New Books (January)

BBTHowardBeliveInMagic

Featuring: André Alexis, Jennifer Armstrong, Rob Boffard, Ezekiel Boone, Algis Budrys, Matthew de Abaitua, Patrick Flanery, Ian Graham, Elizabeth Greenwood, Sarah Hilary, Joe Hill, Gregg Hurwitz, Davide Mana, Samuel Marolla, Vonda N. McIntyre, A.D. Miller, Tim Murphy, Daniel José Older, Chris Pavone, Aidan Donnelley Rowley, Adrian Selby, Nick Stone, Patrick S. Tomlinson, Fran Wilde

HanSoloUhm

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AlexisA-FifteenDogsCAAndré Alexis, FIFTEEN DOGS (Coach House)

— I wonder, said Hermes, what it would be like if animals had human intelligence.

— I’ll wager a year’s servitude, answered Apollo, that animals – any animal you like – would be even more unhappy than humans are, if they were given human intelligence.

And so it begins: a bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto vet­erinary clinic. Suddenly capable of more complex thought, the pack is torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferring the old ‘dog’ ways, and those who embrace the change. The gods watch from above as the dogs venture into their newly unfamiliar world, as they become divided among themselves, as each struggles with new thoughts and feelings. Wily Benjy moves from home to home, Prince becomes a poet, and Majnoun forges a relationship with a kind couple that stops even the Fates in their tracks.

Fifteen Dogs won this year’s Giller Prize in Canada, and it’s one I’ve been wanting to read for some time (love the premise). It’s out now, published in Canada by Coach House, and in the UK by Serpent’s Tail.

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ArmstrongJK-SeinfeldiaJennifer Keishin Armstrong, SEINFELDIA (Simon & Schuster)

The hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld — the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world, altering the lives of everyone it touched.

Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn’t think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly forty million Americans were tuning in weekly.

In Seinfeldia, acclaimed TV historian and entertainment writer Jennifer Keishin Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!”, Joe Davola gets questioned every day about his sanity, Kenny Kramer makes his living giving tours of New York sights from the show, and fans dress up in Jerry’s famous puffy shirt, dance like Elaine, and imagine plotlines for Seinfeld if it were still on TV.

I have only ever seen one episode of Seinfeld (the last episode), but I’ve become mildly addicted to Jerry Seinfeld’s online series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. So, when I spotted this on Edelweiss, I snapped it up. It’s due to be published in North America by Simon & Schuster in July 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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BoffardR-2-ZeroGRob Boffard, ZERO-G (Orbit)

The clock is ticking down again for Riley Hale.

She may be the newest member of Outer Earth’s law enforcement team, but she feels less in control than ever. A twisted doctor bent on revenge is blackmailing her with a deadly threat. If Riley’s to survive, she must follow his orders, and break a dangerous prisoner out of jail. To save her own skin, Riley must go against all her beliefs, and break every law that she’s just sworn to protect. Riley’s mission will get even tougher when all sectors are thrown into lock-down. A lethal virus has begun to spread through Outer Earth, and it seems little can stop it. If Riley doesn’t live long enough to help to find a cure, then the last members of the human race will perish along with her.

The future of humanity hangs in the balance. And time is running out.

The sequel to Tracer, which I thought was a very promising, action-packed and fast-paced space adventure. Looking forward to giving this a try. Published by Orbit in the US and UK, it’s out now — only in eBook in North America, print edition will be published in July.

Also on CR: Interview with Rob Boffard; Review of Tracer

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BooneE-HatchingUSEzekiel Boone, THE HATCHING (Atria/Emily Bestler Books)

An astonishingly inventive and terrifying debut novel about the emergence of an ancient species, dormant for over the thousand years, and now on the march.

Deep in the jungle of Peru, where so much remains unknown, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist whole. Thousands of miles away, an FBI agent investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Kanpur, India earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, D.C. laboratory. Something wants out.

The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.

The first in what sounds like a fantastic, terrifying trilogy. This novel was the subject of a fair amount of buzz over the last couple of weeks, and I’ll admit that I was absolutely captured by it. I’ll be reading this very soon. Due to be published in July 2016, by Atria/Emily Bestler in the US, and Gollancz in the UK.

