New Books (February-March)

NewBooks-20180327

Featuring: Aimee Agresti, E.M. Brown, Jack Carr, Sebastien de Castell, Ruthanna Emmys, Raymond E. Feist, Christopher Fowler, Jason Fry, Louisa Hall, Michael Harvey, Ken Jennings, Richard Kadrey, Barbara Kingsolver, Nancy Kress, Mark Lawrence, Roger Levy, Laura Lippman, K.M. McKinley, Sean Parnell, Charlton Pettus, Josh Reynolds, David Ricciardi, Karl Schroeder, Ricki Schultz, Julie Schumacher, J. Todd Scott, Michael Farris Smith, Wallace Stroby, Stuart Turton, Raymond A. Villareal, Martha Wells, JY Yang

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AgrestiA-CampaignWidowsUSAimee Agresti, CAMPAIGN WIVES (Graydon House)

Cady Davenport is living the American dream…

At least she’s supposed to be. She’s in a new city, with a new job and even a new fiancé. But when her husband-to-be hits the road for the upcoming presidential election, Cady realizes she’s on her own — and that her dream life might not be all she’d imagined.

Until she finds herself thrust straight into the heart of the most influential inner circle in Washington, DC: the campaign widows. As friends, they’re an unlikely group — a fabulous Georgetown doyenne; a speechwriter turned mommy blogger; an artsy website editor; and a First Lady Hopeful who’s not convinced she wants the job. But they share one undeniable bond: their spouses are all out on the trail during a hotly contested election season.

Cady is unsure of her place in their illustrious group, but with the pressures of the unprecedented election mounting, the widows’ worlds keep turning — faster than ever — as they hold down the fort while running companies, raising babies, racking up page views and even reinventing themselves. And their friendship might be just what Cady needs to find the strength to pursue her own happiness.

I’m a big fan of political fiction, so when I saw this I thought it looked like an interesting, atypical fictional approach to US politics. I’ll be reading it hopefully very soon. Campaign Wives is due to be published by Graydon House in May 2018. (No UK publication that I could see, but it is available to order via import.)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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BrownEM-BuyingTimeE.M. Brown, BUYING TIME (Solaris)

In January 2017, something very strange happens to screenwriter Ed Richie. He wakes up one morning to find that he has been shunted back in time nine months and is now inhabiting the body of his younger self…

Worse is to come: the following day he jumps three years, to 2013, with all his memories of the intervening years intact. What is happening to him? Is he going mad? And where will his involuntary time-travel end?

Meanwhile, in 2030, journalist Ella Croft is investigating the life of screenwriter and celebrated novelist Ed Richie, who mysteriously vanished in 2025. She interviews friends, acquaintances, and old lovers – and what she discovers will change not only Ed Richie’s life, but her own…

Buying Time is a time-travel novel like no other. No man is rich enough to buy back his past – unless that man is Ed Richie…

Hadn’t heard about this before it arrived, but think it sounds pretty interesting. Looking forward to giving it a try. Buying Time is due to be published by Solaris in mid-May 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received from publisher

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CarrJ-1-TerminalListUSJack Carr, TERMINAL LIST (Atria/Emily Bestler)

A Navy SEAL has nothing left to live for and everything to kill for after he discovers that the American government is behind the deaths of his team in this ripped-from-the-headlines political thriller.

On his last combat deployment, Lieutenant Commander James Reece’s entire team was killed in a catastrophic ambush that also claimed the lives of the aircrew sent in to rescue them. But when those dearest to him are murdered on the day of his homecoming, Reece discovers that this was not an act of war by a foreign enemy but a conspiracy that runs to the highest levels of government.

Now, with no family and free from the military’s command structure, Reece applies the lessons that he’s learned in over a decade of constant warfare toward avenging the deaths of his family and teammates. With breathless pacing and relentless suspense, Reece ruthlessly targets his enemies in the upper echelons of power without regard for the laws of combat or the rule of law.

An intoxicating thriller that cautions against the seduction of absolute power and those who would do anything to achieve it.

The start of a new series, one that certainly looks like it will appeal to fans of Vince Flynn, Kyle Mills, Brad Thor et al. Looking forward to giving it a try. Terminal List is out now, published by Atria/Emily Bestler in North America and the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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deCastell-S2-ShadowblackSebastien de Castell, SHADOWBLACK (Hot Key Books)

SORCERY IS A SCAM…

Four months after fleeing his own people, Kellen has discovered he’s an even worse outlaw than he was mage. It doesn’t help that his only allies are a swaggering card player and a thieving squirrel cat.

Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn’t blind, and whose secrets get them caught up in a conspiracy of magic, blackmail and murder. Now Kellen must find the mage responsible before the entire frontier falls victim to the mystical plague known as the shadowblack.

This is the second novel in de Castell’s Spellslinger series, which has been gathering momentum and praise. It was a Kindle deal recently in the UK, which is when I bought it (and the first novel). Published by Hot Key Books in the UK, I’m looking forward to giving it a try. The third novel in the series, Charmcaster, is out in mid-May 2018.

