New Books (December-January)


Featuring: Dan Abnett, Preet Bharara, James Brabazon, Robert A. Caro, JoAnn Chaney, Patrick Coleman, Liv Constantine, Jonathan de Shalit, Bret Easton Ellis, Karen Ellis, Sarah Gailey, Neil Gaiman, N.K. Jemisin, Sadie Jones, Nancy Kress, J. Barton Mitchell, Michael Moynihan, Brett Paesel, Chris Riddell, James Swallow, V.E. Schwab, Jean Edward Smith, Didrik Søderlind, Adam Stemple, David Swinson, Sam Sykes, David Szalay, Karen Thompson Walker, David Weber, Jane Yolen


AbnettD-GG15-AnarchDan Abnett, THE ANARCH (Black Library)

Men of Tanith… do you want to live forever?’

On the forge world of Urdesh, the massed forces of the Imperial Crusade engage in a final bloody battle with the Archenemy commander known as the Anarch, and his elite warriors – the barbaric Sons of Sek. A victory for either side will decide more than just the fate of Urdesh… it will determine the outcome of the entire Sabbat Worlds Crusade. Ibram Gaunt – now serving at the right hand of Warmaster Macaroth – finds himself at the very heart of the struggle. His regiment, the Tanith First “Ghosts”, holds the vital key to ultimate success. But as the forces of the Imperium and Chaos square up for the final, large-scale confrontation, Gaunt discovers that the greatest threat of all may come from inside rather than out.

The anticipated fifteenth novel in Abnett’s best-selling Gaunt’s Ghosts series. I still haven’t read the previous book in the series (Warmaster), which I will do before reading this one. Hopefully back-to-back to get caught up. It’s a very good series, I just haven’t had the time to keep up. Abnett did a lot with this series, establishing much of what we now see as the “language” of the 40k fictional universe. So many of the things he introduced in this series (big and small) have gone on to become canon. The Anarch is out now, published by Black Library.

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bhararap-doingjusticeusPreet Bharara, DOING JUSTICE (Knopf)

By the one-time federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, an important overview of the way our justice system works, and why the rule of law is essential to our society. Using case histories, personal experiences and his own inviting writing and teaching style, Preet Bharara shows the thought process we need to best achieve truth and justice in our daily lives and within our society.

Preet Bharara has spent much of his life examining our legal system, pushing to make it better, and prosecuting those looking to subvert it. Bharara believes in our system and knows it must be protected, but to do so, we must also acknowledge and allow for flaws in the system and in human nature.

The book is divided into four sections: Inquiry, Accusation, Judgment and Punishment. He shows why each step of this process is crucial to the legal system, but he also shows how we all need to think about each stage of the process to achieve truth and justice in our daily lives.

Bharara uses anecdotes and case histories from his legal career — the successes as well as the failures — to illustrate the realities of the legal system, and the consequences of taking action (and in some cases, not taking action, which can be just as essential when trying to achieve a just result).

Much of what Bharara discusses is inspiring — it gives us hope that rational and objective fact-based thinking, combined with compassion, can truly lead us on a path toward truth and justice. Some of what he writes about will be controversial and cause much discussion. Ultimately, it is a thought-provoking, entertaining book about the need to find the humanity in our legal system — and in our society.

I’ve been listening to Bharara’s podcast for the past couple of years, and have been looking forward to reading his new book ever since it was announced. I’ll hopefully be reading this very soon. Doing Justice is due to be published in March 2019 by Knopf (North America) and Bloomsbury (UK).

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Review copy received via Edelweiss


brabazonj-mm1-breaklineushcJames Brabazon, THE BREAK LINE (Berkley)

British intelligence operative and hardened assassin, Max McLean, battles a nightmarish enemy in this stunning debut thriller from an award winning war correspondent.

When it comes to killing terrorists British intelligence has always had one man they could rely on, Max McLean. As an assassin, he’s never missed, but Max has made one miscalculation and now he has to pay the price.

His handlers send him to Sierra Leone on a seemingly one-way mission. What he finds is a horror from beyond his nightmares. Rebel forces are loose in the jungle and someone or something is slaughtering innocent villagers. It’s his job to root out the monster behind these abominations, but he soon discovers that London may consider him the most disposable piece in this operation.

