Speculative Fiction Stars 2012

Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror stars

Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW. The review source assigns the star.

January

  • City of the Lost
    Author: Blackmoore, Stephen
    $ 15 ISBN: 9780756407025 Date: 2012
    starKirkus
    Joe Sunday has been a Los Angeles low-life for years, but his life gets a whole lot lower when he is killed by the rival of his crime boss-only to return as a zombie. His only hope is to find and steal a talisman that he learns can grant immortality. But, unfortunately for Joe, every other undead thug and crime boss in Los Angeles is looking for the same thing.
    Updated 1.14.12
  • The Demon Lover
    Author: Dark, Juliet
    $ 15 ISBN: 9780345510082 Date: 2012
    starBooklist
    Callie has a demon lover--an incubus--and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then she makes another startling discovery. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the incubus, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult--banishing this demon lover from her heart.
    Updated 1.14.12
  • In the Lion's Mouth
    Author: Flynn, Michael
    $ 25.99 ISBN: 9780765322852 Date: 2012
    starPW
    The third volume of the sprawling space opera series that began with The January Dancer and Up Jim River
    Updated 11.21.11
  • Seven Princes
    Author: Fultz, John R.
    $ 15.99 ISBN: 9780316187862 Date: 2012
    starLJ
    An ancient sorcerer threatens the balance of the Five Kingdoms. He arrives, unannounced, to slaughter the court of the King of Yaskatha. Only Prince D'zan and his bodyguard survive the horrors as the dead walk and the blood runs. Now, D'zan must call upon his father's allies to reclaim his throne.
    Updated 1.14.12
  • Sisterhood of Dune
    Author: Herbert, Brian
    $ 27.99 ISBN: 9780765322739 Date: 2012
    starLJ
    The latest chapter in the New York Times-bestselling series. It is 83 years after the last of the thinking machines were destroyed in the Battle of Corrin, after Faykan Butler took the name of Corrino and established himself as the first Emperor of a new imperium. Great changes are brewing that will shape and twist all of humankind.
    Updated 1.14.12
  • Expeditions to the Mountains of the Moon
    Author: Hodder, Mark
    $ 16 ISBN: 9781616145354 Date: 2012
    starKirkus
    Burton and Swinburne's third adventure is filled with eccentric steam-driven technology, grotesque characters, and bizarre events completing the trilogy begun in the Philip K. Dick Award-nominated novel, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack.
    Updated 1.14.12
  • Somewhere Beneath the Waves
    Author: Monette, Sarah
    $ 14.95 ISBN: 9781607013051 Date: 2012
    starPW
    The first non-themed collection of critically acclaimed author Sarah Monette''s best short fiction. To paraphrase Hugo-award winner Elizabeth Bear's introduction: "Monette's prose is lapidary, her ideas are fantastical and chilling. She has studied the craft of fantastic fiction from the pens of masters and mistresses of the genre. She is a poet of the awkward and the uncertain, exalter of the outcast, the outre, and the downright weird. There is nothing else quite like Sarah Monette's fiction."
    Updated 11.8.11
  • The Rook
    Author: O'Malley, Daniel
    $ 26 ISBN: 9780316098793 Date: 2012
    starLJ star PW
    "The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.
    Updated 11.4.11
  • The Demi-Monde: Winter
    Author: Rees, Rod
    $27 ISBN: 9780062070340 Date: 2011
    starLJ
    The Demi-Monde: Winter is the first installment in a gripping, brilliantly imagined series about a virtual world dominated by history's most terrifying villains, and the one young woman who will risk everything to stop them.
    Updated 11.4.11

