New Books (March-April)

NewBooks-20210426

Featuring: Stacey Abrams, Mike Brooks, Choi Jin-young, Mikaella Clements, Onjuli Datta, Alex de Campi, Amanda Foody, John French, Peter F. Hamilton, Gareth Hanrahan, Peter Heller, Christine Lynn Herman, Kotaro Isaka, Jadie Jang, Cassandra Khaw, Joe R. Landsdale, Richard Lange, Mike Lawson, S. Qiouyi Lu, Lee Mandelo, Elaine Murphy, Craig Nova, Megan E. O’Keefe, Gareth L. Powell, Tom Rosenstiel, Neil Sharpson, Brian Staveley, Gav Thorpe, C.L. Werner, David Wragg

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AbramsS-WhileJusticeSleepsUKStacey Abrams, WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS (Harper Collins)

How far will she go to uncover the truth?

An explosive secret
When legendary Washington judge Justice Wynn falls into a coma and puts his law clerk, Avery, in control, Avery’s world is turned upside down. Because Justice Wynn had a secret. One that nobody wants to come out…

A life in the balance
As Wynn lies in hospital, Avery begins to unravel a sequence of clues, and realizes the puzzle will lead her directly into danger.

A showdown that will change everything
But how high a price can you put on the truth? And is Avery brave enough to expose the White House itself?

The highly-anticipated debut political thriller from Abrams, I’m really looking forward to reading this. Review soon. While Justice Sleeps is due to be published by Harper Collins in the UK (May 27th) and Doubleday in North America (May 11th).

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

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BrooksM-HHP-AlphariusMike Brooks, ALPHARIUS: HEAD OF THE HYDRA (Black Library)

Legends abound of the glorious – or infamous – deeds of the Emperor’s sons. Yet almost nothing is known of Alpharius, the most mysterious of them all, for the Lord of the Alpha Legion is unparalleled in the art of obfuscation. Such are his gifts of secrecy and deceit that even his rediscovery has remained an enigma – until now. But when the tale comes from the serpent’s mouth, where does the deception end and the truth begin?

The latest novel in the Primarchs series, which expands on the stories in the Horus Heresy series — each one diving into a particular part of a Primarch’s history — it looks at the most mysterious (sometimes infuriatingly so) Primarch. After reading Brooks’s story in Blood of the Primarchs (see below), which was also about Alpharius, my interest for this novel only grew. Brooks’s first novel-length work in the Horus Heresy setting, I’m really looking forward to reading it. Alpharius is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Mike Brooks (2015)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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ChoiJY-ToTheWarmHorizonUKChoi Jin-young, TO THE WARM HORIZON (Honford Star)

A group of Koreans are making their way across a disease-ravaged landscape — but to what end? To the Warm Horizon shows how in a post-apocalyptic world, humans will still seek purpose, kinship, and even intimacy. Focusing on two young women, Jina and Dori, who find love against all odds, Choi Jin-young creates a dystopia where people are trying to find direction after having their worlds turned upside down.

Lucidly translated from the Korean by Soje, this thoughtful yet gripping novel takes the reader on a journey through how people adjust, or fail to adjust, to catastrophe.

First published in Korea in 2017 (as 해가 지는 곳으로), this novel is going to be interesting to read during the COVID-times. To the Warm Horizon is due to be published by Honford Star in the UK, on May 15th, 2021.

Follow the Author: Goodreads
Review copy received from publisher

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ClementsDatta-ViewWasExhaustingUSMikaella Clements & Onjuli Datta, THE VIEW WAS EXHAUSTING (Grand Central)

A famous actress embroiled in a fake tabloid romance, confronts the challenges of being a woman of color in Hollywood and the notion that she might actually be in love.

Faking a love story is a whole lot easier than being in love…

The world can see that international A-list actress Whitman (“Win”) Tagore and jet-setting playboy Leo Milanowski are made for each other. Their kisses start Twitter trends and their fights break the internet. From red carpet appearances to Met Gala mishaps, their on-again, off-again romance has titillated the public and the press for almost a decade. But it’s all a lie.

As a woman of color, Win knows the Hollywood deck is stacked against her, so she’s perfected the art of controlling her public persona. Whenever she nears scandal, she calls in Leo, with his endearingly reckless attitude, for a staged date. Each public display of affection shifts the headlines back in Win’s favor, and Leo uses the good press to draw attention away from his dysfunctional family.