Also on CR: Interviews with Sebastien de Castell — 2014 and 2017; Guest Post on “Where Writers Get Their Groove”; Reviews of Traitor’s Blade and Knight’s Shadow

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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EmrysR-I2-DeepRootsRuthanna Emrys, DEEP ROOTS (Tor.com)

Ruthanna Emrys’ Innsmouth Legacy, which began with Winter Tide and continues with Deep Roots, confronts H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos head-on, boldly upturning his fear of the unknown with a heart-warming story of found family, acceptance, and perseverance in the face of human cruelty and the cosmic apathy of the universe. Emrys brings together a family of outsiders, bridging the gaps between the many people marginalized by the homogenizing pressure of 1940s America.

Aphra Marsh, descendant of the People of the Water, has survived Deep One internment camps and made a grudging peace with the government that destroyed her home and exterminated her people on land. Deep Rootscontinues Aphra’s journey to rebuild her life and family on land, as she tracks down long-lost relatives. She must repopulate Innsmouth or risk seeing it torn down by greedy developers, but as she searches she discovers that people have been going missing. She will have to unravel the mystery, or risk seeing her way of life slip away.

The second book in Emrys’s Innsmouth Legacy series, following on from Winter Tide. I have the first book, but have been woefully slow about getting to it. I’ll try to get them both read ASAP. I’ve heard only great things. Deep Roots is due to be published in North America and the UK by Tor.com on July 10th, 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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FeistRA-FS1-KingOfAshesUSRaymond E. Feist, KING OF ASHES (Voyager)

For centuries, the five greatest kingdoms of North and South Tembria, twin continents on the world of Garn, have coexisted in peace. But the balance of power is destroyed when four of the kingdoms violate an ancient covenant and betray the fifth: Ithrace, the Kingdom of Flames, ruled by Steveren Langene, known as “the Firemane” for his brilliant red hair. As war engulfs the world, Ithrace is destroyed and the Greater Realms of Tembria are thrust into a dangerous struggle for supremacy.

As a Free Lord, Baron Daylon Dumarch owes allegiance to no king. When an abandoned infant is found hidden in Daylon’s pavilion, he realizes that the child must be the missing heir of the slain Steveren. The boy is valuable — and vulnerable. A cunning and patient man, Daylon decides to keep the baby’s existence secret, and sends him to be raised on the Island of Coaltachin, home of the so-called Kingdom of Night, where the powerful and lethal Nocusara, the “Hidden Warriors,” legendary assassins and spies, are trained.

Years later, another orphan of mysterious provenance, a young man named Declan, earns his Masters rank as a weapons smith. Blessed with intelligence and skill, he unlocks the secret to forging King’s Steel, the apex of a weapon maker’s trade known by very few. Yet this precious knowledge is also deadly, and Declan is forced to leave his home to safeguard his life. Landing in Lord Daylon’s provinces, he hopes to start anew.

Soon, the two young men — an unknowing rightful heir to a throne and a brilliantly talented young swordsmith — will discover that their fates, and that of Garn, are entwined. The legendary, long-ago War of Betrayal has never truly ended… and they must discover the secret of who truly threatens their world.

This is the first novel in a new series, the Firemane Saga. Feist is best known as the author of the classic Riftwar series. King of Ashes is due to be published by Voyager in the US and the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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FowlerC-B&M15-HallOfMirrorsUKChristopher Fowler, HALL OF MIRRORS (Doubleday)

The year is 1969 and ten guests are about to enjoy a country house weekend at Tavistock Hall. But one amongst them is harbouring thoughts of murder…

The guests also include the young detectives Arthur Bryant and John May – undercover, in disguise and tasked with protecting Monty Hatton-Jones, a whistle-blower turning Queen’s evidence in a massive bribery trial. Luckily, they’ve got a decent chap on the inside who can help them – the one-armed Brigadier, Nigel ‘Fruity’ Metcalf.

The scene is set for what could be the perfect country house murder mystery, except that this particular get-together is nothing like a Golden Age classic. For the good times are, it seems, coming to an end. The house’s owner – a penniless, dope-smoking aristocrat – is intent on selling the estate (complete with its own hippy encampment) to a secretive millionaire but the weekend has only just started when the millionaire goes missing and murder is on the cards. But army manoeuvres have closed the only access road and without a forensic examiner, Bryant and May can’t solve the case. It’s when a falling gargoyle fells another guest that the two incognito detectives decide to place their future reputations on the line. And in the process discover that in Swinging Britain nothing is quite what it seems…

So gentle reader, you are cordially invited to a weekend in the country. Expect murder, madness and mayhem in the mansion!

This is the 15th book in Fowler’s Bryant & May series. Hall of Mirrors is due out now, published by Doubleday in the UK, and Bantam in the US.