February

  • Throne of the Crescent Moon
    Author: Ahmed, Saladin
    $ 24.95 ISBN: 9780756407117 Date: 2012
    starKirkus star LJ star PW
    The Crescent Moon Kingdoms are populated by Djenn and Ghuls, opulent wealth and grinding poverty. In this world, three heroes are drawn together by a series of brutal supernatural massacres. The companions soon learn that the magical murders and political upheaval are connected.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
    Updated 1.14.12
  • The Scar
    Author: Dyanchenko, Sergey
    $ 24.99 ISBN: 9780765329936 Date: 2012
    starKirkus
    Reaching far beyond sword and sorcery, "The Scar "is a story of two people torn by disaster, their descent into despair, and their reemergence through love and courage. Sergey and Marina Dyachenko mix dramatic scenes with romance, action and wit, in a style both direct and lyrical. Written with a sure artistic hand, "The Scar "is the story of a man driven by his own feverish demons to find redemption and the woman who just might save him. Egert is a brash, confident member of the elite guards and an egotistical philanderer. But after he kills an innocent student in a duel, a mysterious man known as "The Wanderer" challenges Egert and slashes his face with his sword, leaving Egert with a scar that comes to symbolize his cowardice. Unable to end his suffering by his own hand, Egert embarks on an odyssey to undo the curse and the horrible damage he has caused, which can only be repaired by a painful journey down a long and harrowing path. - Publisher Maeketing
    Updated 1.14.12
  • Nice Girls Don't Bite
    Author: Harper, Molly
    $ 7.99 ISBN: 9781451641813 Date: 2012
    starPW
    The fourth book in the sexy, "hilariously fun" (Romantic Times Top Pick) romantic comedy series about a children's librarian turned vampire--perfect for fans of Katie Macalister and MaryJanice Davidson.
    Updated 1.14.12
  • The Man from Primrose Lane
    Author: Rennern, James
    $ 26 ISBN: 9780374200954 Date: 2012
    starPW
    With a deft and singular blend of suspense, literature, and horror, The Man from Primrose Lane boasts as many twists and turns as a roller coaster. It's a spellbinding journey of redemption and a reflection on the roles of fate, destiny, and obsession when it comes to matters of the heart.
    Updated 1.14.12

March

  • Jane Vows Vengeance
    Author: Ford, Michael Thomas
    $ 15 ISBN: 9780345513670 Date: 2012
    starPW
    How will Jane Austen break the news to her fianc that she's not only undead, but also a 200-plus-year-old literary icon? In sleepy upstate New York, Jane's wedding preparations have taken on a bloodsucking intensity. So when Walter suggests they combine their marriage and honeymoon with a house tour of Europe, Jane jumps at the chance. But to Jane's chagrin, more than one secret from her past is about to resurface.
    Updated 1.16.12
  • Fated
    Author: Jacka, Benedict
    $ 7.99 ISBN: 9781937007294 Date: 2012
    starPW
    Alex Verus is part of a world hidden in plain sight, running a magic shop in London. And while Alex's own powers aren't as showy as some mages, he does have the advantage of foreseeing the possible future--allowing him to pull off operations that have a million-to-one-chance of success.
    Updated 4.4.12
  • The Drowning Girl
    Author: Kiernan, Caitlin R.
    $ 16 ISBN: 9780451464163 Date: 2012
    starPW
    India Morgan Phelps-Imp to her friends-is schizophrenic. Struggling with her perceptions of reality, Imp must uncover the truth about her encounters with creatures out of myth-or from something far, far stranger...
    Updated 1.16.12
  • The Games
    Author: Kosmatka, Ted
    $ 25 ISBN: 9780345526618 Date: 2012
    starPW
    This stunning first novel from Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist Kosmatka is a riveting tale of science cut loose from ethics. Set in an amoral future where genetically engineered monstrosities fight each other to the death in an Olympic event, The Games envisions a harrowing world that may arrive sooner than readers think.
    Updated 1.16.12
  • The Company of the Dead
    Author: Kowalski, David
    $ 15.95 ISBN: 9780857686664 Date: 2012
    starLJ
    A mysterious man appears aboard the Titanic on its doomed voyage. His mission? To save the ship. The result? A world where the United States never entered World War I, thus launching the secret history of the 20th century.
    Updated 1.14.12
  • Chrysanthe
    Author: Meynard, Yves
    $ 15.99 ISBN: 9780765330260 Date: 2012
    starLJ
    Christine, the princess and heir to the real world of Chrysanthe, is kidnapped as a small child by a powerful magician. In exile, supervised by her strict "uncle" (actually a wizard in disguise), she undergoes bogus memory recovery therapy. She is terribly stunted emotionally by this terrifying plot, but at 17 discovers it is all a lie.
    Updated 4.4.12
  • Crucible of Gold
    Author: Novik, Naomi
    $25 ISBN: 9780345522863 Date: 2012
    starPW
    Novik's beloved series returns, with Capt. Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon's forces and the friendly--and sometimes not-so-friendly--fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason.
    Updated 1.14.12

