Books Received (July-August 2017)

Featuring: Stephen Barnes, R.S. Belcher, Simon Berthon, Christopher Bohjalian, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Robert Dickinson, Kate Ellis, Christie Golden, Nick Harkaway, Rebecca Harrington, Michael F. Haspil, Grady Hendrix, Joe Ide, Jay Kristoff, Stina Leicht, Eugene Lim, Jonathan Lyon, Jeannette Ng, Ross Raisin, Greg Rucka, Marcus Sakey, Steven T. Seagle, Charles Soule, Matt Taibbi, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Roma Tearne, Sage Walker, Matt Wallace, Zeni Zumas

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BarnesS-TwelveDaysUSStephen Barnes, TWELVE DAYS (Tor)

Around the world, leaders and notorious criminals alike are mysteriously dying. A terrorist group promises a series of deaths within two months. And against the backdrop of the apocalypse, the lives of a small shattered family and a broken soldier are transformed in the bustling city of Atlanta.

Olympia Dorsey is a journalist and mother, with a cynical teenage daughter and an autistic son named Hannibal, all trying to heal from a personal tragedy. Across the street, Ex-Special Forces soldier Terry Nicolas and his wartime unit have reunited Stateside to carry out a risky heist that will not only right a terrible injustice, but also set them up for life — at the cost of their honor. Terry and the family’s visit to an unusual martial arts exhibition brings them into contact with Madame Gupta, a teacher of singular skill who offers not just a way for Terry to tap into mastery beyond his dreams, but also for Hannibal to transcend the limits of his condition. But to see these promises realized, Terry will need to betray those with whom he fought and bled.

Meanwhile, as the death toll gains momentum and society itself teeters on the edge of collapse, Olympia’s fragile clan is placed in jeopardy, and Terry comes to understand the terrible price he must pay to prevent catastrophe.

This sounds like it could be quite interesting. Will give it a try soon. Published by Tor BooksTwelve Days is out now.

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Review copy received from publisher

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BelcherRS-G3-QueenOfSwordsUSR.S. Belcher, THE QUEEN OF SWORDS (Tor)

1870. Maude Stapleton, late of Golgotha, Nevada, is a respectable widow raising a daughter on her own. Few know that Maude belongs to an ancient order of assassins, the Daughters of Lilith, and is as well the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Anne Bonney, the legendary female pirate.

Leaving Golgotha in search of her daughter Constance, who has been taken from her, Maude travels to Charleston, South Carolina, only to find herself caught in the middle of a secret war between the Daughters of Lilith and their ancestral enemies, the monstrous Sons of Typhon. To save Constance, whose prophetic gifts are sought by both cults, Maude must follow in the footsteps of Anne Bonney as she embarks on a perilous voyage that will ultimately lead her to a lost city of bones in the heart of Africa — and the Father of All Monsters.

This is the third novel in Belcher’s Golgotha trilogy. Not sure why I haven’t tried this series, yet. Sounds really cool — as does his Nightwise series. The Queen of Swords is published by Tor Books in the US and UK, and is out now. The first two novels in the series are published in the UK by Titan.

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Review copy received from publisher

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BerthonS-WomanOfStateUKSimon Berthon, WOMAN OF STATE (HQ)

SECRETS

1991, Belfast.

Maire Anne McCartney is recruited for a one-off IRA mission as a honey trap. She is told there will be no violence. But she has been lied to.

To save herself, eighteen-year-old Maire must flee across the border alone, and start a
new life.

STATE

Present day, London.

Human rights lawyer Anne-Marie Gallagher is appointed Minister of State for Security and Immigration.

At the same time, the police in Belfast receive an anonymous tip-off. The password is verified from the Troubles and the co-ordinates lead DCI Jon Carne to a field. And a body.

BETRAYAL

The new Minister receives a message and realises that the new life she has crafted is at risk of being uncovered.

And when Carne’s investigation brings Anne-Marie to his attention, she must decide where her allegiances lie.

I hadn’t heard of this novel before it arrived in the mail. Sounds like it could be quite interesting. Woman of State is out now, published by HQ in the UK.

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Review copy received from publisher

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Christopher Bohjalian, THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT (Doubleday)

A flight attendant wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man – and no idea what happened.

