Quick Review: THE MURDER RULE by Dervla McTiernan (William Morrow)

McTiernanD-MurderRuleUSHCA young law student tries to derail a murder trial

First Rule: Make them like you.

Second Rule: Make them need you.

Third Rule: Make them pay.

They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system.

They think I’m working hard to impress them.

They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row.

 They’re wrong. I’m going to bury him.

Dervla McTiernan’s latest novel has been getting quite a bit of good buzz in the lead up to publication. The synopsis was intriguing, and I’m always on the look-out for new authors to follow. (Because, you know, I never have enough to read.) After receiving a review copy, I dove right in, and blitzed through it in just a few sittings. This is a well-paced, well-written, and gripping thriller. Continue reading

Excerpt: THE SHADOW OF MEMORY by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books)

BerryC-KH4-ShadowOfMemoryUSHCToday, we have an excerpt from The Shadow of Memory, Connie Berry‘s fourth Kate Hamilton Mystery. Due to be published by Crooked Lane Books on May 10th, here’s the synopsis:

American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton uncovers a dark secret buried in Victorian England.

As Kate Hamilton plans her upcoming wedding to Detective Inspector Tom Mallory, she is also assisting her colleague Ivor Tweedy with a project at the Netherfield Sanatorium, which is being converted into luxury townhouses. Kate and Ivor must appraise a fifteenth-century painting and verify that its provenance is the Dutch master Jan Van Eyck. But when retired criminal inspector Will Parker is found dead, Kate learns that the halls of the sanatorium housed much more than priceless art.

Kate is surprised to learn that Will had been the first boyfriend of her friend Vivian Bunn, who hasn’t seen him in fifty-eight years. At a seaside holiday camp over sixty years ago, Will, Vivian, and three other teens broke into an abandoned house where a doctor and his wife had died under bizarre circumstances two years earlier. Now, when a second member of the childhood gang dies unexpectedly — and then a third — it becomes clear that the teens had discovered more in the house than they had realized.

Had Will returned to warn his old love? When Kate makes a shocking connection between a sixty-year-old murder and the long-buried secrets of the sanatorium, she suddenly understands that time is running out for Vivian — and anyone connected to her.

Now, on with the excerpt!

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Upcoming: PULLING THE WINGS OFF ANGELS by K. J. Parker (Tor.com)

ParkerKJ-PullingTheWingsOffAngelsI spotted this a while back in a catalogue, but I’ve been waiting for the cover to be revealed before sharing it. As you might know, K. J. Parker is one of my favourite authors — his shorter fiction is near-peerless, and his recent string of novellas for Tor.com and Subterranean Press have been especially excellent: intelligent, whimsical, extremely well-written. Pulling the Wings Off Angels is his next Tor.com publication, and I can’t wait to read it. Here’s the synopsis:

A whirlwind theological paradox that calls into question the existence of God, repentance, destiny — and angels.

Long ago, a wealthy businessman stole an angel and hid her in a chapel, where she remains imprisoned to this day.

That’s the legend, anyway.

When a clerical student finds himself in debt to a local gangster, he’s given an ultimatum — deliver the angel his grandfather once kidnapped, or forfeit various body parts in payment.

K. J. Parker’s Pulling the Wings Off Angels is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on November 15th.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Devil You Know, The Last Witness, Downfall of the Gods, My Beautiful Life, Prosper’s Demon, Academic Exercises, The Big Score, and The Long Game

Follow the Author: Goodreads

Upcoming: ITHACA by Claire North (Orbit)

NorthC-IthacaI stumbled across this in an Edelweiss catalogue, and my interested was immediately grabbed: first by the cover, then realizing it was by Claire North, and then the synopsis. It’s another novel in the growing body of mythological figure retellings (a sub-genre that has become especially popular in the last year or two). North’s novels are fantastic: always different, packed with intriguing and interesting ideas and twists, and often surprising. Due to be published in September, here’s the synopsis for Ithaca:

This is the story of Penelope of Ithaca, famed wife of Odysseus, as it has never been told before. Beyond Ithaca’s shores, the whims of gods dictate the wars of men. But on the isle, it is the choices of the abandoned women — and their goddesses — that will change the course of the world.

Seventeen years ago, King Odysseus sailed to war with Troy, taking with him every man of fighting age from the island of Ithaca. None of them has returned, and the women of Ithaca have been left behind to run the kingdom.

Penelope was barely into womanhood when she wed Odysseus. While he lived, her position was secure. But now, years on, speculation is mounting that her husband is dead, and suitors are beginning to knock at her door.

No one man is strong enough to claim Odysseus’ empty throne — not yet. But everyone waits for the balance of power to tip, and Penelope knows that any choice she makes could plunge Ithaca into bloody civil war. Only through cunning, wit, and her trusted circle of maids, can she maintain the tenuous peace needed for the kingdom to survive.

On Ithaca, everyone watches, including the gods. And there is no corner of the land where intrigue does not reign.

