New Books (June-July)


Featuring: Samantha Jayne Allen, Jonathan Ames, Timothy Bella, Olivia Blake, Hillary Chute, Heather Cleary, S. A. Cosby, Lillian Fishman, John French, Meg Gardiner, Grant Ginder, J. T. Greathouse, James Grippando, Tea Hacic-Vlahovic, Guy Haley, Jordan Harper, John Irving, Alma Katsu, Patrick Radden Keefe, Kathleen Kent, Joe R. Lansdale, Sam Lipsyte, Brenda Lozano, Michael Mann, Emily McGovern, J. M. Miro, Lauren Nossett, Anya Ow, Paul Oyer, Dan Pfeiffer, Robert Pobi, Josh Riedel, Emery Robin, Alex Segura, Mike Shackle, Margaret Sullivan, G.B. Trudeau, Chris Wraight


AllenSJ-PayDirtRoadUSPBSamantha Jayne Allen, PAY DIRT ROAD (Minotaur)

Friday Night Lights meets Mare of Easttown in this small-town mystery about an unlikely private investigator searching for a missing waitress.

Annie McIntyre has a love/hate relationship with Garnett, Texas.

Recently graduated from college and home waitressing, lacking not in ambition but certainly in direction, Annie is lured into the family business — a private investigation firm — by her supposed-to-be-retired grandfather, Leroy, despite the rest of the clan’s misgivings.

When a waitress at the café goes missing, Annie and Leroy begin an investigation that leads them down rural routes and haunted byways, to noxious-smelling oil fields and to the glowing neon of local honky-tonks. As Annie works to uncover the truth she finds herself identifying with the victim in increasing, unsettling ways, and realizes she must confront her own past — failed romances, a disturbing experience she’d rather forget, and the trick mirror of nostalgia itself — if she wants to survive this homecoming.

Friday Night Lights meets Mare of Easttown” is a pretty intriguing pitch. I’ve heard very good things about this novel, and hope to get to it very soon. Pay Dirt Road is out now, published by Minotaur Books in North America and in the UK.

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


AmesJ-WheelOfDollUSHCJonathan Ames, THE WHEEL OF DOLL (Mulholland)

Happy Doll returns with a new philosophy and a new case…

Although badly scarred and down to his last kidney after the previous caper, Happy Doll is back in business. When a beguiling young woman turns up at his door, it’s Doll’s past that comes knocking. Mary DeAngelo is searching for her estranged mother, Ines Candle — a singular and troubled woman Doll once loved. The last he’d seen her she’d been near-death: arms slit like envelopes. Although she survived the episode, she vanished shortly thereafter. Now, years later, Mary claims Ines is alive and has recently made contact — messaging her on Facebook and calling her from a burner phone — only to disappear once again. Although his psychoanalyst would discourage it, Doll takes the case, desperate to see Ines again. But as the investigation deepens, there are questions he can’t shake. What’s led the flighty Ines to reappear? Is Mary only relaying half the truth? And who is Mary’s strange and mysterious husband?

In this wholly original follow-up to A MAN NAMED DOLL, Happy travels through L.A., Washington, Oregon and back again — a journey that gets wilder and woolier with each turn. An irreverent and inventive mystery, THE WHEEL OF DOLL is not to be missed.

I very much enjoyed Ames’s first Happy Doll novel, A Man Named Doll. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since it was announced. The Wheel of Doll is due to be published by Mulholland Books in North America (September 6th) and Pushkin Vertigo in the UK (December 1st).

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


BellaT-BarkleyUSHCTimothy Bella, BARKLEY (Hanover Square Press)

The definitive biography of Charles Barkley, exploring his early childhood, his storied NBA career, and his enduring legacy as a provocative voice in American pop culture

He’s one of the most interesting American athletes in the past fifty years. Passionate, candid, iconoclastic, and gifted both on and off the court, Charles Barkley has made a lasting impact on not only the world of basketball but pop culture at large.

Yet few people know the real Charles. Raised by his mother and grandmother in Leeds, Alabama, he struggled in his early years to fit in until he found a sense of community and purpose in basketball. In the NBA he went toe-to-toe with the biggest legends in the game, from Magic to Michael to Hakeem to Shaq. But in the years since, he has become a bold agitator for social change, unafraid to grapple, often brashly, with even the thorniest of cultural issues facing our nation today.

Informed by over 370 original interviews and painstaking research, Timothy Bella’s Barkley is the most comprehensive biography to date of one of the most talked-about icons in the world of sports.

Very much looking forward to reading this. Charles Barkley has been one of those figures in basketball I’ve been familiar with since even before I was able to watch NBA games regularly. But, he’s also a player (now commentator) about whom I don’t actually know very much. Barkley is due to be published by Hanover Square Press in North America and in the UK, on November 1st.

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


BlakeO-A2-AtlasParadoxUSHCOlivia Blake, THE ATLAS PARADOX (Tor Books)

Six magicians were presented with the opportunity of a lifetime.
Five are now members of the Society.
Two paths lay before them.

All must pick a side.

Alliances will be tested, hearts will be broken, and The Society of Alexandrians will be revealed for what it is: a secret society with raw, world-changing power, headed by a man whose plans to change life as we know it are already under way.

The second novel in the “BookTok sensation”. I haven’t had a chance to read The Atlas Six, yet, but I do like the sound of the premise — who doesn’t like a novel about deadly magical competition shenanigans? I hope to get caught up soon (perhaps over the summer). The Atlas Paradox is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, on October 25th.

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


ChuteH-MausNowUSHCHillary Chute, MAUS NOW (Pantheon)

Richly illustrated with images from Art Spiegelman’s work, Maus Nowgathers together many of contemporary culture’s leading critics, authors, and academics on the radical achievement and innovation of Maus more than forty years since its first publication.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Art Spiegelman is one of our most influential contemporary artists; it is hard to overstate his effect on postwar American culture. Maus has shaped the fields of literature, history, and art, and enlivened our collective sense of possibilities for expression. A timeless work in more ways than one, Maus has also often been at the center of debates, as its recent ban from school language arts curricula in McMinn County, Tennessee has shown.

Maus Now: Selected Writing collects responses to the work that confirm its unique and terrain-shifting status. Here, writers such as Philip Pullman, Robert Storr, Ruth Franklin, and others approach Maus from a wide range of viewpoints and traditions, inspired by the material’s complexity. The book is organized into three loosely chronological sections: “Contexts,” “Problems of Representation,” and “Legacy,” and offers translations of important French, Hebrew, and German essays on Maus for the first time.

Maus is revelatory, and generative, in profound and long-lasting ways. With this collection, American literary scholar (and expert on comics and graphic narratives) Hillary Chute assembles the best work around the globe exploring this classic graphic biography.