Also on CR: Interview with Christopher Fowler (2015)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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FryJ-SW-LastJediExpandedUKJason Fry, THE LAST JEDI: EXPANDED EDITION (Century)

From the ashes of the Empire has arisen another threat to the galaxy’s freedom: the ruthless First Order. Fortunately, new heroes have emerged to take up arms — and perhaps lay down their lives — for the cause. Rey, the orphan strong in the Force; Finn, the ex-stormtrooper who stands against his former masters; and Poe Dameron, the fearless X-wing pilot, have been drawn together to fight side-by-side with General Leia Organa and the Resistance. But the First Order’s Supreme Leader Snoke and his merciless enforcer Kylo Ren are adversaries with superior numbers and devastating fire power at their command. Against this enemy, the champions of light may finally be facing their extinction. Their only hope rests with a lost legend: Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.

Where the action of Star Wars: The Force Awakens ended, Star Wars: The Last Jedi begins, as the battle between light and dark climbs to astonishing new heights.

In this expanded edition of the film novelization, written with input from Rian Johnson, you get more of the story we saw on the big screen. I’m not entirely sure if I need more of the story, but I know many fans are eager to learn more about their favourite characters — old and new. The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition is out now, published by Century in the UK and Del Rey in the UK.

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Review copy received from publisher

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HallL-TrinityUSLouisa Hall, TRINITY (Ecco)

A kaleidoscopic novel about Robert Oppenheimer — father of the atomic bomb — as told by seven fictional characters.

J. Robert Oppenheimer was a brilliant scientist, a champion of liberal causes, and a complex and often contradictory character. He loyally protected his Communist friends, only to later betray them under questioning. He repeatedly lied about love affairs. And he defended the use of the atomic bomb he helped create, before ultimately lobbying against nuclear proliferation.

Through narratives that cross time and space, a set of characters bears witness to the life of Oppenheimer, from a secret service agent who tailed him in San Francisco, to the young lover of a colleague in Los Alamos, to a woman fleeing McCarthyism who knew him on St. John. As these men and women fall into the orbit of a brilliant but mercurial mind at work, all consider his complicated legacy while also uncovering deep and often unsettling truths about their own lives.

In this stunning, elliptical novel, Louisa Hall has crafted a breathtaking and explosive story about the ability of the human mind to believe what it wants, about public and private tragedy, and about power and guilt. Blending science with literature and fiction with biography, Trinity asks searing questions about what it means to truly know someone, and about the secrets we keep from the world and from ourselves.

I really enjoyed Hall’s previous novel, Speak, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting her next novel ever since. Trinity is due to be published by Ecco in North America (October 30th), and Corsair in the UK (November 1st).

Also on CR: Review of Speak

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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HarveyM-PulseUSMichael Harvey, PULSE (Ecco)

Boston, 1976. In a small apartment above Kenmore Square, sixteen-year-old Daniel Fitzsimmons is listening to his landlord describe a seemingly insane theory about invisible pulses of light and energy that can be harnessed by the human mind. He longs to laugh with his brother Harry about it, but Harry doesn’t know he’s there — he would never approve of Daniel living on his own. None of that matters, though, because the next night Harry, a Harvard football star, is murdered in an alley.

Detectives “Bark” Jones and Tommy Dillon are assigned to the case. The veteran partners thought they’d seen it all, but they are stunned when Daniel wanders into the crime scene. Even stranger, Daniel claims to have known the details of his brother’s murder before it ever happened. The subsequent investigation leads the detectives deep into the Fitzsimmons brothers’ past. They find heartbreaking loss, sordid characters, and metaphysical conspiracies. Even on the rough streets of 1970s Boston, Jones and Dillon have never had a case like this.

I enjoyed Harvey’s previous novel, Brighton, and have been meaning to read more of his work. Pulse, which is due to be published by Ecco in October 2018, sounds really interesting. The novel has already been optioned by the company behind Stranger Things and Arrival. (No word of UK publisher at the time of writing.)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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JenningsK-PlanetFunnyUSKen Jennings, PLANET FUNNY (Scribner)

A history of humor — from fart jokes on clay Sumerian tablets all the way up to the latest Twitter gags and Facebook memes — that tells the story of how comedy came to rule the modern world.

For millennia of human history, the future belonged to the strong. To the parent who could kill the most animals with sticks and to the child who could survive the winter or the epidemic. When the Industrial Revolution came, masters of business efficiency prospered instead, and after that we placed our hope in scientific visionaries. Today, in a clear sign of evolution totally sliding off the rails, our most coveted trait is not strength or productivity or even innovation, but being funny. Yes, funniness.

Consider: presidential candidates now have to prepare funny “zingers” for debates. Newspaper headlines and church marquees, once fairly staid affairs, must now be “clever,” stuffed with puns and winks. Airline safety tutorials — those terrifying laminated cards about the possibilities of fire, explosion, depressurization, and drowning — have been replaced by joke-filled videos with multimillion-dollar budgets and dance routines.

