Although most of the books I have to suggest will be in the horror or urban fantasy genres, I have a couple of personal categories as well. The key example of this is the “Local Author” category. That is not to say specifically Madison, but Wisconsin in general. As I have stated before I like to support the local community – that includes its artists and authors. As such, today will be my Wisconsin author section.
An important note to consider here, is that I will list a couple of authors as local that do not live in Wisconsin due to previous association in their lives or their work with Wisconsin. Maybe it is the “once a badger, always a badger” ideal – but it’s mine so I don’t need to explain it too much.
Eddie Lacrosse Novels and Blood Groove by Alex Bledsoe
These are two very different series, but both are well worth the read. One is a sword and sorcery fantasy novel written in the style of a detective noir and the other is a vampire tale that takes place in 1975 Memphis with flashback to turn of the century Wales.
Should you wish the hardboiled “sword jockey” (detective) story, in order the books are Sword Edged Blonde, Burn Me Deadly and Dark Jenny (not yet released). The first two could be read out of order, but I am a bit of a stickler for reading in order of printing. If you are not, both would be easy to slide into singularly.
To appease the horror fan in you with some blood-sucking goodness, Blood Groove is the first book, with the sequel being Girls with Games of Blood. I have not started in on Girls with Games of Blood yet, but I would guess this is a case of you should really read Blood Groove first. I can’t really see it working any other way. But again, I am wired a bit OCD when it comes to reading books in order.
The Amazon Series by Lori Devoti
The series takes place most in Wisconsin, specifically on campus in Madison. At least the first of the series does. I have yet to read the second, though it is sitting amid the chaos of my “to be read” shelf. The characters and mythology behind them was interesting and it will be interesting to see what evolution they take in the second book.
The books ride the fence between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance but are definitely more Urban Fantasy. In order you are looking for Amazon Ink and then Amazon Queen.
The Phoenix Chronicles by Lori Handeland
This series ranks up there with the most hard core urban fantasy series I have read. Every character in this series is tough and has access to some amazing power. Even though you might think the power flinging would eventually escalate into Doomsday, it is actually the exertion of that power that prevents it. Also, that power does not turn them into one-sided Superman-like characters. All display a light and a dark side.
In order you are looking for Any Given Doomsday, Doomsday Can Wait, Apocalypse Happens and Chaos Bites. No matter what your disposition on the subject, DEFINITELY read these books in order. Skipping ahead will hurt you in enjoying the earlier books.
There is also Shakespeare Undead, and while I own a copy of it, I have not yet read it. I would still suggest it because… well… zombies.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
This is one where I am stretching a bit. I have no idea where he actually lives, but a significant part of American Gods plays out at the House on the Rock in Wisconsin. That alone makes this worth calling a local author. And even though he is award winning and a rock star of geek literature, I am going to the special event Halloween weekend at the House on the Rock so there is really no way I can’t suggest this book.
Hunters Kiss Series by Marjorie Liu
As my last of the local author series (for now), I am including her as another grandfathered Wisconsinite. While not living in Wisconsin, she studied undergraduate in Wisconsin and Law School on the campus I work at. That spells local author to me. Also, she writes comic books and has enough of a knowledge of Highlander to know who Methos is.
Her books stand alone in their merit. Were she not a Wisconsin author I would still have read them and still loved them. Very complex characters, complex mythology and plenty of action to keep the heart racing. This series is definitely worth looking into. In order you are looking for The Iron Hunt, Darkness Calls, A Wild Light, and a short story included in an anthology titled Inked.
She also authors a number of romance novels in addition to the comic books. While I read her current stretch in Dark Wolverine, I have not read any of her romance novels yet. Although older there are is also X-Men: Dark Mirror, an X-Men novel she wrote for Marvel.