Art Spiegelman’s Maus has been having something of a revival, thanks to various goings-on in American politics. Ashamed to say, I still haven’t read it — but, with a couple of companion books on the way (Chute’s edited volume included), I think it’s high time I rectify this oversight. Maus Now is due to be published by Pantheon in North America and in the UK, on November 15th.

Follow the Editor: Website, Goodreads
Review copy received from publisher


CosbySA-MyDarkestPrayerUSHCS. A. Cosby, MY DARKEST PRAYER (Flatiron)

“I handle the bodies.”

Whether it’s working at his cousin’s funeral home or tossing around the local riffraff at his favorite bar, Nathan Waymaker is a man who knows how to handle the bodies. A former marine and sheriff’s deputy, Nathan has built a reputation in his small Southern town as a man who can help when all other avenues have been exhausted. When a beloved local minister is found dead, his parishioners ask Nathan to make sure the death isn’t swept under the rug.

What starts out as an easy payday soon descends into a maze of mayhem filled with wannabe gangsters, vicious crime lords, porn stars, crooked police officers, and a particularly treacherous preacher and his mysterious wife. Nathan must use all his varied skills and some of his wit to navigate the murky waters of small town corruption even as dark secrets of his own threaten to come to the surface.

Following the incredible (and deserved) success of S. A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears, it was almost inevitable that his debut novel would get a reissue. Really looking forward to reading this. My Darkest Prayer is due to be published by Flatiron Books in North America on December 6th.

Also on CR: Review of Blacktop Wasteland

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


FishmanL-ActsOfServiceUKHCLillian Fishman, ACTS OF SERVICE (Europa Editions)

A provocative debut exploring sex and sexuality as a twentysomething New Yorker pursues a sexual freedom that follows no lines other than her own desire.

If sex is a truth-teller, Eve — a young, queer woman in Brooklyn — is looking for answers. On an evening when she is feeling particularly impulsive, she posts some nude photos of herself online. This is how Eve meets Olivia, and through Olivia, the charismatic Nathan — and soon the three begin a relationship that disturbs Eve as much as it delights her. As each act of the affair unfolds, Eve is left to ask: to whom is she responsible? And to what extent do our desires determine who we are?

In the way that only great fiction can, Acts of Service takes between its teeth the contradictions written all over our ideas of sex and sexuality. As incisive as it is exhilarating, this novel asks us to face our ideas about desire and power: what sex means to us, the forces that shape it, and how we find — or lose — ourselves in intimacy. At once juicy and intellectually challenging, sacred and profane, it might be the most thought-provoking book you read all year.

Thought this sounded interesting and different to what I typically read, so thought I’d give it a try. Acts of Service is due to be published by Europa Editions in the UK on July 7th; it is out now in North America, published by Hogarth Press.

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


FrenchJ-Ahriman4-EternalJohn French, AHRIMAN: ETERNAL (Black Library)

Follow Ahriman in his quest to lift the curse that plagues his Legion, lest all turn to dust before he can find salvation.

Doom has come upon the Thousand Sons. Born from the Rubric, a curse of fire and dust stalks them across time and space. The spirits of the Rubricae are vanishing from the prisons of their armour, and one by one, living sorcerers take their place.

Driven by the need to save his Legion and find redemption, Ahzek Ahriman seeks the time-altering technology of the forgotten necrons to overwrite the past. Shadowed by aeldari harlequins, and with secrets and divisions spreading through his forces, he must find a new path to salvation — before all becomes dust.

A surprise fifth instalment in the Ahriman series (three previous novels and a short story collection) — for some reason, I thought the series had come to a close, so I was very happy to learn that there’s another novel. I’ll be reading this very soon. Ahriman: Eternal is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Reviews of Ahriman Exile, Exodus, Sorcerer, Unchanged

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GinderG-LetsNotDoThatAgainUSHCGrant Ginder, LET’S NOT DO THAT AGAIN (Henry Holt)

Meet the Harrisons!
A mother running for Senate, a son running from his problems, and a daughter running straight into trouble…

Nancy Harrison is running for Senate, and she’s going to win, goddamnit. Not that that’s her slogan, although it could be. She’s said all the right things. Passed all the right legislation. Chapped her lips kissing babies. There’s just one problem: her grown children.

Greta and Nick Harrison are adrift. Nick is floundering in his attempts to write a musical about the life of Joan Didion (called Hello to All That!). And then there’s his little sister Greta. Smart, pretty, and completely unmotivated, allowing her life to pass her by like the shoppers at the Apple store where she works.

One morning the world wakes up not to Nancy making headlines, but her daughter, Greta. She’s in Paris. With extremist protestors. Throwing a bottle of champagne through a beloved bistro’s front window. In order to save her campaign, not to mention her daughter, Nancy and Nick must find Greta before it’s too late.

Smart, funny, and surprisingly tender, Let’s Not Do That Again shows that family, like politics, can hurt like a mother.

I came across Ginder’s books with This is How it Starts (2009) — an engaging, amusing novel. I’ve kept my eyes open for each new novel of his, and this one also sounded interesting. Let’s Not Do That Again is out now, published by Henry Holt in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Review of This is How it Starts

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


GreathouseJT-P&P2-GardenOfEmpireJABJ. T. Greathouse, THE GARDEN OF EMPIRE (JABberwocky)

The boy once known as Wen Alder has become the rebel witch Foolish Cur. Schooled in both the powers that bound him to serve the emperor as well as the furious, wild magic of his mother’s ancestors, he was torn between two worlds, until he realized the brutal nature of the emperor and his rule. Joining the rebellion, he soon experienced the painful sacrifices that come with defiance. Yet even more dangerous times lay ahead.

For the emperor — covetous of all the magic he controls — has decided to take his ruthless quest for power to the gods themselves. If he succeeds, the gods will unleash a storm of death and destruction unlike any even imagined. Only Foolish Cur has the skills and strength to stave off such a nightmare.

While Foolish Cur fights the Empire in Nayen, others wage their own rebellions. A successful tutor opens a school to preserve his own dying culture while a warrior of the plains discovers powers long thought lost. And a servant of the empire begins to question the violence that threatens to engulf them all…

I’ve heard a lot of great things about this novel, and the series as a whole. I’ve just been really slow about getting around to reading it. Hope to rectify this very soon. The Garden of Empire is due to be published by JABberwocky in North America and Gollancz in the UK, on August 4th.

