Interview with P. DJÈLÍ CLARK

ClarkPD-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is P. Djèlí Clark?

I’m a writer of speculative fiction by night and a mild-mannered assistant professor of history by dayd. Neither of those personas fights crime.

Your latest novella, The Haunting of Tram Car 015, will be published by Tor.com early next year. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

The Haunting of Tram Car 015 takes place in the same world as a 2016 novelette published on Tor.com titled, A Dead Djinn in Cairo. Set in an alternate 1912 Egypt of steampunk, djinn, magic and clockwork angels, that initial story follows the exploits of Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — tasked with policing the boundaries of the supernatural and the mundane. The Haunting of Tram Car 015 opens up this world further through two new characters — Agents Hamed Nasr and Onsi Youseff — as they attempt to deal with a case of magic and transportation gone awry. Hilarity and hijinks ensue. Continue reading

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Upcoming: THE HOUND OF JUSTICE by Claire O’Dell (Voyager)

ODellC-JWC2-HoundOfJusticeClaire O’Dell‘s sci-fi take on Holmes and Watson return in the follow-up to the critically-acclaimed A Study in Honor. I’ve heard really good things about the series, but have yet to read the first novel (so many new series, so little time…). The Hound of Justice is due to be released in July 2019, though, so I have plenty of time to get caught up. Here’s the synopsis:

Dr. Janet Watson and former covert agent Sarah Holmes continue their dangerous investigation into the new American Civil War with the help of fresh allies, advanced technology, and brilliant deduction in this superb reimagining of Sherlock Holmes.

It’s been two months since Dr. Janet Watson accepted an offer from Georgetown University Hospital. The training for her new high-tech arm is taking longer than expected, however, leaving her in limbo. Meanwhile, her brilliant friend and compatriot, Sara Holmes, has been placed on leave — punishment for going rogue during their previous adventure. Neither is taking their situation very well.

Then an extremist faction called the Brotherhood of Redemption, based in the New Confederacy, launches an assassination attempt on the president. The attempt fails but causes mass destruction — fifty dead and hundreds more injured, and Holmes takes on the task of investigating the Brotherhood.

Holmes is making progress when she abruptly disappears. Watson receives a mysterious message from Holmes’s cousin Micha and learns that her friend has quit the service and is operating in the shadows, investigating clues that link the Brotherhood to Adler Industries.

She needs a surgeon, Micha tells Watson. She needs you.

Reunited once more, Dr. Watson, Holmes, and Micha embark on a mission through the deep South to clear Holmes’s name, thwart the Brotherhood’s next move, and most important, bring their nemesis to justice for the atrocities she’s committed in the New Civil War.

The Hound of Justice is due to be published by Harper Voyager in North America and in the UK, in July 2019.

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Upcoming: IMPOSSIBLE TIMES series by Mark Lawrence (47 North)

LawrenceM-ImpossibleTimesSeries

Mark Lawrence is best-known for his excellent, best-selling grimdark fantasy novels, including the Broken Empire and Red Queen’s War trilogies, and, most recently, the Book of the Ancestor series. Next year, 47 North are due to publish Lawrence’s first series outside of the fantasy genre (to my knowledge, anyway): the Impossible Times. Described as “Ready Player One meets Stranger Things“, it sounds like a lot of fun. Here’s the synopsis for the first book in the series, One Word Kill:

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange — yet curiously familiar — man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help — now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

One Word Kill and Limited Wish are due to be published by 47 North in May and June 2019, respectively.

Also on CR: Interview with Mark Lawrence (2011); Reviews of Prince of ThornsKing of Thorns and Prince of Fools

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Upcoming: A SHADOW INTELLIGENCE by Oliver Harris (Little, Brown)

HarrisO-EK1-ShadowIntelligenceUKHCOliver Harris is the critically-acclaimed author of the Nick Belsey series of London crime novels. His next novel is A Shadow Intelligence, the first in a new espionage thriller series starring Elliot Kane. I’m really looking forward to reading this one. Here’s the synopsis:

The intelligence service puts two years and over £100k into the training of new field officers. You’re shown how to steal cars, strip weapons, hack bank accounts. There are courses on the use of blackmail and improvised explosives, two workshops solely dedicated to navigating by the stars. But nothing about what I had heard one old spy call whiplash. No one tells you how to go home.

There is a dark side to MI6 that needs men like Elliot Kane — mercurial, inquisitive, free floating. He’s spent fifteen years managing events overseas that never make the papers, deniable and deeply effective. Kane is a ghost in his own life, picking up and dropping personalities as each new cover story comes into play. But when a woman he loves, Joanna Lake, vanishes without a trace in Kazakhstan, he is forced centre stage.

