New Books (June 2017)

NewBooks-20170722

Quite some time since I last posted about new books I’ve received, so this is something of a bumper selection. Hope you find something that piques your interest.

Featuring: Brad Abraham, Guy Adams, Alan Alda, Sam Bourne, James Bradley, Adam Brookes, Terry Brooks, Melissa Caruso, Michael Connelly, Joseph Finder, Jack Ford, Jeffrey Ford, Dana Fredsti, John French, David Burr Gerrard, Lee Matthew Goldberg, Allegra Goodman, A.J. Hartley, Grady Hendrix, Jon Hollins, Joseph Kanon, Ann Leckie, Fonda Lee, Edan Lepucki, Attica Locke, Gail Z. Martin, Emma Newman, Jeff Noon, Lauren Oliver, Melissa F. Olson, Kathy Reichs, Anne Rice, Anthony Ryan, Brian Thomas Schmidt (ed.), Anna Smith Spark, Ferrett Steinmetz, Neal Stephenson, Jonathan Strahan (ed.), David Walton, Angus Watson, Aliya Whiteley, Don Winslow, Kenneth Womack

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abrahamb-magiciansimpossibleusBrad Abraham, MAGICIANS IMPOSSIBLE (Thomas Dunne)

Twenty-something bartender Jason Bishop’s world is shattered when his estranged father commits suicide, but the greater shock comes when he learns his father was a secret agent in the employ of the Invisible Hand; an ancient society of spies wielding magic in a centuries-spanning war. Now the Golden Dawn — the shadowy cabal of witches and warlocks responsible for Daniel Bishop’s murder, and the death of Jason’s mother years before — have Jason in their sights. His survival will depend on mastering his own dormant magic abilities; provided he makes it through the training.

From New York, to Paris, to world between worlds, Jason’s journey through the realm of magic will be fraught with peril. But with enemies and allies on both sides of this war, whom can he trust? The Invisible Hand, who’ve been more of a family than his own family ever was? The Golden Dawn, who may know the secrets behind his mysterious lineage? For Jason Bishop, only one thing is for certain; the magic he has slowly been mastering is telling him not to trust anybody.

I remember hearing about this quite some time ago, and I thought it sounded pretty interesting. I’ll hopefully be reading it pretty soon. Published by Thomas Dunne Books in the US and UK, in September.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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Guy Adams, THE CHANGE Pts.1-3 (Solaris)

AdamsG-Change1to3

One minute everything was fine and the next… they arrived. Those that saw them died instantly. The unlucky ones survived. Now unimaginable things straight out of nightmares roam the streets of our towns and cities. Nothing is impossible. Nowhere is safe. And no one can escape The Change…

Howard doesn’t know where he is or how he got there. He’s not even sure his name is Howard. But he knows he is in trouble. Alone on a stretch of motorway jammed with broken down cars full of corpses and strange creatures, Howard falls in with a motorbike gang living in a nearby service station. But even The Kingdom of the Welcome Break can’t keep him safe. Something is moving between the rows of cars, something that used to be human but now clanks with metal, hisses with hydraulics, and is always on the lookout for new parts…

This sounds pretty interesting. I hadn’t seen it mentioned anywhere, before I received the first three parts for review from the publisher — London: Orbital, New York: The Queen of Coney Island, and Paris: A City of Fools. It looks like there are going to be three more parts, too, so this could be a really interesting, ongoing series. The first three instalments in the series are published by Solaris, on July 13th.

Also on CR: Guest Post on “Influences & Inspirations”

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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AldaA-IfIUnderstoodYouUSAlan Alda, IF I UNDERSTOOD YOU, WOULD I HAVE THIS LOOK ON MY FACE? (Random House)

Alan Alda has been on a decades-long journey to discover new ways to help people communicate and relate to one another more effectively. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? is the warm, witty, and informative chronicle of how Alda found inspiration in everything from cutting-edge science to classic acting methods. His search began when he was host of PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers, where he interviewed thousands of scientists and developed a knack for helping them communicate complex ideas in ways a wide audience could understand — and Alda wondered if those techniques held a clue to better communication for the rest of us.

In his wry and wise voice, Alda reflects on moments of miscommunication in his own life, when an absence of understanding resulted in problems both big and small. He guides us through his discoveries, showing how communication can be improved through learning to relate to the other person: listening with our eyes, looking for clues in another’s face, using the power of a compelling story, avoiding jargon, and reading another person so well that you become “in sync” with them, and know what they are thinking and feeling — especially when you’re talking about the hard stuff.

Drawing on improvisation training, theater, and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others. Exploring empathy-boosting games and exercises, If I Understood You is a funny, thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives — with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond.

I’m a fan of Alda’s work on screen, and enjoyed two of his previous books, so I requested this on a whim. Sounds interesting. Published by Random House in the US and UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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BourneS-ToKillThePresidentUKSam Bourne, TO KILL THE PRESIDENT (Harper Collins)

The unthinkable has happened.

The United States has elected a volatile demagogue as president, backed by his ruthless chief strategist, Crawford Mac’ McNamara.

When a war of words with the North Korean regime spirals out of control and the President comes perilously close to launching a nuclear attack, it’s clear someone has to act, or the world will be reduced to ashes.

Soon Maggie Costello, a seasoned Washington operator and stubbornly principled, discovers an inside plot to kill the President and faces the ultimate moral dilemma. Should she save the President and leave the free world at the mercy of an increasingly crazed would-be tyrant or commit treason against her Commander in Chief and risk plunging the country into a civil war?

I’ve enjoyed Bourne’s novels in the past — for example, The Final Reckoning and The Chosen One. The author’s previous novel, The 3rd Woman, was published under his real name (Jonathan Freedland), although for some reason I haven’t got around to read it yet. To Kill the President is out now in the UK, published by Harper Collins.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Final Reckoning and The Chosen One

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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BradleyJ-CladeJames Bradley, CLADE (Titan)

Clade begins in the very near future in Antarctica, following Adam, who is on a research expedition studying the effects of climate change. Across the globe in Australia, where most of the book is set, his wife Ellie is undergoing IVF. Since one of her best friends died, Ellie has felt the urgency of life and her need to create a lasting legacy in it. Adam, on the other hand, is in a quandary about the morality of this decision.

