Quick Review: THE OVERLOOK by Michael Connelly (Orion/Little, Brown)

ConnellyM-HB13-OverlookUKTerrorism, the FBI and Harry Bosch…

An execution on the overlook above the Mulholland Dam entangles Bosch with FBI Agent Rachel Walling and Homeland Security.

When a physicist is murdered in LA, it seems the killer has no fear of publicity, leaving the body on the Mulholland overlook, a site with a stunning view over the city. And when it’s discovered that the victim turned over a quantity of a lethal chemical to his killer before he died, Harry knows he has more than just a single death to worry about.

Alongside the forces of Homeland Security, Harry realises he must solve the murder or face unimaginable consequences.

In this, the thirteenth Harry Bosch novel, the LAPD detective comes face-to-face with a potential terrorist threat in Los Angeles. I’ve been working my way through all of Connelly’s novels this year (14 and counting at the time of writing),* and while I’m not going to write a review of each other them, I wanted to just flag The Overlook as one of the ones that has stuck with me. We see Bosch navigating the inevitable response to a terrorism threat, while also getting to know his new partner. A gripping, fast-moving crime story. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE GOD GAME by Danny Tobey (St. Martin’s Press/Gollancz)

TobeyD-GodGame

In January, St. Martin’s Press and Gollancz are due to publish a new novel by Danny Tobey that has caught my attention: The God Game. Based on the synopsis (below), it looks like it should appeal to fans of novels like Ready Player One and You, as well as fans of techno-thrillers. Looking forward to this one.

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life — does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

The God Game is due to be published by St. Martin’s Press in North America (January 7th) and Gollancz in the UK (January 9th).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Quick Review: MOSKVA by Jack Grimwood (Penguin/Thomas Dunne)

GrimwoodJ-TF1-MoskvaUKPBA missing girl, and a twisted mystery that reaches back to the last days of the Second World War

‘A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma…’

January, 1986. A week after disgraced Intelligence Officer Tom Fox is stationed to Moscow the British Ambassador’s fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing. Fox is ordered to find her, and fast. But the last thing the Soviets want is a foreign agent snooping about on their turf. Not when a killer they can’t even acknowledge let alone catch is preparing to kill again…

A Cold War thriller haunted by an evil legacy from the Second World War, Moskva is a journey into the dark heart of another time and place.

Exiled to Moscow after making a mistake in Northern Ireland, Tom Fox is supposed to be writing a report on the stubborn of religion in Soviet Russia. He doesn’t want to be there, but he can speak Russian and he is an experienced researcher. Very quickly, however, he gets roped into finding the British ambassador’s missing daughter. What follows is a twisty investigation through the Russian underground and corrupt echelons of the Muscovite elite, with roots in the Second World War. This is the first novel in a gripping new series. I really enjoyed it. Continue reading

Very Quick Review: Terry McCaleb in Michael Connelly’s BOSCH Universe (Orion/Little, Brown)

ConnellyM-McCalebNovelsUK

I’ve recently been blitzing my way through Michael Connelly’s excellent novels in the “Heironymous Bosch Universe” — those that star the eponymous detective, and also those starring the characters who have cycled in and out of Bosch’s orbit over the course of the series. I tend to focus my reviews on either upcoming, new or fairly-recently-published books. However, Connelly’s crime novels have so taken over my imagination and reading time this past month (eight since the beginning of June), that I decided I should put something together for CR. In this post, I take a quick look at the novels featuring Terry McCaleb. Continue reading

Interview with TOM CHATFIELD

ChatfieldT-AuthorPic C Lewis KhanLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Tom Chatfield?

I’m a British geek in his late thirties who has written a number of books of non-fiction exploring digital culture, and is now embarking on a parallel career as a writer of techno-thrillers with (I hope) a satirical edge. I’m also the father of a couple of small children and a keen jazz pianist, both of which help keep me sane in different ways.

Your new novel, This is Gomorrah, is due to be published soon by Hodder (UK) and Mulholland (US – as The Gomorrah Gambit). It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

In five words: Jason Bourne meets Edward Snowden. In slightly more than five words: Azi Bello, a hacker who’s spent much of his life hiding in a shed in East Croydon, finds things getting very real very fast when dangerous knowledge about the darknet marketplace known as Gomorrah drags him into the world of terrorism, political extremism and technological manipulation. With a side order of sardonic wit and romantic incompetence. Continue reading

Excerpt: THE LIES WE TELL by Niki Mackay (Orion)

MackayN-LiesWeTellUKToday, we have an excerpt from Niki Mackay‘s latest novel, The Lies We Tell. The novel is published by Orion Books in paperback today.

Miriam Jackson is a famous radio presenter. Married to a successful film director, she has created the perfect life for herself.

Then her daughter goes missing.

Miriam is desperate to find her before her husband finds out and her perfect life crumbles around her. So she calls the only person who can help: Private Investigator Madison Attallee, who has just solved the biggest case of her career.

Can Madison find Miriam’s daughter? And will Miriam share the truth about her past?

Read on for the novel’s prologue…

Continue reading

Guest Post: “How My Daughter Reacted When I Made Her a Main Character in my Novel” by David Walton

WaltonD-AuthorPic“They never write stories about people like me,” my thirteen-year-old daughter said. She had just finished yet another YA novel filled with active, adventurous, extroverted sort of people. But Naomi isn’t like that. She’s a beautifully quiet, caring, quirky introvert. Being with other people causes her anxiety, and her favorite activity is reading a book alone. She’s more likely to help quietly from the background, unseen, while others take the lead, and never argues with or confronts others. She wanted to know: Why were none of the people in those novels like her?

I decided that the world needed a protagonist like Naomi. For my novel Three Laws Lethal, I created a fictional Naomi, eight years older than the real one, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania. I invented for her a library nook that no one else knew about where she could spend hours reading or working and feel safe. I gave her an inner thought life based on all of the science fiction and fantasy books she’d read and reread. Continue reading