Also on CR: Excerpt from The Hand of the Sun King

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


GrippandoJ-Code6USHCJames Grippando, CODE 6 (Harper)

Aspiring playwright, Kate Gamble, is struggling to launch a script she’s been secretly researching her entire life, mostly at the family dinner table. Her father is Christian Gamble, CEO of Buck Technologies, a private data integration company whose clients include the CIA and virtually every counter-terrorism organization in the Western World. Kate’s father adores her, and a play about the dark side of Big Data would be the ultimate betrayal in his eyes. But Kate is compelled to tell this story — not only as an artist exploring the personal information catastrophe that affects us all, but as a daughter trying to understand her mother’s apparent loss of purpose, made even more disturbing by the suicide note she left behind: I did it for Kate.

Then Patrick Battle comes back into her life, changing everything she has ever thought about her play, her father, and her mother’s tragic death. Patrick is a childhood friend, but he is now Buck’s golden boy with security clearance to the company’s most sensitive projects. When Buck comes under investigation by the Justice Department and Patrick suddenly goes missing, Kate doesn’t know who to trust. A phone call confirms her worst nightmare: Patrick has been kidnapped, and the ransom demand is “Code 6” — the most secret and potentially dangerous technology her father’s company has ever developed.

Kate’s fight to bring Patrick home safely reveals a conspiracy and cover up that may implicate one of the most powerful executives in the tech industry, while the development of Kate’s play unleashes family secrets and the demons behind her mother’s cryptic final note. The two paths converge in explosive fashion, leading to a shocking and terrifying discovery that puts Kate and Patrick in the crosshairs of forces who will stop at nothing to control Code 6.

A new stand alone novel from an author who I’d like to read more by — he’s best known for his Jack Swyteck series. Looking forward to giving this a try. Code 6 is due to be published by Harper in North America and in the UK, on January 3rd, 2023.

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


HacicVlahovicT-ACigaretteLitBackwardsUSHCTea Hacic-Vlahovic, A CIGARETTE LIT BACKWARDS (Overlook Press)

Set in the punk-rock scene of the early 2000s and vibrating with the intense ache of bad choices and deep longing, a needle-sharp portrait of a young woman and how far she’ll go to find acceptance

Kat is dying to be accepted by the North Carolina punks; she is totally desperate to seem cool. At a punk show, she ends up backstage with a rock star and gets noticed by a photojournalist. And then — a dream come true for Kat — her reputation as a groupie icon skyrockets. But to maintain this notoriety, Kat makes a series of devastating choices, and soon enough, she becomes unrecognizable to herself and others.

Tea Hacic-Vlahovic’s A Cigarette Lit Backwards is a sometimes funny, often brutally honest novel about ambition and self-discovery and how a world of glamour and cool exerts its bold and breathless pull. In prose that seduces, glitters, and exhilarates, Tea Hacic-Vlahovic has written a novel that is both a wild party and a somber reckoning, consolidating her status as a thrilling and essential new voice for our time.

Hadn’t heard of this novel before the publisher offered me a DRC for this. It sounded interesting, though, so I’m looking forward to giving it a try. A Cigarette Lit Backwards is due to be published by Overlook Press in North America and in the UK, on September 20th.

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


HaleyG-AoS-PrinceMaesaGuy Haley, PRINCE MAESA (Black Library)

Discover the tragic tale of Prince Maesa, a nomadic aelf willing to brave the terrible might of Nagash to find respite from his grief.

For centuries, Prince Maesa of the nomad clans has wandered the Mortal Realms. Exiled from his people for the crime of loving a human woman, Maesa’s woes were compacted by bereavement – for human lives are but brief sparks compared to those of the aelves.

Ever since his beloved Ellamar’s death, Maesa has quested tirelessly in search of a means to return her to his arms. Now, accompanied by his spite companion Shattercap, Maesa nears the end of his quest – single-mindedly daring the deserts of Shyish, the fury of slumbering demigods, and the wrath of daemons to revive his true love. Yet the souls of the departed are guarded jealously by the God of Undeath. To carry out a true resurrection would be to earn Nagash’s undying contempt, and the Great Necromancer is the least forgiving deity in all the Mortal Realms…

Prine Maesa first made his appearance in the Inferno! anthology series — introducing us to the character, his faithful spite companion, and his background. I think he did a fantastic job of providing a good, enjoyable and engaging introduction to the vast, varied Mortal Realms that make up the setting of the Age of Sigmar — a setting that, I believe I’ve mentioned multiple time, I’ve not managed to sink into as smoothly as I’d expected since the Warhammer reboot (I’m glad they brought Gotrek into it, and I have been enjoying Darius Hinks’s contributions to the series). I’m really looking forward to reading more about Maesa’s quest. Prince Maesa is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Guy Haley (2015); Reviews of Pharos, Perturabo, Wolfsbane, Corax: Lord of Shadows, Konrad Curze: Night Haunter, Lost and the Damned, Dante, The Devastation of Baal, Darkness in the Blood, Avenging Son, Dark Imperium, Plague War, Godblight, and The Great Work

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter


HarperJ-EverybodyKnowsUSHCJordan Harper, EVERYBODY KNOWS (Mulholland)

A propulsive LA crime thriller about Mae Pruett, a “black-bag publicist” – she doesn’t get the good news out, she keeps the bad news in – who works for “The Beast,” her name for the loose collection of lawyers, publicists and private security firms who protect and serve the wealthy and depraved of Los Angeles.

Chris Tamburro is Mae’s ex, an ex-cop fired for corruption and a fist on the Beast’s arm, working as muscle for a shady lawyer. They must both confront the bad things they aid and abet when Mae’s boss is gunned down in front of the Beverly Hills Hotel, dying with a secret Mae is determined to learn. Unraveling the mystery of her boss’s death takes them through an electric, pulpy vision of Los Angeles, a world of homeless camp bombers, drug-addled celebrities, cop gangs who mark their kills with tattoos, a livestreamed murder, and powerful men with a secret so dark they will kill to keep it.

This ambitious neon-noir matches breakneck twists and napalm prose with meditations on power, fame and all of our complicity with evil.

Harper will be having quite a busy few months, it seems: not only is The Last King of California  due out in September, but early next year fans will also get Everybody Know— which looks very interesting, and in line with much of my favourite crime/thriller reading. Very happy to have this for review, and I hope to get to it very soon. (I’ll endeavour to hold off on posting the review until closer to its release date, though.) Everybody Knows is due to be published by Mulholland Books in North America January 10th, 2023.

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Review copy received via NetGalley


IrvingJ-LastChairliftUSHCJohn Irving, THE LAST CHAIRLIFT (Simon & Schuster)

In Aspen, Colorado, in 1941, Rachel Brewster is a slalom skier at the National Downhill and Slalom Championships. Little Ray, as she is called, finishes nowhere near the podium, but she manages to get pregnant. Back home, in New England, Little Ray becomes a ski instructor.

Her son, Adam, grows up in a family that defies conventions and evades questions concerning the eventful past. Years later, looking for answers, Adam will go to Aspen. In the Hotel Jerome, where he was conceived, Adam will meet some ghosts; in The Last Chairlift, they aren’t the first or the last ghosts he sees.

