Oh, man. This list is one I should mark as incomplete, because I have a whole slew of novels sitting on my to-be-read pile that came out this year that I just didn't get around to reading yet, and I'm pretty sure that at least a few of them could wind up on this list. Those books will just have to wait until 2013. Looking back at these books, I can say that whatever doubt there is on the state of publishing, there can be no doubt on the state of reading, because these were great reads.
Go. Find them. Read them. Thank me later.
The Steel Seraglio by Mike Carey, Linda Carey, Louise Carey - I don't tend to gravitate towards historical fiction, but there are backdrops from days gone by that I do enjoy reading. I wouldn't have thought I'd take such a liking to the Middle East and this exploration of storytelling and liberation. But, I did.
Choke Hold by Christa Faust - I ended 2011 by reading one of my favorite novels from that year, Money Shot, to which Choke Hold is a followup. Angel Dare, a pornstar turned target, winds up embroiled in an underground MMA operation that is about as intense and exhilarating as the first book. If there's a third book in the works, I can't wait.
The Sorrows by Jonathan Janz - Samhain's line of horror novels is handily picking up where Dorchester's Leisure line disastrously left off, and this haunted castle novel was a real stand out. I have Janz's followup novel, House of Skin, and I've read a couple reviews that lead me to think it's better.
Harbor by John Adjvide Lindqvist - I had the chance to read Lindqvist's latest novel, Little Star, in November, but it just fell short of surpassing the atmosphere displayed in this haunting novel that I read in January. A bizarre, disturbing chiller of a book.
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig - It's not exactly a crime novel, not urban fantasy, and not horror. What it is, however, is an amalgamation of all those genres, presented in such a way that the book was unputdownable. It also didn't hurt having a captivating protagonist, Miriam Black. I've got the sequel, Mockingbird, on my to-be-read pile, and an early contender for my favorites of 2013, I'd wager.