But pretending to be in a passionate romance can only lead to one thing… trouble. So instead they settle for friendship, with a side of sky-rocketing chemistry. Except this time, on the French Riviera, something is off. A shocking secret in Leo’s past sets Win’s personal and professional lives on a catastrophic collision course. Behind the scenes of their yacht-trips and PDA, the world’s favorite couple is at each other’s throats. Now they must finally confront the many truths and lies of their relationship, and Win is forced to consider what is more important: a rising career, or a risky shot at real love?

This novel has been pitched as “Daisy Jones and the Six meets Crazy Rich Asians“, which is a rather intriguing potential mix. It’s also a novel connected to Hollywood, so that also piqued my interest. Looking forward to reading this ASAP. The View Was Exhausting is due to be published by Grand Central Publishing in North America and Headline Review in the UK, on July 6th, 2021.

Follow the Author (Clements): Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Follow the Author (Datta): Goodreads
Review copy received via NetGalley

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deCampiA-HeartbreakIncAlex de Campi, HEARTBREAK INCORPORATED (Solaris)

Evie Cross had big dreams of becoming an investigative journalist but at 25 and struggling to make it in New York City, she’s finally starting to admit that her dream is her side hustle and her day job is actually… her job. That is, until she signs on as a temp for a small consultancy whose principal, Misha Meserov, specializes in breaking up relationships. Misha is tall, infuriatingly handsome, and effortlessly charismatic — he can make almost anyone, man or woman, fall into bed with him. And he often does.

But the more Evie is exposed to Misha’s scandalous world, the more she becomes convinced that he’s hiding something… when a wealthy San Francisco tech CEO with a dissolving marriage starts delving into the occult and turns up dead, Evie has to decide between her journalistic desire for the truth and her growing desire for Misha.

This sounds like it could be fun/intriguing. Heartbreak Incorporated is due to be published by Solaris Books in North America (June 22nd) and in the UK (June 24th).

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

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FoodyHerman-AllOfUsVillainsUSAmanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman, ALL OF US VILLAINS (Tor)

The Blood Moon rises. The Blood Veil falls. The Tournament begins.

Every generation, at the coming of the Blood Moon, seven families in the remote city of Ilvernath each name a champion to compete in a tournament to the death.

The prize? Exclusive control over a secret wellspring of high magick, the most powerful resource in the world — one thought long depleted.

This year, thanks to a salacious tell-all book, the seven champions are thrust into the worldwide spotlight, granting each of them new information, new means to win, and most importantly, a choice: accept their fate or rewrite their story.

But this is a story that must be penned in blood.

I vaguely recall hearing about this novel when it was first picked up by Tor Teen, but then it dropped out of my mind. I spotted it on NetGalley, and in addition to that rather eye-catching cover, I was intrigued by the idea of a Hunger Games-for-bad guys… So, I’ll give this a try. All of Us Villains is due to be published by Tor Teen in North America and in the UK, on November 9th, 2021.

Follow the Author (Foody): Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Follow the Author (Herman): WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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FrenchJ-HHSoT5-MortisJohn French, MORTIS (Black Library)

The victories of Saturnine and the sacrifices of the Eternity Wall space port have faded into the hope of yesterday. Denied but not defeated, the Traitors intensify their assault on the Imperial Palace. With the principal space ports in Horus’ hands, the Warmaster now drains the heavens of his reserves.

As the pressure of the assault increases, the power of Chaos waxes. The waking lives of the defenders are filled with despair, while their dreams pull them in search of a false paradise. As the fabric of the defences fails and the will of those who stand on them cracks, Horus commands the Titans of the Legio Mortis to breach the walls. Against them stands the might of Mercury Wall and the strength of the Legio Ignatum. Ancient rivals, the god-engines of both Legions meet in battle, while within the walls a few desperate individuals seek a way to turn back the tide of the warp’s malign influence. Across Terra, lost warriors and travellers make their way through wastelands and gardens of horror, towards home and an unknown future.

