New Books (June-July)

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Featuring: John Joseph Adams, Andy Abramowitz, Edgar Cantero, Joshua Cohen, Bennett R. Coles, Ctein, Dennis Dunaway, Matthew Dunn, Vaughn Entwhistle, Michael R. Fletcher, Teresa Frohock, Caseen Gaines, John Gilstrap, Ed Greenwood, Janet Groth, Paul Kane, Marshall Ryan Maresca, John Niven, Tom Pollock, Ronda Rousey, John Sandford, Charles Stross, Neely Tucker, Jon Wallace, Fran Wilde, Daniel H. Wilson

AbramowitzA-ThankYouGoodnightUSAndy Abramowitz, THANK YOU, GOODNIGHT (Touchstone)

Teddy Tremble is nearing forty and has settled into a comfortable groove, working at a stuffy law firm and living in a downtown apartment with a woman he thinks he might love. Sure, his days aren’t as exciting as the time he spent as the lead singer of Tremble, the rock band known for its mega-hit “It Feels Like a Lie,” but that life has long since passed its sell-by date.

But when Teddy gets a cryptic call from an old friend, he’s catapulted into contemplating the unthinkable: reuniting Tremble for one last shot at rewriting history. Never mind that the band members haven’t spoken in ten years, that they left the music scene in a blazing cloud of indifference, and that the only fans who seem to miss them reside in an obscure little town in Switzerland.

If Teddy manages to snooker his band mates out of their adult lives, can a once immature, self-involved fallen idol find his way back to the top—and possibly back to the one who got away?

This has been described as “Nick Hornby meets Almost Famous“, which sounds pretty good to me. Published by Touchstone in June 2015.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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CanteroE-SupernaturalEnhancementsUKPBEdgar Cantero, THE SUPERNATURAL ENHANCEMENTS (Del Rey)

EVERYBODY LOVES A CONSPIRACY. DON’T THEY?

When Ambrose Wells dies jumping out of his bedroom window in Axton House, forgetting to open it first, a distant relative with an unusual companion takes possession of the gothic estate at Point Bless, Virginia. But as they settle into their new surroundings, excited by rumours of ghosts, suicides and secret societies, they find themselves not just part of a mysterious ‘Game’, but determined to win it.

Paperback edition, new cover (which I rather like). I missed this when it first came out. Might have to give it a proper look, now. Published in the UK by Del Rey on July 2nd, 2015.

Review copy received from publisher

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CohenJ-BookOfNumbersUSJoshua Cohen, BOOK OF NUMBERS (Random House)

The enigmatic billionaire founder of Tetration, the world’s most powerful tech company, hires a failed novelist, Josh Cohen, to ghostwrite his memoirs. The mogul, known as Principal, brings Josh behind the digital veil, tracing the rise of Tetration, which started in the earliest days of the Internet by revolutionizing the search engine before venturing into smartphones, computers, and the surveillance of American citizens. Principal takes Josh on a mind-bending world tour from Palo Alto to Dubai and beyond, initiating him into the secret pretext of the autobiography project and the life-or-death stakes that surround its publication.

Insider tech exposé, leaked memoir-in-progress, international thriller, family drama, sex comedy, and biblical allegory, Book of Numbers renders the full range of modern experience both online and off. Embodying the Internet in its language, it finds the humanity underlying the virtual.

This novel has been getting a lot of attention around the press and internet. Sounds like it could be interesting, so I thought I’d check it out. Published in North America by Random House, and in the UK by Vintage Books.

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ColesBR-1-VirtuesOfWarUKBennett R. Coles, VIRTUES OF WAR (Titan)

The Terran military, the Astral Force, launches a mission to crush a colonial rebellion on the Centauri colony. Although Expeditionary Force 15 succeeds, the surviving veterans remain scarred — physically and emotionally, and the consequences of their actions follow them back to Earth when terrorists seek to exact catastrophic revenge.