I’ve never actually read anything by Irving. So, why did I decide to take a dive into his work with this chunky beast? No idea. Sounded interesting. Guess we’ll see. The Last Chairlift is due to be published by Simon & Schuster in North America and Scribner in the UK, on October 18th).

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


KatsuA-RW2-RedLondonUSHCAlma Katsu, RED LONDON (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

CIA agent Lyndsey Duncan has a new asset to turn, in order to prevent the most calculated global invasion of our time. But will their blossoming friendship get in the way?

After an explosive takedown of a well-placed mole within the CIA, agent Lyndsey Duncan has been tasked with keeping tabs on her newest Russian asset, deadly war criminal Dmitri Tarasenko. She arrives in London fully focused on the assignment at hand, until her MI6 counterpart, Davis Ranford, the very person responsible for ending her last mission overseas after they were caught in a whirlwind affair, personally calls for her.

After a suspicious attack on a powerful Russian oligarch’s property on Billionaires’ Row in the toniest neighborhood in London, Davis needs Lyndsey to cozy up to the billionaire’s aristocratic British wife, Emily Rotenberg. Lyndsey’s job is to obtain any and all information related to Emily’s husband, Mikhail Rotenberg, and his relationship with the new Russian president, whom CIA and MI6 believe is responsible for the sudden mysterious disappearance of his predecessor, the Hard Man. Fortunately for Lyndsey, there’s little to dissuade Emily from taking in a much-needed confidante. After all, misery needs company.

But before Lyndsey can cover much ground with her newfound friend, the CIA unveils a perturbing connection between Mikhail and Russia’s geopolitical past, one that could dangerously upend the world order as we know it. As the pressure to turn Emily becomes higher than ever, Lyndsey must walk a fine and ever-changing line to keep the oligarch’s fortune from falling into Russian hands and plunging the world into a new, disastrous geopolitical reality.

Red London is a nuanced, race-against-the-clock story that at times feels eerily set against today’s headlines, a testament to author Alma Katsu’s 30-plus career in national security. It’s a rare spy novel written by an insider that feels as prescient as it is page-turning and utterly unforgettable.

I very much enjoyed Katsu’s previous espionage thriller, Red Widow, so when I saw that its sequel, Red London was on the way, I knew I had to try to get a review copy ASAP. Really looking forward to reading this! Red London is due to be published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in North America and in the UK, on March 14th, 2023.

Also on CR: Interview with Alma Katsu (2013); Review of Red Widow

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


KeefePR-RoguesUSHCPatrick Radden Keefe, ROGUES (Doubleday)

Patrick Radden Keefe has garnered prizes ranging from the National Magazine Award to the Orwell Prize to the National Book Critics Circle Award for his meticulously-reported, hypnotically-engaging work on the many ways people behave badly. Rogues brings together a dozen of his most celebrated articles from The New Yorker. As Keefe says in his preface “They reflect on some of my abiding preoccupations: crime and corruption, secrets and lies, the permeable membrane separating licit and illicit worlds, the bonds of family, the power of denial.”

Keefe brilliantly explores the intricacies of forging $150,000 vintage wines, examines whether a whistleblower who dared to expose money laundering at a Swiss bank is a hero or a fabulist, spends time in Vietnam with Anthony Bourdain, chronicles the quest to bring down a cheerful international black market arms merchant, and profiles a passionate death penalty attorney who represents the “worst of the worst,” among other bravura works of literary journalism.

The appearance of his byline in The New Yorker is always an event, and collected here for the first time readers can see his work forms an always enthralling but deeply human portrait of criminals and rascals, as well as those who stand up against them.

I must have been reading Keefe’s work for some time before his name truly stuck in my memory — after a great podcast series about the song “Winds of Change”, his epic (and brilliant) Empire of Pain was published. A superb examination of the opioid crisis and the Sackler family that is largely the cause of it, it led me to seek out everything else he’s written — I quickly acquired his three other books (The Snakehead, Chatter, and Say Nothing), and now always read any journalism with his name on it. If you’re a fan of Michael Lewis and other authors of that type, then I think you’ll love Keefe’s books as well. This new book is a collection of some of his best New Yorker pieces, and I pre-ordered it as soon as I could. Rogues is out now, published by Doubleday in North America, and Picador in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter


KentK-BlackWolfUSHCKathleen Kent, BLACK WOLF (Mulholland)

A new spy thriller about a female CIA agent whose extraordinary powers of facial recognition lead her into the dangerous heart of the Soviet Union — and the path of a killer that shouldn’t exist.

It is 1990 when Melvina Donleavy arrives in Soviet Belarus on her first undercover mission with the CIA, alongside three fellow agents — none of whom know she is playing two roles. To the prying eyes of the KGB, she is merely a secretary; to her CIA minders, she is the only one who can stop the flow of nuclear weapons from the crumbling Soviet Union into the Middle East.

For Mel has a secret; she is a “super recognizer,” someone who never forgets a face. But no training could prepare her for the reality of life undercover, and for the streets of Minsk, where women have been disappearing. Soviet law enforcement is firm: murder is a capitalist disease. But could a serial killer be at work? Especially if he knew no one was watching? As Mel searches for answers, she catches the eye of an entirely different kind of threat: the elusive and petrifying “Black Wolf,” head of the KGB.

Filled with insider details from the author’s own time working under the direction of the U.S. Department of Defense, Black Wolf is a riveting new spy thriller from an Edgar-nominated crime writer, and a biting exploration of the divide between two nations, two masterminds, and two roles played by a woman pushed to her breaking point, where she’ll learn that you can only ever trust one person: yourself.

A new, stand-alone (thus far) espionage thriller from the author of the Detective Betty Rhyzyk series. This sounds really interesting — I love a good espionage and/or Cold War thriller — so I hope to read it very soon. It’s not out for quite some time, though, so I will hold off on posting a review until early next year. Black Wolf is due to be published by Mulholland Books in North America (February 14th) and Head of Zeus/Aries in the UK (February 16th).

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


LansdaleJR-DonutLegionUSHCJoe R. Lansdale, THE DONUT LEGION (Mulholland)

Charlie Garner has a bad feeling. His ex-wife, Meg, has been missing for over a week and one quick peek into her home shows all her possessions packed up in boxes. Neighbors claim she’s running from bill collectors, but Charlie suspects something more sinister is afoot. Meg was last seen working at the local donut shop, a business run by a shadow group most refer to as ‘The Saucer People’; a space-age, evangelist cult who believe their compound to be the site of an extraterrestrial Second Coming.