Really looking forward to reading this thriller, the first in the Max McLean series. The sequel, All Fall Down, has already been announced (out in August 2019). The Break Line is published by Berkley in North America and Penguin in the UK.

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Review copy received from the publisher


carora-workingusRobert A. Caro, WORKING (Knopf)

For the first time in book form, Robert Caro gives us a glimpse into his own life and work in these evocatively written, personal pieces. He describes what it was like to interview the mighty Robert Moses; what it felt like to begin discovering the extent of the political power Moses wielded; the combination of discouragement and exhilaration he felt confronting the vast holdings of the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas; his encounters with witnesses, including longtime residents wrenchingly displaced by the construction of Moses’ Cross-Bronx Expressway and Lady Bird Johnson acknowledging the beauty and influence of one of LBJ’s mistresses. He gratefully remembers how, after years of working in solitude, he found a writers’ community at the New York Public Library, and details the ways he goes about planning and composing his books.

Caro recalls the moments at which he came to understand that he wanted to write not just about the men who wielded power but about the people and the politics that were shaped by that power. And he talks about the importance to him of the writing itself, of how he tries to infuse it with a sense of place and mood to bring characters and situations to life on the page. Taken together, these reminiscences — some previously published, some written expressly for this book — bring into focus the passion, the wry self-deprecation, and the integrity with which this brilliant historian has always approached his work.

Caro is best known for his epic biographies — for example, of Robert Moses (The Power Broker) and the ongoing, multi-volume biography of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Working is due to be published by Knopf in April 2019.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads
Review copy received via Edelweiss


chaneyj-aslongaswebothshallliveusJoAnn Chaney, AS LONG AS WE BOTH SHALL LIVE (Flatiron)

You can’t be married to someone without sometimes wanting to kill them…

“My wife! I think she’s dead!” Matt frantically tells park rangers that he and his wife, Marie, were hiking when she fell off a cliff into the raging river below. They start a search, but they aren’t hopeful: no one could have survived that fall. It was a tragic accident.

But Matt’s first wife also died in suspicious circumstances. And when the police pull a body out of the river, they have a lot more questions for Matt.

Detectives Loren and Spengler want to know if Matt is a grieving, twice-unlucky husband or a cold-blooded murderer. They dig into the couple’s lives to see what they can unearth. And they find that love’s got teeth, it’s got claws, and once it hitches you to a person, it’s tough to rip yourself free.

So what happens when you’re done making it work?

Spotted this a while ago in a publisher’s catalogue, and have been looking forward to it ever since. As Long As We Both Shall Live is out now, published by Flatiron Books in North America, and Mantle in the UK.

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ColemanP-ChurchgoerUSPatrick Coleman, THE CHURCHGOER (Harper Perennial)

A haunting literary noir about a former pastor’s search to find a missing woman in the toxic, contradictory underbelly of southern California.

“He was finished with church, with God, with all of it. But to find the girl, he has to go back.”

In Mark Haines’s former life, he was an evangelical youth pastor, a role model, and a family man — until he abandoned his wife, his daughter, and his beliefs. Now he’s marking time between sunny days surfing and dark nights working security at an industrial complex. His isolation is broken when Cindy, a charming twenty-two-year old drifter he sees hitchhiking on the Pacific Coast Highway, hustles him for a breakfast and a place to crash — two cynical kindred spirits.

Then his co-worker is murdered in a robbery gone wrong and Cindy disappears on the same night. Haines knows he should let it go and return to his safe life of solitude. Instead, he’s driven to find out where Cindy went, under stranger and stranger circumstances. Soon Mark is chasing leads, each one taking him back into a world where his old life came crashing down — into the seedier side of southern California’s drug trade and ultimately into the secrets of an Evangelical megachurch where his past and his future are about to converge. What begins as an investigation becomes a haunting mystery and a psychological journey both for Mark, and for the elusive young stranger he won’t let get away.

Set in the early 2000s, The Churchgoer is a gripping noir, a quiet subversion of the genre, and a powerful meditation on belief, morality, and the nature of evil in contemporary life.