April

  • White Horse
    Author: Adams, Alex
    $19.99 ISBN: 9781451642995 Date: 2012
    starKirkus
    The first book in a unique debut trilogy--a post-apocalyptic thriller chronicling one woman's quest to nurture those she holds dear in a shocking, new world where humans may no longer be a viable species.
    Updated 4.4.12
  • Winter's Dreams
    Author: Cook, Glen
    $ 45 ISBN: 9781596063600 Date: 2012
    starPW
    Glen Cook is, of course, best known for his enormously popular series fiction, which includes the Garrett P.I. and Dread Empire sequences, as well as the internationally acclaimed Chronicles of the Black Company. Readers familiar only with this aspect of Cook's career will find a great many pleasures--and an equal number of surprises--in his vibrant new collection, Winter's Dreams.
    Updated 4.4.12
  • Vengegance
    Author: Irvine, Ian
    $ 14.99 ISBN: 9780316072847 Date: 2012
    starLJ
    Twelve years ago, Tali watched as her mother was murdered and now she has sworn revenge. Even though she is a slave. Even though she is powerless. Even though she is nothing in the eyes of those who live above ground, she will find her mother's killers and bring them to justice.
    Updated 4.4.12
  • Royal Street
    Author: Johnson, Suzanne
    $ 14.99 ISBN: 9780765327796 Date: 2012
    starPW
    Royal Street kicks off a brand-new urban fantasy series set in New Orleans, written by a native of Louisiana. While the novel deals respectfully with the disaster of Katrina, the book offsets the serisouness of the setting with a heroine with a sense of humor, a good pace, and a cast of intriguing supernatural characters.
    Updated 4.4.12
  • The Wind Through the Keyhole
    Author: King, Stephen
    $ 27 ISBN: 9781451658903 Date: 2012
    starPW
    For those discovering the epic bestselling Dark Tower series for the first time--and for its legions of dedicated fans--an immensely satisfying stand-alone novel and perfect introduction to the series.
    Updated 4.4.12

May

  • The Croning
    Author: Barron, Laird
    $ 15.95 ISBN: 9781597802307 Date: 2012
    starPW
    Strange things exist on the periphery of our existence, haunting us from the darkness looming beyond our firelight. Black magic, weird cults and worse things loom in the shadows. The Children of Old Leech have been with us from time immemorial. And they love us... 
    Donald Miller, geologist and academic, has walked along the edge of a chasm for most of his nearly eighty years, leading a charmed life between endearing absent-mindedness and sanity-shattering realization. Now, all things must converge. Donald will discover the dark secrets along the edges, unearthing savage truths about his wife Michelle, their adult twins, and all he knows and trusts. For Donald is about to stumble on the secret... 
    ...of The Croning. 
    From Laird Barron, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of The Imago Sequence and Occultation, comes The Croning, a debut novel of cosmic horror. - publisher marketing
    Updated 4.4.12
  • The Black Opera
    Author: Gentle, Mary
    $ 15.99 ISBN: 9781597802192 Date: 2012
    starPW
    Naples, the 19th Century. 
    In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, holy music has power. Under the auspices of the Church, the Sung Mass can bring about actual miracles like healing the sick or raising the dead. But some believe that the musicodramma of grand opera can also work magic by channeling powerful emotions into something sublime. Now the Prince's Men, a secret society, hope to stage their own black opera to the empower the Devil himself-and change Creation for the better. 
    Conrad Scalese is a struggling librettist whose latest opera has landed him in trouble with the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Rescued by King Ferdinand II, Conrad finds himself recruited to write and stage a counteropera that will, hopefully, cancel out the apocalyptic threat of the black opera, provided the Prince's Men, and their spies and saboteurs, don't get to him first. 
    And he only has six weeks to do it . . . .
    Updated 4.4.12
  • The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories
    Author: Vandermeer, Ann & Jeff
    $ 39.99 ISBN: 9780765333605 Date: 2012
    starPW star Booklist
    The Weird is a landmark leviathan-sized anthology of fiction's wilder, stranger, darker shores, featuring an all-star cast of authors, from literary legends to international bestsellers to Booker prize winners: 110 stories spanning a century and including authors such as William Gibson, George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, Angela Carter, Kelly Link, Franz Kafka, China Mieville, Clive Barker, Haruki Murakami, M. R. James, Neil Gaiman, Mervyn Peake, and Michael Chabon.
    Updated 4.4.12

