New Books (February)

DisneyWizardBooks

Featuring: David Annandale, Jo Baker, Mishell Baker, David Baldacci, Elizabeth Bonesteel, Pierce Brown, Christopher Charles, Jessica Chiarella, Dan Cluchey, Max Allan Collins, John Connolly, Don DeLillo, S.B. Divya, Rachel Dunne, Mark Andrew Ferguson, Hadley Freeman, S.L. Grey, Lauren Groff, A.J. Hartley, Noah Hawley, Katie Heaney, Patrick Hemstreet, Mitchell Hogan, Lee Kelly, Shane Kuhn, Joe R. Lansdale, John Lansdale, Tim Lebbon, David Levien, Brian McClellan, Claire North, Willow Palecek, K.J. Parker, Bryony Pearce, Victor Pelevin, Molly Prentiss, Andy Remic, William Shatner, Mickey Spillane, Jo Spurrier, Allen Steele, Stuart Stevens, Alex Stewart, Jack Sutherland, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Marc Turner, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Teddy Wayne

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AnnandaleD-CurseOfTheWulfenDavid Annandale, CURSE OF THE WULFEN (Black Library)

The Wulfen of the 13th Company have not been seen since the days Leman Russ sailed the Sea of Stars at the head of his Legion. Now, amid daemon incursions of alarming size, they return to the Space Wolves to fight by their side. As Logan Grimnar’s Great Companies scour the stars to rally their returning ancestors, ever more battle-brothers begin to fall prey to mysterious changes. Is the Wulfen’s reappearance really a blessing of Russ, or will the dark omens that plague Harald Deathwolf spell doom for the warriors of Fenris?

Ah, the Space Wolves — long my favourite Space Marine chapter/legion. I remember, decades ago (ok, maybe not multiple decades, but probably not far off two), reading Codex: Space Wolves multiple times, imagination captured by the idea of Space Vikings… Annandale’s new novel takes a look at one of the mysteries of the Space Wolves, tying in to the latest Warhammer 40,000 event. He’s a great writer, and coupled with my interested in the characters/forces involved, I’ll likely read this very soon. It out now as an eBook, published by Black Library.

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BakerJ-ACountryRoadATreeUKJo Baker, A COUNTRY ROAD, A TREE (Doubleday)

Paris, 1939: The pavement rumbles with the footfall of Nazi soldiers marching along the Champs Elysees. A young writer, recently arrived from Ireland to make his mark, smokes one last cigarette with his lover before the city they know is torn apart. Soon, he will put is own life and those of his loved ones in mortal danger by joining the Resistance…

Spies, artists, deprivation, danger and passion: this is a story of life at the edges of human experience, and of how one man came to translate it all into art.

Baker is also the author of Longbourn. Published by Doubleday in the UK, on May 5th, 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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BakerM-AP1-BorderlineUSMishell Baker, BORDERLINE (Saga)

A cynical, disabled film director with borderline personality disorder gets recruited to join a secret organization that oversees relations between Hollywood and Fairyland…

A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.

For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court. To find him, she’ll have to smooth-talk Hollywood power players and uncover the surreal and sometimes terrifying truth behind the glamour of Tinseltown. But stronger forces than just her inner demons are sabotaging her progress, and if she fails to unravel the conspiracy behind the noble’s disappearance, not only will she be out on the streets, but the shattering of a centuries-old peace could spark an all-out war between worlds.

No pressure.

The first novel in the Arcadia Project series, this looks really interesting and unusual. Published by Saga Press in March 2016.

Review copy via NetGalley

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BaldacciD-AD2-LastMileUSHCDavid Baldacci, THE LAST MILE (Grand Central)

Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution — for the violent killing of his parents twenty years earlier — when he’s granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime.

Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars’s case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men’s families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth.

The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars — guilty or not — a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now?

But when a member of Decker’s team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger — and more sinister — than just one convicted criminal’s life hangs in the balance. Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower to stop an innocent man from being executed.

The second Amos Decker novel! I’m really looking forward to reading this — really enjoyed the first in the series, Memory Man, and anyone paying attention to CR for any period of time will know how much I enjoy Baldacci’s work in general. (He’s easily one of my favourite thriller authors.) Published by Grand Central in North America on April 19th, 2016; published in the UK by Macmillan on April 21st, 2016 (no publisher page, yet, but here it is on Amazon UK).

Review copy received from publisher

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BonesteelE-CC1-ColdBetweenUSElizabeth Bonesteel, THE COLD BETWEEN (Voyager)

When her crewmate Danny is murdered on the colony of Volhynia, Central Corps engineer Commander Elena Shaw is shocked to learn the main suspect is her lover, Treiko Zajec. She knows Trey is innocent — he was with her when Danny was killed. So who is the real killer and why are the cops framing an innocent man?

While retracing Danny’s last hours, they discover that his death may be tied to a mystery from the past: the destruction of a Central Corps starship at a wormhole near Volhynia. For twenty-five years, Central Gov has been lying about the tragedy, even willing to go to war with the outlaw tribe PSI to protect their secrets.

With the authorities closing in, Elena and Trey head to the wormhole, certain they’ll find answers on the other side. But the truth that awaits them is far more terrifying than they ever imagined — a conspiracy deep within Central Gov that threatens all of human civilization throughout the inhabited reaches of the galaxy… and beyond.

This sounded interesting — I’d actually forgotten that I requested this on Edelweiss, during an extended Sci-Fi kick. I don’t think I’ve seen any other reviews of it, yet, but a few other websites have featured it in “Anticipated SF of 2016”-type lists. Due to be published by Voyager on March 8th, 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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BrownP-3-MorningStarUKPierce Brown, MORNING STAR (Hodder)

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars, generations of people who spend their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that, one day, people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. That Mars has been habitable — and inhabited — for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down at Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their society.

The final book in the Red Rising trilogy, the YA series that seems to have taken the SFF community by storm. I dipped in to the first book, Red Rising, and… well, didn’t love it. I was going through a bout of not-infrequent Reader’s Block, so I may have to give it another try. The second book, Golden Son, is out now in paperback.

Review copy received from publisher

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CharlesC-TheExiledUSChristopher Charles, THE EXILED (Mulholland)

Can anyone ever truly outrun his past?