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police – she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home – Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.

Hadn’t heard of Bohjalian before I spotted this on Edelweiss. Thought it sounded interesting, so requested it on a whim. I’ll probably read it quite soon, but given the release date, I’ll also probably hold off on posting my review until closer to publication (maybe December, or January). Published by Doubleday in March 2018, it’ll be available in the UK via import. (Assuming a publisher doesn’t snap it up before.)

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Review copy received via Edelweiss

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Aaron Dembski-Bowden, BLACK LEGION (Black Library)

Ezekyle Abaddon and his warlords strive to bind the newborn Black Legion together under threat of destruction. Now Khayon, as Abaddon’s most-trusted assassin, is tasked with ending the threat of Thagus Daravek, the self-proclaimed Lord of Hosts – a rival to the Ezekyle’s final fate. Fighting the vile whispers of the Dark Gods within his mind, Abaddon turns a fevered gaze back to the Imperium, where his destiny awaits. Yet the Emperor’s Champion and his Black Templars stand guard at the gates of Hell, and Sigismund has waited centuries to face Abaddon in battle.

The long-awaited sequel to The Talon of Horus. Dembski-Bowden has written some of my favourite Black Library novels (the Night Lords trilogy, The First Heretic and Betrayer), so I’m always happy when a new novel of his is released. I was quite disappointed with The Emperor of Mankind, his latest Horus Heresy novel, but I’m hoping that was a blip. Black Legion is published by Black Library.

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Robert Dickinson, THE TOURIST (Redhook)

THE FUTURE IS ALREADY WRITTEN.

THE FUTURE HAS ALREADY HAPPENED.

TIME TRAVEL IS CONFUSING.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

WHO WILL SOLVE THE PUZZLE OF THE TOURIST?

Not the most illuminating synopsis… I’ve heard pretty good things about this novel, so I’ll try to get to it as soon as I can. Published in North America by Redhook, and in the UK by Orbit.

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Review copy received from publisher

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Kate Ellis, THE MERMAID’S (Little, Brown UK)

Why did Wynn Staniland, a legend in the literary world, suddenly become a recluse in the 1980s? Most assumed he stopped writing because of his wife’s bizarre suicide; a death that mirrored a murder case from the nineteenth century. And now a promising young author called Zac Wilkinson is working on Staniland’s biography and hopes to reveal the true story to a waiting world — while at the same time keeping his own troubled past hidden from public view.

When Wilkinson is found brutally murdered, DI Wesley Peterson finds links to the unexplained poisoning of a middle-aged couple at a local caravan park — and Wynn Staniland appears to be the connection.

As Wesley delves further into the case he suspects a sinister puppet show might provide the solution: a grim re-enactment of the murder of Mary Field, a cause celebre from the reign of Queen Victoria that inspired Staniland’s best-known novel.

The case becomes personal for Wesley when he discovers his son is involved, and as he begins to unravel decades of secrets and deception, the shocking truth proves almost too much to bear…

This is the 21st novel in Ellis’s Wesley Peterson series. I haven’t read any of the other novels… Published by Little, Brown in the UK, it’s out now.

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Review copy received from publisher

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GoldenC-SW-B2-InfernoSquadChristie Golden, BATTLEFRONT II: INFERNO SQUAD (Century)

Set in the aftermath of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, this action-packed prequel to the hotly anticipated videogame Battlefront II introduces the Empire’s elite force: Inferno Squad.

After the humiliating theft of the Death Star plans and the destruction of the battle station, the Empire is on the defensive. But not for long. In retaliation, the elite Imperial soldiers of Inferno Squad have been called in for the crucial mission of infiltrating and eliminating the Partisans — the rebel faction once led by notorious Republic freedom fighter Saw Gerrera.

Following the death of their leader, the Partisans have carried on his extremist legacy, determined to thwart the Empire — no matter the cost. Now Inferno Squad must prove its status as the best of the best and take down the Partisans from within. But the growing threat of being discovered in their enemy’s midst turns an already dangerous operation into a do-or-die acid test they dare not fail. To protect and preserve the Empire, to what lengths will Inferno Squad go… and how far beyond them?

