Featuring: Taylor Brown, Alicia Yin Cheng, Michael D’Antonio, Hilary Davidson, Michael Elias, Richard Ford, Sarah Frier, David Frum, Chris Hauty, Charlie M. Holmberg, Kathleen Kent, Michael ByungJu Kim, William King, Chris Kluwe, Nick Kyme, Laura Lam, Vicki Laveau-Harvie, Corry L. Lee, Eeleen Lee, Katie Mack, Devin Madson, Premee Mohamed, Liz Moore, T.R. Napper, Kit Rocha, Stuart Stevens, Peter Swanson, Katie Tallo, Corey J. White, Caroline Zancan
Taylor Brown, PRIDE OF EDEN (St. Martin’s Press)
Retired racehorse jockey and Vietnam veteran Anse Caulfield rescues exotic big cats, elephants, and other creatures for Little Eden, a wildlife sanctuary near the abandoned ruins of a failed development on the Georgia coast. But when Anse’s prized lion escapes, he becomes obsessed with replacing her — even if the means of rescue aren’t exactly legal.
Anse is joined by Malaya, a former soldier who hunted rhino and elephant poachers in Africa; Lope, whose training in falconry taught him to pilot surveillance drones; and Tyler, a veterinarian who has found a place in Anse’s obsessive world.
From the rhino wars of Africa to the battle for the Baghdad Zoo, from the edges of the Okefenokee Swamp to a remote private island off the Georgia coast, Anse and his team battle an underworld of smugglers, gamblers, breeders, trophy hunters, and others who exploit exotic game.
Pride of Eden is Taylor Brown’s brilliant fever dream of a novel: set on the eroding edge of civilization, rooted in dramatic events linked not only with each character’s past, but to the prehistory of America, where great creatures roamed the continent and continue to inhabit our collective imagination.
This will be the first book by Brown that I read, although his name has been one I’ve seen pop up multiple times on recommended reading lists and best of lists. It has an interesting premise, and I hope to read it very soon. Pride of Eden is due to be published by St. Martin’s Press in North America and in the UK, on March 17th, 2020.
Alicia Yin Cheng, THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKED LIKE (Princeton Architectural Press)
This Is What Democracy Looked Like, the first illustrated history of printed ballot design, illuminates the noble but often flawed process at the heart of our democracy.
An exploration and celebration of US ballots from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this visual history reveals unregulated, outlandish, and, at times, absurd designs that reflect the explosive growth and changing face of the voting public. The ballots offer insight into a pivotal time in American history — a period of tectonic shifts in the electoral system — fraught with electoral fraud, disenfranchisement, scams, and skullduggery, as parties printed their own tickets and voters risked their lives going to the polls.
Thought this looked fascinating. Will read it very soon. This Is What Democracy Looked Like is due to be published by Princeton Architectural Press, on May 26th, 2020. Check out this New Yorker piece by the author, on the same subject.
Michael D’Antonio, THE HUNTING OF HILLARY (St. Martin’s Press)
The Hunting of Hillary traces how an entire industry of hate, lies, and fear was created to persecute Hillary Clinton for decades and profit from it.
In The Hunting of Hillary, presidential biographer Michael D’Antonio details the years of lies and insults heaped upon Hillary Clinton as she pursued a life devoted to politics and policy. The worst took the form of sexism and misogyny, much of it barely disguised.
A pioneer for women, Clinton was burdened in ways no man ever was. Defined by a right-wing conspiracy, she couldn’t declare what was happening lest she be cast as weak and whiny. Nevertheless, she persisted and wouldn’t let them define her. As The Hunting of Hillary makes clear, her achievements have been all the more remarkable for the unique opposition she encountered. The 2016 presidential election can only be understood in the context of the primal and primitive response of those who just couldn’t imagine that a woman might lead.
For those who seek to understand the experience of the most accomplished woman in American politics, The Hunting of Hillary offers insight. For those who recognized what happened to her, it offers affirmation. And for those who hope to carry Clinton’s work into the future, it offers inspiration and instruction.
Hilary Davidson, DON’T LOOK DOWN (Thomas & Mercer)
A gripping mystery about a sinister murder that everyone wants to stay buried — except one dogged NYPD detective.
Jo Greaver is a model of success. Young and ambitious, she’s built a thriving beauty business from nothing. But she has secrets she’ll do anything to keep buried. When her blackmailer offers to meet, Jo expects to pay him off — but gets a bullet instead. Bleeding and in shock, Jo flees with no one to turn to.