The book progresses in sections which represent jumps in time, and the reader follows the subsequent generations of Adam and Ellie’s family: their daughter Summer, Summer’s son Noah, the adopted Lijuan and Lijuan’s daughter. Each section acts as a vignette to explore different aspects of the ecological crisis, sprinkled with near-futuristic tropes. This means that, despite being concisely written and eloquently understated, the scope of this book is vast and ambitious: Summer has severe asthma, and taking care of her is made more difficult by the rolling blackouts and intense heat of Australian summer. She grows up into a troubled teenager who struggles to find her place in the world, a world which seems to be in the end times. Adam travels to a devastated England where he battles to survive an apocalyptic storm; an illegal immigrant is mysteriously drawn to the art of beekeeping; a 16-year-old girl’s diary discusses the loss of her mother to the sudden spreading of a deadly SARS-like virus; in the aftermath of an epidemic, a young man finds solace in building virtual recreations of the dead…

For some reason, it feels like I first heard of this novel months ago, and yet it’s still not due to hit shelves for three more months… Nevertheless, it sounds really interesting, so I’m going to try to read it very soon. Published by Titan Books in the US and UK in September 2017.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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BrasseyJ-SkyfarerJoseph Brassey, SKYFARER (Angry Robot Books)

The Axiom Diamond is a mythical relic, with the power to show its bearer any truth they desire. Men have sought for it across many continents for centuries, but in vain. When trainee sorceress Aimee de Laurent’s first ever portal-casting goes awry, she and her mentor are thrown into the race to find the gem, on the skyship Elysium. Opposing them are the infamous magic-wielding knights of the Eternal Order and their ruthless commander, Lord Azrael, who will destroy everything in their path…

I saw this described as space opera in the Star Wars style, so I was immediately intrigued (if cautious). I’m certainly interested in giving this a try. The first novel in the Drifting Lands series, Skyfarer is due to be published by Angry Robot Books in September 2017, in the UK and US.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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BrookesA-PM3-SpysDaughterUSAdam Brookes, THE SPY’S DAUGHTER (Redhook)

In many ways, Pearl Tao was a typical American child. She spent summer days at the pool, played softball and lingered at suburban barbecues in her home city of Washington, D.C. Yet she is also an academic prodigy, with a university place sponsored by a secretive advanced technology corporation.

Only now, aged nineteen, has she begun to understand the terrifying truth of what her role is to be.

What her parents intend her to become.

Pearl’s only hope of escape lies with two British spies: one, Trish Patterson, sidelined in disgrace; the other, former journalist Philip Mangan, gone rogue and following a trail of corruption.

Helping Pearl might be the most important and dangerous thing either will ever do.

Brookes’s third Philip Mangan novel. I now have all three, but keep forgetting to read them. (Another victim of Kindle Out-Of-Sight Syndrome.) I am eager to read them, though, so I’m going to make a concerted effort to start the series very soon. Published in the US by Redhook, and in the UK by Sphere.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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BrooksT-FallOfShannara-BlackElfstoneUKTerry Brooks, THE FALL OF SHANNARA: THE BLACK ELFSTONE (Orbit)

The Four Lands has been at peace for generations, but now a mysterious army of invaders is cutting a bloody swath across a remote region of the land. No one knows who they are, where they come from, or what they are after — and most seem content to ignore these disturbing events.

The only people who sense a greater, growing threat and wish to uncover the truth are society’s outcasts: an exiled High Druid, a conflicted warrior, a teenage girl struggling to master a prodigious magic… and a scrappy young orphan, improbably named Shea Ohmsford.

The Black Elfstone is the first book in the four-part conclusion to the Shannara series. This is pretty amazing — the first novel in the series, The Sword of Shannara was first published in 1977, and I read it in, I think, 1991. Forty years after it began, this beloved fantasy series is starting down its final stretch. Sadly, I have fallen way behind, but I’ve always wanted to get back to it. Maybe a project for the coming years. Published in the UK by Orbit, and in North America by Del Rey.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received from publisher

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CarusoM-1-TetheredMageMelissa Caruso, THE TETHERED MAGE (Orbit)

CONTROL THE MAGIC, CONTROL THE WORLD

In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce and those born with power are strictly controlled — taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army. Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that threatens the entire empire.

Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations.

But fate has bound the heir and the mage. And as war looms on the horizon, a single spark could turn their city into a pyre.

Comment. Published by Orbit Books in North America and the UK, in October.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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ClarkA-40kNL-ShroudOfNightAndy Clark, SHROUD OF NIGHT (Black Library)

Upon the oceanic hive world of Tsadrekha, the darkness of the Noctis Aeterna is held at bay by the golden light of a unique beacon. Yet as sharks are drawn to blood, so the ravening warbands of the Heretic Astartes circle the planet, warring to claim this rich prize for their Dark Gods. Now, one of those warlords has deployed a secret weapon to end the deadlock. Kassar and his elite band of Alpha Legionnaires, the Unsung, must infiltrate the planet, using all their cunning and warrior skill to overcome the planets defenders and corrupt the beacon. They need to work fast, for none other than Khârn the Betrayer himself has come to lead the final assault. As a rising tide of apocalyptic warfare consumes Tsadrekha, Kassar and his brothers must race for the prize or be consumed by the fury of the storm.

I don’t think I’ve read much by Clarke — maybe a short story or two? — but the synopsis for this novel caught my eye, and I decided to give it a try. Shroud of Night is published by Black Library.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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ConnellyM-RB1-LateShowUSMichael Connelly, THE LATE SHOW (Little, Brown)

Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns everything over to the day shift. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two assignments she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the investigations entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job, no matter what the department throws at her.