Back in the 1980s, Wes Raney was an ambitious New York City Narcotics Detective with a growing drug habit of his own. While working undercover on a high-risk case, he made decisions that ultimately cost him not only his career, but also his family. Disgraced, Raney fled — but history is finally catching up with him.

Now in his early forties, Raney has been living in exile, the sole homicide investigator covering a two-hundred-mile stretch of desert in New Mexico. His solitude is his salvation — but it ends when a brutal drug deal gone wrong results in a triple murder. Staged in a locked underground bunker, the crime reawakens Raney’s haunted and violent past.

This sounds great. Will read very soon. The Exiled is due to be published by Mulholland Books in the US on April 19th, 2016; and in the UK on April 21st, 2016.

Review copy via NetGalley

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ChiarellaJ-AndAgainUSJessica Chiarella, AND AGAIN (Touchstone)

Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance? Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda — four terminally ill patients — have been selected for the SUBlife pilot program, which will grant them brand-new, genetically perfect bodies that are exact copies of their former selves — without a single imperfection. Blemishes, scars, freckles, and wrinkles have all disappeared, their fingerprints are different, their vision is impeccable, and most importantly, their illnesses have been cured.

But the fresh start they’ve been given is anything but perfect. Without their old bodies, their new physical identities have been lost. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his old habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her. As each tries to re-enter their previous lives and relationships they are faced with the question: how much of your identity rests not just in your mind, but in your heart, your body?

Published by TouchstoneAnd Again has featured on quite a few lists of most-anticipated novels of the year (SFF and otherwise). From the synopsis alone, I can see why — it’s a fascinating premise, and I’ve heard good things about the novel. I started reading it very soon after picking it up, and I was sucked right in. It took only a couple days to read, and I loved it: the narrow focus, four perspectives, and the interesting ideas and analysis of what makes us who we are, and how the gift of a new body might result in changes to personality, abilities, tastes. I’d highly recommend this to anyone. You can read my full review, here.

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ClucheyD-LifeOfTheWorldToComeUSDan Cluchey, THE LIFE OF THE WORLD TO COME (St. Martin’s Press)

Leo Brice is dead, in a sense (not the traditional one). When the neurotic law student meets his cosmic match in Fiona Haeberle, an impulsive spirit and burgeoning soap star, all seems well — the two fall fast in love, and spend three years navigating their twenties in wide-eyed wonder. But once the fantastical woman who had defined his future bolts to pursue a fantasy life of her own, Leo is forced to come to terms with a reality that more closely resembles an epilogue than the story he’d hoped it might be.

Now a junior death row advocate, Leo immerses himself in the esoteric world of his condemned client, a born-again Georgia inmate named Michael Tiegs. As both men become consumed by the question of an afterlife — and as Leo becomes increasingly confused by his own future and past — Tiegs’ fate hangs in the balance. Leaning on his friends and grappling with his memories, Leo must try to save a client who may not want to be saved after all, even as he struggles to confront the prospect of his own mortality.

This sounded interesting. Published by St. Martin’s Press in June 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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ConnollyJ-CP14-ATimeOfTormentUKJohn Connolly, A TIME OF TORMENT (Hodder)

Parker is not like other men. He died, and was reborn. He is ready to wage war, will descend upon a strange, isolated community and face down a force of men who rule by terror, intimidation, and murder.

Jerome Burnel was once a hero. He intervened to prevent multiple killings and in doing so damned himself. His life was torn apart. He was imprisoned, brutalized.

But in his final days, with the hunters circling, he tells his story to private detective Charlie Parker. He speaks of the girl who was marked for death but was saved, of the ones who tormented him, and an entity that hides in a ruined stockade.

Parker is not like other men. He died, and was reborn. He is ready to wage war.

Now he will descend upon a strange, isolated community called the Cut, and face down a force of men who rule by terror, intimidation, and murder.

All in the name of the being they serve.

All in the name of the Dead King.

This is the fourteenth novel in Connolly’s Charlie Parker series — a series that I still haven’t read, but really want to. I picked up the first two in the series a while back, but I keep forgetting to read them. Sigh. So many books, etc. I’ll do my best to get started on the series, though. A Time of Torment is published in the UK by Hodder, on April 7th, 2016.

Review copy received from publisher

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DeLilloD-ZeroKUSDon DeLillo, ZERO K (Scribner)

Jeffrey Lockhart’s father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say “an uncertain farewell” to her as she surrenders her body.

“We are born without choosing to be. Should we have to die in the same manner? Isn’t it a human glory to refuse to accept a certain fate?”

These are the questions that haunt the novel and its memorable characters, and it is Ross Lockhart, most particularly, who feels a deep need to enter another dimension and awake to a new world. For his son, this is indefensible. Jeff, the book’s narrator, is committed to living, to experiencing “the mingled astonishments of our time, here, on earth.”

I requested this on a whim, never believing that I’d be approved. But I was, so that was a very nice surprise one morning. Published by Scribner in North America, in May 2016, and Picador Books in the UK.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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DivyaSB-RunTimeS.B. Divya, RUNTIME (Tor.com)

The Minerva Sierra Challenge is a grueling spectacle, the cyborg’s Tour de France. Rich thrill-seekers with corporate sponsorships, extensive support teams, and top-of-the-line exoskeletal and internal augmentations pit themselves against the elements in a day-long race across the Sierra Nevada.

Marmeg Guinto doesn’t have funding, and she doesn’t have support. She cobbled her gear together from parts she found in rich people’s garbage and spent the money her mother wanted her to use for nursing school to enter the race. But the Minerva Challenge is the only chance she has at a better life for herself and her younger brothers, and she’s ready to risk it all.

This sounded like a pretty fun/great novella. As it turned out, it was pretty interesting, although less fun than I’d hoped. There were a lot of interesting ideas touched very briefly upon. Strangely underdeveloped, I thought, and never really got going for me. Published by Tor.com May 17th, 2016.

[On a side note, and despite what I thought of this novella: you really should give the Tor.com range a try, if you haven’t yet had the chance — so far, even the ones I’ve not loved, have been interesting and imaginative takes on SFF genres. Of course, most of them I have loved, so that’s nice.]

Review copy received from publisher

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DunneR-BG1-InTheShadowOfTheGodsRachel Dunne, IN THE SHADOW OF THE GODS (Voyager)

A mismatched band of mortals led by a violent, secretive man must stand against a pair of resentful gods to save their world…

Eons ago, a pair of gods known as the Twins grew powerful in the world of Fiatera, until the Divine Mother and Almighty Father exiled them, binding them deep in the earth. But the price of keeping the fire lands safe is steep. To prevent these young gods from rising again, all twins in the land must be killed at birth, a safeguard that has worked until now.