When NYPD detective Sheryn Sterling and her partner, Rafael Mendoza, find Andray Baxter murdered in his own home — shot through the heart — everything points to Jo as the killer. Her blood is at the scene, and so are disturbing photos of her taken as a young teen. But Sheryn has doubts. Was the kindhearted Andray really a criminal? Why did he repeatedly report finding spyware in his apartment? Was there something shady about Jo’s sister dying a year earlier?
Something’s not right, and it’s up to Sheryn to piece together the sinister puzzle, no matter the cost.
This is the second novel in Davidson’s Shadows of New York crime series, following on from One Small Sacrifice. I haven’t read the first one, yet, but it was on sale when this arrived, so I decided to pick it up as well. It is due to be published by Thomas & Mercer in North America and in the UK, on February 11th.
Michael Elias, YOU CAN GO HOME NOW (Harper)
“My name is Nina Karim. I am a single thirty-one-year-old woman who likes cats, Ryan Reynolds movies, beautiful sunsets, walking on a wintry beach holding hands with a tall, caring, lightly bearded third-wave feminist. Yeah, right.”
Nina is a tough Queens detective with a series of cold case homicides on her desk – men whose widows had the same alibi: they were living in Artemis, a battered women’s shelter, when their husbands were killed.
Nina goes undercover into Artemis. Though she is playing the victim, she’s anything but. Nina knows about violence and the bullies who rely on it because she’s experienced it in her own life.
In this heart-pounding thriller Nina confronts the violence of her own past in Artemis where she finds solidarity with a community of women who deal with abusive and lethal men in their own way.
For the women living in Artemis there is no absolute moral compass, there is the law and there is survival. And, for Nina, who became a cop so she could find the man who murdered her father, there is only revenge.
Possible the start of a new series. Sounds interesting. You Can Go Home Now is due to be published by Harper on June 23rd, 2020.
Follow the Author: Goodreads
Review copy received via Edelweiss
Richard Ford, SORRY FOR YOUR TROUBLE (Ecco)
In Sorry for Your Trouble, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author Richard Ford enacts a stunning meditation on memory, love and loss.
— “Displaced” returns us to a young man’s Mississippi adolescence, and to a shocking encounter with a young Irish immigrant who recklessly tries to solace the narrator’s sorrow after his father’s death.
— “Driving Up” follows an American woman’s late-in-life journey to Canada to bid good-bye to a lost love now facing the end of this life.
— “The Run of Yourself,” a novella, sees a New Orleans lawyer navigating the difficulties of living beyond his Irish wife’s death.
— And “Nothing to Declare” follows a man and a woman’s chance re-meeting in the New Orleans French Quarter, after twenty years, and their discovery of what’s left of love for them.
Typically rich with Ford’s emotional lucidity and lyrical precision, Sorry for Your Trouble is a memorable collection from one of our greatest writers.
A new story collection from award-winning author of The Sportswriter. Sorry For Your Trouble is due to be published by Ecco on
Follow the Author: Goodreads
Review copy received via Edelweiss
Sarah Frier, NO FILTER (Simon & Schuster)
Since its creation in 2010, Instagram’s fun and simple interface has captured our collective imagination, swiftly becoming a way of life. In No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram, technology reporter Sarah Frier explains how Instagram’s founders married art and technology to overcome skeptics and to hook the public on visual storytelling. At first, Instagram initially attracted artisans, but then the platform exploded in popularity among the masses, creating an entire industry of digital influencers that’s now worth tens of billions of dollars.
Eighteen months after Instagram’s launch and explosive growth, the founders — Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger — made the gut-wrenching decision to sell the company to Facebook. For most companies, that would be the end of the story; but for Instagram, it was only the beginning. Instagram borrowed some lessons from Facebook and rejected others, until eventually its success stirred tension with Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, just as Facebook became embroiled in a string of public crises. Frier unearths the details that led to the cofounders’ departure, bringing to light dramatic moments unknown to the public until now.
At its heart, No Filter draws on unprecedented exclusive access — from the founders of Instagram, as well as employees, executives, and competitors; hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio; Anna Wintour of Vogue; Kris Jenner of the Kardashian-Jenner empire; and a plethora of influencers, from fashionistas with millions of followers to owners of famous dogs worldwide — to show how Instagram has fundamentally changed the way we communicate, shop, eat, and travel. The book brings readers inside users’ strategies to craft their personal image and fame, explaining how the company’s product decisions have affected the structure of our society. From teenagers to the pope, No Filter tells the captivating story of how Instagram not only created a new industry but also changed our lives.
I’ve enjoyed most of the tech company biographies I’ve read — from Ben Mezrich’s now-classic The Accidental Billionaires to biographies of Steve Jobs and others — there’s no doubt how much these companies and their products have come to shape our lives over at least the last decade. I was a relative latecomer to Instagram, but it has come to replace Facebook as my preferred social media platform. I’ve already started this book, and I’ve been finding it enjoyable, illuminating, and informative. No Filter is due to be published by Simon & Schuster in North America (April 14th) and Random House Business in the UK (April 16th).