June

  • The King's Blood
    Author: Abraham, Daniel
    $ 15.99 ISBN: 9780316080774 Date: 2012
    starPW
    When an act of harrowing betrayal threatens to set the cities afire, all certainties are called into question. Only the courage of a young woman with the mind of a gambler and loyalty to no one stands between hope and universal darkness.
    Updated 4.4.12
  • Damnation for Beginners
    Author: Campbell, Alan
    $ 35 ISBN: 9781596064393 Date: 2012
    starPW
    The story begins in the beleaguered city of Cog. The protagonist, Jack Aviso, is himself a cog, a functionary in the soulless, profit-obsessed enterprise known as the Henry Sill Banking Corporation. When a routinely corrupt business transaction shatters both his marriage and his well-ordered life, Jack finds himself--quite literally--in Hell, where he embarks on a perilous, unprecedented journey of revenge. - publisher marketing
    Updated 4.4.12
  • Nebula Awards Showcase 2012
    Author: Kelly, James Patrick (edt)
    $ 17.95 ISBN: 9781616146191 Date: 2012
    starPW
    The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories of the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
    Updated 4.4.12

July

  • The Shadowed Sun
    Author: Jemisin, N.K.
    $ 14.99 ISBN: 9780316187299 Date: 2012
    starLJ
    Gujaareh, the city of dreams, suffers under the imperial rule of the Kisuati Protectorate. A city where the only law was peace now knows violence and oppression. And nightmares: a mysterious and deadly plague haunts the citizens, dooming them to die screaming in their sleep.
    Updated 7.31.12
  • Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury
    Author: Weller, Sam (edt)
    $ 15.99 ISBN: 9780062122681 Date: 2012
    starBooklist star PW

    "What do you imagine when you hear the name" . . . Bradbury?

    You might see rockets to Mars. Or bizarre circuses where otherworldly acts whirl in the center ring. Perhaps you travel to a dystopian future, where books are set ablaze . . . or to an out-of-the-way sideshow, where animated illustrations crawl across human skin. Or maybe, suddenly, you're returned to a simpler time in small-town America, where summer perfumes the air and life is almost perfect . . . "almost."

    Ray Bradbury--peerless storyteller, poet of the impossible, and one of America's most beloved authors--is a literary giant whose remarkable career has spanned seven decades. Now twenty-six of today's most diverse and celebrated authors offer new short works in honor of the master; stories of heart, intelligence, and dark wonder from a remarkable range of creative artists.

    Updated 7.31.12

August

  • The Dog Stars
    Author: Heller, Peter
    $25 ISBN: 9780307959942 Date: 2012
    starPW star LJ star Booklist
    A pilot survives a flu that kills everyone he knows. When a random transmission beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him. He follows the static voice on the radio, but what he encounters is both better and worse than anything he could have hoped for.
    Updated 10.1.12

September

  • This Case Is Gonna Kill Me
    Author: Bornikova, Phillipa
    $ 26 ISBN: 9780765333896 Date: 2012
    starLJ

    What happens when "The Firm" meets Anita Blake? You get the Halls of Power--our modern world, but twisted. Law, finance, the military, and politics are under the sway of long-lived vampires, werewolves, and the elven Alfar. Humans make the best of rule by "the Spooks," and contend among themselves to affiliate with the powers-that-be, in order to avoid becoming their prey. Very loyal humans are rewarded with power over other women and men. Very lucky humans are selected to join the vampires, werewolves, and elves--or, on occasion, to live at the Seelie Court.

    Linnet Ellery is the offspring of an affluent Connecticut family dating back to Colonial times. Fresh out of law school, she's beginning her career in a powerful New York "white fang" law firm. She has high hopes of eventually making partner.