Requested this on a whim — it seems I’m on the look-out for new authors writing about California, these days. Really looking forward to reading this novel (I’ll do so soon, however I’ll hold off on the review until closer to release date). The Churchgoer will be published by Harper Perennial in North America and in the UK, in July 2019.

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Review copy received via Edelweiss


constantinel-lasttimeisawyouusLiv Constantine, THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU (Harper)

Dr. Kate English has it all. Not only is she the heiress to a large fortune; she has a gorgeous husband and daughter, a high-flying career, and a beautiful home anyone would envy.

But all that changes the night Kate’s mother, Lily, is found dead, brutally murdered in her own home. Heartbroken and distraught, Kate reaches out to her estranged best friend, Blaire Barrington, who rushes to her side for the funeral, where the years of distance between them are forgotten in a moment.

That evening, Kate’s grief turns to horror when she receives an anonymous text: You think you’re sad now, just wait. By the time I’m finished with you, you’ll wish you had been buried today. More than ever, Kate needs her old friend’s help.

Once Blaire decides to take the investigation into her own hands, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems in Baltimore high society. As infidelity, lies, and betrayals come to light, and tensions rise to a boiling point, she begins to alienate Kate’s friends and relatives with her relentless, accusatory questions, as she tries to find Lily’s killer. The murderer could be anyone — friend, neighbor, loved one. But whoever it is, it’s clear that Kate is next on their list…

Thought this sounded interesting. Hope to read it very soon. The Last Time I Saw You is published by Harper in North America (May 7th) and in the UK (May 30th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss


deshalitj-2-aspyinexileushcJonathan de Shalit, A SPY IN EXILE (Atria Books)

After Ya’ara Stein is forced out of her job at the Mossad — the secret intelligence service of Israel — she is called upon by the Prime Minister for a classified job. Known for her aptitude, beauty, and deadliness, Stein is asked to set up a secret unit that will act independently, answerable only to the Prime Minister.

This streamlined and deadly unit, filled with bright young men and women recruited and trained by Stein, quickly faces threats both old and new. Descendants of the lethal militant Red Army Faction have returned to terrorize Europe and fears of a radical Islam splinter group force the unit to distinguish between facts and smoke screens. As Stein’s cadets struggle to crush these threats, they soon discover how easily the hunter can become the hunted.

The follow up to de Shalit’s critically-acclaimed TraitorA Spy in Exile is due to be published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books on February 5th, in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Goodreads
Review copy received from the publisher


ellisbe-whiteusBret Easton Ellis, WHITE (Knopf)

Combining personal reflection and social observation, Bret Easton Ellis’s first work of nonfiction is an incendiary polemic about this young century’s failings, e-driven and otherwise, and at once an example, definition, and defense of what “freedom of speech” truly means.

Bret Easton Ellis has wrestled with the double-edged sword of fame and notoriety for more than thirty years now, since Less Than Zero catapulted him into the limelight in 1985, earning him devoted fans and, perhaps, even fiercer enemies. An enigmatic figure who has always gone against the grain and refused categorization, he captured the depravity of the eighties with one of contemporary literature’s most polarizing characters, American Psycho’s iconic, terrifying Patrick Bateman. In recent years, his candor and gallows humor on both Twitter and his podcast have continued his legacy as someone determined to speak the truth, however painful it might be, and whom people accordingly either love or love to hate. He encounters various positions and voices controversial opinions, more often than not fighting the status quo.

Now, in White, with the same originality displayed in his fiction, Ellis pours himself out onto the page and, in doing so, eviscerates the perceived good that the social-media age has wrought, starting with the dangerous cult of likeability. White is both a denunciation of censorship, particularly the self-inflicted sort committed in hopes of being “accepted,” and a bracing view of a life devoted to authenticity.

Provocative, incisive, funny, and surprisingly poignant, White reveals not only what is visible on the glittering, pristine surface but also the riotous truths that are hidden underneath.