Along with his brother, Felix, and beautiful, randy journalist Amelia “Scrappy” Moon, Charlie uncovers strange and frightening details about the compound (read: a massive, doomsday storehouse of weapons, a leashed chimpanzee!) When the body of their key informer is found dead with his arms ripped out of their sockets, Charlie knows he’s in danger but remains dogged in his quest to rescue Meg.

Brimming with colorful characters and Lansdale’s characteristic bounce, this rollicking crime novel examines the insidious rise of fringe groups and those under their sway with black comedy and glints of pathos.

All of Lansdale’s novels sound interesting. However, for some inexplicable reason, I still haven’t read much of his work. This latest novel, I hope, will be the first of many. The Donut Legion is due to be published by Mulholland Books in North America and in the UK, on March 21st, 2023.

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


LipsyteS-NoOneLeftToComeLookingForYouUSHCSam Lipsyte, NO ONE LEFT TO COME LOOKING FOR YOU (Simon & Schuster)

A darkly comic mystery set in the vibrant music scene of early 1990s New York City.

Manhattan’s East Village, 1993. Dive bars, DIY music venues, shady weirdos, and hard drugs are plentiful. Crime is high but rent is low, luring hopeful, creative kids from sleepy suburbs around the country.

One of these is Jack S., a young New Jersey rock musician. Just a few days before his band’s biggest gig, their lead singer goes missing with Jack’s prized bass, presumably to hock it to feed his junk habit. Jack’s search for his buddy uncovers a sinister entanglement of crimes tied to local real estate barons looking to remake New York City — and who might also be connected to the recent death of Jack’s punk rock mentor. Along the way, Jack encounters a cast of colorful characters, including a bewitching, quick-witted scenester who favors dressing in a nurse’s outfit, a monstrous hired killer with a devotion to both figure skating and edged weapons, a deranged if prophetic postwar novelist, and a tough-talking cop who fancies himself a retro-cool icon of the homicide squad but is harboring a surprising secret.

No One Left to Come Looking for You is a page-turning suspense novel that also serves as a love letter to a bygone era of New York City where young artists could still afford to chase their dreams.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been familiar with Lipsyte’s name for a very long time. A strange way to put it, perhaps, but I’ve also not read any of his books. As a life-long lover of rock music, I thought this novel sounded like it might be perfect for me. Hope to get to it very soon. No One Left to Come Looking For You is due to be published by Simon & Schuster in North America, on December 6th.

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


LozanoB-WitchesUSHCBrenda Lozano & Heather Cleary (trans.), WITCHES (Catapult)

The beguiling story of a young journalist whose investigation of a murder leads her to the most legendary healer in all of Mexico, from one of the most prominent voices of a new generation of Latin American writers

Paloma is dead. But before she was murdered, before she was even Paloma, she was a traditional healer named Gaspar. Before she was murdered, she taught her cousin Feliciana the secrets of the ceremonies known as veladas, and about the Language and the Book that unlock their secrets.

Sent to report on Paloma’s murder, Zoe meets Feliciana in the mountain village of San Felipe. There, the two women’s lives twist around each other in a danse macabre. Feliciana tells Zoe the story of her struggle to become an accepted healer in her community, and Zoe begins to understand the hidden history of her own experience as a woman, finding her way in a hostile environment shaped by and for men.

Weaving together two parallel narratives that mirror and refract one another, this extraordinary novel envisions the healer as storyteller and the writer as healer, and offers a generous and nuanced understanding of a world that can be at turns violent and exultant, cruel and full of hope.

Hadn’t heard of this book before the publisher offered it for review. Sounded interesting, though, so looking forward to giving it a try. Witches is due to be published by Catapult in North America on August 16th; it’s out now in the UK, published by MacLehose Press.

Follow the Author: Goodreads
Review copy received from publisher


MannGardiner-Heat2Michael Mann & Meg Gardiner, HEAT 2 (Harper Collins)

Described by Michael Mann as both a prequel and sequel to the renowned, critically acclaimed film of the same name, HEAT 2 covers the formative years of homicide detective Vincent Hanna (Oscar winner Al Pacino) and elite criminals Neil McCauley (Oscar winner Robert De Niro), Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), and Nate (Oscar winner Jon Voight), and features the same extraordinary ambition, scope, rich characterizations, and attention to detail as the epic film.

This new story leads up to the events of the film and then moves beyond it, featuring new characters on both sides of the law, new high-line heists, and breathtakingly cinematic action sequences. Ranging from the streets of L.A. to the inner sancta of rival Taiwanese crime syndicates in Paraguay to a massive drug cartel money-laundering operation just over the border in Mexico, HEAT 2 illuminates the dangerous workings of international crime organizations and the agents who pursue them as it provides a full-blooded portrait of the men and women who inhabit both worlds.

Like many people, I love the movie Heat. So, I’ve been eagerly anticipating this new prequel-and-sequel novel ever since it was announced. Heat 2 is due to be published by Harper Collins in the UK (August 18th) and William Morrow in North America (August 9th).

Follow the Author (Mann): Goodreads, Twitter
Follow the Author (Gardiner): Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Review copy received via NetGalley


McGovernE-TwelvePercentDreadEmily McGovern, TWELVE PERCENT DREAD (Picador)

Katie and Nas are best friends, exes, and co-dependents. They share everything, including a tiny room in a North London townhouse belonging to their landlord, Jeremy, former host of the hit 90s show Football Lads.

While Katie bounces from job to job and obsesses about falling behind in life, Nas has bigger things in mind, such as waiting endlessly for their visa to come through and working on a seismic art project that will revolutionize politics and society as we know it.

Their friend Emma, meanwhile, seems to have it all figured out – job, mortgage, engagement – yet the long hours working for tech giant Arko and endless wedding admin have left her similarly anxious and unsatisfied.

But when Katie’s latest job finds her tutoring the daughter of Arko’s formidable CEO, and Emma welcomes the eccentric and enigmatic Alicia to her team at Arko, neither are aware that all of their lives – and possibly the future of society itself – are about to change forever…

The new graphic novel from Emily McGovern, creator of the much loved webcomic My Life As A Background Slytherin, Twelve Percent Dread is a uproarious tale of female friendship enduring in an anxious and tech-obsessed world.

I’m a long-time fan of McGovern’s work — from Background Slytherin to Bloodlust & Bonnets. I pre-ordered this as soon as I could, and read it pretty much immediately. It’s an amusing, sharply observed skewering of much of contemporary life — Big Tech, hustle-culture, ridiculous immigration policy, and more. Twelve Percent Dread is out now in the UK, published by Picador; it will be published by Dark Horse Comics in North America, on August 2nd.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram


MiroJM-T1-OrdinaryMonstersUSHCJ. M. Miro, ORDINARY MONSTERS (McClelland & Stewart)

England, 1882. In Victorian London, two children with mysterious powers are hunted by a figure of darkness — a man made of smoke.

