New Books (April)

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In these uncertain times, books are perhaps more important than ever (at least, they are in my opinion). To that end, I am going to try to publish more content on CR than normal (I know — I’ve “closed” it down a number of times, I just can’t stay away). Below is a list of books I’ve bought or received for review (and one I’m pre-approved for but haven’t downloaded because I know I won’t be able to read the format, but wanted to flag anyway because I’m really looking forward to reading it). As you’ll notice, a few of these aren’t out for some time, but I guess publishers have decided to send them out sooner to give people plenty of time to read them.

Featuring: Robert Jackson Bennett, Tom Bissell, Tom Bradby, Mike Brooks, K.A. Doore, Gardner Dozois, Dan Drezner, Lindsay Ellis, Scott Eyman, Marc Freeman, Ryan Gattis, Grady Hendrix, Stark Holborn, Richard Kadrey, Nicole Krauss, Hari Kunzru, Dinah Lenney, Sam J. Miller, Tamsyn Muir, John Niven, Karen Osborne, Alex Pavesi, Ross Payton, Wayne Santos, Elissa R. Sloan, Jonathan Strahan, Peter Swanson, Michael Swanwick, Breanna Teintze, Don Winslow, Chris Wraight

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Quick Review: EIGHT PERFECT MURDERS / RULES FOR PERFECT MURDERS by Peter Swanson (William Morrow / Faber)

SwansonP-EightPerfectMurdersUSAn intriguing new mystery about a bookseller who finds himself at the centre of an FBI investigation…

Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack — which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders” — chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne’s Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox’s Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald’s The Drowner, and Donna Tartt’s A Secret History.

But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookstore in Boston, when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. And the FBI agent isn’t the only one interested in this bookseller who spends almost every night at home reading. The killer is out there, watching his every move — a diabolical threat who knows way too much about Mal’s personal history, especially the secrets he’s never told anyone, even his recently deceased wife.

To protect himself, Mal begins looking into possible suspects… and sees a killer in everyone around him. But Mal doesn’t count on the investigation leaving a trail of death in its wake. Suddenly, a series of shocking twists leaves more victims dead — and the noose around Mal’s neck grows so tight he might never escape.

The synopsis for this caught my attention, and the publishers were kind enough to approve my request to review it (both the North American and UK publisher gave me access to DRCs). Strangely, given how interesting Swanson’s novels sound, this is the first of his that I’ve read. An engaging and gripping read, I zipped through this in just a couple of very enjoyable sittings. Continue reading

New Books (January-February)

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Featuring: Taylor Brown, Alicia Yin Cheng, Michael D’Antonio, Hilary Davidson, Michael Elias, Richard Ford, Sarah Frier, David Frum, Chris Hauty, Charlie M. Holmberg, Kathleen Kent, Michael ByungJu Kim, William King, Chris Kluwe, Nick Kyme, Laura Lam, Vicki Laveau-Harvie, Corry L. Lee, Eeleen Lee, Katie Mack, Devin Madson, Premee Mohamed, Liz Moore, T.R. Napper, Kit Rocha, Stuart Stevens, Peter Swanson, Katie Tallo, Corey J. White, Caroline Zancan

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Interview with PETER SWANSON

SwansonP-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Peter Swanson?

At this particular moment I’m a lump on a couch getting over a spring cold and looking forward to the start of the baseball season. I aspire to a dull life while at the same time concoct very un-dull lives for my characters.

Prior to being a full time writer I was a bookseller, a teacher, a bartender, a bookseller, and a blogger. And through it all I’ve been an avid reader, primarily of mystery and crime novels. I like to think that I am now living my ideal life.

Your latest novel, All the Beautiful Lies, will be published by William Morrow in April. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

I like to think of it as two stories that converge into one. In the first story a recent college graduate named Harry Ackerson moves in with his stepmother after his father’s death, and discovers that his father led a secret life. In the other story we follow his stepmother, Alice Moss, going back to when she was a teenage girl, and the events that turned her into the adult she becomes. Continue reading

Books Received (September-October)

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Featuring: Guy Adams, K.C. Alexander, Kurt Andersen, Stanley Bing, Stefan Merrill Block, Lila Bowen, A.F. Brady, Chris Brookmyre, Miles Cameron, Hillary Clinton, Myke Cole, Curtis Craddock, Matthew de Abaitua, Cara Delevingne, Jonathan de Shalit, Jeffrey Eugenides, Eric Scott Fischl, William Gibson, Christopher Golden, Kathryn Harkup, Sophie Hénaff, Steve Israel, Tyrell Johnson, Stephen King, Tim Lebbon, Ben Loory, Ken MacLeod, Caitlin Macy, Aaron Mahnke, Seanan McGuire (x2), Simon Sebag Montefiore, Louisa Morgan, Annalee Newitz, Nnedi Okorafor, Jane O’Reilly, K.J. Parker, Andreas Pflüger, James Rollins, Peter Swanson, Gav Thorpe, Reed Tucker, Jean M. Twenge, Jo Walton

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New Books (July-August)

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Featuring: Margaret Atwood, Lauren Beukes, Rob Boffard, Jessie Burton, Nickolas Butler, Janie Chang, D. Nolan Clark, John Connolly, Jason Diamond, David Eggers, Clint Emerson, Joseph Finder, Amy S. Foster, Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Max Gladstone, Lev Grossman, Joe Haldeman, Chris Holm, Humfrey Hunter, Joe Ide, Michael Koryta, Bracken MacLeod, Melina Marchetta, Seanan McGuire, Andy McNab, Liz Moore, Nicola Moriarty, Megan O’Keefe, Frank Owen, Tom Rosenstiel, Meg Rosoff, Roy Scranton, Gaie Sebold, Matthew Smith, Bruce Sterling, Peter Swanson, Adi Tantimedh, Mick Wall

Above artwork: Black Road #2 (crop), by Garry Brown (Image Comics) 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