New Books (March-April)

NewBooks-20180412

Featuring: H.W. Brands, C. Robert Cargill, Lindsey Davis, David Duchovny, Joseph J. Ellis, Dan Fesperman, Richard Flanagan, Sam Hawke, Cameron Johnston, Michael Koryta, Jonathan Maberry, Ben Marcus, Seth Patrick, Carlos Ruis Zafon, Helen Schulman, Ian Smith, Paul Tremblay, Kathy Wang, Simon Winchester

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AzerradM-RockCriticLawUSMichael Azerrad, ROCK CRITIC LAW (Day Street Books)

Straight out of his beloved Twitter feed @RockCriticLaw, acclaimed rock journalist and author of the classic books Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana and Our Band Could Be Your Life, Michael Azerrad turns his trenchant eye to the art of rock writing itself, hilariously skewering 101 of the genre’s seemingly endless litany of hackneyed phrases and tropes.

One of the finest music writers today, Michael Azerrad has catalogued the shortcuts, lazy metaphors and uninspired prose that so many of his beloved colleagues all too regularly rely on to fill column inches. In 2014, he began his wickedly droll Twitter feed @RockCriticLaw to expose and make fun of this word-hash. Now, he consolidates these “Laws” into one witty, comprehensive and fully illustrated volume.

Rock Critic Law includes timeless gems such as:

  • If a band pioneered something, you must say they are “seminal.” That is the Seminal Law of Rock Criticism.
  • If a recording features densely layered guitars, then you MUST use the phrase “sonic cathedrals.”
  • Even when it’s easy to find out with research, by all means ask a band how they got their name.
  • Please feel free to deny an artist’s individuality and say they are “the new [x].”
  • If two guitars play a melodic line in harmony, you MUST say they are “twin lead guitars.”

All 101 Rock Critic Laws are accompanied by original illustrations from Ed Fotheringham, beloved Seattle scenester and highly regarded artist who has created album covers for everyone from, well, seminal grunge band Mudhoney to iconic jazz label Verve Records, as well as illustrations for The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and more, making this book a must-have for music lovers everywhere. A unique appreciation of music writing from one of its own, Rock Critic Law irreverently captures all the passion and furor of fandom.

As someone who wrote and printed a music fanzine when I was in college, this book caught my eye. I have no doubt that I committed every rock journo crime. Review very soon. Rock Critic Law is published by Dey Street Books on October 23rd, 2018, in North America and in the UK.

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Review copy received via Edelweiss

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BrandsHW-HeirsToTheFoundersUSH.W. Brands, HEIRS OF THE FOUNDERS (Doubleday)

The riveting story of how America’s second generation of political giants — Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John Calhoun — battled to complete the unfinished work of the Founding Fathers and decide the shape of our democracy.

In the early days of the nineteenth century, three young men strode onto the national stage, elected to Congress at a moment when the Founding Fathers were beginning to retire to their farms. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, a champion orator known for his eloquence, spoke for the North and its business class. Henry Clay of Kentucky, as dashing as he was ambitious, embodied the hopes of the rising West. South Carolina’s John Calhoun, with piercing eyes and an even more piercing intellect, defended the South and slavery.

Together this second generation of American founders took the country to war, battled one another for the presidency, and tasked themselves with finishing the work the Founders had left undone. Above all, they sought to remedy the two glaring flaws in the Constitution: its fudge on where authority ultimately rested, with the states or the nation; and its unwillingness to address the essential incompatibility of republicanism and slavery. They wrestled with these issues for four decades, arguing bitterly and hammering out political compromises that held the union together, but only just. Then, in 1850, when California moved to join the union as a free state, “the three great men of America” had one last chance to save the country from the real risk of civil war. But by then they were never further apart.

This is one of my most-anticipated non-fiction books of the year, covering a period of history that I am very much interested in (I’m attempting to write a book about, in part, Henry Clay). Brands is one of the most successful popular history writers in America, known for his attention to detail, exhaustive research and excellent storytelling skills. Heirs of the Founders is due to be published by Doubleday in November 2018 (it’ll be available in the UK, too).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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CargillCR-WeAreWhereTheNightmaresGoUSC. Robert Cargill, WE ARE WHERE THE NIGHTMARES GO AND OTHER STORIES (Voyager)

A hair-raising collection of short fiction that illuminates the strange, humorous, fantastical, and downright diabolical that tantalize and terrorize us: demons, monsters, zombie dinosaurs, and Death itself.

