Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The List of Awesome Things

CITY OF THE LOST comes out in one week. And you know how I'm gonna celebrate this pseudo-not-really-a-milestone?

By NOT talking about it.

Over the next week I'm gonna be flogging this thing like a sub with no safe-word. Today, all you gotta know is right there over on the sidebar and that you can pre-order it here.  Or if you're of a more technological bent, go here for the Nook version or here for the Kindle version.

Today I'm gonna pimp other people's work. Stuff I've read, or stuff I want to read, or stuff I've read that you can't read, yet, not because you're not awesome, because you are, but because the publishers have these things called "schedules" and "production runs" and other such impressively business sounding words.

And so here, in no particular order, is a


Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
CRIMINAL: LAST OF THE INNOCENTS The CRIMINAL series is one of the best collaborations in comics and the latest, LAST OF THE INNOCENTS, is a whopper. Brutal, poignant, and deliciously fucked up. Brubaker's story-telling is top notch and Phillips' art (who did the cover and artwork for CITY OF THE LOST, by the way) makes the story pop.

FATALE - Supernatural noir with Lovecraftian hints. I haven't read it, yet, since the first issue's not out until next week, but I so want to get my hands on this.

Chuck Wendig
Wendig's novel BLACKBIRDS isn't out until April, but I got a chance to read it in manuscript form. It's about a girl who can tell how someone will die by touching them. It's about cheating fate, the choices we make and what it really means to choose your own path.

It is one of the most fucking incredible books I have read in years. This book will win awards.

Sadly, you'll have to wait to read it. But if you'd like to get a chance to check out some of his other work, grab a copy of SHOTGUN GRAVY and DOUBLE DEAD. Fantastic reads.

Seanan McGuire
I'm a sucker for good Urban Fantasy. The operative word here is "good". And that's Seanan McGuire. Her Toby Daye series about a changeling who's more than she appears is brilliantly done and hits all the right notes. Start with ROSEMARY AND RUE and read on through to her latest, ONE SALT SEA.

And then there's her new Incryptid series starting in March with DISCOUNT ARMAGEDDON about the Price family who has spent generations studying the monsters of the world.

Mira Grant
Seems like apocalyptic zombie stories are all over the goddamn place, but there aren't a lot doing post-apocalyptic zombie stories. And certainly not well. But Seanan McGuire writing as Mira Grant knocks it out of the park with her Newslfesh series. This is about what happens after civilization has gotten back on its feet again and still dealing with a zombie plague. And what do you know, we're still assholes.

The books are more about news, media and politics than zombies. Start with FEED, grab DEADLINE and then pine for BLACKOUT, which isn't out until February.

John Hornor Jacobs
SOUTHERN GODS One of the best books I've read this year. Set in the post-war South, SOUTHERN GODS is the story of veteran Bull Ingram, who's been hired by a Memphis DJ to track down a mysterious blues musician who goes by the name of Ramblin' John Hastur. Southern gothic, blues music and Lovecraftian horror. Jacobs knocks this out of the park.

Christa Faust
Nobody writes pulp the way Faust does. Brutal, rapid fire prose, poignant moments that make you pause and really think about what she's saying. Everything from her tie-in novels to her Hard Case Crime books is an exercise in how to do it right.

CHOKE HOLD is one of my favorite novels of the year and its prequel, MONEY SHOT is balls to the wall amazing.

Anthony Neil Smith
ALL THE YOUNG WARRIORS "When two of the Twin Cities' “Lost Boys” — young Somali men drafted to fight for terrorists back in the homeland — kill a pair of cops on his home turf, detective Ray Bleeker is left devastated. One of the dead cops was his girlfriend. The investigation grinds to a halt when he discovers that the young murderers have fled to Somalia to fight in the rebel army. He's at his wits' end when the father of one of the boys, an ex-gang leader named Mustafa, comes looking for answers, wanting to clear his son's name and refusing to take no for an answer. Bleeker and Mustafa form an uneasy alliance, teaming up to help bring the boys back home to stand trial. But little do they know what Somalia has in store for them."

This one's on my TBR pile. I've loved Smith's writing ever since I read THE DRUMMER. He's a kick-ass talent who consistently delivers. If you don't read YELLOW MEDICINE and HOGDOGGIN', you are dead to me.

Chris F Holm
Another one you can't get your hands on for a couple of months. DEAD HARVEST is a pulpy supernatural novel about angels and demons and the poor bastards who get stuck in between them. This is a hell of a debut and you're going to want to check it out soon as it comes out.

Duane Swierczynski
Everything this man has ever written is fucking gold. But here are some of his latest. FUN AND GAMES is brilliantly violent. Then there's the follow-up, HELL AND GONE, which I haven't cracked open, yet, and POINT AND SHOOT, which doesn't come out until March.

But if you're really hard up for some Swierczy, check out his comic work. His run on DC's BIRDS OF PREY is phenomenal.

Ray Banks
DEAD MONEY is one of the first books put out by new publisher Blasted Heath. It's on my TBR pile, but his other work are phenomenal. SATURDAY'S CHILD is one of my favorite novels ever.

Caitlin Kittredge
THE IRON THORN is a Lovecraftian, steampunk, YA novel. Anybody else and it would have devolved into a mess of horror cliches and top hats with gears glued on, but Kittredge pulls it off masterfully. The follow-up, THE NIGHTMARE GARDEN is out in February.

And proving that she's a writing machine, I'd be remiss to not mention DEVIL'S BUSINESS, the latest in her Black London series. Great book from an impressive author.

You know what? There are a lot more that should go on this list, but I'm getting a cramp in my fingers.  So how's about you toss a couple into the comments, yourself?


Kristin said...

You pretty much covered my faves of 2011, although a couple more you might like are The Panama Laugh by Thomas S. Roche and Necropolis by Michael Dempsey. So many good ones this year...

Chris said...

Thanks for the kind mention. I'm in some damn fine company!

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Thanks for the recommends, KKristin.

I've got The Panama Laugh on my list of books to grab. Thanks for the reminder.

Looking at this and I realize how many I've forgotten. It's kind of embarrassing.

I may have to do a second list.