New Books (March)

Featuring: Ben Aaronovitch, Joe Abercrombie, Jay Allan, Chiara Barzini, Clifford Beal, Christopher Brown, Laura Dave, Curtis Dawson, Joshua Ferris, David Goodrich, Daryl Gregory, Randy Henderson, Greg Iles, Nicole Krauss, Laura Lam, Barry Lancet, Mark Lawrence, Peter McLean, Dan Moren, Daniel Riley, Doree Shafrir, Jonathan Skariton, C.J. Skuse, Chris Vola, Sam Wiebe, Max Wirestone

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Ben Aaronovitch, THE FURTHEST STATION (Subterranean Press)

There have been ghosts on the London Underground, sad, harmless spectres whose presence does little more than give a frisson to travelling and boost tourism. But now there’s a rash of sightings on the Metropolitan Line and these ghosts are frightening, aggressive and seem to be looking for something.

Enter PC Peter Grant junior member of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Assessment unit a.k.a. The Folly a.k.a. the only police officers whose official duties include ghost hunting. Together with Jaget Kumar, his counterpart at the British Transport Police, he must brave the terrifying the crush of London’s rush hour to find the source of the ghosts.

Joined by Peter’s wannabe wizard cousin, a preschool river god and Toby the ghost hunting dog their investigation takes a darker tone as they realise that a real person’s life might just be on the line.

And time is running out to save them.

Ben Aaronovitch’s first novella starring Peter Grant. There’s a lot of excitement around this title. It’s set between Foxglove Summer and The Hanging Tree. Neither of which have I read… I’m not sure if it’ll be necessary to have read those before diving into this, but I’m going to give it a try. Published by Subterranean Press in the US, and Gollancz in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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abercrombie-sharpendsukJoe Abercrombie, SHARP ENDS (Gollancz)

The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one who thinks he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.

Curnden Craw and his dozen are out to recover a mysterious item from beyond the Crinna. Only one small problem: no one seems to know what the item is.

Shevedieh, the self-styled best thief in Styria, lurches from disaster to catastrophe alongside her best friend and greatest enemy, Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp.

And after years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left — his own lunatic champion, the most feared man in the North: the Bloody-Nine…

Sharp Ends combines previously published, award-winning tales with exclusive new short stories. Violence explodes, treachery abounds, and the words are as deadly as the weapons in this rogue’s gallery of side-shows, back-stories, and sharp endings from the world of the First Law.

An anthology of short stories set in Abercrombie’s First Law world. Really looking forward to getting caught up and reading this. Published by Gollancz in the UK, and Orbit in North America.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Blade ItselfBefore They Are HangedLast Argument of Kings and Half a King

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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Jay Allan, FLAMES OF REBELLION (Voyager)

A group of rebels fighting for independence sows the seeds of revolution across the galaxy…

The planet Haven slides closer to revolution against its parent nation, Federal America. Everett Wells, the fair-minded planetary governor, has tried to create a peaceful resolution, but his failure has caused the government to send Asha Stanton, a ruthless federal operative, to quell the insurgency.

Wells quickly realizes that Stanton has the true power… and two battalions of government security troops — specifically trained to put down unrest — under her control. Unlike Wells, Stanton is prepared to resort to extreme methods to break the back of the gathering rebellion, including unleashing Colonel Robert Semmes, the psychopathic commander of her soldiers, on the Havenites.

But the people of Haven have their own ideas. They are not the beaten-down masses of Earth, but men and women with the courage and fortitude to tame a new world.

Damian Ward is such a resident of Haven, a retired veteran and decorated war hero, who has watched events on his adopted world with growing apprehension. He sympathizes with the revolutionaries, his friends and neighbors, but he is loath to rebel against the flag he fought to defend. That is, until Stanton’s reign of terror intrudes into his life — and threatens those he knows and loves. Then he does what he must, rallying Haven’s other veterans and leading them to the aid of the revolutionaries.

