Looking for something to stick in the beach bag? This month brings new novels by Jacqueline Carey and Laurell K. Hamilton, plus zombies, vampires, robots, and some levitating kids.
Robopocalypse, Daniel H. Wilson (Doubleday)
Anyone who's ever tried programming a coffee maker knows it's merely a matter of time before the machines rise against us. Daniel H. Wilson posits how their rebellion might play out. Not too long from now, we've completely given over our menial tasks to the robots. Everything's hunky dory until an AI starts converting all of them into mindless killing machines. The story is told as an oral history, in the style of World War Z, using "primary sources" and interviews with survivors.
Raising Stony Mayhall, Daryl Gregory (Del Rey)
It's 1968, in the wake of the first zombie outbreak. The Mayhalls find a teenager dead in the snow, her baby beside her. Despite distinctly lacking a pulse, the child starts squirming and looks up at the family matriarch. They name him Stony and raise him as one of their own. But every child leaves home eventually, and the zombie boy eventually has to make his own way in a world that isn't very friendly and doesn't make much sense.
Naamah's Blessing, Jacqueline Carey (Grand Central Publishing)
The ninth book in Carey's D'Angeline series and the conclusion to her Moirin trilogy, Naamah's Blessing picks our heroine's story as she returns to Terre d'Ange. The king is a grief-wracked wreck. He asks Moirin to serve as a protector to his practically abandoned three-year-old daughter Desirée, around whom political plots swirl furiously. And then, if that's not enough, she's dispatched to the New World, where she has to face her ex, Raphael de Mereliot. (Review here.)
Leviathan Wakes, S.A. James Corey (Orbit)
It's space opera season! In Leviathan Wakes, we've pushed beyond Earth but we're still stuck in the solar system. The novel follows two characters — Jim Holden, captain of an ice miner, and Detective Miller, who's hunting a missing girl — who both find themselves mixed up in a strange alien force emanating from an abandoned ship. (Review here.)
Graveminder, Melissa Marr (William Morrow)
Rebekkah Barrow the town of Claysville as soon as she was able, returning only to visit her beloved grandmother Maylene. Her grandmother is a little odd, in that she's always the last mourner at any funeral, and she makes rounds of the town cemeteries to visit the deceased. Bek can't quite figure why nowhere else feels quite right, until Maylene is murdered and she returns home to find the dead are now her charges. Further complicating matters is her tumultuous relationship with undertaker Byron. Reluctant as they are to stir things up again, they're forced to work together to understand the strange, special connection between Claysville and the dead.
Hit List, Laurell K. Hamilton (Berkley)
Anita Blake is back! This time she's investigating some suspiciously monstrous serial murders in the Pacific Northwest. She is still having lots of sex.
Uncertain Places, Lisa Goldstein (Tachyon Publications)
There's something a bit off about the women of the Feierabend family. They seem to have better-than-average good luck, but there's something not-quite-right about it, and their fortune doesn't seem to bring happiness, either. Will Taylor is caught up in their supernatural doings in 1971 when, as a fresh-faced Berkeley undergrad, he falls for Livvy Feierabend. But this is a fairy tale, and so she falls into a deep sleep, and falls to Will to figure out a way around her ancestors' deal with the fairy folk. (Review here.)
Titus Awakes, Mervyn Peake and Maeve Gilmore (Overlook Press)
I'll bet you want to know what happens at the end of the Gormenghast saga, don't you? When Peake passed away in 1968, he left behind the outline of a fourth novel. Years later, the author's son discovered that his mother had actually completed Titus Awakes herself. The story follows Titus (the 77th Earl of Groan) as he leaves behind his mouldering abode for the wider world.
Jim and the Flims, Rudy Rucker (Night Shade Books)
In Jim and the Flims, the cyberpunk author imagines what happens when someone accidentally punches a two-way tunnel between the afterworld and Santa Cruz. When protagonist Jim does just that, it results in a flood of invaders called the Flims and the death of his wife, too. Fixing the mess will require — as it often does — a trip to the other side.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs (Quirk Books)
This odd (in a good way) book combines a boy's tale of exploring his family history with some strange photos to create a cooly creepy reading experience. Jacob's grandfather used to tell him weird stories about kids with powers of levitation and invisibility. When the man passes away, Jacob sets out to visit the island where he was born, and promptly begins recognizing the children from the pictures. Problem is, everyone says they're all dead.