Very Quick Review: Terry McCaleb in Michael Connelly’s BOSCH Universe (Orion/Little, Brown)

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I’ve recently been blitzing my way through Michael Connelly’s excellent novels in the “Heironymous Bosch Universe” — those that star the eponymous detective, and also those starring the characters who have cycled in and out of Bosch’s orbit over the course of the series. I tend to focus my reviews on either upcoming, new or fairly-recently-published books. However, Connelly’s crime novels have so taken over my imagination and reading time this past month (eight since the beginning of June), that I decided I should put something together for CR. In this post, I take a quick look at the novels featuring Terry McCaleb. Continue reading

Quick Review: THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING by Bill Clinton & James Patterson (Little, Brown/Century)

ClintonPatterson-PresidentIsMissingUKAn interesting, substantial political thriller

The President Is Missing confronts a threat so huge that it jeopardizes not just Pennsylvania Avenue and Wall Street, but all of America. Uncertainty and fear grip the nation. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the Cabinet. Even the President himself becomes a suspect, and then he disappears from public view…

Set over the course of three days, The President Is Missing sheds a stunning light upon the inner workings and vulnerabilities of our nation. Filled with information that only a former Commander-in-Chief could know, this is the most authentic, terrifying novel to come along in many years.

There was a lot of buzz surrounding this novel before it was published. Understandable, of course, but I nevertheless somehow managed to leave it quite some time before reading. I’m very glad I did, though. This is an entertaining political thriller that should definitely appeal to fans of the (sub-)genre. Continue reading

Upcoming: NECESSARY PEOPLE by Anna Pitoniak (Little, Brown)

PitoniakA-NecessaryPeopleUSI very much enjoyed Anna Pitoniak‘s debut novel, The Futures. I read it a long while ago, after receiving an ARC quite a bit before its release. Ever since finishing it, however, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the author’s next novel. In May 2019, Little, Brown are due to publish that follow-up: Necessary People. And it sounds really interesting, too:

One of them has it all. One of them wants it all. Only one of them can win.

Stella Bradley is beautiful, rich, and very good at getting herself into trouble. Violet Trapp is smart, self-aware, and laser-focused on escaping her humble background — especially after Stella gives her a glimpse into a world of glamour and wealth. They are best friends, and from the moment they meet in college, they know their roles: Stella in the spotlight, and Violet behind the scenes.

After graduation, Violet moves to New York and lands a job in cable news, where she works her way up from intern to assistant to producer, and to a life where she’s finally free from Stella’s shadow. Until Stella decides to use her connections, beauty and charisma to land a job at the same network. Stella soon moves in front of the camera, becoming the public face of the stories that Violet has worked tirelessly to produce-and taking all the credit for it.

But Violet isn’t giving up so easily. As she and Stella strive for success, they each reveal just how far they’ll go to get what they want — even if it means destroying the other person along the way.

Set against the fast-paced backdrop of TV news, Necessary People is a propulsive work of psychological suspense about ambition and privilege, about the thin line between friendship and rivalry, about the people we need in our lives — and the people we don’t.

Necessary People is due to be published in North America by Little, Brown in May 2019. At the time of writing, I couldn’t find any information about a UK publisher. The Futures is out now in paperback, published by Lee Boudreaux Books in North America and Penguin in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Books on Film: THE TERROR

“This place wants us dead…”

 

Tonight, AMC will air the first episode of The Terror, adapted from Dan Simmons’s novel of the same name. I haven’t yet had the chance to read the novel, but I know many people who love Simmons’s work. The adaptation stars the always excellent Jared Harris and Ciarán Hinds, and executive-produced by Ridley Scott (among many others).

SimmonsD-TerrorUSHere’s the synopsis:

The men on board Her Britannic Majesty’s Ships Terror and Erebus had every expectation of triumph. They were part of Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition — as scientifically advanced an enterprise as had ever set forth — and theirs were the first steam-driven vessels to go in search of the fabled North-West Passage.

But the ships have now been trapped in the Arctic ice for nearly two years. Coal and provisions are running low. Yet the real threat isn’t the constantly shifting landscape of white or the flesh-numbing temperatures, dwindling supplies or the vessels being slowly crushed by the unyielding grip of the frozen ocean.

