What To Read While Waiting For Ghost Story?

Ghost Story is just a few months away, but for many of us the wait’s just unbearable. What’s a superfan to do?

Read something else, of course. I like my stuff pretty dark; so here’s what I’d recommend to fellow Jim fans looking in that direction, both by authors who I fully believe deserve a wider audience.

Harry Connolly’s Child of Fire: This is dark stuff (Changes dark, and maybe darker still), but so worth it. If you’re wondering what Harry’s adventures would look like in a more horror-inflected series where magic is an even surer route to pain, this is it. Jim Butcher has said that the writing here tells him he’s got to up his game, and you can see why. The plot is propulsive, the twists and turns are sharp, and the hero’s got some serious stuff darkening his door. This is part of the “Twenty Palaces” series, followed by Game of Cages and the upcoming Circle of Enemies.

While you’re at it, consider checking out Chuck Wendig’s collection of short stories, Irregular Creatures. Chuck runs an awesome, bizarre, profane writers’-advice blog over on Terrible Minds (good reading on its own!), and his e-collection of short stories here follows in that vein. He also has an upcoming novel about a vampire who returns to waking in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, Double Dead, which I’m betting will be up your alley as well.

So what are you reading while waiting on Ghost Story? Whose stuff would you recommend? Chime in in the comments, below! (Please avoid spoilers while making your recommendations!)

110 thoughts on “What To Read While Waiting For Ghost Story?”

  1. I read Child of Fire. It shows how nice JB is with his endorsement. I don’t think its in the same class as dresden files. If Dresden Files gets an A, the child of fire gets a B-.

    For those that like urban fantasy with more guns, check out Monster Hunter International.

    1. I was going to suggest Monster Hunter International, pretty fun read.

      I did read Child of Fire, and picked up Circle of Cages, but not real happy with the charecter development so far. Got stuck about a 1/3 of the way in, and am re-reading Changes currently to get ready for Ghost Story

      I also suggest the Nightside series by Simon Greene. The books are shorter, and they are a pretty quick read. Read in order if you are just starting the series.

      1. Simon Greene’s “Nightside” books are definitely great, but don’t limit yourself to this series. Anything by Simon Greene is worth the time.
        Also, since Jim always credits Laurell K. Hamilton with being a writer that had influenced him, I’ve gone back to re-reading the Anita Blake series. Not disappointed, but even though I’ve just finished relistening to James Marsters reading the Dresden series – for like the fifth time! – I really am jonesing for Ghost Story!

        1. I have read all the Green books but the Deathstalker series runs more to SF (the drood family of books would work as well i guess), so I just brought up the Nightside series. Have read the Anita Blake books and really enjoyed them up to around the 6th or 7th book, then IMO they kind of became more sex and romance than vamps and wereanimals……I still read them, but dont run out to get them the day they are released like so many others.

  2. For great fantasy writing, check out:

    The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
    A really cool, grifter/heist meets fantasy series. You could almost think of it as Ocean’s 11 with magic, only with well-drawn characters, humor, and plenty of violence. So actually, much better than Ocean’s 11.

    The way of Shadows – Brent Weeks
    Kickass, fantasy assassin trilogy. Again, great characters, great writing, and great story. Seems like he had to wrap it up a bit quickly in the finale, but still great.

    The KingKiller Chronicles – Patrick Rothfus
    Summing up the plot would make it sound like a grown-up Harry Potter, but that’s just the beginning. Some of the best writing you’ll find in fantasy.

    1. I agree with you on Brent Weeks and Patrick Rothfuss, though I haven’t read anything by Scott Lynch. Also check out Brent’s Plack Prism.

      1. Agreed on Brent Weeks and i’d also suggest A Devil in the Details by KA Stewart, there’s a sequel but i haven’t read it yet. i’ll definitely be looking into those other ones though

    2. Some of my favorite series. Already read them though, any other suggestions?

  3. I saw Child of Fire at work (Random House) a few weeks ago and saw Jim Butcher’s endorsement on it, so I immediately picked it up. Good book, I recommend.

  4. I’m happy SRG is getting some love from the Dresden community. I’ll say that if you are a fan of Green, you really need to look into the audiobook adaptations of his books. Every audiobook I’ve heard has been amazing, and in many cases more enjoyable than reading the book itself.

