The mere idea of the paranormal might be one of the most divisive topics humanity has ever had to contend with. Though in the past mysticism was accepted as an obvious part of life, as scientific explanations came along to shed light on the inexplicable, humanity began to move towards the realm of rationality.
These days, the idea of someone being superstitious and a believer of the paranormal has a farcical character to it in many countries, but in my personal opinion, I think most of us, deep down inside, would be happy to see undeniable evidence of something supernatural, if only for all the doors it opens up.
Even though we don’t have any scientific reason to believe the paranormal exists, I think many of us have an attraction to it because of one simple reason: the majority of us live in an urban setting, and urban settings leave no place for magic.
As such, I don’t think it’s too surprising to see the paranormal and urban science-fiction genres being as prominent as they are these days, and I very much expect the trend to continue as cities keep swallowing up rural lands.
In this category you’ll find the various novels in both the paranormal and urban fiction genres, more often than not combining them into one. Though there are probably too many novels in these categories for me to find all the good ones, I do think the ones below stand out from their peers in remarkable ways.
Ben Aaronovitch has created an unforgettable and magical world in his Rivers of London series, and despite being the latest entry, What Abigail Did That Summer is an excellent presentation of what the series has to offer for anyone new to it. Flashing back to the summer of 2013, we follow the titular Abigail as she attempts to solve the mystery of recently-disappeared teenagers who remain silent about the ordeal upon their return.
Jess Kidd is never afraid of pushing her novels in more imaginative directions, and with Things in Jars, her latest novel, she does just this once again, presenting us with Bridie Devine, a female detective extraordinaire finding most of her work in Victorian London’s underbelly.
A case finds its way into her lap, and the repercussions are fated to be larger than anyone can anticipate; a girl with rumoured supernatural powers was kidnapped, and seemingly everyone else wants to get their hands on her.
Sarah Gailey isn’t an author to shy away from trying new directions, and in her fantasy debut titled Magic for Liars she takes us on a strange journey to the Academy of Young Mages, where a murder has shaken everything to its core. To resolve the matter, the school hires the services of PI Ivy Gamble, twin sister to one of the academy’s teachers. With her investigation being hampered at every turn by magic high-schoolers and evil-doers alike, Ivy Gamble is for the first time confronted with a case matching her true talents.
Michael Gruber has captivated the attention of many thriller and murder mystery fans with his Jimmy Paz series, injecting some fresh and new perspectives into a genre which has at times grown stale due to its own long-lasting popularity. In Night of the Jaguar, we follow Jimmy Paz once again on a strange and convoluted journey involving murdered Cuban-American business lords, a shaman who wants to save his forests in South Africa, the world of “Santeria” and Colombian drug lords to top it all off.
Michael Gruber has made a welcome addition to detective literature with the introduction of Jimmy Paz in his first outing, Tropic of Night. After having saved Miami from the throes of a serial killer, he returns once again in Valley of Bones and is faced with a very different task. A wealthy oilman plunges ten stories down to his death, and in his room is a seemingly insane woman with religious inclinations. She wants to confess… but ends up writing entire notebooks’ worth of details stretching far beyond this one crime. Could there be some truth to the deranged woman’s delirium?
For some death is the end, but for the few fortunate ones such as Charlie Miner, it’s definitely nothing more than an inconvenience. In Earl Javorsky’s Down Solo we are introduced to the afore-mentioned Charlie, a private investigator who wakes up on a slab at the morgue with a bullet hole through his head. Far from letting it dissuade him from his case involving massive fraud and religious extremism, Charlie sets out to connect all the dots, and perhaps later have a look into why and how he came back from the dead.
Christopher Golden is the kind of author whose imagination never runs short on perilous adventures to undertake, and in one of his latest novels, Ararat, he takes us inside the titular mount located in Turkey, where a recent earthquake reveals a secret cave which turns out to be in fact a buried ship. A newly-engaged couple try everything in their power to be the first ones inside, and so they venture forth with a team of scholars, archeologists and filmmakers. Unfortunately, a massive blizzard blows over and traps them all inside the mountain… where they discovered a coffin containing the misshaped cadaver of a horned creature.
William Fripp has surprised the literary community with the publishing of his unique and imaginative stories, Ad Infinitum and Ad Perpetuam, following three regular folk who are hunting an ancient evil that jumps through time and bodies alike. Find out what we think about his books and what the author himself has to say about the series in a short interview.