Yet the battle-scarred warrior knows that even if Haven’s freedom fighters defeat the federalists, the rebellion is far from over… it’s only just begun.

This sounds like it could be quite fun. This is the first in a new military sci-fi series. Published by Voyager in North America and the UK, it’s out now.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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barzinic-thingsthathappenedbeforetheearthquakeusChiara Barzini, THINGS THAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE EARTHQUAKE (Doubleday)

Welcome to LA? Nineties’ Hollywood gets an Italian makeover in this poignant and ruefully funny coming-of-age novel featuring a teenage girl who’s on shaky ground — in more ways than one. 

Mere weeks after the 1992 riots that laid waste to Los Angeles, Eugenia, a typical Italian teenager, is rudely yanked from her privileged Roman milieu by her hippie-ish filmmaker parents and transplanted to the strange suburban world of the San Fernando Valley. With only the Virgin Mary to call on for guidance as her parents struggle to make it big, Hollywood fashion, she must navigate her huge new public high school, complete with Crips and Bloods and Persian gang members, and a car-based environment of 99-cent stores and obscure fast-food franchises and all-night raves. She forges friendships with Henry, who runs his mother’s movie memorabilia store, and the bewitching Deva, who introduces her to the alternate cultural universe that is Topanga Canyon. And then the 1994 earthquake rocks the foundations not only of Eugenia’s home but of the future she’d been imagining for herself.

This could be interesting. Published by Doubleday in August 2017 (so I’ll hold off on the review for a while), also available in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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bealc-tov2-witchoftoriniaClifford Beal, THE WITCH OF TORINIA (Solaris)

Divide… and conquer.

Lady Lucinda della Rovera, the renegade canoness of St Dionei, secret sorceress of the old gods, has cleverly split the One Faith into bitter factions and with the help of a pliant Duke of Torinia, launches a war to overthrow the king of Valdur and bring back the old ways. Brother Acquel Galenus, now Magister of the High Temple of Livorna, knows he must stop her, but doubts his own faith and ability. With powerful demons seeking to reenter the world through Lucinda, he must find allies, but how?

Julianus Strykar, now a “coronel” of the mercenary company of the Black Rose, finds himself thrust into the maelstrom of civil war but false pride leads him into a battle he may not be able to win — or survive.

Captain Nicolo Danamis may have regained his fleet and command but the return of his long-lost father and lord, Valerian, has complicated his love affair with mer princess Citala. When his former lover — the queen of Valdur — demands his help, he and a suspicious Citala find themselves at the centre of palace intrigue as they try to avert an alliance with the predatory Silk Empire that will turn Valdur into a puppet kingdom. And then he learns that the crown prince may be his bastard son.

Friendships, loves, and the future of Valdur all hang by a thread…

This is the sequel to The Guns of Ivrea, a novel I need to get caught up on. I’ve heard great things about the series, so I’ll hopefully read the two books soon. Published by Solaris Books in the UK and US, on April 6th.

Also on CR: Interview with Clifford Beal (2016)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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Christopher Brown, TROPIC OF KANSAS (Voyager)

The United States of America is no more. Broken into warring territories, its center has become a wasteland DMZ known as “the Tropic of Kansas.” Though this gaping geographic hole has no clear boundaries, everyone knows it’s out there — that once-bountiful part of the heartland, broken by greed and exploitation, where neglect now breeds unrest. Two travelers appear in this arid American wilderness: Sig, the fugitive orphan of political dissidents, and his foster sister Tania, a government investigator whose search for Sig leads her into her own past — and towards an unexpected future.

Sig promised those he loves that he would make it to the revolutionary redoubt of occupied New Orleans. But first he must survive the wild edgelands of a barren mid-America policed by citizen militias and autonomous drones, where one wrong move can mean capture… or death. One step behind, undercover in the underground, is Tania. Her infiltration of clandestine networks made of old technology and new politics soon transforms her into the hunted one, and gives her a shot at being the agent of real change — if she is willing to give up the explosive government secrets she has sworn to protect. 