The first in a new series from Connelly. I have inexplicably still never read any of the Bosch novels. After blitzing through the TV series, though, I have decided that catching up is going to be a plan for the year. I will, however, start with this new novel. The Late Show is published by Little, Brown in North America, and Orion in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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FinderJ-SwitchUSJoseph Finder, THE SWITCH (Dutton)

A simple mix up throws one innocent man into the crosshairs of sinister government secrets and ruthless political ambitions…

Michael Tanner is on his way home from a business trip when he accidentally picks up the wrong MacBook in an airport security line. He doesn’t notice the mix-up until he arrives home in Boston, but by then it’s too late. Tanner’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers that the owner is a US senator and that the laptop contains top secret files.

When Senator Susan Robbins realizes she’s come back with the wrong laptop, she calls her young chief of staff, Will Abbott, in a panic. Both know that the senator broke the law by uploading classified documents onto her personal computer. If those documents wind up in the wrong hands, it could be Snowden 2.0 — and her career in politics will be over. She needs to recover the MacBook before it’s too late.

When Will fails to gain Tanner’s cooperation, he is forced to take measures to retrieve the laptop before a bigger security breach is revealed. He turns to an unscrupulous “fixer” for help. In the meantime, the security agency whose files the senator has appropriated has its own methods, darker still — and suddenly Tanner finds himself a hunted man, on the run, terrified for the safety of his family, in desperate need of a plan, and able to trust no one.

I’ve enjoyed Finder’s novels in the past, and this sounds like another fun political-conspiracy thriller. Published by Dutton in North America, and Head of Zeus in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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FordJ-KillingGroundsUKJack Ford, THE KILLING GROUNDS (HQ)

IF THE TRUTH DIES…. HE’LL KILL HER ALL OVER AGAIN.

Ex-US Navy-turned-investigator Thomas J. Cooper is tortured by the past.

A deadly fight with Somali pirates and a tragic accident at sea have left him struggling with PTSD and an addiction to prescription drugs.

When he and his colleague Maddie return to the Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a plane, what they find is far more sinister and dangerous…

This sounds like it could be an interesting new series. Published by HQ in the UK.

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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FordJ-TwilightPariahJeffrey Ford, THE TWILIGHT PARIAH (Tor.com)

Three friends go looking for treasure and find horror…

All Maggie, Russell, and Henry wanted out of their last college vacation was to get drunk and play archaeologist in an old house in the woods outside of town. When they excavate the mansion’s outhouse they find way more than they bargained for: a sealed bottle filled with a red liquid, along with the bizarre skeleton of a horned child

Disturbing the skeleton throws each of their lives into a living hell. They feel followed wherever they go, their homes are ransacked by unknown intruders, and people they care about are brutally, horribly dismembered. The three friends awakened something, a creature that will stop at nothing to retrieve its child.

This sounds like it could be really good. And spooky. The Twilight Pariah is published on September 12th by Tor.com, in the US and UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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FredstiD-1-SpawnOfLilithDana Fredsti, SPAWN OF LILITH (Titan)

Out of the spotlight, in the darker corners of the studio backlots, Hollywood hides a remarkable secret. Actor or actress, set designer, electrician, best boy, or grip, in la-la land, it pays not to be human. Vampires, succubae, trolls, elementals, goblins, studios hire anyone and anything that can take direction, be discreet, and not eat the extras. The less you know about your agent, the better. Though only human, stuntwoman and struggling actress Lee Striga is a member of the legendary Katz Stunt Crew. They’re the best in the biz, in part because they can fly, and boast superhuman strength. When Lee lands a job on the movie Pale Dreamer, however, not everyone is following the script. It’s up to her to figure out who — or what — is killing the cast and crew. Especially when Lee goes from stuntwoman to lead role… and the next target.

This caught my eye one day, while I was browsing the Titan Books website. Thought it sounded potentially interesting, so decided to pick it up when it was released. Published by Titan Books in the UK and US.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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FrenchJ-HW1-ResurrectionJohn French, HORUSIAN WARS: RESURRECTION (Black Library)

War rages in the Caradryad Sector. Worlds are falling to madness and rebellion, and the great war machine of the Imperium is moving to counter the threat. Amongst its agents is Inquisitor Covenant. Puritan, psyker, expert swordsman, he reserves an especial hatred for those of his order who would seek to harness the power of Ruin as a weapon. Summoned to an inquisitorial conclave, Covenant believes he has uncovered such a misguided agent and prepares to denounce the heretic Talicto before his fellows. But when the gathering is attacked and many left dead in its wake, Covenant vows to hunt down Talicto and discover the truth behind the mysterious cult apparently at the heart of the massacre, the Renewed. In the murky plot into which he is drawn, Covenant knows only one thing for certain: trust no one.

The first novel in French’s new series. The two short stories that preceded it were really good (Purity of Ignorance and The Maiden of the Dream), so I have high hopes for this. Published by Black Library in July.

Also on CR: Reviews of Praetorian of DornAhriman: ExileAhriman: Exodus and Ahriman: Sorcerer

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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GerrardDB-EpiphanyMachineDavid Burr Gerrard, THE EPIPHANY MACHINE (Putnam)

Everyone else knows the truth about you, now you can know it, too.

That’s the slogan. The product: a junky contraption that tattoos personalized revelations on its users’ forearms. It’s an old con, playing on the fear that we are obvious to everybody except ourselves. This particular one’s been circulating New York since the 1960s. The ad works. And, oddly enough, so might the device…

A small stream of city dwellers buy into this cult of the epiphany machine, including Venter Lowood’s parents. This stigma follows them when they move upstate, where Venter can’t avoid the whispers of teachers and neighbors any more than he can ignore the machine’s accurate predictions: his mother’s abandonment and his father’s disinterest. So when Venter’s grandmother finally asks him to confront the epiphany machine and inoculate himself against his family’s mistakes, he’s only too happy to oblige.

Like his parents before him, Venter is quick to fall under the spell of the device’s sweat-stained, profane, and surprisingly charming operator, Adam Lyons. But unlike them, Venter gets close enough to Adam to learn a dark secret. There’s an undeniable pattern between specific epiphanies and violent crimes. And Adam won’t jeopardize the privacy of his customers by alerting the police.

