So the Vampire shot the Werewolf, but who shot the Wizard?
July 1, 2009 11:51 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for suggestions for a new series to read. I enjoy what I think of as supernatural mysteries but I don't know where to turn to next.

I like stories that take place in the real world but within this sort of supernatural part where all those things that aren't supposed to exist (magic, vampires, etc.) actually do and I like mysteries, so I really like combinations of the two. Series that just have the first component (and a compelling plot) are also welcome.

So I've done:
The Dresden Files
Sookie Stackhouse
Jaz Parks books
Twilight series (please suggest things with better quality writing)
Harry Potter
And probably tons more that I can't think of at the moment.

I really prefer a series as opposed to individual books because I tend to read quickly and then I've moved on to a new book and I start wondering what happened to that one character until I realize that character was in a different book altogether. So a series helps with that issue.
posted by magnetsphere to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (34 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Several of the Kelley Armstrong books have mystery/police procedural-style plots (more the witch ones than the werewolf ones.) Strong writing - I enjoy them all.

Kim Harrison's books are about a witch detective with a vampire boyfriend, and I love the worldbuilding and am pleasantly entertained by the plots and characters.

Lilith Saintcrow's stuff is also along the same lines - the Dante Valentine series was VERY uneven with some serious eyeroll-inducing romance stuff (Oh my demon boyfriend is a controlling asshole but he LOVES me so it must be ok!) so buyer beware, but the other series - Night Shift, etc, has all of the strengths and none of the weaknesses so far.

I assume you have at least heard of Laurel Hamilton and the dangers thereof. I'd say the first five books or so might be up your alley, but after that they really do degenerate into increasingly unusual porn.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:54 AM on July 1, 2009

I strongly, strongly suggest the Sandman comic book series by Neil Gaiman. I'm really into the genre you're describing and this is one of my all-time favorites. I'll think of more.
posted by widdershins at 11:54 AM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

The older stuff by Ann Rice sort of fits the bill: the Vampire books, or the Mayfair series. You said "tons more," so maybe you've already hit them. If not, give 'em a go. They were a favorite guilty pleasure of mine years ago.
posted by jquinby at 11:55 AM on July 1, 2009

It's only a two-book series, but the first one is such a fun read I have to mention them: The List of Seven and The Six Messiahs by Mark Frost. You could call them "supernatural historical fiction mysteries" - the protagonist is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
posted by usonian at 12:03 PM on July 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

They're squarely aimed at young adults, but I really enjoyed my recent reread of John Bellairs' books.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:05 PM on July 1, 2009

Spiral Hunt is exactly what you're looking for, and is awesome. The only catch, unfortunately, is that the second book in the series isn't coming out until December.
posted by ook at 12:08 PM on July 1, 2009

Another two part series, The Talisman and Black House by Stephen King/Peter Straub.
posted by theichibun at 12:11 PM on July 1, 2009

Martin Millar, esp. Lonely Werewolf Girl..

Not a series, admittedly, but a damn long book, and rumors of a series, iirc.
posted by bunnycup at 12:13 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

In tone it's a bit lighter that some of the things you've listed, but the whole of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is quite entertaining. The first couple of books are a bit weak, but once he finds his voice it gets pretty amazing. Plus there are close to 40 books, so it'll keep you busy for a while.

And it has vampires, werewolves, wizards, and mysterious investigations into the paranormal. And the just regular normal too.
posted by quin at 12:13 PM on July 1, 2009

China Mieville's books The Scar, Perdido Street Station and Iron Council aren't necessarily a series, but are all based in the same fictional city and have overlapping plot lines. It's sort of steam-punky in that it posits a culture that developed electrical and mechanical technology without electronics, but has a lot of fantasy elements.
posted by electroboy at 12:14 PM on July 1, 2009

Let me be the first to say that I am not a big fan of most of Stephen King's work. However, I found the Dark Tower Series to be very enjoyable. I find the Gunslinger's world to be compelling (it touches briefly the world in The Stand) and the characters to be flawed and interesting.
posted by workerant at 12:22 PM on July 1, 2009

I think the term you want is "urban fantasy". Terry Brooks' Word and Void trilogy doesn't contain vampires and werewolves, per se, but does an excellent job of creating supernatural elements in a real-world setting.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 12:28 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding Sandman. Spoooooky.
posted by notsnot at 12:29 PM on July 1, 2009

Charlaine Harris' Harper Connelly series. Less funny than Sookie, but still engaging.

Holly Black's Faerie series was pretty good.

