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Cover reveal! This edge-of-your-seat YA horror flips Western archetypes for a gritty, edgy, and wholly original read. Red in Tooth and Claw by Lish McBride hits shelves October 8, 2024!

For fans of Dread Nation and Westworld!

Faolan Kelly’s grandfather is dead. She’s alone in the world and suddenly homeless, all because the local powers that be don’t think a young man of sixteen is mature enough to take over his grandfather’s homestead…and that’s with them thinking Faolan is a young man. If she revealed that her grandfather had been disguising her for years, they would marry her off at the first opportunity.

The mayor finds a solution that serves everyone but Faolan: He hires a gunslinger to ship her off to the Settlement, a remote fort where social outcasts live under the leadership of His Benevolence Gideon Dillard. It’s a place rife with mystery, kept afloat by suspicious wealth. Dillard’s absolute command over his staff just doesn’t seem right. And neither do the strange noises that keep Faolan up at night.

When Faolan finds the body of a Settlement boarder, mangled by something that can’t possibly be human, it’s clear something vicious is stalking the palisades. And as Settlement boarders continue to drop like flies, Faolan knows she must escape to evade the creature’s wrath.

Scroll down to see the cover and read a sneak peek. Preorder your copy here!

Cover design by Kristie Radwilowicz; Cover illustrations by Evangeline Gallagher

The sun was riding low on the second day when we made it to the Settlement. I will be honest here if nowhere else—the sight sent a chill through my gizzards. I’d never seen the like. The palisade walls were tall and hewn together from entire logs, the tops carved to points, the bottoms buried within the earth.

I was a good climber, but those walls were beyond my expertise. The wall went on for ages, broken only in the center by an intimidating door the size of several donkey carts. On a few of the logs we passed I could see long furrows cut into the wood. They reminded me of the scratches bears left on trees in the woods sometimes.

I’d lived through lean times. I didn’t expect feather pillows and silver spoons. But this place looked like it might chew you up and spit you out if it didn’t like your flavor, and it would do worse to you if it did.

The wagon creaked across the open space, making its way through the rutted dirt path that led up to the only entrance in sight. The ground was still hard, half-frozen, though a spring thaw might happen soon. Around the fort was a wide swath of dirt, and I could tell at least part of it would be tilled and turned into crops as soon as the ground allowed. Then nothing but evergreens for as far as the eye could see. Far off in the distance, I could make out the faintest trace of smoke. Not enough for a town. A cabin or two, or a camp, maybe. Off to one side, a range of hills, too short to be mountains but large enough to give the land character, cut against the sky.

When the cart got close to the gate, a dark-haired man peeked over the top. One of his ruddy cheeks was thick with chaw. I knew this because he spit a glob of it, and I watched it splatter next to me in the cart.

“Who goes?” The words came out officious and sneering, the tones of a bully.

Cartwright removed his pipe, shouting up at the gatekeeper. “Delivery.”

The man looked us over. “Not sure we want any of what you got.”

He must charm the little birds down from the sky, that man.

A disembodied voice floated over from another part of the palisades. “Aw, let them in, Harris, before Miss Moon grabs your ear.” A man’s head popped up next to Harris’s. Shaggy blond hair stuck under a bowler cap over an equally shaggy beard. He looked like the kind of man who would laugh when you tripped.

Finally, Davens raised a hand in a stopping motion. “Hold there, if you please.”

Once I was through those gates, there would be no getting out unless I was let out. I briefly considered running for it.

The gunslinger looked at me. “Don’t even think about it.”

Penguin Teen