New Books (November-December)


Featuring: Guy Adams, Alex Bell, Peter V. Brett, Brenda Cooper, Kate Ellis, Tess Gerritsen, Alex Gordon, Eric Kaplan, Sarah Pinborough, Daniel Polansky, Gareth L. Powell, Michael Robotham, Peter Swanson, Peter Terrin, Fred Venturini

For a few souls moreGuy Adams, FOR A FEW SOULS MORE (Solaris)

The thrilling conclusion to the Heaven’s Gate Trilogy!

The uprising in Heaven is at an end and Paradise has fallen, becoming the forty-third state of America. Now angels and demons must learn to get along with humans.

The rest of the world is in uproar. How can America claim the afterlife as it’s own? It’s certainly going to try as the President sets out for the town of Wormwood for talks with its governor, the man they call Lucifer.

Hell has problems of its own. There’s a new evangelist walking its roads, trying to bring the penitent to paradise, and a new power is rising. Can anyone stand up to the Godkiller?

Bringing the Heaven’s Gate trilogy to a close, this sounds pretty interesting. (Also? Great cover.) I’ll need to track down the first two novels before reading this, but I’m looking forward to trying it.

Review copy via publisher


BellA-FrozenCharlotteAlex Bell, FROZEN CHARLOTTE (Stripes Publishing)

We’re waiting for you to come and play…

Dunvegan School for Girls has been losed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and the students are long gone. But they left something behind…

Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lillias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.

This is the first in a new series of YA horror novels (Red Eye), by an author whose novels have been pretty widely praised. Could be interesting.

Review copy via publisher


Brett-MessengersLegacyUKPeter V. Brett, MESSENGER’S LEGACY (Voyager)

Humanity has been brought to the brink of extinction. Each night, the world is overrun by demons. Bloodthirsty creatures of nightmare that have been hunting the surface for over 300 years. A scant few hamlets and half-starved city-states are all that remain of a once proud civilization, and it is only by hiding behind wards, ancient symbols with the power to repel the demons, that they survive. A handful of Messengers brave the night to keep the lines of communication open between the increasingly isolated populace.

Briar Damaj is a boy of six in the small village of Bogton. Half-Krasian, the village children call him Mudboy for his dark skin. When tragedy strikes, Briar decides the town is better off without him, fleeing into the bog with nothing but his wits and a bit of herb lore to protect him.

After twenty years, Ragen Messenger has agreed to retire and pass on his route to his protégé, Arlen Bales. But for all that he’s earned the rest, he has no idea what to do with the rest of his life. When he learns Briar, the son of an old friend, is missing, Ragen is willing to risk any danger to bring him safely home.

Pre-ordered this as soon as I was able — Brett’s Demon Cycle series is easily one of the best ongoing fantasy series. A must-read if you have even a little interest in the genre. I’ve also already read and reviewed it here.

Messenger’s Legacy is published in the UK by Voyager, and in the US by Subterranean Press. The next full-length novel in the Demon Cycle series, The Skull Throne, is out in March/April 2015 — Voyager in the UK and Del Rey in the US. I can’t wait!


CooperB-GE1-EdgeOfDarkBrenda Cooper, THE EDGE OF DARK (Pyr)

What if a society banished its worst nightmare to the far edge of the solar system, destined to sip only dregs of light and struggle for the barest living.  And yet, that life thrived?  It grew and learned and became far more than you ever expected, and it wanted to return to the sun.  What if it didn’t share your moral compass in any way?

The Glittering Edge duology describes the clash of forces when an advanced society that has filled a solar system with flesh and blood life meets the near-AI’s that it banished long ago.  This is a story of love for the wild and natural life on a colony planet, complex adventure set in powerful space stations, and the desire to live completely whether you are made of flesh and bone or silicon and carbon fiber.  

In Edge of Dark, meet ranger Charlie Windar and his adopted wild predator, and explore their home on a planet that has been raped and restored more than once.  Meet Nona Hall, child of power and privilege from the greatest station in the system, the Diamond Deep.  Meet Nona’s best friend, a young woman named Chrystal who awakens in a robotic body…

The first in a new duology from Brenda Cooper. It sounds pretty good. The Edge of Dark will be published in March 2015 by Pyr Books.

Review copy via publisher


EllisK-WP19-DeathSeasonUKKate Ellis, THE DEATH SEASON (Piatkus)

A complex case…

When DI Wesley Peterson is summoned to investigate a killing, he assumes that the case is a routine matter. But soon dark secrets and deadly deceptions start to emerge from the victim’s past, and Wesley begins to realise that a simple incident of cold-blooded murder is altogether more calculated and complicated that he could ever imagine.

Tracing back through time…

Meanwhile, archaeologist Neil Watson is pulled from the historic Paradise Court to a ruined village from the First World War. Even with the help of the attractive and enigmatic Lucy, Neil cannot shake the feeling that something is missing from his explorations: a cryptic clue that might have been lost when Sandrock tumbled into the sea many years ago. A clue that could help Wesley solve his most puzzling case to date.