Drawn ever deeper into a realm of deception, Kane moves from merely infiltrating events to steering them. He’s used to a new mode of hybrid psychological warfare — but snowbound Kazakhstan presents unique challenges. Poised between China, Russia and the West, dictatorship and democracy, state intelligence and an increasingly powerful world of private agencies, it’s impossible to work out who is manipulating who. And Kane’s not the only one trying to figure out where Joanna Lake has gone or what she learned before disappearing.

Unable to trust anyone, hunted by his own colleagues, and with the life of someone he loves at stake, Kane needs to work out who is driving events, and why…

A Shadow Intelligence is due to be published in the UK by Little, Brown, in May 2019.

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Upcoming: FINDER by Suzanne Palmer (DAW)

PalmerS-1-FinderUSDescribed as an “action-packed sci-fi caper” starring an “interstellar repo man and professional finder”, this debut space opera looks like a lot of fun! Suzanne Palmer‘s Finder (maybe the first in a series?) is due to be published by DAW Books in North America, on April 2nd, 2019. At the time of writing, I couldn’t find any information about a UK edition. Here’s the synopsis:

Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder.

His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia’s Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. He’ll slip in, decode the ship’s compromised AI security, and get out of town, Sword in hand.

Fergus locates both Gilger and the ship in the farthest corner of human-inhabited space, a gas-giant-harvesting colony called Cernee. But Fergus’ arrival at the colony is anything but simple. A cable car explosion launches Cernee into civil war, and Fergus must ally with Gilger’s enemies to navigate a field of space mines and a small army of hostile mercenaries. What was supposed to be a routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. Even worse, Fergus has become increasingly — and inconveniently — invested in the lives of the locals.

It doesn’t help that a dangerous alien species thought mythical prove unsettlingly real, and their ominous triangle ships keep following Fergus around.

Foolhardy. Eccentric. Reckless. Whatever he’s called, Fergus will need all the help he can get to take back the Sword and maybe save Cernee from destruction in the process.

Looking forward to this one!

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Upcoming: THE WICKED AND THE DAMNED by David Annandale, Phil Kelly and Josh Reynolds (Black Library)

AnnandaleKellyReynolds-WickedAndTheDamnedNext year, Black Library are going to kick off their range of horror fiction, and I for one can’t wait! It looks like the series is going to include re-issues of Kim Newman’s Genevieve novels, as well as some brand new works. First up is The Wicked and the Damned by David Annandale, Phil Kelly and Josh Reynolds. A portmanteau novel, here’s the synopsis:

Drawn together by mysterious circumstances, three strangers meet in the mists of a desolate cemetery world. As they relate their stories, the threads of fate are drawn around them, and destiny awaits…

On a misty cemetery world, three strangers are drawn together through mysterious circumstances. Each of them has a tale to tell of a narrow escape from death. Amid the toll of funerary bells and the creep and click of mortuary-servitors, the truth is confessed. But whose story can be trusted? Whose recollection is warped, even unto themselves? For these are strange stories of the uncanny, the irrational and the spine-chillingly frightening, where horrors abound and the dark depths of the human psyche is unearthed.

The Wicked and the Damned will be available to pre-order from Black Library on March 23rd, 2019, and will arrive in stores on April 4th.

Follow the Author (Annandale): Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Follow the Author (Kelly): Website, Goodreads
Follow the Author (Reynolds): Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: THE BAYERN AGENDA by Dan Moren (Angry Robot)

MorenD-GCW1-BayernAgendaI must confess that the cover is really what attracted me to this book. Of course, reading the synopsis added to my interest, but I’m pretty sure I first learned of this novel when the cover was unveiled. Nevertheless, I think Dan Moren‘s The Bayern Agenda looks really interesting, and like a rather intriguing mixture of spy and sci-fi fiction (“Traitor, Pilot, Banker, Spy”):

Simon Kovalic, top intelligence operative for the Commonwealth of Independent Systems, is on the frontline of the burgeoning Cold War with the aggressive Illyrican Empire. He barely escapes his latest mission with a broken arm, and vital intel which points to the Empire cozying up to the Bayern Corporation: a planet-sized bank. There’s no time to waste, but with Kovalic out of action, his undercover team is handed over to his ex-wife, Lt Commander Natalie Taylor. When Kovalic’s boss is tipped off that the Imperium are ready and waiting, it’s up to the wounded spy to rescue his team and complete the mission before they’re all caught and executed.

The Bayern Agenda is due to be published by Angry Robot Books in North America and in the UK in March 2019.

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