In Planet Funny, Ken Jennings explores this brave new comedic world and what it means — or doesn’t — to be funny in it now. Tracing the evolution of humor from the caveman days to the bawdy middle-class antics of Chaucer to Monty Python’s game-changing silliness to the fast-paced meta-humor of The Simpsons, Jennings explains how we built our humor-saturated modern age, where lots of us get our news from comedy shows and a comic figure can even be elected President of the United States purely on showmanship. Entertaining, astounding, and completely head-scratching, Planet Funny is a full taxonomy of what spawned and defines the modern sense of humor.

Thought this sounded interesting. Planet Funny is due to be published by Scribner in North America and the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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KadreyR-SS10-HollywoodDeadUSRichard Kadrey, HOLLYWOOD DEAD (Voyager)

Life and death takes on an entirely new meaning for half-angel, half-human hero James Stark, aka, Sandman Slim, in this insanely inventive, high-intensity tenth supernatural noir thriller in the New York Times bestselling series.

James Stark is back from Hell, trailing more trouble in his wake. To return to L.A., he had to make a deal with the evil power brokers, Wormwood — an arrangement that came with a catch. While he may be home, Stark isn’t quite himself… because he’s only partially alive.

There’s a time limit on his reanimated body, and unless Stark can find the people targeting Wormwood, he will die again — and this time there will be no coming back. Even though he’s armed with the Room of Thirteen Doors, Stark knows he can’t find Wormwood’s enemies alone. To succeed he’s got to enlist the help of new friends — plus a few unexpected old faces.

Stark has been in dangerous situations before — you don’t get named Sandman Slim for nothing. But with a mysterious enemy on the loose, a debt to pay, and a clock ticking down, this may truly be the beginning of his end…

The tenth Sandman Slim novel! It’s been a wild ride. If you haven’t tried Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series yet, I strongly recommend it — gritty, amusing, inventive, gripping. I love it. Hollywood Dead is due to be published by Voyager in North America and in the UK, in late August 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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KingsolverB-UnshelteredUSBarbara Kingsolver, UNSHELTERED (Harper)

A timely novel that interweaves past and present to explore the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval.

Willa Knox has always prided herself on being the embodiment of responsibility for her family. Which is why it’s so unnerving that she’s arrived at middle age with nothing to show for her hard work and dedication but a stack of unpaid bills and an inherited brick home in Vineland, New Jersey, that is literally falling apart. The magazine where she worked has folded, and the college where her husband had tenure has closed. The dilapidated house is also home to her ailing and cantankerous Greek father-in-law and her two grown children: her stubborn, free-spirited daughter, Tig, and her dutiful debt-ridden, ivy educated son, Zeke, who has arrived with his unplanned baby in the wake of a life-shattering development.

In an act of desperation, Willa begins to investigate the history of her home, hoping that the local historical preservation society might take an interest and provide funding for its direly needed repairs. Through her research into Vineland’s past and its creation as a Utopian community, she discovers a kindred spirit from the 1880s, Thatcher Greenwood.

A science teacher with a lifelong passion for honest investigation, Thatcher finds himself under siege in his community for telling the truth: his employer forbids him to speak of the exciting new theory recently published by Charles Darwin. Thatcher’s friendships with a brilliant woman scientist and a renegade newspaper editor draw him into a vendetta with the town’s most powerful men. At home, his new wife and status-conscious mother-in-law bristle at the risk of scandal, and dismiss his financial worries and the news that their elegant house is structurally unsound.

Brilliantly executed and compulsively readable, Unsheltered is the story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum, as they navigate the challenges of surviving a world in the throes of major cultural shifts. In this mesmerizing story told in alternating chapters, Willa and Thatcher come to realize that though the future is uncertain, even unnerving, shelter can be found in the bonds of kindred — whether family or friends — and in the strength of the human spirit.

Thought this sounded interesting. Unsheltered is due to be published in October 2018 by Harper in North America, and Faber & Faber in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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KressN-TK2-IfTomorrowComesUSNancy Kress, IF TOMORROW COMES (Tor)

Ten years after the Aliens left Earth, humanity succeeds in building a ship, Friendship, to follow them home to Kindred. Aboard are a crew of scientists, diplomats, and a squad of Rangers to protect them. But when the Friendship arrives, they find nothing they expected. No interplanetary culture, no industrial base — and no cure for the spore disease.

A timeslip in the apparently instantaneous travel between worlds has occurred and far more than ten years have passed.

Once again scientists find themselves in a race against time to save humanity and their kind from a deadly virus while a clock of a different sort runs down on a military solution no less deadly to all. Amid devastation and plague come stories of heroism and sacrifice and of genetic destiny and free choice, with its implicit promise of conscious change.

This is the second novel in the Yesterday’s Kin trilogy, following Tomorrow’s Kin. The third novel, Terran Tomorrow is due out in November. All three novels are published by Tor Books.

Also on CR: Excerpt from If Tomorrow Comes

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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LawrenceM-BotA2-GreySisterUSHCMark Lawrence, GREY SISTER (Ace)

Behind its walls, the Convent of Sweet Mercy has trained young girls to hone their skills for centuries. In Mystic Class, Novice Nona Grey has begun to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the convent, Nona must choose which order to dedicate herself to — and whether her path will lead to a life of prayer and service or one of the blade and the fist.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the designs of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a knife, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she is sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pulls of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain: there will be blood.

