Chosen by Nancy Hightower for @washingtonpost:
  1. Bill Broun’s "Night of the Animals" (Ecco)
    It’s 2052 and England is in political and economic upheaval; London is being threatened by suicide cults called Neuters, bent on destroying all animals and then killing themselves. Within this crazed culture, Cuthbert Handley emerges — an old homeless addict who believes that he possesses the Wonderments, a magical ability he inherited from his grandmother to communicate with animals.
  2. Alexandra Oliva’s "The Last One" (Ballantine)
    A woman called Zoo is a contestant on “Into the Dark,” a reality survival show where 12 people are isolated in the woods and compete against each other in a series of challenges. The situations and props they encounter in their quests are extraordinarily grotesque, ranging from fake boulders to fake corpses. While on their solo challenges, a deadly virus has begun to wipe out the Earth’s population, thrusting Zoo into a deadly and surreal landscape.
  3. Indra Das’s "The Devourers" (Del Rey)
    Cyrah is a strong, resourceful Muslim woman who is raped by Fenrir, a shape-shifter that wishes to create life the way humans do (instead of devouring humans, as is their custom). Cyrah, refusing to give Fenrir’s rhetoric any validation, forms an alliance with another shape-shifter as she relentlessly pursues Fenrir to confront him for his crime.