Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction of 2012 (81 books)

Sort

As Listed

Most Popular

Publication Date

A-Z

Z-A

 

Related Lists

The Milkweed T...

Laundry Files

Crissa Stone

"The 100 books on this year's fiction list encompass a range of categories. Debuts, story collections, thrillers, mysteries, translations, science fiction, fantasy, romance, historical fiction—there's something for every taste."

 

American Dervish: A Novel

by Ayad Akhtar

Hayat Shah is a young American in love for the first time. His normal life of school, baseball, and video games had previously been distinguished only by his Pakistani heritage and by the frequent chill between...


Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories

by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie’s stature as a writer of stories, poems, and novels has soared over the course of his twenty-book, twenty-year career. His wide-ranging, acclaimed stories from the last two decades have established...


Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel

by Shalom Auslander

The bestselling debut novel from Shalom Auslander, the darkly comic author of Foreskin's Lament and Beware of God.

Hope: A Tragedy is a hilarious and haunting examination of the burdens and abuse of history,...


The Undertow

by Jo Baker

The American debut of an enthralling new voice: a vivid, indelibly told work of fiction that follows four generations of a family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century—a novel about inheritance, about...


The Hydrogen Sonata

Culture cycle #10

by Iain M. Banks

The New York Times bestselling Culture novel...

The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.

An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet...


Range of Ghosts

Eternal Sky #1

by Elizabeth Bear

Temur, grandson of the Great Khan, is walking away from a battlefield where he was left for dead. All around lie the fallen armies of his cousin and his brother, who made war to rule the Khaganate. Temur is...


Lazarus is Dead

by Richard Beard

Brimming with wit and humor, Lazarus Is Dead transcends genres as it recounts the story of a great friendship lost and re-found.

In the gospels Jesus is described as having only one friend, and when this friend...


City of the Lost

by Stephen Blackmore

Joe Sunday has been a Los Angeles low-life for years, but his life gets a whole lot lower when he is killed by the rival of his crime boss-only to return as a zombie. His only hope is to find and steal a talisman...


The Sandcastle Girls: A Novel

by Chris Bohjalian

Over the course of his career, New York Times bestselling novelist Chris Bohjalian has taken readers on a spectacular array of journeys. Midwives brought us to an isolated Vermont farmhouse on an icy winter’s...


Accidents of Providence

by Stacia Brown

Praised by the likes of Margaret George, Kathleen Kent, and Sheri Holman, who calls it a "marvelous story written in searing prose," Accidents of Providence takes us into the streets of 1649 London and the...


Tell the Wolves I'm Home: A Novel

by Carol Rifka Brunt

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

The Wall Street Journal • O: The Oprah Magazine • BookPage • Kirkus Reviews • Booklist • School Library Journal

 

In this striking literary debut, Carol...


Tarnished Knight

The Lost Stars #1

by Jack Campbell

CEO Artur Drakon has been betrayed. The Syndicate Worlds' government failed to protect its citizens from both the Alliance and the alien enigmas. With a cadre of reliable soldiers under his command, Drakon launches...


A Land More Kind Than Home

by Wiley Cash

A stunning debut reminiscent of the beloved novels of John Hart and Tom Franklin, A Land More Kind Than Home is a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a...


Hell or High Water

Nola Cespedes Mysteries #1

by Joy Castro

A psychological thriller in the vein of Kate Atkinson and Tana French that introduces Nola Céspedes, an intense and spellbinding protagonist  Nola Céspedes, an ambitious young reporter at the Times-Picayune,...


Telegraph Avenue

by Michael Chabon

As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there—longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands...


The Investigation: A Novel

by Philippe Claudel & John Cullen

A wild, Kafka-esque romp through a dystopian landscape, probing thedarkly comic nature of the human condition.

The Investigator is a man quite like any other. He is balding, of medium build, dresses conservatively—in...


The Orchardist

by Amanda Coplin

A Best Book of the Year

Washington PostSeattle TimesThe Oregonian • National Public Radio • Amazon • Kirkus ReviewsPublishers WeeklyThe Daily Beast

An Indie Next Pick

Barnes & Noble Discover...


Caliban's War

The Expanse #2

by James S. A. Corey

The second novel in James S.A. Corey's SF New York Times bestselling Expanse series.

We are not alone.

On Ganymede, breadbasket of the outer planets, a Martian marine watches as her platoon is slaughtered by...


The Book of Jonas: A Novel

by Stephen Dau

Jonas is fifteen when his family is killed during an errant U.S. military operation in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. An international relief organization sends Jonas to America, where he struggles to assimilate—adapting...