In the novella “The Soul Thief’s Son” C. Robert Cargill returns to the terrain of the Queen of the Dark Things to continue the story of Colby Stevens…

A Triceratops and an Ankylosaurus join forces to survive a zombie apocalypse that may spell extinction for their kind in “Hell Creek”…

In a grand old building atop a crack in the world, an Iraq War veteran must serve a one-year term as a punisher of the damned condemned to consume the sins of others in the hope that one day he may find peace in “In a Clean, White Room” (co-authored with Scott Derrickson)…

In “The Town That Wasn’t Anymore,” the village of Pine Hill Bluff loses its inhabitants one at a time as the angry dead return when night falls to steal the souls of the living…

And in the title story, “We Are Where the Nightmares Go,” a little girl crawls through a glowing door beneath her bed and finds herself trapped in a nightmarish wonderland — a crucible of the fragments of children’s bad dreams.

These tales and four more are assembled here as testament to Cargill’s mastery of the phantasmagoric, making We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories a collection of unnerving horror and fantasy will keep you up all night and haunt your waking dreams.

A new collection of short fiction from the critically-acclaimed author of Sea of Rust and the Dreams & Shadows duology, and a screenwriter for Dr. Strange. Really looking forward to reading this, so I’ll hopefully get to it very soon. We Are Where the Nightmares Go… is due to be published in June 2018, by Voyager in North America and Gollancz in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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DavisL-F6-PandorasBoyUKLindsey Davis, PANDORA’S BOY (Hodder)

Private investigator Flavia Albia is always drawn to an intriguing puzzle — even if it is put to her by her new husband’s hostile ex-wife.

On the Quirinal Hill, a young girl named Clodia has died, apparently poisoned with a love potion. Only one person could have supplied such a thing: a local witch who goes by the name of Pandora, whose trade in herbal beauty products is hiding something far more sinister.

The supposedly sweet air of the Quirinal is masking the stench of loose morality, casual betrayal and even gangland conflict and, when a friend of her own is murdered, Albia determines to expose as much of this local sickness as she can — beginning with the truth about Clodia’s death.

This is the sixth novel featuring Flavia Albia, in a ‘next generation’ series that follows the author’s hugely popular, best-selling Falco series. Pandora’s Boy is published by Hodder in the UK (out now), and Minotaur in North America (in June).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received from publisher

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DuchovnyD-MissSubwaysUSDavid Duchovny, MISS SUBWAYS (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Emer is just a woman living in New York City who takes the subway, buys ice cream from the bodega on the corner, has writerly aspirations, and lives with her boyfriend, Con. But is this life she lives the only path she’s on? Taking inspiration from the myth of Emer and Cuchulain and featuring an all-star cast of mythical figures from all over the world, David Duchovny’s darkly funny fantasy novel Miss Subways is one woman’s trippy, mystical journey down parallel tracks of time and love. On the way, Emer will battle natural and supernatural forces to find her true voice, power, and destiny.

A fairy tale of love lost and regained, Miss Subways is also a love letter to the city that enchants us all: New York.

I’ve not read any of Duchovny’s fiction, but I’ve heard some good things. Saw this, thought I’d give it a try. Miss Subways is published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in North America and in the UK in May 2018.

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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EllisJJ-AmericanDialogueUSJoseph J. Ellis, AMERICAN DIALOGUE (Knopf)

A deeply insightful examination of the relevance of the views of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams to some of the most divisive issues in America today.