Review copy received via Edelweiss (from Atria)

HarryPotterSpiders

I can’t help but think of this moment from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when reading about The Hatching

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BudrysA-RogueMoon2016Algis Budrys, ROGUE MOON (Open Road)

A monstrous apparatus has been found on the surface of the moon. It devours and destroys in ways so incomprehensible to humans that a new language has to be invented to describe it and a new kind of thinking to understand it. So far, the human guinea pigs sent there in hopes of unraveling the murderous maze have all died terrible deaths. The most recent volunteer survived but is now on suicide watch. The ideal candidate won’t go insane even as he feels the end approaching. Al Barker has already stared into the face of death; he can handle it again. But he won’t merely endure the trauma of dying. Barker will die over and over—even as his human qualities are preserved on Earth.

With its cast of fascinating characters — like brilliant scientist Edward Hawks, who is obsessed with rebirth — Rogue Moon is a rare thriller that doesn’t just make you sweat. It makes you think.

A sci-fi classic, Open Road Media are publishing six of Budrys’s backlist (most of which, as far as I can tell, have been at least nominated for the most prestigious SFF awards). I’m looking forward to reading this.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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DeAbaitua-DestructivesMatthew de Abaitua, THE DESTRUCTIVES (Angry Robot)

Theodore Drown is a destructive. A recovering addict to weirdcore, he’s keeping his head down lecturing at the university of the Moon. Twenty years after the appearance of the first artificial intelligence, and humanity is stuck. The AIs or, as they preferred to be called, emergences have left Earth and reside beyond the orbit of Mercury in a Stapledon Sphere known as the university of the sun. The emergences were our future but they chose exile. All except one. Dr Easy remains, researching a single human life from beginning to end. Theodore’s life.

One day, Theodore is approached by freelance executive Patricia to investigate an archive of data retrieved from just before the appearance of the first emergence. The secret living in that archive will take him on an adventure through a stunted future of asylum malls, corporate bloodrooms and a secret off-world colony where Theodore must choose between creating a new future for humanity or staying true to his nature, and destroying it.

This sounds pretty interesting. Published by Angry Robot Books in March 2016.

Also on CR: Guest Post “Facebook and the First World War — The inspiration behind IF THEN”

Review copy received via NetGalley

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FlaneryP-IAmNoOneUSPatrick Flanery, I AM NO ONE (Crown)

After a decade living in England, Jeremy O’Keefe returns to New York, where he has been hired as a professor of German history at New York University. Though comfortable in his new life, and happy to be near his daughter once again, Jeremy continues to feel the quiet pangs of loneliness. Walking through the city at night, it’s as though he could disappear and no one would even notice.

But soon, Jeremy’s life begins taking strange turns: boxes containing records of his online activity are delivered to his apartment, a young man seems to be following him, and his elderly mother receives anonymous phone calls slandering her son. Why, he wonders, would anyone want to watch him so closely, and, even more upsetting, why would they alert him to the fact that he was being watched?

As Jeremy takes stock of the entanglements that marked his years abroad, he wonders if he has unwittingly committed a crime so serious that he might soon be faced with his own denaturalization. Moving towards a shattering reassessment of what it means to be free in a time of ever more intrusive surveillance, Jeremy is forced to ask himself whether he is ‘no one’, as he believes, or a traitor not just to his country but to everyone around him.

It was a combination of the synopsis and cover that put this book on my radar. I think it sounds pretty interesting. Published by Crown on July 5th, 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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GrahamI-2-PathOfTheHawkPt1Ian Graham, THE PATH OF THE HAWK, Pt.1 (Orbit)

The Hawks are the Pilgrim Church’s elite regiment, soldiers entrusted with missions far beyond the scope of the conventional army.

Blessed Master Helligraine — one of the Church’s highest ranking, most beloved holy men, was abducted one year ago, his corpse found rotting in a river. When evidence emerges that Helligraine is still alive and being held against his will, three Hawks are dispatched to bring him home.

But Helligraine’s past — and present — is not what it seems, and two nations are drawn into a conflict whose seeds were sown millennia ago.

I picked up Graham’s Monument a few weeks ago (still need to read it), and thought I’d pick this up as well. The Path of the Hawk is published by Orbitpart one is out now, part two follows on February 23rd, 2016.

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GreenwoodE-PlayingDeadUSElizabeth Greenwood, PLAYING DEAD (Simon & Schuster)

A darkly comic inquiry into how to fake your own death, the disappearance industry, and the lengths to which people will go to be reborn.