As brother and sister traverse these vast and dangerous badlands, their paths will eventually intersect on the front lines of a revolution whose fuse they are about to light.

This is easily one of my most-anticipated novels of the year. Tropic of Kansas is published by Voyager in the US and UK, in July 2017. (I’ll be reading it very soon, but I’ll probably hold off on the review until May or June.)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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Laura Dave, HELLO, SUNSHINE (Simon & Schuster)

Sunshine Mackenzie truly is living the dream. A lifestyle guru for the modern age, Sunshine is beloved by millions of people who tune into her YouTube cooking show, and millions more scour her website for recipes, wisdom, and her enticing suggestions for how to curate a perfect life. She boasts a series of #1 New York Times bestselling cookbooks, a devoted architect husband, and a reputation for sincerity and kindness — Sunshine seems to have it all. But she’s hiding who she really is. And when her secret is revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. What Sunshine does in the ashes of destruction will save her in more ways than she can imagine.

In our modern world, where celebrity is a careful construct, Laura Dave’s compelling, enticing novel explores the devastating effect of the secrets we keep in public… and in private. Hello, Sunshine is a fresh, provocative look at a woman teetering between a scrupulously assembled life and the redemptive power of revealing the truth.

Could be interesting. Published in July by Simon & Schuster in North America and the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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Curtis Dawson, THE GRAYBAR HOTEL (Canongate)

The Graybar Hotel offers a glimpse into the reality of prison life through the eyes of the people who spend their days and years behind bars.

A man sits collect-calling strangers every day just to hear the sounds of the outside world; an inmate recalls his descent into addiction as his prison softball team gears up for an annual tournament; a prisoner is released and finds freedom more complex and baffling than he expected.

In this stunning debut story collection, Curtis Dawkins, who is currently serving a life sentence without parole, gives voice to the experience of some of the most isolated members of our society.

This could be really interesting. Looking forward to giving it a try. Published by Canongate in the UK, on July 6th, 2017.

Follow the Author: Goodreads

Review copy received via NetGalley

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Joshua Ferris, THE DINNER PARTY (Little, Brown)

These eleven stories by Joshua Ferris, many of which were first published in The New Yorker, are at once thrilling, strange, and comic. The modern tribulations of marriage, ambition, and the fear of missing out as the temptations flow like wine and the minutes of life tick down are explored with the characteristic wit and insight that have made Ferris one of our most critically acclaimed novelists. 

Each of these stories burrows deep into the often awkward and hilarious misunderstandings that pass between strangers and lovers alike, and that turn ordinary lives upside down. Ferris shows to what lengths we mortals go to coax human meaning from our very modest time on earth, an effort that skews ever-more desperately in the direction of redemption. There’s Arty Groys, the Florida retiree whose birthday celebration involves pizza, a prostitute, and a life-saving heart attack. There’s Sarah, the Brooklynite whose shape-shifting existential dilemma is set in motion by a simple spring breeze. And there’s Jack, a man so warped by past experience that he’s incapable of having a normal social interaction with the man he hires to help him move out of storage. 

The stories in The Dinner Party are about lives changed forever when the reckless gives way to possibility and the ordinary cedes ground to mystery. And each one confirms Ferris’s reputation as one of the most dazzlingly talented, deeply humane writers at work today.

A new anthology by Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End and To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. Looking forward to reading this. Published by Little, Brown in the US on May 2nd; and by Penguin in the UK on June 29th, 2017.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via NetGalley

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David Goodrich, A HOLE IN THE WIND (Pegasus)

An epic bicycle journey across the American hinterland that engages the challenges of climate change alongside a diverse array of American voices.

