Quick Review: DARK SACRED NIGHT by Michael Connelly (Grand Central Publishing/Orion)

ConnellyM-HB21-DarkSacredNightUSPBHarry Bosch teams up with LAPD Detective Renée Ballard to face the unsolved murder of a runaway, and the fight to bring a killer to justice.

Detective Renée Ballard is working the night beat — known in LAPD slang as “the late show” — and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin.

Ballard can’t let him go through department records, but when he leaves, she looks into the case herself and feels a deep tug of empathy and anger. She has never been the kind of cop who leaves the job behind at the end of her shift — and she wants in.

The murder, unsolved, was of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally killed, her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy, and to finally bring her killer to justice. Along the way, the two detectives forge a fragile trust, but this new partnership is put to the test when the case takes an unexpected and dangerous turn.

In Dark Sacred Night, the 21st novel featuring Detective Harry Bosch, he finally teams up with Connelly’s most recent fictional detective: Renée Ballard. Introduced in The Late Show (my first of Connelly’s books), I have been eagerly anticipating these two characters coming together. Two detectives utterly committed to their mission, they make for an excellent team. Couple these great characters with a gripping, moving story of loss and justice, and you have yet another must-read novel. 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

Quick Review: KING OF ASSASSINS by RJ Barker (Orbit)

BarkerRJ-3-KingOfAssassinsThe brutal, engrossing, twisty finale to the Wounded Kingdom trilogy

Assassin Girton Club-Foot has lived in relative peace for many years, but now his king, Rufra ap Vthyr, eyes the vacant High-King’s throne and will take his court to the capital. In a viper’s nest of intrigue, the endgame of twenty years of politics and murder will be played out in the bid to become the King of all Kings.

Friends become enemies, enemies become friends, and the god of death stands closer than ever, casting his shadow over everyone Girton holds dear.

And so the Wounded Kingdom trilogy comes to a close… It’s been a fantastic journey, to follow these characters from their youth to the ultimately tragic end of King of Assassins. Easily one of my favourite recent fantasy series, this finale did not disappoint. Continue reading

Interview with W.L. GOODWATER

GoodwaterWL-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is W.L. Goodwater?

I’m a writer, software engineer, fencing coach, husband, and dad. I live near the ocean in California and love watching the fog roll in through our eucalyptus trees. We share our lives with a crazy cute toddler, two cats, and piles of books that have long overgrown our bookshelves.

Your debut novel, Breach, will be published by Ace Books in November. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Breach is half Cold War spy thriller, half fantasy novel, set in divided Germany where the Berlin Wall is made out of magic. The story picks up as the CIA discovers a growing breach in the wall and sends for a magical researcher to help them stop WWIII. It is the first book in the Cold War Magic series and introduces our hero: Karen O’Neil, a young and talented magician working at the Office of Magical Research and Deployment, who has to navigate existential magical threats and the prejudice of her male coworkers. Continue reading

Quick Review: NEFERATA — MORTARCH OF BLOOD by David Annandale (Black Library)

AnnandaleD-Neferata1-MortarchOfBloodNeferata, queen of the vampires, shows her true colours…

When a threat to her realm of Nulahmia rises, the Mortarch Neferata must commit herself to a centuries-long battle if she is to save her kingdom and retain her position.

The Realm of Death convulses with the ravages of war, but Neferata continues to rule the city of Nulahmia with an iron will. Through guile and terror, she has destroyed all who would take her crown. But when a threat rises whose repercussions will stretch across the ages, Neferata must commit herself to a centuries-long battle and retain what is hers, no matter the cost.

This is the first full-length novel dedicated to the queen of vampires in the Age of Sigmar. Her origin story was first written about in Josh Reynolds’s novel, set before the history of the Old World, and also a bit in Mike Lee’s Nagash trilogy. Reynolds also wrote a short story featuring the character, Auction of Blood, which was an intriguing introduction to the character’s obsession with secrecy and scheming, always off-stage as others did her bidding. In Mortarch of Blood, Annandale gives us a much clearer picture of Neferata herself. She is presented as never before. Continue reading

Upcoming: The ALICE PAYNE Series by Kate Heartfield (Tor.com)

HeartfieldK-AP1-AlicePayneArrivesKate Heartfield‘s first Alice Payne novella, Alice Payne Arrives was announced a little while ago by Tor.com, but today I saw that a sequel was also on the way: Alice Payne Rides! I haven’t managed to get hold of the first one, yet, but Heartfield will be in Toronto to launch the book on November 6th at Bakka Phoenix (a must-visit if you’re ever in Toronto). Anyway, here’s the synopsis for the first book, due to be published by Tor.com on November 6th, 2018.

The story of a time traveling thief turned reluctant hero in this science fiction adventure.

A disillusioned major, a highwaywoman, and a war raging across time.

It’s 1788 and Alice Payne is the notorious highway robber, the Holy Ghost. Aided by her trusty automaton, Laverna, the Holy Ghost is feared by all who own a heavy purse.

It’s 1889 and Major Prudence Zuniga is once again attempting to change history—to save history—but seventy attempts later she’s still no closer to her goal.

It’s 2016 and… well, the less said about 2016 the better!

But in 2020 the Farmers and the Guides are locked in battle; time is their battleground, and the world is their prize. Only something new can change the course of the war. Or someone new.

Little did they know, but they’ve all been waiting until Alice Payne arrives.

HeartfieldK-AP2-AlicePayneRidesAlice Payne Rides is due to be published by Tor.com on March 5th, 2019. Here’s the synopsis:

After abducting Arthur of Brittany from his own time in 1203, thereby creating the mystery that partly prompted the visit in the first place, Alice and her team discover that they have inadvertently brought the smallpox virus back to 1780 with them.

Searching for a future vaccine, Prudence finds that the various factions in the future time war intend to use the crisis to their own advantage.

Can the team prevent an international pandemic across time, and put history back on its tracks? At least until the next battle in the time war…

Both books will be available in the UK, too: Alice Payne Arrives and Alice Payne Rides.

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Music: MURDER AND THE MOTIVE by Those Damn Crows

ThoseDamnCrows-MurderAndTheMotive

I feel like I’ve been waiting a long time for the debut album from Bridgend, South Wales five-piece Those Damn Crows. Thankfully, on October 5th, Earache Records released their album, Murder and the Motive. The delay was certainly worth the wait: this album is great. It’s interesting that it did take so long for the album to come out, though: the music video for “Fear of the Broken” (the final track on the album) was uploaded to YouTube on June 8th, 2015! “Blink of an Eye” (my favourite song on the album) got a video in September 2016.

My “review”, for want of a better word, is simply this: Those Damn Crows are damn good. If you’re a fan of any kind of rock music, then I think you’ll like this band. Loud guitars, great vocals and hooks, I’m really glad I stumbled across them. Continue reading