Archive for January, 2016

The Hatching

January 28, 2016 - 7:38 pm No Comments

I am blogging to share the news that Gollancz have acquired the rights to the relentless, attention-grabbing thriller The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone (published July 2016).

With engaging characters and non-stop action, the TV and film rights to The Hatching have already been acquired by Joel Silver (producer of The Matrix) at auction before the book has even been published. The rights to the book have been sold in nine territories and seven languages: USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Brazil, Italy, Latin American and North American Spanish, and Japan.

Best compared to Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and Max Brooks’s World War Z, Ezekiel Boone’s The Hatching is a brilliantly addictive novel following a cast of diverse characters from around the globe who are pulled together into a desperate fight against an ancient species.

Have You Seen This Girl

January 28, 2016 - 1:04 am No Comments

Have you seen this Girl by Carissa Ann Lynch
Published 8th September 2015 by Limitless publishing LLC
224 pages
Reviewer: Yvonne Davies

The prologue introduces us to a young girl about to take her last fix of heroin before she enters rehab yet again.
Go back 8 years and you get to know Wendi Wise, a typical 13 year old who with her best friend Claire tricks her mom so she can meet 2 boys. But what she did not plan on was being kidnapped and taken to what she named the ” house of horrors” and being forced into a life of sex and drugs.
Then one day, she is just she was just let free, addicted to drugs. With the threat of death if she tells, Wendi does the only thing she can and runs. Whilst trying to live, she is planning her revenge on the people that did this to her. These events make Wendi a stronger person.
Written in Wendi’s POV this book kept me gripped from start to finish and as a mom with a teenager daughter my heart went out to Wendi and I willed her to survive. This book tackles drugs and child trafficking, both harrowing subjects, but necessary to the story.
This book is is ideal for older teenagers and adults alike and the good news is, this is the 1st book in the series

The Sand Men

January 27, 2016 - 2:00 pm No Comments

The Sand Men
Author: Christopher Fowler
Publisher: Solaris
Page count: 334pp
Release date: 2015
reviewed by Chris Amies

Lea follows her husband Roy from Chiswick to Dubai, where Roy is working on a building project designed to bring in wealthy holidaymakers. With their 15-year-old daughter Cara they move to a gated community, where there is little for journalist Lea to actually do. Determined to write about things other than shopping and celebrity she begins to confront the nature of the place she must now call home. Sure enough, there have been mysterious deaths. People vanish.

If it sounds like something written by JG Ballard, the resemblance is intentional. Fowler has referred to this novel as his Ballard tribute and the epigraph is from Ballard’s “Super-Cannes.” If you wanted a symbol of first-world alienation this would be your first port of call: a wealthy elite rich on oil revenues, a servant class of expatriate experts, wives kept at home (because practically everyone is straight, and married), and a shadow army of underpaid workers mostly from India and the Philippines, whose lives and deaths are largely unreported – “the pleasures of the few, built on the burdens of the many”. It is possible that his protagonist is an unreliable narrator, finding a conspiracy where there isn’t one – but then if someone says ‘there is no conspiracy,’ is this because they are part of it? Or because there really isn’t one? The refrain “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you” is aired at least once. That I didn’t buy her perception of the conspiracy (despite the suspiciously gendered nature – for the 21st century – of the project) doesn’t mean it didn’t exist, either. Appropriately, Dreamworld is already a white elephant, there is doubt that it will be completed or be a commercial success and it might exist “one day only as a memory,” the desert reclaiming it rather than the other way about.

‘The Sand Men’ reads like part JG Ballard, part Brave New World. Then there are the hints at a further darkness underlying: “there were dark corners here” and a need to appease the land. It could in fairness have done with a bit of editing – 46 missing people plus the three you already knew about is 49, not 46 – and the nature of the Sand Men is unexplored, deliberate ambiguity left at the end. In a way if he’d stuck closer to what actually goes on in the Middle East it might have come across as angrier, but would that necessarily be a good thing? This would bear comparison with Le Carre’s ‘Constant Gardener’ about the iniquities of drug companies in Africa, and Torday’s ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ which stitched up the venality of Western interests in the Gulf (the film however missed the point entirely). As it is ‘The Sand Men’ is a departure for Fowler who normally writes about London – and I suspect he will return there.