Is it still possible to fake your own death in the twenty-first century? With six figures of student loan debt, Elizabeth Greenwood was tempted to find out.

So begins her foray into the world of death fraud, where for $30,000 a consultant can make you disappear — but your suspicious insurance company might hire a private detective to dig up your coffin and find it filled with rocks.

Greenwood tracks down a British man who staged a kayaking accident and then returned to live in his own house while all his neighbors thought he was dead. She takes a call from Michael Jackson (no, he’s not dead — or so her new acquaintances would have her believe), stalks message boards for people plotting pseudocide, and buys her own death certificate in the Philippines. Along the way, she learns that love is a much less common motive than money, and that making your death look like a drowning virtually guarantees that you’ll be caught. (Disappearing while hiking, however, is a way great to go.)

Utterly fascinating and charmingly bizarre, in the vein of Mary Roach and Sarah Vowell, Playing Dead is an empathetic investigation into a universal human fantasy and the men and women desperate enough to give up their lives — and their families — to start again.

This sounds strange and interesting, and potentially amusing. Due to be published by Simon & Schuster in August 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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HardingeF-LieTreeUKFrances Hardinge, THE LIE TREE (Macmillan)

Faith’s father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.

The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter…

The Lie Tree just won the Costa Award in the UK, and I decided to pick it up — I’d heard great things about it before, too, but never got around to picking it up (I did pick up Cuckoo Song a while back, though). Sounds interesting. Published by Macmillan, it’s out now.

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tlf1.inddSarah Hilary, TASTES LIKE FEAR (Headline)

Home is where Harm lies…

The young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene.

A runaway who doesn’t want to be found, she only wants to go home.

To the one man who understands her.

Gives her shelter.  

Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

He’s the head of her new family.

He’s Harm. 

And when Harm’s family is threatened, Marnie Rome is about to find out that everything tastes like fear…

This is the third novel in Hilary’s D.I. Marnie Rome series, and it sounds pretty interesting. So do the other novels in the series. I’ll have to hunt them down. Tastes Like Fear is published in the UK by Headline in April 2016. (I couldn’t find an image for the final cover — which was surprising.)

Review copy received from publisher

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HillJ-FiremanUSJoe Hill, THE FIREMAN (William Morrow)

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies — before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too… if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads — armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted… and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life — and that of her unborn child — goes up in smoke.

The latest novel by best-selling author Joe Hill. Of course this was going to be of interesting. Very happy to have an early copy. Published in North America by William Morrow on May 17th, 2016; and in the UK by Gollancz, on June 7th, 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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HurwitzG-OrphanXUSGregg Hurwitz, ORPHAN X (Minotaur)

The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It’s said that when he’s reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them. 

But he’s no legend. 

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as part of the off-the-books black box Orphan program, designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence assets — i.e. assassins. He was Orphan X. Evan broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear.

Now, however, someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training. Someone who knows Orphan X. Someone who is getting closer and closer. And will exploit Evan’s weakness — his work as The Nowhere Man — to find him and eliminate him. Grabbing the reader from the very first page, Orphan X is a masterful thriller, the first in Gregg Hurwitz’s electrifying new series featuring Evan Smoak.

I’ve been looking forward to this ever since it was announced. (Or, possibly, when I stumbled across it in a Macmillan catalogue…) Out now, published in North America by Minotaur, and in the UK by Michael Joseph (in April). Apparently, Bradley Cooper is in talks to adapt Orphan X for the screen. Hurwitz’s short run on DC Comics’ Detective Comics comprises probably my favourite three Batman books. Orphan X will be the first of his novels that I read, but I’ve also picked up a number of his other titles.

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ManaD-MinistryOfThunderDavide Mana, THE MINISTRY OF THUNDER (Acheron)

Shanghai, 1936.

Felice Sabatini is just a mechanic, working on Italian aircraft in China. He isn’t looking for trouble, much less interested in getting caught up a in a conspiracy against China, Japan, and Germany.

Unfortunately for him, that’s exactly what happens.

Three different factions are after an ancient artifact and the mystical power it controls. Power that, if it falls into the wrong hands, could end up destroying the very world as we know it.