This is the second novel in Lawrence’s Book of the Ancestor series, following on from the critically-acclaimed Red SisterGrey Sister is due to be published in North America by Ace Books (April), and in the UK by Voyager (May).

Also on CR: Interview with Mark Lawrence (2011); Reviews of Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns and Prince of Fools

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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LevyR-RigRoger Levy, THE RIG (Titan)

On a desert planet, two boys meet, sparking a friendship that will change human society forever.

On the windswept world of Bleak, a string of murders lead a writer to a story with unbelievable ramifications.

One man survives the vicious attacks, but is left with a morbid fascination with death; the perfect candidate for the perilous job of working on a rig.

Welcome to the System. Here the concept of a god has been abandoned, and a new faith pervades: AfterLife, a social media platform that allows subscribers a chance at resurrection, based on the votes of other users.

So many Lives, forever interlinked, and one structure at the centre of it all: the rig.

The Rig is the first novel in a decade by Levy — an author, I admit I had not heard about before seeing news that this novel was on the way. I’m looking forward to giving it a try. The Rig is published by Titan Books in North America and the UK in May 2018.

Follow the Author: Goodreads

Review copy received from publisher

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LippmanL-SunburnUKLaura Lippman, SUNBURN (Faber)

What kind of woman walks out on her family? Gregg knows. The kind of woman he picked up in a bar three years ago precisely because she had that kind of wildcat energy.

And now she’s vanished — at least from the life that he and his kid will live. We’ll follow her, to a new town, a new job, and a new friend, who thinks he has her figured.

So who is this woman who calls herself Polly? How many times has she disappeared before? And who are the shadowy figures so interested in her whereabouts?

Each of Lippman’s new novels is met with considerable praise from her contemporaries, critics and fans alike. Her latest was no exception. Sunburn is out now, published by Faber & Faber in the UK and William Morrow in North America. I’ll try to read this very soon.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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McKinleyKM-GotW3-BrassGodK.M. McKinley, THE BRASS GOD (Solaris)

War is coming to Ruthnia. As ancient, inhuman powers move against one another, Rel Kressind finds himself in the company of the fabled modalmen – giants who regard themselves as the true keepers of humanity’s legacy. Far out in the blasted, magical wastelands of the Black Sands where no man of the Hundred has ever set foot before, Rel comes face to face with the modalman’s deity, the Brass God. What Rel learns in the Brass God’s broken halls will shake his understanding of reality forever.

Magic and technology combine in an epic fantasy like no other, where lost science, giant tides and jealous gods shape the fate of two worlds, and the actions of six siblings may save a universe, or damn it.

This is the third novel in McKinley’s Gates of the World series, following The Iron Ship and The City of IceThe Brass God is published by Solaris.

Also on CR: Interview with K.M. McKinley (2016)

Follow the Author: Goodreads

Review copy received from publisher

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ParnellS-ES1-ManOfWarUSSean Parnell, MAN OF WAR (William Morrow)

Eric Steele is the best of the best — an Alpha — an elite clandestine operative assigned to a US intelligence unit known simply as the “Program.” A superbly trained Special Forces soldier who served several tours fighting radical Islamic militants in Afghanistan, Steele now operates under the radar, using a deadly combination of espionage and brute strength to root out his enemies and neutralize them.

But when a man from Steele’s past attacks a military convoy and steals a nuclear weapon, Steele and his superiors at the White House are blindsided. Moving from Washington, DC, to the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, Steele must use his considerable skills to hunt this rogue agent, a former brother-in-arms who might have been a friend, and find the WMD before it can reach the United States — and the world is forever changed.

Man of War is Parnell’s fictional debut, and looks rather promising. I imagine this will appeal to fans of Vince Flynn, Kyle Mills and others of that ilk. I’m looking forward to giving this a try. Man of War is published in September 2018 by William Morrow in North America and the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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PettusC-ExitStrategyUSCharlton Pettus, EXIT STRATEGY (Hanover Square Press)

An innovative debut thriller about the secretive organization that the rich and infamous call when they need to start over with a new name, new face, and new life — and what happens when one client tries to go home.

Sometimes you just need to escape. For crooked politicians, military brass from third-world nations, and white-collar criminals looking to avoid either prison or a deadlier form of payback, there’s Exit Strategy. With just one call, Exit Strategy helps these wealthy but wanted types disappear completely. They can fake your death, give you a new name and face, and launder whatever ill-gotten funds you may need to establish a new life on the other side of the world.

When Jordan Parrish, the brilliant founder of a medical technology start-up, made the call, he thought he had no other way out. With his marriage in shambles and his company on the brink of financial ruin, it seemed the only way to make things right. But after his exit, he began to wonder about the circumstances that led him to make that momentous decision. Was he just a victim of bad luck or was someone working against him? To find out, Jordan will have to break the cardinal rule of Exit Strategy: you can never, ever go back.

