You know the drill, boys and girls. All of these books are under $5, but you never know how long they’ll last, so be sure to doublecheck the price before you buy. I’ve got SFF and Suspense/Fiction, so you’re sure to finds something to settle down with over the weekend. Enjoy!
I’m thrilled to hand over the blog to Gemma Files today for her Fave Reads of 2014. Gemma is the author of the Hexslinger series, and her newest book, We Will All Go Down Together, just came out in Oct., so be sure to check it out!
My likes are pretty specific—I tend to the dark, though that covers a full spectrum of variations on a theme. If you’re looking for uplifting hearts and flowers-type narratives, therefore, you’re unlikely to find those amongst my faves for any given year, and 2014 has been no exception to that rule. Consider yourselves forewarned.
In terms of novels, I’d like to begin with two by Adam Nevill, one of my favorite current British horror authors—House of Small Shadows (St Martin’s Press), available right now outside of the U.K., and No One Gets Out Alive (Pan), which won’t come over here until 2015. Both nominatively haunted house stories, they also both present a striking mixture of morbid psychology, weird mythology and body horror; in terms of choosing between them, I’d say that if you’re fascinated and off-put by false faces of all sorts (puppets, dolls, anthropomorphic taxidermy displays in which stuffed animals take on all the grosser human characteristics) and heretical religious mummery, then House is probably for you, but if you’re more into suffocating kitchen sink awfulness and True Crime creep with a hidden vein of Wicker Man-esque paleolithic human sacrifice narrative lurking underneath, I’d go with No One. But then again, to quote Miguel and Tulio from The Road to El Dorado: “Both, both, both are good.”
The new year is almost here! Here are the books that I’m especially looking forward to in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction for January (it’s a helluva month for suspense!!) Enjoy!
Uncle Janice by Matthew Burgess (Knopf-Jan 6th)
Synopsis-24 year-old Janice Itwaru is an “Uncle”—NYPD lingo for an undercover narcotics officer—and the heroine of the most exuberant and original cop novel in years.
On any given day, Janice Itwaru might be found trolling the streets of Queens for drugs. Janice is an “uncle”—an undercover narcotics officer—trying to meet the impossibly high quota of drug busts needed to make detective, or be sent back down to uniformed patrol. So Janice is out there in her secondhand hoochie skirt, trying to get potential drug dealers—criminals, addicts, dumb kids, whomever—to commit a felony on her behalf. Other days are spent in the “Rumpus Room” at the precinct, trying to keep up with the bantering lies and inventively cruel pranks of her fellow uncles while coping with the insane demands of the big bosses. With an ailing mother at home, her cover nearly blown, four more buys to get her gold shield and rumors circulating that Internal Affairs has her unit under surveillance, Janice is running very short on luck as her quota deadline approaches. Now she has to decide which evil to confront: the faceless bureaucrats at One Police Plaza, or the violent drug dealers who may already be onto her identity. Bursting with the glorious chaos of the streets of New York, Uncle Janice is an uproariously funny portrait of how undercover cops really talk and act, and a compelling story of their crazy, dangerous and often nonsensical lives.
Teresa Frohock is a gifted author, and one of the nicest people in the biz, so I’m very happy to present you with her fave reads during 2014 (keep in mind that these books don’t have to have been published in 2014.) Enjoy, and make sure to check out Teresa’s work while you’re at it!
A very short note: horror always tops my lists, because it truly is my favorite genre; however, I do like to read as much across the field as I can. Here is my list and a few reasons why:
My favorite book of 2014 was Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman. It had everything that I love in a novel: history, horror, and some of the most wonderful characters you’ll ever get to know. I loved that the protagonist was an older man; I loved the hellish dinner scene in the castle and, quite frankly, all of the horror scenes; and I especially, especially loved the climax and the denouement. It is a novel that I will read again, and that is the highest praise I can possibly give to any book.
These four Christopher Moore titles are all under $4 on Kindle, so now you have no excuse (but these prices will probably NOT LAST). Enjoy!!
John Hornor Jacobs never fails to make me laugh, and his entry into my Fave Reads of 2014 series is no exception, so enjoy, and also, be sure to check out all of his books, because they’re made of awesome (just like he is.)
I didn’t read a lot of books this year, but the ones I did that stood out were ridiculously good. BUT – sometimes it’s hard to separate the art from the artist. Case in point, Robert Jackson Bennett. He’s probably the worst person on Earth – an egotist, a liar, pervert, deviant, and doesn’t pay back $20 when you lend him $20 even though he says he’s gonna next week on payday – but he wrote CITY OF STAIRS, a quirky, cold-war John le Carré spy novel slash epic fantasy with (kinda) dead gods, engaging characters and SIGRUD. All caps intended. But he doesn’t need any more praise, really. He’s got praise falling out of his pockets, the son of a bitch.
