Friday, January 20, 2012

A Look Ahead: Most Anticipated Releases of 2012

Since I've taken a look back on last year, I figured I'd give you all a glimpse forward of the titles that I'm most looking forward to cracking open in 2012. Some of these have book covers that have already been released, and other don't. For those books that don't have a cover yet, I'll post them when they're released. Also, not all of the books in this list have an available synopsis yet, but when they become available, I'll link them.

So, in no particular order, here's a list of books that I'm looking forward to reading in 2012:

First up, is Gaie Sebold's debut fantasy novel, Babylon Steel, which, although it came out in the very tail-end of 2011, I'm still counting as a 2012 release. From the moment I saw it on Amazon, I knew I was going to pick up a copy and review it. Luckily enough, the kind folks over at Solaris sent me a review copy, along with Christopher Fowler's new horror novel, Hell Train, which I'll also be reviewing soon.

One of my favorite characters in recent years has been James Enge's crooked maker, Morlock Ambrosius. Not only is James a great guy, but he's also one hell of a writer too. One of the first authors that was interview for the Sci-Fi Guys podcast, I've kept a very close eye of Enge since that interview, and I'm super excited for the release of his new Morlock novel, A Guile of Dragons, which is slated for an August release. Here's a synopsis of the book from amazon:

Before history began, the dwarves of Thrymhaiam fought against the dragons as the Longest War raged in the deep roads beneath the Northhold. Now the dragons have returned, allied with the dead kings of Cor and backed by the masked gods of Fate and Chaos.

The dwarves are cut off from the Graith of Guardians in the south. Their defenders are taken prisoner or corrupted by dragonspells. The weight of guarding the Northhold now rests on the crooked shoulders of a traitor's son, Morlock syr Theorn (also called Ambrosius).
But his wounded mind has learned a dark secret in the hidden ways under the mountains. Regin and Fafnir were brothers, and the Longest War can never be over. . .
Since the release of The Desert of Souls, I've had my eye on author Howard Andrew Jones. An editor for Black Gate Magazine, -- the same magazine in which Enge's Morlock first appeared, and Enge found his start -- The Desert of Souls is currently on my TBR pile, after accidentally stumbling upon it at my library. I've read the first chapter, and I'm seriously looking forward to not only reviewing the first book in the series, but also getting my hands on it's sequel, Bones of the Old Ones, which has one of the most badass covers I've seen in a while.

And while I'm on sequels, I'll throw a couple of more at you. First up, is the second book in Justin Gustainis's Occult Crimes  series, which started with Hard Spell, and continues with Evil Dark, which is slated for a May release. Hard Spell made my Top 11 List of 2011, coming in at number three. So, to say that I'm seriously looking forward to reviewing Evil Dark goes without saying. If it wasn't for being a sequel to a book I've already read, I probably would have picked this book up based solely on it's cover.

One of the authors that I've come to enjoy within the past few years is Karen Miller, whose novel A Blight of Mages also made my Top 11 of 2011 list. Since picking up and reviewing the first novel in her Rogue Agent series, The Accidental Sorcerer, I've been following her blog. After many troubles with her health, and fighting to finish the manuscript for the newest Rogue Agent novel, she's begun researching and outlining for a new series which she's dubbed The Tarnished Crown Quartet. Although I'm looking forward to reviewing Wizard Undercover, I can't help but daydream about her newest series. The first book of which I doubt we'll see in 2012. But that's okay, I've still got the rest of her Mages series to work my way through, starting with The Innocent Mage, and also books two and three in the Rogue Agent series to read before the fourth books release in late April.

Continuing on with sequels: although it's only recently been announced, Mike Resnick's third and fourth installments in his Weird Western Tales series, The Doctor and the Rough Riders and The Doctor and the Dinasours are on my list. The first because it has a 2012 release date, and the latter, because the series is just so damn cool. Steampunk set in the American West, with famous gunfighters... could it get any better than that?

I recently awarded Seventh Star Press one of the four publishers of the year, as well as small presses to keep an eye on in 2012. So, it's no surprise that three of their titles have made my list for novels I'm most looking forward to. This spring sees the release of not one, but two of those titles, including the first in a new urban fantasy series by Michael West with Posiedon's Children, and the newest sequel/prequel in Steven Shrewsbury's Gorias La Gaul series, Overkill. And the third title, which is another Michael West novel, Spook House, the third book in his New Harmony series.

In addition to Seventh Star Press in the Publishers of 2011 category, is Deadite Press. An imprint of Eraserhead Press, Deadite focuses on authors with a cult following, which makes perfect since as to why they're re-releasing a slew of old and new titles from such authors as Bryan Smith, Wrath James White, Edward Lee, Nate Southard and Brian Keene. In 2011 two of their releases popped up in my best of list: Brian Keene's Jack Magic Beans, and Nate Southard's Just Like Hell. With the release of so many back titles from such great authors, it's not a surprise to me, that several Brian Keene titles have made it into this post. An Occurrence in Crazy Bear Valley, The Cage, and Earthworm Gods: Selected Scenes from the End of the World. For anyone who likes Keene, you should check out Deadite Press.