    But strange things keep happening to her. In a workplace where some humans will eventually achieve immense power and centuries of extra lifespan, office politics can be vicious beyond belief. After some initial missteps, she finds herself sidelined and assigned to unpromising cases. Then, for no reason she can see, she becomes the target of repeated, apparently random violent attacks, escaping injury each time through increasingly improbable circumstances. However, there's apparently more to Linnet Ellery than a little old-money human privilege. More than even she knows. And as she comes to understand this, she's going to shake up the system like you wouldn't believe.... Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12

  • The Rapture of the Nerds
    Author: Doctorow, Cory
    $ 24.99 ISBN: 9780765329103 Date: 2012
    starBooklist
    From the two defining personalities of post-cyberpunk sci-fi, a brilliant collaboration to rival 1987's "The Difference Engine" by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.
    Updated 7.31.12
  • In a Fix
    Author: Grimes, Linda
    $ 15 ISBN: 9780765331809 Date: 2012
    starLJ
    Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she's able to take on her clients' appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don't want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck. 
    This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable...that is, until Ciel's island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client's about-to-be-fiance is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated. 
    Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she's been crushing on for years--both skilled adaptors--step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client's intended. 
    Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems. Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12
  • Stormdancer
    Author: Kristoff, Jay
    $ 25 ISBN: 9781250001405 Date: 2012
    starPW

    The first in an epic new fantasy series, introducing an unforgettable new heroine and a stunningly original dystopian steampunk world with a flavor of feudal Japan.

    A DYING LAND 
    The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever. 
    AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST 
    The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger - a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death. 
    A HIDDEN GIFT 
    Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun's hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he'd rather see her dead than help her. 
    But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

    - Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12
  • The Map of the Sky
    Author: Palma, Felix J.
    $ 26 ISBN: 9781451660319 Date: 2012
    starPW
    The "New York Times"-bestselling author of "The Map of Time" returns with a mesmerizing novel casting H.G. Wells in a leading role, as the extraterrestrial invasion featured in "The War of the Worlds" is turned into a bizarre reality.
    Updated 7.28.12
  • Dead Man Running
    Author: Petrucha, Stefan
    $ 7.99 ISBN: 9780451464743 Date: 2012
    starPW
    Second in a clever series. Hessius Mann,the living dead private detective,finds himself drawn into a killer case when a severed arm leaves a mysterious briefcase at his office. He'd rather not deal with it, but dropping the case proves harder than he thought. 
    Updated 7.28.12
  • Coup d'Etat
    Author: Turtledove, Harry
    $ 28 ISBN: 9780345524652 Date: 2012
    starBooklist
    In 1941, a treaty between England and Germany unravels--and so does a different World War II. In Turtledove's mesmerizing alternate history of World War II, the choices of men and fate have changed history.
    Updated 7.31.12