The Rebellion may have heroes like Jyn Erso and Luke Skywalker. But the Empire has Inferno Squad.

I’ve never owned a game console, but the Battlefront series has tempted me so very much each time a new instalment is released. (One day…) In the meantime, I’m very much looking forward to giving this novel a try. I’ve enjoyed Golden’s SW fiction in the past, so have high hopes for Inferno Squad. It’s been a long time since I last read and enjoyed a SW novel, so I’m especially keen for my interest to be reawakened. Published by Century in the UK, and Del Rey in North America.

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Review copy received from publisher

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Nick Harkaway, GNOMON (William Heinemann)

In a near-future Britain, a distributed surveillance-democracy called The System knows everything you, and can even spy on your mind. It’s a Panopticon country. But when state investigators then look into the head of a refusenik novelist named Diana Hunter, what they find there is not her life story but that of four other people, spread across thousands of years, all vibrantly real and each utterly impossible – and before they can unravel that puzzle, Diana Hunter, shockingly, dies as a result of the investigation, an unheard of result in a perfect system which protects everyone from harm.

That’s where Inspector Mielikki Neith comes in, a staunch believer in The System who is assigned to investigate the Hunter case. The only problem is that the teasing mysteries in the dead woman’s mind may change all that. And these are extraordinary memories, ranging from the life of a banker named Constantine Kyriakos, who finds himself pursued by a shark that may in fact be a god; and an Ethiopian retired pop artist, Berihun Bekele, who picks up his brushes to create a virtual world called The System at the behest of his games’ designer grand-daughter; and Athenaïs Karthagonensis, the jilted lover of one of the Church’s most beloved saints, who seeks to resurrect her dead son with the help of a non-existent miracle; and then finally GNOMON, the acerbic post-human who is plotting to assassinate the next iteration of the Universe…

The question is whether there is a truth hidden in the noise of all those lives, as Mielikki begins to suspect?

Or is all that unfolding experience and drama simply a cover for some kind of attack upon the fabric of the most democratic nation state ever constructed?

And the questions just keep coming. Who was Diana Hunter, and why are her books impossible to obtain? And above all, was Diana Hunter innocent all along – worse, could she have been correct to attempt to withstand a perfect, democratic system?

I’ve had mixed reactions to Harkaway’s work in the past — sometimes, I find it brilliant, other times I lose interest. This one sounds like it might fall in the former category. I’m looking forward to giving this a try. Gnomon is published in the UK by William Heinemann, on November 2nd; and by Knopf in the US, on January 9th, 2018.

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Review copy received via NetGalley

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HarringtonR-SociableUSRebecca Harrington, SOCIABLE (Doubleday)

A comedy of manners set in the world of Internet media…

When Elinor Tomlinson moved to New York with a degree in journalism she had visions of writing witty opinion pieces, marrying her journalist boyfriend, and attending glamorous parties with famously perverted writers. Instead, Elinor finds herself nannying for two small children who speak in short, high screams, sleeping on a foam pad in a weird apartment, and attending terrible parties with Harper’s interns wearing shapeless smocks.

So when Elinor is offered a job at Journalism.ly, the digital media brainchild of a Silicon Valley celebrity, she jumps at the chance. Sure, her boyfriend is writing long think pieces about the electoral college for a real website while Elinor writes lists about sneakers and people at parties give her pitying glances when she reveals her employer, but at Journalism.ly Elinor discovers her true gift: She has a preternatural ability for writing sharable content. She is an overnight viral sensation! But Elinor’s success is not without cost. Elinor’s boyfriend dumps her, two male colleagues insist on “mentoring” her, and a piece she writes about her personal life lands her on local television.

Broke, single, and consigned to move to a fifth-floor walkup, Elinor must ask herself: Is this the creative life she dreamed of? Can new love be found on Coffee Meets Bagel? And should she start wearing a smock? With wry humor and sharp intelligence, Sociable is a hilarious tale of one young woman’s search for happiness — and an inside look at life in the wild world of Internet media.