The story of history is a ceaseless conversation between past and present, and in American Dialogue Joseph J. Ellis focuses the conversation on the often-asked question “What would the Founding Fathers think?” He examines four of our most seminal historical figures through the prism of particular topics, using the perspective of the present to shed light on their views and, in turn, to make clear how their now centuries-old ideas illuminate the disturbing impasse of today’s political conflicts. He discusses Jefferson and the issue of racism, Adams and the specter of economic inequality, Washington and American imperialism, Madison and the doctrine of original intent. Through these juxtapositions — and in his hallmark dramatic and compelling narrative voice — Ellis illuminates the obstacles and pitfalls paralyzing contemporary discussions of these fundamentally important issues.

The latest book by one of America’s most popular historians of the Founding Fathers — author of, among others, Founding Brothers, The Quartet, His Excellency (Washington) and Passionate Sage (John Adams). I started reading this on the same day that I received it. American Dialogue is due to be published by Knopf in October 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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FespermanD-SafeHousesUSDan Fesperman, SAFE HOUSES (Knopf)

A young woman discovers a nefarious truth at the heart of the CIA’s operations in postwar Berlin and goes on the run for her life; years later she’s gruesomely murdered along with her husband, and her daughter begins to chase down these startling secrets from her past.

West Berlin, 1979. Helen Abell oversees the CIA’s network of safe houses, rare havens for field agents and case officers amidst the dangerous milieu of a city in the grips of the Cold War. Helen’s world is upended when, during her routine inspection of an agency property, she overhears a meeting between two people unfamiliar to her speaking a coded language that hints at shadowy realities far beyond her comprehension. Before the day is out, she witnesses a second unauthorized encounter, one that will place her in the sight lines of the most ruthless and powerful man at the agency. Her attempts to expose the dark truths about what she has witnessed will bring about repercussions that reach across decades and continents into the present day, when, in a farm town in Maryland, a young man is arrested for the double murder of his parents, and his sister takes it upon herself to find out why he did it.

Sounds like an interesting thriller/mystery. Safe Houses is due to be published by Knopf in July 2018.

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Review copy received via Edelweiss

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FlanaganR-FirstPersonUSRichard Flanagan, FIRST PERSON (Knopf)

The hypnotic tale of a ghost writer writing the memoir of a notorious con man, and the chilling events that unfold as their lives become increasingly intertwined.

Kif Kehlmann, a young, penniless writer, is rung in the middle of the night by the notorious con man and corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl. About to go to trial for defrauding the banks of $700 million, Heidl offers Kehlmann the job of ghost writing his memoir. He has six weeks to write the book, for which he’ll be paid $10,000.

But as the writing gets under way, Kehlmann begins to fear that he is being corrupted by Heidl. As the deadline draws closer, he becomes ever more unsure if he is ghost writing a memoir, or if Heidl is rewriting him–his life, his future. Everything that was certain grows uncertain as he begins to wonder: Who is Siegfried Heidl–and who is Kif Kehlmann?

As time runs out, as Kehlmann’s world feels it is hurtling toward a catharsis, one question looms above all others: What is the truth?

By turns compelling, comic, and chilling, this is a haunting journey into the heart of our age.

The latest novel from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Narrow Road to the Deep North (which I haven’t had the chance to read, yet). First Person sounded really interesting, so decided to pick it up. I’ll be reading it soon. The novel is published by Knopf in North America and Chatto & Windus in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

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HawkeS-PW1-CityOfLiesUSSam Hawke, CITY OF LIES (Tor)

Poison. Treachery. Ancient spirits. Sieges. The Poison Wars begin now, with City of Lies, a fabulous epic fantasy debut by Sam Hawke

I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me…

Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he’s a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.

But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising… and angry.

The first novel in the hotly-tipped Poison Wars series, City of Lies has been enjoying a fair bit of pre-publication buzz. I’ll try to get to this in the not-too-distant future. City of Lies is due to be published by Tor Books in North America (July) and Bantam/Transworld in the UK (August)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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JohnstonC-TheTraitorGodCameron Johnston, THE TRAITOR GOD (Angry Robot Books)

After ten years on the run, dodging daemons and debt, reviled magician Edrin Walker returns home to avenge the brutal murder of his friend. Lynas had uncovered a terrible secret, something that threatened to devour the entire city. He tried to warn the Arcanum, the sorcerers who rule the city. He failed.