Lieutenant Katja Emmes is a platoon commander, leader of the 10-trooper strike team aboard the fast-attack craft Rapier. Although fully trained, she has never led troops in real operations before, and lives in the shadow of her war-hero father. Sublieutenant Jack Mallory is fresh out of pilot school, daydreaming about a fighter pilot position in the space fleet. He is in for a rude awakening. Lieutenant Commander Thomas Kane uses a six-month deployment in command of Rapier is to secure his rise to stardom within the Astral Force. He also plays the subtle politics of the military.

This is the first in a new military sci-fi series. Looks quite interesting.

Review copy received from publisher

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DunawayD-SnakesGuillotinesElectricChairsUSDenis Dunaway, SNAKES! GUILLOTINES! ELECTRIC CHAIRS! (Thomas Dunne)

As the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame says: “Before the world heard of KISS, the New York Dolls, Marilyn Manson or Ozzy Osbourne, there was Alice Cooper, the original shock-rock band.”

When Alice Cooper became the stuff of legend in the early ’70s, their shows were monuments of fun and invention. Riding on a string of hits like “I’m 18” and “School’s Out,” they became America’s highest-grossing act, producing four platinum albums and hitting number one on the U.S. and U.K. charts with Billion Dollar Babies in 1973. Their utterly original performance style and look, known as Shock Rock, was swiftly copied by countless bands. Dennis Dunaway, the bassist and co-songwriter for the band, tells a story just as over-the-top crazy as their (in)famous shows.

As teenagers in Phoenix, Dennis Dunaway and lead singer Vince Furnier, who would later change his name to Alice Cooper, formed a hard-knuckles band that played prisons, cowboy bars and teen clubs. Their journey took them from Hollywood to the ferocious Detroit music scene, along the way adding new dimensions of rock theater. From struggling for recognition to topping the charts, the Alice Cooper group was entertaining, outrageous, and one-of-a-kind.

Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! is the riveting account of the band’s creation in the ’60s, strange glory in the ’70s, and the legendary characters they met along the way.

I had no idea this book had been published until I stumbled across it in Chapters in Toronto. I decided to pick it up. (Alice Cooper is another of the bands I’ve loved for years. And, also, first saw in Wayne’s World…) It’s published in the US by Thomas Dunne Books. I’ve finished reading it, and I thought it was good. Not as in-depth or immersive as Joe Perry’s or Duff McKagan’s, but it’s quite fun (plenty of humour, he’s obviously fond of his memories and former bandmates). This only covers the time before Alice Cooper the band was disbanded (rather unceremoniously) and reborn as just Alice Cooper the singer and his session musicians. This means it doesn’t cover some of his greatest and best-known hits, but it is a fascinating look at the rise of one of the world’s most infamous rock musicians and performers.

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DunnM-SpyTradeUSMatthew Dunn, SPY TRADE (Witness Impulse)

When a mission goes awry in Syria, senior CIA officer Bob Oakland is captured by aspiring members of ISIS, who demand the release of one of their own, Arzam Saud, in U.S. captivity. When their hands are tied by Washington’s refusal to negotiate, the CIA turns to MI6 officer Will Cochrane to find out what’s really going on. The threats are escalating quickly, and in order to save the CIA officer, Cochrane must uncover why Saud is truly so important…

Dunn’s Spycatcher series is one I’ve wanted to read for ages. However, as is so often the case with me, I tend to put purchased books to one side and focus on ARCs. However, I’m really in the mood for more thrillers at the moment, so I’m hoping to prioritise this series. They all sound great. I’m also looking forward to the next novel in the series, The Spy House (October 2015, William Morrow). Spy Trade is published on August 4th, 2015 by Witness Impulse.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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EntwhistleV-DeadAssassinVaughn Entwhistle, THE DEAD ASSASSIN (Titan)

1895. Victorian England trembles on the verge of anarchy. Handbills plastered across London scream for revolution and insurrection. Terrorist bombs are detonating around the Capitol and every foreigner is suspected of being a bomb-throwing Anarchist lurking beneath a cape. Even Palace officials whisper warnings of a coup-de-tat.

Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle is summoned from a peaceful dinner in the palm-room of the Tivoli restaurant to the scene of a gruesome crime that has baffled and outraged Scotland Yard’s best. A senior member of Her Majesty’s government has been murdered — assassinated — in the most brutal and savage fashion. The body of his attacker lies several streets away — riddled with pistol bullets that inexplicably failed to stop him from carrying out his lethal mission. More perplexing, one of the attending detectives recognizes the dead assassin as Charlie Higginbotham, a local Cockney pickpocket and petty thief. However, Higginbotham is not just an improbable suspect, but an impossible suspect, for the young detective collared Charlie for the murder of his wife and watched him take the drop two weeks previously, hanged at Newgate Prison.

Conan Doyle calls in his friend Oscar Wilde for assistance and soon the two authors find themselves swept up in an investigation so bizarre it defies conventional wisdom and puts the lives of their loved ones, the Nation, and even the Monarch herself in dire peril.

The murders continue, committed by a shadowy cadre of seemingly unstoppable assassins. As the sinister plot unravels, an implausible theory becomes the only possible solution: someone is reanimating the corpses of executed criminals and sending them shambling through the London fog … programmed for murder.

One of many novels out this year that have a Sherlock Holmes/Conan Doyle theme. If I’m honest, I’m not too taken with the sub-genre. This might be interesting, but it’s not high on my priority list.

Review copy received from publisher

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FletcherMR-BeyondRedemptionMichael R. Fletcher, BEYOND REDEMPTION (Voyager)

When belief defines reality, those with the strongest convictions — the crazy, the obsessive, the delusional — have the power to shape the world.

And someone is just mad enough to believe he can create a god . . .

Violent and dark, the world is filled with the Geistrekranken — men and women whose delusions manifest. Sustained by their own belief — and the beliefs of those around them—they can manipulate their surroundings. For the High Priest Konig, that means creating order out of the chaos in his city-state, leading his believers to focus on one thing: helping a young man, Morgen, ascend to become a god. A god they can control.

Trouble is, there are many who would see a god in their thrall, including the High Priest’s own doppelgangers, a Slaver no one can resist, and three slaves led by possibly the only sane man left.

As these forces converge on the boy, there’s one more obstacle: time is running out. Because as the delusions become more powerful, the also become harder to control. The fate of the Geistrekranken is to inevitably find oneself in the Afterdeath. The question, then, is:

Who will rule there?

This sounds pretty interesting. On the whole, I tend not to like “trippy” novels, and for some reason I wonder if the ability to shape reality might make this one a bit on the trippy side, too. Nevertheless, I’m really intrigued… Published by Voyager, it’s out now.

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FrohockT-LI1-InMidnightsSilenceT. Frohock, IN MIDNIGHT’S SILENCE (Voyager Impulse)

The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind…

Born of an angel and a daimon, Diago Alvarez is a singular being in a country torn by a looming civil war and the spiritual struggle between the forces of angels and daimons. With allegiance to no one but his partner Miquel, he is content to simply live in Barcelona, caring only for the man he loves and the music he makes. Yet, neither side is satisfied to let him lead this domesticated life and, knowing they can’t get to him directly, they do the one thing he’s always feared.

They go after Miquel.

Now, in order to save his lover’s life, he is forced by an angel to perform a gruesome task: feed a child to the daimon Moloch in exchange for a coin that will limit the extent of the world’s next war. The mission is fraught with danger, the time he has to accomplish it is limited…and the child he is to sacrifice is the son Diago never knew existed.

A lyrical tale in a world of music and magic, T. Frohock’s In Midnight’s Silence shows the lengths a man will go to save the people he loves, and the sides he’ll choose when the sidelines are no longer an option.

I’ve been looking forward to this ever since Frohock announced it was on the way. A novella in a new series, Los Nefilim, it sounds great. It’s out now, published by Voyager Impulse. The sequel, Without Light Or Guide, is due out November 3rd, 2015.

Also on CR: Interview with Teresa Frohock; Reviews of Miserere, La Santisima, The Broken Road

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GainesC-WeDontNeedRoadsUSCaseen Gaines, WE DON’T NEED ROADS: THE MAKING OF THE BACK TO THE FUTURE TRILOGY (Plume)

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the wildly successful and beloved Back to the Future trilogy, just in time for the 30th anniversary 

Long before Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled through time in a flying DeLorean, director Robert Zemeckis, and his friend and writing partner Bob Gale, worked tirelessly to break into the industry with a hit. During their journey to realize their dream, they encountered unprecedented challenges and regularly took the difficult way out.

