Interview with JAMES D. OSWALD

oswaldj-authorpicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is J.D. Oswald?

Most of the time I am James Oswald, livestock farmer by day and author by night. The D stands for Douglas, in case anyone was interested. I decided to use a slightly different name for The Ballad of Sir Benfro to distance the series from my Inspector McLean series of Edinburgh-based detective novels. I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember, and had a Tharg’s Future Shock published by 2000AD back in 1993. Success as an author has been a long time coming though. My first Inspector McLean novel, Natural Causes, was only published in 2013, and the first of the Ballad of Sir Benfro series, Dreamwalker, came out in late 2014. It really does take twenty years to become an overnight success. Continue reading

Eight Quick Audiobook Reviews

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A quick round-up of recent audiobook ‘reads’, with thanks to Audible UK for the review credits (except for the first reviewed, which I borrow from the Toronto Public Library). I’ve kept the reviews very short on purpose. I’ll try to keep on top of these reviews in a more timely manner in the future.

Featuring: Philip Delves-Broughton, Irin Carmon, Jessi Klein, Shana Knizhnik, Antonio Garcia Martinez, Randall Munroe, Nick Offerman, Richard Porter, Amy Schumer Continue reading

Upcoming: THE LAST BOOKANEER by Matthew Pearl (Penguin)

PearlM-LastBookaneerUSPBOk, The Last Bookaneer is already out. But the paperback is published by Penguin in April, and I wanted an excuse to share the cover, which I rather like. Matthew Pearl‘s novels always look interesting, but for some reason I’ve never got around to reading one. Here’s the synopsis for his latest:

book′a-neer′ (bŏŏk′kȧ-nēr′), n. a literary pirate; an individual capable of doing all that must be done in the universe of books that publishers, authors, and readers must not have a part in

London, 1890 — Pen Davenport is the most infamous bookaneer in Europe. A master of disguise, he makes his living stalking harbors, coffeehouses, and print shops for the latest manuscript to steal. But this golden age of publishing is on the verge of collapse. For a hundred years, loose copyright laws and a hungry reading public created a unique opportunity: books could easily be published abroad without an author’s permission. Authors gained fame but suffered financially—Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, to name a few — but publishers reaped enormous profits while readers bought books inexpensively. Yet on the eve of the twentieth century, a new international treaty is signed to grind this literary underground to a sharp halt. The bookaneers are on the verge of extinction.

The astonishing story of these literary thieves’ epic final heist. On the island of Samoa, a dying Robert Louis Stevenson labors over a new novel. The thought of one last book from the great author fires the imaginations of the bookaneers, and soon Davenport sets out for the South Pacific accompanied by his assistant Fergins. But Davenport is hardly the only bookaneer with a mind to pirate Stevenson’s last novel. His longtime adversary, the monstrous Belial, appears on the island, and soon Davenport, Fergins, and Belial find themselves embroiled in a conflict larger, perhaps, than literature itself.

Matthew Pearl is also the author of The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow, The Last Dickens, The Professor’s Assassin and The Technologists.

Quick Review: VANISHING GAMES by Roger Hobbs (Corgi/Knopf)

HobbsR-G2-VanishingGamesUKPBThe Ghostman returns, to save his mentor…

I work alone. 

I may be the best thief in the world but no one will ever know a single thing about me. Well, almost no one. 

A lifetime ago I had a mentor, Angela. She taught me how to be a criminal, how to run a heist. 

And now, six years after she vanished and left me high and dry on a job in Kuala Lumpur, she’s sent me an SOS.

Or at least I think it’s her. If it is, then I’ve got to go. I owe her that much.

So soon I’ll be on a plane to Macau, either to see a friend or walk into a trap. Or both. 

But that’s the way I like it. Sometimes the only thing that makes me happy is risking my life. 

Time to go.

I very much enjoyed Roger Hobbs’s debut, Ghostman: it was fast-paced, entertaining and offered an interesting twist on the international, high-tech thief genre. In this sequel, Hobbs gives readers more of the same. For the main, this is a very good thing, and I blitzed through Vanishing Games. Continue reading

New Books (February)

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Featuring: David Annandale, Jo Baker, Mishell Baker, David Baldacci, Elizabeth Bonesteel, Pierce Brown, Christopher Charles, Jessica Chiarella, Dan Cluchey, Max Allan Collins, John Connolly, Don DeLillo, S.B. Divya, Rachel Dunne, Mark Andrew Ferguson, Hadley Freeman, S.L. Grey, Lauren Groff, A.J. Hartley, Noah Hawley, Katie Heaney, Patrick Hemstreet, Mitchell Hogan, Lee Kelly, Shane Kuhn, Joe R. Lansdale, John Lansdale, Tim Lebbon, David Levien, Brian McClellan, Claire North, Willow Palecek, K.J. Parker, Bryony Pearce, Victor Pelevin, Molly Prentiss, Andy Remic, William Shatner, Mickey Spillane, Jo Spurrier, Allen Steele, Stuart Stevens, Alex Stewart, Jack Sutherland, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Marc Turner, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Teddy Wayne

* Continue reading

Interview with JACEY BEDFORD

BedfordJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Jacey Bedford?

I’m a British writer who qualified as a librarian and then spent twenty years as a full-time folk singer touring the world with vocal trio Artisan. Since the band retired from the road I’ve become a booking agent, fixing music tours for other performers. I work from home and split my time between my music business and my writing. I’ve sold short stories to anthologies and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. My first two novels for DAW, Empire of Dust and Crossways, both science fiction, came out in 2014 and 2015 respectively and Winterwood, my first historical fantasy, comes out in February 2016. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE DEVIL’S EVIDENCE by Simon Kurt Unsworth (Doubleday/Del Rey UK)

Unsworth-2-DevilsEvidence

The Devil’s Detective, Simon Kurt Unsworth‘s debut novel, was a deliciously dark take on Heaven-and-Hell. Specifically, it focused on Fool, one of Hell’s Information Men — what passes for a detective in a place where the most brutal and depraved of crimes is everyday life. I thought it was an excellent, twisted and gripping thriller. This year, Fool returns in the sequel, The Devil’s Evidence. Here’s the synopsis:

Hell is burning out of control. Thomas Fool, Hell’s first Information Man tasked with investigating the endless stream of violence in Hell, has been promoted to the head of the newly expanded Information Office. Now in command of a legion of Information Men, his new position finds him hated by demons and almost revered by humans. He alone has survived the wrath of demon and angel alike, but he stands alone and at the center of a brewing crisis. New on the scene is the Evidence, a shadowy department whose officers do not investigate; they punish and spread fear. And its leader, Mr. Tap, is gunning for Fool.

Fool is ordered to accompany a political delegation to Heaven, and his arrival coincides with an impossible — and sinister — discovery. A dead body. Murder in Heaven. Violence, corruption, and fear are the currency of Hell, and how does one investigate a crime where these concepts are paradoxes? As the bodies pile up, Fool sees disturbing connections between Heaven and Hell. He must follow clues in a strange land where nothing is as it seems and danger can present itself in any form.

What follows is a phantasmagoric, mind-bending thriller as exciting and unsettling as anything in recent fiction. The Devil’s Evidence is an electrifying, provocative novel filled with stunning set pieces and characters who will live on in your deepest nightmares.

The Devil’s Evidence is published on July 5th in the US, by Doubleday; and on October 6th in the UK, by Del Rey. The Devil’s Detective is also published by Doubleday and Del Rey UK, and is out this month in paperback. Here are the covers:

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