Trapped for centuries, the Twins are gathering their latent powers to break free and destroy the Parents for their tyranny — to set off a fight between two generations of gods for control of the world and the mortals who dwell in it.

When the gods make war, only one side can be victorious. Joros, a mysterious and cunning priest, has devised a dangerous plan to win. Over eight years, he gathers a team of disparate fighters — Scal, a lost and damaged swordsman from the North; Vatri, a scarred priestess who claims to see the future in her fires; Anddyr, a drug-addled mage wandering between sanity and madness; and Rora and Aro, a pair of twins who have secretly survived beyond the reach of the law.

These warriors must learn to stand together against the unfathomable power of vengeful gods, to stop them from tearing down the sun… and plunging their world into darkness.

I spotted this title quite a while ago, on Voyager Australia/New Zealand’s website. Then it popped up on Edelweiss, and I was lucky enough to have my request approved. Due to be published by Voyager US in June 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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FergusonMA-LostBoysSymphonyUSPBMark Andrew Ferguson, THE LOST BOYS SYMPHONY (Back Bay Books)

After Henry’s girlfriend Val leaves him and transfers to another school, his grief begins to manifest itself in bizarre and horrifying ways. Cause and effect, once so reliable, no longer appear to be related in any recognizable manner. Either he’s hallucinating, or the strength of his heartbreak over Val has unhinged reality itself.

Henry decides to run away. He leaves his mother’s home in the suburbs and marches toward the city and the woman who he thinks will save him. Once on the George Washington Bridge, however, a powerful hallucination knocks him out cold. When he awakens, he finds himself kidnapped by two strangers — one old, one middle-aged — who claim to be future versions of Henry himself.

‘Val is the love of your life, they tell him. We’ve lost her, but you don’t have to.’

This sounds really interesting. I’ll be reading it very soon. Published by Back Bay Books on March 8th, 2016.

Review copy received from publisher

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FreemanH-LifeMovesPrettyFastUSHadley Freeman, LIFE MOVES PRETTY FAST (Simon & Schuster)

From Vogue contributor and Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman, a personalized guide to eighties movies that describes why they changed movie-making forever — featuring exclusive interviews with the producers, directors, writers and stars of the best cult classics.

For Hadley Freeman, movies of the 1980s have simply got it all. Comedy in Three Men and a Baby, Hannah and Her Sisters, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future; all a teenager needs to know in Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Say Anything, The Breakfast Club, and Mystic Pizza; the ultimate in action from Top Gun, Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; love and sex in 9 1/2 Weeks, Splash, About Last Night, The Big Chill, and Bull Durham; and family fun in The Little Mermaid, ET, Big, Parenthood, and Lean On Me.

In Life Moves Pretty Fast, Hadley puts her obsessive movie geekery to good use, detailing the decade’s key players, genres, and tropes. She looks back on a cinematic world in which bankers are invariably evil, where children are always wiser than adults, where science is embraced with an intense enthusiasm, and the future viewed with giddy excitement. And, she considers how the changes between movies then and movies today say so much about society’s changing expectations of women, young people, and art — and explains why Pretty in Pink should be put on school syllabuses immediately.

I can’t remember exactly when I first heard about this book. It kept slipping from my mind, because I sometimes have the memory of a goldfish. I spotted it on Edelweiss, and snapped it up. Life Moves Pretty Fast is published in North America by Simon & Schuster in June 2016; it’s published in the UK by Fourth Estate, and is out now.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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GreySL-UndergroundUKPBS.L. Grey, UNDERGROUND (Macmillan)

THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE SAFE…

The Sanctum is a luxurious, self-sustaining survival condominium situated underground. It’s a plush bolt-hole for the rich and paranoid — a place where they can wait out the apocalypse in style. When a devastating super-flu virus hits, several families race to reach The Sanctum. All have their own motivations for entering. All are hiding secrets.

But when the door locks and someone dies, they realize the greatest threat to their survival may not be above ground — it may already be inside…

I’ve already read this, when it first came out (review). I thought it was great, with an ending that I thought was perfect. Macmillan published Underground in paperback on February 25th, 2016. Very much recommend this novel.

Review copy received from publisher

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GroffL-Fates&FuriesUSLauren Groff, FATES AND FURIES (Riverhead Books)

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.

It was pretty difficult to avoid mentions of this novel in November/December 2015 — it was an Amazon best of 2015 (perhaps their pick for the best novel of last year), and I think President Obama spoke very highly of it, too. A relative got it for Christmas, and I thought I’d give it a go, too. It’s out now, published by Riverhead Books in North America and William Heinemann in the UK.

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HartleyAJ-AD1-SteeplejackUSA.J. Hartley, STEEPLEJACK (Tor Teen)

Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga, Ang for short, works repairing the chimneys, towers, and spires of Bar-Selehm, the ethnically-diverse industrial capital of a land resembling Victorian South Africa. The city was built on the trade of luxorite, a priceless glowing mineral. When the Beacon, a historical icon made of the largest piece of luxorite known to exist, is stolen, this news commands the headlines. Yet no one seems to care about the murder of Ang’s new apprentice Berrit. But when Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician, offers her a job investigating his death, she plunges headlong into dangers she could not foresee. On top of this legwork, Ang struggles with the responsibility of caring for her sister’s newborn child.

As political secrets unfold and racial tensions surrounding the Beacon’s theft rise, Ang must navigate the constricting traditions of her people, the murderous intentions of her former boss, and the conflicting impulses of a fledgling romance. With no one to help her except a savvy newspaper girl and a kindhearted herder from the savannah, Ang must rely on her creative intellect and strength to resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city is plunged into riotous chaos.

I remember seeing the cover reveal for this novel, and thinking, “Wow.” I just really like that cover… Then I read the synopsis, and my interest was piqued even further. I’m very much looking forward to giving this a read. Published by Tor Teen in June 2016.

Review copy received from publisher

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HawleyN-BeforeTheFallUSNoah Hawley, BEFORE THE FALL (Grand Central)

On a foggy summer night, eleven people — ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter — depart Martha’s Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs — the painter — and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the tragedy and the backstories of the passengers and crew members — including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot — the mystery surrounding the crash heightens. As the passengers’ intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy: Was it merely dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations — all while the reader draws closer and closer to uncovering the truth.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.