I’ve been rounding up a few of my favorite authors and asking them what books they loved most in 2014 (they didn’t have to be published in 2014, but it didn’t hurt), and today, Jason M Hough (THe Darwin Elevator, The Exodus Towers, The Plague Forge, The Dire Earth), stopped by to give us a few of his faves.
My favorite Science Fiction novel this year was THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir. There’s almost nothing wrong with this book. The plot is instantly compelling and the main character is a blast to spend time with. Best of all, the science is integral to the story, accurate, and yet never incomprehensible. Weir has a remarkable talent for relating complex ideas to all levels of readers, and even makes growing potatoes a fascinating topic.
Ya’ll know who Daryl Gregory is. Goodness knows I’ve sung his praises more than once on the site, so I was thrilled when he agreed to be a part of my Fave Reads series. Here are the books that really impressed Daryl in 2014 (a series particularly close to my heart)-enjoy!
I need to tell you about Ben H. Winters, if you haven’t heard of him already. I was ready to hate the guy, based only on the fact that he wrote two novelty books, Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters and (wait for it) Android Karenina. It’s of course ridiculous to dislike a guy you haven’t met, for books you haven’t read. For all I know those are well-written parodies. And, as the man said, comedy is hard.
But then early in the year, Liza Trombi, editor in chief of Locus Magazine, told me she thought I’d like his SF / crime novel The Last Policeman. She was wrong about this. I loved it. I finished it in three days (abnormally fast for me) and went on to inhale the next book in the trilogy, Countdown City, which won the Philip K Dick award. World of Trouble came out this summer, and I read it even faster.
The premise of the series is deceptively simple: There’s an asteroid on its way to Earth that will most likely wipe out humanity, and one policeman, Hank Palace, decides to stay on the job even as civilization falls apart.
Deep Secret, the classic fantasy by Diana Wynne Jones, is getting a gorgeous reissue this month from Tor, and not only do I have an excerpt for you, but also a giveaway, so be sure to fill out the widget at the bottom of the excerpt and I’ll pick a winner sometime around the 17th. Enjoy!
I may as well start with some of our deep secrets because this account will not be easy to understand without them.
All over the multiverse, the sign for Infinity or Eternity is a figure eight laid on its side. This is no accident, since it exactly represents the twofold nature of the many worlds, spread as they are in the manner of a spiral nebula twisted like a Möbius strip to become endless. It is said that the number of these worlds is infinite and that more are added daily. But it is also said that the Emperor Koryfos the Great caused this multiplicity of worlds somehow by conquering from Ayewards to Naywards.
You may take your pick, depending on whether you are comfortable with worlds infinitely multiplying, or prefer to think the number stable. I have never decided.
Two facts, however, are certain: one half of this figure eight of worlds is negative magically, or Naywards, and the other half positive, or Ayewards; and the Empire of Koryfos, situated across the twist at the centre, has to this day the figure-eight sign of Infinity as its imperial insignia.
This sign appears everywhere in the Empire, even more frequently than statues of Koryfos the Great. I have reason to know this rather well. About a year ago, I was summoned to the Empire capital, Iforion, to attend a judicial enquiry. Some very old laws required that a Magid should be present—otherwise I am sure they would have done without me, and I could certainly have done without them. The Koryfonic Empire is one of my least favourite charges. It is traditionally in the care of the most junior Magid from Earth and I was at that time just that. I was tired too. I had only the day before returned from America, where I had, almost single-handed, managed to push the right people into sorting out some kind of peace in the former Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland. But all my pride and pleasure in this vanished when I saw the summons. Groaning to myself, I put on the required purple bands and cream silk brocade garments and went to take my seat in the closed court.
I thought it might be fun to ask a few authors to tell us a little about their fave reads of 2014. This isn’t a Best of 2014 post, though, just what books they really enjoyed reading during 2014. David Nickle kindly started us off, and keep an eye out for many more posts throughout the month (I’ve got recs coming from Daryl Gregory, Gemma Files, Jeff Somers, and more)!
A caveat about this title for US Readers: The Broken Hours is only available in Canada (you could order a copy from !ndigo Canada or Amazon Canada), for now…but keep an eye out, and maybe it will get you in the mood for some Lovecraft!
Let me pull on your coat about The Broken Hours, by Jacqueline Baker. Subtitled “A Novel of H.P. Lovecraft,” Baker’s novel is a deftly-wrought ghost story set during Lovecraft’s final months alive in a winter-locked Providence, Rhode Island in the company of a down-and-out and not-quite-unreliable narrator, who’s been hired on as a personal assistant. Baker manages the near-impossible feat of wrestling Lovecraft’s idiosyncratic and often awkward prose style into something that’s quite sublime. She does dial back the horror, but only in the sense that she turns Lovecraft’s cosmic terror lens to the half-frozen earth and the broken people who inhabit it.