Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Most Anticipated Reads of 2021

I had Cynthia Pelayo’s CHILDREN OF CHICAGO as one of my most eagerly anticipated books. Lucky me, I got my hands on an ARC from NetGalley and Polis Books. I wrote a non-spoiler review last month. It is no longer on my TBR pile, but it should be on yours. 

I have heard nothing but good things about C. J. Tudor. Sadly, I have yet to read anything that she has written. That will change this year with THE BURNING GIRLS—already out January 19, 2021. It is another non-horror on my list. This crime story is a psychological thriller and set in one of those closely-knit British villages where something isn’t quite right. Throw in some missing girls, a sketchy parish priest, and a centuries-old site of executions for religious martyrs, and I am certainly in. I have a feeling that I will be going back and pick up more of her books soon. 

What can be better than an exhilarating spy thriller written by an intelligence veteran? One that was written by Alma Katsu—a real spy writing real spy thrillers with real women. RED WIDOW is coming out on March 23. I’m also looking forward to reading THE DEEP and THE HUNGER.

After THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS, I’m not sure my heart can take MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW by Stephen Graham Jones (8/31/2021, Gallery/Saga Press). In this one, we are “trapped in a slasher film as tourists go missing.” I live in Florida, and while we do make a lot of our living off of tourists, a few going missing… See? He is already making me think dark thoughts. Jones loves slashers, so this should be quite a ripping thrill-ride of a read. And if you want a fun romp into some strange territory, pick up NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS. I also picked up a copy of MAPPING THE INTERIOR, so he should keep me pretty busy this year. And knowing him, he'll have another half dozen coming my way soon, too. 

RELENTLESS is the second in the new Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry (St. Martin's Griffin). I plan on dropping everything for this one. I need answers. I need adrenaline-pumping, page-turning excitement. I need someone’s head on a spike. If you like thrillers, sci-fi, tech, horror, and crime on a scale way beyond my imagination, go to your favorite indy bookstore and start at the beginning—NOW. If I were you, I'd also give the Ledger series additional attention in the form of audiobooks. Ray Porter adds an incredible level of reality to the stories. An excellent place to get your book is from Mysterious Galaxy. It’s one of Maberry’s haunts, and if you order from there, you might even be able to get a personalized copy. The man is a writing machine, but don’t let that scare you off. All of his books are imaginative, creative, and superbly crafted. I am also very excited for his upcoming dark epic fantasy, KAGEN THE DAMNED. I am currently reading INK. You must read that one as well.

V. Castro has a couple coming out this year. I cannot wait to get my hands on THE QUEEN OF THE CICADAS (06/22/2021) from Flame Tree Press. An urban legend and the Aztec goddess of death is enough to hook me. And speaking of goddesses, she has the GODDESS OF FILTH coming out in March of this year. It is a novella about 5 Chicanas, possession, and power.

Just in time for your summer read is another twisted tale out of Texas from Joe R. Lansdale. MOON LAKE is a stand-alone novel that is sure to deliver on anyone’s love of murder, mayhem, and some freaky, off-kilter humor that might leave you feeling a little guilty for laughing. Out from Mulholland Books June 22, 2021. 

I have been looking forward to the new DUNE movie that keeps getting pushed back—another victim of COVID. I thought that I would reread the first trilogy. Instead, I believe Kerstin Hall’s STAR EATER (06/22/2021, Tor/Forge) will be out soon enough and should give me all the space opera and political intrigue that I got from Frank Herbert all those years ago.

A few other notable releases this year: 

DUST AND GRIM by Chuck Wendig is on my radar for an October read. And I’d like to pick up DEATH & HONEY from Subterranean Press but the one that I could afford is sold out. That one has two additional stories—one each from Kevin Hearne and Lilah Bowen (Delilah Dawson). I still NEED to get the rest of Dawson’s SHADOW series. WAKE OF VULTURES was a fast-paced, albeit weird, horror/western that had me hooked from the start. 

I also have the first three books of John Scalzi’s THE INTERDEPENDENCY waiting patiently for me in my TBR. 

THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP by Grady Hendrix (7/13/2021) Hendryx seems to have a way with women. This should be a good one. I also have HORRORSTÖR in my TBR pile. Both will be making their way to the silver screen. 

CERTAIN DARK THINGS by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (9/2/2021, Tor Nightfire) I plan on giving her one more try. She had received rave reviews for MEXICAN GOTHIC, and while I found it entertaining enough, it did not blow me away. Hopefully, this one does. 

Some that I missed from last year that I will be squeezing in are:

RING SHOUT P. Dejeli Clark



SURVIVOR SONG by Paul Tremblay

THE TOLL by Cherie Priest

HIGHWAY 181 by D.S. Ullery

BROKEN by Don Winslow

STRANGE WEATHER by Joe Hill has been gathering dust on my nightstand. And that is a horror in and of itself. That will be rectified. And FULL THROTTLE. I have too many by Daddy King on the TBR: THE OUTSIDER, ELEVATION, IF IT BLEEDS, and THE INSTITUTE. 

And then there are rumors. Victor LaValle has been working on a new one. LONE WOMEN has a pub date in 2021, but I haven’t seen an actual date—yet. He has it pinned on his Twitter feed (@victorlavalle,) so I remain hopeful. I. CAN. BE. PATIENT. as I loved, loved, loved THE CHANGELING (2017, Spiegel & Grau).  

And Gabino Iglesias supposedly has a new one coming soon. He has been stingy with the details, but you can be sure that you will hear about it once he does have news he can share. If you are not familiar with his latest work, COYOTE SONGS, I highly recommend that you head out today—right now—and get a copy. This one is sure to rip you open with a machete and haunt you for some time to come.

There are more, of course. There are always new writers coming on the scene as well as new-to-me writers. What and who do you recommend?

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