This is the fifth novel in the Siege of Terra series, which closes out the story of the Horus Heresy. The first four novels have been superb (especially Dan Abnett’s Saturnine), and while I’m not normally enamoured of stories focused on titans and the Mechanicum (I prefer them as supporting cast), I am nevertheless really looking forward to reading this one. Mortis is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Reviews of Praetorian of Dorn, Slaves to Darkness, The Solar War, Ahriman: Exile, Exodus, Sorcerer, and Unchained

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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Peter F. Hamilton & Gareth L. Powell, LIGHT CHASER (Tor.com)

A love powerful enough to transcend death can bring down an entire empire.

Amahle is a Light Chaser – one of a number of explorers, who travel the universe alone (except for their onboard AI), trading trinkets for life stories.

But when she listens to the stories sent down through the ages she hears the same voice talking directly to her from different times and on different worlds. She comes to understand that something terrible is happening, and only she is in a position to do anything about it.

And it will cost everything to put it right.

Another collaboration between two very good sci-fi authors. Intriguing premise, and I’m looking forward to giving this a try. Light Chaser is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on August 24th, 2021.

Also on CR: Interview with Gareth L. Powell (2021); Guest Post on “Thinking Like a Monkey”; Excerpts from Embers of War and Fleet of Knives

Follow the Author (Hamilton): Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Follow the Author (Powell): Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley

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HanrahanG-BIL3-BrokenGodsGareth Hanrahan, THE BROKEN GOD (Orbit)

Enter a city of dragons and darkness…

The Godswar has come to Guerdon, dividing the city between three occupying powers. A fragile armistice holds back the gods, but other dangerous forces seek to exert their influence. Spar Idgeson, once heir to the brotherhood of thieves has been transformed into the living stone of the new city. But his powers are failing and the criminal dragons of the Ghierdana are circling.

Meanwhile, far across the sea, Carillon Thay — once a thief, a saint, a god killer; now alone and powerless — seeks the mysterious land of Khebesh, desperate to find a cure for Spar. But what hope does she have when even the gods seek vengeance against her?

I rather enjoyed the first novel in Hanrahan’s Black Iron Legacy series — it was a fantasy novel set in a wonderfully-built world, and also well written. I’ve fallen a little behind, now, but I would very much like to get caught up ASAP. The Broken God is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, on May 18th, 2021.

Also on CR: Interview with Gareth Hanrahan (2019); Review of The Gutter Prayer

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

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HellerP-GuideUSPeter Heller, THE GUIDE (Knopf)

A heart-racing thriller about a young man who, escaping his own grief, is hired by an elite fishing lodge in Colorado, where amid the natural beauty of sun-drenched streams and forests he uncovers a plot of shocking menace.

Kingfisher Lodge, nestled in a canyon on a mile and a half of the most pristine river water on the planet, is known by locals as “Billionaire’s Mile” and is locked behind a heavy gate. Sandwiched between barbed wire and a meadow with a sign that reads “Don’t Get Shot!” the resort boasts boutique fishing at its finest. Safe from viruses that have plagued America for years, Kingfisher offers a respite for wealthy clients. Now it also promises a second chance for Jack, a return to normalcy after a young life filled with loss. When he is assigned to guide a well-known singer, his only job is to rig her line, carry her gear, and steer her to the best trout he can find.

But then a human scream pierces the night, and Jack soon realizes that this idyllic fishing lodge may be merely a cover for a far more sinister operation.

I first came across Heller’s writing with 2012’s The Dog Stars, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Heller’s work is sometimes difficult to explain or decide upon an opinion. I like his writing and approach to characters, so when I spotted this new novel available for request, I knew I had to give it a try. The Guide is due to be published by Knopf in North America and W&N in the UK, on August 24th, 2021.

Also on CR: Review of The Dog Stars

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

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IsakaK-BulletTrainUSKotaro Isaka, BULLET TRAIN (Abrams)

A dark, satirical thriller by the bestselling Japanese author, following the perilous train ride of five highly motivated assassins…

Nanao, nicknamed Lady Bird — the self-proclaimed “unluckiest assassin in the world” — boards a bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka with one simple task: grab a suitcase and get off at the next stop. Unbeknownst to him, the deadly duo Tangerine and Lemon are also after the very same suitcase — and they are not the only dangerous passengers onboard. Satoshi, “the Prince,” with the looks of an innocent schoolboy and the mind of a viciously cunning psychopath, is also in the mix and has history with some of the others. Risk fuels him as does a good philosophical debate… like, is killing really wrong? Chasing the Prince is another assassin with a score to settle for the time the Prince casually pushed a young boy off of a roof, leaving him comatose.

