Here are just some of the ones that I would suggest stuffing readers' stockings with this holiday season, though!
Rachel Vincent's Shifters series should be on every paranormal mystery fans reading list, without question. Just two books in with book three due out in the Spring and this is by far one of my favorite new authors. Stray made the Booksense (now indiebound) list when it debuted in '07 - this means that independent booksellers around the country voted it one of the best books coming out that month. How freaking cool is that considering it's about werecats? Rogue had a totally killer ending that will leave you waiting with baited breath for Pride when it hits shelves in March, just enough time to catch up! They're cool and edgy and way different from anything else on the market right now in terms of subject.
Another of my new faves is Jennifer Rardin. Her Jaz Parks series is like Buffy meets Alias in my opinion. There are four books to the series so far with book five hitting shelves Jan 5 (can you say, gift certificate?). Jaz is a fed who works with an elite force of paranormal specialists. Her partner, Vayl, is an uber-mysterious Romanian vamp who puts his powers to good use in hunting down evil supernatural beings. There's gadgets and crazy spy tools on top of wonderfully original beings, some of which could be straight out of a del Toro flick. The books, in order, are Once Bitten, Twice Shy, Another One Bites the Dust, Biting the Bullet, Bitten to Death, and the upcoming One More Bite.
A few years back, Lilith Saintcrow quietly made her debut, slipping onto the urban fantasy scene at the upstart. But then something happened, the genre became huge and the Hachette Book Group launched their amazingly wonderful Orbit imprint. The powers that be snatched up Saintcrow's latest Dante Valentine titles and repackaged (new covers) the whole series for newbie fans like me. There are just five books to Dante's adventures (plus at least one short story about a peripheral character) and now Saintcrow is onto new tales with Jill Kismet. These are super fun. The heroines are feisty and have bad tempers, the worlds are super cool, too. Dante lives in a way in the future but strangely like the present world with some futuristic twists. Kismet has some powers that are still not even clear to her. Fun stuff and great character development.
Another super original series (think Heroes meets X-Men and it's all in Vegas) is Vicki Pettersson's Zodiac series. When I read The Scent of Shadows, I had no idea what kind of ride I was in for. Like Vincent's books, these were a big and welcome surprise for me, reading wise. I never tire of the same old stuff, but I always want something new as well and Pettersson did that for me. I can't gush about these books enough, it's just that it's so super cool. In fact, I find myself watching Heroes and thinking how much better it would be if it were more like Pettersson's stories (sorry, Heroes, I still love you). Scent is followed by Taste of Night and Touch of Twilight.
And finally, Jocelynn Drake made her Dark Days debut this year with Nightwalker. To tell you too much about this one would be to give away the fantastic surprise that awaits you. There are vamps and that's all I'm going to say (although you can read more in my review in the Bookbitch archives). It's a great twist and a wonderful addition to the urban fantasy world that you should definitely start now. Book 2, Dayhunter, is due out in April.
Agh, like I said, there are just so many out there. I'll follow up with a couple more paranormal posts, one for romance and one for older titles (Kim Harrison for example) as well as one for some miscellaneous paranormals I've come across lately.