Felice knows nothing of immortals, fox women, ninjas or dragons, never mind the Ministry of Storms. He is a rational man, after all. But before this journey is over he will be called upon to face all of that, never mind the power of ancient Chinese magic and a menace from Beyond Time.

From the crowded streets of Shanghai to the empty stretches of the Desert of Inescapable Death, Ministry of Thunder is an explosive mix of Oriental Fantasy and New Pulp.

An editor at Acheron got in touch out of the blue the other week, and asked if I’d be interested in a couple of their books. I took a look, and thought they looked pretty interesting. This one in particular. It’s out now.

Review copy received from publisher

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MarollaS-ImagoMortisSamuel Marolla, IMAGO MORTIS (Acheron)

Augusto Ghites is a junkie. His drug: the ashes of the dead. His trip: reliving the lives of those whose ashes he sniffs and interacting with their ghosts.

To obtain those ashes — to get his fix — he needs money. And there’s no better job for someone who can talk to ghosts than that of a private eye.

When an old prostitute hires him to investigate the death of her colleague, Ghites thinks that it’s just an average, everyday case. But together with the King Lizard, he will discover that there are forces at play that are well beyond his capabilities to control.

Set in a decadent Milan and told in perfect noir style, this horror tale introduces a dark and self-destructive occult detective in the best hard-boiled tradition.

This sounds pretty cool. Will give it a try soon. It’s out now.

Review copy received from publisher

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McIntyreVN-DreamsnakeUKVonda N. McIntyre, DREAMSNAKE (Jo Fletcher Books)

Dreamsnake: winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards, back in print at last

Snake travels the land with her serpents, the rattlesnake Sand, the cobra Mist and the rare alien dreamsnake called Grass, whose bite can ease the fear and pain of death. But the blasted landscape of a far-future post-holocaust Earth is a dangerous place, even for such a highly regarded elite healer… especially when an unexpected death sends her on a desperate quest to reclaim her healing powers.

A haunting story of an extraordinary woman on a dangerous quest in a far-future post-apocalyptic world.

The cover caught my eye quite a while ago, so I jumped at the chance to have a read. Published by Jo Fletcher Books on February 4th, 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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MillerAD-FaithfulCoupleUKPBA.D. Miller, THE FAITHFUL COUPLE (Little, Brown UK)

Turn a betrayal inside out and you found its opposite, a secret and a bond. Perhaps that was what friendship came down to: a lifelong, affectionate mutual blackmail.

Neil and Adam, two young men on the cusp of adulthood, meet one golden summer in California and, despite their different backgrounds, soon become best friends. Buton a camping trip in Yosemite they lead each other into wrongdoing that, years later, both will desperately regret.

Their connection holds through love affairs, fatherhood, the wild successes and unforeseen failures of booming London, as power and guilt ebb between them.

Then the truth of that long-ago night emerges. 

What happens when you discover that the friendship you can’t live without was always built on a lie?

This sounded kind of interesting. I missed it when it came out in hardcover. Published in paperback by Little, Brown UK on February 4th, 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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MurphyT-ChristodoraUSTim Murphy, CHRISTODORA (Grove Press)

In this vivid and compelling novel, Tim Murphy follows a diverse set of characters whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan’s East Village, the Christodora. Moving kaleidoscopically from the Tompkins Square Riots and the attempts by activists to galvanize a true response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, to a future New York City of the 2020s where subzero winters are a thing of the past, Christodora recounts the heartbreak wrought by AIDS, illustrates the allure and destructive power of hard drugs, and brings to life the ever-changing city itself.

On Avenue B in the heart of the Lower East Side, the Christodora is home to Milly and Jared, a privileged young couple with artistic ambitions. Their neighbor, Hector, a Puerto Rican gay man who was at one point celebrated for his work as an AIDS activist but has now become a lonely addict, becomes connected to Milly and Jared’s lives in ways none of them can anticipate. Meanwhile, Milly and Jared’s adopted son, Mateo, grows to see the opportunity for both self-realization and oblivion that New York offers. As the junkies and protestors of the 1980s give way to the hipsters of the 2000s and they, in turn, to the wealthy residents of the crowded, glass-towered city of the 2020s, enormous changes rock the personal lives of Milly and Jared and the constellation of people around them, even as ghosts of the past cast a shadow on their future.