When the five assassins discover they are all on the same train, they realize their missions are not as unrelated as they first appear.

A massive bestseller in Japan, Bullet Train is an original and propulsive thriller that fizzes with an incredible energy and surprising humor as its complex net of double-crosses and twists unwind. Award-winning author Kotaro Isaka takes readers on a tension packed journey as the bullet train hurtles toward its final destination. Who will make it off the train alive — and what awaits them at the last stop?

Was auto-approved on NetGalley, and thought it looked like it might be fun. Bullet Train is due to be published by Abrams in North America (August 3rd) and Harvill Secker in the UK (April 1st).

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

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JangJ-MonkeyAroundJadie Jang, MONKEY AROUND (Solaris)

San Francisco has a Monkey King – and she’s freaking out.

Barista, activist, and were-monkey Maya McQueen was well on her way to figuring herself out. Well, part of the way. 25% of the way. If you squint.

But now the Bay Area is being shaken up. Occupy Wall Street has come home to roost; and on the supernatural side there’s disappearances, shapeshifter murders, and the city’s spirit trying to find its guardian.

Maya doesn’t have a lot of time before chaos turns up at her door, and she needs to solve all of her problems. Well, most of them. The urgent ones, anyhow.

But who says the solutions have to be neat? Because Monkey is always out for mischief.

“Were-monkeys” sound pretty cool. An intriguing premise, looking forward to giving it a try. Monkey Around is due to be published by Solaris Books in North America and in the UK, on August 3rd, 2021.

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

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KhawC-AllConsumingWorldUSCassandra Khaw, THE ALL-CONSUMING WORLD (Erewhon)

A diverse team of broken, diminished former criminals get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade… but they’re not the only ones in pursuit of the secret at the heart of the planet Dimmuborgir.

The highly-evolved AI of the universe have their own agenda and will do whatever it takes to keep humans from ever controlling the universe again. This band of dangerous women, half-clone and half-machine, must battle their own traumas and a universe of sapient ageships who want them dead, in order to settle their affairs once and for all.

This is one of Khaw’s many interesting releases this year, and one I’ve been looking forward to for some time — another is Nothing But Blackened Teeth. I’ll be reading this very soon. The All-Consuming World is due to be published by Erewhon in North America and in the UK, on June 22nd.

Also on CR: Interview with Cassandra Khaw (2016); Guest Post on “Everything is Exhausting…”

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

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LandsdaleJR-MoonLakeUSJoe R. Landsdale, MOON LAKE (Mulholland)

The gripping and unexpected tale of a lost town and the dark secrets that lie beneath the glittering waters of an East Texas lake.

Daniel Russell was only thirteen years old when his father tried to kill them both by driving their car into Moon Lake. Miraculously surviving the crash — and growing into adulthood — Daniel returns to the site of this traumatic incident in the hopes of recovering his father’s car and bones. As he attempts to finally put to rest the memories that have plagued him for years, he discovers something even more shocking among the wreckage that has ties to a twisted web of dark deeds, old grudges, and strange murders.

As Daniel diligently follows where the mysterious trail of vengeance leads, he unveils the heroic revelation at its core.

This is the new stand-alone thriller from Lansdale. Thought it sounded rather intriguing. Looking forward to reading it. Moon Lake is due to be published by Mulholland Books on June 22nd, in North America and in the UK.

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

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LangeR-RoversUSRichard Lange, ROVERS (Mulholland)

Two immortal brothers crisscross the American Southwest to elude a murderous biker gang and protect a young woman…

Summer, 1976. Jesse and his brother, Edgar, are on the road in search of victims. They’re rovers, nearly indestructible nocturnal beings who must consume human blood in order to survive. For seventy years they’ve lurked on the fringes of society, roaming from town to town, dingy motel to dingy motel, stalking the transients, addicts, and prostitutes they feed on.

This hard-boiled supernatural hell-ride kicks off when the brothers encounter a young woman who disrupts their grim routine, forcing Jesse to confront his past and plunging his present into deadly chaos as he finds himself scrambling to save her life. The story plays out through the eyes of the brothers, a grieving father searching for his son’s murderer, and a violent gang of rover bikers, coming to a shattering conclusion in Las Vegas on the eve of America’s bicentennial.