For the first time ever, the story of how these two young filmmakers struck lightning is being told by those who witnessed it. We Don’t Need Roads includes original interviews with Zemeckis, Gale, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Huey Lewis, and over fifty others who contributed to one of the most popular and profitable film trilogies of all time.

With a focus not only on the movies, but also the lasting impact of the franchise and its fandom, We Don’t Need Roads is the ultimate read for anyone who has ever wanted to ride a Hoverboard, hang from the top of a clock tower, travel through the space-time continuum, or find out what really happened to Eric Stoltz after the first six weeks of filming. So, why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here – and start reading! We Don’t Need Roads is your density.

I knew nothing about this book until I spotted it in Indigo in Toronto yesterday (I went out and picked it up today). I’m a huge fan of the trilogy — it might just be my most re-watched trilogy from when I was younger. I am well-overdue a rewatch, too… I’ll be reading this very soon, and I hope it’s akin to Cary Elwes’s As You Wish. Out now, published by Plume.

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GilstrapJ-AgainstAllEnemiesJohn Gilstrap, AGAINST ALL ENEMIES (Pinnacle)

Jonathan Grave finds it hard to believe that a fellow combat vet has gone rogue, killing American agents and leaking sensitive intel to hostile foreign interests. With black ops assassins on the trail of his old friend, Grave sets out to get to him first. He finds far more than he bargained for.  Not only the wily operative, but evidence of a conspiracy so dangerous, so far-reaching, that an unthinkable tragedy is in-motion. Grave and his elite team of specialists must expose a deadly high-level secret  — and do it in time to avert a catastrophe of historic proportions…

A long-running thriller series, I’m rather keen to get through this. Published by Pinnacle, it’s out now.

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GreenwoodE-IronAssassinUSEd Greenwood, THE IRON ASSASSIN (Tor)

Hot pulp fiction: a steampunk Frankenstein is a weapon of death in an alternate 19th-century England

On an Earth that is not our own, Victoria never ascended the throne; the House of Hanover held England only briefly before being supplanted by the House of Harminster. It is a time of gaslamps and regularly scheduled airship flights, of trams and steam-driven clockwork with countless smoke-belching stacks. London, the capitol of the Empire of the Lion, is a filthy, crowded, fast-growing city where a series of shocking murders threatens the throne itself.

Energetic young inventor Jack Straker believes he has created a weapon to defend the Crown: a reanimated, clockwork-enhanced corpse he can control. He introduces “the Iron Assassin” to the highly placed Lords who will decide if Straker’s invention becomes a weapon of the Lion — or something to be destroyed.

It quickly becomes apparent that the Iron Assassin is more self-willed than Straker intended, and that the zombie’s past life is far more sinister than Straker thought. Has he created a runaway monster? Or the best guardian the Lion could ever hope for?

I think I spotted the cover a while back, but then this novel just slipped out of mind. After it arrived, though, I found the premise intriguing. This could be rather interesting. It’s out now. You can read an excerpt here.

Review copy received from publisher

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GrothJ-ReceptionistUSJanet Groth, THE RECEPTIONIST (Algonquin Books)

In 1957, when a young Midwestern woman landed a job at The New Yorker, she didn’t expect to stay long at the reception desk. But stay she did, and for twenty-one years she had the best seat in the house. In addition to taking messages, she ran interference for jealous wives checking on adulterous husbands, drank with famous writers at famous watering holes throughout bohemian Greenwich Village, and was seduced, two-timed, and proposed to by a few of the magazine’s eccentric luminaries. This memoir of a particular time and place is an enchanting tale of a woman in search of herself.

A memoir in the vein of My Salinger Year, perhaps, but from a journalism perspective. I’m interested to see what this is like. (I’ve worked for a New York magazine, too — albeit decades later — so I’m intrigued to see if there are any similarities.)