A daring, powerful, and moving tale that breathes new life into ancient myth, and tells of the women who stand defiant in a world ruled by ruthless men. It’s time for the women of Ithaca to tell their story…

I’m really looking forward to reading this. Ithaca is due to be published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK, on September 6th.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: UNTIL THE LAST by Mike Shackle (Gollancz)

ShackleM-LW3-UntilTheLastUKHCWe Are the Dead by Mike Shackle is one of the best fantasy debuts I’ve ever read. Ever since reading it, I’ve been eagerly awaiting each new novel by the author. (Although, I have fallen somewhat behind, and have A Fool’s Hope still to read.) With Until the Last, the highly-anticipated conclusion to The Last War series, due out later this year, I think it’s well past time for me to get caught up and ready for the final book! To be published by Gollancz on July 21st, here’s the synopsis:

SEKINOWARI – THE LAST WAR – HAS ARRIVED.

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.

If you read only one fantasy series this year, make it this one. Can’t wait for July!

Mike Shackle’s Until the Last is due to be published by Gollancz on July 21st.

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

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter

Guest Post: On THE EXTRACTIONIST by Kimberly Unger (Tachyon)

UngerK-ExtractionistToday, Kimberly Unger walks us through the genesis and premise of her latest novel, The Extractionist.

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Underground hacker Eliza McKay is one of the best in the virtual space where people create personas that can interact as data.

Back when I first conceptualized The Extractionist, VR had been through a couple of failed generations already and Google’s Cardboard hadn’t seen the light of day. At the time I’d been thinking much more along the lines of Star Trek’s holodeck with some of Gibson’s style and Nylund’s metaphoric spaces mixed in for good measure. So, of course McKay had to be a “hacker” of some stripe, although as we learn that’s rooted in a fundamental inability to respect locks rather than a desire to good or harm. Continue reading

Annotated Excerpt: THE BLADED FAITH by David Dalglish (Orbit)

BladedFaith_TP-LP1.inddToday, we have an annotated excerpt taken from David Dalglish’s upcoming new novel, The Bladed Faith. The first in a new series, the Vagrant Gods, here’s the synopsis:

A usurped prince prepares to take up the mantel of a deadly assassin and reclaim his kingdom, his people, and his slain gods…

Cyrus was only twelve years old when his gods were slain, his country invaded, and his parents — the king and queen — beheaded in front of him. Held prisoner in the invader’s court for years, Cyrus is suddenly given a chance to escape and claim his revenge when a mysterious group of revolutionaries comes looking for a figurehead. They need a hero to strike fear into the hearts of the imperial and to inspire and unite the people. They need someone to take up the skull mask and swords and to become the legendary “Vagrant” — an unparalleled hero and assassin of otherworldly skill. 

But all is not as it seems. Creating the illusion of a hero is the work of many, and Cyrus will soon discover the true price of his vengeance.

The excerpt is taken from the second chapter of the novel. Now, over to David…

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Review: TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW by Gabrielle Zevin (Knopf)

ZevinG-TomorrowAndTomorrowAndTomorrowUSHCA thought-provoking novel about friendship and our misperceptions of others’ inner lives

On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.

Gabrielle Zevin’s latest novel has been the recipient of a fair amount of pre-publication buzz, so I was very happy to received a review copy a little while back. The synopsis had caught my attention, and what I found was an interesting, nuanced, and thoughtful examination of friendship, jealousy, and misperception. I enjoyed this quite a bit. Continue reading

Interview with JOSH WINNING, Author of THE SHADOW GLASS

WinningJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Josh Winning?

A goblin babe masquerading as an author! You’ll usually find me either reading, writing, or fending off attacks by my very needy cat Penny.

Your new novel, The Shadow Glass, will be published by Titan on March 22nd. It looks really cool: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Thank you! The Shadow Glass is my love letter to 80s fantasy films like Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal and The NeverEnding Story. It’s about the son of a movie director, who goes on a real-world quest with the puppets from his father’s fantasy film. Expect bloodthirsty puppets, found families and a big dollop of The Feels! Continue reading

Excerpt: THE HALF-LIFE OF RUBY FIELDING by Lydia Kang (Lake Union)

KangL-HalfLifeOfRubyFieldingToday, we have an excerpt from Lydia Kang‘s The Half-Life of Ruby Fielding, a historical mystery that takes place in 1942 Brooklyn. Here’s the synopsis:

A spellbinding historical mystery about hidden identities, wartime paranoia, and the tantalizing power of deceit.

Brooklyn, 1942. War rages overseas as brother and sister Will and Maggie Scripps contribute to the war effort stateside. Ambitious Will secretly scouts for the Manhattan Project while grief-stricken Maggie works at the Navy Yard, writing letters to her dead mother between shifts.

But the siblings’ quiet lives change when they discover a beautiful woman hiding under their back stairs. This stranger harbors an obsession with poisons, an affection for fine things, and a singular talent for killing small creatures. As she draws Will and Maggie deeper into her mysterious past, they both begin to suspect she’s quite dangerous ― all while falling helplessly under her spell.

With whispers of spies in dark corners and the world’s first atomic bomb in the works, the visitor’s sudden presence in Maggie’s and Will’s lives raises questions about who she is and what she wants. Is this mysterious woman someone they can trust ― or a threat to everything they hold dear?

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