A captivating portrait of how ambition, compulsion, and trauma form and re-form the lives of us all, Christodora is a closely observed panoramic novel that powerfully evokes the danger, chaos, and wonder of New York City — and the strange and moving ways in which its dwellers’ lives can intersect.

This kept popping up on various “Books to Look Out for in 2016” lists, so I kept my eyes open. It’s not due to be published until August 2016, though, so I may wait for a bit. Or not. I’m unpredictable that way… Published by Grove Press.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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OlderDJ-2-MidnightTaxiTangoUSDaniel José Older, MIDNIGHT TAXI TANGO (Roc)

The streets of New York are hungry tonight…

Carlos Delacruz straddles the line between the living and the not-so alive. As an agent for the Council of the Dead, he eliminates New York’s ghostlier problems. This time it’s a string of gruesome paranormal accidents in Brooklyn’s Von King Park that has already taken the lives of several locals—and is bound to take more.

The incidents in the park have put Kia on edge. When she first met Carlos, he was the weird guy who came to Baba Eddie’s botánica, where she worked. But the closer they’ve gotten, the more she’s seeing the world from Carlos’s point of view. In fact, she’s starting to see ghosts. And the situation is far more sinister than that—because whatever is bringing out the dead, it’s only just getting started.

I read an early version of Half-Resurrection Blues, which I really enjoyed, and so when this sequel came out, I picked it up pretty quickly. Older’s a great writer. Published in North America by Roc Books. (I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before a UK publisher picks them up — especially since Older’s other novel, Shadowshaperhas been so well-received.)

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PavoneC-TravelersUSChris Pavone, THE TRAVELER (Crown)

It’s 3:00am. Do you know where your husband is? 

Meet Will Rhodes: travel writer, recently married, barely solvent, his idealism rapidly giving way to disillusionment and the worry that he’s living the wrong life. Then one night, on assignment for the award-winning Travelers magazine in the wine region of Argentina, a beautiful woman makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Soon Will’s bad choices — and dark secrets — take him across Europe, from a chateau in Bordeaux to a midnight raid on a Paris mansion, from a dive bar in Dublin to a mega-yacht in the Mediterranean and an isolated cabin perched on the rugged cliffs of Iceland. As he’s drawn further into a tangled web of international intrigue, it becomes clear that nothing about Will Rhodes was ever ordinary, that the network of deception ensnaring him is part of an immense and deadly conspiracy with terrifying global implications — and that the people closest to him may pose the greatest threat of all.

It’s 3:00am. Your husband has just become a spy.

Pavone’s third novel, following the bestselling The Expats and The Accident. I’ve not had a chance to read The Expats, yet, but I did read and enjoy The Accident — it was very well-written, but the story was a little flawed. Certainly entertaining and gripping, though. I’ll be reading The Traveler as soon as possible. (Maybe after Snakewood, which is below…) Published on March 8th, 2016, by Crown in the US, and Faber in the UK.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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RowleyAD-RamblersUSAidan Donnelley Rowley, THE RAMBLERS (William Morrow)

Set in the most magical parts of Manhattan—the Upper West Side, Central Park, Greenwich Village — The Ramblers explores the lives of three lost souls, bound together by friendship and family. During the course of one fateful Thanksgiving week, a time when emotions run high and being with family can be a mixed blessing, Rowley’s sharply defined characters explore the moments when decisions are deliberately made, choices accepted, and pasts reconciled.

Clio Marsh, whose bird-watching walks through Central Park are mentioned in New York Magazine, is taking her first tentative steps towards a relationship while also looking back to the secrets of her broken childhood. Her best friend, Smith Anderson, the seemingly-perfect daughter of one of New York’s wealthiest families, organizes the lives of others as her own has fallen apart. And Tate Pennington has returned to the city, heartbroken but determined to move ahead with his artistic dreams.

Rambling through the emotional chaos of their lives, this trio learns to let go of the past, to make room for the future and the uncertainty and promise that it holds. The Ramblers is a love letter to New York City — an accomplished, sumptuous novel about fate, loss, hope, birds, friendship, love, the wonders of the natural world and the mysteries of the human spirit. 

This novel kept popping up in the various Recommendations threads (Amazon, Goodreads, etc.), so I checked it out on Edelweiss, and luckily my request was approved. It looks interesting. Hope to read and review soon. Published by William Morrow on February 9th, 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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SelbyA-SnakewoodUSAdrian Selby, SNAKEWOOD (Orbit)

A LIFETIME OF ENEMIES HAS ITS OWN PRICE 

Mercenaries who gave no quarter, they shook the pillars of the world through cunning, chemical brews, and cold steel. 