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KaneP-FlamingArrowPaul Kane, FLAMING ARROW (Abaddon)

More than a decade after claiming Nottingham Castle and founding his Rangers, Rob Stokes – the Hooded Man – has seen off Britain’s would-be conquerors, thrown his support behind the newly-restored Crown, and extended his peacekeeping force onto the Continent. He’s getting old, getting ready to hand over to his adopted son, Mark, feeling like retiring.

Trouble is brewing in the newly peaceful Britain. King Jack’s soldiers go armed with guns and armoured vehicles, even as Stokes’ Rangers disarm the people. A resistance movement is rising, led by the charismatic Virgil Sorin. Amidst the rioting, shots are fired. A fire is about to start…

This is the fourth book in Paul Kane’s Hooded Man post-apocalyptic series. I haven’t read the first three, but I’m interested to see what it’s like. It’s out now.

Review copy received from publisher

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KarpyshynD-C2-ScorchedEarthUKDrew Karpyshyn, THE SCORCHED EARTH (Pub)

Beset on all sides by mortal and supernatural enemies, The Children of Fire – four mortals touched by the power of Chaos – are in search of the Talismans that can put a stop to an ancient enemy of the Gods.

But in doing so, they unleash a flood of Chaos magic on the land – leaving death, destruction and a vengeful queen in their wake…

The second novel in the Chaos Born trilogy, published in paperback in the UK by Del Rey, on July 2nd. I still haven’t read this series, despite having enjoyed the couple of Karpyshyn’s Star Wars novels that I’ve read. It sounds good, and I’ve seen a few positive reviews. As soon as I’m over my fiction slump, I’ll try to give this a read. The third volume in the series, Chaos Unleashed, is due to be published in October 2015.

Review copy received from publisher

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MarescaMR-MC1-AMurderOfMagesUS smMarshall Ryan Maresca, A MURDER OF MAGES (DAW Books)

Set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city Maradaine, A Murder of Mages introduces us to this spellbinding port city as seen through the eyes of the people who strive to maintain law and order, the hardworking men and women of the Maradaine Constabulary.

Satrine Rainey — former street rat, ex-spy, mother of two, and wife to a Constabulary Inspector who lies on the edge of death, injured in the line of duty—has been forced to fake her way into the post of Constabulary Inspector to support her family.

Minox Welling is a brilliant, unorthodox Inspector and an Uncircled mage — almost a crime in itself. Nicknamed “the jinx” because of the misfortunes that seem to befall anyone around him, Minox has been partnered with Satrine because no one else will work with either of them.

Their first case together — the ritual murder of a Circled mage — sends Satrine back to the streets she grew up on and brings Minox face-to-face with mage politics he’s desperate to avoid. As the body count rises, Satrine and Minox must race to catch the killer before their own secrets are exposed and they, too, become targets.

This novel is set in the same world as The Thorn of Dentonhill, but is a new series (set alongside it, I suppose). I quite like the idea of a parallel series. I thought The Thorn of Dentonhill was quite fun, although it did suffer from a few (debut) niggles. I’m looking forward to giving this a try.

Review copy received from publisher

Also on CR: Interview with Marshall Ryan Maresca; Review of The Thorn of Dentonhill

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NivenJ-SunshineCruiseCompanyUKJohn Niven, THE SUNSHINE CRUISE COMPANY (William Heinemann)

Susan Frobisher and Julie Wickham are turning sixty. They live in a small Dorset town and have been friends since school. On the surface Susan has it all – a lovely house and a long marriage to accountant Barry. Life has not been so kind to Julie, but now, with several failed businesses and bad relationships behind her, she has found stability: living in a council flat and working in an old people’s home.

Then Susan’s world is ripped apart when Barry is found dead in a secret flat – or rather, a sex dungeon. It turns out Barry has been leading a double life as a swinger. He’s run up a fortune in debts and now the bank is going to take Susan’s home.

Until, under the influence of an octogenarian gangster named Nails, the women decide that, rather than let the bank take everything Susan has, they’re going to take the bank. With the help of Nails and the thrill-crazy, wheelchair-bound Ethel they pull off the daring robbery, but soon find that getting away with it is not so easy.