After a distinguished career in climate science as the Director of the UN Global Climate Observing System in Geneva, David Goodrich returned home to the United States to find a nation and a people in denial. Concerned that the American people are willfully deluded by the misinformation about climate that dominates media and politics, David thought a little straight talk could set things right. As they say in Animal House, he decided that “this calls for a stupid and futile gesture on someone’s part, and I’m just the guy to do it.” Starting on the beach in Delaware, David rode his bike 4,200 miles to Oregon, talking with the people he met on the ultimate road trip. Along the way he learned a great deal about why climate is a complicated issue for many Americans and even more about the country we all share.

Climate change is the central environmental issue of our time. But A Hole in the Wind is also about the people Dave met and the experiences he had along the way, like the toddler’s beauty pageant in Delaware, the tornado in Missouri, rust-belt towns and their relationship with fracking, and the mined-out uranium ghost town in Wyoming. As he rides, David will discuss the climate with audiences varying from laboratories to diners to elementary schools.

Beautifully simple, direct, and honest, A Hole in the Wind is a fresh, refreshing ride through a difficult and controversial topic, and a rich read that makes you glad to be alive.

Really like the sound of this book. Published by Pegasus in the US and UK, in June 2017.

Follow the Author: Goodreads

Review copy received via NetGalley

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Randy Henderson, SMELLS LIKE FINN SPIRIT (Tor)

Finn Graymare is back in the final installment of Randy Henderson’s Familia Arcana series…

Finn’s re-adaptation to the human world is not going so well. He’s got a great girlfriend, and is figuring out how things like the internet work, but he is still carrying the disembodied personality of Alynon, Prince of the Silver Demesne, the fae who had occupied his body during his imprisonment. And he’s not getting along at all with his older brother. And oh, by the way, his dead grandfather is still trying to possess him in order to bring about Armageddon.

The third novel in Henderson’s well-received series. It does sound pretty fun, so I’m not sure why I haven’t got around to reading any of them. I have the first, Finn Fancy Necromancy somewhere. Published in North America by Tor Books, and in the UK by Titan Books.

Also on CR: Guest Post on “From Funny Book to Fleshy Series: The Finn Fancy Evolution”

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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ilesg-pc6-mississippibloodcaGreg Iles, MISSISSIPPI BLOOD (William Morrow)

The endgame is at hand for Penn Cage, his family, and the enemies bent on destroying them…

Shattered by grief and dreaming of vengeance, Penn Cage sees his family and his world collapsing around him. The woman he loves is gone, his principles have been irrevocably compromised, and his father, once a paragon of the community that Penn leads as mayor, is about to be tried for the murder of a former lover. Most terrifying of all, Dr. Cage seems bent on self-destruction. Despite Penn’s experience as a prosecutor in major murder trials, his father has frozen him out of the trial preparations — preferring to risk dying in prison to revealing the truth of the crime to his son. 

During forty years practicing medicine, Tom Cage made himself the most respected and beloved physician in Natchez, Mississippi. But this revered Southern figure has secrets known only to himself and a handful of others. Among them, Tom has a second son, the product of an 1960s affair with his devoted African American nurse, Viola Turner. It is Viola who has been murdered, and her bitter son — Penn’s half-brother — who sets in motion the murder case against his father. The resulting investigation exhumes dangerous ghosts from Mississippi’s violent past. In some way that Penn cannot fathom, Viola Turner was a nexus point between his father and the Double Eagles, a savage splinter cell of the KKK. More troubling still, the long-buried secrets shared by Dr. Cage and the former Klansmen may hold the key to the most devastating assassinations of the 1960s. The surviving Double Eagles will stop at nothing to keep their past crimes buried, and with the help of some of the most influential men in the state, they seek to ensure that Dr. Cage either takes the fall for them, or takes his secrets to an early grave. 

Tom Cage’s murder trial sets a terrible clock in motion, and unless Penn can pierce the veil of the past and exonerate his father, his family will be destroyed. Unable to trust anyone around him–not even his own mother — Penn joins forces with Serenity Butler, a famous young black author who has come to Natchez to write about his father’s case. Together, Penn and Serenity — a former soldier — battle to crack the Double Eagles and discover the secret history of the Cage family and the South itself, a desperate move that risks the only thing they have left to gamble: their lives.

