26 December 2016

Upcoming for 2017 - part 2: April - July

This is Part 2 of my "coming next year" post. For Part 1, see here.


The End of the Day | Claire North | Orbit |  6 April

"Charlie meets everyone - but only once.

You might meet him in a hospital, in a war zone, or at the scene of a traffic accident.

Then again, you might meet him at the North Pole-he gets everywhere, our Charlie.

Would you shake him by the hand, take the gift he offers, or would you pay no attention to the words he says?

Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. He never knows which."

I'm INCREDIBLY lucky to have an advance copy of this book (thank you, Orbit!) and it is SUPERB. It's rather different from North's recent books - she's written several each focussing on an individual with a strange gift (or curse0 and the consequences of that, often leading to a thrillery plot. They have been great, but here she focusses much more squarely on the human angle: an ordinary man - Charlie - with a strange job - Harbinger of Death - and just what that does to him.

It's less conventional than the earlier books, but oh so compelling...

The Man Who Loved Islands | David F Ross | Orenda Books | 20 April

"In the early 80s, Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller were inseparable; childhood friends and fledgling business associates. Now, both are depressed and lonely, and they haven’t spoken to each other in more than ten years. A bizarre opportunity to honour the memory of someone close to both of them presents itself, if only they can forgive … and forget. With the help of the deluded Max Mojo and the faithful Hamish May, can they pull off the impossible, and reunite the legendary Ayrshire band, The Miraculous Vespas, for a one-off Music Festival – The Big Bang – on a remote, uninhabited Scottish island? Absurdly funny, deeply moving and utterly human, The Man Who Loves Islands is an unforgettable finale to the Disco Days trilogy – a modern classic pumped full of music and middle-aged madness, written from the heart and pen of one of Scotland’s finest new voices."

This is the final part of the Disco Days trilogy (after The Last days of Disco and The Rise and Fall of the Miraculous Vespers- a funny and moving but also realistic account of growing up on the West Coast of Scotland in the 70s and 80s. I LOVE these books and I'm looking forward to this (though not to saying good bye to Ross's fantastic characters).

City of Miracles | Robert Jackson Bennett |  Jo Fletcher Books | 20 April 

"Shara Komayd, once Prime Minister of Saypur, has been assassinated. News travels fast and far, even to a remote logging town somewhere northwest of Bulikov, where the silent, shaven-headed Dreyling worker 'Bjorn' picks up the newspaper and walks out. He is shocked and grieved and furious; he's been waiting thirteen years for Shara, his closest friend, to reach out to him - to tell him to come home. He's always believed she was running a long operation, that there would be a role for him at the right time. Now he has no one else in his life, and nothing to live for - except to find the people who did this.

Sigrud wasn't there for the death of his daughter Signe, and he wasn't there when Shara was murdered. Now Bjorn is dead and Sigrud is back. And he will find answers, for Shara, and for himself. He's made a promise."

I have just loved this series - Bennett's writing has been so assured, so beautiful his characters so well drawn and his upsetting of fantasy tropes so meticulous.

Part of me never wants it to end: part of me wants to see how things turn out.

Sure to be one of my contenders for book of the year.
Image from www.amazon.com

Want You Gone | Chris Brookmyre | Little, Brown | April

"What if all your secrets were put online?

Sam Morpeth is growing up way too fast, left to fend for a younger sister with learning difficulties when their mother goes to prison and watching her dreams of university evaporate. But Sam learns what it is to be truly powerless when a stranger begins to blackmail her online, drawing her into a trap she may not escape alive.

Who would you turn to?

Meanwhile, reporter Jack Parlabane has finally got his career back on track, but his success has left him indebted to a volatile source on the wrong side of the law. Now that debt is being called in, and it could cost him everything.

What would you be capable of?

Thrown together by a common enemy, Sam and Jack are about to discover they have more in common than they realise – and might be each other’s only hope."

I came late to Brookmyre's Jack Parlabane series but I'm finding them compulsive, simply the best of crime writing so I'm delighted that another is coming along after last year's superlative Black Widow.

