All the Way There: The Best Books of 2017...Part 2

Back in June, I wrote about the best books of the first half of the year (Halfway There: The Best Books of 2017...So Far). Now that the year is almost over, it's time to look at all the good stuff that came our way since then. Here are the best books of the second half of 2017, in no particular order.

'Tropic of Kansas' by Christopher Brown (July 2017)

I have a soft spot for dystopian fiction, but it seems like Brown was waiting for the perfect time to drop this novel, and he nailed it. Fun, fast, violent, smart, and with enough adventure and science fiction elements to keep fans of both genres happy, this was more than a superb novel: it was the kind of book that announces the arrival of an author at the top of his game.

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'A Collection of Nightmares' by Chritina Sng (July 2017)

I know horror poetry is not something you expected to find here, but this is amazing. It's horror poetry...and science fiction poetry and funny poetry and weird poetry and alien invasion poetry and body horror madness poetry and everything in between. More than that, it is also short stories in poetry form. Very satisfying short stories. It deserves a spot on a lot of lists.

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'Sip' by Brian Allen Carr (August 2017)

With every new novel, Carr reinvents himself and whatever genre he's tackling. Sip is no different. Strange, hilarious, and fresh, this is another hit from a great writer. The man writes like no one else, and his unique voice shines in this one. My only hope is that this release from SoHo catapults him into the literary stratosphere once and for all. He deserves to be there.

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'Devil's Call' by J. Danielle Dorn (August 2017)

If you weren't reading bruja literature this year, you were reading wrong. This was one of those books that felt like a shift in the landscape: a kick-ass Western about a woman with special powers written by a woman.Yeah, go read it if you haven't done so yet. 

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'The Dark Net' by Benjamin Percy (August 2017)

Percy can apparently do no wrong. This one, a sprawling mix of horror, adventure, and science fiction would probably have been a mess in less capable hands, but Percy makes if great, creepy, informative, and highly entertaining. There are many books about the dark web out there, but this is the one to read.

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'Found Audio' by N.J. Campbell (July 2017)

Bring up Lovecraftian literature nowadays and some kind of fight is bound to start. Well, screw all that: this is superb literature with a Lovecraftian slant and enough creepiness and strangeness to make it a must-read. If you had told me at the beginning of the year that I would call a novel that features chess abso-fucking-lutely riveting, I would've laughed, but here we are.

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'The Grip of It' by Jac Jemc (August 2017)

It'd be lazy of me to knock this one out by saying Jemc reinvented the haunted house narrative by infusing it with a lot of drama and literary writing...but that's exactly what she did, so go read it.

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'Crescent City Crimes: Old New Orleans 1718-1918' by Charles Cassady Jr (October 2017)

I didn't get around to reading much non-fiction this year, but CCC was outstanding and made me crave more. Well researched, entertainingly presented, and very rich in lore as well as history, this book took me to the past of a city I love and showed me where the stories all came from. A must for true crime lovers, history fans, and anyone with even a remote interest in the city of New Orleans.

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'Mud Season' by Justin Grimbol (September 2017)

You know which author I almost never see mentioned in lists like this? Justin Grimbol. You know who distills life and then splatters the result all over the page? Justin Grimbol. Mud Season is about life, walking in the woods, making love, crying, and butts. It's sad and beautiful and touching.

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What about you guys? What are the great reads of 2017?

Gabino Iglesias

Column by Gabino Iglesias

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of ZERO SAINTS, HUNGRY DARKNESS, and GUTMOUTH. His reviews have appeared in Electric Literature, The Rumpus, 3AM Magazine, Marginalia, The Collagist, Heavy Feather Review, Crimespree, Out of the Gutter, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, HorrorTalk, Verbicide, and many other print and online venues. 

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