It may be a hoax, but that doesn’t mean what Adam is selling isn’t also spot-on. And in this sprawling, snarling tragicomedy about accountability in contemporary America, the greater danger is that Adam Lyon’s apparatus may just be right about us all.

This sounds like it could be quite interesting. Will hopefully read it very soon. The Epiphany Machine is published by Putnam’s in Canada, the US and UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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goldberglm-mentorusLee Matthew Goldberg, THE MENTOR (Thomas Dunne)

Kyle Broder has achieved his lifelong dream and is an editor at a major publishing house.

When Kyle is contacted by his favorite college professor, William Lansing, Kyle couldn’t be happier. Kyle has his mentor over for dinner to catch up and introduce him to his girlfriend, Jamie, and the three have a great time. When William mentions that he’s been writing a novel, Kyle is overjoyed. He would love to read the opus his mentor has toiled over.

Until the novel turns out to be not only horribly written, but the most depraved story Kyle has read.

After Kyle politely rejects the novel, William becomes obsessed, causing trouble between Kyle and Jamie, threatening Kyle’s career, and even his life. As Kyle delves into more of this psychopath’s work, it begins to resemble a cold case from his college town, when a girl went missing. William’s work is looking increasingly like a true crime confession.

I’m always intrigued by publishing-related thrillers/mysteries. I heard about this what feels like ages ago, and decided to give it a try. The Mentor is published by Thomas Dunne in the US and UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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GoodmanA-ChalkArtistUSAllegra Goodman, THE CHALK ARTIST (The Dial Press)

Collin James is young, creative, and unhappy. A college dropout, he waits tables and spends his free time beautifying the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his medium of choice: chalk. Collin’s art captivates passersby with its vibrant colors and intricate lines — until the moment he wipes it all away. Nothing in Collin’s life is meant to last. Then he meets Nina…

The daughter of a tech mogul who is revolutionizing virtual reality, Nina Lazare is trying to give back as a high school teacher — but her students won’t listen to her. When Collin enters her world, he inspires her to think bigger. Nina wants to return the favor — even if it means losing him.

Against this poignant backdrop, Allegra Goodman paints a tableau of students, neighbors, and colleagues: Diana, a teenage girl trying to make herself invisible; her twin brother, Aidan, who’s addicted to the games produced by Nina’s father; and Daphne, a viral-marketing trickster who unites them all, for better or worse.

Wise, warm, and enchanting, The Chalk Artist is both a finely rendered portrait of modern love and a celebration of all the realms we inhabit: real and imagined, visual and virtual, seemingly independent yet hopelessly tangled.

I read about this novel in either a listicle about must-read books, or perhaps a review in a newspaper. I forget exactly which, but my interest has been piqued ever since. Hopefully review it soon. Published by The Dial Press in North America, and Atlantic Books in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

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hartleyaj-s2-firebrandusA.J. Hartley, FIREBRAND (Tor)

Once a steeplejack, Anglet Sutonga is used to scaling the heights of Bar-Selehm. Nowadays she assists politician Josiah Willinghouse behind the scenes of Parliament. The latest threat to the city-state: Government plans for a secret weapon are stolen and feared to be sold to the rival nation of Grappoli. The investigation leads right to the doorsteps of Elitus, one of the most exclusive social clubs in the city. In order to catch the thief, Ang must pretend to be a foreign princess and infiltrate Elitus. But Ang is far from royal material, so Willinghouse enlists help from the exacting Madam Nahreem.

Yet Ang has other things on her mind. Refugees are trickling into the city, fleeing Grappoli-fueled conflicts in the north. A demagogue in Parliament is proposing extreme measures to get rid of them, and she soon discovers that one theft could spark a conflagration of conspiracy that threatens the most vulnerable of Bar-Selehm. Unless she can stop it.

This is the sequel to Steeplejack, which I have yet to read. The series sounds really interesting, so I do intend to get caught up. Published by Tor Books in North America.

Also on CR:

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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HendrixG-PaperbacksFromHellGrady Hendrix, PAPERBACKS FROM HELL (Quirk)

Take a tour through the horror paperback novels of the 1970s and ’80s… if you dare.

Page through dozens and dozens of amazing book covers featuring well-dressed skeletons, evil dolls, and knife-wielding killer crabs! Read shocking plot summaries that invoke devil worship, satanic children, and haunted real estate! Horror author and vintage paperback book collector Grady Hendrix offers killer commentary and witty insight on these trashy thrillers that tried so hard to be the next Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby.

It’s an affectionate, nostalgic, and unflinchingly funny celebration of the horror fiction boom of two iconic decades, complete with story summaries and artist and author profiles. You’ll find familiar authors, like V. C. Andrews and R. L. Stine, and many more who’ve faded into obscurity. Plus recommendations for which of these forgotten treasures are well worth your reading time and which should stay buried.

This could be really interesting. I’m not widely read in Horror at all, though, so I’m not sure if I’m the best audience. Nevertheless, I’m intrigued. Paperbacks from Hell is due to be published by Quirk Books in the US and UK, in September.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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HollinsJ-DL2-FalseIdolsJon Hollins, THE DRAGON LORDS: FALSE IDOLS (Orbit)

The Dragons who once ruled over the land are dead.

The motley crew that stumbled through that revolution are rich and praised as saviors.

Everyone gets to live happily ever after, right?

Right?

Well, it might have worked out that way if the dragons in Kondorra had been the only ones. If they hadn’t been just the tip of the spear about to fall upon the whole world…

The second novel in Hollins’s well-received Dragon Lords fantasy series. I still need to finish the first novel, Fool’s Gold (I enjoyed what I read, I just wasn’t in the mood for fantasy at the time). Published by Orbit in the US and UK, in late August 2017.

