New Books (November-December)

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Featuring: Dan Abnett, Kent Anderson, K.C. Archer, Richard Baker, David Baldacci, Josiah Bancroft, Sue Burke, Alice Feeney, Leah Franqui, Stéphane Garnier, Robert Goolrick, Guy Haley, Jane Harris, Liska Jacobs, Maureen Johnson, Nick Kyme, Mario Vargas Llosa, David Mack, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, James Patterson, Robert V.S. Redick, Christopher Reich, Josh Reynolds, Curtis Sittenfeld, Andy Weir, C.L. Werner

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AbnettD-GG-WarmasterDan Abnett, THE WARMASTER (Black Library)

After the success of their desperate mission to Salvation’s Reach, Colonel-Commissar Gaunt and the Tanith First race to the strategically vital forge world of Urdesh, besieged by the brutal armies of Anarch Sek. However, there may be more at stake than just a planet. The Imperial forces have made an attempt to divide and conquer their enemy, but with Warmaster Macaroth himself commanding the Urdesh campaign, it is possible that the Archenemy assault has a different purpose — to decapitate the Imperial command structure with a single blow. Has the Warmaster allowed himself to become an unwitting target? And can Gaunt’s Ghosts possibly defend him against the assembled killers and war machines of Chaos?

The long-awaited, highly-anticipated new Gaunt’s Ghosts novel is finally available. I’ve read all of Abnett’s Gaunt’s novels (including the first short stories, which were published in Inferno! magazine), and enjoyed them all. The Warmaster is published by Black Library.

Also on CR: Interview with Dan Abnett (2011, w. Nik Vincent); Reviews of The Armour of Contempt, Only in Death, Blood Pact and Salvation’s Reach

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AndersonK-GreenSunUSKent Anderson, GREEN SUN (Mulholland)

Before Hanson arrived in Oakland, he had already seen some of the worst of humanity on a tour of duty in Vietnam and a stint in the Portland, Oregon police department. And then he moves to California to join the under-funded, understaffed Oakland police force. Unlike nearly all of his fellow officers, Hanson deliberately chooses to live in the precinct that he patrols; he takes seriously his duty to serve and protect the black community — his neighbors — in East Oakland.

Hanson befriends a neighborhood boy, embarks on a romantic relationship, and tries to remain in a notorious drug dealer’s good graces, all while struggling to stay a good cop despite the forces of hate and violence threatening him from all sides.

Green Sun is bracingly relevant to both the political and cultural moment we’re currently living in: Hanson is a white cop who meets black civilians not as antagonists, but as allies against his becoming the type of cop that he hates most.

Mulholland has a great track record for crime and thriller novels, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting this ever since I spotted it on the publisher’s website. Green Sun is published by Mulholland Books in the US and UK, in late February 2018.

Follow the Author: Goodreads

Review copy received via NetGalley

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ArcherKC-SfP1-SchoolForPsychicsUSK.C. Archer, THE SCHOOL FOR PSYCHICS (Simon & Schuster)

An entrancing new series starring a funny, impulsive, and sometimes self-congratulatory young woman who discovers she has psychic abilities — and then must decide whether she will use her skills for good or… not.

Teddy Cannon isn’t your typical twenty-something woman. She’s resourceful. She’s bright. She’s scrappy. She can also read people with uncanny precision. What she doesn’t realize: she’s actually psychic.

When a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the police, a mysterious stranger intervenes. He invites her to apply to the School for Psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco where students are trained like Delta Force operatives: it’s competitive, cutthroat, and highly secretive. They’ll learn telepathy, telekinesis, investigative skills, and SWAT tactics. And if students survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world.

In class, Teddy befriends Lucas, a rebel without a cause who can start and manipulate fire; Jillian, a hipster who can mediate communication between animals and humans; and Molly, a hacker who can apprehend the emotional state of another individual. But just as Teddy feels like she’s found where she might belong, strange things begin to happen: break-ins, missing students, and more. It leads Teddy to accept a dangerous mission that will ultimately cause her to question everything — her teachers, her friends, her family, and even herself.