David Frum, TRUMPOCALYPSE: RESTORING AMERICAN DEMOCRACY (Harper)
A huge swath of Americans see the rest of the country building a future that doesn’t have a place for them. It’s no wonder they’d rather burn it all down. But the fire can be stopped by Americans who act now to protect their country and its democracy.
President Trump has undermined America’s democratic traditions. At every step, he was aided by Republicans who have given up on winning power the democratic way. Polls have repeatedly shown that about a third of the electorate refuses to abandon Donald Trump, no matter what he does. Those voters aren’t looking for policy wins. They’re seeking cultural revenge.
In Trumpocalypse, David Frum looks at the causes of our tragic national fragmentation and lays out a plan to restore a democracy at home—and renew American leadership abroad. It is not enough to defeat Donald Trump on election day 2020. Even if Trump peacefully departs office, the trauma he inflicted will distort American and world politics for years to come.
Americans can do better. David Frum shows how—and inspires all readers of all points of view to believe again in the possibilities of American life. Trumpocalypse is both a warning of danger and a guide to reform that will be read and discussed for years to come.
The second book in Frum’s bestselling Trumpocalypse series, following The Corruption of the American Republic (which I have, but haven’t yet read — maybe I’ll do these back-to-back). Since 2016, I’ve been reading a lot of about and from the various “Never Trump” Republicans. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the American political system, by a faction who seem stunned by what they have wrought on the country. I disagree with them politically, but their analysis of Trump is worth checking out. Restoring American Democracy is due to be published by Harper on May 5th, 2020.
Chris Hauty, DEEP STATE (Atria/Emily Bestler)
Recently elected President Richard Monroe — populist, controversial, and divisive — is at the center of an increasingly polarized Washington, DC. Never has the partisan drama been so tense or the paranoia so rampant. In the midst of contentious political turf wars, the White House chief of staff is found dead in his house. A tenacious intern discovers a single, ominous clue that suggests he died from something other than natural causes, and that a wide-ranging conspiracy is running beneath the surface of everyday events: powerful government figures are scheming to undermine the rule of law — and democracy itself. Allies are exposed as enemies, once-dependable authorities fall under suspicion, and no one seems to be who they say they are. The unthinkable is happening. The Deep State is real. Who will die to keep its secrets and who will kill to uncover the truth?
This novel got a lot of attention before it was published — it hit many Most Anticipated thriller lists, and it’s been racking up some pretty solid reviews. Despite its concerning title (that phrase has been completely ruined by the American right wing), I was really looking forward to giving it a try. I’ve dipped in and I found the writing style kind of strange. Not bad, per se, but there were some consistent stylistic mannerisms that were kind of annoying. Maybe I’m just not in the mood for it at the moment, but I’ll give it a try again soon. Deep State is published by Atria/Emily Bestler in North America (out now) and Simon & Schuster in the UK (January 23rd).
[If you’d like to know more about the author, check out this great interview with him over on Real Book Spy.]
Charlie N. Holmberg, THE WILL AND THE WILDS (47 North)
Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.
Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.
Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely — and Enna’s soul with him.
Hadn’t heard of this before it arrived in the mail. Might be interesting. The Will and the Wilds is out now, published by 47 North in North America and in the UK.
Kathleen Kent, THE BURN (Mulholland)
Rattled from a run-in with a cult and desperate for answers, Detective Betty Rhyzyk decides to go rogue — but her investigation leads straight into the dark underworld of the Dallas drug cartel.
There’s not much that can make Detective Betty Rhyzyk flinch. But her wounds are still fresh from an encounter with an apocalyptic cult known as The Family, and she’s having trouble readjusting to life as it once was. She’s back at work as a narcotics detective, but something isn’t right — at work, where someone has been assassinating confidential informants, or at home, where she struggles to connect with her loving wife, Jackie. To make matters worse, Betty’s partner seems to be increasingly dependent on the prescription painkillers he was prescribed for the injuries he sustained rescuing her.
Forced into therapy, a desk assignment, and domestic bliss, Betty’s at the point of breaking when she decides to go rogue, investigating her own department and chasing down phantom sightings of the cult leader who took her hostage. The chase will lead her to the dark heart of a drug cartel terrorizing Dallas, and straight to the crooked cops who plan to profit from it all. There’s never a dull moment in Dallas, especially now that Detective Betty’s back.