A Woman of Consequence

Dido Kent #3

by Anna Dean

“If Jane Austen had written Miss Marple, she would have been Dido Kent, the inquisitive spinster.”--Kirkus (starred review) A Woman of Consequence, the third installment in Anna Dean’s charming mystery...


This Is How You Lose Her

by Junot Diaz

Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Díaz’s first book, Drown, established him as a major new writer with “the dispassionate eye of a journalist and the tongue of a poet” (Newsweek). His first novel, The Brief...


The Scar

by Sergey Dyachenko & Marina Dyachenko

Reaching far beyond sword and sorcery, The Scar is a story of two people torn by disaster, their descent into despair, and their reemergence through love and courage. Sergey and Marina Dyachenko mix dramatic...


The Garden of Evening Mists

Walter Scott Prize 2013, Man Asian Literary Prize 2012

by Tan Twan Twan Eng

Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese...


The Stockholm Octavo

by Karen Engelmann

Life is close to perfect for Emil Larsson, a self-satisfied bureaucrat in the Office of Customs and Excise in 1791 Stockholm. He is a true man of the Town—a drinker, card player, and contented bachelor—until...


What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories

Frank O'Connor Short Story Award 2012

by Nathan Englander

These eight new stories from the celebrated novelist and short-story writer Nathan Englander display a gifted young author grappling with the great questions of modern life, with a command of language and the...


Absolution

by Patrick Flanery

A bold and exciting literary novel set in South Africa that contemplates the elusive line between truth and self-perception.

Ambitious and assured, Absolution propels the reader to the final page in a drive...


Gone Girl: A Novel

by Gillian Flynn

THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s...


Canada

by Richard Ford

"First, I'll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later."

Then fifteen-year-old Dell Parsons' parents rob a bank, his sense of normal life is forever altered. In...


Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize 2012, National Book Critics Circle for Fiction 2012, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction 2012

by Ben Fountain & Oliver Wyman

A finalist for the National Book Award!

A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at "the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal"—three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded...


The Bedlam Detective

by Stephen Gallagher

Madmen see monsters – and monsters hide in plain sight

 

From a basement office in London’s notorious Bethlehem Hospital, Sebastian Becker investigates wealthy eccentrics whose dubious mental health may...


Simple

by Kathleen George

"If anyone's writing better police thrillers than George, I don't know who it is."

Entertainment Weekly

Nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel for The Odds, Kathleen George has received raves from all...


City of Women: A Novel

by David R. Gillham

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND ONE OF KIRKUS REVIEWS' BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

It is 1943-the height of the Second World War. With the men away at the front, Berlin has become a city of women.

On the surface,...


Bloodland

by Alan Glynn

A Picador Paperback Original

A helicopter crash off the coast of Ireland sends unexpected ripples through the international community in this intricate new thriller from the author of Winterland and Limitless...


The Thing Itself

by Peter Guttridge

The gripping new thriller in Peter Guttridge's highly acclaimed Brighton series. The truth will out. Thriller writer Victor Tempest is dead and his son, the disgraced ex-Chief Constable Bob Watts, is discovering...


Somebody to Love

by Kristan Higgins

After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon's Cove, Maine, to sell the only thing...


The Survivor

by Gregg Hurwitz

The #1 international bestselling author of You’re Next, unleashes his most accomplished, compelling thriller yet  One morning in Los Angeles, Nate Overbay—a divorced former solider suffering from PTSD...


The Broken Ones: A Novel

by Stephen M. Irwin

In the near-future murder is still the same. Its who’s watching that’s different.

The worldwide aftershock of what becomes known as "Gray Wednesday" is immediate and catastrophic, leaving governments barely...


Zoo Time

Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2013

by Howard Jacobson

ENHANCED EDITION: Includes additional content

Reading is over. Writing is finished. Publishing is dead. Embittered author Guy Ableman knows this, as does his desperate editor; as does the sad whole of doomed...


Aerogrammes: and Other Stories

by Tania James

From the highly acclaimed author of Atlas of Unknowns ("Dazzling...One of the most exciting debut novels since Zadie Smith's White Teeth" --San Francisco Chronicle),a bravura collection of short stories set...


The Killing Moon

The Dreamblood #1

by N. Jemisin

The city burned beneath the Dreaming Moon.

In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers - the keepers of this...


The Infinite Tides

by Christian Kiefer

Set in depleted, post-recession suburbia, with its endlessly interlocking cul-de-sacs, mega-parking lots and big box stores, The Infinite Tides tells the story of star astronaut Keith Corcoran's return to earth....


I've Got Your Number: A Novel

by Sophie Kinsella

“Utterly charming . . . Put Sophie Kinsella’s Number on speed dial.”—USA Today

 

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily...