The highly-anticipated sixth novel starring Penn Cage, and final volume in Iles’s Natchez Burning trilogy, following Natchez Burning and The Bone Tree. I enjoyed the first two — for such hulking tomes, they were nevertheless very well-written and constructed, and I did feel invested in most of the protagonists’ and antagonists’ fates. I’m looking forward to finishing the story. Published by William Morrow in North America (out now), and Harper Collins in the UK (April 6th).

Also on CR: Reviews of Natchez Burning and The Bone Tree

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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Nik Korpon, THE REBELLION’S LAST TRAITOR (Angry Robot)

After decades of war, the brutal Tathadann Party restored order in Eitan City by outlawing the past in order to rewrite history. Memory became a commodity – bought and sold, and experienced like a drug.

For ten years, Henraek and Walleus led a people’s rebellion, until Walleus recognized what the others couldn’t: the Struggle was doomed. He joined the Tathadann, and Henraek, hurt and angry, incited a riot that killed his own wife and son.

Now Henraek works as a Tathadann memory thief, draining citizens’ memories while mourning his family. The people call him a traitor to his face; Tathadann spies whisper he’s a traitor behind his back. Walleus protects Henraek, but Henraek knows that loyalty has its limits.

Then everything changes when Henraek harvests a memory of his wife’s death. He will do whatever it takes to learn the truth – even if it means burning Eitan City to the ground.

Could be interesting. Published by Angry Robot Books in the US and UK, in June 2017.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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Nicole Krauss, FOREST DARK (Harper)

Jules Epstein, a man whose drive, avidity, and outsized personality have, for sixty-eight years, been a force to be reckoned with, is undergoing a metamorphosis. In the wake of his parents’ deaths, his divorce from his wife of more than thirty years, and his retirement from the New York legal firm where he was a partner, he’s felt an irresistible need to give away his possessions, alarming his children and perplexing the executor of his estate. With the last of his wealth, he travels to Israel, with a nebulous plan to do something to honor his parents. In Tel Aviv, he is sidetracked by a charismatic American rabbi planning a reunion for the descendants of King David who insists that Epstein is part of that storied dynastic line. He also meets the rabbi’s beautiful daughter who convinces Epstein to become involved in her own project — a film about the life of David being shot in the desert — with life-changing consequences.

But Epstein isn’t the only seeker embarking on a metaphysical journey that dissolves his sense of self, place, and history. Leaving her family in Brooklyn, a young, well-known novelist arrives at the Tel Aviv Hilton where she has stayed every year since birth. Troubled by writer’s block and a failing marriage, she hopes that the hotel can unlock a dimension of reality — and her own perception of life — that has been closed off to her. But when she meets a retired literature professor who proposes a project she can’t turn down, she’s drawn into a mystery that alters her life in ways she could never have imagined.

I’ve heard great things about Krauss’s novels, but have never read one. This sounded rather interesting. Published by Harper in the US and UK in September 2017.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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laml-mg3-masqueradeukLaura Lam, MASQUERADE (Pan)

The gifted hide their talents, but dare they step into the light?

Micah’s Chimaera powers are growing, until his dark visions overwhelm him. Drystan is forced to take him to Dr Pozzi, to save his life. But can they really trust the doctor, especially when a close friend is revealed to be his spy?

Meanwhile, violent unrest is sweeping the country, as anti-royalist factions fight to be heard. Then three chimaera are attacked, after revealing their existence with the monarchy’s blessing – and the struggle becomes personal. A small sect decimated the chimaera in ancient times and nearly destroyed the world. Now they’ve re-emerged to spread terror once more. Micah will discover a royal secret, which draws him into the heart of the conflict. And he and his friends must risk everything to finally bring peace to their land.