Sixteen-year-old Charlie Ovid, despite a brutal childhood in Mississippi, doesn’t have a scar on him. His body heals itself, whether he wants it to or not. Marlowe, a foundling from a railway freight car, shines with a strange bluish light. He can melt or mend flesh. When a jaded female detective is recruited to escort them to safety, all three begin a journey into the nature of difference, and belonging, and the shadowy edges of the monstrous.

What follows is a story of wonder and betrayal, from the gaslit streets of London, and the wooden theatres of Meiji-era Tokyo, to an eerie estate outside Edinburgh where other children with gifts — the Talents — have been gathered. There, the world of the dead and the world of the living threaten to collide. And as secrets within the Institute unfurl, Marlowe, Charlie and the rest of the Talents will discover the truth about their abilities, and the nature of what is stalking them: that the worst monsters sometimes come bearing the sweetest gifts.

Riveting in its scope and exquisitely written, Ordinary Monsters presents a catastrophic vision of the Victorian world — and of the gifted, broken children who must save it.

This novel has been getting a lot of attention. It’s the first in a new series, the Talents, and the author is a well-established Canadian poet and author (this is his first under this pseudonym). I vaguely remember seeing it in catalogues, but it didn’t catch my attention properly until recently. Looking forward to giving it a try. Ordinary Monsters is out now, published by McClellan & Stewart in Canada, Flatiron Books in the US, and Bloomsbury in the UK.

Follow the Author: Goodreads


NossettL-ResemblanceUSHCLauren Nossett, THE RESEMBLANCE (Flatiron)

Never betray the brotherhood

On a chilly November morning at the University of Georgia, a fraternity brother steps off a busy crosswalk and is struck dead by an oncoming car. More than a dozen witnesses all agree on two things: the driver looked identical to the victim, and he was smiling.

Detective Marlitt Kaplan is first on the scene. An Athens native and the daughter of a UGA professor, she knows all its shameful histories, from the skull discovered under the foundations of Baldwin Hall to the hushed-up murder-suicide in Waddel. But in the course of investigating this hit-and-run, she will uncover more chilling secrets as she explores the sprawling, interconnected Greek system that entertains and delights the university’s most elite and connected students.

The lines between Marlitt’s police work and her own past increasingly blur as Marlitt seeks to bring to justice an institution that took something precious from her many years ago. When threats against her escalate, and some long-buried secrets threaten to come to the surface, she can’t help questioning whether the corruption in Athens has run off campus and into the force and how far these brotherhoods will go to protect their own.

I’m a sucker for a good campus mystery, so this obviously caught my attention — I can’t remember exactly where I learned of it first, so it was probably in the publisher’s catalogue. Really looking forward to reading it. The Resemblance is due to be published by Flatiron Books in North America, on November 8th.

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


OwA-IonCurtainAnya Ow, ION CURTAIN (Solaris)

The AI is brutal, vicious and efficient and humanity has to fight to survive.

“Citizens of the Federation. Greetings from the Core.”

For decades the UN and the Russian military have navigated a tense interstellar Cold War.

Lieutenant Kalina Sokolova is aide to Counter-Admiral Kasparov, the major strategist for the Russian Navy. She is also an elite spy working for the UN. She is tasked with watching the Counter-Admiral, and assassination is not out of the question.

Solitaire Yeung is a corsair, a scavenger, a pirate. In the heart of a destroyed Russian battleship, his salvage crew makes an explosive discovery: the brain of the ship’s top secret artificial intelligence. And against their better judgment, they take it and run.

The UN wants it, and the Russians want it back, but they’re not the only ones hunting it. An even more powerful foe grows in the darkness of space. Now all of humanity has to fight to survive…

I do like a good pun title… And I also like a good space opera/action adventure. I’ve not read anything by Ow before, and am looking forward to giving it a try. Ion Curtain is due to be published by Solaris Books in North America and in the UK, on July 19th.

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


OyerP-AnEconomistGoesToTheGameUSHCPaul Oyer, AN ECONOMIST GOES TO THE GAME (Yale University Press)

An engaging look at the ways economic thinking can help us understand how sports work both on and off the field

Are ticket scalpers good for teams? Should parents push their kids to excel at sports? Why do Koreans dominate women’s golf, while Kenyans and Ethiopians dominate marathon racing? Why would Michael Jordan, the greatest player in basketball, pass to Steve Kerr for the game-winning shot?

Paul Oyer shows the many ways economics permeates the world of sports. His topics range from the business of sport to how great athletes use economic thinking to outsmart their opponents to why the world’s greatest sports powerhouse (at least per capita) is not America or China but the principality of Liechtenstein. Economics explains why some sports cannot stop the use of performance-enhancing drugs while others can, why hundred-million-dollar player contracts are guaranteed in baseball but not in football, how one man was able to set the world of sports betting on its ear — and why it will probably never happen again. This book is an entertaining guide to how a bit of economics can make you a better athlete and a more informed fan.

Thought this sounded very interesting. (I find the financial side of sports to be baffling, and I’ve wanted to learn a bit more about it for a while.) An Economist Goes to the Game is out now, published by Yale University Press in North America and in in the UK.

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


PfeifferD-BattlingTheBigLieUSHCDan Pfeiffer, BATTLING THE BIG LIE (Hachette)

How to combat political disinformation and dangerous lies of the right-wing propaganda machine.

In BATTLING THE BIG LIE, bestselling author Dan Pfeiffer dissects how the right-wing built a massive, billionaire-funded disinformation machine powerful enough to bend reality and nearly steal the 2020 election. From the perspective of someone who has spent decades on the front lines of politics and media, Pfeiffer lays out how the right-wing media apparatus works, where it came from, and what progressives can do to fight back against disinformation.

Over a period of decades, the right-wing has built a massive media apparatus that is weaponizing misinformation and spreading conspiracy theories for political purposes. ⁠This “MAGA Megaphone”⁠ that is personified by Fox News and fueled by Facebook⁠ is waging war on the very idea of objective truth — and they are winning. This disinformation campaign is how Donald Trump won in 2016, almost won in 2020, and why the United States is incapable of addressing problems from COVID-19 to climate change.

Pfeiffer explains how and why the Republicans have come to depend on culture war grievances, crackpot conspiracies, and truly sinister propaganda as their primary political strategies, including: 

    • Republican efforts from Roger Ailes to Steve Bannon and Donald Trump to sow distrust while exploiting the media’s biases and the Democratic Party’s blind spots.
    • The optimization of Facebook as the ultimate carrier of Trumpist messaging.
    • Educating the Left to stop clutching pearls and start “fighting fire with fire.”
    • How to fight back against the trolls spreading disinformation and hate on the Internet.