Thought this sounded interesting. Exit Strategy is published in May 2018 in North America by Hanover Square Press, and in the UK by HQ.

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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ReynoldsJ-HH-BlackShields-RedFiefJosh Reynolds, BLACKSHIELDS: THE RED FIEF (Black Library)

As the forces of the Warmaster close in on Terra, Endryd Haar leads his warband of renegade Blackshields into battle once more. With his forces battered in the wake of their raid on Xana, Haar finds himself in desperate need of warriors. Answering a distress call from an old friend, Haar seeks out the tithe-world of Duat, intent on plunder. But when he discovers what is hidden there, Haar is faced with a decision that will determine his fate – and perhaps that of Terra itself.

The latest audio-drama by Reynolds to feature the Blackshields. Blackshields: The Red Fief is published by Black Library in May 2018.

Also on CR: Interview with Josh Reynolds (201); Review of Primogenitor

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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RicciardiD-WarningLightUSDavid Ricciardi, WARNING LIGHT (Dutton)

No one knows what CIA desk jockey Zac Miller is capable of — including himself — when a routine surveillance job becomes a do-or-die mission in the Middle East.

When a commercial flight violates restricted airspace to make an emergency landing at a closed airport in Iran, the passengers are just happy to be alive and ready to transfer to a functional plane. All of them except one…

The American technology consultant in business class is not who he says he is. Zac Miller is a CIA analyst. And after an agent’s cover gets blown, Zac — though never trained to be a field operative — volunteers to take his place, to keep a surveillance mission from being scrubbed.

Zac thinks it will be easy to photograph the earthquake-ravaged airport that is located near a hidden top secret nuclear facility. But when everything that can go wrong does, he finds himself on the run from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and abandoned by his own teammates, who think he has gone rogue. Embarking on a harrowing journey through the mountains of Iran to the Persian Gulf and across Europe, Zac can only rely on himself. But even if he makes it out alive, the life he once had may be lost to him forever…

I’ve been trying to remember where, or from whom I first heard about this novel. I feel like it was quite some time ago, though, and I’ve been looking forward to reading it ever since. I read this very soon after receiving it, and blitzed through in just a couple of evenings (it would have been quicker, but I was unusually busy that week). I really enjoyed it, and despite just a few niggles, I think this is going to be pretty popular. Full review soon. Warning Light is published by Berkley in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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SchroederK-MillionKarl Schroeder, THE MILLION (Tor.com)

Every thirty years, ten billion visitors overrun Earth during one month of madness: partying, polluting, and brawling. In between, the world is ruled by the Million; the inheritors and custodians of all of humanity’s wealth and history, they lead unimaginable lives of privilege and wealth, and they see it as their due.

Gavin Penn-of-Chaffee is an illegal child — a visitor hidden among the Million. When the family that raised him in secret is torn apart, Gavin must impersonate a dead boy to survive. What he doesn’t know is that his new identity is expected at the School of Auditors — the Million’s feared police force, sworn to find and capture outcasts like him to keep the peace. In order to solve the murder of his adoptive father, Gavin must keep his disguise and his wits intact within the stronghold of those threatened by his very existence.

This sounds like it’ll be interesting. Will try to read ASAP. The Million is due to be published by Tor.com on August 14 in North American and the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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SchultzR-SwitchAndBaitUSRicki Schultz, SWITCH AND BAIT (Grand Central Publishing)

We switch. I bait.

Let me help you snag a date.

All through college, Blanche Carter was known as the love doctor in her sorority. Now she’s parlayed her talent into a unique consulting business: she runs the online dating profiles of Washington D.C.’s most eligible women.

Armed with a battalion of rules, Blanche expertly helps her clients optimize their profiles and ace that first date. But although she’ll happily message handsome strangers (and fend off dick pics) for other ladies, Blanche’s most important rule is the one she has for herself: no relationships. She’s seen too much heartbreak to believe in real love anymore.

When a former fling pops up among the matches for one of her favorite clients, Blanche gamely messages him on her behalf. Blanche is definitely over him, and this is how she’ll prove it. But if she doesn’t watch out, Blanche might end up not only screwing over a client-and possibly tanking her entire business-but breaking her rule about love as well…

Thought this sounded fun — it’s been described as something that will appeal to fans of Helen Fielding, Maria Semple, Emily Giffin, and/or Jennifer Weiner. Switch and Bait is published by Grand Central Publishing in North America and in the UK, on June 12th, 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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SchumacherJ-JF2-ShakespeareRequirementUSJulie Schumacher, THE SHAKESPEARE REQUIREMENT (Doubleday)

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune keep hitting beleaguered English professor Jason Fitger right between the eyes in this hilarious and eagerly awaited sequel to the cult classic of anhedonic academe, the Thurber Prize-winning Dear Committee Members. Once more into the breach…

Now is the fall of his discontent, as Jason Fitger, newly appointed chair of the English Department of Payne University, takes aim against a sea of troubles, personal and institutional. His ex-wife is sleeping with the dean who must approve whatever modest initiatives he undertakes. The fearsome department secretary Fran clearly runs the show (when not taking in rescue parrots and dogs) and holds plenty of secrets she’s not sharing. The lavishly funded Econ Department keeps siphoning off English’s meager resources and has taken aim at its remaining office space. And Fitger’s attempt to get a mossbacked and antediluvian Shakespeare scholar to retire backfires spectacularly when the press concludes that the Bard is being kicked to the curricular curb.