Lynas was skinned alive and Walker felt every cut. Now nothing will stop him from finding the murderer. Magi, mortals, daemons, and even the gods – Walker will burn them all if he has to.

After all, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s killed a god…

Spotted this a while ago on Angry Robot Books’ website, and I’ve been keen to give it a try ever since. Not sure if it’s the first in a planned series or a stand-alone, but I think I’ll be reading it pretty soon. The Traitor God is due to be published by Angry Robot in the UK and US, in June 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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KorytaM-HowItHappenedMichael Koryta, HOW IT HAPPENED (Hodder)

“And that is how it happened. Can we stop now?”

Kimberly Crepeaux is no good, a notorious jailhouse snitch, teen mother, and heroin addict whose petty crimes are well-known to the rural Maine community where she lives. So when she confesses to her role in the brutal murders of Jackie Pelletier and Ian Kelly, the daughter of a well-known local family and her sweetheart, the locals have little reason to believe her story.

Not Rob Barrett, the FBI investigator and interrogator specializing in telling a true confession from a falsehood. He’s been circling Kimberly and her conspirators for months, waiting for the right avenue to the truth, and has finally found it. He knows, as strongly as he’s known anything, that Kimberly’s story — a grisly, harrowing story of a hit and run fuelled by dope and cheap beer that becomes a brutal stabbing in cold blood-is how it happened. But one thing remains elusive: where are Jackie and Ian’s bodies?

After Barrett stakes his name and reputation on the truth of Kimberly’s confession, only to have the bodies turn up 200 miles from where she said they’d be, shot in the back and covered in a third person’s DNA, the case is quickly closed and Barrett forcibly reassigned. But something still nags at locals, and at a local newspaper reporter who’s been chasing the story as doggedly as Barrett himself.

Really looking forward to reading this one — I’ve not read as much of Koryta’s work as I would hope, but I’ve heard only great things. How it Happened will be published by Hodder in the UK and Little, Brown in North America, in mid-May 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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MaberryJ-GlimpseUSJonathan Maberry, GLIMPSE (St. Martin’s Press)

A chilling thriller that explores what happens when reality and nightmares converge, and how far one will go to protect the innocent when their own brain is a threat.

Rain Thomas is a mess. Seven years an addict and three difficult years clean. Racked by guilt for the baby she gave up for adoption when she was sixteen. Still grieving for the boy’s father who died in Iraq. Alone, discarded by her family, with only the damaged members of her narcotics anonymous meetings as friends. Them, and the voices in her head.

One morning, on the way to a much-needed job interview, she borrows reading glasses to review her resume. There is a small crack in one lens and through that damaged slice of glass she sees a young boy go running down the aisle of the subway train. Is he screaming with laughter or just screaming? When she tries to find the boy, he’s gone and no one has seen him.

The day spins out of control. Rain loses whole chunks of time. She has no idea where her days went. The voices she hears are telling her horrible things. And even stranger things are happening. Unsure whether she is going insane, Rain sets out to find answers to long buried questions about an earlier life she has avoided for years — in what may be the most dangerous collision of all, that between reality and nightmare.

How far will one person go to save someone they love?

Read on at your own peril…

I hadn’t seen anything about this book before it arrived (nor have I yet read anything by the author). Could be interesting, though. Glimpse is out now, published by St. Martin’s Press in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received from publisher

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MarcusB-NotesFromTheFogUSBen Marcus, NOTES FROM THE FOG (Knopf)

Timely dystopian visions of alienation in a modern world — cosmically and comically apt. Never has existential catastrophe been so much fun

In “The Grow-Light Blues,” a hapless, corporate drone finds love after being disfigured testing his employer’s newest nutrition supplement — the enhanced glow from his computer monitor. A father finds himself outcast from his family when he starts to suspect that his son’s precocity has turned sinister in the chilling “Cold Little Bird.” In “Blueprints for St. Louis,” two architects in a flailing marriage consider the ethics of artificially inciting emotion in mourners at their latest assignment — a memorial to a terrorist attack.