A functioning democracy depends on a shared understanding of reality. America is teetering on the edge because one of the two parties in our two-party system views truth, facts, and science as their opponent. BATTLING THE BIG LIE is a call to arms for anyone and everyone who cares about truth and democracy. There are no easy answers or quick fixes, but something must be done.

I’m a big fan of Pfeiffer’s work for Crooked Media, and also a fan of his other books. Started this shortly after I received the audiobook — you can read my review hereBattling the Big Lie is out now, published by Hachette Books (audio) and Twelve (print/eBook) in North America.

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


PobiR-LP3-DoNoHarmUSHCRobert Pobi, DO NO HARM (Minotaur)

A series of suicides and accidental deaths in the medical community are actually well-disguised murders and only Lucas Page can see the pattern and discern the truth that no one else believes.

Lucas Page is a polymath, astrophysicist, professor, husband, father of five adopted children, bestselling author, and ex-FBI agent — emphasis on “ex.” Severely wounded after being caught in an explosion, Page left the FBI behind and put his focus on the rebuilding the rest of his life. But Page is uniquely gifted in being able to recognize patterns that elude others, a skill that brings the F.B.I. knocking at his door again and again.

Lucas Page’s wife Erin loses a friend, a gifted plastic surgeon, to suicide and Lucas begins to realize how many people Erin knew that have died in the past year, in freak accidents and now suicide. Intrigued despite himself, Page begins digging through obituaries and realizes that there’s a pattern — a bad one. These deaths don’t make sense unless the doctors are being murdered, the target of a particularly clever killer. This time, the FBI wants as little to do with Lucas as he does with them so he’s left with only one option — ignore it and go back to his normal life. But then, the pattern reveals that the next victim is likely to be… Erin herself.

The third novel in Pobi’s Lucas Page series, and one I have been very much enjoying so far: fast-paced, gripping, and well-written. Really looking forward to reading this ASAP. Do No Harm is due to be published by Minotaur Books in North America (August 9th) and Hodder & Stoughton in the UK (August 11th).

Also on CR: Reviews of City of Windows and Under Pressure

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


RiedelJ-PleaseReportYourBugHereUSHCJosh Riedel, PLEASE REPORT YOUR BUG HERE (Henry Holt)

An adrenaline-packed debut novel about a dating app employee who discovers a glitch that transports him to other worlds

Once you sign an NDA it’s good for life. Meaning legally, I shouldn’t tell you this story. But I have to.

A college grad with the six-figure debt to prove it, Ethan Block views San Francisco as the place to be. Yet his job at hot new dating app DateDate is a far cry from what he envisioned. Instead of making the world a better place, he reviews flagged photo queues, overworked and stressed out. But that’s about to change.

Reeling from a breakup, Ethan decides to view his algorithmically matched soulmate on DateDate. He overrides the system and clicks on the profile. Then, he disappears. One minute, he’s in a windowless office, and the next, he’s in a field of endless grass, gasping for air. When Ethan snaps back to DateDate HQ, he’s convinced a coding issue caused the blip. Except for anyone to believe him, he’ll need evidence. As Ethan embarks on a wild goose chase, moving from dingy startup think tanks to Silicon Valley’s dominant tech conglomerate, it becomes clear that there’s more to DateDate than meets the eye. With the stakes rising, and a new world at risk, Ethan must choose who — and what — he believes in.

Adventurous and hypertimely, Please Report Your Bug Here is an inventive millennial coming-of-age story, a dark exploration of the corruption now synonymous with Big Tech, and, above all, a testament to the power of human connection in our digital era.

This sounds really interesting. Sure, the bright cover caught my attention, but the synopsis cemented my interest. Really happy to have a review copy of this, and hope to read it very soon (I’ll hold off for a little while to publish the review, though.) Please Report Your Bug Here is due to be published by Henry Holt in North America and in the UK, on January 17th, 2023.

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


RobinE-StarsUndyingEmery Robin, THE STARS UNDYING (Orbit)

Princess Altagracia has lost everything. After a bloody civil war, her twin sister has claimed not just the crown of their planet Szayet but the Pearl of its prophecy, a computer that contains the immortal soul of Szayet’s god. Stripped of her birthright, Gracia flees the planet — just as Matheus Ceirran, Commander of the interstellar Empire of Ceiao, arrives in deadly pursuit with his volatile lieutenant, Anita. When Gracia and Ceirran’s paths collide, Gracia sees an opportunity to win back her planet, her god, and her throne… if she can win the Commander and his right-hand officer over first.

But talking her way into Ceirran’s good graces, and his bed, is only the beginning. Dealing with the most powerful man in the galaxy is almost as dangerous as war, and Gracia is quickly torn between an alliance that fast becomes more than political and the wishes of the god — or machine — that whispers in her ear. For Szayet’s sake, and her own, Gracia will need to become more than a princess with a silver tongue. She will have to become a queen as history has never seen before — even if it breaks an empire.

The publisher’s bumf for this describes it as “inspired by the lives and loves of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar”, which is ultimately what caught my attention (in addition to the rather striking cover). Really looking forward to giving this a try, and hopefully soon. The Stars Undying is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, on November 10th.

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


SeguraA-SecretIdentityUSHCAlex Segura, SECRET IDENTITY (Flatiron Books)

It’s 1975 and the comic book industry is struggling, but Carmen Valdez doesn’t care. She’s an assistant at Triumph Comics, which doesn’t have the creative zeal of Marvel nor the buttoned-up efficiency of DC, but it doesn’t matter. Carmen is tantalizingly close to fulfilling her dream of writing a superhero book.

That dream is nearly a reality when one of the Triumph writers enlists her help to create a new character, which they call “The Lethal Lynx,” Triumph’s first female hero. But her colleague is acting strangely and asking to keep her involvement a secret. And then he’s found dead, with all of their scripts turned into the publisher without her name. Carmen is desperate to piece together what happened to him, to hang on to her piece of the Lynx, which turns out to be a runaway hit. But that’s complicated by a surprise visitor from her home in Miami, a tenacious cop who is piecing everything together too quickly for Carmen, and the tangled web of secrets and resentments among the passionate eccentrics who write comics for a living.

Alex Segura uses his expertise as a comics creator as well as his unabashed love of noir fiction to create a truly one-of-a-kind novel — hard-edged and bright-eyed, gritty and dangerous, and utterly absorbing.

This novel received a lot of buzz pre-publication, and has continued to receive praise ever since. With the paperback edition fast approaching, I hope to read it very soon. Secret Identity is out now, published by Flatiron Books in North America.

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


ShackleM-LW3-UntilTheLastUKHCMike Shackle, UNTIL THE LAST (Gollancz)


The breakneck conclusion to the trilogy that started with We Are the Dead. To beat the ultimate evil, sometimes the price is more than you can pay…

The war with the Egril has changed Tinnstra forever. A coward no more, she’ll go to any length to defeat every last one of her enemies.