  5. I’ve just finished reading Midnight Riot (aka Rivers of London) by Ben Aaronovitch. It’s written by a man who did some of the best writing in the last two seasons of the old Doctor Who, and a lot of the amazon reviews mention the Dresden Files, for good reason. If Murphy had been recruited by a member of the Council instead of meeting Harry while fighting a troll, she might have ended up a lot like main character Peter Grant.
    Also, the second book – Moon over Soho – is already out, and the third book – Whispers Under Ground – comes out in November, so you won’t be left hanging for long.

  6. lots of great books on that list
    i have a nice list of things to read now, thank you.

    one of my new favorites
    “sixty one nails” by Mike Shevdon

    also Glen Cook
    writes some great stories if you havent tried him you need to.
    the Black Company and the Garret P.I. series as well as his new Tyranny of the Night.
    start with Garret you should get a chuckle and a good story to.

  7. I would suggest, the Cal Leandros series, by Rob Thurman. I have read the first four and I loved them, they are incredibly dark though, and not at all for the faint of heart, they also do not involve magic, but instead mythological creatures and their abilities.

  8. Ooohhh Brent Weeks !! The Night Angel trilogy is a must-read ! I also read tons of different stuff, not just fantasy, urban or otherwise. I love the Pendergast books by Preston & Child (am currently reading Fever Dream), Peter Straub’s A Dark Matter and Lost Boy Lost Girl, anything by Neil Gaiman but especially American Gods. I know some of these aren’t exactly recent, but well worth checking out if they’re new to you.

  9. Love both Patrick Rothfuss and Brent Weeks.

    I’m reading the last book in The Chronicles of the Necromancer-Dark Lady’s Chosen by Gail Z Martin. And I have The Sentinel Mage by Emily Gee and the Ambassador’s Mission by Trudi Canavan to read after that.

  10. I highly recommend Kate Griffin’s ”Matthew Swift” series. Her interpretation of the rules to urban magic is absolutely entertaining. First of the series is ”A Madness of Angels”

  11. While it’s really hard to find books that can compare with the dresden files the sad truth is that only one book per year leaves many days to find something else to read.

    My tip for people looking for something somewhat similar to dreden would be Kelly McCulloughs Webmage series. It’s completed and only concinsts of five books and they are set in the greek mythology with their gods and deities. They are more techy then dresden so folks who don’t know the first thing about computers might find the tech talk abit tedious but the protagonist reminds me alot of Harry.

    If you would like something with vampires but that’s not a obvious romance tale of a lusty vampire etc… id recommend The Vampire Files by P N Elrod. It’s not a new series but it’s alot of fun.

    Good Luck

  12. Going old school. I like Barbara Hamley’s Silent Tower series, and the Time of the Dark series. It’s magic in a early industrial society, so…not a modern Chicago. But the details and the mystery element help make it real.

  13. Everyone should check out Mike Carey’s Felix Castor books. Great dark Urban Fantasy with a bad ass protagonist. Dark, but very good. Here are a couple others I recommend:

    Lightbreaker by Mark Teppo – very occult oriented UF
    Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey – very noir influenced UF
    Ghost Ocean by S.M. Peters – An unusual UF that is like a more modern version of what Charles de Lint has been doing for years. It gets weird though.

  14. I love Dresden and The Nightside, and burned through them like the wax in the late hours read, I have found one terrific new writer… In part to our much loved Butcher. The writers name is Richard Kadrey, he has three books currently out the first that cought my attention and was an absolute ride was Butcher Bird. the next two are a new series Sandman Slim, the first book being the title series opener and the second Kill the Dead.. All three great horror magic noir fun fest, Highly recommended! Come on July…Im done with these too!!!