Also on CR:

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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KanonJ-DefectorsUSJoseph Kanon, DEFECTORS (Atria)

In 1949, Frank Weeks, fair-haired boy of the newly formed CIA, was exposed as a Communist spy and fled the country to vanish behind the Iron Curtain. Now, twelve years later, he has written his memoirs, a KGB- approved project almost certain to be an international bestseller, and has asked his brother Simon, a publisher, to come to Moscow to edit the manuscript. It’s a reunion Simon both dreads and longs for. The book is sure to be filled with mischief and misinformation; Frank’s motives suspect, the CIA hostile. But the chance to see Frank, his adored older brother, proves irresistible

And at first Frank is still Frank — the same charm, the same jokes, the same bond of affection that transcends ideology. Then Simon begins to glimpse another Frank, still capable of treachery, still actively working for “the service.” He finds himself dragged into the middle of Frank’s new scheme, caught between the KGB and the CIA in a fatal cat and mouse game that only one of the brothers is likely to survive.

Defectors is the gripping story of one family torn apart by the divided loyalties of the Cold War, but it’s also a revealing look at the wider community of defectors, American and British, living a twilit Moscow existence, granted privileges but never trusted, spies who have escaped one prison only to find themselves trapped in another that is even more sinister. Filled with authentic period detail and moral ambiguity, Defectors takes us to the heart of a world of secrets, where no one can be trusted and murder is just collateral damage.

Joseph Kanon has become one of those (many) authors whose books I buy quite frequently, but keep forgetting to actually read — usually because I get the eBook edition. Hopefully, I’ll remedy this strange tendency very soon. Defectors is published by Atria in North America, and Simon & Schuster in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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LeckieA-ProvenanceUKAnn Leckie, PROVENANCE (Orbit)

A power-driven young woman has just one chance to secure the status she craves and regain priceless lost artifacts prized by her people. She must free their thief from a prison planet from which no one has ever returned.

Ingray and her charge will return to her home world to find their planet in political turmoil, at the heart of an escalating interstellar conflict. Together, they must make a new plan to salvage Ingray’s future, her family, and her world, before they are lost to her for good.

I still haven’t read anything by Leckie, despite the tsunami of praise (and awards) the author’s Imperial Radch series has received. I can’t tell if this is a stand-alone, set in the same universe, or a continuation of the first series. Sounds interesting, though. Published by Orbit Books in the US and UK, in September 2017.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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LeeF-1-JadeCityFonda Lee, JADE CITY (Orbit)

FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.

Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for — and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now, the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone — even foreigners — wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones — from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets — and of Kekon itself.

JADE CITY begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

I hadn’t heard about this title before it appeared on NetGalley. Thought it sounded really interesting, so I’ll hopefully read it pretty soon. The first in a new “cycle” of novels (apparently — I couldn’t find a name for the series), Jade City is due to be published by Orbit in the US and UK, in November 2017.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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LepuckiE-WomanNo17USEdan Lepucki, WOMAN NO.17 (Crown)

High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has decided to take a break from her husband. Left alone with her children, she’s going to need a hand taking care of her young son if she’s ever going to finish her memoir. In response to a Craigslist ad, S arrives, a magnetic young artist who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s toddler, Devin, and keep a watchful eye on her older, teenage son, Seth. S performs her day job beautifully, quickly drawing the entire family into her orbit, and becoming a confidante for Lady.

But in the heat of the summer, S’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. And as Lady and S move closer to one another, the glossy veneer of Lady’s privileged life begins to crack, threatening to expose old secrets that she has been keeping from her family. Meanwhile, S is protecting secrets of her own, about her real motivation for taking the job. S and Lady are both playing a careful game, and every move they make endangers the things they hold most dear.

Lepucki’s previous novel, California, was quite the critical-smash. I found it well-written, but at the same time struggled to really connect with it. After reading the synopsis for this novel, though, I found myself keen to given Lepucki’s work another try. Published by Crown/Archetype in North America, and Hogarth in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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LockeA-BluebirdBluebirdUSAttica Locke, BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD (Mulholland)

When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules — a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders—a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman — have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes — and save himself in the process — before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt. A rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas, Bluebird, Bluebird, is an exhilarating, timely novel about the collision of race and justice in America.

This looks really good. It’s also published by Mulholland, which is an automatic stamp of quality, in my opinion. I’ve read one of Locke’s past novels (Black Water Rising), but only just learned that she was also a writer for the hit TV show EmpireBluebird, Bluebird is due to be published in North America by Mulholland Books (September 12th), and in the UK by Serpent’s Tail (September 28th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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MartinGZ-D1-ScourgeGail Z. Martin, SCOURGE (Solaris)

The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and advantageous trading terms. Lord Mayor Ellor Machison wields assassins, blood witches, and forbidden magic to assure that his powerful patrons get what they want, no matter the cost.

Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave.

When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything.

This is the first novel in Martin’s new Darkhurst fantasy series. I haven’t read as much of Martin’s work as I would have liked, but I’m always looking for new series and entry points, so hopefully this will work perfectly. Scourge is due to be published by Solaris on July 11th.

Also on CR: Guest Posts on “It’s the End of the World as We Know It – Again”, “After Apocalypse”, “Anarchy Sucks”, and “Saving the World – With a Little Help From Friends”

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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NewmanE-IM2-WeaversLamentEmma Newman, WEAVER’S LAMENT (Tor.com)

Charlotte is learning to control her emerging magical powers under the secret tutelage of Magus Hopkins.

Her first covert mission takes her to a textile mill where the disgruntled workers are apparently destroying expensive equipment.

And if she can’t identify the culprits before it’s too late, her brother will be exiled, and her family dishonoured…

The second in Newman’s Industrial Magic series of novellas. I have the first as well, and I’ve heard very good things about the series. Published by Tor.com in North America and the UK, in October 2017.

Also on CR:

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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NoonJ-AManOfShadowsJeff Noon, A MAN OF SHADOWS (Angry Robot)

Below the neon skies of Dayzone – where the lights never go out, and night has been banished – lowly private eye John Nyquist takes on a teenage runaway case. His quest takes him from Dayzone into the permanent dark of Nocturna.