This could be fun. The School for Psychics is due to be published in April 2018, by Simon & Schuster in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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BakerR-BoE1-ValiantDustUSRichard Baker, VALIANT DUST (Tor)

Sikander Singh North has always had it easy — until he joined the crew of the Aquilan Commonwealth starship CSS Hector. As the ship’s new gunnery officer and only Kashmiri, he must constantly prove himself better than his Aquilan crewmates, even if he has to use his fists. When the Hector is called to help with a planetary uprising, he’ll have to earn his unit’s respect, find who’s arming the rebels, and deal with the headstrong daughter of the colonial ruler — all while dodging bullets.

Sikander’s military career is off to an explosive start — but only if he and CSS Hector can survive his first mission.

This is the first novel in Baker’s new Breaker of Empires series. Valiant Dust is out now, published by Tor Books.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received from publisher

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BaldacciD-WR4-EndGameUSHCDavid Baldacci, END GAME (Grand Central)

Will Robie and Jessica Reel are two of the most lethal people alive. They’re the ones the government calls in when the utmost secrecy is required to take out those who plot violence and mass destruction against the United States. And through every mission, one man has always had their backs: their handler, code-named Blue Man.

But now, Blue Man is missing.

Last seen in rural Colorado, Blue Man had taken a rare vacation to go fly fishing in his hometown when he disappeared off the grid. With no communications since, the team can’t help but fear the worst.

Sent to investigate, Robie and Reel arrive in the small town of Grand to discover that it has its own share of problems. A stagnant local economy and a woefully understaffed police force have made this small community a magnet for crime, drugs, and a growing number of militant fringe groups.

But lying in wait in Grand is an even more insidious and sweeping threat, one that may shake the very foundations of America. And when Robie and Reel find themselves up against an adversary with superior firepower and a home-court advantage, they’ll be lucky if they make it out alive, with or without Blue Man…

End Game is the fifth book in Baldacci’s excellent Will Robie series. As I am inclined to do, I have the previous novel still to read as well. I’m predicting a binge-catch-up in the very near future. End Game is published in North America by Grand Central, and in the UK by Macmillan.

Also on CR: Reviews of Bullseye, The Innocent, The Hit and The Target

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BancroftJ-BoB2-ArmOfTheSphinxJosiah Bancroft, ARM OF THE SPHINX (Orbit)

The Tower of Babel is proving to be as difficult to reenter as it was to break out of. Forced into a life of piracy, Senlin and his eclectic crew are struggling to survive aboard their stolen airship as the hunt to rescue Senlin’s lost wife continues.

Hopeless and desolate, they turn to a legend of the Tower, the mysterious Sphinx. But help from the Sphinx never comes cheaply, and as Senlin knows, debts aren’t always what they seem in the Tower of Babel.

Time is running out, and now Senlin must choose between his friends, his freedom, and his wife.

Does anyone truly escape the Tower?

Bancroft’s series has been an incredible word-of-mouth success, quickly going from self-published to Orbit. I’ve heard only good things, but for some reason I’ve been really slow about getting to the first novel, Senlin Ascends. Maybe now that I have the first two novels (another is on the way), I’ll get to it soon. I have high hopes for this series. Arm of the Phoenix is published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK.

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Review copy received via NetGalley

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BurkeS-SemiosisUSSue Burke, SEMIOSIS (Tor)

Human survival hinges on a bizarre alliance… a character driven science fiction novel of first contact by debut author Sue Burke.

Colonists from Earth wanted the perfect home, but they’ll have to survive on the one they found. They don’t realize another life form watches… and waits…

Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet’s sentient species and prove that humans are more than tools.

This sounds pretty interesting. Semiosis is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and the UK, in February 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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CoreyJSA-E7-PersepolisRisingJames S.A. Corey, PERSEPOLIS RISING (Orbit)

In the thousand-sun network of humanity’s expansion, new colony worlds are struggling to find their way. Every new planet lives on a knife-edge between collapse and wonder, and the crew of the aging gunship Rocinante have their hands more than full keeping the fragile peace.

In the vast space between Earth and Jupiter, the inner planets and the Belt have formed a tentative and uncertain alliance still haunted by a history of wars and prejudices. On the lost colony world of Laconia, a hidden enemy has a new vision for all of humanity and the power to enforce it.