The sequel to the Edgar Award-nominated The Dirt, I’m really looking forward to reading this series. Mulholland has an extremely good track-record for thrillers, so I have very high hopes for Kent’s novels. The Burn is due to be published by Mulholland Books on February 11th, in North America and in the UK.
Michael ByungJu Kim, OFFERINGS (Skyhorse)
With the rapidly cascading Asian Financial Crisis threatening to go global and Korea in imminent meltdown, investment banker Dae Joon finds himself back in his native Seoul as part of an international team brought in to rescue the country from sovereign default. For Dae Joon — also known by his American name of Shane, after the cowboy movie his father so loved — the stakes are personal.
Raised in the US and Harvard Business School–educated, Dae Joon is a jangnam, a firstborn son, bound by tradition to follow in the footsteps of his forebears. But rather than pursue the path his scholar-father wanted, he has sought a career on Wall Street, at the epicenter of power in the American empire. Now, as he and his fellow bankers work feverishly with Korean officials to execute a sovereign bond offering to raise badly needed capital, he knows that his own father is living on borrowed time, in the last stages of a disease that is the family curse. A young woman he has met is quietly showing the way to a different future. And when his closest friend from business school, a scion of one of Korea’s biggest chaebol, asks his help in a sale that may save the conglomerate but also salvage a legacy of corruption, he finds himself in personal crisis, torn by dueling loyalties, his identity tested.
“For fans of Chang-Rae Lee, Min Jin Lee, and The Big Short, a moving novel about love, sacrifice, ambition, and greed—and a financial crisis” — sounds pretty interesting. Looking forward to giving it a try. Offerings is due to be published by Skyhorse in North America and in the UK, on March 24th, 2020.
Follow the Author: Goodreads
Review copy received via NetGalley
William King, SPACE WOLF (Black Library)
The saga of Ragnar Blackmane begins! From savage tribesman in the cold wastes of Fenris to superhuman warrior of the Space Wolves Chapter, this tale charts the beginnings of the Young Wolf, the birth of a hero of the Imperium.
On the grim death-world of Fenris, the Space Wolves Chapter selects its aspirants from the best and brightest of the young tribesmen. Ragnar of the Thunderfist tribe finds his life changed forever when he is chosen. After being revived from a savage death on the battlefield, Ragnar is recruited into the fearsome Space Wolves Chapter. He is then thrown into a galactic war against the dark forces of Chaos. However, the implanting of the Canis Helix unleashes his primal instincts and Ragnar must fight to control the beast within him.
William King’s fantastic Gotrek & Felix series (one of my favourite fantasy series) helped establish Warhammer fiction (alongside Jack Yeovil/Kim Newman‘s contributions). King was also one of the earliest writers in the WH40k setting. Space Wolf is the first novel in his Ragnar Blackmane series — introducing readers to one of the chapter’s most famous and respected leaders. (Although, I haven’t heard much about him for a while… I wonder what his fate is in the “current” timeline of the setting…?) For some reason I didn’t read this back in the day, but I’m very happy to have the opportunity to read and review this new edition. The 20th anniversary edition of Space Wolf is out now, published by Black Library.
Chris Kluwe, OTAKU (Tor.com)
A city of skyscrapers, built atop the drowned bones of old Miami. A prison of steel, filled with unbelievers. A dumping ground for strays, runaways, and malcontents.
Within these towering monoliths, Ashley Akachi is a young woman trying her best to cope with a brother who’s slipping away, a mother who’s already gone, and angry young men who want her put in her place. Ditchtown, however, is not the only world Ash inhabits.
Within Infinite Game, a virtual world requiring physical perfection, Ash is Ashura the Terrible, leader of the Sunjewel Warriors, loved, feared, and watched by millions across the globe. Haptic chambers, known as hapspheres, translate their every move in the real to the digital — and the Sunjewel Warriors’ feats are legendary.
However, Ash is about to stumble upon a deadly conspiracy that will set her worlds crashing together, and in the real, you only get to die once…
This is the debut novel from former-NFL player Kluwe (who played for the Vikings). It’s been described as “reminiscent of Ready Player One and Ender’s Game”, which certainly sounds like an interesting mix. Otaku (Japanese for ) is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on March 3rd, 2020.
Nick Kyme, SEPULTURUM (Black Library)
Morgravia Sanctus is being hunted. She doesn’t know by whom or why, only that her life is in danger. She goes into hiding in the low-hive of Blackgeist, in the hope of losing her pursuers and piecing together the fragments of her broken memory. Something happened to her, a profound trauma that left behind the ‘red dreams’ and a physical agony that can strike at any moment. She searches for someone called the ‘Broker’, a trafficker in memories and psychic mind manipulation, but before she can make contact catastrophe befalls the city. A plague sweeps the districts, turning its citizens into blood hungry monsters. Order collapses, death and slaughter are rampant. Caught up in the carnage, Morgravia must flee again. As the ravening spreads, and more and more succumb, is there any hope of ever stopping this contagion?