As the vicious, seemingly invisible serial killer known only as Quicksilver haunts the streets, Nyquist starts to suspect that the runaway girl holds within her the key to the city’s fate. In the end, there’s only one place left to search: the shadow-choked zone known as Dusk.

This could be really interesting. Published by Angry Robot Books in August 2017.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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OliverL-RingerUSLauren Oliver, RINGER (Harper)

In the world outside of the Haven Institute, Lyra and Caelum are finding it hard to be human-and Lyra, infected at Haven with a terrible disease, finds her symptoms are growing worse. When Caelum leaves without warning, Lyra follows him, seeking a pioneering organization in Philadelphia that might have a cure. But what they uncover there is a shocking connection to their past, even as their future seems in danger of collapsing.

Though Gemma just wants to go back to her normal life after Haven, she soon learns that her powerful father has other plans for the replicas-unless she and her boyfriend Pete can stop him. But they soon learn that they aren’t safe either. The Haven Institute wasn’t destroyed after all, and now Gemma is the one behind the walls.

The follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Replica. Published in the US by Harper, and in the UK by Hodder.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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OlsonMF-2-SwitchbackMelissa F. Olson, SWITCHBACK (Tor.com)

Three weeks after the events of Nightshades, things are finally beginning to settle for the Chicago branch of the BPI, but the brief respite from the horror of the previous few weeks was never destined to last.

The team gets a call from Switch Creek, WI, where a young man has been arrested on suspicion of being a shade.

The suspect is held overnight, pending DNA testing, but seemingly escapes in a terrifying and bloody massacre. But is there more to the jailbreak than a simple quest for freedom?

This is the sequel to Olson’s Nightshades (which I rather enjoyed). Hopefully reading this quite soon. Published by Tor.com in North America and the UK in late October 2017.

Also on CR:

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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ReichsK-TwoNightsUSKathy Reichs, TWO NIGHTS (Simon & Schuster)

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct….

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing.

But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found?

It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons — because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Reichs is another thriller/crime author whose work I haven’t yet read, despite thinking they sound great (various friends and family members have read many of her novels and love them). Perhaps it was my silly tendency to be intimidated by long-established new series (the Temperance Brennan series, which was adapted into Bones)? Regardless, this is a stand-alone, so I have no excuse. Published by Simon & Schuster in North America, and William Heinemann in the UK

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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RiceA-VC12-PrinceLestat&RealmsOfAtlantisUKPBAnne Rice, PRINCE LESTAT AND THE REALMS OF ATLANTIS (Arrow)

Lestat de Lioncourt is no longer alone.

A strange, otherworldly spirit has resurfaced, taking possession of his body and soul. All-seeing, all-knowing, its voice whispers in his ear, telling the hypnotic tale of Atlantis, the great sea power of ancient times…

Prince Lestat is seduced by the power of this ancient spirit, but is he right to trust it? Why has Lestat, leader of the vampires, been chosen as its bodily host?

And what of Atlantis, the mysterious heaven on earth? Why must the vampires reckon so many millennia later with the terrifying force of this ageless, all-powerful Atalantaya spirit?

It falls to Lestat to discover the truth.

The twelfth novel in Anne Rice’s best-selling Vampire Chronicles series. I’ve been a fan of the books since 1999, when, after moving to New York and discovering Barnes & Noble, I blitzed through all of the novels that were then-available. The series mythology took a new direction with the previous novel, Prince Lestat, which came as a bit of a surprise, but I’m still interested in seeing where the author takes her characters. Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis is published in paperback in the UK by Arrow, on July 13th; and in the US by Anchor (out now). I’ll be reading this very soon.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Wolf Gift and Prince Lestat

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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RyanA-DM2-LegionOfFlameUKAnthony Ryan, THE LEGION OF FLAME (Orbit)

Claydon Torcreek has survived drake-infested jungles, hostile tribes and the cold touch of betrayal — yet his troubles have only just begun.

The legendary white drake – believed to be nothing more than a myth — has awoken from its long slumber, with a thirst to reduce the world of men to ashes.

One city has already fallen to the drake’s formidable legions. More will follow, unless Clay can uncover an ancient secret that lies buried beneath the southern ice.

Once again Clay must face unthinkable danger, and this time he carries not just the hopes of his own nation, but the fate of the entire world.

This is the second novel in Ryan’s well-received Draconis Memoria fantasy series. I’ve only read the prequel novella to this series, which I quite enjoyed. I’ve also heard many great things about Ryan’s first trilogy, Raven’s ShadowThe Legion of Flame is published in the UK by Orbit, and in North America by Ace.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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SchmidtBT-InfiniteStarsBryan Thomas Schmidt (ed.), INFINITE STARS (Titan)

A who’s who of space opera and military science fiction contribute brand new stories set in the universes of their most famous series. Space Opera and Military Science Fiction are cut from the same cloth, so this anthology merges the two to create a once-in-a-lifetime collection that includes:

– A new Honor Harrington Universe tale by David Weber

– A new Dune story by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, set within the time frame of the original novel Dune

– A new Ender’s Game story by Orson Scott Card

– A new Lost Fleet story by Jack Campbell

– An RCN story by David Drake, in print for the first time

A new sci-fi anthology from Titan Books, featuring quite the blockbuster roster. Published in North America and the UK in October 2017.

Review copy received from publisher

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SparkAS-EoD01-CourtOfBrokenKnivesUSAnna Smith Spark, THE COURT OF BROKEN KNIVES (Orbit/Voyager)

It is the richest empire the world has ever known, and it is also doomed. Governed by an imposturous Emperor, decadence has blinded its inhabitants to their vulnerability. The Yellow Empire is on the verge of invasion — and only one man can see it.

Haunted by prophetic dreams, Orhan has hired a company of soldiers to cross the desert to reach the capital city. Once they enter the Palace, they have one mission: kill the Emperor, then all those who remain. Only from the ashes can a new empire be built.

The company is a group of good, ordinary soldiers, for whom this is a mission like any other. But the strange boy Marith who walks among them is no ordinary soldier. Young, ambitious, and impossibly charming, something dark hides in Marith’s past — and in his blood.