New technologies clash with old as the history of human conflict returns to its ancient pattern of war and subjugation. But human nature is not the only enemy, and the forces being unleashed have their own price. A price that will change the shape of humanity — and of the Rocinante — unexpectedly and forever…

This is the seventh book in the Expanse series. I’ve only read the first novel, Leviathan Wakes, but would like to someday catch up with the rest. Persepolis Rising is published by Orbit Books in the UK and North America.

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Review copy received from publisher

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Young woman with dress hanging in the airAlice Feeney, SOMETIMES I LIE (Flatiron Books)

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.

2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.

3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

I think I may have received an ARC from Feeney’s UK publisher, recently, but I can’t seem to find it. (Someone’s probably borrowed it.) This novel has been receiving some pretty good buzz, so I’m interested in giving it a try. Published by Flatiron Books in North America, in March 2018; and out now in the UK, published by HQ.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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FranquiL-AmericaForBeginnersUSdraftLeah Franqui, AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS (William Morrow)

Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkota to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi devastated his very traditional parents when he told them he was gay. Then, Pival’s husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenly — heartbreaking news she still refuses to accept. Now, with Ram gone, she is going to America to find Rahi, alive and whole or dead and gone, and come to terms with her own life.

Arriving in New York, the tour proves to be more complicated than anticipated. Planned by the company’s indefatigable owner, Ronnie Munshi — a hard-working immigrant and entrepreneur hungry for his own taste of the American dream — it is a work of haphazard improvisation. Pavil’s guide is the company’s new hire, the guileless and wonderfully resourceful Satya, who has been in America for one year — and has never actually left the five boroughs. For modesty’s sake Pival and Satya will be accompanied by Rebecca Elliot, an aspiring young actress. Eager for a paying gig, she’s along for the ride, because how hard can a two-week “working” vacation traveling across America be?

Slowly making her way from coast to coast with her unlikely companions, Pival finds that her understanding of her son — and her hopes of a reunion with him — are challenged by her growing knowledge of his adoptive country. As the bonds between this odd trio deepens, Prival, Satya, and Rebecca learn to see America — and themselves — in different and profound new ways.

A bittersweet and bighearted tale of forgiveness, hope, and acceptance, America for Beginners illuminates the unexpected enchantments life can hold, and reminds us that our most precious connections aren’t always the ones we seek.

The synopsis caught my eye, and decided to request on a whim. It’s not out for a long while, though, so I’ll hold off a bit on posting the review. America for Beginners is due to be published by William Morrow in North America (July 24th, 2018) and Harper Collins in the UK (August 9th, 2018).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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GarnierS-HowToThinkLikeACatUSStéphane Garnier, HOW TO THINK LIKE A CAT (Harper Wave)

This delightful, internationally bestselling guide is a coda for living the good life… just like a cat.

The Cat is calm, observant, charismatic, independent, proud, joyful; he knows how to strut and is impervious to judgement; he accepts himself as he is and adapts quickly. The Cat knows to say nothing and to avoid conflicts and yet he knows exactly what he wants and dares to ask for it… The cat is free.

After observing his cat, Ziggy, for years, Stephane Garnier decides he would be much happier living more like Ziggy than his human self. Closer observation convinced him cats have life down to an art form and he set out to share Ziggy’s je ne sais quoi with the world. Highlighting forty trademark cat qualities that are (almost) entirely applicable to human daily living, Garnier’s insights are surprisingly and delightfully useful. Whether at work, at home, or in your social life, cats can teach you how to resist stress, remain independent, never lose your charisma, and quietly influence the world around you.

Peppered throughout the book are tips for living a day in the life of a cat; and includes a Q&A to test your “cat quotient” to see how much work you have to do learn the subtle art of living like a feline.

This could be fun. How to Think Like a Cat is published by Harper Wave in North America (February), and Fourth Estate in the UK (out now).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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GoolrickR-DyingOfTheLightUSRobert Goolrick, THE DYING OF THE LIGHT (Harper)

It begins with a house and ends in ashes…

Diana Cooke was “born with the century” and came of age just after World War I. The daughter of Virginia gentry, she knew early that her parents had only one asset, besides her famous beauty: their stately house, Saratoga, the largest in the commonwealth, which has hosted the crème of society and Hollywood royalty. Though they are land-rich, the Cookes do not have the means to sustain the estate. Without a wealthy husband, Diana will lose the mansion that has been the heart and soul of her family for five generations.