I’ve already finished this. It is fantastic — I was hooked from the beginning, and I love the way it’s been constructed. The characters’ experiences and backgrounds are woven together in such a gripping way. Marvellous. Full review later this month (maybe next week, or even later this week if I have a burst of productivity). Hawley is, incidentally, one of the Fargo TV series Award-winning creators and showrunners. Published on May 31st, 2016, by Grand Central in North America, and Hodder in the UK. A must-read of the year, very highly recommended.

Review copy received from publisher

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HawleyN-ThePunchUKNoah Hawley, THE PUNCH (Hodder)

The Henry brothers could not be more different. Scott is stuck in a dead-end job and has taken to hanging out in some of San Francisco’s seedier dives. David, on the other hand, is a successful travelling salesman, and has not one happy family, but two (one on each coast). Tensions run high as their father’s death brings them together on a road-trip to New York, especially when their alcoholic mother is along for the ride and thinks nothing of revealing a long-held family secret…

Noah Hawley’s savagely funny and ultimately uplifting novel explores what it really means to be a family.

I picked this up after reading only a handful of pages of Before the Fall. I have also picked up Hawley’s other novel, The Good Father, and intend to pick up A Conspiracy of Tall Men, too. The Punch was published in the UK by Hodder in January 2016; it’s published in North America by Chronicle Books.

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HeaneyK-DearEmmaUSKatie Heaney, DEAR EMMA (Grand Central)

Harriet, the author of her college newspaper’s pseudonymous student advice column “Dear Emma,” is great at telling others what to do, dispensing wisdom for the lovelorn and lonely on her Midwestern campus. Somehow, though, she can’t take her own advice, especially after Keith, the guy she’s dating, blows her off completely. When Harriet discovers that Keith has started seeing the beautiful and intimidating Remy, she wants to hate her. But she can’t help warming to Remy, who soon writes to “Dear Emma” asking for romantic advice.

Now Harriet has the perfect opportunity to take revenge on the person who broke her heart. But as she begins to doubt her own motivations and presumably faultless guidance, she’s forced to question how much she really knows about love, friendship and well-meaning advice.

This sounded like it could be good, so I requested it on NetGalley. Published by Grand Central, it’s out today.

Review copy via NetGalley

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HemstreetP-1-GodWavePatrick Hemstreet, THE GOD WAVE (Voyager)

A team of neuroscientists uncover amazing new capabilities in the brain that may steer human evolution toward miraculous and deadly frontiers…

For decades, scientists have speculated about the untapped potential of the human brain. Now, neuroscientist Chuck Brenton has made an astonishing breakthrough. He has discovered the key — the crucial combination of practice and conditioning — to access the incredible power dormant in ninety percent of our brains. Applying his methods to test subjects, he has stimulated abilities that elevate brain function to seemingly “godlike” levels.

These extraordinary abilities can transform the world, replacing fear and suffering with tranquility and stability. But in an age of increasing militarization, corporate exploitation, and explosive technological discovery, a group of influential power brokers are determined to control Brenton’s new superbeings for their own manipulative ends — and their motives may be far from peaceful.

This has been described as “Limitless meets James Rollins”, which sounds right up my street. I’ll hopefully read this ASAP. Published by Voyager on May 17th, 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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HoganM-2-BloodOfInnocentsMitchell Hogan, BLOOD OF INNOCENTS (Voyager)

A novice sorcerer may hold the key to saving his world — or be the instrument of its destruction…

Anasoma, jewel of the Mahruse Empire, has fallen.

As orphaned, monk-raised Caldan and his companions flee the city, leaving behind their hopes for a new beginning, horrors from the time of the Shattering begin to close in.

With Miranda’s mind broken by forbidden sorcery, Caldan does the unthinkable to save her: he breaks the most sacrosanct laws of the Protectors. But when the emperor’s warlocks arrive to capture him, Caldan realizes that his burgeoning powers may be more of a curse than a blessing, and the enemies assailing the empire may be rivaled by more sinister forces within.

And soon, the blood of innocents may be on Caldan’s own hands.

The second novel in Hogan’s well-received Sorcery Ascendant fantasy series — I also have the first novel, A Crucible of Souls. It’s out now, published by Voyager. The third novel, A Shattered Empire, is due out in September 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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KellyL-ACriminalMagicUSLee Kelly, A CRIMINAL MAGIC (Saga Press)

Two young sorcerers experiment with magic and mobsters in 1920s Prohibition when a new elixir is created that turns their lives upside down.

Washington, DC, 1926. Sorcery opponents have succeeded in passing the 18th Amendment, but the Prohibition of magic has only invigorated the city’s underworld. Smuggling rings carry magic contraband in from the coast. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters’ crime sprees. Gangs have even established “magic havens,” secret venues where the public can lose themselves in immersive magic and consume a mind-bending, highly addictive elixir known as “the sorcerer’s shine.”

Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from the backwoods of Norfolk County, accepts an offer to work for DC’s most notorious crime syndicate, The Shaw Gang, when her family’s home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws. When Joan meets Alex at the Shaws’ magic haven, she discovers a confidante in her fellow partner and he begins to fall under her spell. But when a new breed of the addictive sorcerer’s shine is created within the walls of the magic haven, Joan and Alex are forced to question their allegiances as they become pitted against one another in a dangerous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.

This novel has been generating a lot of buzz, recently. It sounds really interesting, too. Published by Saga, it’s out now. [On a somewhat related note: Saga are publishing some really interesting SFF, so check out their website — you’ll likely see at least one book that looks interesting.]

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KuhnS-AssetUSShane Kuhn, THE ASSET (Simon & Schuster)

A private airport security contractor becomes a counterterrorism operative and must stop an attack that will destabilize the US and cause global chaos.

Kennedy — a private airport security contractor — knows more about airports than the head of the TSA, and he feels more comfortable in his British Airways Club World flatbed seat than in his own home. Haunted by the memory of his sister’s death on 9/11, Kennedy takes his job and the protection of the American people very seriously. So when he’s kidnapped and recruited into a CIA ghost operation known as Red Carpet, he jumps at the opportunity to become a civilian asset working with a team of some of the CIA’s best counterterrorism analysts and spec ops soldiers as they race against the clock to stop the greatest terrorist threat the United States will ever face.