You might like Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:30 PM on July 1, 2009

We just had this question not long back. Here are some of the answers.
posted by adipocere at 12:34 PM on July 1, 2009

I read the same brain candy books you seem to enjoy. Most of my favorites have already been suggested here (Kelley Armstrong, Lillith Saintcrow, and Kim Harrison). In addition to those, I would suggest Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series, and Carrie Vaughn's Kitty series (a werewolf named Kitty - I think that's funny). If you choose to go the Laurell K Hamilton route and don't want to deal with the over the top p0rn, I'd stop at Obsidian Butterfly - it's the last Anita Blake book that even pretends to be something other than erotica.
posted by dchrssyr at 12:36 PM on July 1, 2009

Charlie Huston has a hardboiled vampire detective character called Joe Pitt. The first title is Half the Blood of Brooklyn.
posted by dortmunder at 12:52 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

As far as vampires go --

Fluff: Tanya Huff's pretty entertaining "Blood Series" (made into a short lived and badly cast cable series) is kind of fun.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint-Germaine books are historical novels with a very intriguing vampire hero. Well written too, although I prefer the short stories to the novels. By all accounts the historical Saint-Germaine was a very interesting character.

If you decide to try Sandman (which you should) you may also like DC's 'The Books of Magic' and 'Lucifer'.
posted by elendil71 at 12:55 PM on July 1, 2009

You might like Ursula K LeGuin's Earthsea series.
posted by at 1:21 PM on July 1, 2009

Phil Rickman's series about British female priest/exorcist Merrily Watkins is quite good, as is Mike Carey's Felix Castor series. Also love Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May series about London's "Peculiar Crimes Unit" which investigates, well, peculiar crimes.

Rest assured that all of these are far, far better written than the Twilight books.
posted by OolooKitty at 1:39 PM on July 1, 2009

Christopher Moore: Bloodsucking Fiends, Practical Demonkeeping, Coyote Blue, A Dirty Job, and so on.

Right up your alley.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:39 PM on July 1, 2009

Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series is kind of a historical version of what you're looking for.

Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
posted by cali59 at 2:14 PM on July 1, 2009

I quite like the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Johnathan Stroud. For younger readers but good, ripping yarns.
posted by josher71 at 2:20 PM on July 1, 2009

Oh yeah, totally seconding JaredSeth's recommendation of Christopher Moore. Bloodsucking Fiends: a Love Story was the first book of his I read and it remains one of my favorites.
posted by quin at 2:46 PM on July 1, 2009

Nobody's plugged cstross yet? I was the only one to favorite that in the last thread; I can't believe I might be the only one to mention his science fantasies in this one.

You can read his A Colder War online. It's basically Lovecraft modernized. If you like that then you'll love The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue. The latter two are closer to the mystery genre, but they're all more thriller than mystery, so they might not be quite what you're looking for.

He's got another science fantasy series called The Merchant Princes, for which the first book was pretty good, but I'm reluctant to recommend a series I've only read 15-20% of so far.
posted by roystgnr at 2:53 PM on July 1, 2009

The Life of Pi. Won the booker prize for fiction in 2002.
posted by Admira at 3:05 PM on July 1, 2009

Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Anansi Boys (not really a series, but follows the same premise).

Actually, a lot of Neil Gaiman is urban fantasy/mystery. You may also like Neverwhere -- it's a mystery/adventure set underneath London, so it starts in, ends in, and intersects with the real world.

Charles deLint also does awesome urban fantasy. I've only read a couple of short story collections set in Newford, but he seems to be pretty prolific. Most of his stuff I've read probably wouldn't fall in the mystery category though.

Harry R. Turtldove's The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump is set in a world exactly the same as ours except they use magic instead of electricity (there's even flying carpet traffic jams in LA). It's very noire-ish in tone as well.

Seconding the Dirk Gently books (there's two).

Amber Benson's Death's Daughter fits, but isn't really "quality writing." I did find it less annoying than Twilight, though that's not saying much. Supposedly, a sequel is planned.
posted by natabat at 3:07 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

You could try Witch Way to Murder and sequels. Cosy mysteries with witches.

Not a mystery, but well-written urban fantasy: War for the Oaks. Elves in Minneapolis. There's a lot more out there but this is one of the best.
posted by paduasoy at 3:19 PM on July 1, 2009

I think you would enjoy the Golden Compass books.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 6:55 PM on July 1, 2009

No Charlie Houston yet? Right up your alley I think.

Also Charles De Lint is good
posted by tobiaswright at 7:16 PM on July 1, 2009

Kat Richardson's Greywalker books -- number 4 is coming out in about a month, Glen Cook's Garrett, P.I. series, and Randal Garrett's Lord Darcy books (with a couple of follow-ups by Michael Kurland).
posted by worldswalker at 9:07 PM on July 1, 2009

Let me very strongly suggest the novels of Preston and Child, specifically the Agent Pendergast series. Awesome "Sherlock Holmes meets Indiana Jones in a supernatural setting" fun. Start with "Brimstone."
posted by jbickers at 4:57 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thank you guys! This should keep me busy for a while. I figured that what I wanted had a name so it is good to know "Urban Fantasy" exists.
posted by magnetsphere at 10:43 AM on July 2, 2009

I just realized that I made a mistake. The first title of Charlie Huston's vampire P.I. series in Already Dead. Half the Blood of Brooklyn is a later one.
posted by dortmunder at 12:26 PM on July 2, 2009

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