Rainshadow Road

Friday Harbor #2

by Lisa Kleypas

Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington.  She is stunned and blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal:  her fiancé Kevin has left her.  His new lover...


The Prophet

by Michael Koryta

Adam Austin hasn't spoken to his brother in years. When they were teenagers, their sister was abducted and murdered, and their devastated family never recovered. Now Adam keeps to himself, scraping by as a bail...


Defending Jacob: A Novel

by William Landay

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

Entertainment Weekly • The Boston Globe • Kansas City Star

 

“A legal thriller that’s comparable to classics such as Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent . ....


Edge of Dark Water

by Joe Lansdale

Mark Twain meets classic Stephen King--a bold new direction for widely acclaimed Edgar Award winner Joe R. Lansdale.

May Lynn was once a pretty girl who dreamed of becoming a Hollywood star. Now she's dead, her...


The Professionals

Stevens and Windermere #1

by Owen Laukkanen

Four friends, caught in a terrible job market, joke about turning to kidnapping to survive. And then, suddenly, it’s no joke. For two years, the strategy they devise works like a charm—until they kidnap...


A Violet Season: A Novel

by Kathy L Czepiel

A MOTHER’S CHOICES IN A T IME OF CRISIS THREATEN THE ONE PERSON SHE MEANS TO PROTECT—HER ONLY DAUGHTER— AND FORCE HER TO MAKE THE BOLDEST MOVE OF HER LIFE.

The violet industry is booming in 1898, and a...


And When She Was Good

by Laura Lippman

Perennial New York Times and nationally bestselling author and acclaimed multiple–prize winner Laura Lippman delivers a brilliant novel about a woman with a secret life who is forced to make desperate choices...


Young Philby

by Robert Littell

A Kirkus Best Fiction Book of 2012

A Kansas City Star Top Book the Year

When Kim Philby fled to Moscow in 1963, he became the most notorious double agent in the history of espionage. Recruited into His Majesty’s...


The Dream of the Celt

by Mario Vargas Llosa & Edith Grossman

A subtle and enlightening novel about a neglected human rights pioneer by the Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa

In 1916, the Irish nationalist Roger Casement was hanged by the British government for treason....


Rizzo's Daughter

by Lou Manfredo

Brooklyn cop Joe Rizzo---“the most authentic cop in contemporary crime fiction” (starred review Kirkus Reviews)---is ready to retire and spend the rest of his days with his wife, doting on their grown-up...


Bring Up the Bodies

Man Booker Prize 2012, Costa Book Award for Best Novel 2012

by Hilary Mantel

Winner of the 2012 Man Booker Prize

Winner of the 2012 Costa Book of the Year Award

The sequel to Hilary Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of...


The Buzzard Table

Deborah Knott #18

by Margaret Maron

New York Times bestselling author Margaret Maron returns with a thrilling new Deborah Knott mystery . . .

THE BUZZARD TABLE

Judge Deborah Knott and her husband, Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant, are back home in...


The Cassandra Project

by Jack McDevitt & Mike Resnick

Two science fiction masters-Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick-team up to deliver a classic thriller in which one man uncovers the hidden history of the United States space program...

"Houston, we have a problem..."...


The Year of the Gadfly

Dear Life: Stories

Trillium Book Award 2013

by Alice Munro

WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE© IN LITERATURE 2013

New York Times Notable Book

Washington Post Notable Work of Fiction

A Best Book of the Year: The Atlantic, NPR, San Francisco ChronicleVogue, AV Club...


Three Strong Women

by Marie NDiaye & John Fletcher

In this new novel, the first by a black woman ever to win the coveted Prix Goncourt, Marie NDiaye creates a luminous narrative triptych as harrowing as it is beautiful.

This is the story of three women who say...


Phantom: A Harry Hole Novel

Harry Hole #9

by Jo Nesbo

Following from Jo Nesbø's electrifying international best-sellers The Snowman and The Leopard, now comes Phantom, which plunges the brilliant, deeply troubled, now former police officer Harry Hole into a full-tilt...


Something Red: A Novel

by Douglas Nicholas

From debut author Douglas Nicholas comes a haunting story of love, murder, and sorcery.

During the thirteenth century in northwest England, in one of the coldest winters in living memory, a formidable yet charming...


The Coldest Night

by Robert Olmstead

Henry Childs is just seventeen when he falls into a love affair so intense it nearly consumes him. But when young Mercy’s disapproving father threatens Henry’s life, Henry runs as far as he can—to the...