This sounds like it could be quite good. Hopefully read it in the not-too-distant future. Sociable is published by Doubleday in March 2018. (So, I may hold off on posting the review…)

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Review copy received via Edelweiss

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HaspilMF-GraveyardShiftUSMichael F. Haspil, GRAVEYARD SHIFT (Tor)

Alex Menkaure, former pharaoh and mummy, and his vampire partner, Marcus, who was born in ancient Rome, once hunted evil vampires for UMBRA, a super-secret unit of the NSA. That was before the discovery of a blood substitute and a Supreme Court ruling allowed thousands of vampires to integrate into society.

Now, Alex and Marcus are vice cops in a special police unit. They fight to keep the streets safe from criminal vampires, shape-shifters, blood-dealers, and anti-vampire vigilantes.

When someone starts poisoning the artificial blood, relations between vampires and humans deteriorate to the brink of anarchy. While the city threatens to tear itself apart, Alex and Marcus must form an unnatural alliance with a vigilante gang and a shape-shifter woman in a desperate battle against an ancient vampire conspiracy.

If they succeed, they’ll be pariahs, hunted by everyone. If they fail, the result will be a war bloodier than any the world has ever seen.

This sounds like it could be quite fun. Looking forward to giving it a try. Graveyard Shift is published by Tor Books in the US and UK, and is out now.

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Review copy received from publisher

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HendrixG-MyBestFriendsExorcismPBGrady Hendrix, MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM (Quirk)

A heartwarming story of friendship and demonic possession. The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act… different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries — and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?

Like an unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist, My Best Friend’s Exorcism blends teen angst, adolescent drama, unspeakable horrors, and a mix of ’80s pop songs into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller.

If I hadn’t already known about this novel, that cover alone may have been enough to convince me to buy it… I love it. The novel sounds pretty cool, too. Will read ASAP. Published by Quirk Books in North America and the UK.

Also on CR: Guest Post on “Childhood Inspirations”

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Review copy received from publisher

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IdeJ-IQ2-RighteousUSJoe Ide, RIGHTEOUS (Mulholland)

For ten years, something has gnawed at Isaiah Quintabe’s gut and kept him up nights, boiling with anger and thoughts of revenge. Ten years ago, when Isaiah was just a boy, his brother was killed by an unknown assailant. The search for a killer sent Isaiah plunging into despair and nearly destroyed his life. Even with a flourishing career, a new dog, and near-iconic status as a PI in his hometown, East Long Beach, he has to begin the hunt again — or lose his mind.

A case takes him and his dubious, volatile sidekick, Dodson, to Vegas, where Chinese gangsters and a terrifying seven-foot loan shark are stalking a beautiful DJ and her screwball boyfriend. If Isaiah doesn’t find the two first, they’ll be murdered. Awaiting the outcome is the love of IQ’s life: fail, and he’ll lose her. Isaiah’s quest is fraught with treachery, menace, and startling twists, and it will lead him to the mastermind behind his brother’s death, Isaiah’s own sinister Moriarty. With even more action, suspense, and mind-bending mysteries than Isaiah’s first adventures, Righteous is a rollicking, ingenious thrill ride.

The second novel in Ide’s IQ series (which I still need to catch up on!), and one I’m really looking forward to reading. Published in mid-October by Mulholland Books in the US and UK.

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Review copy received via NetGalley

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Jay Kristoff, GODSGRAVE (Voyager)

Conquer your fear, conquer the world

Mia Corvere, destroyer of empires, has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry do not believe she has earned it.

Her position is precarious, and she’s still no closer to exacting revenge for the brutal death of her family. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it is announced that Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself into slavery for a chance to fulfill the promise she made on the day she lost everything.

Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold, secrets are revealed and the body count rises within the collegium walls, Mia will be forced to choose between her loyalties and her revenge.

Godsgrave is the sequel to Kristoff’s critically-acclaimed Nevernight. I haven’t yet read the first in the series, but I’m eager to do so. Hopefully read them back-to-back at some point soon. Published by Voyager in the UK, on September 7th; and in the US by Thomas Dunne Books, on September 5th.

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Review copy received via NetGalley

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Stone Leicht, BLACKTHORNE (Saga)

The Kingdom of Eledore has fallen and Nel and Suvi lead a diaspora of their people to safety, but the magic that has kept the demon forces away is dwindling, and they must find a new way to protect themselves.