Scarlett Thomas | Dragon's Green | Canongate | April

I also have this from NetGalley and will be reviewing. Thomas's adult books have a wonderful knack of weaving together the weird with the everyday and are peopled by characters who can be both monstrous and amazing yet seem like someone you might meet on your morning commute. So I really want to see what she does in this, the first of a series of

"Some people think opening a book is a simple thing. It’s not. Most people don’t realise that you can get truly lost in a book. You can. Especially you. Effie Truelove’s grandfather Griffin has always refused to teach her magic, even though he admits that it exists. After a mysterious incident leaves him close to death, Effie finds that she is to inherit his library of rare books. But when the books fall into the hands of shady scholar Leonard Levar, Effie is propelled into the most dangerous adventure of her life. With the help of her friends – rugby-mad Wolf, nerdy Maximilian, helpful Lexy and strange Raven – Effie must find a way to get the books back. She and her friends must discover their true powers, and Effie must travel alone to the Otherworld where she will find the true meaning of the strange old book called Dragon’s Green..."

Aliette de Bodard | The House of Binding Thorns | Gollancz | April

I'll admit I haven't yet caught up on de Bodard's House of Shattered Wings (I don't read enough) and here's the sequel!

However Wings earned high praise and I'm sure Thorns won't disappoint. And there's my incentive to get myself caught up...


Justina Robson | The Switch | Gollancz | 18 May

After her epic Quantum Gravity sequence, I'm desperate to see what Robson does next. Here's a hint, from http://justinarobson.co.uk/the-switch/

“Harmony is the perfect society; a design showcase in which humans are being made in the image of god.

I didn’t say whose god. Certainly not mine.

As one of a select minority slated for eradication I’m giving it all a score in the low zeroes.

That being the case when someone offers you a too-good-to-be-true deal for a way out, you’re gonna take it. In the circumstances you’d be a fool not to. Another word for freedom is ‘nothing left to lose’, right?


Turns out you can still lose your body, and then you can lose your mind.”

Block 46 | Johana Gustawsson (trans by Maxim Jakobowski) | Orenda Books | May 

"Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French truecrime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French noir."

Faithless | Kjell Ola Dahl (trans by Don Bartlett) | Orenda Books | May 

"Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich are back... and this time, it’s personal...

When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her... and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder.

As he begins to look deeper into the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda finds another body, and things take a more sinister turn. With a cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway casting a shadow, and an unsettling number of coincidences clouding the plot, Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers – and the killer – before he strikes again.

Dark, brooding and utterly chilling, Faithless is a breath-taking and atmospheric page-turner that marks the return of an internationally renowned and award-winning series, from one of the fathers of Nordic Noir."

The Boy on the Bridge | MR Carey | Orbit | May

"Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

In The Boy on the Bridge, M. R. Carey returns to the world of his phenomenal word-of-mouth bestseller, The Girl With All the Gifts, for the very first time."

Did you love The Girl with all the Gifts? I certainly did and it's so exciting that Carey will be exploring more in that world.


Stained Light | Naomi Foyle | Jo Fletcher Books | 1 June

The fourth book in the Gaia Chronicles.

"Astra Ordott tried - and failed - to deny her destiny.

To cleanse her conscience and save those she loves, she made the ultimate sacrifice, giving up her freedom to hand herself over to the Is-Land authorities. But that was ten years ago, and the conflicts that have branded her a psychotic traitor are just getting hotter. All around her, long-simmering conflicts are beginning to boil over again, Non-Land and Is-Land are further from reunification than ever and the wider world is facing devastating threats both old and new.

Outside Astra's fortified Gaian homeland, an infertility crisis is threatening the survival of the human race, while global civilisation's reckless pursuit of rare earth mining is infuriating the ancient spirits of the planet.

Astra may have found her voice as a messenger of cosmic harmony - but is anyone listening? And if she cannot persuade humanity to respect the elemental laws of the universe, will she at least see her life-long personal enemies, Dr Samrod Blesserson and Ahn Orson, face justice on Earth?"

Laura Lam | Shattered Minds | Macmillan | 15 June

"A gripping near-future thriller from the author of False Hearts. Carina is a troubled rebel with a cause, who'll fight her own dangerous urges as well as a corrupt mega-corporation. Sudice Inc. plans to use the latest virtual-reality tech to hack our very minds - and only Carina, who's been on the inside of their illegal operation, can stop them . . . but only if she can unlock her own buried memories with a piece of code. Carina will need the help of a small band of hackers, especially Dax. And if Carina can keep her humanity, maybe she and Dax will have a future too. Laura Lam's Shattered Minds stars a female 'Dexter' with a drug problem and a conscience, in a terrifying near-future where technology rules our lives and haunts our dreams."

