Review: THE LATE SHOW by Michael Connelly (Little Brown/Orion)

Introducing an excellent new detective character

Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns everything over to the day shift. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two assignments she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the investigations entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job, no matter what the department throws at her.

I recently binge-watched the first three seasons of Bosch, the TV series based on Connelly’s main series. I absolutely loved it, and that gave me the necessary kick up the backside to start reading Connelly’s novels. As it happened, I received a review copy of The Late Show, so I decided to start here. This is a fantastic introduction of a new character, and a great crime novel. This is the first novel by Michael Connelly that I’ve read. It will not be my last. Continue reading

Review: DON’T LOOK FOR ME by Mason Cross (Orion/Pegasus)

CrossM-4-DontLookForMeUKAn excellent fourth Carter Blake novel

Don’t look for me.

It was a simple instruction. And for six long years Carter Blake kept his word and didn’t search for the woman he once loved. But now someone else is looking for her.

He’ll come for you.

Trenton Gage is a hitman with a talent for finding people — dead or alive. His next job is to track down a woman who’s on the run, who is harbouring a secret many will kill for.

Both men are hunting the same person. The question is, who will find her first?

I loved the first three novels in Cross’s Carter Blake series. They could be seen as an opening trilogy, and after that story’s explosive ending, I wondered where Cross would take his character in the future. In Don’t Look For Me, the author adjusts the focus a bit, and gives readers a smaller-scale story that is no less gripping and enjoyable. Continue reading

Cover Reveal: THE GREEN COUNT by Christian Cameron (Orion)

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Today, we have a cover reveal for you! The Green Count is Christian Cameron‘s latest historical military epic, and the third in his William Gold series (also known as the Chivalry series). It is due to be published by Orion Books on July 13th, 2017. Here’s the synopsis:

Famagusta, November 1365. The world teeters on the brink of bloody political upheaval… and Sir William Gold is caught right in the thick of it.

After the bloody trials of Alexandria, Sir William Gold is readying for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to ease the burden on his soul. He hopes, too, that the Holy City might allow his relationship with Emelye, cousin of the Green Count of Savoy, to develop.

But the Roman Emperor of Constantinople has been taken hostage by an unknown enemy, and the Green Count is vital to the rescue effort. It is up to Sir William to secure his support, but he soon finds that his past, and his relationship with Emelye, might have repercussions he had not foreseen…

Suddenly thrust onto the stage of international politics, Sir William finds himself tangled in a web of plots, intrigue and murder. He must hold true to his chivalric principles, and to his knights, if he is to save the Emperor and survive to tell the tale.

The first two novels in the series — The Ill-Made Knight and The Long Sword — are also published in the UK by Orion.

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Christian Cameron is also the author of the Traitor Son Cycle, a best-selling fantasy series, under the pseudonym Miles Cameron (published by Gollancz in the UK and Orbit in the US).

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Also on CR: Guest Post on “How I do Research”

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming in 2017… Gollancz & Orion

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A selection of anticipated novels from Orion Books (and imprints).

Featuring: Joe Abercrombie, Dan Abnett, Mark Alder, Brad Beaulieu, Ezekiel Boone, C. Robert Cargill, Steve Cavanagh, Mason Cross, Aliette de Bodard, R.J. Ellory, Emily Fridlund, John Hornor Jacobs, Ursula K. le Guin, Ian McDonald, Andrew Pyper, Alastair Reynolds, Simon Wroe

Continue reading

Guest Post: “Four Kingdoms and Twelve Labours: Turning Myths into Reality” by Matthew Reilly

reillym-authorpicOne of the things that motivated me to write The Four Legendary Kingdoms was a desire to explore humanity’s fascination with myths, in particular, the myth of the Twelve Labours of Hercules.

I’ve long been intrigued by the Twelve Labours: those twelve tasks given to the great warrior Hercules that were so monstrously difficult they inspired the adjective “Herculean”. More than that, they were so momentous they are still talked about today, 3,000 years after Hercules supposedly performed them.

We all vaguely know the Labours: defeating the Nemean Lion (with its impenetrable pelt) or slaying the Hydra (with its many regenerating heads) or capture the Cretan Bull. Continue reading

Quick Review: LEARNING TO FLY: LEARNING TO FLY (Orion)

WallM-FooFightersA quick biography of Nirvana Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters…

The definitive, no-holds-barred biography of one of the biggest-selling rock bands in the world, the Foo Fighters.

Everyone from Sir Paul McCartney and Jimmy Page to Queens of the Stone Age now relishes the chance to share a stage with Dave Grohl and his legendary Foo Fighters. The question is: why? Musical depth? Not really. Major success? Well, yes. Despite no longer shifting albums in the same quantity as they did twenty years ago, this band can still fill stadiums the world over (when Dave’s not breaking his leg, of course).

Long before Kurt Cobain blew his brains out in 1994, Dave Grohl was planning for a life after Nirvana. The unflinching bright sunlight to Cobain’s permanent midnight darkness, Grohl had come from a similar broken home to his erstwhile band leader, but came out of the experience differently – brimming with positivity and a shrewd grasp of opportunities in the music industry.

Did Grohl merely take the sonic blueprint of Nirvana and embellish it with a more life-affirming pop sheen? Of course he did. Every band in America that sold over a million records in the post-grunge 90s did the same. The difference was that Grohl had real credibility. And he knew it.

With exclusive testimony from true insiders (including Krist Novoselic, Grohl’s bass-playing partner in Nirvana, ex-girlfirends, record company executives, tour photographers and confidantes), this book is an exploration of the real story behind Grohl and the Foo Fighters — the only serious literary biography of the group and its leader, one of the most famous and critically bulletproof rock figures of the 21st century.

I waited a long time to pick up this book. I sadly cannot say that it was worth the wait. This is, at best, a mediocre re-hash of information you’ll find elsewhere from more-informed and better writers. Yes, it covers everything important in Dave Grohl’s musical career. But it’s not particularly enlightening, nor is it gripping. It is not definitive. It is by no means “literary”, either — the interpretation and analysis is simplistic and not particularly deep. At least, not that provided by Wall. He does interview some people who know what they’re talking about. Continue reading

Quick Review: THE HATCHING by Ezekiel Boone (Atria/Gollancz)

BooneE-HatchingUSA fast-paced, gripping thriller

Deep in the jungle of Peru, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist party whole. FBI agent Mike Rich investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Indian earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. The Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. The first female president of the United States is summoned to an emergency briefing. And all of these events are connected.

As panic begins to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at Melanie Guyer’s Washington laboratory. The unusual egg inside begins to crack. Something is spreading…

The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An virulent ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake. But this is only the beginning of our end…

There has been a lot of hype surrounding this novel, and I think most of it is justified. It’s an entertaining, fast-paced and gripping thriller about the end of the world. Unlike many novels in this genre, though, it is not zombies or vampires or some disease that is killing swathes of the global population. Rather, it is spiders. Lots and lots and lots of spiders… Continue reading