Upcoming: LAST NIGHT by Karen Ellis (Mulholland)

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In January 2019, Mulholland Books are due to published Last Night, the second novel in Karen Ellis‘s Searchers crime series. I enjoyed the first novel in the series, A Map of the Dark, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the character(s) develop in this second outing. Here’s the synopsis:

NYPD detective Lex Cole tracks a missing Brooklyn teen whose bright future is endangered by the ghosts of his unknown father’s past…

One of the few black kids on his Brighton Beach block, Titus “Crisp” Crespo was raised by his white mother and his Russian grandparents. He has two legacies from his absent father, Mo: his weird name and his brown skin. Crisp has always been the odd kid out, but a fundamentally good kid, with a bright future.

But one impulsive decision triggers a horrible domino effect — an arrest, no reason not to accompany his richer, whiter friend Glynnie on a visit to her weed dealer, and a trip onto his father’s old home turf where he’ll face certain choices he’s always strived to avoid.

As Detective Lex Cole tries to unravel the clues from Crisp’s night out, they both find that what you don’t know about your past can still come back to haunt you.

Last Night is due to be published by Mulholland Books in North America and in the UK, in January 2019.

Also on CR: Review of A Map of the Dark

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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Interview with MATTHEW BLAKSTAD

BlakstadM-AuthorPic2Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Matthew Blakstad?

Former child actor, then a director of fringe theatre, more recently a specialist on digital communications – and now, novelist. I’ve lived in South London most of my life. I’m married, no kids. No cats (allergic spouse). As you’ll guess if you’ve read my book I’m very much into tech culture but perversely I also love the natural world and wild places.

Your new novel, Sockpuppet, will be published by Hodder. It looks rather interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

It’s a thriller, set in the very near future. An online celebrity starts dishing dirt on a politician, but this online voice is nothing but a chatbot – an artificial persona created by software. So how is a fake personality causing mayhem in the real world? Two very different women – a middle-aged politician called Bethany Lehrer, and a young software developer called Dani Farr – need to find out fast who’s behind this malicious campaign before it takes their lives to pieces.

Along the way, the book asks questions about how our online life is changing us – at the erosion of our privacy, the trolling of women, and the shift of power away from governments and towards the big technology companies. Continue reading

Upcoming: SOCKPUPPET by Matthew Blakstad (Hodder)

BlakstadM-SockpuppetUKThis sounds really good. Society is becoming increasingly dominated by social media. And, with an online society often run amok (see, for example, US political “discussion”, endless misogynist internet trolls, and countless other examples), not to mention ever-more reports of cyber-crimes, maybe Sockpuppet is the novel we need? Here’s the synopsis:

You shared your life online. Now how will you get it back?

Twitter. Facebook. Whatsapp. Google Maps. Every day you share everything about yourself – where you go, what you eat, what you buy, what you think – online. Sometimes you do it on purpose. Usually you do it without even realizing it. At the end of the day, everything from your shoe-size to your credit limit is out there. Your greatest joys, your darkest moments. Your deepest secrets.

If someone wants to know everything about you, all they have to do is look.

But what happens when someone starts spilling state secrets? For politician Bethany Leherer and programmer Danielle Farr, that’s not just an interesting thought-experiment. An online celebrity called sic_girl has started telling the world too much about Bethany and Dani, from their jobs and lives to their most intimate secrets. There’s just one problem: sic_girl doesn’t exist. She’s an construct, a program used to test code. Now Dani and Bethany must race against the clock to find out who’s controlling sic_girl and why… before she destroys the privacy of everyone in the UK.

Matthew Blakstad’s Sockpuppet is published in the UK by Hodder, on May 19th, 2016. For more on the author’s writing and novels, be sure to check out his website, and follow him on Twitter and Goodreads. Check back on May 4th for an interview with the author.

[This is the first of four Hodder Upcoming posts, today.]

Review: CROOKED by Austin Grossman (Mulholland)

GrossmanA-CrookedAn excellent secret history

Richard Milhous Nixon lived one of the most improbable lives of the twentieth century. Our 37th President’s political career spanned the buttoned-down fifties, the Mad Men sixties and the turbulent seventies. He faced down the Russians, the Chinese, and ultimately his own government. The man went from political mastermind to a national joke, sobbing in the Oval Office, leaving us with one burning question: how could he have lost it all?

Here for the first time is the true story told in his own words: the terrifying supernatural secret he stumbled on as a young man; the truth behind the Cold War; the truth behind the Watergate coverup. What if our nation’s worst president was really a pivotal figure caught in a desperate struggle between ordinary life and horrors from another reality? What if the man we call our worst president was, in truth, our greatest?

In Crooked, Nixon finally reveals the secret history of modern American politics as only Austin Grossman could reimagine it. Combining Lovecraftian suspense, international intrigue, Russian honey traps and a Presidential marriage whose secrets and battles of attrition were their own heroic saga, Grossman’s novel is a master work of alternative history, equal parts mesmerizing character study and nail-biting Faustian thriller.

I was a relative latecomer to Austin Grossman’s novels — I only read You in 2014, and have yet to read Soon I Will Be Invincible (which I do own). When I first read the synopsis for Crooked, though, I knew I wouldn’t wait to read this one: I am a US politics and history nut, with a particular interest in the presidency. So, given that Grossman’s a great author, and that he was mixing two of my favourite things (politics and SFF), Crooked has been one of my most-anticipated novels of the year. I’m very happy to say, I was not disappointed. This is an excellent novel. Continue reading

New Books (April-May)

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Featuring: Kate Atkinson, Jenny T. Colgan, Sebastien de Castell, Jeffery Deaver, Nelson DeMille, Katie Disabato, Richard Ford, Jonathan Freedland, S.L. Grey, Charlaine Harris, Aleksandar Hemon, Chris Holm, Jason LePier, Duff McKagan, Todd Moss, K.J. Parker, Joe Perry, John Sandford, Stephanie Saulter, Stefan Spjut, Sabaa Tahir, Dan Wells, Robert Charles Wilson Continue reading

New Books: March #1

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Or, “Lordy, 2015 is shaping up to be an incredible year for books…”

Featuring: John Joseph Adams, Richard Beard, Paul Beatty, Patricia Briggs, Col Buchanan, John Connelly, Rjurik Davidson, Joshua Gaylord, Dave Gross, Kazuo Ishiguro, Edan Lepucki, Robert Levy, Tom Lloyd, George R.R. Martin & Gardener Dozois, Stephen Metcalfe, Kristen Painter, Alastair Reynolds, Kim Stanley Robinson, V.E. Schwab, Lavie Tidhar, Marc Turner Continue reading

New Books (November-December)

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Featuring: Guy Adams, Alex Bell, Peter V. Brett, Brenda Cooper, Kate Ellis, Tess Gerritsen, Alex Gordon, Eric Kaplan, Sarah Pinborough, Daniel Polansky, Gareth L. Powell, Michael Robotham, Peter Swanson, Peter Terrin, Fred Venturini Continue reading