I’ve been a fan of Lange’s work for some time, now, so each new book is something to look forward to. I’ll be reading this one hopefully very soon. Rovers is due to be published by Mulholland Books in North America and in the UK, on July 27th, 2021.

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

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LawsonM-JD15-HouseStandoffUSMike Lawson, HOUSE STANDOFF (Atlantic Monthly Press)

When someone close to him is shot dead in a roadside motel in a small-town in Wyoming, DeMarco shirks his responsibilities as the Speaker of the House’s fixer to make sure the authorities are doing everything that can be done to catch the killer. He soon realizes that the rural area is dominated by Hiram Bunt, a wealthy rancher with an obstructionist streak who is willing to take on the federal government at gunpoint and seems to have a number of politicians under his thumb.

But Bunt is not the only one in the way. DeMarco also learns that his friend — a woman he was once in love with — had unearthed a number of explosive secrets during her time in the backwoods, and that the deputy in charge of the investigation may be ignoring several leads to preserve a secret of his own. Surrounded by people willing to kill to maintain the status quo, DeMarco launches his own investigation into a growing list of intertwining suspects. And being DeMarco, he concludes that breaking the law to uncover the truth is the best way to ensure that justice is done. Gripping and genuinely unpredictable to the very end.

This is the fifteenth novel in Lawson’s excellent Joe DeMarco series. Strange to think I’ve been reading his work since the start, too. That being said, I’ve fallen just a little behind (I still have the previous novel, House Privilege, to read). I hope to get caught up very soon. I’ll probably read them back-to-back. House Standoff is out now, published by Atlantic Monthly Press in North America. (No UK publisher information at the time of writing, but a few of Lawson’s other DeMarco novels have been published by Grove Press in the UK.)

Also on CR: Interview with Mike Lawson (2011); Reviews of House Rules (Dead on Arrival in UK), House Secrets, House Justice, House Divided, House Blood, House Reckoning, House Rivals, and House Arrest

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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LuSQ-InTheWatchfulCityS. Qiouyi Lu, IN THE WATCHFUL CITY (Tor.com)

The city of Ora uses a complex living network called the Gleaming to surveil its inhabitants and maintain harmony. Anima is one of the cloistered extrasensory humans tasked with watching over Ora’s citizens. Although ær world is restricted to what æ can see and experience through the Gleaming, Anima takes pride and comfort in keeping Ora safe from all harm.

All that changes when a mysterious visitor enters the city carrying a cabinet of curiosities from around the world, with a story attached to each item. As Anima’s world expands beyond the borders of Ora to places — and possibilities — æ never before imagined to exist, æ finds ærself asking a question that throws into doubt ær entire purpose: What good is a city if it can’t protect its people?”

Thought this novella sounded interesting. The publisher describes it as a blend of “the futurism of Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station with the magical wonder of Catherynne M. Valente’s Palimpsest“, which is a pretty intriguing mix. In the Watchful City is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on August 31st, 2021.

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

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MandeloL-SummerSonsLee Mandelo, SUMMER SONS (Tor.com)

A sweltering, queer Southern Gothic that crosses Appalachian street racing with academic intrigue, all haunted by hungry ghost.

Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom that hungers for him.

As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers to possess him.

Love the cover, and the synopsis also caught my attention — especially intrigued by the academia side of the story. Will read hopefully soon. Summer Sons is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on September 28th, 2021.

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

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MurphyE-LookWhatYouMadeMeDoUSElaine Murphy, LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO (Grand Central)

A gripping thriller about a woman who must help cover the tracks of her serial killer sister — only to discover her sibling isn’t the only serial killer in town… and they’re both next on his kill list.

Carrie Lawrence is an accomplice to murder, multiple murders actually, because her sister is a serial killer. When her sister’s most recent victim is discovered and police find twelve more bodies buried nearby — all missing a foot! — things get weird. Carrie has helped her sister dispose of thirteen two-footed bodies in the past decade, but these bodies are being attributed to a madman dubbed “Footloose” by the media.

At first, Carrie is not certain if Footloose is real or just a side hobby for her sister, but when she finds a masked man hiding in her closet, she realizes that a second serial killer does indeed exist. She can’t go to the police with her story so she reluctantly teams up with Becca to find the killer before she becomes his next victim.