    1. Kate Griffin’s ”Matthew Swift” series is on par Jim Butcher’s “Dresden” in my books

  15. I really liked both of Harry Connolly’s novels and also recommend them. As for who else, there is a lot of paranormal series that are really good:

    Simon R Green’s Nightside and Secret Histories series
    Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty and the Midnight Hour series
    Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros series and The Trickster books
    Chloe Neill’s The Chicagoland Vampires series
    Justin Gustainis’s Morris and Chastain Investigations
    Seanan McGuire’s October Daye novels
    Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series and The Alpha and Omega books
    Jaye Wells’s Sabina Kane books
    Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden AND Morganville Vampire novels
    John Levitt’s Dog Days series
    Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock novels
    C.E. Murphy’s The Walker Papers
    Jeri Smith Ready’s W.V.M.P. series
    Anton Stout’s Simon Canderous novels
    Mark Del Franco’s Conner Grey books
    Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant novels
    Bloodshot by Cherie Priest
    Brooklyn Knight by C.J. Henderson
    Thomas E. Sniegoski’s Remy Chandler series
    Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series and the Over the Edge series.
    Caitlin Kittridge’s Nocturn City series and her Black London novels
    Kim Harrison’s Hallows series
    Jeanne C. Stein’s Anna Strong,Vampire series

    I could type a LOT more, but those series above will get a purchase from me with every new release.

  16. I have been having a time trying to find books that I can stay into – Curse you Jim for setting the bar so high! However, I have found a couple as of late.

    Brandon Sanderson – The Way of Kings : This is the beginning of a new series and is 1K pages long! I suck at assigning details like this, but I think it would be more high fantasy. The author did excellent work.

    Paul Hoffman – Left Hand of God : This book is not quite as good as JB, but it did keep my attention for the whole book.

  17. The Cal Leandros novels by Rob Thurman are all terrific reads. Period. The early works of Simon Green, as it pertains to the Night Side series, are what reviewers often refer to as wonderful romps … if I am not mistaken. However, the Bond series sadly falls far short of expectations. Have just started reading Kate Griffin on the recommendations made here, and so far am really enjoying the character, Matthew Shift, as well as her writing.

  18. Try reading Kevin Hearnes book Hounded! Love the Dresden files and this is up there for me! I am an audio book person and the reader of Hounded is very good. Druids and magic and Irish Gods and a wonderful wolfhound along with all the other soups! From a Five-Star Review by Night Owl Reviews: “What an amazing debut! Move over ladies of urban fantasy, there is a new guy on the block and he can hold his own with Harry Dresden. Kevin Hearne does a spectacular job of blending the serious with quirky humor, magic, mayhem, history and mythology.” Sill can’t wait for the next Dresden book tho’.

    1. I just finished reading Hounded and loved it. Was a great book and i look forward to the next two books being released very shortly. Oberon the irish wolfhound was funny.

    2. Just got the Del Rey newsletter – first 6 chapters of Hounded are up for preview at their site…

  19. Am waiting for someone to finish the first big read-through of my thesis. Am pleasantly surprised by the large # of recommendations. Another author I like is in the same boat, with fans frothing for the next volume. It’s always astonishing and pleasant to see what others are recommending. Nothing I’m reading vaguely resembles the wizard-supernatural detective/mystery. But … if you want the dark version of the general genre, Philip Kerr has a 3-volume compendium published as “Berlin Noir”. Detective story set in primarily pre-WW2 Berlin; complicated plots and really well-developed central character who might appeal to the Dresden-loving crowd. The language is a bit odd – sort of trying for the James Elroy relationship to period language, but pulling it from German, rather than English. i.e., the slang terms might be off-putting.

  20. I would agree with a lot of the suggestions so far and only really have one more to add to the list. Has anyone read any of The Watch Series by Sergei Lukyaneneko? If you haven’t I recommend going and getting the first in the series “Night Watch”. It’s a great set of books and will keep you occupied for a while. The main character Anton Gorodetsky will keep you engaged and it certainly is worth the read.

    1. Very strongly second this recommendation. See what would happen if the Grey Council had the ‘guns’ and the guts to enforce a centuries-long Mexican stand-off between the White and Black Councils!

      If you’ve seen the [fairly mediocre] film that was based on the first two books, don’t be put off by it. The [currently] four books are an excellent read and hook you in very quickly. Each book appears to consist of three separate stories and it’s not until you get near the end of the third story in each volume that you suddenly realise how they are connected and then pick-up on all the inconspicuous clues that Lukyaneneko has scattered around.

      PS. and for anyone who has read the books….Ebenezer v Gesar – now that would be a fight worth watching (from a long distance away!)

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