I have a mixed history with Ellis’s work. Some of it, I’ve liked, others I’ve been unable to finish. This book… well, it could go either way. I’m hoping for something thought-provoking. I’ll read it soon. White is due to be published in mid-April by Knopf (North America) and Picador (UK).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via Edelweiss


EllisK-S2-LastNightUSKaren Ellis, LAST NIGHT (Mulholland)

NYPD detective Lex Cole tracks a missing Brooklyn teen whose bright future is endangered by the ghosts of his unknown father’s past…

One of the few black kids on his Brighton Beach block, Titus “Crisp” Crespo was raised by his white mother and his Russian grandparents. He has two legacies from his absent father, Mo: his weird name and his brown skin. Crisp has always been the odd kid out, but a fundamentally good kid, with a bright future.

But one impulsive decision triggers a horrible domino effect — an arrest, no reason not to accompany his richer, whiter friend Glynnie on a visit to her weed dealer, and a trip onto his father’s old home turf where he’ll face certain choices he’s always strived to avoid.

As Detective Lex Cole tries to unravel the clues from Crisp’s night out, they both find that what you don’t know about your past can still come back to haunt you.

This is the follow-up to Ellis’s first Lex Cole/Searchers novel, A Map of the Dark. I enjoyed that novel (which I read what feels like forever ago), and have been looking forward to the next book ever since. I’ll be reading this very soon. Last Night is due to be published in February by Mulholland Books in North America (26th) and in the UK (21st).

Also on CR: Review of A Map of the Dark

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Review copy received via NetGalley


gaileys-magicforliarsusSarah Gailey, MAGIC FOR LIARS (Tor)

Ivy Gamble was born without magic and never wanted it.

Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy with her life – or at least, she’s perfectly fine.

She doesn’t in any way wish she was like Tabitha, her estranged, gifted twin sister.

Ivy Gamble is a liar.

When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister—without losing herself.

The new novel from the author of the excellent River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow (fantastic re-imaginings of American history, with lots of hippos!). I’m really looking forward to reading this. Magic For Liars is due to be published in June 2019, by Tor Books in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Sarah Gailey (2017)

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Review copy received via NetGalley


gaimanriddell-artmattersNeil Gaiman & Chris Riddell, ART MATTERS (Headline)

A creative call to arms from the mind of Neil Gaiman, combining his extraordinary words with deft and striking illustrations by Chris Riddell. Art Matters will inspire its readers to seize the day in the name of art.

Be bold. Be rebellious. Choose art. It matters.

Neil Gaiman once said that ‘the world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before’. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. Drawn together from speeches, poems and creative manifestos, Art Matters explores how reading, imagining and creating can change the world, and will be inspirational to young and old.

I read this as soon as I got it — it didn’t take long. It is a beautiful little book. Filled with encouragement for anyone who wants to make art, it contains some good advice, some levity and fantastic illustrations from Riddell. Very highly recommended. Art Matters is out now, published by Headline.

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Follow the Artist: Website, Goodreads, Twitter


JemisinNK-HowLongTilBlackFutureMonthN.K. Jemisin, HOW LONG ‘TIL BLACK FUTURE MONTH? (Orbit)

N. K. Jemisin is one of the most powerful and acclaimed authors of our time. In the first collection of her evocative short fiction, which includes never-before-seen stories, Jemisin equally challenges and delights readers with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption.

Spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story “The City Born Great,” a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis’s soul.

The first short fiction collection from the three-time Hugo Award winner and all-round excellent author. Looking forward to reading this. out now, published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms and The Killing Moon

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joness-snakesusSadie Jones, THE SNAKES (Harper)

“I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins,” she said. She didn’t feel afraid standing in the darkness, imagining snakes, even with the smell of death in the air.”

Recently married, psychologist Bea and Dan, a mixed-race artist, rent out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic.

When Alex and Bea’s parents make a surprise visit, Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping.

Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its heart, and then its rotten core, and even Bea with all her strength and goodness can’t escape.

Sadie Jones’s new novel has been appearing on a number of must-read lists, and so naturally I was convinced to check it out. The Snakes is due to be published in North America by Harper (June 25th) and in the UK by Chatto & Windus (March 7th).