This sounds potentially really interesting — haven’t read many novels featuring female serial killers, and the premise suggests something original, too. So, looking forward to reading it soon. Look What You Made Me Do is due to be published by Grand Central Publishing in North America and in the UK, on July 13th, 2021.

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

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NovaC-DoubleSolitaireUSCraig Nova, DOUBLE SOLITAIRE (Arcade)

Quinn Farrell is a modern-day fixer in Los Angeles — he cleans up other people’s messes. Rich people’s messes. For a lot of money. He’s so good that he’s become indispensable to Hollywood moguls and he’s managed to construct a working moral framework so that he can live with himself. That is until a new neighbor moves next door, Rose Marie, who works with terminally ill teens.

Against all his survival instincts, Farrell falls in love with Rose Marie and then her uncanny patients, who shine a spotlight into his soul. When a client steps over the line and Farrell is hired to clean up after a reprehensible crime, his carefully constructed ethical house of cards comes crashing down. 

This is the first in a new series. Thought the synopsis sounded interesting, and Nova gets praise from a pretty wide selection of other authors across multiple genres, so decided to give it a try (I’ve also picked up a couple of his other novels to try). Double Solitaire is due to be published by Arcade Crimewise, in North America and in the UK, on September 7th, 2021.

Follow the Author: Goodreads
Review copy received via Edelweiss

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OKeefeM-FirstOmegaMegan E. O’Keefe, THE FIRST OMEGA (Orbit)

It doesn’t matter what you call her. Riley. Burner. She forgot her name long ago. But if you steal from the supply lines crossing the wasteland, her face is the last one you’ll see.

She is the force of nature that keeps the balance in the hot arid desert. Keep to yourself and she’ll leave you well enough alone. But it’s when you try to take more than you can chew that her employers notice and send her off to restore the balance.

Then she gets the latest call. A supply truck knocked over too cleanly. Too precise. And the bodies scattering the wreckage weren’t killed by her normal prey of scavengers. These bodies are already rotting hours after the attack.

Cowering in the corner of the wreckage is a young girl. A girl that shouldn’t be there. A girl with violently blue eyes. Just like hers.

A new, stand-alone novella from the author of (most recently) the acclaimed Protectorate sci-fi series. Described as “Mad Max meets X-Men“, I read this quite soon after I received it. I rather enjoyed it, too. The First Omega is out now, published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK.

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

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RosenstielT-PR4-DaysToComeUSHCTom Rosenstiel, THE DAYS TO COME (Ecco)

Billionaire entrepreneur David Traynor has big dreams for fixing a broken government in his first term as president of the United States. In the months before his inauguration, he’s developed daring and, in some cases, secret strategies to solve the climate crisis, force Congress to work again, and rebuild America’s economy — and that’s just the beginning. Everyone in the capital is scrambling to adapt to the new disruptor in chief’s bold agenda, though many, both at home and abroad, also want to see Traynor and his steely vice president, Wendy Upton, fail. Unsure of whom he can trust, Traynor intends to turn to an unusual group of people to advise him, including the savvy and sometimes ruthless DC fixers Peter Rena and Randi Brooks.

Though he is at the height of his career, Rena finds his world in chaos. His personal life is a mess; he wonders if his work — saving powerful people from their mistakes — has become too cynical. When malicious, untraceable cyberattacks related to his past start seeping from the dark corners of the internet, Rena’s doubts overwhelm him. Then an unpredictable tragedy throws the country into crisis, and he must come out of his stupor.

If Rena wants to help the new president salvage American politics, he will first have to reckon with his own demons and come to grips with a world far different from the one he once believed in.

This is the fourth book in Rosenstiel’s political fiction/thriller series, starring political fixers Peter Rena and Randi Brooks. I’ve read and enjoyed all three of the previous novels, so I’m very much looking forward to reading this one ASAP. I might hold off on the review for a little while, but I imagine I’ll be reading this very soon. The Days to Come is due to be published by Ecco, on November 23rd, 2021.

Also on CR: Reviews of Shining City, The Good Lie, and Oppo

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

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SharpsonN-WhenTheSparrowFallsNeil Sharpson, WHEN THE SPARROW FALLS (Solaris)

In the future, AI are everywhere — over half the human race lives online. But in the Caspian Republic, the last true human beings have made their stand; and now the repressive, one-party state is locked in perpetual cold war with the outside world.