In the bizarre but instantly recognizable universe of Ben Marcus’s fiction, characters encounter both surreal new illnesses and equally surreal new cures. Marcus writes beautifully, hilariously, and obsessively, about sex and death, lust and shame, the indignities of the body, and the full parade of human folly. A heartbreaking collection of stories that showcases the author’s compassion, tenderness, and mordant humor. Blistering, beautiful work from a modern master.

A heartbreaking collection of stories that showcases the author’s compassion, tenderness, and mordant humor — blistering, beautiful work from a modern master.

Thought this collection sounded interesting. Notes from the Fog is due to be published by Knopf in August 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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PatrickS-R3-DeadRoadUSSeth Patrick, THE DEAD ROAD (Thomas Dunne Books)

A forensic detective revives the dead to exhume a world-changing conspiracy.

Opening with The Reviver and continuing in Lost Souls, this genre-bending series has been described as CSI meets The Sixth Sense. The trilogy takes place in our world, but with a chilling twist: certain people have the ability to wake the recently dead for testimony that is accepted in courts worldwide. The use of these so-called Revivers has long been a routine part of police investigation. But things are changing… something vast and dangerous is hiding in the dark, just waiting to wreak havoc on our world.

The Dead Road is where it all comes to an end — maybe literally.

This is the third novel in Patrick’s well-received Reviver series, following Reviver and Lost Souls. Published by Thomas Dunne Books in North America and Pan in the UK, it’s out now.

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Review copy received from publisher

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RuizZafonC-LabyrinthOfTheSpiritsUSCarlos Ruiz Zafon, THE LABYRINTH OF THE SPIRITS (Harper)

A heart-pounding thriller and nail-biting work of suspense which introduces a sexy, seductive new heroine whose investigation shines a light on the dark history of Franco’s Spain.

In this unforgettable final volume of Ruiz Zafón’s cycle of novels set in the universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, beautiful and enigmatic Alicia Gris, with the help of the Sempere family, uncovers one of the most shocking conspiracies in all Spanish history.

Nine-year-old Alicia lost her parents during the Spanish Civil War when the Nacionales (the fascists) savagely bombed Barcelona in 1938. Twenty years later, she still carries the emotional and physical scars of that violent and terrifying time. Weary of her work as an investigator for Spain’s secret police in Madrid, a job she has held for more than a decade, the twenty-nine-year old plans to move on. At the insistence of her boss, Leandro Montalvo, she remains to solve one last case: the mysterious disappearance of Spain’s Minister of Culture, Mauricio Valls.

With her partner, the intimidating policeman Juan Manuel Vargas, Alicia discovers a possible clue — a rare book by the author Victor Mataix hidden in Valls’ office in his Madrid mansion. Valls was the director of the notorious Montjuic Prison in Barcelona during World War II where several writers were imprisoned, including David Martín and Victor Mataix. Traveling to Barcelona on the trail of these writers, Alicia and Vargas meet with several booksellers, including Juan Sempere, who knew her parents.

As Alicia and Vargas come closer to finding Valls, they uncover a tangled web of kidnappings and murders tied to the Franco regime, whose corruption is more widespread and horrifying than anyone imagined. Alicia’s courageous and uncompromising search for the truth puts her life in peril. Only with the help of a circle of devoted friends will she emerge from the dark labyrinths of Barcelona and its history into the light of the future.

In this haunting new novel, Carlos Ruiz Zafón proves yet again that he is a masterful storyteller and pays homage to the world of books, to his ingenious creation of the Cemetery of Forgotten, and to that magical bridge between literature and our lives. 

This is the fourth and final novel in Ruiz Zafón’s Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, which began with The Shadow of the WindThe Labyrinth of Spirits is due to be published by Harper in North America and W&N in the UK, in mid-September 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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SchulmanH-ComeWithMeUSHelen Schulman, COME WITH ME (Harper)

A mind-bending novel set in Silicon Valley that challenges our modern constructs of attachment and love, purpose and fate.

“What do you want to know?”

Amy Reed works part-time as a PR person for a tech start-up, run by her college roommate’s nineteen-year-old son, in Palo Alto, California. Donny is a baby genius, a junior at Stanford in his spare time. His play for fortune is an algorithm that may allow people access to their “multiverses” — all the planes on which their alternative life choices can be played out simultaneously — to see how the decisions they’ve made have shaped their lives.