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Review copy received via Edelweiss


kressn-yk3-terrantomorrowusNancy Kress, TERRAN TOMORROW (Tor)

The diplomatic mission from Earth to World ended in disaster, as the Earth scientists discovered that the Worlders were not the scientifically advanced culture they believed. Though they brought a limited quantity of the vaccine against the deadly spore cloud, there was no way to make enough to vaccinate more than a few dozen. The Earth scientists, and surviving diplomats, fled back to Earth.

But once home, after the twenty-eight-year gap caused by the space ship transit, they find an Earth changed almost beyond recognition. In the aftermath of the spore cloud plague, the human race has been reduced to only a few million isolated survivors. The knowledge brought back by Marianne Jenner and her staff may not be enough to turn the tide of ongoing biological warfare.

This is the third and final novel in Kress’s critically-acclaimed Yesterday’s Kin trilogy. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the series, but I have yet to read any of the novels. Terran Tomorrow is out now, published by Tor Books (it’s available in the UK, too).

Also on CR: Excerpt from If Tomorrow Comes

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Review copy received from publisher


MitchellJB-RazorUSJ. Barton Mitchell, THE RAZOR (Tor)

Brilliant engineer Marcus Flynn has been sentenced to 11-H37 alongside the galaxy’s most dangerous criminals. A hard labor prison planet better known as the Razor, where life expectancy is short and all roads are dead ends.

At least until the Lost Prophet goes active…

In a few hours, prison guards and staff are evacuated, the prisoners are left to die, and dark mysteries begin to surface.

Only Flynn has the skills and knowledge to unravel them, but he will have to rely on the most unlikely of allies — killers, assassins, pirates and smugglers. If they can survive each other they just might survive the Razor… and claim it for their own.

Hadn’t heard of this novel before it arrived in the mail. Sounds like it might be interesting, though, so will try to read it soon. That blurb on the cover is also rather tantalizing: “If Quentin Tarantino and James Cameron had codirected The Shawshank Redemption, it would look like The Razor.” The Razor is out now, published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK.

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Review copy received from the publisher


MoynihanSoderlind-LordsOfChaosMichael Moynihan & Didrik Søderlind, LORDS OF CHAOS (Feral House)

The 2003 edition of LORDS OF CHAOS is revised and expanded, adding fifty new pages, detailing outbreaks of Black Metal crime in Finland, Germany and the United States; and includes the secret history of occult Rock, a new section on Varg Vikernes’ promulgation of bizarre Aryan UFO theories, and material on the career of Hendrik Mobus, an international neo-Nazi fugitive. This award-winning exposé features hundreds of rare photos and exclusive interrogations with priests, police officers, Satanists, and leaders of demonic bands who believe the greater evil spawns the greatest glory.

Recently, I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic for 1990s and early 2000s rock/metal music. These were the formative years of my musical education, when I took it upon myself to explore the genres’ pasts and presents. I’ve been trying, therefore, to track down this book for a long time. It was first published in 1997, and then updated in 2003 (when I must have seen it reviewed in the various music magazines I used to read and subscribe to religiously). I’ve never been a fan of Black Metal, but there were some more-“mainstream” albums and songs that were pretty good — Satyricon’s Now, Diabolical, for example, is a pretty groove-heavy BM album (with “K.I.N.G.” being the best cut).* The story covered in the book is one from a time when I was just getting in to metal music, so it’s one that has stuck with me for some time. It’s certainly the darkest moment that I can think of for the genre (I hope there hasn’t been a darker one…). When I discovered that the publisher had released an eBook edition of the book, I decided to get it and read the full story. Lord of Chaos is out now, published by Feral House.

Perhaps of interest to fellow metalheads: the book has been adapted into a movie, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, which will be released this year.

* Given its commercial success (i.e., it sold more than a handful of CDs), it’s possible that it cannot be considered a true Black Metal album anymore…


paeselb-everythingisjustfineusBrett Paesel, EVERYTHING IS JUST FINE (Grand Central)

In this brilliant, laugh-out-loud satire, image-conscious parents on a Beverly Hills junior soccer team struggle to keep up appearances as their private lives careen out of control.

