GREEN AND HER UNFEASIBLY MUNDANE EXISTENCE * Michael Marshall Smith * 9780008237912 * HB * £12.99 * Harper Voyager * Michael Marshall Smith is the greatest SF author you’ve (probably) never heard of, being the genius behind Spares, One of Us and, especially, the sublime Only Forward. And now he’s back! More folkloric than Sf this time, with the tale of a girl who’s grandfather befriended the devil. Anyone can say expect the unexpected – where MMS is concerned the unexpected is likely to hit you like a rhinocerous on barbituates.
VIGIL * Angela Slatter * 9781784294045 * PB * £8.99 * Jo Fletcher Books * Jim Butcher has the US. Aaronovitch has the UK. Crilly’s grabbed South Africa. Now Angela Slatter grabs the Australian Urban Fantasy crown with this new series featuring half-fae Verity Fassbinder. Book one in paperback and two in trade boast a proper array of interpreted pan-eurasian entities, the hallmark of any serious UF offering… 
CORPSELIGHT * Angela Slatter * TPB * £13.99 * Jo Fletcher Books



RAISING FIRE * James Bennett * 9780356506654 * PB * £8.99 * Orbit * Ben Garston * 2 * James Bennett returns with the follow-up to Chasing Embers, a series whose present-day protagonist is a wiz– wait, sorry, a dragon. Strong mythic foundations we gather – looking forward to a read ourselves… 



THE FURTHEST STATION * Ben Aaronovitch * 9781473222427 * HB * £12.99 * Gollancz * PC Grant * Somewhat hot off the heels of the paperback of The Hanging Tree, the UK’s mainstay of Urban Fantasy returns with a PC Grant Novella in which Pete and Sergeant Kumar are after a ghost with an important message…
URBAN ENEMIES * See below * 9781501155086 * PB * £10.99 * Gallery Books * Anthology of big name Urban Fantasists telling tales from the bad guys perspective: by Jim Butcher (the Dresden Files), Kelley Armstrong (Cainsville), Seanan McGuire (October Daye), Kevin Hearne (The Iron Druid Chronicles), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville), Joseph Nassise (Templar Chronicles), Domino Finn (Black Magic Outlaw), Steven Savile (Glasstown), Caitlin Kittredge (Hellhound Chronicles), Jeffrey Somers (The Ustari Cycle), Sam Witt (Pitchfork County), Craig Schaefer (Daniel Faust), Jon F. Merz (Lawson Vampire), Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), and Diana Pharaoh Francis (Horngate Witches). Anyone missing? 



CLOCKWORK CITY * Paul Crilley * 9781473631632 * HB * £18.99 * Hodder * Paul Crilley’s been all kinds of sneaky with his Urban Fantasy series the Delphic Division: he kicked off in Poison City, refreshingly based in outh Africa. Now his protagonist Gideon Tau, called also London based on where he’s from, returns – this time in… London? Oh we see what you did their Crilley. We see what you did. 😉 


You might also like to check out:

A Pint with Jim Butcher (our inaugural interview on Carabas)

Our Urban Fantasy articles from LonCon3…


And – if I might be so bold – my own London-based urban fantasy shorts featuring Marwood, journeyman magician in the big city




Tim B