The mysterious Captain Copperton is an outsider with no bloodline but plenty of cash. Seeing the ravishing nineteen-year-old Diana for the first time, he’s determined to have her. Diana knows that marrying him would make the Cookes solvent and ensure that Saratoga will always be theirs. Yet Copperton is cruel as well as vulgar; while she admires his money, she cannot abide him. Carrying the weight of Saratoga and generations of Cookes on her shoulders, she ultimately succumbs to duty, sacrificing everything, including love.

Luckily for Diana, fate intervenes. Her union with Copperton is brief and gives her a son she adores. But when her handsome, charming Ashton, now grown, returns to Saratoga with his college roommate, the real scandal and tragedy begins.

Reveling in the secrets, mores, and society of twentieth-century genteel Southern life, The Dying of the Lightis a romance, a melodrama, and a cautionary tale told with the grandeur and sweep of an epic Hollywood classic.

I first heard of Goolrick’s work via The Fall of Princes, and decided to give this new novel a try as well. The Dying of the Light is due to be published by Harper in North America (March) and in the UK (July).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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HaleyG-SMC-DevastationOfBaalGuy Haley, THE DEVASTATION OF BAAL (Black Library)

The Blood Angels Chapter of Space Marines is under threat. Having obliterated all human life in the Red Scar region of space, the largest tendril of Hivefleet Leviathan ever seen in the Imperium has converged and is making relentlessly for Baal.

To face this awesome foe, Commander Dante has called upon the Successor Chapters of the ancient Ninth Legion. The Sons of Sanguinius gather in numbers not seen since the dark days of the Horus Heresy. Thirty thousand Space Marines stand ready to thwart the Great Devourer, save the homeworld of their primarch, and prevent the consumption of billions in the Ultima Segmentum beyond.

But the tyranid swarm numbers in the trillions, and they are not the only danger to the Chapter’s future. As the galaxy slides toward a terrifying new era, events far away threaten to unleash a greater evil. A further enemy must also be overcome, that of the Black Rage that lurks in the souls of all Sanguinius’s bloodline.

I really enjoyed Haley’s previous Blood Angels novel, Dante — a history (of sorts) of the chapter’s current master. When I learned he was writing another novel about the chapter, I added it to my Must Read list. The Devastation of Baal is published by Black Library.

Also on CR: Interview with Guy Haley (2015); Reviews of Dante, Pharos and Perturabo

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HarrisJ-SugarMoneyJane Harris, SUGAR MONEY (Arcade)

Set in 1765 on the Caribbean islands of Grenada and Martinique, Sugar Money opens as two enslaved brothers — Emile and Lucien — are sent on an impossible mission forced upon them by their masters, a band of mendicant French monks.

The monks run hospitals in the islands and fund their ventures through farming cane sugar and distilling rum. Seven years earlier — after a series of scandals — they were ousted from Grenada by the French authorities, and had to leave their slaves behind. Despite the fact that Grenada is now under British rule, and effectively enemy territory, the monks devise an absurdly ambitious plan: they send Emile and Lucien to the island to convince the monks’ former slaves to flee British brutality and escape with them.

Based on a historical rebellion, award-winning writer Jane Harris peoples her daring novel with unforgettable characters. Recounted by Lucien, the younger brother, this story of courage, disaster, and love, is a testament to the tenacity of the human spirit under the crush of unspeakable cruelty.

This sounded like it could be interesting. Sugar Money is published by Arcade in North America, in March 2018; and is out now in the UK, published by Faber & Faber.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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JacobsJ-CatalinaUSLiska Jacobs, CATALINA (FSG Originals)

Elsa Fisher is headed for rock bottom. At least, that’s her plan. She has just been fired from MoMA on the heels of an affair with her married boss, and she retreats to Los Angeles to blow her severance package on whatever it takes to numb the pain. Her abandoned crew of college friends (childhood friend Charlotte and her wayward husband, Jared; and Elsa’s ex-husband, Robby) receive her with open arms, and, thinking she’s on vacation, a plan to celebrate their reunion on a booze-soaked sailing trip to Catalina Island.

