Monday, December 15, 2014

Five Books that Stand Out in 2014

Writers read.

Weird, I know, but we do.

This time around the subject of discussion is five books that are solid enough that they qualify as stand out works.

That's really not as easy as I'd like it to be. It's been a mighty good year for books and LIMITING myself to a handful is a challenge.

Just the same, I'll give it a go (and I feel I should clarify that these oohs are in no particular order. I dug all of them.).

As I have said before (Yes, I gloat) one of the true pleasures of being a writer is that now and then you get the equivalent of sneak peeks at upcoming books. In this case the first of the books I'll list is exactly and precisely that: An Advanced Reader's Copy of Tim Lebbon's THE SILENCE.

THE SILENCE is an end of the world book. We're talking an apocalyptic event that is fast, furious and a serious game changer. What makes it stand out for me is simply that Tim Lebbon is a spectacular writer who manages to show a true depth to the family of characters going through a literal hell on earth. very highly recommended for the pacing, the characters and the chilling series of events.

Next up is Christopher Golden's SNOWBLIND.  Golden is a favorite of mine. In addition to being one hell of a fine writer, he's also a friend of mine, but you may rest assured that's never made a difference when it comes to whether or not I like a book. Some of my best friends have written lemons.

SNOWBLIND is a tale of terror, through and through. During a nasty blizzard several people were lost. During another nasty blizzard it's very possible that they've come back and if they have, they have not come alone. A truly tense and delicious tale of ghosts and other, stranger things.

Jumping genres, the next beast on my list is HALF A KING by Joe Abercrombie. Abercrombie just plain writes damned good fantasy. All of his previous books were set in one dark and gritty fantasy world, the world of the FIRST LAW trilogy and a handful of standalone novels that followed. I read them voraciously and have read most of them a second time,w which, trust me, is a very rare thing for me. Who the heck has the time?

At World Fantasy this year I managed to get my hands on a copy of HALF A KING, which is book one in the young adult SHATTERED SEA trilogy. You can call it whatever you want. Fantasy, young adult, action adventure, coming of age. You can also call me hooked. There's a trend in fantasy these days that's called Grimdark. It fits. The story is indeed dark. It's also beautiful in the careful crafting of the tale.

Next up, one of my favorites as always is Stephen King. I liked MR. MERCEDES. I LOVED REVIVAL.  LOVED. Seriously. Prime Stephen King, dark and haunting and filled with glimpses of life at the very best and at the very worst. There are very few who ever come close to King when it comes down to storytelling. He's one of the masters and I can;t say enough good about it.

Lastly, Jonathan Maberry's FALL OF NIGHT, the sequel to DEAD OF NIGHT came out this year and I picked it up and started reading and burned through most of ht ebook in one night. Sucks to lose sleep, but I always forgive myself when the reason is a damned fine book.

In the past Maberry had told us of a world where the zombie apocalypse has already happened and people are living in the aftermath. This then is the start of that apocalypse and as with all of his books is told with both pathos and humor and, of courts, a monumental amount of action.

I'm throwing in a bonus book. It deserves to be listed with the rest of them and I want to break the rules. Cherie Priest's MAPLECROFT was my Halloween read this year. For me, a horror geek, that's nearly a sacred thing. It lived up to the potential. Lizzie Borden and monsters from beyond the edge of space in a tale that is nothing at all like what I expected and twice as much fun to boot.

There's six for you. I recommend them all very, very highly.

Now, because I can and because this might be a one day only thing:

SEVEN FORGES and THE BLASTED LANDS are both on sale today for Kindle, at $1.99 each. That's $6.00, or 25% of the recommended cover price. Can't beat that with a stick folks.

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