Quick Review: THE TIME TO KILL by Mason Cross (Orion)

CrossM-3-TheTimeToKillUKCarter Blake’s previous employer cleans house…

It’s been five years since Carter Blake parted ways with top-secret government operation Winterlong. They brokered a deal at the time: he’d keep quiet about what they were doing, and in return he’d be left alone.

But news that one of Blake’s old allies, a man who agreed the same deal, is dead means only one thing — something has changed and Winterlong is coming for him.

Emma Faraday, newly appointed head of the secret unit, is determined to tie up loose ends. And Blake is a very loose end. He’s been evading them for years, but finally they’ve picked up his trace. Blake may be the best there is at tracking down people who don’t want to be found, but Winterlong taught him everything he knows. If there’s anyone who can find him — and kill him — it’s them.

It’s time for Carter Blake to up his game.

After two superb novels featuring Carter Blake, Cross has him clashing with the organization that helped train him to become the near-perfect, deadly operative he has become. Another fantastic novel, it shows us some key moments of Blake’s past, and also his determination and strategic genius. Continue reading

Quick Review: THE KILLING SEASON and THE SAMARITAN by Mason Cross (Orion/Pegasus)

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A must-read new thriller series

The first thing you should know about me is that my name is not Carter Blake. That name no more belongs to me than the hotel room I was occupying when the call came in.

When Caleb Wardell, the infamous ‘Chicago Sniper’, escapes from death row two weeks before his execution, the FBI calls on the services of Carter Blake, a man with certain specialised talents whose skills lie in finding those who don’t want to be found. A man to whom Wardell is no stranger.

Along with Elaine Banner, an ambitious special agent juggling life as a single mother with her increasingly high-flying career, Blake must track Wardell down as he cuts a swathe across America, apparently killing at random.

But Blake and Banner soon find themselves sidelined from the case. And as they try desperately to second guess a man who kills purely for the thrill of it, they uncover a hornets’ nest of lies and corruption. Now Blake must break the rules and go head to head with the FBI if he is to stop Wardell and expose a deadly conspiracy that will rock the country.

I read both of these novels back-to-back, and loved them both. The first two in a new series by British author Mason Cross, they are a wonderful blend of classic loner-hero thrillers and some fresh ideas. They’re difficult to review without spoiling, as is often the case with thrillers, but in a nutshell: Briskly paced, realistic, and gripping — what more could you ask for from a thriller? Continue reading

Upcoming: SON OF THE MORNING by Mark Alder (Pegasus)

AlderM-SonOfTheMorningUSMark Alder‘s Son of the Morning was first published a couple of years ago in the UK by Gollancz, but I just spotted that it is finally coming to North America, too — it is due to be published by Pegasus Books in February 2016. The cover is to the right, and the synopsis is as follows:

In an epic novel that reimagines the Hundred Years War — in a world where angels and demons choose sides on the battlefield — England and France find themselves locked in a holy war, but which country has God’s favor?

England, 1337: Edward III is beset on all sides, plagued by debt and surrounded by doubters. He refuses to pay homage to the newly crowned Philip Valois of France and seeks to secure his French holdings, but he’s outmanned. Philip can put 50,000 men in the field, but he is having his own problems: he has summoned the angels themselves to fight for France, but the angels refuse to fight. Both kings send priests far and wide, seeking holy relics and heavenly beings to take up the cause of their country, but God remains stubbornly silent, refusing to grant favor to either side.

Meanwhile, among the poor and downtrodden, heretical whispers are taking hold: what if God — who has never been seen to do anything for them — is not the rightful leader of the heavens after all? And as Edward’s situation becomes increasingly desperate, even his counselors begin to believe that if God won’t listen, perhaps they can find a savior not from Heaven, but from Hell.

In a sweeping tale packed with courtiers and kings, knights and priests, and devils and angels, Mark Alder breathes fresh and imaginative life into the Hundred Years War in this unique historical epic.

The sequel for Son of the Morning appears to be Son of the Night, which Amazon UK has listed for a November 2016 release, although this is possibly subject to change. No cover art as yet.

Mark Alder is a pseudonym, and the author also writes as M.D. Lachlan, whose Wolfsangel series is also published in the UK by Gollancz. The cover for the UK market is below:

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