The third and final small press that I'm going to be keeping my eye on this year is Apex Books. With a plethora of awesome staple of authors, 2012 will see the release of several titles from fairly known names in the writing industry, such as Tom Picirilli, Brian Keene, Lavie Tidhar, Gary A. Braunbeck, Maurice Broaddus, and Jerry Gordon. All of these names have scheduled releases for 2012: Brian Keene with his novel The Lost Level, Gary A. Braunbeck with A Cracked and Broken Path, Tom Picirilli with What Makes You Die, and Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon with their new anthology Dark Faith II.

Since it's establishment only a few years ago, Angry Robot has taken the science fiction and fantasy genres by storm with their unique flavor of publishing. The final publisher on my 2011 list, they have some exciting releases scheduled for this year, including Dead Harvest by Chris Holm, and The Rat Corpse King by up-and-comer Lee Battersby.

I'm looking forward to checking out Nathan Long's Jane Carver of Waar, which (to the best of my knowledge) is his first published novel outside of the Warhammer realm. The cover looks badass, and the synopsis is even better:

Jane Carver is nobody's idea of a space princess. A hard ridin', hard lovin', biker chick and ex-Airborne Ranger, Jane is surprised as anyone else when, on the run from the law, she ducks into the wrong cave at the wrong time-and wakes up butt-naked on an exotic alien planet light-years away from everything she''s ever known. Waar is a savage world of four-armed tiger-men, sky-pirates, slaves, gladiators, and purple-skinned warriors in thrall to a bloodthirsty code of honor and chivalry. Caught up in a disgraced nobleman''s quest to win back the hand of a sexy alien princess, Jane encounters bizarre wonders and dangers unlike anything she ever ran into back home. Then again, Waar has never seen anyone like Jane before... Both a loving tribute and scathing parody of the swashbuckling space fantasies of yore, Jane Carver of Waar introduces an unforgettable new science fiction heroine.
Within recent months my taste has started to become darker and edgier. It was soon after I discovered this genre called Noir, that I dug in and started reading the essentials: Raymond Chandler and the likes. I'd just finished loading up on the classics, when I attended Context last year. While going through a bunch of out of print books from a dealer, I managed to meet author John Hornor Jacobs, who at the time I had never heard, let alone met. So, after a brief conversation on books, we parted ways. When I got home at the end of the weekend, I looked up Jacobs debut novel Southern Gods, and quickly became a fan of his blog. Although I haven't started Southern Gods as of yet, it's on my TPR pile, and my sights are set on his sophomore novel, This Dark Earth, which hits shelves in July. Here's a synopsis I managed to find on
In a bleak, zombie-ridden future, a small settlement fights for survival and looks to a teenager to lead them...The land is contaminated, electronics are defunct, the ravenous undead remain, and life has fallen into a nasty and brutish state of nature. Welcome to Bridge City, in what was once Arkansas: part medieval fortress, part Western outpost, and the precarious last stand for civilization. A ten-year-old prodigy when the world ended, Gus is now a battle-hardened young man. He designed Bridge City to protect the living few from the shamblers eternally at the gates. Now he's being groomed by his physician mother, Lucy, and the gentle giant Knock-Out to become the next leader of men. But an army of slavers is on its way, and the war they wage for the city's resources could mean the end of mankind as we know it. Can Gus be humanity's savior? And if he is, will it mean becoming a dictator, a martyr, or maybe something far worse than even the zombies?
Second to last on my list of books to check out in 2012, is a novel that Jacobs recommended not so long ago on his blog. City of Lost Souls is the debut novel of author Stephen Blackmoore. A urban fantasy tinged Noir, I can't help but salivate to the cover and the synopsis (taken from the author's site):

Joe Sunday’s dead. He just hasn’t stopped moving yet.
Sunday’s a thug, an enforcer, a leg-breaker for hire. When his boss sends him to kill a mysterious new business partner, his target strikes back in ways Sunday could never have imagined. Murdered, brought back to a twisted half-life, Sunday finds himself stuck in the middle of a race to find an ancient stone with the power to grant immortality. With it, he might live forever. Without it, he’s just another rotting extra in a George Romero flick.
Everyone’s got a stake, from a psycho Nazi wizard and a razor-toothed midget, to a nympho-demon bartender, a too-powerful witch who just wants to help her homeless vampires, and the one woman who might have all the answers — if only Sunday can figure out what her angle is.

Before the week is out he’s going to find out just what lengths people will go to for immortality. And just how long somebody can hold a grudge.
And finally, last but certainly not least, is Saladin Ahmed's debut novel Throne of the Crescent Moon, which extremely promising! Check it out:

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince.  In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings:

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, "The last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat," just wants a quiet cup of tea.  Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame's family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter's path.

Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla's young assistant, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God's justice. But even as Raseed's sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.

Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man's title. She lives only to avenge her father's death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father's killer. Until she meets Raseed.

When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince's brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time--and struggle against their own misgivings--to save the life of a vicious despot.  In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.
And of course, there are more titles that I'm looking forward to cracking open in 2012, but these are the core of my interest... for now!

So, what are some titles that you're looking forward to digging into in 2012? Leave a comment, and let me know!


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