The first novel in the much-buzzed-about Empires of Dust grimdark fantasy trilogy. I’ve been hearing some great things, so will hopefully be reading this very soon. The Court of Broken Knives is published in the US by Orbit (August 15th), and in the UK by Voyager (June 29th).

Also on CR: Interview with Anna Smith Spark (2017)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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SteinmetzF-TheUploadedFerrett Steinmetz, THE UPLOADED (Angry Robot)

Life sucks and then you die…

In the near future, the elderly have moved online and now live within the computer network. But that doesn’t stop them interfering in the lives of the living, whose sole real purpose now is to maintain the vast servers which support digital Heaven. For one orphan that just isn’t enough – he wants more for himself and his sister than a life slaving away for the dead. It turns out that he’s not the only one who wants to reset the world…

This appears to be a stand-alone cyberpunk novel from the author of the Mancer series. I think it sounds pretty interesting, so I’m looking forward to giving it a try. The Uploaded is due to be published by Angry Robot Books in September 2017, in the UK and US.

Also on CR: Guest Post on “Hot to Write a Fat Chick”

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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Stephenson&Galland-Rise&FallOfDODOUSNeal Stephenson, THE RISE AND FALL OF D.O.D.O (William Morrow)

When Melisande Stokes, an expert in linguistics and languages, accidently meets military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons in a hallway at Harvard University, it is the beginning of a chain of events that will alter their lives and human history itself. The young man from a shadowy government entity approaches Mel, a low-level faculty member, with an incredible offer. The only condition: she must sign a nondisclosure agreement in return for the rather large sum of money.

Tristan needs Mel to translate some very old documents, which, if authentic, are earth-shattering. They prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for centuries. But the arrival of the scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment weakened its power and endangered its practitioners. Magic stopped working altogether in 1851, at the time of the Great Exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace — the world’s fair celebrating the rise of industrial technology and commerce. Something about the modern world “jams” the “frequencies” used by magic, and it’s up to Tristan to find out why.

And so the Department of Diachronic Operations — D.O.D.O. — gets cracking on its real mission: to develop a device that can bring magic back, and send Diachronic Operatives back in time to keep it alive… and meddle with a little history at the same time. But while Tristan and his expanding operation master the science and build the technology, they overlook the mercurial — and treacherous — nature of the human heart.

It’s been a long while since I last read anything by Stephenson, but I’ve heard good things from a couple of people who received ARCs of this, so decided to pick it up. Published in North America by Harper Collins, and by The Borough Press in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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StrahanJ(ed)-InfinityWarsJonathan Strahan (ed.), INFINITY WARS (Solaris)

CONFLICT IS ETERNAL

We have always fought. War is the furnace that forges new technologies and pushes humanity ever onward. We are the children of a battle that began with fists and sticks, and ended on the brink of atomic Armageddon. Beyond here lies another war, infinite in scope and scale.

But who will fight the wars of tomorrow? Join Elizabeth Bear, Indrapramit Das, Aliette de Bodard, Garth Nix, An Owomoyela, Peter Watts, and many, many more in an exploration of the furthest extremes of military science fiction…

Another exciting anthology from Solaris. Infinity Wars is published by Solaris in September 2017.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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ToyneS-SC2-BoyWhoSawUKSimon Toyne, THE BOY WHO SAW (Harper)

“Only one boy can see the darkness. Only one man can save him from it. Finishing what was begun.”

These are the words written in blood beside the body of an elderly tailor who has been tortured and murdered in the ancient town of Cordes.

He leaves behind a cryptic message for his granddaughter and her son, Leo one that puts them in immediate danger.

When the mother and child are forced to go on the run, accompanied by the enigmatic Solomon Creed, they find themselves hunted across France, on a journey that will take them into the heart of Europe’s violent past.

What begins as small-town murder will become a race to uncover a devastating secret dating from World War II. The few men who know the truth are being killed by a powerful organization, and only one man stands in its way.

Only Solomon Creed can stop the murders.

Only he can save the boy.

This is the highly-anticipated sequel to Solomon Creed/The Searcher (which I have yet to read…). The Boy Who Saw is published by Harper in the UK, and William Morrow in North America.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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WaltonD-GeniusPlagueUSDavid Walton, THE GENIUS PLAGUE (Pyr)

What doesn’t kill you makes you smarter…

What if the pandemic you thought would kill you made you more intelligent instead? In the Amazon jungle, a disease is spreading. To those who survive, it grants enhanced communication, memory, and pattern recognition. But the miracle may be the sinister survival mechanism of a fungal organism, manipulating the infected into serving it.

Paul Johns, a mycologist, is convinced the fungal host is the next stage of human evolution, while his brother Neil, an analyst at the NSA, is committed to its destruction. Is the human race the master in this symbiotic relationship, or are we becoming the pawns of a subtly dominating and utterly alien intelligence?

This sounds rather interesting. Will read it pretty soon. Published by Pyr, it is available in the UK via import.

Also on CR: Interview with David Walton (2015); Guest Post on “The Best Villains Dress in Grey”

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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WatsonA-YouDieWhenYouDieAngus Watson, YOU DIE WHEN YOU DIE (Orbit)

You can’t change your fate — so throw yourself into battle, because you’ll either end the day a hero or drinking mead in the halls of the gods. That’s what Finn’s people believe.

But Finn wants to live. When his settlement is massacred by a hostile nation, Finn plus several friends and rivals must make their escape across a brutal, unfamiliar landscape, and to survive, Finn will fight harder than he’s ever fought before.

I never got around to reading Watson’s debut Iron Age series, but I heard very good things about it. This one also sounds pretty interesting. The first in Watson’s new West of West series, You Die When You Die is published by Orbit Books in the UK and US.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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WhiteleyA-BeautyCAAliya Whiteley, THE BEAUTY (Titan)

Somewhere away from the cities and towns, in the Valley of the Rocks, a society of men and boys gather around the fire each night to listen to their history recounted by Nate, the storyteller. Requested most often by the group is the tale of the death of all women.

They are the last generation.

