You know those books that you have warm fuzzies about, and still think about years and years later? I’m listing a few of those here, in the hopes that you’ll discover a new love, because love them I do, and hope you will too. Oh dear, that rhymed…
These are in no particular order.
SWAN SONG by Robert R McCammon-I read my parents’ beat up copy of Swan Song when I was about 15, and it’s influenced me in my reading since. It centers around a girl named Swan, and the protectors that gather around her in a post-apocalyptic, blasted landscape, and it’s still unlike anything else I’ve ever read. This was as close to perfect as it gets for me, and if you love books that blend genre, Swan Song has you covered. McCammon folded the best of horror and SFF into this book, and produced a singular, immersive, fantastic experience. Mostly I remember how this book made me feel, and few books have come close since. It’s an SFF/Horror classic.
CITY OF MASKS by Daniel Hecht: Hecht is a wonderful writer, and I urge you to pick up all his books, but my discovery of his work came with City of Masks, the first in a series featuring Cree Black, and empath who is also a clinical psychiatrist and parapsychologist. When she’s asked to investigate a haunting at a 150 year old New Orleans house, she gets a bit more than she bargained for. The perfect New Orleans supernatural thriller.
OTHERS by James Herbert-James Herbert passed away last year, but he left us with a list of horror masterpieces that will always remain the benchmark for many authors, and readers. One of the standouts, for me, was Others, an odd, heartbreaking, supernatural story that left me wrung out, but in a good way. PI Nicholas Dismas is not your usual hero, and he brings his unique experience to a missing persons case that’s like no other. Dis will break your heart, and this book will stay with you for a long time.
HOUSEHOLD GODS by Harry Turtledove and Judith Tarr–Household Gods is one of the very few books that I’ve read multiple times, and if you enjoy the Outlander series, this one should appeal to you, because it’s about a woman, very much out of her own time. It’s the story of modern woman Nicole Gunther Perrin who makes a wish while gazing at who she thinks are wine gods after a terrible day of dealing with job woes and ex-husband woes, who falls asleep, and wakes up in 170 A.D. Carnuntum, in the Roman Empire. All of a sudden, she’s in the body of a tavern owner’s widow, and she must acclimate quickly to her new environment. Plague, filth, and brutality are all in a day’s experience during that time, but there’s also great beauty, and of course, it’s a journey of self discovery for Nicole. This is an exciting and fascinating book, and if you love time travel and historicals, you should love this one too.
SHADOW OF A BROKEN MAN by George C Chesbro-Ask me what one of my favorite all time series is, and I’ll say the Mongo series by George C Chesbro. Chesbro died in 2008, but he gave us 15 books in the Mongo series, and they’re all perfect slices of aewsome. Dr. Robert Frederickson, known to his friends as Mongo, is a criminology professor in New York, a former circus performer, and a dwarf. His dwarfism comes with a myriad of health problems, and this sense of his own mortality is something that strongly drives the narrative of these novels. Genre bending is a big thing lately, and this series was one of the first to bend the detective series into much more, with SF elements thrown in the mix. Mongo’s kindness and humanity will break your heart, but you won’t be able to put these amazing books down, once you start.
Note: This series is recently back in print, but I had a lot of fun scouring used bookstores for first editions.
FOUR AND TWENTY BLACKBIRDS by Cherie Priest-You know Priest from her Clockwork Century novels and most recently, Maplecroft, but the Eden Moore series is where I discovered her, and it still remains my favorite. In Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Priest explores family ties among the ghosts, the Civil War (of course), and nobody does Southern Gothic like Ms. Priest. If you haven’t discovered this series (3 books so far), what are you waiting for?