Whoever met their price won. 

Now, their glory days are behind them. Scattered to the wind and their genius leader in hiding, they are being hunted down and eliminated.

One by one.

Really looking forward to reading this! I’ve already started it — it starts very strongly, and is comprised of a number of perspectives and types of POV (for example, sometimes reports). Not all of the voices work as well for me as others, but it’s an intriguing premise and setting. I’ll have it finished and reviewed hopefully in the not too distant future. (I’m reading it slowly, though, because I’m experiencing a fierce bout of reader’s block…) Snakewood is due to be published in the US and UK by Orbit Books, in March 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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StoneN-VerdictUSNick Stone, THE VERDICT (Pegasus)

When Terry Flynt gets the chance to defend a millionaire accused of murder he knows that the case could make his career, but the accused man is Flynt’s greatest enemy — can he defend a man who ruined his life?

Terry Flynt is a struggling legal clerk, desperately trying to get promoted. And then he is given the biggest opportunity of his career: to help defend a millionaire accused of murdering a woman in his hotel suite.

The only problem is that the accused man, Vernon James, turns out to be not only someone he knows, but someone he loathes. This case could potentially make Terry’s career, but how can he defend a former friend who betrayed him so badly?

With the trial date looming, Terry delves deeper into Vernon’s life and is forced to confront secrets from their shared past that could have devastating consequences for them both. For years he has wanted to witness Vernon’s downfall, but with so much at stake, how can Terry be sure that he is guilty? And what choices must he make to ensure that justice is done?

I’ve been aware of this book for a while, but for some reason it didn’t click with me. It’s recently been published in Canada by Pegasus, so I decided to pick up a copy (I’m missing the UK, just a little bit…). The Verdict is published in the UK by Sphere.

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TomlinsonPS-2-TridentsForgePatrick S. Tomlinson, TRIDENT’S FORGE (Angry Robot Books)

They’ve made it this far. If only that increased humanity’s chances on this new planet…

Against all odds, the Ark and her thirty-thousand survivors have reached Tau Ceti G to begin the long, arduous task of rebuilding human civilization. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Tau Ceti G’s natives, the G’tel, are coming to grips with the sudden appearance of what many believe are their long-lost Gods.

But first contact between humans and g’tel goes catastrophically wrong, visiting death on both sides. Rumors swirl that the massacre was no accident. The Ark’s greatest hero, Bryan Benson, takes on the mystery. 

Partnered with native ‘truth-digger’ Kexx, against both of their better judgment, Benson is thrust into the heart of an alien culture with no idea how to tell who wants to worship him from who wants him dead.

Together, Benson and Kexx will have to find enough common ground and trust to uncover a plot that threatens to plunge both of their peoples into an apocalyptic war that neither side can afford to fight.

The sequel to The Ark, I’m really looking forward to reading this series. Don’t know why I’ve left it so long. Published by Angry Robot Books in April 2016.

Also on CR: Guest Post on “Intro to Genre”

Review copy received via NetGalley

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WildeF-Jwewl&HerLapidaryFran Wilde, THE JEWEL AND HER LAPIDARY (Tor.com)

The kingdom in the Valley has long sheltered under the protection of its Jewels and Lapidaries, the people bound to singing gemstones with the power to reshape hills, move rivers, and warp minds. That power has kept the peace and tranquility, and the kingdom has flourished.

Jewel Lin and her Lapidary Sima may be the last to enjoy that peace.

The Jeweled Court has been betrayed. As screaming raiders sweep down from the mountains, and Lapidary servants shatter under the pressure, the last princess of the Valley will have to summon up a strength she’s never known. If she can assume her royal dignity, and if Sima can master the most dangerous gemstone in the land, they may be able to survive.

I missed the announcement of this novella, but it was certainly a nice surprise to get a review copy of it. I haven’t had a chance to read anything by Wilde, yet, but this looks like a great start before I get on to Updraft (which I have). The Jewel and Her Lapidary is due to be published by Tor.com on May 3rd, 2016.

Also on CR: Interview with Fran Wilde

Review copy received from publisher

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