December 2014 Must Reads in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in SFF for December! What are you looking forward to?


godsandmonstersGods and Monsters: Mythbreaker by Stephen Blackmoore (Abaddon-Dec. 2nd)

Synopsis-Louie “Fitz” Fitzsimmons is getting out of the drugs business. It was never what you might call a career, anyway; he’s got problems – strange, violent, vivid hallucinations that have plagued him since he was a kid – and what with one thing and another, this is where he’s ended up. So he’s been cooking Hollywood gangster Blake Kaplan’s books, and putting a little aside for a rainy day – fifteen million, give or take – and he figures it’s time to cut and run. Until a vision hits at the worst possible moment, and now he’s in hospital and looking at a stretch in County on a possession charge.

Then a Lithuanian goddess of the hunt murders her way into the hospital, and Fitz ends up on the run from a pissed-off angel, and there’s new gods – gods of business and the internet – hunting him down, and what started as a bad day gets a whole lot worse. Because Fitz is a Chronicler, a prophet – a modern Moses or Hesiod – with the power to make, or break, the gods themselves…


vacantVacant by Alex Hughes (Roc -Dec. 2nd)
Synopsis-Nothing ruins a romantic evening like a brawl with lowlifes—especially when one of them later turns up dead and my date, Detective Isabella Cherabino, is the #1 suspect. My history with the Atlanta PD on both sides of the law makes me an unreliable witness, so while Cherabino is suspended, I’m paying my bills by taking an FBI gig.

I’ve been hired to play telepathic bodyguard for Tommy, the ten-year-old son of a superior court judge in Savannah presiding over the murder trial of a mob-connected mogul. After an attempt on the kid’s life, the Feds believe he’s been targeted by the businessman’s “associates.”

Turns out, Tommy’s a nascent telepath, so I’m trying to help him get a handle on his Ability. But it doesn’t take a mind reader to see that there’s something going on with this kid’s parents that’s stressing him out more than a death threat…


dangerousgames

Dangerous Games edited by Jonathan Oliver (Solaris-Dec. 4th)
Synopsis-In a world of chances, one decision can bring down the house, one roll of the dice could bring untold wealth, or the end of everything. In this anthology of all new short stories the players gather, their stories often dark, and always compelling.

The players and the played, this new anthology from Jonathan Oliver (Magic, End of The Road, House of Fear, The End of The Line, World War Cthulhu) brings together brand new stories from an international team of talented authors, each with their own deadly game. This collection is set to include a full house of top authors including Hugo award-winning American writer Pat Cadigan, Brit Gary McMahon, Mexican Silvia Moreno Garcia, plus Tade Thompson, Rebecca Levene and more!


angeloftheabyssAngel of the Abyss by Ed Kurtz (DarkFuse-Dec. 2nd)
Synopsis-When Graham Woodard is hired to restore part of a previously lost silent horror film—Angel of the Abyss—the last thing he expects is the first in a series of murders clearly meant to keep it lost.

With one-time friend Jake Maitland in tow, the two must now navigate the treacherous enigma that is the lost film, while piecing together the story of the film’s ill-fated starlet, Grace Baron, who vanished in 1926. The closer they get to the truth, the more blood is spilled, and it soon becomes apparent that there is much more to the lost film than anyone expected, as there are still forces that will stop at nothing to keep it and its star buried. The darkness the strange film conjured all those years ago has come alive again with its discovery, and now everyone from Graham’s own estranged ex-wife to the LAPD is getting involved.

And the body count is growing.

From the burgeoning film studios of 1920s Hollywood to the perilous streets and dark underbelly of modern-day Los Angeles, Angel of the Abyss is a dangerous tapestry of cinema, history and murder, at the center of which stand two men with everything to lose.


forafewsoulsmoreFor a Few Souls More by Guy Adams (Solaris- Dec. 30th)
Synopsis-THE THRILLING CONCLUSION TO THE HEAVEN’S GATE TRILOGY!

The uprising in Heaven is at an end and Paradise has fallen, becoming the forty-third state of America. Now angels and demons must learn to get along with humans. The rest of the world is in uproar. How can America claim the afterlife as its own? It’s certainly going to try as the President sets out for the town of Wormwood for talks with its governor, the man they call Lucifer.

Hell has problems of its own. There’s a new evangelist walking its roads, trying to bring the penitent to paradise, and a new power is rising. Can anyone stand up to the Godkiller?


lowmidnightLow Midnight by Carrie Vaughn (Tor-Dec. 30th)
Synopsis-Cormac, the Kitty Norville series’ most popular supporting character, stars in his first solo adventure.

Carrie Vaughn’s Low Midnight spins out of the series on the wave of popularity surrounding Kitty’s most popular supporting character, Cormac Bennett, a two-minded assassin of the paranormal who specializes in killing lycanthropes. In his first solo adventure, Cormac, struggling with a foreign consciousness trapped inside him, investigates a century-old crime in a Colorado mining town which could be the key to translating a mysterious coded diary…a tome with secrets that could shatter Kitty’s world and all who inhabit it. With a framing sequence that features Kitty Norville herself, Low Midnight not only pushes the Kitty saga forward, but also illuminates Cormac’s past and lays the groundwork for Kitty’s future.


thingshalfinshadowThings Half in Shadow by Alan Finn (Gallery-Dec. 30th)

Synopsis-Postbellum America makes for a haunting backdrop in this historical and supernatural tale of moonlit cemeteries, masked balls, cunning mediums, and terrifying secrets waiting to be unearthed by an intrepid crime reporter.