October

  • Daughter of the Sword: Fated Blades
    Author: Bain, Steve
    $ 16 ISBN: 9780451464774 Date: 2012
    starPW
    Mariko Oshiro is not your average Tokyo cop. As the only female detective in the city's most elite police unit, she has to fight for every ounce of respect, especially from her new boss. While she wants to track down a rumored cocaine shipment, he gives her the least promising case possible. But the case--the attempted theft of an old samurai sword--proves more dangerous than anyone on the force could have imagined. 
    The owner of the sword, Professor Yasuo Yamada, says it was crafted by the legendary Master Inazuma, a sword smith whose blades are rumored to have magical qualities. The man trying to steal it already owns another Inazuma--one whose deadly power eventually comes to control all who wield it. Or so says Yamada, and though he has studied swords and swordsmanship all his life, Mariko isn't convinced. 
    But Mariko's skepticism hardly matters. Her investigation has put her on a collision course with a curse centuries old and as bloodthirsty as ever. She is only the latest in a long line of warriors and soldiers to confront this power, and even the sword she learns to wield could turn against her. - Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12
  • The Hydrogen Sonata
    Author: Banks, Iain
    $ 26 ISBN: 9780316212373 Date: 2012
    starPW
    The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization. 
    An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence. 
    Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. 
    It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous. - Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12
  • Dark Currents: Agent of Hel
    Author: Carey, Jacqueline
    $ 27 ISBN: 9780451464781 Date: 2012
    starPW star LJ
    Jacqueline Carey, "New York Times "bestselling author of the acclaimed Kushiel's Legacy novels, presents an all-new world featuring a woman caught between the normal and paranormal worlds, while enforcing order in both. Introducing Daisy Johanssen, reluctant hell-spawn... 
    The Midwestern resort town of Pemkowet boasts a diverse population: eccentric locals, wealthy summer people, and tourists by the busload; not to mention fairies, sprites, vampires, naiads, ogres and a whole host of eldritch folk, presided over by Hel, a reclusive Norse goddess. 
    To Daisy Johanssen, fathered by an incubus and raised by a single mother, it's home. And as Hel's enforcer and the designated liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, it's up to her to ensure relations between the mundane and eldritch communities run smoothly. 
    But when a young man from a nearby college drowns--and signs point to eldritch involvement--the town's booming paranormal tourism trade is at stake. Teamed up with her childhood crush, Officer Cody Fairfax, a sexy werewolf on the down-low, Daisy must solve the crime--and keep a tight rein on the darker side of her nature. For if she's ever tempted to invoke her demonic birthright, it could accidentally unleash nothing less than Armageddon. - Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12
  • The Woman Who Died a Lot: Thursday Next
    Author: Fford, Jasper
    $ 27 ISBN: 9780670025022 Date: 2012
    starBooklist star LJ
    The newest tour de force starring Thursday Next in the "New York Times" bestselling series 
    The Bookworld's leading enforcement officer, Thursday Next, has been forced into a semiretirement following an assassination attempt, returning home to Swindon and her family to recuperate. 
    But Thursday's children have problems that demand she become a mother of invention: Friday's career struggles in the Chronoguard, where she is relegated to a might-have-been; Tuesday's trouble perfecting the Anti-Smote shield, needed in time to thwart an angry Deity's promise to wipe Swindon off the face of the earth; and the issue of Thursday's third child, Jenny, who doesn't exist except as a confusing and disturbing memory. 
    With Goliath attempting to replace Thursday at every opportunity with synthetic Thursdays, and a call from the Bookworld to hunt down Pagerunners who have jumped into the Realworld, Thursday's convalescence is going to be anything but restful as the week ahead promises to be one of the Next family's oddest. - Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12
  • Three Parts Dead
    Author: Gladstone, Max
    $ 25 ISBN: 9780765333100 Date: 2012
    starPW

    A god has died, and it's up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

    Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis's steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

    Tara's job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who's having an understandable crisis of faith.

    When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb's courts--and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb's slim hope of survival.

    Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, "Three Parts Dead" introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs. - Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12

  • Motherless Child
    Author: Hirshberg, Glen
    $ 40 ISBN: 9780983807117 Date: 2012
    starPW

    Updated 10.1.12
  • Little Star
    Author: Lindqvist, John Ajvide
    $ 26.99 ISBN: 9780312620516 Date: 2012
    starBooklist

    "Establishes Lindqvist as Sweden's Stephen King." --"The Washington Post "on "Harbor"

    John Ajvide Lindqvist has been crowned the heir apparent to Stephen King by numerous sources, and he is heralded around the globe as one of the most spectacularly talented horror writers working today. His first novel, "Let the Right One In, " is a cult classic that has been made into iconic films in both Sweden and in the United States. His second novel, "Handling the Undead, "is beloved by horror fans everywhere. His third novel, "Harbor," is a masterpiece that draws countless comparisons to Stephen King. Now, with "Little Star," his most profoundly unsettling book yet, Lindqvist treads previously unmarked territory.

    A man finds a baby in the woods, left for dead. He brings the baby home, and he and his wife raise the girl in their basement. When a shocking and catastrophic incident occurs, the couple's son Jerry whisks the girl away to Stockholm to start a new life. There, he enters her in a nationwide singing competition. Another young girl who's never fit in sees the performance on TV, and a spark is struck that will ignite the most terrifying duo in modern fiction.