I quite enjoyed Niven’s previous novel, Straight White Male, so when I spotted this I knew I had to read it. Hopefully very soon. Published in the UK by William Heinemann on August 13th, 2015.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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untitledTom Pollock, OUR LADY OF THE STREETS (Jo Fletcher Books)

Ever since Beth Bradley found her way into a hidden London, the presence of its ruthless goddess, Mater Viae, has lurked in the background. Now Mater Viae has returned with deadly consequences. 

Streets are wracked by convulsions as muscles of wire and pipe go into spasm, bunching the city into a crippled new geography; pavements flare to thousand-degree fevers, incinerating pedestrians; and towers fall, their foundations decayed. 

As the city sickens, so does Beth – her essence now part of this secret London. But when it is revealed that Mater Viae’s plans for dominion stretch far beyond the borders of the city, Beth must make a choice: flee, or sacrifice her city in order to save it.

Paperback release for the third volume in Pollock’s Skyscraper Throne trilogy.

Also on CR: Interview with Tom Pollock; Excerpt from Our Lady of the Street

Review copy received from publisher

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RouseyR-MyFightYourFightUSRonda Rousey, MY FIGHT/YOUR FIGHT (Regan Arts)

“The fight is yours to win.”

In this inspiring and moving book, Ronda Rousey, the Olympic medalist in judo, reigning UFC women’s bantamweight champion, and Hollywood star charts her difficult path to glory.

Marked by her signature charm, barbed wit, and undeniable power, Rousey’s account of the toughest fights of her life — in and outside the Octagon — reveals the painful loss of her father when she was eight years old, the intensity of her judo training, her battles with love, her meteoric rise to fame, the secret behind her undefeated UFC record, and what it takes to become the toughest woman on Earth. Rousey shares hard-won lessons on how to be the best at what you do, including how to find fulfillment in the sacrifices, how to turn limitations into opportunities, and how to be the best on your worst day.

Packed with raw emotion, drama, and wisdom this is an unforgettable book by one of the most remarkable women in the world.

This isn’t my usual genre (I know nothing about UFC, for example), but Rousey has appeared in a couple of movies recently. Therefore, I was intrigued when I saw that she had a new book out. So, I picked it up on a whim. It’s out now, published by Regan Arts.

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SandfordCtein-SaturnRunUSJohn Sandford & Ctein, SATURN RUN (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope — something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate. Spaceships do.

A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built that ship is at least one hundred years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out.

The race is on, and an remarkable adventure begins — an epic tale of courage, treachery, resourcefulness, secrets, surprises, and astonishing human and technological discovery, as the members of a hastily thrown-together crew find their strength and wits tested against adversaries both of this earth and beyond. What happens is nothing like you expect — and everything you could want from one of the world’s greatest masters of suspense.

I’m a big fan of John Sandford’s work (all three series that I’ve read and also one stand-alone). This is a new project, unconnected to his previous novels, and it sounds pretty interesting. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on October 6th, 2015.

Incidentally, I recently finished the latest Prey/Davenport novel, Gathering Prey, and it was excellent. Highly recommend series, author and novels.

Review copy received from Edelweiss

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StrossC-L6-AnnihilationScoreUKCharles Stross, THE ANNIHILATION SCORE (Orbit)

NOBODY DOES IT BETTER…

Dr Mo O’Brien is an intelligence agent at the top secret government agency known as ‘the Laundry’. When occult powers threaten the realm, they’ll be there to clean up the mess and deal with the witnesses.

But the Laundry is recovering from a devastating attack and when average citizens all over the country start to develop supernatural powers, the police are called in to help. Mo is appointed as official police liaison, but in between dealing with police bureaucracy, superpowered members of the public and disgruntled politicians, Mo discovers to her horror that she can no longer rely on her marriage, nor on the weapon that has been at her side for eight years of undercover work, the possessed violin known as ‘Lecter’.

If this wasn’t bad enough, a mysterious figure known as Dr Freudstein is committing heists and sending increasingly threatening messages to the police. Who is Freudstein and what is he planning?

This is the sixth novel in the Laundry series. I’ve heard great things, so would like to try the whole series at some point. The novel is out now, published by Orbit.