But Elsa doesn’t want to celebrate. She is lost, lonely, and full of rage, and only wants to sink as low as the drugs and alcohol will take her. On Catalina, her determined unraveling and recklessness expose painful memories and dark desires, putting everyone in the group at risk.

With the creeping menace of Patricia Highsmith and the bender-chic of Bret Easton Ellis, Liska Jacobs brings you inside the mind of an angry, reckless young woman hell-bent on destruction — every page taut with the knowledge that Elsa’s path does not lead to a happy place. Catalina is a compulsive, deliciously dark exploration of beauty, love, and friendship, and the sometimes toxic desires that drive us.

I don’t remember when I first heard about this novel, but it caught my attention again when I saw that it was out. Decided to give it a try. Catalina is published by FSG Originals in North America and the UK.

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JohnsonM-TD1-TrulyDeviousUSMaureen Johnson, TRULY DEVIOUS (Katherine Tegan Books)

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder. 

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.

The first novel in Johnson’s new series, I think it sounds quite interesting. I’ve also never read anything by Johnson, although I’ve heard only good things. I’ll hopefully get to this very soon. Published by Katherine Tegen Books in North America and in the UK, on January 16th, 2018.

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Review copy received via Edelweiss

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KymeN-HH46-OldEarthNick Kyme, OLD EARTH (Black Library)

Reborn in body and spirit beneath Mount Deathfire, the primarch Vulkan gathers his most trusted sons and prepares for the final part of his journey. The Legions shattered at Isstvan V have stalled the Warmaster’s advance across the galaxy, but fresh cracks are spreading through the alliance between the Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard, along with mysterious rumours of the return of Ferrus Manus. Haunted by a sense of destiny unfulfilled, Vulkan must choose between joining their war of vengeance against the traitors, or following his own barely understood path all the way to the Throneworld itself.

The third (final?) novel in Kyme’s Salamanders Horus Heresy storyline, following the excellent novels Vulkan Lives and Deathfire, and the novellas Promethean Sun, Scorched Earth and Sons of the Forge. I’m looking forward to seeing how Kyme brings Volkan back into the mix, and takes the story to Terra. Published by Black Library.

Also on CR: Interview with Nick Kyme (2011); Reviews of Promethean Sun, Vulkan Lives and Deathfire

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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LlosaMV-NeighborhoodUSMario Vargas Llosa, THE NEIGHBORHOOD (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

A thrilling tale of desire and Peruvian corruption swirls around a scandalous expose that leads to murder.

From the Nobel Laureate comes a politically charged detective novel weaving through the underbelly of Peruvian privilege. In the 1990s, during the turbulent and deeply corrupt years of Alberto Fujimori’s presidency, two wealthy couples of Lima’s high society become embroiled in a disturbing vortex of erotic adventures and politically driven blackmail.

One day Enrique, a high-profile businessman, receives a visit from Rolando Garro, the editor of a notorious magazine that specializes in salacious exposes. Garro presents Enrique with lewd pictures from an old business trip and demands that he invest in the magazine. Enrique refuses, and the next day the pictures are on the front page. Meanwhile, Enrique’s wife is in the midst of a passionate and secret affair with the wife of Enrique’s lawyer and best friend. When Garro shows up murdered, the two couples are thrown into a whirlwind of navigating Peru’s unspoken laws and customs, while the staff of the magazine embark on their greatest expose yet.

Ironic and sensual, provocative and redemptive, the novel swirls into the kind of restless realism that has become Mario Vargas Llosa’s signature style. A twisting, unpredictable tale, The Neighborhood is at once a scathing indictment of Fujimori’s regime and a crime thriller that evokes the vulgarity of freedom in a corrupt system.

