Excerpt: THE GARDEN OF EMPIRE by J. T. Greathouse (Gollancz)

GreathouseJT-P&P2-GardenOfEmpireUKHCTo help kick off the blog tour marking the release of The Garden of EmpireJ. T. Greathouse‘s second Pact & Pattern novel, Gollancz has provided CR with an excerpt! Picking up the story after The Hand of the Sun King, here’s the synopsis:

WAR MAKES MONSTERS OF EVERYONE.

Foolish Cur, once named Wen Alder, finds that his allies in the rebellion might cross any line if it means freedom from the Empire. But he can’t overcome a foe as strong as Emperor Tenet alone.

REBELLION HAS UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.

Koro Ha, Foolish Cur’s former tutor, discovers the Empire is not so forgiving of those who raise a traitor. And their suspicion may cost him and his people more than he can imagine.

THE GODS ARE LURKING IN THE SHADOWS.

As war against the Empire rages, Foolish Cur knows there is a greater threat. The emperor plans his own coup against the gods, and they will wreak destruction if he tries. To stop him, Foolish Cur might have to risk everything – and resort to ancient magics that could tear the world apart.

It’s quite a substantial excerpt, so read on and enjoy!

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Quick Review: RED WARNING by Matthew Quirk (William Morrow)

QuirkM-RedWarningA long-dormant Cold War plan threats to devastate all of Washington, D.C.

CIA officer Sam Hudson races to find a deep cover operative loose in the U.S. and a mole in the Agency before they can launch a devastating attack on Washington, D.C. …

For years CIA officer Sam Hudson has been hunting Konstantin, a Russian deep cover operative responsible for a string of assassinations in the West—and he believes a well-placed source in Geneva can finally get him close to the killer. But when their meeting is ambushed, Sam’s partner is murdered and he barely makes it out alive himself.

Back in the States, the bosses put him on leave and want him to drop his obsession with Konstantin, but Sam can’t let a man who’s taken so many lives slip away again. When he gets a mysterious call at the Lincoln Memorial just before a bomb goes off, he realizes Konstantin has followed him to the U.S. — and is targeting him and everyone close to him. Teaming up with fellow CIA officer Emily Pierce, he sets out to redeem himself and uncover a plot that has been lying in wait since the end of the Cold War, its elements hidden among the most iconic buildings in the capital.

With enemies lurking both inside and outside the Agency and the Russian threat looming ever larger, Sam must use all his training and nerve to stop Konstantin before he can trigger the plot to devastate Washington and bring the U.S. to its knees.

I’ve been a fan of Matthew Quirk’s fast-paced thrillers ever since his debut, The 500 — which I read in one sitting, deep into the night. Each of his novels since has been equally gripping and action-packed. In Red Warning, he offers another action-packed thriller, but one that dials back the pacing just a little bit — which makes for a more substantial read. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

Quick Review: EXTINCTION by Bradley Somer (Harper Voyager)

SomerB-ExtinctionUKHCAn atmospheric wilderness mystery, set in the near future

In a lonely valley, deep in the mountains, a ranger watches over the last surviving grizzly bear.

With the natural world exhausted and in tatters, Ben has dedicated himself to protecting this single fragment of the wild.

One night, he hears voices in the valley – poachers, come to hunt his bear.

A heart-pounding chase begins, crossing forests and mountainsides, passing centuries of human ruins. Sometimes hunter, sometimes prey – Ben must choose the bear’s fate and his own.

Is he willing to lay down his life for a dying breed?

Is he willing to kill for it?

I spotted this novel what feels like a very long time ago — it was the cover, really, as well as the suggestion of an environmentally damaged near-future (at the time, the full synopsis wasn’t available). I read it shortly before it was published, and enjoyed it quite a bit. A shorter novel, and one that focuses more on atmosphere and place than plot (though there is one, so no fear), it was an excellent introduction to Somer’s work. Continue reading

Quick Review: DO NO HARM by Robert Pobi (Minotaur/Hodder)

PobiR-LP3-DoNoHarmUSHCLucas Page returns as a killer stalks medical professionals — including his wife!

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.

Lucas Page returns. Even more banged up than he was at the start of each of the previous novels in the series, his mind nevertheless remains as intact and sharp as ever. His personality, also, remains rather sharp… As a series of suspicious deaths inches closer to home, Page finds himself back in the FBI’s orbit hunting a devious killer. Do No Harm is another fast-paced, gripping thriller from Pobi. Continue reading

Books on Film: INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE by Anne Rice (AMC)

It’s been in the works for what feels like years, but the first trailer for the new TV adaptation of Anne Rice’s classic Interview with the Vampire was released during San Diego Comic-Con. The original movie adaptation — starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, and — has long been a favourite of mine, as have the novels (I’ve read all of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles novels, multiple times). The trailer for this new TV adaptation certainly grabbed my attention and has made me rather more eager to see the show. (I like that the voiceover channels, ever-so-slightly, Pitt’s delivery in the original movie adaptation.)