Coach Randy is working mightily to keep it together, and not simply with his vaguely unhappy wife, distant child, and a new boss who’s eliminating half the sales force. This season’s soccer parents are a demanding bunch. Diane’s wine-fueled group e-mails are almost unintelligible; team mom Jacqui’s enthusiasm for the league verges on manic; a divorced couple can barely conceal their murderous rage at each other; and another mom is laser-focused on schooling everyone on what constitutes a healthy snack option.

All the secrets and lies bubbling below the surface of their membrane-thin civility threaten to combust when Alejandro, a young, foreign assistant coach refuses to play by the Beverly Hills code, which is to mind your own business and don’t look too deeply into anyone’s soul. Especially your own.

Brett Paesel brings hilarity and huge heart to a world that looks enviable and shiny on the outside but is, in truth, filled with aching for connection on the inside. In the vein of Perotta and Semple, everyday life in Paesel’s deft rendering is anything but.

Thought this sounded interesting. Everything is Just Fine is due to be published by Grand Central Publishing in April 2019.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads
Review copy received via NetGalley


SchwabVE-V2-VengefulUKV.E. Schwab, VENGEFUL (Titan)

A super-powered collision of extraordinary minds and vengeful intentions…

Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.

But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought — and will use her newfound power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other once more.

With Marcella’s rise, new enmities create opportunity — and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.

This is the sequel to Vicious, which I read and very much enjoyed quite some time ago. The eBook recently dropped in price, so I decided to snap it up. Really looking forward to revisiting this setting. Vengeful is out now, published by Titan Books (UK) and Tor Books (North America).

Also on CR: Review of Vicious; Excerpt from This Savage Song

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SwallowJ-HH54-TheBuriedDaggerJames Swallow, THE BURIED DAGGER (Black Library)

The skies darken over Terra as the final battle for the Throne looms ever closer… As the Traitor primarchs muster to the Warmaster’s banner, it is Mortarion who is sent ahead as the vanguard of the Traitor forces. But as he and his warriors make way, they become lost in the warp and stricken by a terrible plague. Once thought of as the unbreakable, the legendary Death Guard are brought to their knees. To save his Legion, Mortarion must strike a most terrible bargain that will damn his sons for eternity. Meanwhile, in the cloisters of Holy Terra, a plot is afoot to create sedition and carnage in advance of the Horus’s armies. Taking matters into his own hands, Malcador the Sigillite seeks to put a stop to any insurrection but discovers a plot that he will need all of his cunning and battle-craft to overcome.

The 54th (and final) novel in the Horus Heresy series! In many ways, I’ve been looking forward to this one ever since The Flight of the Eisenstein, in which Swallow introduced us to Nathaniel Garro. The Buried Dagger is due to be published by Black Library in late February.

Also on CR: Reviews of NemesisFear to Tread and Garro: Weapon of Fate; Guest Post on “The Nomad Soundtrack”;  Excerpt from Nomad

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from publisher


SwinsonD-FM3-TriggerUSDavid Swinson, TRIGGER (Mulholland Books)

Frank Marr was a good cop, until his burgeoning addictions to alcohol and cocaine forced him into retirement from the D.C. Metro police. Now, he’s barely eking out a living as a private investigator for a defense attorney — also Frank’s ex-girlfriend.

Ostracized by his family after a botched case that led to the death of his baby cousin, Jeffrey, Frank was on a collision course with rock bottom. Now clean and clinging hard to sobriety, Frank passes the time — and tests himself — by robbing the houses of local dealers, taking their cash and flushing their drugs down the toilet. When an old friend from his police days needs Frank’s help to prove he didn’t shoot an unarmed civilian, Frank is drawn back into the world of dirty cops and suspicious drug busts, running in the same circles that enabled his addiction those years ago.

Never one to play by the rules, Frank recruits a young man he nearly executed years before. Together — a good man trying not to go bad and a bad man trying to do good — detective and criminal charge headfirst into the D.C. drug wars. Neither may make it out.

Well, this is probably my most-anticipated novel of the year (certainly my most-anticipated thriller novel). I absolutely loved the first two Frank Marr novels — The Second Girl and Crime Song — and have been impatiently awaiting this novel ever since I finished the second book. I started reading this almost as soon as I got the book (and have already finished it — review here). If you haven’t read them yet, I strongly urge you to do so. Fantastic novels. Trigger is due to be published in February by Mulholland Books in North America (12th) and in the UK (7th).