Security Agent Nikolai South is given a seemingly mundane task; escorting a dead journalist’s widow while she visits the Caspian Republic to identify her husband’s remains. But Paulo Xirau was AI; and as Nikolai and Lily delve deeper into the circumstances surrounding Paulo’s death, South must choose between his loyalty to his country and his conscience.

An intriguing-sounding SF novel. When the Sparrow Falls is due to be published by Solaris in the UK (July 8th), and is published in North America by Tor Books (June 29th).

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

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StaveleyB-AotUT1-EmpiresRuinUSHCBrian Staveley, THE EMPIRE’S RUIN (Tor)

The Annurian Empire is disintegrating. The advantages it used for millennia have fallen to ruin. The ranks of the Kettral have been decimated from within, and the kenta gates, granting instantaneous travel across the vast lands of the empire, can no longer be used.

In order to save the empire, one of the surviving Kettral must voyage beyond the edge of the known world through a land that warps and poisons all living things to find the nesting ground of the giant war hawks. Meanwhile, a monk turned con-artist may hold the secret to the kenta gates.

But time is running out. Deep within the southern reaches of the empire and ancient god-like race has begun to stir.

What they discover will change them and the Annurian Empire forever. If they can survive.

The first novel in the new Ashes of the Unhewn Throne trilogy, set in the same world as Staveley’s Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne. I’ve been really looking forward to this one. I’ll read it very soon. The Empire’s Ruin is due to be published by Tor Books in North America (July 6th) and in the UK (July 8th).

Also on CR: Guest Posts on “Fire Lookout, Monk, Water-Skier, Teacher; the Best Profession for a Writer”, “Sex With the Clothes On”; Excerpts from The Providence of Fire and Skullsworn; Reviews of The Emperor’s Blades, The Providence of Fire, and The Last Mortal Bond

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

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ThorpeG-HH-LutherGav Thorpe: LUTHER: FIRST OF THE FALLEN (Black Library)

Knight of the Angelicasta. Saviour of the Lion. Grand Master of the Order. Lord of the Dark Angels. Protector of Caliban.

Chaos Heretic. Destroyer of Caliban. Sorcerer of the Abyss. Arch-traitor. Dark Oracle. First of the Fallen.

Can one man be all of these things?

Kept alive and imprisoned for ten thousand years, Luther is the curse and the salvation of the Dark Angels made manifest. None are so close to the heart and history of the Chapter as the man that embodies all that was great about the First Legion and all that is shameful about the Dark Angels. In his story is writ the tale of the Horus Heresy and the fall from Enlightenment in a single long life. Glory, honour, pride, shame, and betrayal weave a tapestry of truth and lies that the Supreme Grand Masters of the Dark Angels have sought to understand and unbind across ten bloody millennia. Luther claims repentance for his past deeds, but was it his sins that condemned the Chapter to its secretive fate, or should warnings from history have been more closely heeded?

Ah, the Dark Angels. A Legion/Chapter who have been surrounded by mystery for decades. Strangely, this mysteriousness has never fully translated over to fiction in a way I find particularly satisfying… Hopefully, Thorpe will break this trend. I’m looking forward to reading this. Luther is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Interviews with Gav Thorpe — 2011 and 2016; Reviews of Deliverance Lost, Angels of Caliban, The First Wall, Ravenwing, and Azrael

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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WernerCL-WHQ-CursedCityC.L. Werner, CURSED CITY (Black Library)

When a series of vicious murders rock the vampire-ruled city of Ulfenkarn, an unlikely group of heroes – a vampire hunter, a vigilante, a wizard, and a soldier – must discover the truth even as the city’s dread ruler takes to the streets and the bloodletting increases.