A new W40k horror novel. A stunning cover and an intriguing premise. Looking forward to reading this very soon. Sepulturum is due to be published by Black Library on March 14th, 2020.
Laura Lam, GOLDILOCKS (Orbit)
Ravaged by environmental disaster, greed, and oppression, our planet is in crisis. The future of humanity hangs in the balance – and one woman can tip it over.
Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.
It’s humanity’s last hope for survival, and Naomi, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity like this – to step out of Valerie’s shadow and really make a difference.
But when things start going wrong on the ship, Naomi begins to suspect that someone on board is concealing a terrible secret – and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared…
Described as “The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Martian“, which is a pretty intriguing mix. Goldilocks is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America (May 5th) and Wildfire in the UK (April 30th).
Also on CR: Interview with Laura Lam (2016)
Vicki Laveau-Harvie, THE ERRATICS (Knopf)
Two sisters reckon with the convalescence and death of their outlandishly tyrannical mother and with the care of their psychologically terrorized father, all relayed with dark humor and brutal honesty.
When Vicki Laveau-Harvie and her sister learn their mother has been hospitalized for a broken hip, they return to their parents’ home in Alberta, Canada, to put things back in order. Though their parents disowned them years before, the sisters now reassert themselves in the dysfunctional household: their father, undernourished and suffering from Stockholm syndrome is unable to see that he is suffering at the hand of his outlandish and vindictive wife. Rearranging their lives to be the daughters they were never allowed to be, the sisters focus their efforts on helping their father cope with the unending manipulations of their mother and must encounter all the characters common to the circus of caretaking — oddball nurses and home helpers; overopinionated hospital staff who have fallen for their mother’s compulsive lies — along with the pressures that come with caring for elderly loved (and sometimes unloved) ones.
Set against the natural world of remote Canada (“in winter the cold will kill you, nothing personal”), this memoir — at once dark and hopeful–shatters precedents about grief, anger, and family trauma with surprising tenderness and humor.
When I first read the synopsis for this, I somehow managed to miss that it was a memoir. Sounds like it could be interesting true story. The novel was available in the past in the author’s native Canada, and I think it might be reissued in the near future. The Erratics is due to be published by Knopf on August 18th, 2020.
Follow the Author: Goodreads
Review copy received via Edelweiss
Corry L. Lee, WEAVE THE LIGHTNING (Solaris)
Empire. Revolution. Magic.
Gerrit is the son of the Supreme General of Bourshkanya, but he can’t control his magic. When he’s told to create magicially-enhanced weapons, he does the unthinkable; he runs away.
Celka is a travelling circus performer, hiding her links to the underground revolutionaries and her storm-affinity from the prying eyes of the state. But Gerrit’s arrival threatens to expose everything; her magic, her allegiances, and her secrets.
The storms have returned.
Eeleen Lee, LIQUID CRYSTAL NIGHTINGALE (Abaddon)
Go deeper, they said. Look closer.
Pleo Tanza is a survivor. Her father was broken by tragedy, her twin sister is dead — chewed up and spat out by the corruption and injustice of Chatoyance — but she’s going to make it, whatever it takes. She’s going to get off this rock.
But escape is for the rich or lucky. Pleo’s framed for the murder of a rival student — the daughter of one of the colony’s wealthy, squabbling clans — and goes on the run, setting off a chain events that could destroy the fragile balance of the old colony forever…
Katie Mack, THE END OF EVERYTHING (Scribner)
From one of the most dynamic rising stars in astrophysics, an accessible and eye-opening look — in the bestselling tradition of Sean Carroll and Carlo Rovelli — at the five different ways the universe could end, and the mind-blowing lessons each scenario reveals about the most important concepts in physics.
We know the universe had a beginning. With the Big Bang, it went from a state of unimaginable density to an all-encompassing cosmic fireball to a simmering fluid of matter and energy, laying down the seeds for everything from dark matter to black holes to one rocky planet orbiting a star near the edge of a spiral galaxy that happened to develop life. But what happens at the end of the story? In billions of years, humanity could still exist in some unrecognizable form, venturing out to distant space, finding new homes and building new civilizations. But the death of the universe is final. What might such a cataclysm look like? And what does it mean for us?
