Also published on this date: Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 1, 2021

Monday, March 1 Dedicated Issue: Tor Nightfire

Tor Nightfire: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Editors' Note

Introducing Nightfire

With the support of the publisher, Shelf Awareness introduces the first titles published by Nightfire, the new horror imprint from Tor.

Tor Nightfire: Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Books & Authors

Nightfire: 'Connecting Fans From All Backgrounds to Talented Emerging Voices'

Fritz Foy

Time to be scared: there's a new horror line in town, and it highlights all that the genre has to offer.

Nightfire, the new imprint from Tor, encompasses the breadth of horror, from short story collections to novellas and novels, from standalone works to series, from dark fantasy to the supernatural, from originals to reprints of lost modern classics. Nightfire titles will appear in wide range of formats and venues: as books, e-books and audiobooks, graphic novels, and other media.

"We are so thrilled to bring the first full season of Nightfire books to readers this fall," says Fritz Foy, Publisher of Nightfire and President and Publisher of Tom Doherty Associates, which includes Tor, Forge, Tor Teen, Starscape, and Tordotcom Publishing. "In such a rapidly growing and ever-changing genre, we have found some true gems that explore and expand the possibilities of horror. As huge horror fans ourselves, we have been putting our passion for these authors and their books to work to publish these exciting (and terrifying!) new stories."

He continues: "There is a new generation who has discovered the delights of staying up late, binge reading chapter after chapter in order to reach the end of a story that has terrified at every turn. Many of these readers began their horror journey on streaming services or through podcast communities. As fellow horror lovers, we aim to connect fans from all backgrounds to the many talented emerging voices in the field of horror."

Kelly Lonesome

Kelly Lonesome, senior editor of Nightfire, adds, "The most exciting part about launching a dedicated horror imprint like Nightfire is that we get a chance to explore the myriad stories and styles the genre encompasses. We're delighted to be working with such fabulously talented authors who are pushing the boundaries of horror and reinventing beloved tropes, and we can't wait for readers to find their new favorite thrills between our covers!"

The first Nightfire titles begin appearing this fall. If you dare, keep reading to learn more about some of them and their amazing authors.

Tor Nightfire: 27 audio horror short stories from Daniel M. Lavery, T. Kingfisher, Seanan McGuire, and more!

Slewfoot: Brom on 'the Dark Soul and the Dark Side of History'


Slewfoot: A Tale of Bewitchery by Brom (hardcover, $29.99, 9781250622006, September 14, 2021)

Over the past few decades, acclaimed dark fantasy artist Brom has lent his distinctive vision to all facets of the creative industries, from novels and games to comics and film. He is the author of The Child Thief, Krampus, Lost Gods, and the award-winning illustrated horror novels The Plucker and The Devil's Rose. Brom is currently kept in a dank cellar just outside of Seattle.

Slewfoot is set in Connecticut in 1666. An ancient spirit awakens in a dark wood. The wildfolk call him Father, slayer, protector. The colonists call him Slewfoot, demon, devil. To Abitha, a recently widowed outcast, alone and vulnerable in her pious village, he is the only one she can turn to for help. Together, they ignite a battle between pagan and Puritan--one that threatens to destroy the entire village, leaving nothing but ashes and bloodshed in their wake.

Slewfoot is a tale of magic and mystery, of triumph and terror as only dark fantasist Brom can tell it--featuring more than two dozen original paintings.

Here Brom tells about the origins of Slewfoot:

"I have always been fascinated by the dark side of a soul, whether human or other," the author says. "Is it evil to kill that which we need for substance? Is it evil that the wolf should slay the fawn? Or is it just being that which it is?

"Each book I have written explores this theme and with Slewfoot I continue the narrative, but this time I dive not just into my fascination with the dark soul, but also with the dark side of history. The Puritans were very noble in their pursuit of religious purity, but, as with all power structures, there are those who would twist and manipulate the dogma for their own gain and desires, which to me is one of the truest forms of evil.

"It was while watching a documentary on the Salem witch trials that I kept thinking, Now what would it be like if those accused of witchcraft were really witches, if the Devil was their ally, what havoc would ensue? And the tale of Slewfoot was born."

The Last House on Needless Street: Catriona Ward on Her Love of Horror

Catriona Ward

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward (hardcover, $27.99, 9781250812629, September 28, 2021)

Catriona Ward was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in the United States, Kenya, Madagascar, Yemen, and Morocco. She studied English at the University of Oxford, and later the Creative Writing Masters at the University of East Anglia. She won the August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel for her debut, The Girl from Rawblood, and again for Little Eve, making her the first woman to win the prize twice. Little Eve also won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel and will be published by Nightfire.

A gripping psychological horror novel that delivers twist after twist, her latest book, The Last House on Needless Street, is a shocking exploration of the lengths we'll go to protect ourselves from dark truths.

