I spent last week at the ALA Midwinter Conference. One of the things that happen at each Midwinter is that the Reference and User's Services Association announce awards for the best in genre fiction (The Reading List) published in 2012. Many of the awards went to titles that have won the awards before but there were some surprises.
In their Adrenaline category (Thrillers and Suspense), the winner was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This has really been Flynn's year and there is no argument that the title deserves the award. I bet she is afraid to put out her next one though. How could it possibly match the acclaim she has received.
In the Fantasy category, The Rook by Daniel O'Malley. The best description I have read about this one says it is a Jason Bourne type spy thriller set in an urban supernatural setting. Sounds interesting.
For Historical Fiction, no surprises - Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. She has had a tremendous year also. This second in the trilogy on Thomas Cromwell has pretty much cleaned up all the major awards here and in England.
In the Horror category, the winner is The Ritual by Adam Nevill. This would be enough to give me nightmares when four friends wander off the hiking trail in the forests of and find themselves stalked by an unseen and increasingly violent menace.
In Mystery, a surprise - The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye. This was nominated for an Edgar too but it is up against Gone Girl for that one. In this one, the discovery of a mass grave of child prostitutes spurs “copper star” Timothy Wilde to hunt a killer through the seamy underbelly of 1840s New York City.
In Romance - another surprise, at least to me, Firelight by Kristen Calihan, a dark and smoldering paranormal Victorian. Bartered as a bride to the masked nobleman Benjamin Archer, Miranda Ellis – a woman with a supernatural secret – becomes his only defender when he is accused of a series of murders.
In Science Fiction, the winner was Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey. He was up against authors of much greater renown like Iain M. Banks and Stephen King. This is the second in his Expanse series. One wants control; one wants vindication; one wants his daughter back; and one wants revenge (and maybe a new suit). The shifting points of view of these four distinctive characters, an electrifying pace, and the threat of an evolving alien protomolecule propel readers through this grand space adventure.
Lastly, in Women's Fiction, the winner was The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway. Galilee Garner’s carefully managed routine of teaching, rose breeding, and kidney dialysis is disrupted when her teenage niece moves in.