Best Indie Books of 2012

Karen Schechner, Editor

Indie publishing exploded in 2012. With nearly a quarter of a million titles self-published in the U.S. this year alone, just about everyone can now name at least one self-published superstar. Along with writing Kirkus Star-worthy literary fiction and memoirs, self-pubbed authors left no political point of view unexamined, no self-help topic unexplored, no deep-space planet uncharted.

Kirkus Indie covered an impressive range this year: a memoir about a pit bull that “smells like fresh-cut grass, baked pork, and a hint of unmentionables,” a literary neonoir mystery that takes place in modern-day Ireland, a legal procedural set in Boston and a book of poems from a Jesuit priest/English professor who writes of martini-sipping rhinos. Indie editors Ryan Leahey, David Rapp and I narrowed this worthy assemblage to our top 100 titles arranged alphabetically and sorted into 13 categories (sci-fi/fantasy, children’s & young adult, memoir, etc.). Whether it’s a psychological thriller or madcap mystery, we hope you’ll find the next breakout bestseller in the Best Indie Books of 2012.

JASMINE by Winston Aarons
Released: Nov. 14, 2011

"A well-crafted tale of passion, loss and the dangers of obsession."
Trace the curved line between love and obsession in this steamy novel. Read full book review >
PETRA by Subhi Alghussain
Released: May 25, 2012

"Highly recommended for anyone interested in architecture, classical history or travel photography."
Stunning panoramic views of Petra, one of the world's archaeological treasures, adorn this beautifully designed coffee table book. Read full book review >

HACKED by J. D. Allison
Released: Feb. 19, 2012

"An original voice that's initially disorienting, but given time, Allison lyrically creates an intriguing world."
In a realm of virtual reality, "subscribers" hone in on the lives of others. Read full book review >
ONE BLOOD by Qwantu Amaru
Released: Nov. 29, 2011

"A gutsy book that blazes trails, plotted at a breakneck speed that won't let up."
A governor and his sordid past are at the heart of a tale of retribution in Amaru's stunning debut novel. Read full book review >
PHOENIX ROSE by Michael Bailey
Released: Dec. 3, 2009

"An engrossing blend of creepy atmospherics, gory jolts and mind-bending conundrums."
In Bailey's (Palindrome Hannah, 2005, etc.) horror saga, a small town seethes with ghouls, apparitions, pranksters and dysfunctional families. Read full book review >

I2 by James Bannon
Released: Nov. 27, 2011

"In a word: mind-blowing."
Bannon's cutting-edge science-fiction and psychological thriller revolves around a terminally ill biosoftware scientist's attempt to upload his mind into the consciousness of an unborn baby to once again be with the woman he loves. Read full book review >
Released: March 23, 2012

"Part memoir, part journal, part plan-in-progress, Bates has no time for self-pity, preferring instead to celebrate all that she is grateful for."
Labeled with Multiple Personality and Dissociative Identity disorders, author Bates writes about the 18 personalities living in her head. Read full book review >

Benson's tightly plotted crime thriller is sure to please fans of police procedurals.

Several wealthy middle-aged Manhattanites—the baby boomers of the title—have been gruesomely murdered, and Detective Carina Quintana senses a connection. Read full book review >