Shane Kuhn’s The Intern’s Handbook was quite the darkly comedic thriller romp. This is not part of the same series. It looks like it could be fun. Due to be published by Simon & Schuster in July 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

*

Lansdale-HellsBountyJoe R. Lansdale & John Lansdale, HELL’S BOUNTY (Subterranean Press)

If the Western town of Falling Rock isn’t dangerous enough due to drunks, fast guns and greedy miners, it gets a real dose of ugly when a soulless, dynamite-loving bounty hunter named Smith rides into town to bring back a bounty, dead or alive — preferably dead. In the process, Smith sets off an explosive chain of events that send him straight to the waiting room in Hell where he is offered a one-time chance to absolve himself.

Satan, a bartender also known as Snappy, wants Smith to hurry back to earth and put a very bad hombre out of commission. Someone Smith has already met in the town of Falling Rock. A fellow named Quill, who has, since Smith’s departure, sold his soul to the Old Ones, and has been possessed by a nasty, scaly, winged demon with a cigar habit and a bad attitude. Quill wants to bring about the destruction of the world, not to mention the known universe, and hand it all over: moon, stars, black spaces, cosmic dust, as well as all of humanity, to the nasty Lovecraftian deities that wait on the other side of the veil. It’s a bargain made in worse places than Hell.

Even Satan can’t stand for that kind of dark business. The demon that has possessed Quill, a former co-worker of Satan, has gone way too far, and there has to be a serious correction.

And though Smith isn’t so sure humanity is that big of a loss, the alternative of him cooking eternally while being skewered on a meat hook isn’t particularly appealing. Smith straps on a gift from Snappy, a holstered Colt pistol loaded with endless silver ammunition, and riding a near-magical horse named Shadow, carrying an amazing deck of cards that can summon up some of the greatest gunfighters and killers the west has ever known, he rides up from hell, and back into Falling Rock, a town that can be entered, but can’t be left.

It’s a opportunity not only for Smith to experience action and adventure and deal with the living dead and all manner of demonic curses and terrible prophecies, it’s a shot at love with a beautiful, one-eyed, redheaded-darling with a whip, a woman named Payday. But it’s an even bigger shot at redemption.

Saddle up, partner. It’s time to ride into an old fashioned pulp and horror adventure full of gnashing teeth, exploding dynamite, pistol fire, and a few late night kisses. 

Looked like it could be interesting. I’ve never read anything by Lansdale, for some reason. He’s incredibly prolific, it seems, not to mention a writer in diverse SFF genres. Something I should address soon, maybe. Published by Subterranean Press.

Review copy received via NetGalley

*

LebbonT-2-AWhisperOfSouthernLightsTim Lebbon, A WHISPER OF SOUTHERN LIGHTS (Tor.com)

Death and destruction follow the demon wherever he treads, and Gabriel is rarely far behind, waiting for his chance to extinguish the creature known as Temple once and for all.

But in Singapore during the Second World War, a lone soldier in possession of a shattering secret gets caught up in their battle. The knowledge he holds could change the course of their ancient conflict… and the fate of the world.

This is a standalone story set in Lebbon’s Assassins series. Due to be published in May 2016, by Tor.com. I’ll read this and Pieces of Hate very soon.

Review copy received from publisher

*

LevienD-FB4-SignatureKillUKPBDavid Levien, SIGNATURE KILL (Corgi)

A corpse discovered. A woman. Dismembered. Twisted. Grotesquely reassembled.

This is the work of a dangerous, psychopathic serial killer. Soemone who goes about his daily business unseen, slipping under the radar.

And ex-cop Frank Behr has somehow got himself involved.

As Behr is drawn further and further in to the murky underworld, he finds that the line between good and evil is more blurry than he ever thought…

This is the fourth novel in Levien’s Frank Behr series, and I’ve picked up the first three, too. Sounds great. I only recently found out that Levien has written a handful of screenplays for movies I very much enjoyed, and he’s also involved in the creation of Billions, the new Wall Street TV series on Showtime (which is really good). I’m quite looking forward to giving his crime series a try. Published by Corgi in the UK, and Doubleday in North America.

Review copy received from publisher

*

McClellanB-PM-GhostsOfTristanBasinBrian McClellan, GHOSTS OF THE TRISTAN BASIN

Taniel Two-Shot is a powder mage with the Tristan Ghost Irregulars, a band of volunteers who have made a name for themselves fighting in the Fatrastan Revolution. They range through the swamps of the frontier, cutting off enemy supplies and raiding towns while Taniel hunts the Privileged sorcerers that make the Kez armies so powerful.

When a desperate call for help comes from the nearby city of Planth, the Irregulars aren’t the only ones to answer and Taniel must deal with another hero of the revolution: Mad Colonel Styke. But not all is well within the young Fatrastan government, and more hangs on the defense of Planth than Taniel and his companions could possibly know.

I’m a fan of McClellan’s Powder Mage series. I have yet to read the final novel, though — a victim of my strange tendency to hesitate when it comes to finishing trilogies… Ghosts of the Tristan Basin is a prequel novella, one of many that the author has written and self-published. I’ve already finished reading the novella — it is, as expected, very good. It wasn’t my favourite of the author’s work, though, and it didn’t hook me as immediately as most of his other work. It contained plenty of great scenes, though.

Also on CR: Interview with Brian McClellan; Guest Posts on “My Favourite Novel” and “Protagonist Ages in Epic Fantasy”; Excerpt from The Autumn Republic; Reviews of Promise of Blood, The Girl of Hrusch Avenue, Hope’s End, Forsworn, The Face In the Window, The Crimson Campaign, Murder at the Kinnen Hotel, and Return to Honor.

Review copy received from author

*

NorthC-SuddenAppearanceOfHopeUKClaire North, THE SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF HOPE (Orbit/Redhook)

Listen.

All the world forgets me. First my face, then my voice, then the consequences of my deeds.

So listen. Remember me.

My name is Hope Ardern, and you won’t know who I am. We’ve met before — a thousand times. I am the girl the world forgets. 

It started when I was sixteen years old. A slow declining, an isolation, one piece at a time.

A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A teacher who forgets to chase my missing homework. A friend who looks straight through me and sees a stranger.

