Top 10 Must Reads of December 2013 (SF/F/Horror)

Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in the SFF category for December (click on the covers to pre-order)! These are in no particular order. 


Something More Than Night by Ian Tregillis (Tor-Dec. 3rd)

Synopsis-Ian Tregillis’s Something More Than Night is a Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler inspired murder mystery set in Thomas Aquinas’s vision of Heaven. It’s a noir detective story starring fallen angels, the heavenly choir, nightclub stigmatics, a priest with a dirty secret, a femme fatale, and the Voice of God.

Somebody has murdered the angel Gabriel. Worse, the Jericho Trumpet has gone missing, putting Heaven on the brink of a truly cosmic crisis. But the twisty plot that unfolds from the murder investigation leads to something much bigger: a con job one billion years in the making.

Because this is no mere murder. A small band of angels has decided to break out of heaven, but they need a human patsy to make their plan work.

Much of the story is told from the point of view of Bayliss, a cynical fallen angel who has modeled himself on Philip Marlowe. The yarn he spins follows the progression of a Marlowe novel—the mysterious dame who needs his help, getting grilled by the bulls, finding a stiff, getting slipped a mickey.

Angels and gunsels, dames with eyes like fire, and a grand maguffin, Something More Than Night is a murder mystery for the cosmos.




Rain of the Ghosts by Greg Weisman (St. Martins Press-Dec. 3rd)


Synopsis-Rain of the Ghosts is the first in Greg Weisman’s series about an adventurous young girl, Rain Cacique, who discovers she has a mystery to solve, a mission to complete and, oh, yes, the ability to see ghosts.

Welcome to the Prospero Keys (or as the locals call them: the Ghost Keys), a beautiful chain of tropical islands on the edge of the Bermuda Triangle. Rain Cacique is water-skiing with her two best friends Charlie and Miranda when Rain sees her father waiting for her at the dock. Sebastian Bohique, her maternal grandfather, has passed away. He was the only person who ever made Rain feel special. The only one who believed she could do something important with her life. The only thing she has left to remember him by is the armband he used to wear: two gold snakes intertwined, clasping each other’s tails in their mouths. Only the armband . . . and the gift it brings: Rain can see dead people. Starting with the Dark Man: a ghost determined to reveal the Ghost Keys’ hidden world of mystery and mysticism, intrigue and adventure.


The Chosen Seed by Sarah Pinborough (Ace-Dec. 3rd)

Synopsis-The tables have turned, and now Detective Inspector Cass Jones is a wanted man on the streets of London. Framed for murder and hunted by his former colleagues, Cass needs every ally he can get—including a very unexpected figure from his past.

While detectives Hask and Ramsey search for the killer behind the lethal Strain II virus, Mr. Bright continues to pull strings from the shadows, and there are dire warnings of a final battle that could tear everything apart.

As he searches for his kidnapped nephew while eluding his own pursuers, Cass is determined to find the answers—even if he has to confront the darkest secrets of the history of humanity to do it.


Darkwalker by EL Tettensor (Roc-Dec. 3rd)

Synopsis-He used to be the best detective on the job. Until he became the hunted…

Once a legendary police inspector, Nicolas Lenoir is now a disillusioned and broken man who spends his days going through the motions and his evenings drinking away the nightmares of his past. Ten years ago, Lenoir barely escaped the grasp of the Darkwalker, a vengeful spirit who demands a terrible toll on those who have offended the dead. But the Darkwalker does not give up on his prey so easily, and Lenoir has always known his debt would come due one day.

When Lenoir is assigned to a disturbing new case, he treats the job with his usual apathy—until his best informant, a street savvy orphan, is kidnapped. Desperate to find his young friend before the worst befalls him, Lenoir will do anything catch the monster responsible for the crimes, even if it means walking willingly into the arms of his own doom.

History and mystery spark in this effervescent series debut.