I Am An Executioner: Love Stories

by Rajesh Parameswaran

An explosive, funny, wildly original fiction debut: nine stories about the power of love and the love of power, two urgent human desires that inevitably, and sometimes calamitously, intertwine.

In I Am an Executioner,...


The Girl Next Door

Carter Ross #3

by Brad Parks

Reading his own newspaper’s obituaries, veteran reporter Carter Ross comes across that of a woman named Nancy Marino, who was the victim of a hit-and-run while she was on the job delivering copies of that...


Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain: Stories

by Lucia Perillo

A stunning debut from an award-winning poet. Populating a small town in the Pacific Northwest, the characters in Lucia Perillo’s story collection all resist giving the world what it expects of them and are...


The Yellow Birds: A Novel

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2013, Guardian First Book Award 2012

by Kevin Powers

A novel written by a veteran of the war in Iraq, The Yellow Birds is the harrowing story of two young soldiers trying to stay alive.

"The war tried to kill us in the spring." So begins this powerful account of...


The Cove

by Ron Rash

The New York Times bestselling author of Serena returns to Appalachia, this time at the height of World War I, with the story of a blazing but doomed love affair caught in the turmoil of a nation at war

Deep...


In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel

by Vaddey Ratner

You are about to read an extraordinary story, a PEN Hemingway Award finalist “rich with history, mythology, folklore, language and emotion.” It will take you to the very depths of despair and show you unspeakable...


Say You're Sorry

Joseph O'Loughlin #6

by Michael Robotham

TWO MISSING GIRLS. TWO BRUTAL MURDERS. ALL CONNECTED TO ONE FARM HOUSE. WHO IS TO BLAME?

When pretty and popular teenagers Piper Hadley and Tash McBain disappear one Sunday morning, the investigation captivates...


Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen

by Mary Sharratt

"An imaginative retelling of the fascinating life of the twelfth-century nun Hildegard von Bingen . . . Sharratt’s gripping story, like Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, is primarily about relationships forged under...


The Solitary House: A Novel

Charles Maddox #1

by Lynn Shepherd

Lynn Shepherd’s first acclaimed novel of historical suspense, Murder at Mansfield Park, brilliantly reimagined the time of Jane Austen. Now, in this spellbinding new triumph, she introduces an unforgettable...


The Fallen Angel

Gabriel Allon #12

Barry Best Thriller 2013

by Daniel Silva

After narrowly surviving his last operation, Gabriel Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, has taken refuge behind the walls of the Vatican, where he is restoring one of Caravaggio's greatest masterpieces....


The Book of Mischief

by Steve Stern

“In the 25 years since [Stern] published his first book, younger Jewish writers have run with a similar shtick . . . But Stern was there first.” —The Toronto Globe and Mail

The Book of Mischief triumphantly...


Kings of Midnight

Crissa Stone #2

by Wallace Stroby

Crissa Stone is a career criminal who has pulled a number of impressive heists by knowing how to keep her mouth shut and her temper in check. Still, as good as she is, she wants to get out of the life. All she...


The Apocalypse Codex

Laundry Files #4

by Charles Stross

For outstanding heroism in the field (despite himself), computational demonologist Bob Howard is on the fast track for promotion to management within the Laundry, the supersecret British government agency tasked...


Wish You Were Here

by Graham Swift

From the prizewinning author of the acclaimed Last Orders, The Light of Day, and Waterland, a powerfully moving new novel set in present-day England, but against the background of a global "war on terror" and...


Hand Me Down: A Novel

by Melanie Thorne

A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2012

"Hand Me Down, which recalls the gritty power of Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina, is fiction with the ring of truth." -San Jose Mercury News

Fourteen-year-old...


The Coldest War

The Milkweed Triptych #2

by Ian Tregillis

In Ian Tregillis' The Coldest War, a precarious balance of power maintains the peace between Britain and the USSR. For decades, Britain's warlocks have been all that stands between the British Empire and the...


The Age of Miracles

by Karen Thompson Walker

With a voice as distinctive and original as that of The Lovely Bones, and for the fans of the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood, Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles is a luminous, haunting, and...


Beautiful Ruins

by Jess Walter

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition:...


The News from Spain: Seven Variations on a Love Story

by Joan Wickersham

“Joan Wickersham’s brilliant The News From Spain shows, in all its twisty beauty, what a short story collection can do. The stories are gorgeous in themselves, but the way they speak to each other is truly...


Hostage

by Elie Wiesel & Catherine Temerson

From Elie Wiesel, Nobel laureate and author of Night, a charged, deeply moving novel about the legacy of the Holocaust in today’s troubled world and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

         ...


Comments (0 comments)


No comment yet. Sign in to post a comment.