2010 was a pretty good year for books, but not brilliant (well, the ones I read anyway). There were a few stand out books for me such as the ‘Downside Ghosts‘ series by Stacia Kane and the ‘Vampire Academy‘ series by Richelle Mead, but very few made the rating of 10/10, 9/10, or even 8/10. I know, I’m so harsh!
But 2011 looks like it’s going to be a bumper year for outstanding books, I hope they all meet my expectations. Some of the one’s I’ve listed may have already been released in the US but may not be published here in the UK. So, without further ado, here are most anticipated reads for 2011, in no particular order…
1. ‘Breathers’ by S. G. Browne (Piatkus, March 2011) – Zombie Fiction
Meet Andy Warner, recently deceased everyman and newly minted zombie. Resented by his parents, abandoned by his friends, and reviled by society, Andy is having trouble adjusting. But at an Undead Anonymous meeting he finds kindred souls in Rita, an impossibly sexy recent suicide with a taste for formaldehyde, and Jerry, a car-crash victim with a penchant for Renaissance pornography. When a rogue zombie introduces the group to the joys of human flesh, things start to get messy, and Andy embarks on a journey of self-discovery that takes him from his casket to a media-driven class-action lawsuit on behalf of the rights of zombies everywhere.
2. ’13 Bullets’ by David Wellington (Lara Caxton Vampire Series #1) (Piatkus, April 2011) – Vampire Horror
One night, Laura Caxton, a State Trooper working highway patrol, finds out her true destiny: hunting down the immortal predators that haunt the night searching for our blood. Her only ally is Jameson Arkeley, a US Marshal who has devoted his life to hunting down vampires, long after everyone else thought they were extinct.
3. ‘The Edinburgh Dead’ by Brian Ruckley (Orbit, August 2011) – Steampunk Fantasy
Edinburgh, 1827. It’s a city populated by mad alchemists who treat Frankenstein as textbook rather than novel, and by a criminal underclass prepared to deal with the darkest of powers. And one officer – from the recently formed Edinburgh City Police – must follow the trail of undead hounds, emptied graves, brutal murders and mob violence into the deepest and darkest corners of Edinburgh’s underworld – both literal and magical – and back again to the highest reaches of elegant, intellectual Edinburgh society.
4. ‘Legion’ by William Pater Blatty (Tor, Feb 2011) – Horror
A young boy is found horribly murdered in a mock crucifixion. Is the murderer the elderly woman who witnessed the crime? A neurologist who can no longer bear the pain life inflicts on its victims? A psychiatrist with a macabre sense of humor and a guilty secret? A mysterious mental patient, locked in silent isolation? Lieutenant Kinderman follows a bewildering trail that links all these people, confronting a new enigma at every turn even as more murders surface. Why does each victim suffer the same dreadful mutilations? Why are two of the victims priests? Is there a connection between these crimes and another series of murders that took place twelve years ago—and supposedly ended with the death of the killer?
5. ‘The Good Fairies of New York’ by Martin Millar (Piatkus, Jan 2011) – Urban Fantasy
Morag and Heather, two eighteen-inch fairies with swords, green kilts and badly dyed hair fly through the window of the worst violinist in New York, an overweight and antisocial type named Dinnie, and vomit on his carpet. Who they are, how they came to New York and what this has to do with the lovely Kerry – who lives across the street, and has Crohn’s Disease, and is making a flower alphabet – and what this has to do with the other fairies (of all nationalities) of New York, not to mention the poor repressed fairies of Britain, is the subject of this book. It has a war in it, and a most unusual production of Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and Johnny Thunders’ New York Dolls guitar solos. What more could anyone desire from a book?
6. ‘A Werewolf in Manhattan’ by Vicki Lewis Thompson (Wild About You #1) (Signet, Jan 2011) – Paranormal Romance
Emma Gavin writes about werewolves, but that doesn’t mean she believes in them-not until a pack of real-life New York weres decide to investigate the striking accuracy of her “fiction”. When Aiden Wallace, son and heir of the pack leader, tries to sniff out Emma’s potential informant, he discovers something even more dangerous- an undeniable attraction to her.
7. ‘Mermaid’ by Carolyn Turgeon (Headline, March 2011) – Fantasy
While in hiding at a remote convent, a king’s daughter sees a magical being dragging a shipwrecked man to the shore. The creature is a mermaid princess – the youngest daughter of the Sea Queen – but she shares more with her human counterpart than her royal blood. By saving a young man’s life, both women have sacrificed their hearts. In one moment, the lives of the princesses, mortal and mermaid, are transformed forever.
8. ‘Allison Hewitt is Trapped’ by Madeleine Roux (Headline, Feb 2011) – Zombie Fiction
Based on the popular blog ALLISON HEWITT IS TRAPPED, the novel follows Allison who is trapped in the storeroom of Brookes & Peabody’s in a world swarming with the Undead, the Doomed, the Infected! Locked away with an oddball collection of colleagues and under siege, Allison takes advantage of a surviving internet connection and blogs. She writes, as the food runs out and panic sets in, as relationships develop and friends die, and as zombies claw at the door, all in the hope of connecting with other survivors out there. But as she reads the replies to her posts, Allison begins to comprehend the horrifying scale of the damage. And when no one comes to the group’s rescue, they are forced to leave the safety of their room and risk a journey across the city; streets that crawl with zombies, and worse – fellow humans competing for survival.
9. ‘License To Ensorcell’ by Katherine Kerr (DAW, Feb 2011) – Urban Fantasy
Psychic Agent Nola O’Grady isn’t sure returning to San Francisco, and living near her unusual family, is a good idea. Her job, with a psychic agency so obscure even the CIA doesn’t know it exists, can be perilous, and she’s afraid of the relatives getting involved. Then the Agency saddles her with Israeli secret agent Ari Nathan, and she has a bigger problem on her hands, because tact and compromise are not Ari’s strong points. Their mission is to track down a serial killer obsessed with werewolves. He sees them everywhere and shoots whenever he thinks he has one in his sights. Ari assumes the man’s psychotic, but in truth he’s murdering actual werewolves. Nola should know. Her younger brother Pat, a lycanthrope, was the first victim. Can Nola’s psychic talents and Ari’s skill with guns keep them alive long enough to unravel the greater mystery behind the killings? Can they save the werewolves and the world while stopping Nola’s family from running headlong into danger?
10. ‘Married with Zombies’ by Jesse Peterson (Simon & Schuster, Feb 2011) Zombie Fiction
Meet Sarah and David. Sarah and David are like any other couple. They met, they fell in love, but now they’re on the verge of divorce. On a routine trip to the marriage counsellor, they notice a few odd things — the lack of cars on the road, the missing security guard, and the fact that their counsellor, Dr Kelly, is ripping out her previous client’s throat. Meet the zombies. Now, Sarah and David are fighting for survival in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. But just because there are zombies, it doesn’t mean your other problems go away. And if the zombies don’t eat their brains, they might just kill each other.