No, I haven't gotten my hands on any advanced reader copies. I'm merely forecasting based on author reputation and the description of the project. Here are eleven eagerly anticipated books scheduled to be released in the coming year:
1.The End of Everything by Megan Abbott. The reigning queen of noir takes her dark crime narratives in a new direction with this 1980s-set tale concerning the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl.
2.Abarat 3: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker. The title says it all--this third volume in Barker's (young) adult fantasy series is going to be dark.
3.The Croning by Laird Barron. The renowned weird-tale writer applies his Lovecraftian talents to a broader canvas in his debut novel.
4.Choke Hold by Christa Faust. In this Hard Case Crime sequel to Money Shot, ex-porn star Angel Dare finds herself mixed up in the violent world of mixed martial arts.
5.A Rope of Thorns by Gemma Files. If this follow-up is even half as good as A Book of Tongues, fans of the weird western are in for a sensuous, blood-soaked treat.
6.Locke and Key: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Hill. This latest volume of Hill's graphic-art dark fantasy saga (which is also being developed as a Fox TV series) is not to be missed.
7.The Woman by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee. Ketchum's American cannibal series (Off Season; Offspring) continues. Once again readers can expect gruesome mayhem conveyed by beautiful prose.
8.Damned by Chuck Palahniuk. This story of an 11-year-old girl who awakens in hell promises to be Palahniuk's most twisted and blackly humorous novel to date.
9.The Century's Best Horror Fiction, Ed. John Pelan. This massive two-volume anthology has been long awaited, but publisher Cemetery Dance vows that this is the year it will see print.
10.Valley of the Scarecrow by Gord Rollo. Rollo's autumnal Gothic novel was supposed to be released in 2010, but got pushed back to this year when Dorchester Publishing rebooted. Can you say "delayed gratification"?
11.Flashback by Dan Simmons. Dystopian-SF development of a concept previously explored in the novella (collected in Lovedeath) of the same title.
Will these actually prove to be the best eleven books of 2011 when all is read and done? I can't wait to find out.