Review copy received from publisher

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TuckerN-2-MurderDCUSNeely Tucker, MURDER, D.C. (Viking)

Reporter Sully Carter returns in a thrilling murder mystery of race, wealth, and family secrets

When Billy Ellison, the son of Washington, D.C.’s most influential African-American family, is found dead in the Potomac near a violent drug haven, reporter Sully Carter knows it’s time to start asking some serious questions — no matter what the consequences. With the police unable to find a lead and pressure mounting for Sully to abandon the investigation, he has a hunch that there is more to the case than a drug deal gone bad or a tale of family misfortune. Riding the city’s backstreets on his Ducati 916, Sully finds that the real story stretches far beyond Billy and into D.C.’s most prominent social circles.

A hard drinker still haunted by his years as a war correspondent in Bosnia, Sully now must strike a dangerous balance between D.C.’s two extremes — the city’s violent, depraved projects and its highest corridors of power — while threatened by those who will stop at nothing to keep him from discovering the shocking truth. The only person he can trust is his old friend Alexis, a talented photographer and fellow war zone junkie, who is as sexy as she is fearless, but even Alexis can’t protect Sully from everyone who would rather he give up the story.

I picked up the first in this series, The Ways of the Dead, and still need to read that. I’m in the mood for more thrillers, so hopefully soon. Out now, published in North America by Viking Books; the novel will be published by Windmill Books in the UK on July 30th, 2015.

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WallaceJ-2-SteepleUKJon Wallace, STEEPLE (Gollancz)

Another high action SF dystopia perfect for fans of Richard Morgan and Alfred Bester alike. The follow-up to the acclaimed Barricade this another short, sharp and kinetic SF thriller

Kenstibec is a Ficial — a genetically engineered artificial life form; tough, skilled, hard to kill. Or at least he was. He’s lost the nanotech that constantly repaired him. Life just got real. Just like it is for the few remaining humans in this blighted world – the Reals; locked in a fight over a ruined world with the Ficials they created to make Utopia.

And now Kenstibec must take a trip to the pinnicle of our failed civilisation. The Steeple is a one thousand storey tower that looms over the wreckage of London. It is worshipped, feared and haunted by attack droids and cannibals. And the location of a secret that just might save Kenstibec’s life.The only way is up.

This is the sequel to Barricade, which I still need to read. It sounds like fun.

Also on CR: Guest Post “Writing Real Women”

Review copy received from publisher

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WildeF-UpdraftUSFran Wilde, UPDRAFT (Tor)

Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever-if it isn’t destroyed outright.

This just sounds really interesting. Been looking forward to trying it ever since I saw the cover reveal. Published by Tor Books in August 2015.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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WilsonAdams-PressStartToPlayUSDaniel H. Wilson & John Joseph Adams (eds.), PRESS START TO PLAY (Vintage)

IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS.

You are standing in a room filled with books, faced with a difficult decision. Suddenly, one with a distinctive cover catches your eye. It is a groundbreaking anthology of short stories from award-winning writers and game-industry titans who have embarked on a quest to explore what happens when video games and science fiction collide.

From text-based adventures to first-person shooters, dungeon crawlers to horror games, these twenty-six stories play with our notion of what video games can be — and what they can become — in smart and singular ways.

With a foreword from Ernest Cline, bestselling author of Ready Player One, Press Start to Play includes work from: Daniel H. Wilson, Charles Yu, Hiroshi Sakurazaka, S.R. Mastrantone, Charlie Jane Anders, Holly Black, Seanan McGuire, Django Wexler, Nicole Feldringer, Chris Avellone, David Barr Kirtley, T.C. Boyle, Marc Laidlaw, Robin Wasserman, Micky Neilson, Cory Doctorow, Jessica Barber, Chris Kluwe, Marguerite K. Bennett, Rhianna Pratchett, Austin Grossman,  Yoon Ha Lee, Ken Liu, Catherynne M. Valente, Andy Weir, and Hugh Howey.

Your inventory includes keys, a cell phone, and a wallet. What would you like to do?

This looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. And look at those authors included! Hopefully I’ll read this very soon. (Although, it might be a between-novels-read, alternating between stories in this and full-length books.) Published by Vintage (US) on August 18th, 2015.

Review copy received from Edelweiss

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