Upcoming: ALICE ISN’T DEAD by Joseph Fink (Harper Perennial)

FinkJ-AliceIsntDeadUSI must be one of the few fans of SFFH who hasn’t fallen down the Nightvale rabbit hole. I just haven’t had the time to check out the podcast properly (although I know many people who love it, and have enjoyed the snippets I’ve caught). Anyway, I spotted a listing for this novel on Edelweiss and it caught my attention. Joseph Fink‘s Alice Isn’t Dead is due to be published by Harper Perennial on October 30th, 2018. Here’s the synopsis:

“This is not a story. It’s a road trip.”

Keisha Lewis lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.

Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job with a trucking company, Bay and Creek Transportation, and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system — uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

Why did Alice disappear? What does she have to do with this secret war between inhuman killers? Why did the chicken cross the road? These questions, and many more will be answered in Alice Isn’t Dead.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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Upcoming: LOST EMPRESS by Sergio De La Pava (Pantheon/MacLehose Press)

delaPavaS-LostEmpress

Sergio de la Pava‘s prize-winning A Naked Singularity is one of those novels I purchased quite some time ago, but keep forgetting I have on my Kindle. I recently found out about his upcoming book, Lost Empress, which sounds really interesting. If potentially weird. Described as “a shockingly hilarious novel that tackles, with equal aplomb, both America’s most popular sport and its criminal justice system”, it sounds pretty ambitious. If the author pulls it off, it could also be amazing. Here’s the synopsis:

From Paterson, New Jersey, to Rikers Island to the streets of New York City, Sergio de la Pava’s Lost Empress introduces readers to a cast of characters unlike any other in modern fiction: dreamers and exiles, immigrants and night-shift workers, a lonely pastor and others on the fringes of society — each with their own impact on the fragile universe they navigate.

Nina Gill, daughter of the aging owner of the Dallas Cowboys, was instrumental in building her father’s dynasty. So it’s a shock when her brother inherits the franchise and she is left with the Paterson Pork, New Jersey’s failing Indoor Football League team. Nina vows to take on the NFL and make the Paterson Pork pigskin kings of America. All she needs to do is recruit the coach, the players, and the fans.

Meanwhile, Nuno DeAngeles — a brilliant and lethal criminal mastermind — has been imprisoned on Rikers Island for a sensational offense. Nuno fights for his liberty — while simultaneously planning an even more audacious crime.

In Lost Empress, de la Pava weaves a narrative that encompasses Salvador Dalí, Joni Mitchell, psychiatric help, emergency medicine, religion, theoretical physics, and everything in between. With grace, humor, and razor-sharp prose, all these threads combine, counting down to an epic and extraordinary conclusion.

Lost Empress is due to be published in North America by Pantheon and in the UK by MacLehose Press, on May 8th, 2018. (The UK cover, top right, is much better than the US cover…)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Upcoming: THE MERE WIFE by Maria Dahvana Headley (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

HeadleyMD-MereWifeUSMaria Dahvana Headley‘s latest novel sounds really interesting. It is a “modern retelling of the literary classic Beowulf, set in American suburbia as two mothers — a housewife and a battle-hardened veteran — fight to protect those they love”. The Mere Wife is due to be published by MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux in July 2018. Here’s the synopsis:

From the perspective of those who live in Herot Hall, the suburb is a paradise. Picket fences divide buildings — high and gabled — and the community is entirely self-sustaining. Each house has its own fireplace, each fireplace is fitted with a container of lighter fluid, and outside — in lawns and on playgrounds — wildflowers seed themselves in neat rows. But for those who live surreptitiously along Herot Hall’s periphery, the subdivision is a fortress guarded by an intense network of gates, surveillance cameras, and motion-activated lights.

For Willa, the wife of Roger Herot (heir of Herot Hall), life moves at a charmingly slow pace. She flits between mommy groups, playdates, cocktail hour, and dinner parties, always with her son, Dylan, in tow. Meanwhile, in a cave in the mountains just beyond the limits of Herot Hall lives Gren, short for Grendel, as well as his mother, Dana, a former soldier who gave birth as if by chance. Dana didn’t want Gren, didn’t plan Gren, and doesn’t know how she got Gren, but when she returned from war, there he was. When Gren, unaware of the borders erected to keep him at bay, ventures into Herot Hall and runs off with Dylan, Dana’s and Willa’s worlds collide.

Not going to lie — my eye was definitely caught by that cover. Really looking forward to giving this a try. The Mere Wife is published on July 17th, 2018, by MCD.

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Interview with JAMEY BRADBURY

BradburyJ-AuthorPic (Brooke Taylor)Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Jamey Bradbury?

I’m a Midwesterner by birth and an Alaskan by choice whose cat, at the moment, keeps getting in the way of my keyboard. And I’m a writer who likes smashing genres into each other to see what happens. I have been, in the past, a receptionist, an actor with a dinner theater company, a volunteer, a CPR instructor, and a professional poop-scooper. Right now, I happily divide my life between writing fiction and doing storytelling for an Alaska Native social services organization.