The third volume in Lam’s Micah Grey trilogy, for which I’ve seen some pretty good reviews. Published by Pan in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Laura Lam (2016)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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lancetb-jb4-spyacrossthetableusBarry Lancet, THE SPY ACROSS THE TABLE (Simon & Schuster)

A double-murder at the Kennedy Center forces Jim Brodie into a dangerous game of espionage — putting him in the crosshairs of the Chinese, North Korean, and American governments.

Jim Brodie is an antiques dealer, Japan expert, and second-generation private investigator. When two theater friends are murdered backstage at a Kennedy Center performance in Washington, DC, he’s devastated — and determined to hunt down the killer. He’s not the only one.

After the attack, Brodie is summoned to the White House. The First Lady was the college roommate of one of the victims, and she enlists Brodie — off the books — to use his Japanese connections to track down the assassin. Homeland Security head Tom Swelley is furious that the White House is meddling and wants Brodie off the case. Why? For the same reason a master Chinese spy known only as Zhou, one of the most dangerous men alive, appears on the scene: Those murders were no random act of violence.

Brodie flies to Tokyo to attend the second of two funerals, when his friend’s daughter Anna is kidnapped during the ceremony. It is then Brodie realizes that the murders were simply bait to draw her out of hiding. Anna, it seems, is the key architect of a top-secret NSA program that gathers the personal secrets of America’s most influential leaders. Secrets so damaging that North Korea and China will stop at nothing to get them.

This is the fourth novel featuring Jim Brodie, and I’m surprised I haven’t read them yet. I’ll probably go back and read them in order, but my interest has certainly been piqued. Published by Simon & Schuster in North America and the UK, in June 2017.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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Mark Lawrence, RED SISTER (Voyager/Ace Books)

It’s not until you’re broken that you find your sharpest edge

“I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin”

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

The highly-anticipated first novel in Lawrence’s new fantasy series, The Book of the Ancestor. One of my most-anticipated novels of the year, I’ll be reading this very soon. Published by Voyager in the UK on April 6th, and in the US by Ace Books on April 4th.

Also on CR: Interview with Mark Lawrence (2011); Group Guest Post on “Should You Write What You Read?”; Reviews of Prince of ThornsKing of Thorns and Prince of Fools

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley (UK) and publisher (US)

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Peter McLean, DAMNATION (Angry Robot Books)

Don Drake is living rough in a sink estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh, doing cheap spells for even cheaper customers while fending off the local lowlifes. Six months ago, Don fled from London to Glasgow to track down his old girlfriend Debbie the alchemist.

With the Burned Man gradually driving him mad, Don meets with an ancient and mysterious tramp-slash-magician, with disastrous consequences. Now his old accomplices must step in to save Don from himself, before he damns himself for good this time.

The third novel in McLean’s Don Drake series, following Drake and DominionDamnation is published in May 2017 by Angry Robot in the UK and US.

Also on CR: Interview with Peter McLean (2015)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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Dan Moren, THE CALEDONIAN GAMBIT (Talos)

The galaxy is mired in a cold war between two superpowers, the Illyrican Empire and the Commonwealth. Thrust between this struggle are Simon Kovalic, the Commonwealth’s preeminent spy, and Kyle Rankin, a lowly soldier happily scrubbing toilets on Sabea, a remote and isolated planet. However, nothing is as it seems.

Kyle Rankin is a lie. His real name is Eli Brody, and he fled his home world of Caledonia years ago. Simon Kovalic knows Caledonia is a lit fuse hurtling towards detonation. The past Brody so desperately tried to abandon can grant him access to people and places that are off limits even to a professional spy like Kovalic.

Kovalic needs Eli Brody to come home and face his past. With Brody suddenly cast in a play he never auditioned for, he and Kovalic will quickly realize it’s everything they don’t know that will tip the scales of galactic peace. Sounds like a desperate plan, sure, but what gambit isn’t?

This sounds like it could be quite fun. Published by Talos on May 23rd, 2017, it will be available in the UK as well.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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Daniel Riley, FLY ME (Little, Brown)

A nation on the verge of a new era-and a girl caught between her past and the ever-expanding present.

