"A modern noir set in Johannesburg, featuring a black, female, ex-journalist, ex-junky, ex-convict narrator, a daemon-y sloth clinging to her shoulders, Lauren Beukes' impressive sophomore novel turns what could have been a ridiculous Raymond Chandler-meets-Phillip Pullman pastiche into a deep and thoughtful examination of guilt and redemption in the 21st century."
Scott K. Andrews
"Just because a book has a bunch of machine-gun-toting schoolkids on the front doesn't mean you shouldn't take it seriously. As a genre, are we selling ourselves short? Or is it better that the subtle anti-war sentiments of Mr. Andrews' book sneak in under the radar, disguised by the dark glamour that's widely acknowledged to be more marketable to genre readers? Children's Crusade raises these questions - and more - proving why it belongs on this list."
"China Miéville's protean approach to genre means he's never met a category he didn't explode with all the calculated mischievousness of a teenager smoking under the principal's window during school hours. Nowhere is this more evident than the absurdist comedy of Kraken."
The Folding Knife
"From financial magnate to military genius to social reformer, Basso is unstoppable. However, he makes a single mistake - a solitary episode in which his emotions overrule his coolly logical disposition - and that haunts him for the entirety of his life.The Folding Knife is a compact epic - the rise and fall of a compelling figure, delivered in Parker's mesmerizing, no-frills style. It introduces relativity to a genre of absolutes, makes finance interesting and leaves the reader with plenty to argue in the pub."
"Aurorarama rejuvenates an entire subgenre, adding creativity and accuracy (historical and, more importantly, tonal) to a field that risks being defined solely by corsets and airships. Beyond its importance in legitimizing steampunk, Aurorarama is a sparkling read - breathing, human characters wandering amok in one of the most captivating cities in fiction."
"Despite its short length, King Maker packs in a sprawling cast of characters and the story comes out in a staccato style that won't be for every reader. It is, however, a work of great and unique ambition, merging an ancient mythos with a modern reality. More importantly, Mr. Broaddus balances them well. He uses elements of the fantastic to support a story about gang struggles, not the other way around."
Hard Case Crime
"If Memory sounds eye-bleedingly depressing - well, it is. It is also one of the most exceptional novels we've ever read, featuring the self-destructive protagonist and fatalistic themes of the best noirs bound up in the deeply moving story of a damanged man's desperate scramble after something he's lost forever."