No matter what I do, the words I say, the people I hurt, the crimes I commit — you will never remember who I am.

That makes my life tricky. It also makes me dangerous…

This is the tale of a girl no one remembers, and her story will stay with you for ever.

Well, this is easily one of my top five most anticipated novels of the year. I’m so happy… (see Abed, below) Published by Orbit in the UK, on May 19th, 2016; and Redhook in the US, on May 17th, 2016.

Also on CR: Reviews of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry AugustTouch and The Gameshouse Trilogy [spoiler alert: they’re all magnificent.]

Review copy received via NetGalley

CommunityHappyDancingAbed

*

PalecekW-CityOfWolvesWillow Palecek, CITY OF WOLVES (Tor.com)

Alexander Drake, Investigator for Hire, doesn’t like working for the Nobility, and doesn’t prefer to take jobs from strange men who accost him in alleyways. A combination of hired muscle and ready silver have a way of changing a man’s mind. 

A lord has been killed, his body found covered in bite marks. Even worse, the late lord’s will is missing, and not everyone wants Drake to find it. Solving the case might plunge Drake into deeper danger.

This has been described as “gaslamp fantasy noir”, which is pretty intriguing. Hopefully read this pretty soon. Due to be published in July 2016.

Review copy received from publisher

*

ParkerKJ-DownfallOfTheGodsK.J. Parker, TITLE (Subterranean Press)

If you visit the Temple and ask nicely for forgiveness, you might get it — assuming you aren’t Lord Archias and you haven’t killed the Goddess’s favorite musician, Lysippus. But even goddesses are expected to follow certain rules, and as much as she wants to punish Lord Archias it seems her troublesome, all-powerful father forbids it. So the Goddess will just have to get around that by forgiving Lord Archias if he can manage some simple — or, rather, seemingly impossible — tasks. A Goddess has to do what a goddess has to do.

And in World Fantasy Award winner K.J. Parker’s sharply inventive new novella Downfall of the Gods that means everything from soothing supernatural egos to accompanying the argumentative Lord Archias on an epic quest to save his soul… and get her own way. As the Goddess and her mortal charge make their way across the world to the Land of the Dead, a host of divine surprises await them. Could what they find at the end be the downfall of the gods themselves? Only time will tell. This is a story Parker fans won’t want to miss.

Since reading Parker’s The Devil’s You Know, I’ve become ever-more interested reading more of the author’s shorter fiction. To that end, I requested this novella on NetGalley. Due to be published in April 2016 by Subterranean Press.

Review copy received via NetGalley

*

PearceB-2-PhoenixBurningBryony Pearce, PHOENIX BURNING (Stripes)

Toby and Ayla have to infiltrate a sect of sun worshippers to steal the equipment their ships need. They enter a trial to be chosen as the Sun and the Moon, a position of great honour for the sect. As the trial commences, Toby and Ayla discover the true cost of failure. But there are other young couples who are equally desperate to win…

Can Toby and Ayla survive days without sleep, hours sitting in the blistering sun and a deadly maze? They’ll need to work together to win – their mission depends on it…

This is the sequel to Phoenix Rising, which I also have. It sounds like it could be fun. Phoenix Burning is due to be published by Stripe Books on March 10th, 2016. An interview with the author will be posted on CR on March 14th.

Review copy received from publisher

*

PelevinV-EmpireUKVictor Pelevin, EMPIRE V (Gollancz)

EMPIRE V is a post-modern, timely, whimsical and satirical story about a young man who involuntary joins a revolutionary cult…

Roman thought he’d found the perfect opportunity to rebel. He may have been wrong.

He awakens strapped to a set of parallel bars in a richly appointed sitting room, and begins a conversation with a masked man which will change his life. His world has been a facade — one which the mysterious Brahma is about to tear away.

A stunning novel about the real world, and about the hidden channels of power behind the scenes, EMPIRE V is a post-modern satirical novel exploring the cults and corruption of politics, banking and power. And not only are these cults difficult to join – it turns out they may be impossible to leave…

This sounds really good. I also have Pelevin’s S.N.U.F.F., which I still need to read. Empire V is published by Gollancz in the UK, and is out now.

Review copy received from publisher

*

PolanskyD-ET1-ThoseAbovePBDaniel 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.

Ah, this was one of my most-anticipated novels of 2015. For some inexplicable reason, though, I’m struggling a little to get into it. Every time I try to read it, I think it’s been during a bout of reader’s block. I’ve liked what I’ve read so far, but I just haven’t been feeling it. I think it’s genre-related — I’m struggling with any kind of fantasy at the moment, for some reason. The paperback was published by Hodder on February 25th, 2016. Hodder also publishes the sequel, Those Below, on March 10th, 2016.

Also on CR: Interview with Daniel Polansky (2011); Reviews of Straight Razor Cure, Tomorrow the Killing, She Who Waits, and The Builders

Review copy received from publisher

*

PrentissM-TuesdayNightsIn1980USMolly Prentiss, TUESDAY NIGHTS IN 1980 (Scout Press)

Welcome to SoHo at the onset of the eighties: a gritty, not-yet-gentrified playground for artists and writers looking to make it in the big city. Among them: James Bennett, a synesthetic art critic for the New York Times whose unlikely condition enables him to describe art in profound, magical ways, and Raul Engales, an exiled Argentinian painter running from his past and the Dirty War that has enveloped his country. As the two men ascend in the downtown arts scene, dual tragedies strike, and each is faced with a loss that acutely affects his relationship to life and to art. It is not until they are inadvertently brought together by Lucy Olliason — a small town beauty and Raul’s muse — and a young orphan boy sent mysteriously from Buenos Aires, that James and Raul are able to rediscover some semblance of what they’ve lost.

I hadn’t heard of this novel before the author’s publicist reached out. It sounds like it could be quite interesting, though — a little outside of my usual taste, perhaps, but I wanted to give it a try nevertheless. I’ll hopefully read it very soon. Tuesday Nights in 1980 is published by Scout Press on April 5th, 2016.

Review copy received from publisher

*

RemicA-WWI2-ReturnOfSoulsAndy Remic, RETURN OF SOULS (Tor.com)

If war is hell, there is no word to describe what Private Jones has been through. Forced into a conflict with an unknowable enemy, he awakes to find himself in a strange land, and is soon joined by young woman, Morana, who tends to his wounds and tells him of the battles played out in this impossible place.