Your debut novel, The Wild Inside, was published by William Morrow in March. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

It’s partly a horror novel, partly a suspense novel, partly a coming-of-age story, set against the backdrop of sled dog racing in Alaska. Plot-wise, it’s about a girl with a love for hunting who has to contend with a pair of strangers who show up on her doorstep, one of whom is mortally wounded — something that may or may not have been her fault. At its heart, though, The Wild Inside is about whether it’s really possible for people to truly know each other. Continue reading

Review: THE SHAKESPEARE REQUIREMENT by Julie Schumacher (Doubleday)

SchumacherJ-JF2-ShakespeareRequirementUSA fantastic follow-up to Dear Committee Members

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune keep hitting beleaguered English professor Jason Fitger right between the eyes in this hilarious and eagerly awaited sequel to the cult classic of anhedonic academe, the Thurber Prize-winning Dear Committee Members. Once more into the breach…

Now is the fall of his discontent, as Jason Fitger, newly appointed chair of the English Department of Payne University, takes arms against a sea of troubles, personal and institutional. His ex-wife is sleeping with the dean who must approve whatever modest initiatives he undertakes. The fearsome department secretary Fran clearly runs the show (when not taking in rescue parrots and dogs) and holds plenty of secrets she’s not sharing. The lavishly funded Econ Department keeps siphoning off English’s meager resources and has taken aim at its remaining office space. And Fitger’s attempt to get a mossbacked and antediluvian Shakespeare scholar to retire backfires spectacularly when the press concludes that the Bard is being kicked to the curricular curb.

Lord, what fools these mortals be! Julie Schumacher proves the point and makes the most of it in this delicious romp of satire.

Julie Schumacher’s previous novel, Dear Committee Members was one of my favourite novels of 2014: it was funny, warm-hearted, extremely well-written, and populated by familiar and endearing (albeit hapless) characters. In The Shakespeare Requirement, the author reunites readers with characters at Payne University. Written in a slightly different style, it is no less engaging, amusing and sharply observed. Another excellent novel. Continue reading

Upcoming: TRINITY by Louisa Hall (Ecco)

HallL-TrinityUSLater this year, Ecco is due to publish the new novel by Louisa Hall. Hall’s previous novel, Speak, was a very well written, really interesting novel about AI and what it means to be human — it was published by Ecco in North America, and Orbit in the UK. In Trinity, the author takes on the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the nuclear bomb. Here’s the synopsis:

J. Robert Oppenheimer was a brilliant scientist, a champion of liberal causes, and a complex and often contradictory character. He loyally protected his Communist friends, only to later betray them under questioning. He repeatedly lied about love affairs. And he defended the use of the atomic bomb he helped create, before ultimately lobbying against nuclear proliferation.

Through narratives that cross time and space, a set of characters bears witness to the life of Oppenheimer, from a secret service agent who tailed him in San Francisco, to the young lover of a colleague in Los Alamos, to a woman fleeing McCarthyism who knew him on St. John. As these men and women fall into the orbit of a brilliant but mercurial mind at work, all consider his complicated legacy while also uncovering deep and often unsettling truths about their own lives.

In this stunning, elliptical novel, Louisa Hall has crafted a breathtaking and explosive story about the ability of the human mind to believe what it wants, about public and private tragedy, and about power and guilt. Blending science with literature and fiction with biography, Trinity asks searing questions about what it means to truly know someone, and about the secrets we keep from the world and from ourselves.

Trinity is due to be published by Ecco in North America, on October 30th, 2018. I couldn’t find a UK listing for the novel. Hall’s debut, The Carriage House is also available via Scribner (North America) and Penguin (UK).

Also on CR: Review of Speak

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Upcoming: BLOOD COMMUNION by Anne Rice (Chatto & Windus/Knopf)

RiceA-VC13-BloodCommunionUKHCIn 2014, Anne Rice marked a welcome return to her Vampire Chronicles with Prince Lestat. A long-time fan of the series, I was eager to read more about Lestat, Louis, and the ever-growing cast of colourful characters Rice had created. Then, in 2016, Rice’s Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis dramatically altered our understanding of the undead mythology she had created. This October, the thirteenth novel in the series, Blood Communion will arrive. I can’t wait to read it. Here’s the synopsis:

From his meticulously restored ancestral château, high up in the mountains of France, Prince Lestat is grappling to instil a new ideology of peace and harmony among the blood-drinking community. Accustomed to welcoming all of the Undead – from far and wide – into his court, one night he awakes to news of a ruthless attack by a group of maverick blood-drinkers.

After fleeing to investigate the terror, Lestat learns of several new enemies who despise his rule over the blood-drinking realm, and who are intent on disrupting the harmony he tries so hard to maintain. One enemy in particular, the infamous Rhoshamandes, is notoriously powerful. But is Lestat strong enough to take on such evil alone or will sacrifices have to be made? Will his cry for peace be heard in a world riddled with violence?

An enthralling, sweeping adventure, full of drama and suspense, Blood Communion will have readers gripped to the very end. It is not just a compelling tale of a troubled leader, but a novel about the power of ambition, as well as a timely reflection on the struggle of individuals to find and defend their place in the world.

It was recently announced that Bryan Fuller has been tapped to run the new TV adaptation of the series, more on which can be found here. Blood Communion will be published in the UK by Chatto & Windus, and in North America by Knopf.

Also on CR: Reviews of Prince Lestat and Prince Lestat and the Realm of Atlantis

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