Review: CITY OF WINDOWS by Robert Pobi (Minotaur Books)

PobiR-LP1-CityOfWindowsUSA fantastic new thriller, and hopefully the start of a long series

During the worst blizzard in memory, an FBI agent in a moving SUV in New York City is killed by a nearly impossible sniper shot. Unable to pinpoint where the shot came from, as the storm rapidly wipes out evidence, the agent-in-charge Brett Kehoe turns to the one man who might be able to help them — former FBI agent Lucas Page.

Page, a university professor and bestselling author, left the FBI years ago after a tragic event robbed him of a leg, an arm, an eye, and the willingness to continue. But he has an amazing ability to read a crime scene, figure out angles and trajectories in his head, and he might be the only one to be able to find the sniper’s nest. With a new wife and family, Lucas Page has no interest in helping the FBI — except for the fact that the victim was his former partner.

Agreeing to help for his partner’s sake, Page finds himself hunting a killer with an unknown agenda and amazing sniper skills in the worst of conditions. And his partner’s murder is only the first in a series of meticulously planned murders carried out with all-but-impossible sniper shots. The only thing connecting the deaths is that the victims are all with law enforcement — that is until Page’s own family becomes a target.

To identify and hunt down this ruthless, seemingly unstoppable killer, Page must discover what hidden past connects the victims before he himself loses all that is dear to him.

This is the first of Pobi’s novels that I’ve read, and I was intrigued by the premise. Very quickly, it became clear that this is a very good novel by an excellent writer. I really enjoyed this, and I’ll definitely be reading more of Pobi’s work in the future. Continue reading

Upcoming in 2017… St. Martin’s Press, Flatiron Books, Minotaur (Macmillan)

upcoming2017-macmillanus

Here is a small selection of anticipated novels coming from St. Martin’s Press, Thomas Dunne Books, Flatiron Books, and a couple other Macmillan imprints. (I’d recommend checking out their non-fiction lists, too. They have a great, broad range of books on the way.)

Featuring: Brad Abraham, Charles Cumming, Anthony Franze, Grant Ginder, Lee Matthew Goldberg, Christopher Golden, Jack Grimwood, Joseph Helmreich, Jay Hosking, Robert Kroese, Liza Palmer, Sarah Pinborough, M.L. Rio, Ben Sanders, Graeme Simsion, Kimberley Tait, Rio Youers

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New Books (Jan)

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A post-Christmas and New Year smorgasbord of awesome has come flooding in, these past couple of weeks. On top of that, there have been some I’ve bought myself (I got a lot of wonderful book vouchers and Amazon credit, this year…).

Featuring: Tim Akers, Robert Jackson Bennett, Rob Boffard, Terry Brooks, Lindsey Davis, Liz de Jager, Christopher Farnsworth, Matt Gallagher, Carol Goodman, Thomas Christopher Greene, Louisa Hall, Glen Erik Hamilton, Joanne Harris, Kristopher Jansma, Richard Kadrey, Mike Lawson, Tim Lebbon, Patrick Lee, Jill Lepore, Sean McFate & Bret Witter, China Miéville, Megan Miranda, Simon Morden, Anthony O’Neill, Adam O’Fallon Price, Camille Perri, Heidi Pitlor, Matthew Quirk, Richard Russo, Lawrence M. Schoen, A.F.E. Smith, Christopher Sorrentino, Gav Thorpe, Lavie Tidhar, Glen Weldon, Jonathan Wood Continue reading

Interview with VAUGHN ENTWISTLE

EntwistleV-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Vaughn Entwistle?

I was born in Weston, Ontario, Canada to British parents, but I grew up in Northern England where the Entwistle tribe hails from.

Later, I lived in Seattle, Washington for close to twenty years (and loved it), but when I landed the book deal my wife and I seized the chance to move back to England. As a writer who specializes in historical fiction (much of which takes place in England) it is much easier to carry out research and actually walk the ground of the places I write about.

Currently, my and wife and I live in the ancient city of Wells in the county of Somerset. Most days I take a break from the keyboard to walk the dog on a route that takes us past the 11th century cathedral, through the market place, and along the moat that surrounds the Bishop’s palace, returning home through Vicar’s Close, the oldest street in Europe with all its medieval houses intact. Wells is a wonderful place for a writer to live. Beyond the obvious history, I find something very calming and deeply spiritual about the place.

Your new novel, The Dead Assassin will be published by Titan Books this month. It’s the second book in the series, The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. What can fans of the first book expect for this new book, and how would you introduce it to new readers?

Fans of the first novel, The Revenant of Thraxton Hall, will find themselves on familiar territory. But as many reviewers have noted, it’s not necessary to have read the first book. I constructed the opening of second novel in such a way that new readers are brought up to speed in just a few paragraphs. That said, anyone expecting a straightforward mystery might be knocked a bit off balance. Both novels feature elements of the paranormal and are written to be funny and scary and slightly over the top. (Reviewers often describe them as “a romp.”) Wilde is there to provide wit and a bon vivant’s skewed outlook on the proceedings, while Conan Doyle’s Holmesian mind keeps the plot anchored in reality. Continue reading

Quick Review: ALL THE OLD KNIVES by Olen Steinhauer (Minotaur)

SteinhauerO-AllTheOldKnivesUSA very good, slow-burning spy thriller

Six years ago in Vienna, terrorists took over a hundred hostages, and the rescue attempt went terribly wrong. The CIA’s Vienna station was witness to this tragedy, gathering intel from its sources during those tense hours, assimilating facts from the ground and from an agent on the inside. So when it all went wrong, the question had to be asked: Had their agent been compromised, and how?

Two of the CIA’s case officers in Vienna, Henry Pelham and Celia Harrison, were lovers at the time, and on the night of the hostage crisis Celia decided she’d had enough. She left the agency, married and had children, and is now living an ordinary life in the idyllic town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Henry is still a case officer in Vienna, and has traveled to California to see her one more time, to relive the past, maybe, or to put it behind him once and for all.

But neither of them can forget that long-ago question: Had their agent been compromised? If so, how? Each also wonders what role tonight’s dinner companion might have played in the way the tragedy unfolded six years ago.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from All the Old Knives. It’s the first Steinhauer novel I’ve read, despite collecting his Tourist series over the past few years (there are so many series I have to catch up on). This is a slow-burning, engaging novel about a past intelligence failure and the lasting legacy it has over those who were involved. It touches upon themes of loyalty, love and trust. And what some people are willing to do to protect the ones they love, and what can ultimately make them reassess.

Steinhauer’s writing is tight and excellently composed. The characters are well-developed and three-dimensional, each dealing with the fallout from Vienna in their separate ways. The novel moves at a steady pace, and alternates between the perspectives of Henry and Celia. Each recalls their own part in the tragedy in Vienna, slowly giving the reader more of the story. The final revelation is superbly done, and the final chapter is one of the best I’ve read (those final moments!). To begin with, the novel had felt rather slow, but it quickly became apparent that Steinhauer was going for the slow-burn reveal, which ultimately gave the final few chapter real punch. It’s also far more about the impact of the terrorist attack, rather than the attack itself — in fact, we get surprisingly few details about the events in Vienna, and only the few relevant details to the protagonists’ ongoing issues and relationship.

If you haven’t read anything by Steinhauer yet, then this is a great place to start. Highly recommended for all fans of thrillers and spy novels.

All the Old Knives is published by Minotaur Books in March 2015.