Archive for July, 2015

Under Ground S L Grey

July 31, 2015 - 10:53 am No Comments

Author: S L Grey
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release date: 16th July 2015
Hardcover: Page Count: 342pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

S L Grey is a collaboration between Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg.
Run by Greg Fuller, The Sanctum is the hope of the future. Sarita, just a small child, looks for her missing toy in the Sanctum where she lives, but all she finds is a man in the dark, who is dead. The Sanctum is a refuge; a complex that stretches far down underground where those who live there can try to survive the virus that’s wiping out humanity ‘your own luxury survival condo (that) comes with pure peace of mind’.
Each chapter of the book is narrated from the point of view of one of its inhabitants. The first chapter, ‘written’ by Gina, gives the reader an insight into the spread of the virus and the new world her family hopes for when things ‘settle down’. The complex is self sustaining and it’s always night in the condo. A few months is all it will take for a cure, her Dad thinks. Gina’s not so sure. She stares at her twin brother Brett, thinking about how he’s changed over the last two years, hoping he’ll remember her.
The second narrator is Jae, a game playing teenager, in a bunker in Maine, who complains when the WiFi server is down. Having youths as narrators is incredibly refreshing and we see the new world through young eyes that aren’t happy with their new lot. The authors use Skype and other methods of social media for character interaction and exposition. Conflict comes early on with Jae (who’s Dad is Korean) meets Brett, who he terms Psycho Boy and immediately reacts angrily towards him.
Cait is an au pair working for Tyson looking after his daughter Sarita, following the death of her mother. All Cait wants to do is get back home to Africa, but the flights have been grounded. Soon, she too will be stuck below ground in the Sanctum. Where everyone seems to have a secret. The poignancy, fear and degrading hope is palpable throughout the narrative.
When the internet goes down and supplies start to run dry, the tension rackets another notch up.
I won’t say anything more, other than the end is superb and a lovely surprise that in retrospect makes complete sense. This is truly one of the best books I have read in a very long time and it is destined to be a cult classic. It is sure to also be an award winner and I predict a film in its future.
There are three books I’ve read in the last year that have stood out to me; The Death House by Sarah Pinborough, The Girl With all the Gifts by M. R. Carey and this. A magnificent taut read. Compelling.

Books needed for Fundraiser

July 15, 2015 - 6:22 pm No Comments

Last month my friend Adam Baxter who some may know as Ash Hartwell, tragically lost his niece. She spent a week at a hospice in Norfolk which was invaluable time for her parents and the rest of the family. To show their thanks the family are holding a dog show with stalls, raffle etc in Watton on Aug 23. Adam is asking for authors great and small to donate books for raffle prizes, or to be auction off. All proceeds will go to Quidenham Children’s Hospice. If anyone can donate either signed or unsigned copies of there book (feel free to include some promo material) then please contact him via Facebook or adam.baxter39@btinternet.com Thank you!

Abracadaver

July 10, 2015 - 1:46 pm No Comments

Esther Diamond Book 7
Author: Laura Resnick
Publisher: DAW
Page count: 328
Release date: 25th Nov 2014
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Within hours of the action in The Misfortune Cookie, this seventh instalment in the hectic life of Esther Diamond picks up where the previous novel left off. It’s Chinese New Year in NY Chinatown; its blustery, slushy and Esther is jobless yet again after Indie flick ABC has closed down filming. Esther has just survived another dose of supernatural mayhem, when she gets a call from John Chen from his family’s funeral parlour, telling her that one of the corpses has climbed out of its coffin and walked a few steps before collapsing in a heap. So Esther, ancient Mage Max and familiar/gigantic dog Nelli are called in to investigate.
Particularly suspicious is the fact that the funeral home received a visit from Detective Lopez’s new partner, Detective Quinn. Last time Esther saw Quinn, the normally gentle and docile Nelli went the doggy equivalent of ballistic.
Intent on protecting her on/off/on again boyfriend, Esther, who is reprising her role as Jilly C Note on cop show Dirty 30, convinces a fellow actor to jobshadow Lopez to keep an eye on Quinn. She is convinced he has something to do with the spate of bad luck Lopez is experiencing and the sudden mobility of dead bodies.
As always, these books are refreshing, fun and easy to read. Esther is an incredibly likeable heroine who though sassy, isn’t your stereotypical Urban Fantasy leather-clad heroine. She’s trouble, she’s chaos and she’s oftentimes inept, stumbling through supernatural shenanigans but coming out on top through her natural smarts. Her turbulent relationship with Lopez also makes for interesting reading. The Daniel Dos Santos cover, as usual is great fun, vibrant and captures the essence of Esther. I can’t wait to see what the next cover looks like.
As for the next novel itself? Well, this one ends on a helluva cliffhanger so it’s sure to be a thrill and a half.
5/5 stars

Foxglove Summer

July 10, 2015 - 1:04 pm No Comments

PC Peter Grant (Book 5)
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Publisher: Gollancz
Page Count: 384pp
Paperback release date: 9th July 2015

For those unfamiliar with this fantastic series, PC Peter Grant is a mixed race made in his mid twenties who made his literary debut in ‘Rivers of London’. In the first novel, Peter is recruited by Nightingale to become Britain’s most junior wizardNon the Folly, investigating supernatural crimes. Peter is pulled away from London to Herefordshire when two young girls go missing. His job is to find out if any wizards or other supernatural creatures are involved. The ulterior motive behind Nightingale sending Peter to Rushpool is to get him away from London where he is moping following the events with Lesley in the previous book. Of course, in between his investigation, he gets to spend time with the bubbling Beverley Brook, a river deity, meet the locals and partake of lots of local cider. I do wonder how much research Mr Aaronovitch was forced to endure (ahem). Part police procedural, part magic, part blistering humour, this fifth instalment in the Rivers of London series does not disappoint. Peter Grant is an eminently likeable chap, with a very wry sense of humour and an acute observational eye when it comes to humanity. The story itself is intriguing with a solid mystery at its heart and it rattles along at a steady pace, whilst still allowing Peter time to enjoy the country life. It’s certainly a refreshing new angle to take as the other books are set in the city. This is a great, gritty and whimsical read. 5/5 stars