The new adaptation stars Jacob Anderson as “Louis de Pointe du Lac” (you may recognize him as Gray Worm from Game of Thrones), Sam Reid as “Lestat de Lioncourt”, Bailey Bass as “Claudia”, and Eric Bogosian as “Daniel Malloy” (the interviewer — played by Christian Slater in the movie adaptation).

In a darkened room a young man sits telling the macabre and eerie story of his life — the story of a vampire, gifted with eternal life, cursed with an exquisite craving for human blood.

Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly sensual, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force — a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses.

The first episode of Interview with the Vampire airs on October 2nd, on AMC in the United States (not sure about other countries, yet).

Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire is out now, published by Ballantine Books in North America and Sphere in the UK.

Interview with the Vampire IMDb, Twitter
Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

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Excerpt: PREPARE FOR DEPARTURE by Mark Chestnut (Vine Leaves Press)

ChestnutM-PrepareForDepartureToday, we have an excerpt from Mark Chestnut‘s new memoir, Prepare for Departure. Due to be published tomorrow, by Vine Leaves Press, here’s the synopsis:

At an early age, award-winning travel writer, Mark Chesnut, learned to dodge discomfort by jumping on the nearest plane, bus or car. That tactic proved especially useful when his single mother made it clear that there was no room for discussion about his gay identity.

Mark, overwhelmed with wanderlust, shoplifts in airports, avoids Southern Baptist salvation, acts like Hillary Clinton in a nursing home, and dresses in drag with his grandfather. He even creates an imaginary airline and flies away.

Now, as 89-year-old Eunice Chesnut moves to a New York City nursing home to be near her son, Mark’s obsession with travel takes a backseat as he embarks on the most emotional journey of all.

More than an end-of-life memoir, more than a collection of childhood memories and travel stories, Prepare for Departure showcases what happens when a permissive mother and a mistfit son face death while revisiting life. Buckle your seatbelts for a witty, touching and darkly humorous trip – through time, loss, forgiveness and acceptance.

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Upcoming: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES (Paramount)

This trailer has been doing the rounds ever since it was unveiled at Comic-Con. The past attempts to make a D&D movie have not been stellar successes, but I have my fingers crossed for this one. (Interesting fact, perhaps: I’ve never played D&D.) Starring Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant and more. This looks like a lot of fun.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is due to be released by Paramount Pictures in March 2023.

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Books on Film: THE GRAY MAN by Mark Greaney

This past week, Netflix dropped the movie adaptation of Mark Greaney‘s The Gray Man. The movie is based on the first book in the action/thriller/espionage series — one that I have been very eager to try (yet have inexplicably not yet got around to, despite owning the first handful of novels). Time permitting, I hope to get to the movie this week. Here’s the book’s synopsis:

GreaneyM-GM1-GrayManUS_TieInTo those who lurk in the shadows, he’s known as the Gray Man. He is a legend in the covert realm, moving silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible and then fading away. And he always hits his target. Always.

But there are forces more lethal than Gentry in the world. Forces like money. And power. And there are men who hold these as the only currency worth fighting for. And in their eyes, Gentry has just outlived his usefulness.

But Court Gentry is going to prove that, for him, there’s no gray area between killing for a living and killing to stay alive…

Directed by the Russo Brothers, and starring Ryan Gosling (as “Six”), Chris Evans (“Lloyd Hansen”), Ana de Armas (Dani Miranda), and Billy Bob Thornton (“Fitzroy”), it’s up on Netflix now!

Mark Greaney’s The Gray Man is out now, published by Berkley in North America and Sphere in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Mark Greaney (2019); Excerpt from One Minute Out

The Gray Man IMDb
Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Books on Film: THE SANDMAN by Neil Gaiman

Upon escaping after decades of imprisonment by a mortal wizard, Dream, the personification of dreams, sets about to reclaim his lost equipment.

The trailer for Netflix’s long-awaited, highly-anticipated adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s The Sandman was unveiled at ComicCon yesterday. My interest, already very high, has only increased. Can’t wait to watch this!

The comic series, which was illustrated by Sam Keith, is published by DC Comics (originally Vertigo), and is available in newly re-issued and re-coloured collected editions, as well as the Absolute Sandman and Annotated Sandman editions. Here’s the synopsis for Preludes & Nocturnes, the first volume in the series (which I highly recommend):

In PRELUDES and NOCTURNES, collecting issues #1-8, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps Death’s younger brother Dream instead. After his 70-year imprisonment and eventual escape, Morpheus goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine and an all-powerful madman. This book also includes the story “The Sound of Her Wings” which introduces the pragmatic, perky Death.

The Sandman IMDb, Twitter
Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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New Books (June-July)

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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

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