The year is 1972, and the beaches of Los Angeles are the center of the world. Dropping into the embers of the drug and surf scene is Suzy Whitman, who has tossed her newly minted Vassar degree aside to follow her older sister into open skies and the borderless adventures of stewardessing for Grand Pacific Airlines.

In Sela del Mar, California-a hedonistic beach town in the shadow of LAX-Suzy skateboards, suntans, and flies daily and nightly across the country. Motivated by a temporary escape from her past and a new taste for danger and belonging, Suzy falls into a drug-trafficking scheme that clashes perilously with the skyjacking epidemic of the day.

Rendered in the brilliant color of the age and told with spectacular insight and clarity, Fly Me is a story of dark discovery set in the debauchery of 1970s Los Angeles.

This sounds pretty good. Published in June by Little, Brown in the US and UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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shafrird-startupusDoree Shafrir, STARTUP (Little, Brown)

Mack McAllister has a $600 million dollar idea. His mindfulness app, TakeOff, is already the hottest thing in tech and he’s about to launch a new and improved version that promises to bring investors running and may turn his brainchild into a $1 billion dollar business–in startup parlance, an elusive unicorn. 

Katya Pasternack is hungry for a scoop that will drive traffic. An ambitious young journalist at a gossipy tech blog, Katya knows that she needs more than another PR friendly puff piece to make her the go-to byline for industry news. 

Sabrina Choe Blum just wants to stay afloat. The exhausted mother of two and failed creative writer is trying to escape from her credit card debt and an inattentive husband-who also happens to be Katya’s boss-as she rejoins a work force that has gotten younger, hipper, and much more computer literate since she’s been away. 

Before the ink on Mack’s latest round of funding is dry, an errant text message hints that he may be working a bit too closely for comfort with a young social media manager in his office. When Mack’s bad behavior collides with Katya’s search for a salacious post, Sabrina gets caught in the middle as TakeOff goes viral for all the wrong reasons. As the fallout from Mack’s scandal engulfs the lower Manhattan office building where all three work, it’s up to Katya and Sabrina to write the story the men in their lives would prefer remain untold.

I’ve read a good number of non-fiction books about Silicon Valley and tech start-ups, but haven’t read much fiction on the subject. Aside from David Eggers’s The Circle, none come to mind as I write. I’m looking forward to giving this a try, though. Published by Little, Brown in North America on April 25th, 2017, and looks like it’ll be available on import in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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Jonathan Skariton, SÉANCE INFERNALE (Knopf)

The time: 2002. The city: Los Angeles. 

Alex Whitman, movie memorabilia dealer who can find anything, is hired by an eccentric film collector to locate what could be the first film ever made, Séance Infernale. Its creator, Augustin Sekuler, is considered by those who know about movies to be the true inventor of motion pictures — not the Lumiére brothers; nor Thomas Edison.

Sekuler was to present to the world in 1890 his greatest new invention, the first of its kind — a moving picture machine. He had boarded a train headed from Dijon to Paris, but never arrived at Gare de Lyons station. He and his moving picture machine vanished, never to be heard from again, his claim in history as the inventor of the moving image vanishing with him. 

When Whitman tracks down what could be fragments of Sekuler’s famously lost film, questions are raised — about Sekuler, about what happened to him and to his invention, and about the film itself.

In this riveting story of suspense, the search for the answers lead to curious riddles that may (or may not) shed light on Sekuler’s darkest secret locked away for more than a century, riddles that set in motion a frantic hunt taking Whitman from Los Angeles and Paris, to Geneva, and finally to Sekuler’s ancient labyrinthine city of Edinburgh, where the stakes become ratcheted up as the film’s riddles lead to a darker, far more dangerous mystery.

This sounds really interesting. Published by Knopf on August 29th, 2017.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

*

C.J. Skuse, SWEETPEA (HQ)

The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog… but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

This could be interesting. Published by HQ on April 20th, 2017.