Dr. Katie Mack has been contemplating these questions since she was eighteen, when her astronomy professor first informed her the universe could end at any moment, setting her on the path toward theoretical astrophysics. Now, with lively wit and humor, she unpacks them in The End of Everything, taking us on a mind-bending tour through each of the cosmos’ possible finales: the Big Crunch; the Heat Death; Vacuum Decay; the Big Rip; and the Bounce. Guiding us through major concepts in quantum mechanics, cosmology, string theory, and much more, The End of Everything is a wildly fun, surprisingly upbeat ride to the farthest reaches of all that we know.
I believe Katie Mack used to be involved with PhD Comics, which is where I first came across her work. This book sounds fascinating, and I’ll be reading it very soon. The End of Everything is due to be published by Scribner in North America (June 9th) and Allen Lane in the UK (July 2nd).
Devin Madson, WE RIDE THE STORM (Orbit)
In the midst of a burgeoning war, a warrior, an assassin, and a princess chase their own ambitions no matter the cost…
War built the Kisian Empire. War will tear it down.
Seventeen years after rebels stormed the streets, factions divide Kisia. Only the firm hand of the god-emperor holds the empire together. But when a shocking betrayal destroys a tense alliance with neighboring Chiltae, all that has been won comes crashing down.
In Kisia, Princess Miko Ts’ai is a prisoner in her own castle. She dreams of claiming her empire, but the path to power could rip it, and her family, asunder.
In Chiltae, assassin Cassandra Marius is plagued by the voices of the dead. Desperate, she accepts a contract that promises to reward her with a cure if she helps an empire fall.
And on the border between nations, Captain Rah e’Torin and his warriors are exiles forced to fight in a foreign war or die.
As an empire dies, three warriors will rise. They will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.
A new series by an author who did very well in one of the SPFBO competition, and has recently been snapped up by Orbit (who will re-publish the author’s backlist, too). Sounds like a really cool new fantasy series, so I’ll be reading this ASAP. We Ride the Storm is published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK (eBook out now, print due out in June).
Premee Mohamed, BENEATH THE RISING (Solaris)
A whimsical coming-of-age story about two kids in the middle of a war of eldritch horrors from outside spacetime…
Nick Prasad and Joanna “Johnny” Chambers have been friends since childhood. She’s rich, white, and a genius; he’s poor, brown, and secretly in love with her.
But when Johnny invents a clean reactor that could eliminate fossil fuels and change the world, she awakens the primal, evil Ancient ones set on subjugating humanity.
From the oldest library in the world to the ruins of Nineveh, hunted at every turn, they need to trust each other completely to survive…
Love the minimalist cover… Hadn’t heard of the author before the book was announced, and I’m really looking forward to reading it. Beneath the Rising is due to be published by Solaris Books on March 3rd, 2020, in North America and in the UK.
Liz Moore, LONG BRIGHT RIVER (Riverhead)
Two sisters travel the same streets, though their lives couldn’t be more different. Then one of them goes missing.
In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don’t speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling.
Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey’s district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit — and her sister — before it’s too late.
Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters’ childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.
This novel has been getting a lot of buzz, and I’ve read a little bit of it already and very much enjoyed it. Looking forward to finishing. Long Bright River is out now, published by Riverhead (North America) and Hutchinson (UK).
T.R. Napper, NEON LEVIATHAN (Grimdark Magazine)
A collection of stories about the outsiders – the criminals, the soldiers, the addicts, the mathematicians, the gamblers and the cage fighters, the refugees and the rebels. From the battlefield, to alternate realities, to the mean streets of the dark city, we walk in the shoes of those who struggle to survive in a neon-saturated, tech-noir future.
Twelve hard-edged stories from the dark, often violent, sometimes strange heart of cyberpunk, this collection – as with all the best science fiction – is an exploration of who were are now. In the tradition of Dashiell Hammett, Philip K Dick, and David Mitchell, Neon Leviathan is a remarkable debut collection from a breakout new author.
This cyberpunk novel has been getting a lot of good buzz around the bibliosphere. I haven’t read much in the (sub-)genre, but I’ve always been intrigued. With blurbs from Adrian Tchaikovsky and Richard Morgan, my interest only increased. Looking forward to giving these stories a try. Neon Leviathan is due to be published by Grimdark Magazine on February 15th, in North America and in the UK.
Kit Rocha, DEAL WITH THE DEVIL (Tor Books)
Nina is an information broker with a mission—she and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to save the hopeless in a crumbling America.
Knox is the bitter, battle-weary captain of the Silver Devils. His squad of supersoldiers went AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents, and now he’s fighting to survive.
They’re on a deadly collision course, and the passion that flares between them only makes it more dangerous. They could burn down the world, destroying each other in the process…
Or they could do the impossible: team up.