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three. A teenage girl who isn't allowed outside, not after last time. A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory. And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible.

An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.

Here Catriona Ward talks about how her peripatetic childhood drew her to horror and of the joy of her favorite horror writer--Stephen King--loving this book:

"I had a fairly isolated childhood, mostly growing up in remote places," she says. "There weren't many opportunities to make friends, or, when we moved long distances, which we did every three years, continue those friendships I had. A letter took up to six months to reach Madagascar from the US.

"So, instead of friends, like many children everywhere, I had books. Specifically, I read Stephen King. I found that reading horror actually made the world seem less forbidding. His universe was a place to explore feelings of isolation and fear, and that made them more manageable. I read and read and read. His work shaped me as a person, and a writer.

"The fact that he has not only read The Last House on Needless Street but hasn't read anything 'this exciting since Gone Girl' is very significant to me, a personal milestone as well as a professional one. In a year full of struggle and challenges, life has somehow come full circle. I wish I could tell 11-year-old me, who read It late at night under the blankets, what's in store--she would lose her mind."

Nothing But Blackened Teeth: Cassandra Khaw on Their 'Gorgeously Creepy' Novella

Cassandra Khaw

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw (hardcover, $19.99, 9781250759412, October 19, 2021).

Cassandra Khaw is an award-winning game writer and former scriptwriter at Ubisoft Montreal. Khaw's work can be found in places like Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, and Khaw's first original novella, Hammers on Bone, was a British Fantasy Award and Locus Award finalist, and their forthcoming novella, Nothing But Blackened Teeth, will be published by Nightfire in October 2021.

Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a gorgeously creepy novella steeped in folklore and full of devastating twists. It features a group of friends reuniting for a destination wedding in a Japanese mansion that stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of girls sacrificed to keep her company. It's the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends. But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. Because lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart. And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.

Here Khaw discusses the deeply personal roots of this tale:

"Part of the story comes from all the ghosthunting (yes, don't look at me like that) I used to do with my friends when we were in our teens/early 20s," Khaw says. "It was just a thing that Malaysian youth like to do. We would wander into the decaying ruins of old apartment buildings, explore jungle-swallowed houses, peek into old hotels--and it was weird because we all had at least some belief in these things but none of those beliefs involved the idea we wouldn't get horrifically murdered by a ghost. We just...wanted to go poke around in the dark.

"The other part of the story is less funny. When my father killed himself, things exploded for me.

"It led to some really bad days, to tolerating too much for the sake of just having people around: anything to salve that loss, to satisfy that need for some kind of order and connection. Nothing But Blackened Teeth is an exploration of that and fractured friendships and what happens when you know things are broken but you hold onto relationships because they're what you know, what feels safe, and all the painful, poisoned things that happen in the process."

A Sneak Peek at Some of Nightfire's Other Upcoming Titles

Nightfire has a full range of horror titles appearing later this year. Here's a look at more of them:


Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (trade paperback $17.99, 9781250785589, September 7, 2021)

From Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic, comes Certain Dark Things, a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore.

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive in the city's heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

For the first time in paperback, Certain Dark Things includes an exclusive interview with the author, drink recipes by Molly Tanzer, and a Reading Group Guide.


Thomas Olde Heuvelt

HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (trade paperback, $19.99, 9781250780935, September 21, 2021)

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's beds for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes should never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in doing so, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

This chilling novel heralds an exciting voice in mainstream horror and dark fantasy.

This is a new edition of the English-language debut of the bestselling Dutch novel HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, a Hugo Award winner and nominee for several other Hugo and World Fantasy awards.


Dark Stars: New Tales of Darkest Horror edited by John F.D. Taff (hardcover $26.99, 9781250817327, November 2, 2021)

Dark Stars is a tribute to horror’s longstanding short fiction legacy, featuring 12 terrifying original stories from today's most noteworthy authors, with an introduction by bestselling author Josh Malerman and an afterword by Ramsey Campbell.

Ceated as an homage to the 1980 classic horror anthology Dark Forces edited by Kirby McCauley, this collection's dozen novelettes features all-new terrifying stories from award-winning authors and up-and-coming voices like Stephen Graham Jones, Priya Sharma, Usman T. Malik, and Alma Katsu, with seasoned author John F.D. Taff at the helm. An afterword from original Dark Forces contributor Ramsey Campbell is a poignant finale to this bone-chilling collection.

Enter if you dare and discover what horrors await in Dark Stars...

Tor Nightfire: Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

Tor Nightfire: Slewfoot: A Tale of Bewitchery by Brom

Tor Nightfire: Dark Stars: New Tales of Darkest Horror edited by John F D Taff

Tor Nightfire: The Living Dead by George A Romero and Daniel Kraus

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