DI Wesley Peterson is standing on the edge…

As more victims fall prey to a faceless killer, Wesley sees the investigation affecting him more personally than ever before. And when his precious family becomes a target, Wesley has no time to lose. Just like the fallen village of Sandrock, Wesley will have to stand tall if he is to withstand the coming storm…

This is the 19th novel in Ellis’s Wesley Peterson. I have somehow missed the previous 18… It sounds good, though, so I’d like to try them. The Death Season is publish on January 1st, 2015, by Piatkus in the UK.

Review copy via publisher


Gerritsen-R&I-DieAgainUKTess Gerritsen, DIE AGAIN (Bantam)


In Boston, Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are investigating a bizarre murder. A man has been found gutted and hanging in his home. When the remains of another victim are found, it is clear that this murderer has been at work for years, and not just in Boston.


Six years ago, a group of travellers set off on an African safari. None of them are seen again – apart from one woman who stumbled out of the bush weeks later, barely alive. The only woman to have seen the killer’s face.


Has the ‘safari killer’ resurfaced in Boston? Jane is sent to Africa to find the one link between the two cases – the only survivor – and convince her to face death once again…

I’ve still not read any of Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles novels. I’ve seen some of the first season of the TV show, though, and really enjoyed that. I bought the first novel, ??, a while back. Think I’ll have to bump it up the TBR mountain.

Review copy via publisher


GordonA-GideonAlex Gordon, GIDEON (Voyager)

When Lauren’s father dies, she makes a shocking discovery. The man she knew as John Reardon was once a completely different person, with a different name. Now, she’s determined to find out who he really was, even though her only clues are an old photograph, some letters, and the name of a town — Gideon.

But someone — or something — doesn’t want her to discover the truth. A strange man is stalking her, appearing everywhere she turns, and those who try to help her end up dead. Neither a shadowy enemy nor her own fear are going to prevent her from solving the mystery of her father — and unlocking the secrets of her own life.

Making her way to Gideon, Lauren finds herself more confused than ever. Nothing in this small Midwestern town is what it seems, including time itself. Residents start going missing, and Lauren is threatened by almost every townsperson she encounters. Two hundred years ago, a witch was burned at the stake, but in Gideon, the past feels all too chillingly present…

Saw this, thought it looked interesting. Simples.

Review copy via Edelweiss


KaplanE-DoesSantaExistEric Kaplan, DOES SANTA EXIST? (Dutton)

Metaphysics isn’t ordinarily much of a laughing matter. But in the hands of acclaimed comedy writer and scholar Eric Kaplan, a search for the truth about old St. Nick becomes a deeply insightful, laugh-out-loud discussion of the way some things exist but may not really be there. Just like Santa and his reindeer.

Even after we outgrow the jolly fellow, the essential paradox persists: There are some things we dearly believe in that are not universally acknowledged as real. In Does Santa Exist? Kaplan shows how philosophy giants Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein strove to smooth over this uncomfortable meeting of the real and unreal — and failed. From there he turns to mysticism’s attempts to resolve such paradoxes, surveying Buddhism, Taoism, early Christianity, Theosophy, and even the philosophers at UC Berkeley under whom he studied. Finally, this brilliant comic writer alights on — surprise — comedy as the ultimate resolution of the fundamental paradoxes of life, using examples from The Big Bang Theory, Monty Python’s cheese shop sketch, and many other pop-culture sources.

Finally Kaplan delves deeper into what this means, from how our physical brains work to his own personal confrontations with life’s biggest questions: If we’re all going to die, what’s the point of anything? What is a perfect moment? What can you say about God? Or Santa?

This sounded quirky and interesting, and I’m a big fan of The Big Bang Theory, so when I was offered a review copy I jumped at the chance.

Review copy via publisher


PinboroughS-TheDeathHouseUKSarah Pinborough, THE DEATH HOUSE (Gollancz)

Toby’s life was perfectly normal… until it was unravelled by something as simple as a blood test.

Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House; an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They’re looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it’s time to take them to the sanatorium.

No one returns from the sanatorium.

Withdrawn from his house-mates and living in his memories of the past, Toby spends his days fighting his fear. But then a new arrival in the house shatters the fragile peace, and everything changes.

Because everybody dies. It’s how you choose to live that counts.

A really good novel, I’ve already reviewed it, here. Published in the UK by Gollancz, on February 26th, 2015.

Review copy via publisher


Polansky-ET1-ThoseAboveUKDaniel Polansky, THOSE ABOVE (Hodder)

They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.

Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.

If I was prone to such things, I would “squee” over the fact that I have this. It should come as no surprise to long-time readers of CR that I’m a fan of Polansky’s work — his Low Town trilogy is one of the finest I’ve read in a long time. If you haven’t read his work yet, I strongly urge you rectify that ASAP. Much goodness awaits. I aim to read this over the Christmas break.