Down Among the Sticks and Bones | Seanan McGuire Tor.com | 13 June 
Image from http://www.tor.com/

Follow-up to Every Heart a Doorway, a lovely novella about a group of misfit children coping not only with growing up but also recovering from magical/ fantasy adventures.

Now, read on...

"Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first..."

Exquisite |  Sarah Stovell | Orenda Books | June 

A debut psychological thriller set in the Lake District.

Tammy Cohen | They All Fall Down | Transworld | June

"The psychological thriller of the year from the author of WHEN SHE WAS BAD - a killer is picking off patients in a psychiatric unit - who is next? With the incredible twists of BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and chilling suspense of THE WIDOW


Alice is in a high-risk psychiatric unit. Fellow patients are disappearing.
She knows they’re not suicides, though.
They're being picked off one by one.

Alice could need your help. Because she’s next."

The Intuitionist | Colton Whitehead | Fleet | June

"Verticality, architectural and social, is at the heart of Colson Whitehead's first novel that takes place in an unnamed high-rise city that combines twenty-first-century engineering feats with nineteenth-century pork-barrel politics. Elevators are the technological expression of the vertical ideal, and Lila Mae Watson, the city's first black female elevator inspector, is its embattled token of upward mobility. When Number Eleven of the newly completed Fanny Briggs Memorial Building goes into deadly free-fall just hours after Lila Mae has signed off on it, using the controversial 'Intuitionist' method of ascertaining elevator safety, both Intuitionists and Empiricists recognize the set-up, but may be willing to let Lila Mae take the fall in an election year.

As Lila Mae strives to exonerate herself in this urgent adventure full of government spies, underworld hit men, and seductive double agents, behind the action, always, is the Idea. Lila Mae's quest is mysteriously entwined with existence of heretofore lost writings by James Fulton, father of Intuitionism, a giant of vertical thought. If she is able to find and reveal his plan for the perfect, next-generation elevator, the city as it now exists may instantly become obsolescent."


The Rift | Nina Allen | Titan Books UK | 11 July

Nina Allen's The Race was such a beautiful, original book about compound reality, human nature, family, dog racing, destiny... and more. I am so excited to see she has another out next year:

"Selena and Julie are sisters. As children they were close, but as they grow older, a rift develops between them. There are greater rifts, however. Julie goes missing aged seventeen. It will be twenty years before Selena sees her again. When Julie reappears, she tells Selena an incredible story about how she has spent time on another planet. Does Selena dismiss her sister as the victim of delusions, or believe her, and risk her own sanity?"

The Delirium Brief | Charles Stross | Orbit | 13 July

"Bob Howard's career in the Laundry, the secret British government agency dedicated to protecting the world from the supernatural, has involved brilliant hacking, ancient magic, and combat with creatures of pure evil. It has also involved a wearying amount of paperwork and office politics, and his expense reports are still a mess.

Now, following the invasion of Yorkshire by the Host of Air and Darkness, the Laundry's existence has become public, and Bob is being trotted out on TV to answer pointed questions about elven asylum seekers. What neither Bob nor his managers have foreseen is that their organization has earned the attention of a horror far more terrifying than any demon: a government looking for public services to privatize. There are things in the Laundry's assets that big business would simply love to get its hands on...

Inch by inch, Bob Howard and his managers are forced to consider the truly unthinkable: a coup against the British government itself."

And for the rest of the year...

The Witch at Wayside Cross | Lisa Tuttle | Jo Fletcher Books | 10 August 

Follow up to The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief, Tuttle's alt-Victorian superntural detection novel from 2016, which was a rattling good read.

Iron Gold | Pierce Brown | Hodder | 24 August

The start of a new trilogy from Red Rising author Pierce Brown - can he follow up the most punchy, emotional and space opera-y trilogy of the decade so far? I'm so excited about this...

The Crow Garden | Alison Littlewood | Jo Fletcher Books | 20 October

Looking forward to more superior scares from Littlewood - and just in time for Halloween...

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