One night, Nate brings back new secrets from the woods; peculiar mushrooms are growing from the ground where the women’s bodies lie buried. These are the first signs of a strange and insidious presence unlike anything ever known before…

Discover the Beauty.

This sounds like it could be interesting. Published by Titan Books in North America (in November) and the Unsung Stories in the UK (out now).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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WinslowD-TheForceUSDon Winslow, THE FORCE (William Morrow/Harper)

Our ends know our beginnings, but the reverse isn’t true…

All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop.

He is “the King of Manhattan North,” a, highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest, an elite special unit given unrestricted authority to wage war on gangs, drugs and guns. Every day and every night for the eighteen years he’s spent on the Job, Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps. He’s done whatever it takes to serve and protect in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean — including Malone himself.

What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash in the wake of the biggest heroin bust in the city’s history. Now Malone is caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the Job, his family, and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.

I still haven’t read anything by Don Winslow. He is, like a growing number of thriller/crime authors, someone whose work I have been slowly buying over time, but keep forgetting I have. (Damned Kindle-Out-Of-Mind Syndrome…) The Force sounds really interesting, though, so I’m going to read this ASAP. Published by William Morrow in the US, and Harper Collins in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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WomackK-MaximumVolumeKenneth Womack, MAXIMUM VOLUME (Chicago Review Press)

Maximum Volume offers a glimpse into the mind, the music, and the man behind the sound of the Beatles. George Martin’s working-class childhood and musical influencesprofoundly shaped his early career in the BBC’s Classical Music department and as head of the EMI Group’s Parlophone Records. Out of them flowed the genius behind his seven years producing the Beatles’ incredible body of work, including such albums as Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road.

The first book of two, Maximum Volume traces Martin’s early years as a scratch pianist, his life in the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War, and his groundbreaking work as the head of Parlophone Records, when Martin saved the company from ruin after making his name as a producer of comedy recordings. In its most dramatic moments, Maximum Volume narrates the story of Martin’s unlikely discovery of the Beatles and his painstaking efforts to prepare their newfangled sound for the British music marketplace.

As the story unfolds, Martin and the band craft numerous number-one hits, progressing toward the landmark album Rubber Soul — all of which bear Martin’s unmistakable musical signature.

I’m still looking for a good biography about the Beatles — specifically, something that isn’t hagiographic, something that is an honest, all-round portrait of the band, its members and those who orbited its success. Maybe this will be a good one. Maximum Volume is published by Chicago Review Press in the US and UK, in September.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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GRAPHIC NOVELS

DarkKnight-MasterRaceBATMAN: DARK KNIGHT — MASTER RACE (DC Comics)

Returns to a world gone awry left in the aftermath of the toppling of Lex Luthor and the apparent death… of Batman himself? Then who will save Gotham City and the rest of the planet against the mysterious Master Race?

I’ll have to get caught up on the first two Dark Knight books (Dark Knight Returns and Dark Knight Strikes Again) before diving into this one, but I’m very much looking forward to doing so. Dark Knight: Master Race is published by DC Comics in September 2017.

Review copy received from publisher

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JusticeLeagueVsSuicideSquadJUSTICE LEAGUE vs. SUICIDE SQUAD (DC Comics)

The members of the Justice League are Earth’s most powerful and famous superheroes… but they aren’t the only team in town.

The Suicide Squad strikes from the shadows and does the jobs too dirty for superheroes to handle. Under the iron fist of Director Amanda Waller, these monsters and maniacs have operated in total secrecy…until now. Batman is on their trail and the Squad’s existence isn’t something he or the Justice League can tolerate. It must be shut down.

But while the heroes and antiheroes are distracted fighting each other, twisted mastermind Maxwell Lord assembles a nightmarish army of DC’s deadliest villains to take out both teams! 

Collects: Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1-6, Suicide Squad #8 backup story, Suicide Squad #9-10, & Justice League #12-13.

This could be quite fun. I’m usually wary of DC’s recent cross-over events (they can either get messy, or just end up going nowhere), but I’m a fan of both of the series this combines, so cautiously optimistic. Justice League vs. Suicide Squad is out now.

Review copy received from publisher

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MotherPanic-Vol.01MOTHER PANIC, Vol.1 — “A Work in Progress” (DC Comics)

The shadow of the Bat falls over all of Gotham City, from its dark alleys to its glittering high-rises. But a new vigilante has just stepped away from that shadow, and she has her own brand of violent retribution to deal out to the city’s corrupt elites.

Meet Violet Paige, a rich young celebutante with a bad attitude and a worse reputation. No one would ever suspect that this tabloid-fodder wild child has a secret hidden beneath her spoiled heiress exterior — a secret that has driven her to become the terrifying force of vengeance against her privileged peers known as Mother Panic!

But even as Violet launches her all-out assault on the rich and twisted, her shaky allies threaten to betray her, and every one of Gotham’s guardians — from Batwoman to the Dark Knight himself — is hot on her trail. Will Mother Panic continue to strike terror into her enemies’ hearts? Or will her violent quest for justice reach an equally violent end?

Collects: Mother Panic #1-6

This looks like an interesting new series. I know nothing about it, other than the fact that it exists… Mother Panic Vol.1 is out now.

Review copy received from publisher

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NewSuperMan-Vol.01NEW SUPER-MAN, Vol.1 — “Made in China” (DC Comics)

An impulsive act of heroism thrusts an arrogant young man into the limelight of Shanghai as China begins to form its own Justice League of powerful heroes. As the government creates their own Superman, will they live to regret the person they’ve chosen? Rising from the ashes of SUPERMAN: THE FINAL DAYS OF SUPERMAN and the death of the Man of Steel, will this New Super-Man step up to the challenge, or be crushed under the weight of his hubris and inexperience?

Collects: New Super-Man #1-6

This could be really interesting — DC’s creation of a Chinese super-hero is great marketing and also a great way to diversify and allow for new, interesting stories. Crossing fingers that this won’t disappoint. New Super-Man Vol.1 is out now.

Review copy received from publisher

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