Chris Wooding, “The Black Lung Captain” (Gollancz)
Darian Frey is down on his luck. He can barely keep his squabbling crew fed and his rickety aircraft in the sky. Even the simplest robberies seem to go wrong. It’s getting so a man can’t make a dishonest living any more.
Enter Captain Grist. He’s heard about a crashed aircraft laden with the treasures of a lost civilisation, and he needs Frey’s help to get it. There’s only one problem: The craft is lying in the trackless heart of a remote island, populated by giant beasts and subhuman monsters. Dangerous, yes. Suicidal, perhaps.
Still, Frey’s never let common sense get in the way of a fortune before. But there’s something other than treasure on board that aircraft. Something that a lot of important people would kill for. And it’s going to take all of Frey’s considerable skill at lying, cheating and stealing if he wants to get his hands on it...
I really enjoyed Retribution Falls, so I was extremely happy when I received Black Lung Captain as a gift this weekend – the person who gave it to me has earned a near infinite number of Friend Points! I’m also reading it now (a quarter done), so the review will hopefully be up by the end of the week, Monday at the latest.
James Barclay, “Dawnthief” (Gollancz)
The Raven have fought together for years, six men carving out a living as swords for hire in the war that have torn Balaia apart, loyal only to themselves and their code. But when they agree to escort a Xesteskian mage on a secret mission they are pulled into a world of politics and ancients secrets.
For the first time the Raven cannot even trust their own strength and prowess, for the first time their code is in doubt. How is it that they are fighting for one of the most evil colleges of magic known? Searching for the secret location of Dawnthief; a spell that could end the world? Aiming not to destroy it but to cast it.
Thanks to Waterstone’s 3-for-2 on all paperbacks campaign – a most seductive campaign, if ever there was one – I finally managed to pick up the first book in this series. I’ve been hearing some good stuff about it, from readers on both sides of the pond, and as my commitment to reviewing “old” titles is genuine, I will be reading this relatively soon. If it’s any good, then I will probably review the rest of the series as well.
Sean Black, “Dead Lock” (Bantam)
It may be Christmas in New York, but for ex-military bodyguard Ryan Lock it’s business as usual.
His mission: to protect the CEO of America’s largest pharmaceutical company. But, when an apparently botched assassination attempt goes wrong, leaving bodies littering the streets of midtown Manhattan, Lock is drawn into a complex web of intrigue.
Lock’s search for the truth takes him from the rooftops of a New York skyscraper to a heavily fortified warehouse on the Hudson where he uncovers an explosive secret.
As the clock ticks towards midnight on New Year’s Eve, all routes into and out of Manhattan are sealed, and Lock realizes that not only is his own life in terrible danger but so are the lives of millions of others...
I’ve been hovering around buying this book for a long time. When it finally was released in paperback – and after the second in the series, Lock Down, popped up on Amazon’s Vine newsletter – I decided to give Black’s novels a go. Given the good things I’ve heard, I’m confident the two novels will be pretty entertaining.
Sean Black, “Lock Down” (Bantam)
The notorious California supermax State Prison at Pelican Bay houses three and a half thousand of America’s most dangerous prisoners. Three thousand, four hundred and ninety nine of them want the remaining inmate dead. Your job is to keep him alive until he testifies...
Elite bodyguard Ryan Lock and his trusted friend, Ty Johnson, have just become convicted felons, sentenced to twenty years in Pelican Bay. Or at least that’s what the FBI and the United States Justice Department want everyone to believe.
Their mission should be straightforward: to keep one man alive for one week. But the inmate, Frank ‘Reaper’ Hays, is a founding member of the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, who’s about to give evidence against members of his own gang for the brutal slaying of an undercover ATF agent and his family. And just to make an already trying job next to impossible, Hays point blank refuses to go into protective custody. In a world dominated by violent gangs where alliances are constantly shifting and no one can be trusted, Lock knows that he faces the toughest assignment of his career — just to stay alive...
As mentioned above, I got this through Amazon.co.uk’s Vine Programme, and I rather like the sound of it. I recently watched The Shawshank Redemption, and I’m a big fan of Prison Break, so this just seemed to come through at the right time. Really looking forward to it, and as both of Black’s books look like relatively quick reads, I’ll get them done together and probably after I finish The Black Lung Captain (unless any surprise, too-exciting-to-wait releases come my way in the next couple of days).
Jilliane Hoffman, “Pretty Little Things” (Vanguard)
“You should never put anything in writing or in pictures that you wouldn’t want to see or read on the front page of The New York Times,” Elaine Emerson’s mother preached on a regular basis. Thirteen-year-old Lainey would naturally roll her eyes.
She hated her family and school, and except for her friend Molly, stayed pretty much to herself. So when the cute boy she met in an online chat-room starting paying attention to her, Lainey was flattered. When he wanted to see her photograph, she dressed up to look older, did her makeup and nails, and sent him a picture. Then he wanted to meet. How was she going to pull this off?
Special Agent Bobby Dees, head of the Crimes Against Children (CAC) Squad for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), is called in when Lainey Emerson is reported missing. His job is to try to determine when a runaway is simply a runaway, or if something more sinister has taken place. And as successful and acclaimed as he is, the ironic truth is that his own daughter is a missing runaway, who he has been unable to find.
Then the paintings start turning up. Grotesquely distorted images of tortured teen-aged girls – each with enough detail to send law enforcement to the specific locations where their bodies are found. The walls of the CAC office are filled with photos of missing teens – how many of them have fallen victim to this murderer? Will one of them be Lainey Emerson? Or Dees’ own daughter? What kind of sick serial killer are they looking for?
This was kindly sent to my by Hoffman’s US publicist, and it will be my first novel by the author. It’s times like these that I really love book reviewing: in certain book-related instances, I must admit to being blind – there are just some authors I don’t try, if I have to buy the books myself. This has, I’ve come to realise, resulted in my missing out on a great deal of brilliant fiction (certainly in the fantasy and sci-fi genres, but also with thrillers, too). I’ve heard very good things about Hoffman’s writing, so I will get to this in the next round of thriller-reviewing (which will be pretty soon, I imagine).
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Some pretty cool stuff on there, so hopefully some interesting reviews coming up in the very near future.