    "Little Star" is an unforgettable portrait of adolescence, a modern-day "Carrie "for the age of internet bullies, offensive reality television, and overnight You Tube sensations. Chilling, unnerving, and petrifying, "Little Star "is Lindqvist's most disturbing book to date.- Publisher Marketing


    Updated 7.31.12
  • Wonders of the Invisible World
    Author: McKillip, Patricia A.
    $ 15 ISBN: 9781616960872 Date: 2012
    starPW
    Stylistically rooted in fairy tale and mythology, imperceptible landscapes are explored in these opulent stories from a beloved fantasy icon. There are princesses dancing with dead suitors, a knight in love with an official of exotic lineage, and fortune's fool stealing into the present instead of the future. In one mesmerizing tale, a time-traveling angel is forbidden to intervene in Cotton Mather's religious ravings, while another narrative finds a wizard seduced in his youth by the Faerie Queen and returning the treasure that is rightfully hers. Bewitching, bittersweet, and deeply intoxicating, this collection draws elements from the fables of history and re-creates them in startlingly magical ways. - Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12
  • The Dirty Streets of Heaven
    Author: Williams, Tad
    $ 26.95 ISBN: 9780756407681 Date: 2012
    starPW
    Bobby Dollar has a secret. Actually he's got a ton of them. The most important one is that his real name's Doloriel and he's an angel. But now he's stepped into the middle of something that's got Heaven and Hell very nervous an unprecedented number of missing souls.
    Updated 7.28.12
  • This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don't Touch It
    Author: Wong, David
    $ 26 ISBN: 9780312546342 Date: 2012
    starPW

    Fan favorite David Wong takes readers to a whole new level with this blistering sequel to the cult sensation "John Dies at the End, " soon to be a movie starring Paul Giamatti

    Originally released as an online serial where it received more than 70,000 downloads, "John Dies at the End" has been described as a "Horrortacular," an epic of "spectacular" horror that combines the laugh out loud humor of the best R-rated comedy, with the darkest terror of H.P. Lovecraft. The book went on to sell an additional 60,000 copies in all formats.

    As the sequel opens, we find our heroes, David and John, again embroiled in a series of horrifying yet mind-bogglingly ridiculous events caused primarily by their own gross incompetence. The guys find that books and movies about zombies may have triggered a zombie apocalypse, despite a complete lack of zombies in the world. As they race against the clock to protect humanity from its own paranoia, they must ask themselves, who are the real monsters? Actually, that would be the shape-shifting horrors secretly taking over the world behind the scenes that, in the end, make John and Dave kind of wish it had been zombies after all.

    Hilarious, terrifying, engaging and wrenching, "This Book Is Full of Spiders, " the next thrilling installment, takes us for a wild ride with two slackers from the midwest who really have better things to do with their time than prevent the apocalypse.- Publisher Marketing


    Updated 10.1.12

November

  • Red Country
    Author: Abercrombie, Joe
    $ 26 ISBN: 9780316187213 Date: 2012
    starPW
    They burned her home.
    They stole her brother and sister.
    But vengeance is following. 
    Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she'll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she's not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old step father Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb's buried a bloody past of his own. And out in the lawless Far Country the past never stays buried. 
    Their journey will take them across the barren plains to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feud, duel and massacre, high into the unmapped mountains to a reckoning with the Ghosts. Even worse, it will force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, and his feckless lawyer Temple, two men no one should ever have to trust . . .- Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12
  • Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
    Author: Bujold, Lois McMaster
    $25 ISBN: 9781451638455 Date: 2012
    starBooklist

    Book Fourteen in the best-selling Vorkosigan series.

    Captain Ivan Vorpatril sometimes thinks that if not for his family, he might have no troubles at all. But he has the dubious fortune of the hyperactive Miles Vorkosigan as a cousin, which has too-often led to his getting dragged into one of Miles' schemes, with risk to life and limb--and military career--that Ivan doesn't consider entirely fair. Although much practice has made Ivan more adept at fending off his mother's less-than-subtle reminders that he should be getting married and continuing the Vorpatril lineage.

    Fortunately, his current duty is on the planet Komarr as staff officer to Admiral Desplains, far from both his cousin and his mother back on their homeworld of Barrayar. It's an easy assignment and nobody is shooting at him. What could go wrong?