Wild Fell by Michael Rowe (ChiZine-Dec. 25th)

Synopsis-The crumbling summerhouse called Wild Fell, soaring above the desolate shores of Blackmore Island, has weathered the violence of the seasons for more than a century. Built for his family by a 19th-century politician of impeccable rectitude, the house has kept its terrible secrets and its darkness sealed within its walls. For a hundred years, the townspeople of Alvina have prayed that the darkness inside Wild Fell would stay there, locked away from the light. Jameson Browning, a man well acquainted with suffering, has purchased Wild Fell with the intention of beginning a new life, of letting in the light. But what waits for him at the house is devoted to its darkness and guards it jealously. It has been waiting for Jameson his whole life – or even longer. And now, at long last, it has found him!


Deadshifted by Cassie Alexander (St. Martins Press-Dec. 31st)

Synopsis-Edie Spence is in desperate need of a vacation—some R&R away from the craziness that shadows her as a nurse dealing with paranormal patients. But as she and her shapeshifter boyfriend, Asher, set sail on a cruise for Hawaii, they’ll realize that seasickness isn’t the only thing threatening their romantic getaway….

While on board, Asher comes face-to-face with Nathaniel, an old nemesis from his dark past. Asher is convinced he’s up to no good…especially when passengers start to come down with a mysterious illness unlike anything Edie and Asher have ever encountered. Soon Edie finds herself fighting for the life of the one person who means the most to her—Asher. As chaos explodes, will Edie be able to save their future together…or will this close encounter with the paranormal side be her last?


The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig (Angry Robot-Dec. 31st)

Synopsis-Overview

Miriam is on the road again, having transitioned from “thief” to “killer”.

Hired by a wealthy businessman, she heads down to Florida to practice the one thing she’s good at, but in her vision she sees him die by another’s hand and on the wall written in blood is a message just for Miriam. She’s expected…

 


Once Upon a Time in Hell by Guy Adams (Solaris-Dec. 31st)

Synopsis-Book two of The Heaven’s Gate Trilogy. A weird western, a gun-toting, cigarrillo-chewing fantasy built from hangman’s rope and spent bullets. The west has never been wilder. A Steampunk-Western-Fantasy from Guy Adams.

“Heaven? Hell? There’s no difference. Angels, demons, we’re all a bit of both. This could be the most wondrous place you ever experience or so terrifying it makes you pray for death. Not that death would help you of course, there’s no escape from here…”

Wormwood has appeared and for twenty four hours the gateway to the afterlife is wide open. But just because a door is open doesn’t mean you should step through it…

Those who have travelled to reach the town are realising that the challenges they’ve already faced were nothing compared to what lies ahead. The afterlife has an agenda of its own and with scheming on both sides of reality, the revelations to come may change the world forever.


Things Withered by Susie Maloney (ChiZine-Dec. 10th)

Synopsis-A middle-aged realtor trying to get ahead any way she can. A bad girl pays for cheating with a married man. A wife with a dark past lives in fear of being exposed. The bad acts of a little old lady come home to roost. A young man with no direction finds power behind the wheel of a haunted truck. From behind the pretty drapes of the average suburban home, madness peers out. Stories of suburban darkness from the award-winning author of A Dry Spell, The Thirteen, and The Dwelling prove that life can turn on you, or you can turn on it!


Plague by Lisa C. Hinsley (Pocket Star-Dec. 9th)

Synopsis-In this enthralling debut thriller written in the vein of Contagion, a young couple struggles to save their plague–stricken son as they desperately fight back against a tyrannical government.

A new strain of the bubonic plague is diagnosed in London. Before it can be contained it spreads through the population, faster and deadlier than anyone could have imagined. Three weeks is all it takes to decimate the country.

Johnny and Liz are devastated when their young son, Nathan, starts to show symptoms, but Liz phones the authorities anyway, and a few hours later the army arrives and boards up their house.

Now Nathan is dying and there is nothing they can do to help him. Hours pass like weeks as their little boy grows weaker and weaker. All Liz wants is for them to die with some dignity, but the authorities refuse to help. Then their Internet and phones stop working. Cut off from the world and stuck inside their house, the family tries its best to cope—but there is nothing they can do to stop the lethal epidemic.

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