The Acrasian army has swept through Eledore, nearly massacring the entire race in fear and hatred of the magic they possess. This same magic is all that was keeping the demon incursion at bay, but now the great evil that was banished is seeping into the world. Watchers are formed to warn of any sightings of the demons, but little can be done if one encounters them in shadow or at night.

Meanwhile, Nels leads a precious few hundred survivors of Eledore through the wilds, hoping to find solace and rebuild their civilization while his twin sister, Suvi, seeks allies at sea.

There is hope, born in the ashes of this devastation — a hope that Eledorian magic can grow, but only if they survive.

This is the second novel in Leicht’s Malorum Gates fantasy series, following on from Cold Iron (which I still need to read). Published by Saga Press in the US and UK, it’s out now.

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LimE-DearCyborgsUSEugene Lim, DEAR CYBORGS (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

In a small Midwestern town, two Asian American boys bond over their outcast status and a mutual love of comic books. Meanwhile, in an alternative or perhaps future universe, a team of superheroes ponder modern society during their time off. Between black-ops missions and rescuing hostages, they swap stories of artistic malaise and muse on the seemingly inescapable grip of market economics.

Gleefully toying with the conventions of the novel, Dear Cyborgs weaves together the story of a friendship’s dissolution with a provocative and timely meditation on protest. Through a series of linked monologues, a lively cast of characters explores narratives of resistance—protest art, eco-terrorists, Occupy squatters, pyromaniacal militants—and the extent to which any of these can truly withstand and influence the cold demands of contemporary capitalism. All the while, a mysterious cybernetic book of clairvoyance beckons, and trusted allies start to disappear.

Entwining comic-book villains with cultural critiques, Eugene Lim’s Dear Cyborgs is a fleet-footed literary exploration of power, friendship, and creativity. Ambitious and knowing, it combines detective pulps, subversive philosophy, and Hollywood chase scenes, unfolding like the composites and revelations of a dream.

This novel got a fair amount of interested, good buzz pre-publication, so I thought I’d give it a try. Dear Cyborgs is out now, published by FSG.

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Jonathan Lyon, CARNIVORE (HQ)

Meet Leander: lover, fighter, liar.

He learnt a long time ago that nothing is as intoxicating as blood. And these days, whether it’s his or someone else’s, he frequently finds himself covered in it.

Up to now, it’s been his secret. But it’s hard to remain invisible when you leave a trail of destruction everywhere you do go. And, when he comes to the attention of one of London’s most infamous criminals, Leander decides to put his appetite for violence to the ultimate test.

Let the villain win.

I hadn’t heard of this novel before it arrived in the mail. Pitched as “Dorian Grey goes Trainspotting“, it could be quite interesting. I’ll try to read this ASAP. Carnivore is published in the UK by HQ on August 24th.

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Review copy received from publisher

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Jeannette Ng, UNDER THE PENDULUM SUN (Angry Robot)

Catherine Helstone’s brother, Laon, has disappeared in Arcadia, legendary land of the magical fae. Desperate for news of him, she makes the perilous journey, but once there, she finds herself alone and isolated in the sinister house of Gethsemane. At last there comes news: her beloved brother is riding to be reunited with her soon – but the Queen of the Fae and her insane court are hard on his heels.

This sounds like it could be interesting (and that’s a pretty amazing cover). Published by Angry Robot Books in the UK and North America, in October 2017.

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Review copy received via NetGalley

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RaisinR-ANaturalUSRoss Raisin, A NATURAL (Random House)

After his unceremonious release from a Premier League academy at nineteen, Tom feels his bright future slipping away. The only contract offer he receives is from a lower-level club. Away from home for the first time, Tom struggles on and off the field, anxious to avoid the cruel pranks and hazing rituals of his teammates. Then a taboo encounter upends what little stability he has, forcing Tom to reconcile his suppressed desires with his drive to succeed.

Meanwhile, the team’s popular captain, Chris, is in denial about the state of his marriage. His wife, Leah, has almost forgotten the dreams she once held for her career. As her husband is transferred from club to club, and raising their first child practically on her own, she is lost, disillusioned with where life has taken her.

A Natural delves into the heart of a professional soccer club: the pressure, the loneliness, the threat of scandal, the fragility of the body, and the struggle of conforming to the person everybody else expects you to be.