    Plenty, it turns out, when Byerly Vorrutyer, an undercover agent for Imperial Security, shows up on his doorstep and asks him to make the acquaintance of a young woman, recently arrived on Komarr, who seems to be in danger. That Byerly is characteristically vague about the nature of the danger, not to mention the lady's name, should have been Ivan's first clue, but Ivan is no more able to turn aside from aiding a damsel in distress than he could resist trying to rescue a kitten from a tree.

    It is but a short step down the road of good intentions to the tangle of Ivan's life, in trouble with the Komarran authorities, with his superiors, and with the lethal figures hunting the mysterious but lovely Tej and her exotic blue companion Rish--a tangle to test the lengths to which Ivan will go as an inspired protector.

    But though his predicament is complicated, at least Ivan doesn't have to worry about hassle from family. Or so he believes . . .- Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12

  • Bethany's Sin
    Author: McCammon, Robert
    $ 75 ISBN: 9781596064973 Date: 2012
    starPW

    Bethany's Sin is a tiny, picturesque village in rural Pennsylvania. Its tree-lined streets, beautiful houses, and manicured exteriors offer or appear to offer both peace and a place of refuge. Evan Reid, a man haunted by his memories of the Vietnam War and by a history of viscerally disturbing dreams, comes to the village with his wife and daughter, hoping to make a fresh start after a series of discouraging setbacks. At first, all goes as planned. Evan resumes his career as a freelance writer while his wife, Kay, begins teaching math at a local college. But there are things going on in Bethany's Sin that no one wants to talk about: unexplained disappearances, houses that stand strangely vacant, half glimpsed figures that appear to be female, the impossible sound of hoof beats in the night. At the center of it all stands a single imposing woman: Dr. Kathryn Drago, a scholar and community leader who holds the key to the mysteries that enshroud the town.

    First published as a paperback original in 1980, Bethany's Sin was Robert R. McCammon's second novel. Like its predecessor, Baal, it offers a frightening, thoroughly imagined portrait of ancient forces set loose in the modern world. Like Baal, it is both a notable accomplishment in its own right and an invaluable glimpse into the formative years of a major writer, a man whose raw narrative talent was apparent from the start. This deluxe new edition offers McCammon's many fans the definitive version of a significant early work, a book that foreshadows the later and larger accomplishments to come.- Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12

  • Stalking the Zombie
    Author: Resnick, Mike
    $ 25 ISBN: 9780961035259 Date: 2012
    starBooklist

    Updated 10.1.12
  • Still Life With Shapeshifter
    Author: Shinn, Sharon
    $ 26 ISBN: 9780425256817 Date: 2012
    starPW
    National bestselling author Sharon Shinn presents a passionate, heart-wrenching story of secrets and the lengths we'll go to, to protect those we love... 
    Melanie Landon and her half-sister share a unique bond. For her entire life, Melanie has hidden the fact that Ann is a shape-shifter. The never-ending deception is a heavy weight to bear, but Melanie is determined to keep Ann's secret and protect her from a world that simply wouldn't understand. 
    For months, Melanie hasn't seen or heard from Ann, in either of her forms. When a man shows up saying he's there about her sister, Melanie fears the worst. But Brody Westerbrook doesn't have information about Ann--he's in search of it. 
    A freelance writer, Brody intends to include Ann in a book he's writing about the existence of shape-shifters. While Melanie is immediately drawn to the stranger on her doorstep, she denies his claims, knowing that trusting him isn't an option. 
    But when Ann finally appears looking thin and sick, Melanie realizes exposure is the least of their worries. Protecting her sister has always been such an enormous part of Melanie's life, but as Ann's health rapidly deteriorates, Melanie must come to grips with the fact that saving her may mean letting go...- Publisher Marketing
    Updated 10.1.12

December

 

Starred Review Lists

Books that received at least one starred review from Booklist, Kirkus, LJ, and PW.

2013 Crime Fiction: Jan-June | Fiction: Jan-June | Speculative Fiction

2012 Crime Fiction: July-Dec | Fiction: July-Dec | Speculative Fiction

Hotlists@ Google Docs

Crime Fiction... 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Fiction... 2013 | 2012 | 2011

(lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)

more stars lists...

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