Review: HOPE & RED by Jon Skovron (Orbit)

SkovronJ-1-HopeAndRedAn entertaining new fantasy series

In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people will find a common cause.

Hope, the lone survivor when her village is massacred by the emperor’s forces is secretly trained by a master Vinchen warrior as an instrument of vengeance.

Red, an orphan adopted by a notorious matriarch of the criminal underworld, learns to be an expert thief and con artist.

TOGETHER THEY WILL TAKE DOWN AN EMPIRE.

There’s a lot to like in Hope & Red: the characters are interesting, often fun and they get caught up in a lot of action. The world is well-crafted and appropriately fleshed-out, but also leaves plenty still to be explored. While there were a couple of flaws, Hope & Red is entertaining, fast-paced and quite gripping. I enjoyed it. Continue reading

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Upcoming: THE FAR EMPTY by J. Todd Scott (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

ScottJT-FarEmptyUSI’m always on the look out for new crime/thriller authors, and J. Todd Scott‘s debut, The Far Empty, looks really interesting. It’s due to be published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, on June 7th, 2016. Here’s what it’s about:

In this gritty crime debut set in the stark Texas borderlands, an unearthed skeleton will throw a small town into violent turmoil.

Seventeen-year-old Caleb Ross is adrift in the wake of the sudden disappearance of his mother more than a year ago, and is struggling to find his way out of the small Texas border town of Murfee. Chris Cherry is a newly minted sheriff’s deputy, a high school football hero who has reluctantly returned to his hometown.

When skeletal remains are discovered in the surrounding badlands, the two are inexorably drawn together as their efforts to uncover Murfee’s darkest secrets lead them to the same terrifying suspect: Caleb’s father and Chris’s boss, the charismatic and feared Sheriff Standford “Judge” Ross.

Dark, elegiac, and violent, The Far Empty is a modern Western, a story of loss and escape set along the sharp edge of the Texas border. Told by a longtime federal agent who knows the region, it’s a debut novel you won’t soon forget.