Comment. A Natural is published in October by Random House in the US; and is out now in the UK, published by Jonathan Cape.

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Review copy received via NetGalley

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Charles Soule, THE ORACLE YEAR (Harper Perennial)

Knowledge is power. So when an unassuming Manhattan bassist named Will Dando awakens from a dream one morning with 108 predictions about the future in his head, he rapidly finds himself the most powerful man in the world. Protecting his anonymity by calling himself the Oracle, he sets up a heavily guarded Web site with the help of his friend Hamza to selectively announce his revelations. In no time, global corporations are offering him millions for exclusive access, eager to profit from his prophecies.

He’s also making a lot of high-powered enemies, from the President of the United States and a nationally prominent televangelist to a warlord with a nuclear missile and an assassin grandmother. Legions of cyber spies are unleashed to hack the Site — as it’s come to be called — and the best manhunters money can buy are deployed not only to unmask the Oracle but to take him out of the game entirely. With only a handful of people he can trust — including a beautiful journalist — it’s all Will can do just to survive, elude exposure, and protect those he loves long enough to use his knowledge to save the world.

Charles Soule is best known for his extensive body of work for Marvel (for example, Poe Dameron and Daredevil), as well as work for DC (Superman/Wonder Woman) and his own series (for example, Letter 44). The Oracle Year is his debut novel, and is published by Harper Perennial in April 2018, and will be available in the UK.

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Review copy received via Edelweiss

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TaibbiM-ICantBreatheUSMatt Taibbi, TITLE (Spiegel & Grau)

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in New York City after a police officer put him in what has been described as a “chokehold” during an arrest for selling “loosies,” or single cigarettes. The final moments of his life were captured on video and seen by millions, sparking an international series of protests that built into the transformative “Black Lives Matter” movement. Weeks after Garner’s death, two New York City police officers were killed by a young black man from Maryland, in what he claimed was revenge for Garner’s death. Those killings in turn led to police protests, clashes with New York’s new liberal mayor, and an eventual work slow-down.

Matt Taibbi, bestselling author and “the best polemic journalist in America” explores the roots and aftermath of Eric Garner’s death and tells a compelling story of the crime, the grand jury, the media circus, the murder of the police, and the protests from every side. The result is a riveting work of literary journalism that breaks new ground and provides a masterful narrative of urban America, the perversion of its policing and a brilliant examination of the racial tensions that threaten to tear it apart.

Easily one of my favourite writers on politics, even though I don’t always agree with him (especially on the 2016 election). This book takes a look at the infamous killing of Eric Garner and the following fallout. Published in the US by Spiegel & Grau, and WH Allen in the UK, in October 2017. I also still have Taibbi’s Insane Clown President to read, which I hope to do so very soon.

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Review copy received via NetGalley

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Adrian Tchaikovsky, IRONCLADS (Solaris)

Scions have no limits. Scions do not die. And Scions do not disappear.

Sergent Ted Regan has a problem. A son of one of the great corporate families, a Scion, has gone missing at the front. He should have been protected by his Ironclad — the lethal battle suits that make the Scions masters of war — but something has gone catastrophically wrong.

Now Regan and his men, ill equipped and demoralised, must go behind enemy lines, find the missing Scion, and uncover how his suit failed. Is there a new Ironcald-killer out there? And how are common soldiers lackng the protection afforded the rich supposed to survive the battlefield tomorrow?

New fiction by Adrian Tchaikovsky! Always something to cheer. Ironclads is published by Solaris in the UK and US, in November 2017.

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Review copy received from publisher

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Roma Tearne, THE WHITE CITY (Aardvark Bureau)

‘Every day when I stand on high ground and look towards the Tower, to where the river used to be, I see it melt a little more.’

Hera has known great loss over decades of endless winter. The first snows coincided with the arrest of her brother on terrorism charges, and since then she has witnessed the total collapse of normal life in a devastated London. Her only source of comfort through it all has been her relationship with Raphael. Now, as the thaw begins, can she at last track down her elusive lover?

Within this compelling vision of a dystopian near-future, Roma Tearne offers us a moving study of human endurance.

I don’t believe I’d heard of this novel before it arrived. Could be interesting. Published by Aardvark Bureau in October 2017.

