As July turns to August, it is time to take a look forward to the books coming our way as the dog days of summer begin and a quick look at the upcoming releases suggests that August may be the dog days of publishing as well with a light schedule from the major presses that is saved once more by a strong slate of releases from the independent presses including one of the best books I have read this year.
DarkFuse has three scheduled releases in August and all of them are very good books. The featured release novel of the month, “A Beautiful Madness” by Lee Thompson, is a very good crime, dark noir novel that is one of the best books that I have read so far this year. With its mix of thriller, crime, and noir elements, Thompson crafts a novel that is equal parts exciting and disturbing that lingered in my mind for a long time after I read the final page. “The Sleeping Dead” by Richard Farren Barber is a disturbing novella about a possible near future apocalypse fueled by equal parts of violence and lethargy as the basest elements of the human mind are unleashed upon the world. “Blackout” by Tim Curran is a B-movie science fiction/horror romp that highlights what could happen if the minds of H.P. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury were to collide with catastrophic consequences. All three of these books are exemplary and a treat for any reader who enjoys great books with a bit of an edge.
ChiZine Publications also has some treats for readers who enjoy quality fiction that is a little off the beaten path. Gemma Files’ new book, “We All Go Down Together,” is the story of what could happen when the forces of dark magic are unleashed on the world and those in touch with supernatural forces must band together to save the world. “The Family Unit and Other Fantasies” by Laurence Klavan is a collection of stories by the Edgar Award-winning author that takes a look at the dark and bizarre side of modern society. Finally, Undertow Press, an imprint of ChiZine Publications, will publish “Year’s Best Weird Fiction” edited by Laird Barron that features the best strange short stories by authors such as Paul Tremblay, Jeff VanderMeer, and (the highly underrated, in my humble opinion) W.H. Pugmire in a groundbreaking anthology that captures fiction that is hard to classify as belonging in one specific genre.
The mainstream press kicks off the month with a couple promising releases. August 5th sees the release of the third book in Terry Goodkind’s “Richard and Kahlan Series” with the release of “Severed Souls.” Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child also check in with the further adventures of Gideon Crew with “The Lost Island” which finds the master thief tasked with stealing a page from an ancient book which leads him on a journey that could save his life as well as benefit all of mankind. August 12th brings “The 6th Extinction” by James Rollins in which the Sigma Force must strive to save the world from an extinction event that may wipe mankind off the planet to start anew. I am about halfway through this novel as I write this and am enjoying it (with a review to follow within the next week). August 26th rounds out the month with a new novel by Pittacus Lore, “The Revenge of Seven,” which continues the series about the Lorien that rose in popularity with the novel “I Am Number Four.” James Patterson and Michael White also check in on the 26th with “Private Down Under” as the novel gets its first release in the United States.
August is a light month for the major presses but the independent press is there once more to save readers from a month of boredom. If you find yourself with the time to read only one book in August, my pick would definitely be “A Beautiful Madness” by Lee Thompson as this is one of the best, if not the best, book that I have read this year. Do yourself a favor and dig into this novel as soon as you can.