She tells him of an Iron Beast that will end the Great War, and even as he vows to help her find it, enemy combatants seek them, intent on their utter annihilation.

This is the sequel to A Song For No Man’s Land, which I rather enjoyed. Return of Souls is due to be published by Tor.com in June 2016.

Also on CR: Interview with Andy Remic; Review of A Song For No Man’s Land

Review copy received from publisher

*

ShatnerW-LeonardWilliam Shatner w. David Fisher, LEONARD (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s)

Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner first crossed paths as actors on the set of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Little did they know that their next roles, in a new science fiction television series, would shape their lives in ways no one could have anticipated. In seventy-nine television episodes and six feature films, they grew to know each other more than most friends could ever imagine.

Over the course of half a century, Shatner and Nimoy saw each other through personal and professional highs and lows. In this powerfully emotional book, Shatner tells the story of a man who was his friend for five decades, recounting anecdotes and untold stories of their lives on and off set, as well as gathering stories from others who knew Nimoy well, to present a full picture of a rich life.

As much a biography of Nimoy as a story of their friendship, Leonard is a uniquely heartfelt book written by one legendary actor in celebration of another.

Well, who wouldn’t be interested in this book? Will read very soon — although, I’ll actually listen to it, as I also received an Audible credit, so decided to pick it up. Published by Thomas Dunne Books, it’s out now.

*

SpillaneCollins-MurderNeverKnocksMickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins, MURDER NEVER KNOCKS (Titan Books)

A failed attempt on his life by a contract killer gets Mike Hammer riled up. But it also lands him an unlikely job: security detail for a Hollywood producer having a party to honor his beautiful fiancée, a rising Broadway star. But it’s no walk in the park, as Hammer finds violence following him and his beautiful P.I. partner Velda into the swankiest of crime scenes.

In the meantime, Hammer is trying to figure out who put the hitman on him. Is there a connection with the death of a newsstand operator who took a bullet meant for him? A shadowy figure looking for the kill of his life?

The cover caught my eye, to be honest. And the novel sounds interesting, so I’m looking forward to giving it a try. Published by Titan Books on March 8th, 2016.

Review copy received from publisher

*

SpurrierJ-CBS1-WinterBeMyShieldJo Spurrier, WINTER BE MY SHIELD (Voyager)

Sierra has a despised and forbidden gift – she raises power from the suffering of others. Enslaved by the king’s torturer, Sierra escapes, barely keeping ahead of Rasten, the man sent to hunt her down. then she falls in with dangerous company: the fugitive Prince Cammarian and his crippled foster-brother, Isidro. But Rasten is not the only enemy hunting them in the frozen north and as Sierra’s new allies struggle to identify friend from foe, Rasten approaches her with a plan to kill the master they both abhor. Sierra is forced to decide what price she is willing to pay for her freedom and her life…

As with Rachel Dunne’s novel, above, I remember seeing this novel on Voyager Australia/New Zealand ages ago (maybe many years — it was originally published in 2012), but it seems to have finally made its way to North America. Looks like it might be interesting. Winter Be My Shield is the first novel in the Children of the Black Sun trilogy, and is followed by Black Sun Light My Way and North Star Guide Me Home. It’s out now, published by Voyager.

*

SteeleA-ArkwrightUSAllen Steele, ARKWRIGHT (Tor)

Nathan Arkwright is a seminal author of the twentieth century. At the end of his life he becomes reclusive and cantankerous, refusing to appear before or interact with his legion of fans. Little did anyone know, Nathan was putting into motion his true, timeless legacy.

Convinced that humanity cannot survive on Earth, his Arkwright Foundation dedicates itself to creating a colony on an Earth-like planet several light years distant. Fueled by Nathan’s legacy, generations of Arkwrights are drawn together, and pulled apart, by the enormity of the task and weight of their name.

This sounds great. I’ve read only one other Steele novel, which I thought was pretty good (it was really early, though, so it took me a while to realize it was alternative history…) Arkwright was published by Tor Books on March 1st, 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley

*

StevensS-InnocentHaveNothingToFearUSStuart Stevens, THE INNOCENT HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR (Knopf)

In this election caper from a leading political operative and commentator, a cynical campaign manager finds his family skeletons coming out of the closet on the eve of the convention

New Orleans, July 2016: It’s hot and sticky and JD Callahan is fighting the campaign of his life. His candidate, the sitting vice president, is neck and neck with an anti-immigrant, right-wing populist as the Republicans head into their first brokered convention in decades. Callahan, a New Orleans native without much affection for his hometown, is frantically trying to coordinate the convention and round up delegates when his estranged brother shows up, asks for an inconvenient favor, and threatens to reveal embarrassing family secrets if JD says no. Soon after, a series of bombs sets off a mass panic and tilts the convention toward the vice president’s law-and-order opponent. As JD scrambles to contain the damage, he finds himself contending with a sexy, gun-toting local gossip columnist, an FBI agent convinced that JD is cynical enough to set the bombs himself, and a host of family secrets.

The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear is a hilarious, sharply entertaining whodunit and a knowing satire of our political culture – the perfect summer read for everyone who says he’s sick to death of the 2016 campaign, but can’t stop reading about it.

Spotted this a while ago in Knopf’s catalogue on Edelweiss, and it stuck in my mind. Due to be published by Knopf on June 28th, 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

*

StewartA-ShootingTheRiftAlex Stewart, SHOOTING THE RIFT (Baen)

DISOWNED IN A HARSH GALAXY

Cast out by his family and exiled from the Rimward Commonwealth, Simon Forrester must make a new life for himself as an apprentice to the powerful Commerce Guild. But others aboard the merchant vessel Stacked Deck have a hidden agenda that might lead directly to interstellar war. Now with rising tensions between the Commonwealth and the neighboring League of Democracies threatening to erupt into open war, Simon finds himself forced to choose between old and new loyalties, with the fate of an empire at stake!