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

I really enjoyed Dear Committee Members, so when I learned of this sequel, I was very pleased. I started reading this very soon after I got it, and it hasn’t disappointed. (Though I should mention that it’s not written in the same epistolary-style as the previous novel, not that this is a problem.) Full review soon. The Shakespeare Requirement is due to be published by Doubleday in the US, it is out in August 2018 (at the time of writing, I could’t find any information about a UK publisher).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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ScottJT-02-HighWhiteSunUSHCJ. Todd Scott, HIGH WHITE SUN (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Even though the corrupt Sheriff Ross is dead and gone, outlaws still walk free, peace comes at a price, and redemption remains hard to find…

Sometimes we have to be wolves…

In the wake of Sheriff Stanford Ross’s death, former deputy Chris Cherry — now Sheriff Cherry — is the new “law” in Big Bend County, yet he still struggles to escape the long, dark shadow of that infamous lawman. As Chris tries to remake and modernize his corrupt department, bringing in new deputies, including young America Reynosa and Ben Harper–a hard-edged veteran homicide detective now lured out of retirement–he finds himself constantly staring down a town unwilling to change, friends and enemies unable to let go of the past, and the harsh limits of his badge.

But it’s only when a local Rio Grande guide is brutally and inexplicably murdered, and America and Ben’s ongoing investigation is swept aside by a secretive federal agent, that the novice sheriff truly understands just how tenuous his hold on that badge really is. And as other new threats rise right along with the unforgiving West Texas sun, nothing can prepare Chris for the high cost of crossing dangerous men such as John Wesley Earl, a high-ranking member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas and the patriarch of a murderous clan that’s descended on Chris’s hometown of Murfee; or Thurman Flowers, a part-time pastor and full-time white supremacist hell-bent on founding his violent Church of Purity in the very heart of the Big Bend.

Before long, Chris, America, and Ben are outmaneuvered, outnumbered, and outgunned–inexorably drawn into a nearly twenty-year vendetta that began with a murdered Texas Ranger on a dusty highway outside of Sweetwater, and that can only end with fire, blood, and bullets in Murfee’s own sun-scorched streets…

Welcome back to the Big Bend…

This is the sequel to The Far Empty (UK edition here), which is slowly climbing my TBR mountain. High White Sun is published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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SmithMF-FighterUSMichael Farris Smith, THE FIGHTER (Little, Brown)

A blistering novel of violence and deliverance set against the mythic backdrop of the Mississippi Delta

The acres and acres of fertile soil, the two-hundred-year-old antebellum house, all gone. And so is the woman who gave it to Jack, the foster mother only days away from dying, her mind eroded by dementia, the family legacy she entrusted to Jack now owned by banks and strangers. And Jack’s mind has begun to fail, too. The decades of bare-knuckle fighting are now taking their toll, as concussion after concussion forces him to carry around a stash of illegal painkillers and a notebook of names that separates friend from foe.

But in a single twisted night, Jack loses his chance to win it all back. Hijacked by a sleazy gambler out to settle a score, Jack is robbed of the money that will clear his debt with Big Momma Sweet — the queen of Delta vice, whose deep backwoods playground offers sin to all those willing to pay — and open a path that could lead him back home. Yet this sudden reversal of fortunes introduces an unlikely savior in the form of a sultry, tattooed carnival worker. Guided by what she calls her “church of coincidence,” Annette pushes Jack toward redemption, only to discover that the world of Big Momma Sweet is filled with savage danger.

Damaged by regret, crippled by twenty-five years of fists and elbows, heartbroken by his own betrayals, Jack is forced to step into the fighting pit one last time, the stakes nothing less than life or death.

Smith’s Desperation Road was something of a sensation when it was published last year, so I’m sure expectations have been high for The Fighter. I’m looking forward to reading them both quite soon. (At the time of writing, Desperation Road is on sale in the UK.) The Fighter is published by Little, Brown in North America, and No Exit Press in the UK (on March 29th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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StrobyW-SomeDieNamelessUSWallace Stroby, SOME DIE NAMELESS (Mulholland)

An ex-mercenary and an embattled journalist find themselves unlikely allies against a corrupt defense contractor.

Ray Devlin is retired, living a simple life off the grid in Florida, when a visit from an old colleague stirs some bad memories — and ends with a gunshot. Soon Devlin is forced to again face a past he’d hoped to leave behind, as a member of a mercenary force that helped put a brutal South American dictator into power.