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Review copy received from publisher

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Sage Walker, THE MAN IN THE TREE (Tor)

Humanity’s last hope of survival lies in space…but will a random death doom the venture?

Our planet is dying and the world’s remaining nations have pooled their resources to build a seed ship that will carry colonists on a multi-generational journey to a distant planet.

Everything is set for a bright adventure… and then someone is found hanging dead just weeks before the launch. Fear and paranoia spread as the death begins to look more and more like a murder. The authorities want the case settled quickly and quietly so as not to cause panic… and to prevent a murderer from sabotaging the entire mission.

With The Man in the Tree, Locus Award-winning author Sage Walker has given us a thrilling hard science fiction mystery that explores the intersection of law, justice, and human nature.

I hadn’t noticed this novel before it appeared on NetGalley, but it sounds like it could be interesting. I’ve also been on the look-out for some new SF authors to try, so hopefully this will work for me. The Man in the Tree is published by Tor Books in September 2017, and will be available in the UK.

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Review copy received via NetGalley

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Matt Wallace, GLUTTONY BAY (Tor.com)

Gluttony Bay is the penultimate Sin du Jour affair, Matt Wallace’s funny foodie series about the New York firm that caters to the paranormal, which began with Envy of Angels.

Welcome to Gluttony Bay High Security Supernatural Prison. We value your patronage. For your entertainment this evening, we are delighted to welcome the world’s most renowned paranormal culinary experts.

And on the menu: You.

Sounds like fun. One day, I’m really going to have to read this series… Gluttony Bay is due to be published on November 7th by Tor.com, in the US and UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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ZumasL-RedClocksUSLeni Zumas, RED CLOCKS (Lee Boudreaux Books)

Five women. One question. What is a woman for?

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro’s best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath, or “mender,” who brings all their fates together when she’s arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.

This has been described as a “Handmaid’s Tale for the new millennium”. Could be quite interesting. Red Clocks is published by Lee Boudreaux Books in January 2018, and will be available in the UK as well.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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Graphic Novels

RuckaG-BatwomanBATWOMAN by Greg Rucka (DC Comics)

Determined to continue serving others after her military career was cut short by bigotry, Kate Kane has taken up the identity of Batwoman, leading a one-woman war on Gotham City’s evil underbelly.

And at the heart of her investigation is the Religion of Crime, a criminal cult led by a madwoman known only as Alice. Speaking in riddles and storybook rhymes, the Lewis Carroll-inspired Alice aims to transform Gotham into her own twisted wonderland.

But is everything Alice says truly mad? Underneath her deranged theatrics, she may hold the key to understanding Batwoman’s past…

Collects: Detective Comics #854-863; also includes the never-before-collected storyline “Cutter” with guest artist Jock.

The first Batwoman comic I ever read was the collected edition of the “Elegy” storyline. One of the main reasons I picked it up was the introduction penned by Rachel Maddow. This was shortly after the DC New 52 had launched (i.e. the last time they re-set everything…), and it led me to read the whole of the New 52 Batwoman run. She quickly became one of my favourite characters. I’m grateful, therefore, that I’ll now be able to read Rucka’s full run on the character.

Review copy received from publisher

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FablesDeluxe-13FABLES DELUXE EDITION, Vol.13 (Vertigo)

Once Upon a Time…

Imagine that all the characters from the world’s most beloved storybooks were real—real and living among us, with all of their powers intact. How would they cope with life in our mundane, unmagical reality?

The answer can be found in FABLES, Bill Willingham’s celebrated reimagining of the venerable fairy tale canon. From Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf to Goldilocks and Little Boy Blue, the folktales of old are reborn here as exiles living in the magically camouflaged New York City neighborhood of Fabletown.

FABLES: THE DELUXE EDITION BOOK THIRTEEN includes the harrowing coming-of-age tale “Cubs in Toyland,” as well as the shattering events of “A Revolution in Oz” and “Snow White” from issues #114-129 of the award-winning Vertigo series, and features a new introduction by Lauren Beukes, as well as a special sketchbook section by series artist Mark Buckingham.

I love this series. I’m a few books behind, but I fully intend on catching up. If you have any interest in fantasy, fable, and/or storytelling, then I highly recommend you try this series. (The various spin-offs are also pretty great.)