I’m really looking forward to reading this novel. I lived in Peru in the early 1980s (though I was too young to remember anything now), and I still have family there. As a result, I have an enduring interest in the country and its authors. Last year, I went to a wedding in a pretty fancy neighborhood in Lima, and I’m intrigued to find out if Llosa’s characters end up in any familiar areas of the city. I will also be spending Christmas there this year, which is when I intend to read The Neighborhood (it’s a pretty long flight…). The novel is published February 2018 in the US, by Farrar, Straus & Giroux (distributed in Canada by Raincoast); and May 2018 in the UK, by Faber & Faber.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received from publisher

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MackD-DA1-MidnightFrontUSDavid Mack, THE MIDNIGHT FRONT (Tor)

On the eve of World War Two, Nazi sorcerers come gunning for Cade but kill his family instead. His one path of vengeance is to become an apprentice of The Midnight Front — the Allies’ top-secret magickal warfare program — and become a sorcerer himself.

Unsure who will kill him first — his allies, his enemies, or the demons he has to use to wield magick — Cade fights his way through occupied Europe and enemy lines. But he learns too late the true price of revenge will be more terrible than just the loss of his soul — and there’s no task harder than doing good with a power born of ultimate evil.

I’ve been looking forward to reading this novel ever since I first heard about it. Mack is perhaps best known for his Star Trek fiction. The Midnight Front, the first novel in the Dark Arts series, is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and the UK, in January 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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MorenoGarciaS-PrimeMeridianSilvia Moreno-Garcia, PRIME MERIDIAN (Innsmouth Free Press)

Amelia dreams of Mars. The Mars of the movies and the imagination, an endless bastion of opportunities for a colonist with some guts. But she’s trapped in Mexico City, enduring the drudgery of an unkind metropolis, working as a rent-a-friend, selling her blood to old folks with money who hope to rejuvenate themselves with it, enacting a fractured love story. And yet there’s Mars, at the edge of the silver screen, of life.

I stumbled across this on NetGalley, and requested it on a whim. I’m a big fan of Moreno-Garcia’s writing, so I had very high hopes for this. I read this the day after I got it, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s an interesting character study, with a backdrop of a near(ish) future, one immediately familiar. Definitely recommended to all fans of well-written, character-focused stories that offer interesting observations on today’s society and mores. Prime Meridian is published by Innsmouth Free Press, in North America and the UK (paperback out now, UK eBook in July, apparently).

Also on CR: Excerpt from Signal to Noise; Excerpt from Signal to Noise

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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MosleyW-DownTheRiverUntoTheSeaUKWalter Mosley, DOWN THE RIVER UNTO THE SEA (Mulholland)

A former NYPD cop once imprisoned for a crime he did not commit must solve two cases: that of a man wrongly condemned to die, and his own.

Joe King Oliver was one of the NYPD’s finest investigators, until, dispatched to arrest a well-heeled car thief, he is framed for assault by his enemies within the NYPD, a charge which lands him in solitary at Rikers Island.

A decade later, King is a private detective, running his agency with the help of his teenage daughter, Aja-Denise. Broken by the brutality he suffered and committed in equal measure while behind bars, his work and his daughter are the only light in his solitary life. When he receives a card in the mail from the woman who admits she was paid to frame him those years ago, King realizes that he has no choice but to take his own case: figuring out who on the force wanted him disposed of — and why.

Running in parallel with King’s own quest for justice is the case of Frankie Figures, a Black radical journalist accused of killing two on-duty police officers — officers Figures discovered had been abusing their badges to traffic in drugs and women within the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

Joined by Melquarth Frost, a brilliant sociopath, our hero must beat dirty cops and dirtier bankers, craven lawyers, and above all keep his daughter far from the underworld in which he works. All the while, two lives hang in the balance: Frankie Figures’, and King’s own.

New novel from Mosley, sounds really interesting. Will read ASAP. Down the River Unto the Sea is published in late February by Mulholland Books in the US, and W&N in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via NetGalley

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PattersonJ-AC25-PeopleVsAlexCrossUKHCJames Patterson, THE PEOPLE VS. ALEX CROSS (Little, Brown/Century)

The charges: explosive

Alex Cross has never been on the wrong side of the law-until now. Charged with gunning down followers of his nemesis Gary Soneji in cold blood, Cross is being turned into the poster child for trigger-happy cops who think they’re above the law. Cross knows it was self-defense. But will a jury see it that way?

