A new year means new books. What are you looking forward to? Here are a few on my radar:
The Ape Man's Brother by Joe R. Lansdale (January)
Orphaned by a plane crash, raised in the wilds of a lost world hidden somewhere beneath a constant mist, The Big Guy and his ape-man brother from another mother are living a life of danger amongst rampaging dinosaurs, giant birds, warring ape tribes, and all manner of deadly beasts. It's a wonderful existence for someone like The Big Guy and his furry brother, except for the flea problem. Then an expedition of explorers from the outside turn his world inside out. Or rather a very blonde beauty called The Woman does. It leads to his and his ape brother being convinced to fly to New York by zeppelin, where they become the toast of the town. They even make Hollywood movies. It seems perfect. At least until The Big Guy does something that comes quite naturally to him in the wild, but leads to public humiliation in this new found world. To make matters worse, his ape brother has grown to not only love the pampered life, meals he doesn't have to chase down, good cigars, fine wines and statuesque women, he's come to like the Wrong Woman.
Changes are afoot. They lead to a return to the world beneath the mist, and a deadly and unexpected encounter with a foe that is in many ways far worse than any dinosaur. Envy, jealousy, greed, fleas, and pyramids under the mist, are all part of this rollicking novella of the sort only Joe R. Lansdale could write. And don't forget dinosaurs.
Blood for the Sun by Errick Nunnally (March)
After more than one hundred and forty years, Alexander Smith is suffering from memory loss that plagues him like a supernatural Alzheimer's. He has lasted longer than most by clinging to the love he has for his adopted daughter, the vampire Ana, and puzzling out cases of missing or murdered children. Without them, he wouldn't be able to ignore the ghost of a child from his guilty past or fight the whispers goading him to kill. On his latest job, he's stumbled upon a vampire conspiracy that has left a trail of child murders up and down the East Coast-a conspiracy that promises inoculation against the sun. If true, the conspirators' success would mean a bloody conflict, altering the balance between humans and the supernatural forever. Losing more of his mind every day, Alexander has two impossible tasks ahead of him if the world is to survive: stop the vampire coven and reconnect with his humanity.
Plaster City by Johnny Shaw (April)
The raucous second book in the Jimmy Veeder Fiasco series returns to the Calexico/Mexicali border two years after the events of Dove Season, reuniting Jimmy Veeder and Bobby Maves—not exactly the luckiest guys in the Imperial Valley, but, hey, they win more fights than they lose.
Settled on his own farmland and living like a true family man after years of irresponsible fun, Jimmy’s got a straight life cut out for him. But he’s knocking years off that life thanks to fun-yet-dangerous Bobby’s booze-addled antics—especially now that Bobby is single, volatile as ever, and bored as hell.
When Bobby’s teenage daughter goes missing, he and Jimmy take off on a misadventure that starts out as merely unfortunate and escalates to downright calamitous. Bobby won’t hesitate to kick a hornets’ nest to get the girl to safety, but when the rescue mission goes riotously sideways, the duo’s grit—and loyalty to each other—is put to the test.
Stay God, Sweet Angel by Nik Korpon (April)
Damon lives a content life, playing video games and dealing drugs from his second-hand store while his girlfriend, Mary, drops constant hints about marriage. If only he could tell her his name isn't really Damon. If only he could tell her who he really is. But after he witnesses a friend's murder, a scarlet woman glides into his life, offering the solution to all of his problems. His carefully constructed existence soon shatters like crystal teardrops and he must determine which ghosts won't stay buried - and which ones are trying to kill him - if he wants to learn why Mary has disappeared.
The Poor Boy's Game by Dennis Tafoya (April)
When US Marshal Frannie Mullen gets one of her best friends shot during a routine apprehension, her career is over. Still reeling from the loss, Frannie is trying to sort out her feelings for Wyatt, the reformed outlaw who loves her, and to support her newly-sober sister, Mae, as she struggles with the fallout of their unstable, violent childhood.
Their father Patrick Mullen is a thug, a vicious enforcer for a corrupt Philadelphia union, and when he escapes from prison, bodies of ex-rivals and witnesses begin piling up. Now Frannie is suspected as an accomplice in his escape and targeted by shadowy killers from the Philadelphia underworld. Unsure who to trust, drawing on the skills she's learned as a Marshal and her training as a boxer, Frannie is forced to fight to protect her shattered sister and Patrick’s pregnant girlfriend from the most dangerous criminal she’s ever faced—her own father.
Tequila Sunset by Sam Hawken (June)
In Tequila Sunset, three people are confronted by Los Aztecas's ruthless power: a reluctant gang member, an El Paso police officer, and a Mexican federal agent. As their paths cross with the gang and each other, they all become involved in a complex struggle between law and crime, violence and order, and ultimately, life and death.
The Fever by Megan Abbott (June)
The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hocky star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.
As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.