Review copy received from publisher

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SeagleST-ItsABird2017IT’S A BIRD… (Vertigo)

In this new edition of the stunning semi-autobiographical graphic novel, acclaimed writer Steven T. Seagle tells one of the most realistic Superman tales ever — without featuring Superman.

Steve’s given the assignment every writer dreams of: to write Superman. Only he can’t relate to a Man of Steel — not when his own fears of death haunt him. Explore the cultural significance of a comic book icon as Steve comes to terms with Superman’s importance and power as a fictional ideal.

This classic Vertigo tale is now re-released for a whole new generation of fans!

Don’t know much about this title, but it sounds pretty interesting. Looking forward to reading it soon.

Review copy received from publisher

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WonderWoman-Rucka-Vol.02WONDER WOMAN by Greg Rucka, Vol.2 (DC Comics)

The aftermath of the ruination of Wonder Woman’s island home brings tragedy to Princess Diana’s closest friends, and a reborn threat from ancient myth threatens the world in this second collection of Eisner Award-winning author Greg Rucka’s critically acclaimed debut at the helm of the Amazon Warrior’s adventures!

The machinations of Ares have unexpectedly led to the revival of the long-dead Medusa, whose gaze can permanently turn anyone who sees her into stone! But when Wonder Woman fights Medusa in front of a worldwide audience, she makes an incredible and unexpected sacrifice to have any hope of defeating her foe.

Plus: Wonder Woman must prove her worth to the Justice League; a journey to the land of the dead with Wonder Girl shakes the Teen Titan to her core; and a team-up with the Flash pits the heroes against super-fast foes Zoom and the Cheetah!

Collects: Wonder Woman #206-217 and The Flash #219

The first of three Wonder Woman collections I’ve received in the past month or so (all written by Greg Rucka). I haven’t read any of his pre-New 52 run, but I’m interested in checking out this massive collection (I’ve also borrowed the first from my library, so will read and review them together, probably). Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Vol.2 is out now, published by DC Comics in print and digital.

Review copy received from publisher

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WonderWoman-Rebirth-Vol.01WONDER WOMAN (Rebirth), Vol.1 (DC Comics)

Heroic. Iconic. Unstoppable. Armed with her Lasso of Truth and imbued with the power of the gods themselves, Princess Diana of Themyscira — known to the world as Wonder Woman — is one of the greatest superheroes in history.

But who is she… really? Not even Wonder Woman herself knows for sure. Diana’s links to both the Amazons and the Gods of Olympus have been severed. Her memories are a tangle of contradictions that even her lie-detecting lasso cannot untangle.

To solve the riddle of her origin, she must embark on her greatest quest of all: finding a way back to her vanished home. To get there, she must team up with her greatest enemy, the feral beast-woman, Cheetah. Will this unlikely alliance shine the light of truth on Diana’s darkest secrets, or bury them — and her — forever?

Collects: Wonder Woman #1, #3, #5, #7, #9, #11 and the Wonder Woman: Rebirth one-shot.

I read this quite close to publication, and I enjoyed it. I didn’t love the final few collections of the New 52 run of the series, unfortunately, but I think Rucka’s done a fantastic job of re-starting Wonder Woman’s story.

Review copy received from publisher

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WONDER WOMAN (Rebirth), Vol.3 (DC Comics)

They say the truth will set you free. That’s what Princess Diana — the hero known to the world as Wonder Woman — believed. But she discovered a far darker truth, learning that her entire life and history had been transformed… and it has driven her to madness.

Even as her life unravels, sinister forces threaten all she holds dear. No matter how great the trauma, she must continue to fight against the evil and lies that have destroyed her life.

With the help of her closest allies — and her greatest enemy, the Cheetah — Diana will put the pieces of her broken mind back together and do battle against her fearsome new foes.

Will she defy the will of the gods, save her Amazon sisters and solve the mystery of her own existence once and for all? Or is the cost of the truth too steep for even Wonder Woman to bear?

Collects: Wonder Woman #13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25

Third volume, due out August 29th, 2017. Picked up the second volume, as well. Review hopefully very soon.

Review copy received from publisher

 

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