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

*

Matthew Sullivan, MIDNIGHT AT THE BRIGHT IDEAS BOOKSTORE (Scribner)

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer.

Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs — the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left.

Really looking forward to reading this, so hopefully very soon. I’ll hold off on the review until closer to release, though. Published in June 2017 by Scribner in North America, and William Heinemann in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

*

volac-onlythedeadknowbrooklynusChris Vola, ONLY THE DEAD KNOW BROOKLYN (Thomas Dunne)

Ryan Driggs has lived in Brooklyn for 128 years, 96 of them as one of the last members of a tribe of blood-eating immortals who have called the borough home since before colonial times. Besides the occasional hard-to-control thirst, his life in the twenty-first century is uneventful, until he meets Jennifer, a human from Manhattan with whom he falls in love.

Unable to leave Brooklyn without reverting back to his original, cancer-stricken human state, Ryan knows he must tell Jennifer who and what he really is. But before he can find the words, she is kidnapped by a tribe of Manhattan vampires—and Ryan discovers that, for a reason unknown to him, he is a target too. After contacting the oldest member of his tribe, a former slave named Frank Lafayette, and after an attempt on their lives that leaves two of Frank’s employees dead, Ryan realizes he’s been thrust into a world that is more dangerous than anything he’d imagined.

As he travels to Manhattan to rescue Jennifer, forsaking his immortality, he gets caught up in a roller coaster of violence, lies, manipulation, and a power struggle that stretches back thousands of years. In a world where conspiracies are more than just theories and where he is the key to an ancient secret, Ryan must decide to fight or forsake both of the species he’s called his own.

I hadn’t heard of this novel before I spotted it on NetGalley. Sounds really interesting, though. Published by Thomas Dunne in May 2017.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

*

Sam Wiebe, INVISIBLE DEAD (Quercus)

An ex-cop who navigates by a moral compass stubbornly jammed at true north, Dave Wakeland is a talented private investigator with next to zero business sense. And even though he finds himself with a fancy new office and a corporate-minded partner, he continues to be drawn to cases that are usually impossible to solve and frequently don’t pay.

When Wakeland is hired by a terminally ill woman to discover the whereabouts of her adopted child — who disappeared as an adult more than a decade earlier — it seems like just another in a string of poor career decisions. But it turns out this case is worse than usual, even by his standards. With only an anonymous and vaguely worded tip to guide him, Wakeland interviews an imprisoned serial killer who seems to know nothing about the case, but who nonetheless steers him toward Vancouver’s terrifying criminal underworld.

And it all goes downhill from there.

Whatever ghosts drive Wakeland, they seem to drive him inexorably toward danger — a journey he’s content to take so long as it means finding out what happened to someone the rest of the world seems happy enough to forget. With nothing to protect him but his wit and his empathy for the downtrodden and disenfranchised, Wakeland is on the case.

This sounds really interesting. Published by Quercus in May, it’ll be available in the UK as well.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

*

Max Wirestone, THE ASTONISHING MISTAKES OF DAHLIA MOSS (Redhook)

You’d think that after I took a bullet in my arm following my last case that I’d be timid about going in guns blazing a second time. But you’d be wrong. I faced down death, and the only bad thing that happened was that I got a cool scar. Which is a like a tattoo, but with street cred.

I may have been a little overconfident this time. And that may have seriously clouded my judgment. Some small, but confidently made, mistakes include:

  • Unwisely meeting up with an internet stalker in real life.
  • Eating a large breakfast before discovering a corpse.
  • Kidnapping.
  • Standing uncomfortably close to the edge of a steamboat while musing that nothing bad could possibly happen.
  • Kidnapping, again.

That’s the thing about a sense of invulnerability — you usually get it right before things go terribly, terribly, wrong.

This is Wirestone’s second novel in the Dahlia Moss series, following The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss. The series sounds quite fun. The Astonishing Mistakes… is published by Redhook in the US and UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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