The evidence: shocking

As Cross fights for his professional life and his freedom, his former partner John Sampson brings him a gruesome, titillating video tied to the mysterious disappearances of several young girls. Despite his suspension from the department, Cross can’t say no to Sampson. The illicit investigation leads them to the darkest corners of the Internet, where murder is just another form of entertainment.

The People vs. Alex Cross: the trial of the century

As the prosecution presents its case, and the nation watches, even those closest to Cross begin to doubt his innocence. If he can’t convince his own family that he didn’t pull the trigger with intent to kill, how can he hope to persuade a jury? But even with everything on the line, Cross will do whatever it takes to stop a dangerous criminal… even if he can’t save himself.

I’ve read almost all of Patterson’s Alex Cross novels. This is the 25th in the series, and I picked it up when it was a Kindle Daily Deal. I’ll have to read the 24th novel and the second novella before I get to this, but I tend to read Patterson’s novels very quickly. The People vs. Alex Cross is published by Century in the UK, and Little, Brown in North America.

 Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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RedickRVS-FS1-MasterAssassinsRobert V.S. Redick, MASTER ASSASSINS (Skyhorse)

Two village boys mistaken for assassins become the decisive figures in the battle for a continent…

Kandri Hinjuman was never meant to be a soldier. His brother Mektu was never meant for this world. Rivals since childhood, they are drafted into a horrific war led by a madwoman-Prophet, and survive each day only by hiding their disbelief. Kandri is good at blending in, but Mektu is hopeless: impulsive, erratic — and certain that a demon is stalking him. Is this madness or a second sense? Either way, Kandri knows that Mektu’s antics will land them both in early graves.

But all bets are off when the brothers’ simmering feud explodes into violence, and holy blood is spilled. Kandri and Mektu are taken for contract killers and must flee for their lives — to the one place where they can hope to disappear: the sprawling desert known as the Land that Eats Men. In this eerie wilderness, the terrain is as deadly as the monsters, ghouls, and traffickers in human flesh. Here the brothers find strange allies: an aging warlord, a desert nomad searching for her family, a lethal child-soldier still in her teens. They also find themselves in possession of a secret that could bring peace to the continent of Urrath. Or unthinkable carnage.

On their heels are the Prophet’s death squads. Ahead lie warring armies, sandstorms, evil spirits and the deeper evil of human greed. But hope beckons as well — if the “Master Assassins” can expose the lie that has made them the world’s most wanted men.

It’s been a long while, it seems, since I last saw Redick’s name mentioned — certainly in relation to a new novel. Redick is the author of the well-received Chathrand Voyage tetralogy. Master Assassins is the first novel in Redick’s new fantasy series, the Fire Sacraments. It is published by Talos Press in the US and UK, in March 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via NetGalley

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ReichC-TheTakeUS2Christopher Reich, THE TAKE (Mulholland)

Simon Riske is a freelance industrial spy, he lives a mostly quiet life above his auto garage in central London. He is hired to perform the odd job for a bank, an insurance company, or the British Secret Service, when he isn’t expertly stealing a million-dollar watch off the wrist of a crooked Russian oligarch.

Simon has maintained his quiet life by avoiding big, messy jobs; until now. A Corsican by the name of Tino Coluzzi has orchestrated the greatest street heist in Paris history: a visiting Saudi prince and his family had their pockets lightened of millions in cash, and something else. Hidden within a stolen briefcase is a letter that will upend the balance of power in the Western world. The Russians have already killed in an attempt to get it back when the CIA comes knocking at Simon’s door.

Coluzzi was a former cohort of Simon’s, in a past life on the narrow, wind-swept streets of Marseille. Their criminal alliance dissolved when Coluzzi sent Simon to prison, and arranged to have him killed. Now it is thief against thief, along with a dangerous Parisian cop, a murderous Russian agent, and her equally unhinged boss.

