Review: CROOKED by Austin Grossman (Mulholland)

GrossmanA-CrookedAn excellent secret history

Richard Milhous Nixon lived one of the most improbable lives of the twentieth century. Our 37th President’s political career spanned the buttoned-down fifties, the Mad Men sixties and the turbulent seventies. He faced down the Russians, the Chinese, and ultimately his own government. The man went from political mastermind to a national joke, sobbing in the Oval Office, leaving us with one burning question: how could he have lost it all?

Here for the first time is the true story told in his own words: the terrifying supernatural secret he stumbled on as a young man; the truth behind the Cold War; the truth behind the Watergate coverup. What if our nation’s worst president was really a pivotal figure caught in a desperate struggle between ordinary life and horrors from another reality? What if the man we call our worst president was, in truth, our greatest?

In Crooked, Nixon finally reveals the secret history of modern American politics as only Austin Grossman could reimagine it. Combining Lovecraftian suspense, international intrigue, Russian honey traps and a Presidential marriage whose secrets and battles of attrition were their own heroic saga, Grossman’s novel is a master work of alternative history, equal parts mesmerizing character study and nail-biting Faustian thriller.

I was a relative latecomer to Austin Grossman’s novels — I only read You in 2014, and have yet to read Soon I Will Be Invincible (which I do own). When I first read the synopsis for Crooked, though, I knew I wouldn’t wait to read this one: I am a US politics and history nut, with a particular interest in the presidency. So, given that Grossman’s a great author, and that he was mixing two of my favourite things (politics and SFF), Crooked has been one of my most-anticipated novels of the year. I’m very happy to say, I was not disappointed. This is an excellent novel. Continue reading

New Books (February #2)

BooksReceived-20150228

Featuring: Nick Aires, Jesse Armstrong, David Baldacci, Adam Christopher, Sebastien de Castell, David Downing, Mark Andrew Ferguson, Matthew Glass, Daryl Gregory, Austin Grossman, Randy Henderson, Antonia Honeywell, Kameron Hurley, Ben Kane, Dennis Lehane, Evie Manieri, D.J. Molles, Benjamin Percy, Tamora Pierce, Christopher Reich, Loren Rhoads, Anthony Ryan, V.E. Schwab, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Simon K. Unsworth, Jen Williams, Jonathan Wood Continue reading

Upcoming: CROOKED by Austin Grossman (Mulholland)

GrossmanA-CrookedI only recently read (and loved) Austin Grossman‘s You, but ever since I have been keeping my eyes open for news on his next novel. As it happens, today SF Signal shared the cover and synopsis for CROOKED, which is due out in July 2015. (Gargh! That’s so far way!) Here’s the synopsis:

This is the story of Richard Nixon, America’s last defense against a supernatural Cold War.

Richard Nixon’s life is a compellingly human story: historically epic, richly strange. His career spans World War II, the Cold War intrigue, the Mad Men sixties, and the turbulent seventies. He went from political phenomenon to master schemer to a joke, sobbing in the Oval Office.

But what if Nixon was actually a man who had stumbled on a terrible supernatural secret? A leader who did what he had to do to protect humanity, at the cost of disgracing the entire nation?

What if our worst president was really a pivotal figure in the secret history of the twentieth century, caught in a desperate struggle between ordinary life and horrors from another reality?

He’s not a crook. He’s a hero. So cut Nixon some slack. He saw the devil walk.

I still need to read Soon I Will Be Invincible. I’m sure I’ll manage that before Crooked hits shelves.

Review: YOU by Austin Grossman (Mulholland Books)

GrossmanA-YouAn interesting, engaging look at growing up and the evolution of the computer game

When Russell joins Black Arts games, brainchild of two visionary designers who were once his closest friends, he reunites with an eccentric crew of nerds hacking the frontiers of both technology and entertainment. In part, he’s finally given up chasing the conventional path that has always seemed just out of reach. But mostly, he needs to know what happened to Simon, his strangest and most gifted friend, who died under mysterious circumstances soon after Black Arts’ breakout hit.

As the company’s revolutionary next-gen game is threatened by a software glitch, Russell finds himself in a race to save his job, Black Arts’ legacy, and the people he has grown to care about. The deeper Russell digs, the more dangerous the glitch appears – and soon, Russell comes to realize there’s much more is at stake than just one software company’s bottom line.

It took me a while to get around to reading You. I picked it up at the same time that I picked up Soon I Will Be Invincible, Grossman’s novel that preceded this one. I had tried to read that one when I was very much not in the mood. As a result, You was unfairly pushed back on my TBR pile. Then I read Myke Cole’s short review of the novel on Goodreads, I was convinced to read it. And I am very, very happy I did. This is a great novel. Continue reading