The year is 1869, and the Civil War haunts the city of Philadelphia like a stubborn ghost. Mothers in black continue to mourn their lost sons. Photographs of the dead adorn dim sitting rooms. Maimed and broken men roam the streets. One of those men is Edward Clark, who is still tormented by what he saw during the war. Also constantly in his thoughts is another, more distant tragedy—the murder of his mother at the hands of his father, the famed magician Magellan Holmes…a crime that Edward witnessed when he was only ten.

Now a crime reporter for one of the city’s largest newspapers, Edward is asked to use his knowledge of illusions and visual trickery to expose the influx of mediums that descended on Philadelphia in the wake of the war. His first target is Mrs. Lucy Collins, a young widow who uses old-fashioned sleight of hand to prey on grieving families. Soon, Edward and Lucy become entwined in the murder of Lenora Grimes Pastor, the city’s most highly regarded—and by all accounts, legitimate—medium, who dies mid-séance. With their reputations and livelihoods at risk, Edward and Lucy set out to find the real killer, and in the process unearth a terrifying hive of secrets that reaches well beyond Mrs. Pastor.

Blending historical detail with flights of fancy, Things Half in Shadow is a riveting thriller where Medium and The Sixth Sense meet The Alienist—and where nothing is quite as it seems…


strongoakDetective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf by Terry Newman (Harper Voyager -Dec. 18th)

Synopsis-The world turns and changes, as it has an annoying habit of doing, and Midearth changes with it. History becomes tradition, becomes fable and is reborn as the main feature at your local Palantire Picture House. This is the shiny, bright New Age, you see. In modern Midearth they’ve got steam wagons, speech horns and performance art. And in Midearth the various peoples, men, goblins, elves, gnomes and the pix, have to get by as best they can – especially in the seething metropolis that is The Citadel.

Crime is still with us too, but now that goblins carry shooters, down those mean cobbled streets a dwarf must walk tall. Yes, dwarves are still around as well; dwarves like Nicely Strongoak, Master Detective and Shield for Hire, and this is his toughest case.

A dragon’s dunghill may smell bad, but not half as bad as politics. The elves came back you see, bringing with them the democratic process, but it’s funny how they still seem to be running everything; ‘all peoples are created equal’, but some with blue eyes, blond hair and pointy ears are more equal than others. Now a new political party has sprung up amongst the younger elves and men, the Citadel Alliance Party, with smart blue shirts, a fancy logo and some nasty ideas about equality.

Nicely’s search for a lost boyfriend takes him deep into the murky world of Citadel politics, via surfing elves, a race horse called Rosebud, a stolen emerald ring and a pocket dragon. But it’s only when Nicely and an elf called Truetouch have a narcotic-induced crash into the river that the case really heats up. Nobody misses Truetouch and that is not right, because in the Citadel there’s always somebody around who should miss A DEAD ELF.

Comedy fantasy meets detective fantasy in a seedy underworld bar run by a defrocked wizard.


darkscreamsDark Screams Vol. 1 edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar (Hydra -Dec. 9th)

Synopsis-Stephen King, Kelley Armstrong, Bill Pronzini, Simon Clark, and Ramsey Campbell are the first contributors to a mind-bending new series of short-story collections that push the boundaries of horror and dark suspense to the bleeding edge. From Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the acclaimed Cemetery Dance Publications, Dark Screams: Volume One reaches across genres to take readers beyond the precipice of mortal toil and into the glimmering void of irreality and beyond.

WEEDS by Stephen King
When a meteorite lands on his property, Jordy Verrill envisions an easy payday. Unfortunately for Jordy, this is no ordinary rock—and the uncompromising force inside has found its first target.

THE PRICE YOU PAY by Kelley Armstrong
Never pay more than you owe. Sounds like easy advice to follow. But for Kara and her childhood friend Ingrid, some debts can never be repaid . . . especially those tendered in blood.

MAGIC EYES by Bill Pronzini
Edward James Tolliver has found a weary sort of asylum among the insane. He knows he’s not one of them—but how can he tell anyone about the invaders without sounding that way?

MURDER IN CHAINS by Simon Clark
Imagine awaking to find yourself in an underground vault, chained by the neck to a murderous lunatic, a grunting goliath who seems more animal than man. What would you do to save yourself?

THE WATCHED by Ramsey Campbell
Little Jimmy gets a glimpse of the cold truth when he finds out that it’s not always what you see that can get you into trouble; it’s who knows what you see.


onhermajestysOn Her Majesty’s Behalf by Joseph Nassise  (Harper Voyager -Dec. 2nd)
Synopsis-After a surprise attack on London and New York, the Germans introduced a new type of gas—corpse gas—a revolutionary weapon that resurrected the bodies of the dead.

For those who survived the killing fields of France, the danger has only just begun. Veteran Major Michael “Madman” Burke and his company have just been assigned a daring new mission by the president himself: rescue the members of the British royal family. But Manfred von Richthofen, the undead Red Baron and newly self-appointed leader of Germany, is also determined to find the family.

In the devastated, zombie-infested city of London, Burke and his men will face off in an unholy battle with their most formidable opponent yet: a team of infected super soldiers—shredders—who have greater speed and strength than their shambler predecessors. If they don’t succeed, all of Britain will fall into undead enemy hands.


thestrangelibraryThe Strange Library by Huraki Murakami  (Knopf -Dec. 2nd)
Synopsis-From internationally acclaimed author Haruki Murakami—a fantastical illustrated short novel about a boy imprisoned in a nightmarish library.

A lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plot their escape from the nightmarish library of internationally acclaimed, best-selling Haruki Murakami’s wild imagination.

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