I’ve never read anything published by Baen. Not sure why. This one caught my eye, though, because I’m familiar with some of Stewart’s other work, written as Sandy Mitchell — specifically, his amusing Ciaphas Cain series, published by Black Library. Shooting the Rift is out now.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

*

SutherlandJ-StarsCarsCrystalMethUKJack Sutherland, STARS, CARS AND CRYSTAL METH (Faber)

Jack Sutherland, the narrator and protagonist of this memoir has, you might say, led a charmed life in the face of seeming damnation. A confirmed alcoholic in his early teens, by his twenties he was PA and bodyguard to the Hollywood stars most notably Michael Stipe, Ru Paul and Mickey Rourke. His work took him to exotic destinations around the world and bizarre encounters and requests. It also led him back to a smorgasbord of lethal addictions: alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy and perhaps most damaging of all crystal meth and the crazed chem sex that characterises its use. On the shores of death’s coastline, a nine stone skeleton in a frame that once boasted the shape and tone of a bodybuilder, Jack is saved. By his father, one of the literary world’s most esteemed personalities: John Sutherland.

A son’s memoir told through the prism and prose of a father will surely take its place among the classics of contemporary addiction and recovery stories like A Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. Stars, Cars & Crystal Meth lifts the lid on the shadow world of the Hollywood PA with grim but ultimately inspiring honesty.

I’ve been reading a lot about the various entertainment industries, recently, so this caught my eye. Looking forward to giving it a read. Published by Faber in the UK, on March 17th, 2016.

Review copy received via NetGalley

*

TchaikovskyA-Tiger&TheWolfUKAdrian Tchaikovsky, THE TIGER AND THE WOLF (Tor UK)

In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming

Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She refuses to disown half her soul, so escapes, rescuing a prisoner of the Wolf clan in the process. The killer Broken Axe is set on their trail, to drag them back for retribution.

Maniye’s father plots to rule the north and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. Strangers from the far south appear too, seeking allies in their own conflict. It’s a season for omens as priests foresee danger, and a darkness falling across the land. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. A time of testing and broken laws is near, but what spark will set the world ablaze?

This has been on my radar for quite some time. It’s written by Adrian Tchaikovsky, so it was always going to be a must-read. It’s out now, published by Tor in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky (2012); Guest Posts on “Nine Books, Six Years, One Stenwold Maker”, “The Art of Gunsmithing — The Writing of Guns of the Dawn, and “”; Excerpt from Guns of the Dawn; Reviews of Empire in Black & Gold, Guns of the Dawn

Review copy received from publisher

*

TurnerM-2-DragonHuntersUSMarc Turner, DRAGON HUNTERS (Tor)

Once a year on Dragon Day the fabled Dragon Gate is raised to let a sea dragon pass from the Southern Wastes into the Sabian Sea. There, it will be hunted by the Storm Lords, a fellowship of powerful water-mages who rule an empire called the Storm Isles. Alas, this year someone forgot to tell the dragon which is the hunter and which the hunted.

Emira Imerle Polivar is coming to the end of her tenure as leader of the Storm Lords. She has no intention of standing down graciously. She instructs an order of priests called the Chameleons to infiltrate a citadel housing the mechanism that controls the Dragon Gate to prevent the gate from being lowered after it has been raised on Dragon Day. Imerle hopes the dozens of dragons thus unleashed on the Sabian Sea will eliminate her rivals while she launches an attack on the Storm Lord capital, Olaire, to secure her grip on power.

But Imerle is not the only one intent on destroying the Storm Lord dynasty. As the Storm Lords assemble in Olaire in answer to a mysterious summons, they become the targets of assassins working for an unknown enemy. When Imerle initiates her coup, that enemy makes use of the chaos created to show its hand.

The sequel to When the Heavens Fall, published in the US by Tor Books in North America and Titan Books in the UK. It can apparently be read independently of the first book.

Also on CR: Interview with Marc Turner; Guest Post “How to Build a Better Dragon”; Review of When the Heavens Fall

Review copy received from publisher

*

Unsworth-2-DevilsEvidenceUSSimon Kurt Unsworth, THE DEVIL’S EVIDENCE (Doubleday)

A new case of unsolvable murders brings Hell to Heaven in the explosive sequel to The Devil’s Detective. 

Hell is burning out of control. Thomas Fool, Hell’s first Information Man tasked with investigating the endless stream of violence in Hell, has been promoted to the head of the newly expanded Information Office. Now in command of a legion of Information Men, his new position finds him hated by demons and almost revered by humans. He alone has survived the wrath of demon and angel alike, but he stands alone and at the center of a brewing crisis. New on the scene is the Evidence, a shadowy department whose officers do not investigate; they punish and spread fear. And its leader, Mr. Tap, is gunning for Fool.

Fool is ordered to accompany a political delegation to Heaven, and his arrival coincides with an impossible — and sinister — discovery. A dead body. Murder in Heaven. Violence, corruption, and fear are the currency of Hell, and how does one investigate a crime where these concepts are paradoxes? As the bodies pile up, Fool sees disturbing connections between Heaven and Hell. He must follow clues in a strange land where nothing is as it seems and danger can present itself in any form.

What follows is a phantasmagoric, mind-bending thriller as exciting and unsettling as anything in recent fiction. The Devil’s Evidence is an electrifying, provocative novel filled with stunning set pieces and characters who will live on in your deepest nightmares.

This is exciting! I read a very early version of The Devil’s Detective, Unsworth’s riveting, twisted debut horror novel. This is the sequel, and I can’t wait to see what happens. Published by Doubleday in North America, on July 5th, 2016; and by Del Rey in the UK, on October 6th, 2016.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

*

WayneT-LonerUSTeddy Wayne, LONER (Simon & Schuster)

David Federman has never felt appreciated. An academically gifted yet painfully forgettable member of his New Jersey high school class, the withdrawn, mild-mannered freshman arrives at Harvard fully expecting to be embraced by a new tribe of high-achieving peers. But, initially, his social prospects seem unlikely to change, sentencing him to a lifetime of anonymity.

Then he meets Veronica Morgan Wells. Struck by her beauty, wit, and sophisticated Manhattan upbringing, David falls feverishly in love. Determined to win her attention and an invite into her glamorous world, he begins compromising his moral standards for this one, great shot at happiness. But both Veronica and David, it turns out, are not exactly as they seem.

Loner turns the traditional campus novel on its head as it explores gender politics and class. It is a stunning and timely literary achievement from one of the rising stars of American fiction.

I was pre-approved on Edelweiss, and I thought it looked interesting — I have a soft-spot for campus novels, having spent so much of my own life on a university campus… I hadn’t heard of the novel before I spotted it for review. Looking forward to trying it. Published by Simon & Schuster in September 2016. (I may therefore wait a little while before reviewing.)

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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