No, the real threat is far more terrifying. There is something out there that haunts the frigid darkness, which stalks the ships, snatching one man at a time – mutilating, devouring. A nameless thing, at once nowhere and everywhere, this terror has become the expedition’s nemesis.

When Franklin meets a terrible death, it falls to Captain Francis Crozier of HMS Terror to take command and lead the remaining crew on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. With them travels an Eskimo woman who cannot speak. She may be the key to survival — or the harbinger of their deaths. And as scurvy, starvation and madness take their toll, as the Terror on the ice become evermore bold, Crozier and his men begin to fear there is no escape…

The Terror is published by Little, Brown in North America and Bantam in the UK. Simmons’s latest novel is The Fifth Heart; and his next, Omega Canyon, is due out in May 2019.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Review: THE LATE SHOW by Michael Connelly (Little Brown/Orion)

Introducing an excellent new detective character

Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns everything over to the day shift. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two assignments she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the investigations entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job, no matter what the department throws at her.

I recently binge-watched the first three seasons of Bosch, the TV series based on Connelly’s main series. I absolutely loved it, and that gave me the necessary kick up the backside to start reading Connelly’s novels. As it happened, I received a review copy of The Late Show, so I decided to start here. This is a fantastic introduction of a new character, and a great crime novel. This is the first novel by Michael Connelly that I’ve read. It will not be my last. Continue reading

Upcoming: WHO’S AFRAID TOO? by Maria Lewis (Piatkus)

LewisM-2-WhosAfraidTooToday, we have the cover for Maria Lewis‘s second novel, Who’s Afraid Too? I rather like the cover-style for these novels (the first is at the end of the piece). The next novel in the author’s well-received Tommi Grayson urban fantasy series, here’s the synopsis:

Book Two in the bestselling Tommi Grayson series is a gutsy, fur-flying, feminist read for fans of urban fantasy. If you love Patricia Briggs, Darynda Jones, Keri Arthur, Kelley Armstrong or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, don’t miss Maria Lewis!

Tommi Grayson: all bark, all bite… and now she’s BACK!

After the sh*t show that was her family reunion, Tommi needed to get gone. She’s spent the last few weeks trying to understand her heritage — the one that comes with a side order of fur as well as her Maori history and how she can connect to it. 

But she can only escape for so long — when an unspeakable evil, thought long destroyed, returns, Tommi needs every bit of the skills she’s learned. With the help of allies both old and new, she’s going to take the fight to the enemy…

Maria Lewis’s Who’s Afraid Too? is published in the UK by Piatkus, on January 10th, 2017. Who’s Afraid? is out now.

For more on Lewis’s writing and novels, be sure to check out the author’s website, and follow her on Twitter and Goodreads.

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Interview with HELEN LOWE

LoweH-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction, for new readers: Who is Helen Lowe?

Thank you, for hosting me on Civilian Reader, Stefan. In terms of “who I am”: I’m a novelist, poet, and occasional interviewer. So far, the only idea I’ve ever had for a novel has come to me in speculative fiction mode, i.e. as fantasy, science fiction, or legendary history, but I write short fiction in a wider range of genres. Outside of writing, I live in “Middle Earth”, aka New Zealand, and I am interested in a range of “stuff”, from astronomy and history, through martial arts, to wine – especially NZ wines – and making and consuming food, the latter in the company of friends whenever possible.

Your latest novel, Daughter of Blood, was published earlier this year by Orbit (UK) and Voyager (US). It’s the third in your fantasy series, but how would you introduce the series to a potential reader?

Well, the Twitter-length synopsis for the series is that it’s a story about a people who believe themselves to be champions of good but are divided by prejudice, suspicion, and fear. (Not to mention xenophobic, socially rigid, and prone to fratricidal blood feuds.) They are also alien to the world they inhabit (Haarth), so there’s an SF-nal element there. The Wall of Night series is a single story told in four distinct parts, but it centres on a young woman, Malian of Night (think ‘princess’, not ‘farm girl’), who must attempt to reunite her fractured people (the Derai) and restore their abandoned magic, as well as building alliances with the other cultures of Haarth, in order to prevent the world being destroyed by (another) alien invader. Continue reading