Ulfenkarn is a city of nightmares. Its vampiric rulers have indulged their bloodlust in every shadow-clad alley, turning the once-proud metropolis into a charnel house. Already crushed beneath the tyranny of Radukar the Wolf and his Thirsting Court, a spate of vicious murders plunges the mortal inhabitants into fresh terror. Emerging to uncover a connection between the attacks is an unlikely group of heroes: a vampire hunter from Carstinia, a slum-born vigilante, a ruthless wizard, and a soldier who is the last survivor of her noble bloodline. Arrayed against them are the undead monsters that thrive upon Radukar’s gory regime. But a daring search for answers turns into a fight for survival when the Wolf himself descends his Ebon Citadel and joins the carnage in the streets…

The first fiction set in a new Age of Sigmar locale, and the location of the new Warhammer Quest game. Written by one of Black Library’s best authors, I’ve been looking forward to this since it was announced. Cursed City is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Reviews of Wulfrik, Hour of Shadows, and The Red Duke

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

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WraggD-AoF2-RighteousUKDavid Wragg, THE RIGHTEOUS (Voyager)

Bound by oath and honour, Vedren Chel found himself drawn to the heart of a deadly rebellion. With him stood the mercenaries of the Black Hawk Company, who were only ever in it for the money.

But the uprising failed. Now, Chel and the sell-sword Rennic languish in prison, watching as their comrades are taken one by one for execution.

A daring escape will set them free, but with the combined forces of vengeful church and voracious crown arrayed against them, Chel and the Black Hawks must embark on a desperate search for new allies.

Journeying from frozen wastes to towering cities, from drug-riddled fleapits to opulent palaces, THE RIGHTEOUS is the thrilling and riotous second adventure from one of fantasy’s most exciting new voices.

This is the second novel in Wragg’s Articles of Faith fantasy series — a story of a band of misfit mercenaries, I’m really looking forward to reading this. The Righteous is due to be published by Voyager in North America and in the UK, on June 10th, 2021.

Also on CR: Interview with David Wragg (2019)

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

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HHP-BloodOfTheEmperorVarious, BLOOD OF THE EMPEROR (Black Library)

Explore the histories and motivations of the primarchs across six short stories that will take you to the depths of the Cthonian Utterdark, the wilds of Fenris in winter, and even to the holy soil of Terra itself.

A weak Cthonian boy forges a bloody destiny among the stars. Tribal warriors hunt a beast in the Fenrisian snows. Prosperine sorcerers seek hidden secrets. The Emperor’s Praetorian shows his ruthless side. Alpharius submits to questioning over a brutal campaign, and Mortarion returns to Terra for the first time since his ascension to daemonhood.

Each of these six tales provides you with a new look at one of the primarchs, the demigod sons of the Emperor. Once brothers-in-arms, these legendary heroes fell into war and strife, loyalist and traitor. But each remains a mighty lord of warriors and leader of men, and each has tales to tell…

CONTENTS
Lupus Daemonis by Graham McNeill
Skjalds by Nick Kyme
The Sixth Cult of the Denied by David Guymer
The Will of the Legion by Andy Clark
Council of Truth by Mike Brooks
Terminus by Chris Wraight

The latest collection of Horus Heresy short fiction, focusing on the Primarchs. I read it pretty much as soon as I got it, and I can report that each story is very good — I particularly liked McNeill’s and Brooks’s, but each story adds a little something to our understanding of the six Primarchs covered. Definitely recommended to all Horus Heresy completists, but also those who are just looking for some good new sci-fi to read. Blood of the Emperor is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

3 thoughts on “New Books (March-April)

  1. I’ve just read John French’s Mortis last weekend and I don’t know how you handle this but I usually read the BL-stuff when it’s getting really hectic at work (and it’s really hectic right now so it was nice for me that it came out last weekend). Since you mentioned that you don’t like the Titan-stuff, I’d just add that the Mortis-legion-Titans (from the title) are more of a framing-device (the Chapters usually end with a number describing how close to the walls they are) and the loyalist Mechanicus/Titan/Knights-stuff is only like 30% of the novel. Really, the novel is more about introducing the next phase of the siege than anything else (to say more would spoil stuff so I won’t 🙂 ).

    Just as a note for your consideration when you choose to read the novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tend to read Horus Heresy stuff pretty soon after getting it, unless I’m already reading something else. (I also read other BL stuff when I’m particularly busy and want something that has a setting I’m already pretty familiar with – despite the not-at-all soothing content, I find reading them quite soothing and relaxing.)

      Good to know about the titans-mainly-as-framing. It’s not that I don’t like them at all, just that I prefer them as supporting cast. I’ll probably read it very soon, maybe even next 🙂

      Like

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