Stuart Stevens, IT WAS ALL A LIE (Knopf)
From the most successful Republican political operative of his generation, a searing, unflinching, and deeply personal exposé of how his party became what it is today
Stuart Stevens spent decades electing Republicans at every level, from presidents to senators to local officials. He knows the GOP as intimately as anyone in America, and in this new book he offers a devastating portrait of a party that has lost its moral and political compass.
This is not a book about how Donald J. Trump hijacked the Republican Party and changed it into something else. Stevens shows how Trump is in fact the natural outcome of five decades of hypocrisy and self-delusion, dating all the way back to the civil rights legislation of the early 1960s. Stevens shows how racism has always lurked in the modern GOP’s DNA, from Goldwater’s opposition to desegregation to Ronald Reagan’s welfare queens and states’ rights rhetoric. He gives an insider’s account of the rank hypocrisy of the party’s claims to embody “family values,” and shows how the party’s vaunted commitment to fiscal responsibility has been a charade since the 1980s. When a party stands for nothing, he argues, it is only natural that it will be taken over by the loudest and angriest voices in the room.
It Was All a Lie is not just an indictment of the Republican Party, but a candid and often lacerating mea culpa. Stevens is not asking for pity or forgiveness; he is simply telling us what he has seen firsthand. He helped to create the modern party that kneels before a morally bankrupt con man and now he wants nothing more than to see what it has become burned to the ground.
I am familiar with Stevens’s fiction already (e.g., The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear) but I heard about this book when the author was interviewed on a podcast. It sounded really interesting, and like Frum (above) fell within one of my areas of political interest. As a progressive, I disagree with the vast majority of their policy positions, but I find their analysis pretty interesting. It Was All a Lie is due to be published in North America by Knopf on April 21st, 2020.
Peter Swanson, RULES FOR PERFECT MURDERS (Faber)
If you want to get away with murder, play by the rules…
A series of unsolved murders with one thing in common: each of the deaths bears an eerie resemblance to the crimes depicted in classic mystery novels.
The deaths lead FBI Agent Gwen Mulvey to mystery bookshop Old Devils. Owner Malcolm Kershaw had once posted online an article titled ‘My Eight Favourite Murders,’ and there seems to be a deadly link between the deaths and his list – which includes Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.
Can the killer be stopped before all eight of these perfect murders have been re-enacted?
Every one of Swanson’s thrillers sounds interesting, unusual, innovative, and/or gripping (often all of them). His latest is no exception, and I’ll be reading this very soon. Rules for Perfect Murders is due to be published by Faber in the UK (March 5th) and William Morrow in North America (), as Eight Perfect Murders.
Also on CR: Interview with Peter Swanson (2018)
Katie Tallo, DARK AUGUST (Harper)
A young woman, haunted by her tragic past, returns to her hometown and discovers that there might be more to her police detective mother’s death — and last case — than she ever could have imagined.
Augusta (Gus) Monet is living an aimless existence with her grifter boyfriend when she learns that her great grandmother — her last living relative — has just died. Ditching her boyfriend, Gus returns to the home she left as a young girl. Her inheritance turns out to be a dilapidated house and an old dog named Levi. While combing through her great grandmother’s possessions, Gus stumbles across an old trunk filled with long-lost childhood belongings. But that’s not all the trunk contains. She also discovers cold case files that belonged to her mother, a disgraced police detective who died in a car accident when Gus was eight. Gus remembers her mother obsessing over these very same documents and photographs, especially a Polaroid of a young ballerina.
When Gus spots a front-page news story about the unearthing of a body linked to one of the cold case files from her childhood trunk, she can’t resist following her mother’s clues. As she digs deeper, determined to finish her mother’s investigation, her search leads her to a deserted ghost town, which was left abandoned when the residents fled after a horrific fire. As Gus’ obsession with the case grows, she inadvertently stirs up the evils of the past, putting her life in danger. But Gus is undeterred and is committed to uncovering long-buried secrets, including the secrets surrounding a missing geology student, the young ballerina in the Polaroid, a prominent family’s devastating legacy, and a toxic blast that blew an entire town off the map.
But is Gus ready to learn the truths that culminated on one terrible August night, more than a decade earlier, when lives were taken, and secrets were presumed buried forever…?
Another 2020 debut. This one sounds really interesting, and I hope to get to it very soon — something a bit different to my usual thriller fare (i.e., neither a cop, nor a spy). Really looking forward to reading this one. Dark August is due to be published by Harper in North America and in the UK, on June 30th, 2020.
Corey J. White, REPO VIRTUAL (Tor.com)
An action-packed cyberpunk heist story.
The city of Neo Songdo is a Russian doll of realities — augmented and virtual spaces anchored in the weight of the real. The smart city is designed to be read by machine vision while people see only the augmented facade of the corporate ideal. At night the stars are obscured by an intergalactic virtual war being waged by millions of players, while on the streets below people are forced to beg, steal, and hustle to survive.