Donny wants Amy to be his guinea pig. And even as she questions Donny’s theories and motives, Amy finds herself unable to resist the lure of the road(s) not taken. Who would she be if she had made different choices, loved different people? Where would she be now?

Amy’s husband, Dan — an unemployed, perhaps unemployable, print journalist — accepts a dare of his own, accompanying a seductive, award-winning photographer named Maryam on a trip to Fukushima, the Japanese city devastated by tsunami and meltdown. Collaborating with Maryam, Dan feels a renewed sense of excitement and possibility he hasn’t felt with his wife in a long time. But when crisis hits at home, the extent of Dan’s betrayal is exposed and, as Amy contemplates alternative lives, the couple must confront whether the distances between them in the here and now are irreconcilable.

Taking place over three non-consecutive but vitally important days for Amy, Dan, and their three sons, Come with Me is searing, entertaining, and unexpected — a dark comedy that is ultimately both a deeply romantic love story and a vivid tapestry of modern life.

Thought this sounded interesting. Come With Me is due to be published by Harper in North America and in the UK, in November 2018.

Follow the Author: Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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SmithI-AncientNineUSIan Smith, THE ANCIENT NINE (St. Martin’s Press)

Spencer Collins thinks his life at Harvard will be all about basketball and pre-med; hard workouts and grinding work in class. The friends he’s made when he hits the storied ivy-clad campus from a very different life in urban Chicago are a happy bonus. But Spencer is about to be introduced to the most mysterious inner sanctum of the inner sanctum: to his surprise, he’s in the running to be “punched” for one of Harvard’s elite final clubs.

The Delphic Club is known as “the Gas” for its crest of three gas-lit flames, and as Spencer is considered for membership, he’s plunged not only into the secret world of male privilege that the Gas represents, but also into a century-old club mystery. Because at the heart of the Delphic, secured deep inside its guarded mansion club, is another secret society: a shadowy group of powerful men known as The Ancient Nine.

Who are The Ancient Nine? And why is Spencer — along with his best friend Dalton Winthrop — summoned to the deathbed of Dalton’s uncle just as Spencer is being punched for the club? What does the lore about a missing page from one of Harvard’s most historic books mean? And how does it connect to religion, murder, and to the King James Bible, if not to King James himself?

The Ancient Nine is both a coming of age novel and a swiftly plotted story that lets readers into the ultimate of closed worlds with all of its dark historical secrets and unyielding power.

I think I spotted this novel in a publisher catalogue a little while back, so I was rather please when I was told I was pre-approved for an e-ARC. Seems like it should be in the same sub-genre as The Skulls. Hopefully reading it soon. The Ancient Nine is published by St. Martin’s Press on September 18th, 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via NetGalley

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TremblayP-CabinAtTheEndOfTheWorldUSPaul Tremblay, THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD (Knopf)

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbours are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, None of what’s going to happen is your fault. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.

Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined.

I’ve never read anything by Tremblay, but I’ve seen only almost universal acclaim for his novels. So, I think it is high time for me to address this oversight. The Cabin at the End of the World is published by Knopf in North America and Titan in the UK, in June 2018.

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Review copy received via Edelweiss

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TruhenA-PriceYouPayUSAidan Truhen, THE PRICE YOU PAY (Knopf)

A smart-mouthed, white-collar drug dealer — a hilariously irreverent antihero — seeks revenge when an unknown enemy takes out a contract on him.

All is good in the life of Jack Price. His drug operation is the Amazon of cocaine trafficking, and no one can breach his complex security system. But then: His downstairs neighbor is professionally executed. That the murder is a sign for Jack becomes perfectly clear a few days later when he arrives home and is beaten to a bloody pulp by a squad of enforcers.