Tracy Quinn is an investigative reporter at a struggling Philadelphia newspaper decimated by layoffs and cutbacks. Then one day what appears to be a straightforward homicide — a body left in an abandoned rowhouse — draws her and Devlin together, and ultimately enmeshes both in a conspiracy that stretches over twenty years and reaches to the highest levels of the U.S. government.

Before long, they’re both the targets of a ruthless assassin haunted by his own wartime experiences. For Devlin, it could all mean a last shot at redemption. For Tracy, the biggest story of her career might just cost her life.

Spotted this some time ago in a Hachette catalogue, and have been looking forward to reading it ever since. Some Die Nameless is published by Mulholland Books in North America and in the UK, on July 10th, 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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TurtonS-SevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastleUKStuart Turton, THE SEVEN DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE (Raven Books)

‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

There was a lot of pre-publication buzz surrounding this novel. So, naturally, my interest was piqued. Then, it was on sale for UK Kindle so I snapped it up. (Not sure how long that deal lasted, but it was still on at the time of writing.) I’ll read it pretty soon. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is published by Raven Books.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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Various-BestSFFOfYear-12Various, Jonathan Strahan (ed.), THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY OF THE YEAR, VOL.12 (Solaris)

The latest in a series that has been called “a must-read for fans of science fiction, fantasy, and short stories in general”

Science fiction is a portal that opens doors onto futures too rich and strange to imagine. Fantasy takes us through doorways of magic and wonder. For more than a decade award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan has sifted through tens of thousands of stories to select the best, the most interesting, the most engaging science fiction and fantasy to thrill and delight readers.

The latest edition in this anthology series, featuring some great authors. If you’re looking for a way to try some of the best authors working in SFF today, then The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year collections are exactly where you should be looking. Volume 12 is published by Solaris Books in the UK and North America, and is out now.

Review copy received from publisher

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VillarealRA-APeoplesHistoryOfTheVampireUprisingUSRaymond A. Villareal, A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE VAMPIRE UPRISING (Mulholland)

In this ambitious and wildly original debut — part social-political satire, part international mystery — a new virus turns people into something a bit more than human, upending society as we know it.

This panoramic fictional oral history begins with one small mystery: the body of a young woman found in an Arizona border town, presumed to be an illegal immigrant, disappears from the town morgue. To the young CDC investigator called in to consult with the local police, it’s an impossibility that threatens her understanding of medicine. Then, more bodies, dead from an inexplicable disease that solidified their blood, are brought to the morgue, only to also vanish.

Soon, the U.S. government–and eventually biomedical researchers, disgruntled lawmakers, and even an insurgent faction of the Catholic Church — must come to terms with what they’re too late to stop: an epidemic of vampirism that will sweep first the United States, and then the world. With heightened strength and beauty and a stead diet of fresh blood, these changed people, or “Gloamings,” rapidly rise to prominence in all aspects of modern society. Soon people are beginning to be “re-created,” willingly accepting the risk of death if their bodies can’t handle the transformation.

As new communities of Gloamings arise, society is divided, and popular Gloaming sites come under threat from a secret terrorist organization. But when a charismatic and wealthy businessman, recently turned, runs for political office — well, all hell breaks loose.

Told from the perspective of key players, including a cynical FBI agent, an audacious campaign manager, and a war veteran turned nurse turned secret operative, A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising is an exhilarating, genre-bending debut that is as addictive as the power it describes.

This sounds really interesting. I’ll be reading it very soon. A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising is due to be published by Mulholland Books in June 2018. (The novel has also been optioned for the big screen by the producers of Arrival.)

Follow the Author: Goodreads

Review copy received via NetGalley

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WellsM-MB-ArtificialConditionMartha Wells, ARTIFICIAL CONDITION (Tor.com)

It has a dark past — one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

The second novella in Wells’s critically-acclaimed Murderbot Diaries series, following All Systems RedArtificial Condition is due to be published in May 2018 by Tor.com, in North America and the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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YangJY-T3-DescentOfMonstersJY Yang, THE DESCENT OF MONSTERS (Tor.com)

An investigation into atrocities committed at a classified research facility threaten to expose secrets that the Protectorate will do anything to keep hidden.

You are reading this because I am dead.

Something terrible happened at the Rewar Teng Institute of Experimental Methods. When the Tensorate’s investigators arrived, they found a sea of blood and bones as far as the eye could see. One of the institute’s experiments got loose, and its rage left no survivors. The investigators returned to the capital with few clues and two prisoners: the terrorist leader Sanao Akeha and a companion known only as Rider.

Investigator Chuwan faces a puzzle. What really happened at the institute? What drew the Machinists there? What are her superiors trying to cover up? And why does she feel as if her strange dreams are forcing her down a narrowing path she cannot escape?

This is the third novella in Yang’s critically-acclaimed Tensorate “silkpunk” series — which also includes The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune. I’ve fallen a little behind on my Tor.com reading, but these books are very near the top of my must-read pile. The Descent of Monsters is due to be published by Tor.com on July 31st, 2018, in the US and the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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