Zorique has grown into her powers. It’s time for her to lead her army into Jia and spearhead the fight for her homeland.

But at what cost? The Egril emperor Raaku – the Son of Kage himself – is waiting for them. And he intends to destroy Zorique, Tinnstra and all their allies.

They will need to put everything on the line if Jia hopes to see the dawn.

This chunky tome (almost 800 pages) is the concluding volume in Shackle’s excellent Last War series. The first book, We Are the Dead, is one of the best fantasy debuts I’ve ever read, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the story ends. Until the Last is out now, published by Gollancz in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Mike Shackle (2019); Excerpt from Until the Last; Review of We Are the Dead

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


SullivanM-NewsroomConfidentialUSHCMargaret Sullivan, NEWSROOM CONFIDENTIAL (St. Martin’s Press)

Over her four decades of working in newsrooms big and small, Margaret Sullivan has become a trusted champion and critic of the American news media. In this bracing memoir, Sullivan traces her life in journalism and how trust in the mainstream press has steadily eroded.

Sullivan began her career at the Buffalo News, where she rose from summer intern to editor in chief. In Newsroom Confidential she chronicles her years in the trenches battling sexism and throwing elbows in a highly competitive newsroom. In 2012, Sullivan was appointed the public editor of The New York Times, the first woman to hold that important role. She was in the unique position of acting on behalf of readers to weigh the actions and reporting of the paper’s staff, parsing potential lapses in judgment, unethical practices, and thorny journalistic issues. Sullivan recounts how she navigated the paper’s controversies, from Hillary Clinton’s emails to Elon Musk’s accusations of unfairness to the need for greater diversity in the newsroom. In 2016, having served the longest tenure of any public editor, Sullivan left for the Washington Post, where she had a front-row seat to the rise of Donald Trump in American media and politics.

With her celebrated mixture of charm, sharp-eyed observation, and nuanced criticism, Sullivan takes us behind the scenes of the nation’s most influential news outlets to explore how Americans lost trust in the news and what it will take to regain it.

I’ve been reading Sullivan’s journalism for years. I also enjoyed her short contribution to the Columbia Global Reports series, Ghosting the News. This book went on my watchlist as soon as I learned of it. Hope to read it very soon. Newsroom Confidential is due to be published by St. Martin’s Press in North America and in the UK, on October 18th.

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


TrudeauGB-FormerGuyUSHCG. B. Trudean, FORMER GUY (Andrews McMeel)

The continuation of Pulitizer Prize-winning cartoonist G.B. Trudeau’s bestselling Trump series, this fourth (and final?) volume chronicles Doonesbury in the time of Trumpism.

Though the title doesn’t mention him by name, Former Guy looms large in American politics and culture even after leaving the Executive Office of the President. This latest Doonesbury collection picks up in the heat of the 2020 presidential campaign, chronicles the infamy of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and continues into the next administration, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and the many manifestations of Trumpism in global politics and American life.

Over 50 years into his legendary career, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist G.B. Trudeau is still the most accomplished satirist in comics, and his ongoing comics coverage of Donald Trump are unparalleled in breadth and humor.

I’m a relative newcomer to Doonesbury and Trudeau’s comics. Sure, I read the occasional one in a newspaper, but not until a couple of years ago did I sit down and read it properly — the 40th Anniversary Doonesbury Retrospective series are excellent. Trudeau’s also done three (now four) books of comic strips about the age of Trump. I’m looking forward to finishing this “series” with this (hopefully final) volume. Former Guy is due to be published by Andrews McMeel in North America and in the UK, on September 13th.

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


WraightC-VoT3-DarkCityChris Wraight, VAULTS OF TERRA: THE DARK CITY (Black Library)

Separated from Inquisitor Cowl, Interrogator Spinoza hoists her crozius and sets to protecting what’s left of their organisation while continuing her quest for truth. But can she survive the dire straights she finds herself in, as she guards humanity from enemies within and without?

The Throneworld is in turmoil, wracked by the opening of the Great Rift and the failure of the Astronomican. Inquisitor Erasmus Crowl, his mind and body ravaged by what he has seen in the Hollow Mountain, is missing, taking with him the clues to the conspiracy that has come to obsess him. Luce Spinoza, his interrogator, must choose whether to seek him out or defend her diminished realm from the many forces that still seek to destroy it. As enemies circle, Interrogator Spinoza enters a race against time to find the evidence she needs. But with the fate of humanity itself hanging in the balance, she must decide what lengths she is willing to go to in order to uncover the truth.

The third novel in Wraight’s acclaimed Vaults of Terra WH40k series. It’s one of two series he’s written set on the Throneworld during the “current” timeline of the WH40k setting. I haven’t managed to get caught up, yet, but I’ve been really enjoyed what he’s done with the setting and the characters he’s created. Definitely recommended for all fans of WH40k. The Dark City is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Chris Wraight (2011); Reviews of The Emperor’s Legion, The Path of Heaven, Warhawk, and Valdor

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter


Various-HH-CthoniasReckoningVarious, CTHONIA’S RECKONING (Black Library)

After seven long years of conflict, the Horus Heresy nears its end. But now, as the Warmaster Horus marches on Terra to rip his father from the Throne, the seat of the arch-traitor’s power lies empty. Cthonia, a world once dominated by brutal murder-gangs, is occupied by the Emperor’s praetorians – the indomitable Imperial Fists. For the Sons of Horus, this outrage demands a reckoning. From the towering heights of Traitor’s Gate, stronghold of the VII Legion, to the unending warrens in the planet’s crust, the two sides slaughter one another without remorse. It is a war of spite, and only the most ruthless will rise to claim Cthonia.

Sons of Cthonia by John French
To the Last by Michael F Haspil
The Gangs Beneath by Gary Kloster
The Flesh Harvest by Nicholas Wolf
Traitor’s Faith by Noah Van Nguyen
For Hate’s Sake by Gav Thorpe
Postulant by Chris Forrester

An unexpected new release, to coincide with the release of the new Horus Heresy tabletop game. Always interested in reading more Heresy fiction, so of course I bought it. (I don’t think there will be many more books in this setting, too — only two more Siege of Terra, and maybe a three or four Primarchs novels, and then… done?) I read it pretty soon after buying it, and it was… not bad. Each of the stories was good, and had something interesting and original within, but at the same time it failed to ignite my interest and imagination as much as many other Heresy books. (It was also amusing to see the various ways the authors came up with to say “yellow”, when describing the Imperial Fists. Surely the worst Legion colour out there…) One for completists, certainly, but not the best in the series as a whole. Cthonia’s Reckoning is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

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