I’m looking forward to, and hoping for, a lot of things in the coming year. I don’t have much control over most of these things, but a girl can hope. I’m a big nerd, and I don’t know what 2010 holds, but I do know that I’m looking forward to a number of books, movies, and television in the next 12 months. Below are some book recommendations for the coming year, based on reviews, past experience, and online chatter.
1) The Passage (Justin Cronin): I have a galley of this book, though it won’t be released until June, and I am chomping at the bit to read it. There’s been a lot of buzz about it already, and I believe the film rights have already been sold. Stephen King has said of the book:”Read fifteen pages and you will find yourself captivated; read thirty and you will find yourself taken prisoner and reading late into the night. It has the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve. What else can I say? This: read this book and the ordinary world disappears.” Now that is a great recommendation.
All I know about the book so far is that it’s the first title of a planned trilogy about vampires born not of bat bites, but of medical experiments gone awry. JUNE
2) Horns (Joe Hill): I enjoyed Hill’s novel Heart-Shaped Box pretty well, and I really liked his book of novellas and short stories, 20th Century Ghosts. Some of the stories in that book are amazing. Hill’s new novel comes out in a number of weeks, and I am very much looking forward to reading it.
About the Book: A couple years ago, a young woman named Merrin Williams was brutally murdered. The only suspect was her boyfriend, Ignatius Perrish. Ig is innocent, but ever since he’s been wracked with guilt, vilified by his community. Then one morning, Ig wakes up to discover he has a new pair of horns sprouting from his forehead. And with these horns come strange new powers. Ig is at first confused…until he gets an idea. Somewhere out there is a murderer. And Ig is gonna make sure that the son of a b**** pays the Devil his due…FEBRUARY
3) Faithful Place (Tana French): I wasn’t as blown away by French’s first novel, In the Woods, as were many, but I did like her writing style. Her second novel, The Likeness, was right up my alley and I loved it. I’m eagerly awaiting this novel, and hoping it is as good as, if not better than, her last one.
About the Book: The course of Frank Mackey’s life was set by one defining moment when he was nineteen. The moment his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, failed to turn up for their rendezvous in Faithful Place, failed to run away with him to London as they had planned. Frank never heard from her again. Twenty years on, Frank is still in Dublin, working as an undercover cop. He’s cut all ties with his dysfunctional family. Until his sister calls to say that Rosie’s suitcase has been found. Frank embarks on a journey into his past that demands he reevaluate everything he believes to be true. JULY
4) A Dark Matter (Peter Straub): I’m a fair-weather Straub fan. I love some of his novels (Floating Dragon), but others I have found to be pretty mediocre. However, this novel sounds like it’s going to be very, very good. It combines terror, high-school students, and the 60s – great steps towards a potentially compelling novel. And with advance praise from Stephen King, Dan Chaon, Lorrie Moore, and Lincoln Child – I know it will be good.
About the Book: The charismatic and cunning Spenser Mallon is a campus guru in the 1960s, attracting the devotion and demanding sexual favors of his young acolytes. After he invites his most fervent followers to attend a secret ritual in a local meadow, the only thing that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body – and the shattered souls of all who were present. FEBRUARY
5) Fever Dream (Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston): The latest installment in the Agent Pendergast novels from these masters of suspense & adventure. If you haven’t read this series of books, I highly recommend them. I actually started with The Cabinet of Curiosities and have read all of the books following. Even when some of the books have been a little sub-par, the characters keep me coming back.
About the Book: With Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta’s assistance, Special Agent Pendergast embarks on a quest to uncover the mystery of his wife’s murder. It is a journey that sends him deep into her past where he learns much that Helen herself had wished to keep hidden. MAY
6) The Fall (Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan): The second book of The Strain trilogy. The first book in the trilogy, The Strain, tended to drag in a few places, but overall I thought it was an outstanding addition to the horror and vampire genre. I don’t read most of the plethora of vampire novels on the market, but this one drew me in based on the del Toro tie, and I was not disappointed.
About The Strain: A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.
In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .
So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city–a city that includes his wife and son–before it is too late. SEPTEMBER
7) Ape House (Sarah Gruen): I loved Water for Elephants, and I’m hoping Gruen’s next novel can live up to the wonderful storytelling and characterization that she showcased in that novel.
About the Book: Gruen has moved from a circus elephant to family of bonobo apes. When the apes are kidnapped from a language laboratory, their mysterious appearance on a reality TV show calls into question our assumptions about these animals who share 99.4% of our DNA. Ape House is a riveting, funny, compassionate, and, finally, deeply moving new novel that secures Sara Gruen’s place as a master storyteller who allows us to see ourselves as we never have before. SEPTEMBER
8 ) So Cold the River (Michael Koryta): I haven’t read any Koryta before, but someone who I trust completely told me I would love this book. I have a copy in hand now, and it’s in my TBR stack.
About the Book: It started with a beautiful woman and a challenge. As a gift for her husband, Alyssa Bradford approaches Eric Shaw to make a documentary about her father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, a 95-year-old billionaire whose past is wrapped in mystery. Eric grabs the job even though there are few clues to the man’s past–just the name of his hometown and an antique water bottle he’s kept his entire life. Brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, So Cold the River is a tale of irresistible suspense with a racing, unstoppable current. JUNE