I’ve been looking forward to this novel ever since I spotted it on the publisher’s website. I’ll be reading it very soon. The Take is due to be published by Mulholland Books in January 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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ReynoldsJ-FabiusBile2-ClonelordJosh Reynolds, FABIUS BILE: CLONELORD (Black Library)

Once a loyal son of the Emperor’s Children, Fabius Bile now loathes those he once called brother. But when a former comrade requests his aid on a mission he cannot refuse, Bile is drawn once more into the sinister machinations of his former Legion. Now, accompanied by new allies and old enemies alike, Fabius Bile must travel deep into the wilds of the Eastern Fringe, in search of a world unlike any other. A world which might hold the key to his very survival. A world called Solemnace…

The second novel in Reynolds’s Fabius Bile series — the first of which, Primogenitor, was excellent. Published by Black Library.

Also on CR: Interview with Josh Reynolds (2017); Review of Primogenitor

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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SittenfeldC-YouThinkItIllSayItUSHCCurtis Sittenfeld, YOU THINK IT, I’LL SAY IT (Random House)

Curtis Sittenfeld has established a reputation as a sharp chronicler of the modern age who humanizes her subjects even as she skewers them. Now, with this first collection of short fiction, her “astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers’ heads” (The Washington Post) is showcased like never before.

Throughout the ten stories in You Think It, I’ll Say It, Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided. In “The World Has Many Butterflies,” married acquaintances play a strangely intimate game with devastating consequences. In “Vox Clamantis in Deserto,” a shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate’s seemingly enviable life. In “A Regular Couple,” a high-powered lawyer honeymooning with her husband is caught off guard by the appearance of the girl who tormented her in high school. And in “The Prairie Wife,” a suburban mother of two fantasizes about the downfall of an old friend whose wholesome-lifestyle empire may or may not be built on a lie.

With moving insight and uncanny precision, Curtis Sittenfeld pinpoints the questionable decisions, missed connections, and sometimes extraordinary coincidences that make up a life. Indeed, she writes what we’re all thinking — if only we could express it with the wit of a master satirist, the storytelling gifts of an old-fashioned raconteur, and the vision of an American original.

Before I got this ARC, I think I’d only read a single short story by Sittenfeld (although, I can’t remember which one). When I learned of this collection, therefore, I was eager to read more. I started reading this the day I got it, and read the stories within over about a week. There’s no denying the author’s skill at crafting stories — there was nothing wrong with the prose. The characters were just a bit… dead. I didn’t really connect with any of them. While there are scenes or certain passages in each story that were great, as a whole, each one left me feeling a bit disappointed. I’ll come up with a longer, better review in the near future, but overall I was disappointed. I still intend to, eventually, get around to reading American Wife and Prep — I have friends who have said they are Sittenfeld’s best. You Think It, I’ll Say It is due to be published in North America by Random House, in April 2018; and in the UK by Doubleday in May 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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WeirA-ArtemisUSAndy Weir, ARTEMIS (Crown)

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself — and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

I have still not read The Martian, despite watching the movie at least three times (I love it). I’ll try to fix that situation ASAP, as well as read this, Weir’s highly-anticipated second novel. Artemis is published by Crown in North America, and Del Rey in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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WernerCL-AoS-OverlordsOfTheIronDragonC.L. Werner, OVERLORDS OF THE IRON DRAGON (Black Library)

Far above the highest mountain peaks, a new power has arisen. The duardin have developed new technology and weapons of war, and now they sail the skies in their amazing airships, seeking wealth and plunder. Brokrin Ullissonn, Captain of the Ang Drak, has a reputation for bad luck. Unless his fortune turns, and soon, he will lose his ship and his livelihood. When he and his crew discover the location of a source of aether-gold of unparalleled quality, the temptation is too strong to resist. No matter what dangers present themselves, the duardin desire wealth beyond all. But when Brokrinn realises what the true cost of the aether-gold will be, is it too late for him to save himself, his crew, and his ship?

I’m still on the fence about Age of Sigmar, the new version of the Warhammer setting. For some reason, I’ve been struggling to figure out the world and how it works/is structured. More novels are coming out that offer more than just a detailed battle-report, though, so hopefully I’ll figure it out soon(ish). I’ve enjoyed Werner’s fiction in the past, so I’m very interested in giving this a try. Published by Black Library in the UK and North America.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

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