Also on CR: Reviews of The Second GirlCrime Song and Trigger

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley


SykesS-SevenBladesInBlackUSSam Sykes, SEEN BLADES IN BLACK (Orbit)

Her magic was stolen. She was left for dead.

Betrayed by those she trusts most and her magic ripped from her, all Sal the Cacophony has left is her name, her story, and the weapon she used to carve both. But she has a will stronger than magic, and knows exactly where to go.

The Scar, a land torn between powerful empires, where rogue mages go to disappear, disgraced soldiers go to die and Sal went with a blade, a gun, and a list of seven names.

Revenge will be its own reward.

A new novel from Sam Sykes is always something to be cheered! When he arrived on the scene, his blend of humour and action-packed fantasy has been a welcome breath of fresh air in the genre. And with each novel, he gets better and better. I’m not sure if this novel is the first in a new series or a stand-alone. Either way, I’m very much looking forward to reading it. Seven Blades in Black will be published in North America by Orbit Books (April 9th) and Gollancz in the UK (May 2nd).

sykess-bdhsq1-ale&bloodSam Sykes, ALE & BLOOD

His hangover began in a dungeon cell and got worse from there.

Lenk is not having a good day. Oh, sure, he had a great night — his band of adventurers, drunk on the reward from a quest completed, proceeded to get drunk on the ale they bought with that reward. But upon waking up in a cell with Kataria, his foul-mouthed and savage companion, he learned a nobleman lay dead in the streets, a city had been plunged into chaos, and all signs pointed to him doing it.

Now, accused of a crime they didn’t commit — or at least, they think they didn’t commit it; honestly, everything got a little blurry after the third drink–Lenk and Kataria must prove their innocence or lose their lives in the only justice the city knows: the arena.

This is a “side-quest adventure” for fans of Sykes’s Bring Down Heaven trilogy, which the author has described on his website as “the sort of story that’s perfect for people curious about my work, but intimidated by size or price” and also perfect for fans who “want to see more stories about Lenk, Kataria and the terrible situations they find themselves carving out of.” Sykes has also said he’s going to write a couple more novellas about the same events, but told from the perspectives of other characters (Asper and Daenos). Ale & Blood can be read completely out of order and independently of the novels — which is handy, because I’ve fallen way behind on Sykes’s novels. As someone who finds his sense of humour hard to resist, however, I decided to buy this novella and read it ASAP. I bought it from Amazon, but it’s available from most (all?) eBook retailers.

Also on CR: Interviews with Sam Sykes — 2011 and 2012; Reviews of Tome of the Undergates, Black Halo and The City Stained Red

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter*
Review copy of Seven Blades in Black received via NetGalley

* If you don’t already follow him on Twitter, I would highly recommend it: he is a delight.


SzalayD-TurbulenceUSDavid Szalay, TURBULENCE (Scribner)

A novel about twelve people, mostly strangers, and the surprising ripple effect each one has on the life of the next as they cross paths while in transit around the world.

A woman strikes up a conversation with the man sitting next to her on a plane after some turbulence. He returns home to tragic news that has also impacted another stranger, a shaken pilot on his way to another continent who seeks comfort from a journalist he meets that night. Her life shifts subtly as well, before she heads to the airport on an assignment that will shift more lives in turn.

In this wondrous, profoundly moving novel, Szalay’s diverse protagonists circumnavigate the planet in twelve flights, from London to Madrid, from Dakar to Sao Paulo, to Toronto, to Delhi, to Doha, en route to see lovers or estranged siblings, aging parents, baby grandchildren, or nobody at all. Along the way, they experience the full range of human emotions from loneliness to love and, knowingly or otherwise, change each other in one brief, electrifying interaction after the next.

A new novella by the author of Booker-shortlisted All That Man Is, I spotted the North American edition on Edelweiss a little while ago. I’ve never read any of Szalay’s work, but I’m really looking forward to reading this — as it’s so short, too, it might serve as a nice intro to his writing. Turbulence is due to be published by Scribner in North America (July 16th, 2019); the book was published in December 2018 in the UK by Jonathan Cape.

