Review: THE FORCE by Don Winslow (Harper Collins/William Morrow)

WinslowD-TheForceUKPossibly the best thriller (or novel) of the year?

Everyone can be bought. At the right price…

Detective sergeant Denny Malone leads an elite unit to fight gangs, drugs and guns in New York. For eighteen years he’s been on the front lines, doing whatever it takes to survive in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean.

What only a few know is that Denny Malone himself is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash. Now he’s caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk a thin line of betrayal, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.

Don Winslow’s latest novel is a haunting story of greed and violence, inequality and race, and a searing portrait of a city on the edge of an abyss. Full of shocking twists, this is a morally complex and riveting dissection of the controversial issues confronting society today.

The Force is the first of Winslow’s novels that I’ve read. It will definitely not be the last. There was a lot of pre-publication buzz surrounding this novel, and I can certainly now see why: it’s superb. On almost every level, this novel is a triumph. Continue reading

Upcoming: NIGHTWISE and THE NIGHT DAHLIA by R.S. Belcher (Tor)

BelcherRS-N1-NightwiseUSR.S. Belcher‘s latest series only really grabbed my attention when I saw information for the second instalment, The Night Dahlia, which is set in Los Angeles (I’ve been on an LA-based fiction kick at the moment, for some reason — the title, I’m sure, is a nod to Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia). Ok, I’ll admit the cover for The Night Dahlia had a lot to do with grabbing my attention. The first novel, Nightwise, is due to be published in paperback in January 2018, and the second novel in April 2018.

Here’s the synopsis for Nightwise:

In the more shadowy corners of the world, frequented by angels and demons and everything in-between, Laytham Ballard is a legend. It’s said he raised the dead at the age of ten, stole the Philosopher’s Stone in Vegas back in 1999, and survived the bloodsucking kiss of the Mosquito Queen. Wise in the hidden ways of the night, he’s also a cynical bastard who stopped thinking of himself as the good guy a long time ago.

Now a promise to a dying friend has Ballard on the trail of an escaped Serbian war criminal with friends in both high and low places-and a sinister history of blood sacrifices. Ballard is hell-bent on making Dusan Slorzack pay for his numerous atrocities, but Slorzack seems to have literally dropped off the face of the Earth, beyond the reach of his enemies, the Illuminati, and maybe even the Devil himself. To find Slorzack, Ballard must follow a winding, treacherous path that stretches from Wall Street and Washington, D.C. to backwoods hollows and truckstops, while risking what’s left of his very soul…

BelcherRS-N2-NightDahliaUSAnd the synopsis for The Night Dahlia:

Laytham Ballard once protected humanity as part of the Nightwise, a secret order of modern-day mages dedicating to holding hellish supernatural forces at bay, but that was before a string of sadistic ritual murders shook everything he believed in—and sent him down a much darker path. One that has already cost him most of his soul, as well as everything he once held dear.

Now a powerful faerie mob boss has hired Ballard to find his lost-lost daughter, who went missing several years ago. The long-cold trail leads him across the globe, from the luxurious playgrounds of the rich and famous to the seedy occult underbelly of Los Angeles, where creatures of myth and legend mingle with street gangs and sex clubs, and where Ballard finds his own guilty past waiting for him around every shadowy corner. To find Caern Ankou, he will have to confront old enemies, former friends and allies, and a grisly cold case that has haunted him for years.

But is Caern still alive? And, perhaps more importantly, does she even want to be found?

Both novels will be published by Tor Books in North America and the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review: THE FUTURES by Anna Pitoniak (Lee Boudreaux Books/Michael Joseph)

PitoniakA-TheFuturesUSAn interesting, engaging novel about a young couple whose hopes and dreams must confronting cold reality in New York…

Julia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a rural Canadian town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia — blond, beautiful, and rich — fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan lands a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, whose privileged upbringing grants her an easy but wholly unsatisfying job with a nonprofit, feels increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world.

With the market crashing and banks failing, Evan becomes involved in a high-stakes deal at work — a deal that, despite the assurances of his Machiavellian boss, begins to seem more than slightly suspicious. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who offers a glimpse of a different kind of live. As the economy craters, and as Evan and Julia spin into their separate orbits, they each find that they are capable of much more — good and bad — than they’d ever imagined.

This novel has received an incredible amount of early buzz — I’ve seen it mentioned and praised since early 2016. Naturally, this made me curious, and I was lucky enough to get an eARC a little while ago. Overall, this is an enjoyable, well-written novel set in New York. Continue reading

Upcoming: A CITY DREAMING by Daniel Polansky (Hodder/Regan Arts)

PolanskyD-ACityDreaming

Well, this is certainly one of my most-anticipated novels of the year! I loved Daniel Polansky’s Low Town trilogy, and A City Dreaming looks equally fantastic. Here’s the synopsis:

M is an ageless drifter with a sharp tongue, few scruples, and the ability to bend reality to his will, ever so slightly. He’s come back to New York City after a long absence, and though he’d much rather spend his days drinking artisanal beer in his favorite local bar, his old friends — and his enemies — have other plans for him. One night M might find himself squaring off against the pirates who cruise the Gowanus Canal; another night sees him at a fashionable uptown charity auction where the waitstaff are all zombies. A subway ride through the inner circles of hell? In M’s world, that’s practically a pleasant diversion.

Before too long, M realizes he’s landed in the middle of a power struggle between Celise, the elegant White Queen of Manhattan, and Abilene, Brooklyn’s hip, free-spirited Red Queen, a rivalry that threatens to make New York go the way of Atlantis. To stop it, M will have to call in every favor, waste every charm, and blow every spell he’s ever acquired—he might even have to get out of bed before noon.

Enter a world of Wall Street wolves, slumming scenesters, desperate artists, drug-induced divinities, pocket steampunk universes, and demonic coffee shops. M’s New York, the infinite nexus of the universe, really is a city that never sleeps — but is always dreaming.

A City Dreaming is due to be published in October by Hodder (UK) and Regan Arts (US).

Interview with EDWARD LAZELLARI

Lazellari-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Ed Lazellari?

Ed Lazellari is a fiction writer who believes he looks like John Lennon, but suspects others think he looks like Ringo. Ed really enjoys speaking of himself in the third person. If Ed was a Seinfeld character, he’d be the guy who makes George look good.

Your Guardians of Aandor is published by Tor Books. The first novel, Awakenings, is out now, with two more on the way. The series looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

What if Bran or Arya Stark, in trying to get away from their enemies came to our world and hid out? And what if those enemies from Westeros got wind of it and came over to get them? Throw in some guardians sworn to protect a boy prince, wizards, amnesia, and you have Awakenings. The Guardians of Aandor is a hodgepodge of the literature I love. It’s a portal fantasy, urban fantasy, adventure, and a mystery. It’s Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones. 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

Quick Review: THE IMMORTALS by Jordanna Max Brodsky (Orbit)

BrodskyJM-TheImmortalsUSThe first must-read novel of 2016

Manhattan has many secrets. Some are older than the city itself. 

The city sleeps. Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson. She is alone — just the way she likes it. She doesn’t believe in friends, and she doesn’t speak to her family. Most of them are simply too dangerous.

In the predawn calm, Selene finds the body of a young woman washed ashore, gruesomely mutilated and wreathed in laurel. Her ancient rage returns. And so does the memory of a promise she made long ago — when her name was Artemis.

I read this quite a while ago, and rather stupidly didn’t write the review right away. The Immortals was at the top of my most-anticipated list for 2016 pretty much since I first spotted it on Edelweiss. I was extremely happy, therefore, to receive an advance review copy last year. It absolutely exceeded my expectations. Continue reading