Now revenge is on his mind, and he reaches out to his ex-Soviet associate. Unfortunately, she’s just taken a gig with the Seven Demons, the most feared underground assassination squad in the world — and Jack is their next target. Anyone else would disappear as soon as they learned they were being targeted by the Seven Demons. But Jack Price cannot abide a betrayal. With the help of his contacts in a deep web network called Poltergeist, he fakes a getaway and begins scouting the Demons. He intends to take them out one by one…

Thought this sounded interesting, requested it on a bit of a whim. Think I’ll be reading it pretty soon, though. The Price You Pay is due to be published by Knopf, in July 2018; and by Serpent’s Tail in the UK, in May 2018.

Follow the Author: Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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WangK-FamilyTrustUSdraftKathy Wang, FAMILY TRUST (Knopf)

Struggling to fulfill their dying father’s final bequest, a privileged Chinese-American family in Silicon Valley is forced to contend with the truth of their own lives…

When Stanley Huang is diagnosed with terminal cancer, his family is thrown into turmoil. While his children are concerned for their father, they can’t help but wonder what his death will mean for their own futures. Stanley has long alluded that he’s worth a fortune. But neither his children nor his wife know exactly how much he has — or who will get it.

For his son Fred, a few million would soothe the pain caused by years of professional disappointment. By now, the Harvard Business School graduate had expected to be a financial tech god — not a minor investor at a middling corporate firm, where he isn’t even allowed to fly business class.

Stanley’s daughter, Kate, is a middle manager with one of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious tech companies. She manages the capricious demands of her world-famous boss and the needs of her two young children while supporting her would-be entrepreneur husband — just until his startup gets off the ground. But when one of the balls she’s juggling unexpectedly drops, she starts to wonder if she really needs to be everything to everyone.

Stanley’s second wife, Mary Zhu, twenty-eight years his junior, has devoted herself to making her husband comfortable in every way — rubbing his feet, cooking his favorite dishes, massaging his ego. But lately, her commitment has waned; caring for a dying old man is far more difficult than she expected.

Linda Liang, Stanley’s first wife, knows her ex better than anyone. She worked hard for decades to ensure their financial security, and is determined to see her children get their due. Single for nearly a decade, she might finally be ready for some romantic companionship. But where does a seventy-two year old Chinese woman in California go to find a boyfriend?

As Stanley’s death approaches, the Huangs are faced with unexpected challenges that upend them and eventually lead them to discover what they most value. A compelling tale of cultural expectations, career ambitions and our relationships with the people who know us best, People of Means is an indelible portrait of family that offers an illuminating peek at the ambition and desires beneath Silicon Valley life.

This has been likened to Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest, a novel I thoroughly enjoyed, so I thought I’d give it a try. Family Trust is due out in October 2018, published by Knopf in North America and the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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WinchesterS-PerfectionistsUSSimon Winchester, THE PERFECTIONISTS (Harper)

Traces the development of technology from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age to explore the single component crucial to advancement — precision — in a superb history that is both an homage and a warning for our future.

The rise of manufacturing could not have happened without an attention to precision. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in eighteenth-century England, standards of measurement were established, giving way to the development of machine tools — machines that make machines. Eventually, the application of precision tools and methods resulted in the creation and mass production of items from guns and glass to mirrors, lenses, and cameras — and eventually gave way to further breakthroughs, including gene splicing, microchips, and the Hadron Collider.

Simon Winchester takes us back to origins of the Industrial Age, to England where he introduces the scientific minds that helped usher in modern production: John Wilkinson, Henry Maudslay, Joseph Bramah, Jesse Ramsden, and Joseph Whitworth. It was Thomas Jefferson who later exported their discoveries to the fledgling United States, setting the nation on its course to become a manufacturing titan. Winchester moves forward through time, to today’s cutting-edge developments occurring around the world, from America to Western Europe to Asia.

As he introduces the minds and methods that have changed the modern world, Winchester explores fundamental questions. Why is precision important? What are the different tools we use to measure it? Who has invented and perfected it? Has the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life blinded us to other things of equal value, such as an appreciation for the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, art, and high culture? Are we missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be? And can the precise and the natural co-exist in society?

This sounds really interesting. I’ve enjoyed some of Winchester’s previous work, so I have high hopes for this one. The Perfectionists is due to be published in North America by Harper and William Collins in the UK (as Exactly), in May 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review copy received via Edelweiss

 

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