Follow the Author: Goodreads
Review copy received via Edelweiss


walkerkt-dreamersushcKaren Thompson Walker, THE DREAMERS (Random House)

One night in an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a first-year student stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep — and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third, Mei finds herself thrust together with an eccentric classmate as panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster.

Those affected by the illness, doctors discover, are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, higher than has ever been recorded before. They are dreaming heightened dreams — but of what?

Written in luminous prose, The Dreamers is a breathtaking and beautiful novel, startling and provocative, about the possibilities contained within a human life — if only we are awakened to them.

This has been getting a fair amount of pre-publication buzz. The new novel by the author of the acclaimed The Age of Miracles (which I also own but haven’t yet read), I’m looking forward to reading this. The Dreamers is out now, published by Random House (North America) and Scribner (UK).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter


weberd-s10-throughfierytrialsushcDavid Weber, THROUGH FIERY TRIALS (Tor)

With new alliances forged and old regimes fractured, Merlin — the cybernetic avatar of Earth’s last survivor and immortal beacon to humanity — and the colonies of Safehold have many adventures ahead…

Those on the side of progressing humanity through advanced technology have finally triumphed over their oppressors. The unholy war between the small but mighty island realm of Charis and the radical, luddite Church of God’s Awaiting has come to an end.

However, even though a provisional veil of peace has fallen over human colonies, the quiet will not last. For Safefold is a broken world, and as international alliances shift and Charis charges on with its precarious mission of global industrialization, the shifting plates of the new world order are bound to clash.

Yet, an uncertain future isn’t the only danger Safehold faces. Long-thought buried secrets and prophetic promises come to light, proving time is a merciless warden who never forgets.

This is the tenth novel in Weber’s Safehold series. I haven’t read any of the previous nine novels, so I’m not sure how quickly I’ll be able to get around to this one… Through Fiery Trials is out now, published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received from publisher


yolenstemple-lasttsarsdragonsusJane Yolen & Adam Stemple, THE LAST TSAR’S DRAGONS (Tachyon)

It is the waning days of the Russian monarchy. A reckless man rules the land and his dragons rule the sky. Although the Tsar continues to send his reign of fire to scorch his enemies — Jews and Bolsheviks — instead he lays waste to his entire country.

Even dragons are cannot quell the conspiracies arising around the Tsar, from the ranks of the oppressed, political operatives, and one nameless functionary watching power slip away. Even the Tsar’s foreign-born wife believes that his tactics are tantamount to evil. But now revolution is in the air — and the Red Army is hatching its own weapons.

This sounds quite interesting. The Last Tsar’s Dragons is due to be published by Tachyon Publications in June 2019, in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author (Yolen): Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Follow the Author (Stemple): Website, Goodreads
Review copy received via Edelweiss


Inferno-Vol.2Various, INFERNO! Vol.2 (Black Library)

The second volume of this anthology collection comprises more new short fiction from the worlds of Warhammer. Penned by debut and current Black Library authors, its tales range from the fighting pits in the realm of Ghur to the mists of Chamon, while in the brutal galaxy of the Dark Imperium, mysteries must be solved but that doesn’t mean escaping the horrors unscathed.

In this volume, Guy Haley continues the story of the aelf wanderer, Prince Maesa, as he rides out a storm in the depths of Shyish. A skaven team attempt to carry out a daring heist in a tale of villainous betrayal, and an Imperial Guardsman must investigate an isolated town’s secret if he and his men are to survive the night. These and many other stories are collected here for the first time.

The Merchant’s Tale by Guy Haley
The Thirteenth Psalm by Peter Fehevari
Spiritus in Machina by Thomas Parrott
From the Deep by Jaine Fenn
Faith in Thunder by Robert Charles
What Wakes in the Dark by Miles A Drake
Solace by Steve Lyons
Ties of Blood by Jaime Crisalli
Turn of the Adder by J C Stearns
No Honour Among Vermin by C L Werner

The second volume in the new run of Black Library’s Inferno! anthologies. Really enjoyed the first book, and very much looking forward to diving into this next collection. Inferno! Vol.2 is out now, published by Black Library.

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