12:07 The Sleeping

January 23, 2016 - 5:46 pm No Comments

12:07: The Sleeping
Author: L Sydney Abel
Published 7th July 2015 
Publisher: Speaking Volumes 
Page count: 259 pages
Reviewer: Yvonne Davies

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
The main characters Lance and Katherine, are a highly successful couple who after loosing their baby, start drifting apart. Added to this is Lance’s sexy secretary, who Lance finds attractive and his soulless next door neighbour Mr Green. This variety of characters and intrigue makes this story an interesting read. 
Lance suffers with nightmares or night terrors, and this is when ‘the sleeping’ visit him.
If you have ever felt like someone is standing over you whilst you are sleeping, and you are powerless to do anything then you have been visited by the sleeping of the title  Throughout the book, Mr Green’s history is explained, and the connection between their lives is easily understood. 
The book is well written and the author has a sympathetic understanding of sleep paralysis, which, after reading his bio, I found out that he suffers with this condition.
This is not your typical good vs evil story and through the book there are plenty of surprises. I personally would describe this book as a psychological thriller rather than a horror novel. 
(Editor’s note: Yvonne’s thoughts on the synopsis seem to mirror the concept behind The Sleep Room by F. R. Tallis)
The sex scenes are not graphic but definetly adult themed. The build up at the end is intense and I nearly missed my station as I didn’t want to put it down!
My one complaint was the ending as it just finished abruptly and left you in limbo. I suppose you can imagine how it finishes, however the pacing wasn’t quite right. 

Occupy Me

January 22, 2016 - 2:41 pm No Comments

Occupy Me
Author: Tricia Sullivan
Publisher: Gollancz
Page Count: 263pp
Release date: 21st Jan 2016
reviewed by Chris Amies

Pearl works for the Resistance. She is a disguised angel, working as a flight attendant. Dr Kisi Sorle is personal physician to a tycoon who has despoiled Sorle’s native country. One day he happens upon what appears to be a briefcase. But this is clearly no ordinary briefcase: its weight is variable and it has hidden depths (literally, for sufficient meanings of ‘depth’) and it appears to eat people, or some aspect of them. The paths of Pearl and Sorle (but is it really him?) intersect catastrophically on a flight from New York to London.

This is an optimistic near-future novel where people are hijacked across different levels of reality. A SF thriller that plays with concepts such as Higher Dimensions and multiple universes.

The briefcase is indeed no ordinary case but a waveform launcher, a gateway to the Higher Dimensions (usually abbreviated to HD). Nobody is who they seem – quite literally, because one individual can have many trajectories, many possibilities, many aspects. An aspect of Pearl has been stolen and she wants it back.

The Resistance seeks to change the world by making small but significant changes, because this is what humans can/should be able to do: “if human beings didn’t want to find the magic,” says one character, “the shortcut, the underlying truth, then we wouldn’t have the big brains. We’d just have the big biceps.” Sullivan has stated her distaste for the laziness of dystopia elsewhere: hers is an optimistic world.

There are ghosts in the oil: ghosts of the creatures that died long ago and whose bodies went to make up the hydrocarbons – oil is relevant in all this, it’s the reason for the despoiling of Sorle’s native land and many others: “places that had been ruined by Pace Industries and the wars it funded, places left behind when people had packed up and moved away.”

“Occupy Me” is the name or designator of the briefcase (or what appears in our dimensions to be a briefcase). There’s a resonance with Alice in Wonderland here: “Eat Me, Drink Me.” And if you think about Alice and her mirror, the mirror is a flat plane but it reflects multi-dimensional worlds – both ours and the one she steps through into. The flat glass of the mirror has a similar relationship to that 3D world as our world does to the Higher Dimensions accessible to or via Occupy Me. Sometimes things come through the other way. There’s a whole Multiverse in there.

Despite Sullivan’s near-future Edinburgh being beset by a cynical megacorporation on the one hand and out-of-place animals on the other, it’s an affectionately-drawn society with memorable characters. The Bechdel Test (re female characters) is passed with confidence. The higher concepts introduced in this novel are brought in gradually and the novel remains grounded as a science fiction thriller, always readable and at the same time reaching for a palpable sense of wonder at the audacious possibilities hinted at.