Those Above, the first in the Empty Throne series, is published in the UK by Hodder on February 26th, 2015.

Also on CR: Interview with Daniel Polansky; Reviews of Straight Razor CureTomorrow the Killing and She Who Waits

Review copy via publisher



The Spitfire pilot monkey Ack-Ack Macaque faces a world on the brink in this adventure, the conclusion to his astonishing, award-winning trilogy.

In the thrilling conclusion of the Macaque Trilogy, the dangerous but charismatic Ack-Ack Macaque finds himself leading a dimension-hopping army of angry monkeys, facing an invading horde of implacable killer androids, and confronting the one challenge for which he was never prepared: impending fatherhood! Meanwhile, former journalist Victoria Valois fights to save the electronic ghost of her dead husband and reclaim his stolen soul from the sands of Mars.

The conclusion to the series. I must get around to reading the first two…

Review copy via publisher


RobothamM-LifeOrDeathUSMichael Robotham, LIFE OR DEATH (Mulholland)

Why would a man serving a long prison sentence escape the day before he’s due to be released?

Audie Palmer has spent ten years in a Texas prison after pleading guilty to a robbery in which four people died and seven million dollars went missing. During that time he has suffered repeated beatings, stabbings and threats by inmates and guards, all desperate to answer the same question: where’s the money?

On the day before Audie is due to be released, he suddenly vanishes. Now everybody is searching for him — the police, the FBI, gangsters and other powerful figures — but Audi isn’t running to save his own life. Instead, he’s trying to save someone else’s.

I’ve never read anything by Robotham before, but I’m familiar with his name. Mulholland Books has a fantastic track-record on thrillers, and this sounded interesting, so I requested it. Life or Death is due to be published on March 10th, 2015, in the US. It was published in the UK in August 2014 by Sphere.

Review copy via NetGalley


SwansonP-TheGirlWithAClockForAHeart2Peter Swanson, THE GIRL WITH A CLOCK FOR A HEART (William Morrow NA/Faber UK)

On an ordinary Friday evening at his favorite Boston tavern, George Foss’s comfortable, predictable life is shattered when a beautiful woman sits down at the bar, the same woman who vanished without a trace twenty years ago.

Liana Dector isn’t just an ex-girlfriend, the first love George couldn’t forget. She’s also a dangerous enigma and possibly a cold-blooded killer wanted by the police. Suddenly, she’s back — and she needs George’s help. Ruthless men believe she stole some money… and will do whatever it takes to get it back.

George knows Liana is trouble. But he can’t say no — he never could — a choice that will plunge him into a terrifying whirlpool of lies, secrets, betrayal, and murder from which there is no sure escape.

I received Swanson’s next novel, The Kind Worth Killing, for review a little while back, and decided to pick this up as well.


TerrinP-TheGuardPeter Terrin, THE GUARD (MacLehose Press)

In the near future, Harry and Michel live in the basement of a luxury apartment block, guarding the inhabitants. No one goes outside. The world might be at war, it might even have been plunged into nuclear winter. No one knows.

But one weekend, all of the residents leave the block, one by one. All but the man on floor 29. Harry and Michel stick to their posts. All they know, all they can hope for, is that if they are vigilant, the “Organization” will reward them with a promotion to an elite cadre of security officers. But what if there were no one left to guard?

Playing on our darkest fears, The Guard is a tautly observed novel by a writer of striking and stylish originality.

This sounded interesting, so I requested it. Hopefully read it soon.

Review copy via Edelweiss


Various-NoRestForTheDeadVarious, NO REST FOR THE DEAD (Touchstone)

When Christopher Thomas, a ruthless curator at San Francisco’s McFall Art Museum, is murdered and his decaying body is found in an iron maiden in a Berlin museum, his wife, Rosemary, is the primary suspect, and she is tried, convicted, and executed. Ten years later, Jon Nunn, the detective who cracked the case, is convinced that the wrong person was put to death. In the years since the case was closed, he’s discovered a web of deceit and betrayal surrounding the Thomases that could implicate any number of people in the crime. With the help of the dead woman’s friend, he plans to gather everyone who was there the night Christopher died and finally uncover the truth, suspect by suspect. Solving this case may be Nunn’s last chance for redemption…but the shadowy forces behind Christopher’s death will stop at nothing to silence the past forever.

So this is something potentially interesting: this is a serial novel, written by 25 authors… A pretty interesting experiment, I look forward to reading this soon. Published by Touchstone, it’s out now.


VenturiniF-TheHeartDoesNotGrowBackFred Venturini, THE HEART DOES NOT GROW BACK (Picador)


Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.

When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise?

I’ve seen some pretty great reviews for this novel, and it sounds like an interesting take on the super-hero genre. Hopefully get to it soon.


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