Upcoming: MAKE ME A CITY by Jonathan Carr (Henry Holt)

CarrJ-MakeMeACityUSChicago is one of my favourite American cities. I was there earlier this month (damn, it was hot), and when I spotted Jonathan Carr‘s Make Me A City on Edelweiss, I put it on my wishlist. A debut novel that “embroiders fact with fiction to tell the story of Chicago’s 19th century”, I think it looks really interesting:

The tale begins with a game of chess — and on the outcome of that game hinges the destiny of a great city. From appalling injustice springs forth the story of Chicago, and the men and women whose resilience, avarice, and altruism combine to generate a moment of unprecedented civic energy.

A variety of irresistible voices deliver the many strands of this novel: those of Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, the long-unheralded founder of Chicago; John Stephen Wright, bombastic speculator and booster; and Antje Van Voorhis, the first woman to report for the Chicago Tribune. The stories of loggers, miners, engineers, and educators teem around them and each claim the narrative in turns, sharing their grief as well as their delight.

As the characters, and their ancestors, meet and part, as their possessions pass from hand to hand, the reader realizes that Jonathan Carr commands a grand picture, one that encompasses the heartaches of everyday lives as well as the overarching ideals of what a city and a society can and should be. Make Me a City introduces us to a novelist whose talent and ambition are already fully formed.

Make Me a City is due to be published by Henry Holt, on March 19th, 2019 (it will be available in the UK, too).

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter

Advertisements

Review: THE GUILTY and END GAME by David Baldacci (Grand Central / Macmillan)

BaldacciD-WR4-Guilty

The fourth and fifth Robie & Reel novels see a shift in the series style

Will Robie is the government’s most professional, disciplined, and lethal assassin. He infiltrates the most hostile countries in the world, defeats our enemies’ advanced security measures, and eliminates threats before they ever reach our shores.

But now, his skills have left him. Sent overseas on a critical assignment, he fails, unable to pull the trigger. Absent his talents, Robie is a man without a mission, and without a purpose.

To recover what he has lost, Robie must confront what he has tried to forget for over twenty years: his own past.

Will Robie escaped his small Gulf Coast hometown of Cantrell, Mississippi, after high school, severing all personal ties, and never looked back. Not once. Not until the unimaginable occurs. His father, Dan Robie, has been arrested and charged with murder.
Father and son haven’t spoken or seen each other since the day Robie left town. In that time, Dan Robie–a local attorney and pillar of the community – has been elected town judge. Despite this, most of Cantrell is aligned against Dan. His guilt is assumed.

To make matters worse, Dan has refused to do anything to defend himself. When Robie tries to help, his father responds only with anger and defiance. Could Dan really be guilty?

I’m definitely a fan of Baldacci’s novels. After the Camel Club series ended, the author’s novels featuring Will Robie and Jessica Reel quickly became my favourites. However, these last two installments — while enjoyable and engaging thrillers in their own right — didn’t quite rise to the quality I have come to expect from the author. Nevertheless, they are well-written novels, and I was kept entertained and invested in the story. Continue reading

Quick Review: DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch (Crown/Macmillan)

CrouchB-DarkMatterUSA gripping multiverse thriller

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. Hiswife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined — one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

There was so much buzz surrounding this book in the lead-up to its publication. So much, in fact, that I started to get nervous. Having now finished the novel, though, it’s very easy to see why so many people have been recommending it: it’s superb. Crouch, author of the Wayward Pines novels, has penned a fantastic sci-fi mystery. Continue reading

Interview with LAURA LAM

LamL-AuthorPic2Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Laura Lam?

I’m a displaced Californian who now lives in Scotland. I moved across the world when I was 21 and started writing books seriously once I got here. Other interests include reading as much as I can, cooking (with occasional disasters), traveling (when I can afford to), and drawing (passably well).

Your next novel, False Hearts, will be published by Macmillan in June. It looks rather intriguing: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Orphan Black meets Inception. Conjoined twins Taema and Tila were raised in a cult in the redwoods outside of San Francisco. When their shared heart begins to fail, they escape and are pressured into being separated and being fitted with mechanical hearts. Ten years later, Tila is accused of murder, and Taema is given an offer she can’t refuse: to impersonate her sister, go deep into the underbelly of San Francisco crime, and try to prove her sister’s innocence to save her life. It’s part of a series of standalone thrillers set in the same world. There’ll be at least two, maybe more. Continue reading

Quick Review: LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE by Jessica Knoll (Simon & Schuster)

KnollJ-LuckiestGirlAliveAn interesting, but flawed novel

Her perfect life is a perfect lie.

As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for — or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

This was an interesting read. The hype surrounding it was considerable, and as far as I could tell everyone was pegging it in the same sub-genre as Gone Girl. Which… isn’t really where it belongs. I read this pretty quickly, and did enjoy reading it. But, given the hype and synopsis, I kept expecting some momentous twist. Which never arrived. While it’s well-written, the novel is flawed, and ultimately didn’t satisfy as much as I’d hoped. Continue reading

Review: IF I FORGET YOU by Thomas Christopher Greene (Thomas Dunne)

GreeneTC-IfIForgetYouUSA beautifully written, engaging novel

Twenty-one years after they were driven apart by circumstances beyond their control, two former lovers have a chance encounter on a Manhattan street. What follows is a tense, suspenseful exploration of the many facets of enduring love.

Told from altering points of view through time, If I Forget You tells the story of Henry Gold, a poet whose rise from poverty embodies the American dream, and Margot Fuller, the daughter of a prominent, wealthy family, and their unlikely, star-crossed love affair, complete with the secrets they carry when they find each other for the second time.

Thomas Christopher Greene‘s previous novel, The Headmaster’s Wife, was a sleeper hit when it came out. I picked it up shortly after, but haven’t had the chance to read it, yet. I spotted If I Forget You on NetGalley, though, and started reading it as soon as I got a review copy. I had high expectations, and they were mostly met. Greene’s prose is exceptionally good, often lyrical. Continue reading

New Books (May-June)

BlackBooksBrowseMe

Featuring: Judy Blume, Nick Brown, Jack Campbell, Lincoln Child, Ernest Cline, Nathan Garrison, Mat Johnson, Stephen King, Jessica Knoll, Douglas Lain, Mark Lawrence, Aidan Levy, Jason Matthews, Naomi Novik, Matthew Palmer, Ron Perlman, Alexandra Petri, Loren Rhoads, Christopher Robinson, Neal Stephenson, Corey Taylor Continue reading