Enter Julius Dax, online repoman and real-life thief. He’s been hired for a special job: stealing an unknown object from a reclusive tech billionaire. But when he finds out he’s stolen the first sentient AI, his payday gets a lot more complicated.
Also on CR: Interview with Corey J. White (2017)
Caroline Zancan, WE WISH YOU LUCK (Riverhead)
A group of students who take revenge on a wunderkind professor after she destroys one of their own — a story of collective drive to create, sabotage, and ultimately, to love.
It doesn’t take long for the students on Fielding campus to become obsessed with Hannah, Leslie and Jimmy. The three graduate students are mysterious, inaccessible, and brilliant. Leslie, glamorous and brash, has declared that she wants to write erotica and make millions. Hannah is quietly confident, loyal, elegantly beautiful, and the person they all want to be; and Jimmy is a haunted genius with no past. After Simone – young, bestselling author and erstwhile model – shows up as a visiting professor, and after everything that happened with her, the trio only become more notorious.
Love. Death. Revenge. These age-old tropes come to life as the semesters unfold. The threesome came to study writing, to be writers, and this is the story they’ve woven together: of friendship and passion, of competition and envy, of creativity as life and death.
I’ve dipped into this already, and Zancan is a very good writer — her prose flow very nicely, and she has a great gift for characterization and describing characters and their behaviour. If you aren’t interested in reading a campus novel (one about MFA students, no less) then you may not love this. I love campus novels, however, so I am very much looking forward to finishing this soon. We Wish You Luck is out now, published by Riverhead Books in North America and in the UK.
Various, MADE TO ORDER (Solaris)
A cutting-edge anthology, published on the 100th anniversary of the word “Robot”, exploring the impact it has had on the world, the possibilities and place of robots in society going forwards.
100 years after Karel Capek coined the word, “robots” are an everyday idea, and the inspiration for countless stories in books, film, TV and games.
They are often among the least privileged, most unfairly used of us, and the more robots are like humans, the more interesting they become. This collection of stories is where robots stand in for us, where both we and they are disadvantaged, and where hope and optimism shines through.
Including stories by: Brooke Bolander · John Chu · Daryl Gregory · Peter F. Hamilton · Saad Z. Hossain · Rich Larson · Ken Liu · Ian R. Macleod · Annalee Newitz · Tochi Onyebuchi · Suzanne Palmer · Sarah Pinsker · Vina Jie-Min Prasad · Alastair Reynolds · Sofia Samatar · Peter Watts
Review copy received from publisher
Various, SEXTON BLAKE AND THE GREAT WAR (Rebellion)
As brilliant as Sherlock Holmes. As daring as James Bond. Sexton Blake, the adventuring detective, is back! This first volume of a new series reinstates one of literatures greatest detectives — back in print for the first time in decades!
For nearly a century, Sexton Blake was the most written about character in British fiction. He starred in approximately four thousand stories by nearly two hundred authors. A cross between Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones, he was a publishing phenomenon, read by young and old alike.
This collection is comprised of three stories from UNION JACK magazine dating from World War 1 and the lead up to it:
THE CASE OF THE NAVAL MANOEUVRES by Norman Goddard (1908).
Sexton Blake catches the Kaiser spying on British naval manoeuvres, dangles from a Zeppelin, impersonates a German soldier, fights the Kaiser on top of a train, is thrown into the Thames by Anarchists, and forces the German Emperor into a confrontation with the British Prime Minister.
ON WAR SERVICE by Cecil Hayter (1916).
Sexton Blake ventures into occupied Holland to deliver a vital despatch to a secret agent, fights enemy spies, escapes from a burning house, is pursued by the German cavalry, disguises himself as a simple labourer, captures and impersonates enemy agents, faces a firing squad, and makes a daring escape through a secret tunnel.
PRIVATE TINKER — A.S.C. by William Murray Graydon (1915).
Tinker makes a mistake, joins up under an assumed name, is sent to the front line, evades enemy troops, and is blown up. Blake enters a battle zone and gets shot. Tinker flies a reconnaissance mission, crash-lands behind enemy lines, causes an enemy supply train to crash into a German troop carrier, liberates French prisoners, rescues a colonel, foils attempted sabotage, and is declared a hero.
Rebellion is bringing back Sexton Blake — an action/spy hero from the early 20th Century, the series is edited by Mark Hodder. (There seem to be five collections in the offing, to be released every few months.) Sexton Blake and the Great War is due to be published by Rebellion on April 14th, 2020, in the UK and North America.
Review copy received from publisher