Books Received: December #2 (Or, “It Rained Books Just Before Xmas…”)

BooksReceived-20141220

A nice wave of new titles arrived or were purchased just before Christmas. I’ve just been slow about posting this, which means I’ve already read a couple (and dismissed a couple). Some more have arrived since, too, but I’ll post about those at the beginning of January.

Featuring: Kate Atkinson, Belinda Bauer, Gregory Benford, Douglas Brunt, Chelsea Cain, John Connolly, Christopher Farnsworth, Helen Giltrow, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Lev Grossman, Glenda Larke, Karen Lord, Alex Marhsall, Peyton Marshall, Brian McClellan, D.J. Molles, Syliva Moreno-Garcia, Mark Morris, Larry Niven, Claire North, Chuck Palahniuk, Matthew Pearl, D.B.C. Pierre, Jennifer Ridyard, Jeff Somers, Gabriel Squailia, Mark Sullivan, S.J. Watson, Jaye Wells Continue reading

Upcoming: WE ARE NOT GOOD PEOPLE by Jeff Somers (Gallery)

SomersJ-WeAreNotGoodPeopleUSThis seems to be a re-issue of the author’s previous urban fantasy, Trickster.

According to the publisher’s page, this is “Book One in the Ustari Cycle, the first portion of We Are Not Good People was originally published in an altered form as Trickster (Pocket Books)”. Not sure what this means for people (like me) who bought Trickster, or how “altered” this version will be, but here’s the synopsis for this version:

The ethics in a world of blood are gray – and an underground strata of blood magicians has been engineering disasters for centuries in order to acquire enough fuel for their spells. They are not good people.

Some practitioners, however, use the Words and a swipe of the blade to cast simpler spells, such as Charms and Cantrips to gas up $1 bills so they appear to be $20s. Lem Vonnegan and his sidekick Mags fall into this level of mage, hustlers and con men all. Lem tries to be ethical by using only his own blood, by not using Bleeders or “volunteers.” But it makes life hard. Soon they might have to get honest work.

When the pair encounters a girl who’s been kidnapped and marked up with magic runes for a ritual spell, it’s clear they’re in over their heads. Turning to Lem’s estranged master for help, they are told that not only is the girl’s life all but forfeit, but that the world’s preeminent mage, Mika Renar, has earth-shattering plans for her—and Lem just got in the way. With the fate of the world on the line, and Lem both spooked and intrigued by the mysterious girl, the other nominates him to become the huckleberry who’ll take down Renar. But even if he, Mags, and the simpletons who follow him prevail, they’re dealing with the kind of power that doesn’t understand defeat, or mercy.

We Are Not Good People is due to be published by Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster) in October 2014. One thing that’s clear to me is that the publisher is aiming for a new – or at least broader – audience: this cover is less “urban fantasy” and a bit more thriller. I’d love to know what, if any, difference this makes to its sales figures.

Author-Of-Many-Genres: Jeff Somers

I was spending some time on Goodreads, recently (as you do), and I noticed that Jeff Somers wrote in a number of genres. On the face of things, that is not at all a groundbreaking discovery. But, given the publishing industry’s preference for author branding, I thought it was interesting that Somers wrote under the same pen-name for all of the genres. Again, not exactly an earth-shattering discovery, but it gives me the opportunity to feature his work on the blog, before I get around to reading any of it. So, without further ado…

Author Bio: “Born in Jersey City, N.J., Jeff Somers has managed to migrate just five minutes away to nearby Hoboken, land of overpriced condominiums and a tavern on every corner. Between weekly drunks, Jeff manages to scrawl enough prose onto cocktail napkins and toilet paper to keep up a respectable fiction career.”

Genres: Avery Cates (Cyberpunk), Ustari Cycle (Urban Fantasy), Lifers, and Chum (fiction)

PrintAvery Cates – THE ELECTRIC CHURCH (debut), THE DIGITAL PLAGUE, THE ETERNAL PRISON, THE TERMINAL STATE, THE FINAL EVOLUTION

In the near future, the only thing growing faster than the criminal population is the Electric Church, a new religion founded by a mysterious man named Dennis Squalor. The Church preaches that life is too brief to contemplate the mysteries of the universe: eternity is required. In order to achieve this, the converted become Monks – cyborgs with human brains, enhanced robotic bodies, and virtually unlimited life spans.

Enter Avery Cates, a dangerous criminal known as the best killer-for-hire around. The authorities have a special mission in mind for Cates: assassinate Dennis Squalor. But for Cates, the assignment will be the most dangerous job he’s ever undertaken – and it may well be his last.

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SomersJ-UC1-TricksterUstari Cycle – TRICKSTER

Magic uses blood — a lot of it. The more that’s used, the more powerful the effect, so mages find “volunteers” to fuel their spells. Lem, however, is different. Long ago he set up a rule that lets him sleep at night: never use anyone’s blood but your own. He’s grifting through life as a Trickster, performing only small Glamours like turning one-dollar bills into twenties. He and his sidekick, Mags, aren’t doing well, but they’re getting by.

That is, until they find young Claire Mannice — bound and gagged, imprisoned in a car’s trunk, and covered with invisible rune tattoos. Lem turns to his estranged mentor for help, but what they’ve uncovered is more terrifying than anybody could have imagined. Mika Renar, the most dangerous Archmage in the world, is preparing to use an ocean of blood to cast her dreams into reality — and Lem just got in her way.

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SomersJ-ChumCHUM

Mary and Bickerman are the center of their circle of friends – but these friends are strangers as well as family to them. In the course of year, under the influence of a stressful wedding and a whole lot of alcohol, relationships and nerves are twisted and broken as the dynamics of the cozy-seeming group shift. Secrets are kept, emotions withheld, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end well for anyone.

Told always in first person, but not the same person, and unfolding in double-helix chronology that provides a “Rashomon”-like narration, “Chum” is the story of love, liquor, and death.

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SomersJ-LifersLIFERS

Three twenty-something guys, who transitioned from collegiate underachieving to corporate bottom feeding sketch out a plan to make a grab for some dignity. They will rob the publishing house that employs their only stable member and results him on a daily basis. Being the bright, perceptive fellows they are, they all quickly realize it’s about the money.

For Phil “Dub” Dublen, it’s a pissed off statement against a dull, meaningless job. For self-styled poet Trim, it’s a chance to actually be outrageous and anarchic as he needs to be. For Trim’s roommate Dan, it seems to be something he does for the same reason he does everything: to vent some anger, having nothing better to do. By the time their master plan is all said and done, nothing has been solved, nothing is better, and nothing, really, has changed. And, in the slightly fractured wisdom of the larcenous trio, this surprises none of them.

Who’s read any of these? I’ve picked up TRICKSTER and LIFERS, and intend to read them ASAP. Any other multi-genre authors you like? Or any you would like me to feature on the blog in either a post like this, or as reviews?