New Books: 23 May 2023
Armstrong, Kelley: The Poisoner’s Ring (St. Martin’s/Minotaur 9781250820037, $28.00, 352pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, 5/23/2023)
Fantasy time-travel mystery novel. This is the second in the Rip Through Time series. Modern-day homicide detective Mallory, stuck in 1869 Edinburgh, helps medical examiner Dr. Duncan Gray investigate serial poisonings.
Bellin, Joshua David: Myriad (Angry Robot UK 9781915202468, $17.99, 328pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, audio, 5/23/2023)
Science fiction novel. Myriad has been in so many timestrands she’s lost count – hiding from her feelings about her brother’s death she works to prevent crimes from happening but finds herself committing one instead. Agent Miriam Randle works for LifeTime, a private law enforcement agency that undertakes short-term time travel to erase crimes before they occur. Haunted by the memory of her twin brother’s unsolved murder at the age of six, Miriam thinks of herself as Myriad—an incarnation of the many lives she’s lived in her journeys to rearrange the past.
Bruno, Rhett C. & Jaime Castle: Vein Pursuits (Blackstone Publishing, $28.99, 450pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, audio, 5/23/2023)
Western dark fantasy/horror novel. James Crowley has ridden the road to Crescent City before, but never with companions like these. Never with a woman whose very presence jeopardizes everything he’s fought for over the past two decades. The swamps are a brutal, nasty place filled with creatures most people think only exist in nightmares and fever dreams. When Crowley, along with Rosa, Bram Stoker, Harker, and Irish stumble upon such a creature, and one of their party finds themselves mortally wounded, they must find help in the most unlikely of places.
Charaipotra, Sona & Samira Ahmed: Magic Has No Borders (HarperTeen 9780063208261, $19.99, 352pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, 5/23/2023)
Young-adult original anthology. From chudails and peris to jinn and goddesses, this lush collection of South Asian folklore, legends, and epics reimagines stories of old for a modern audience. This fantasy and science fiction teen anthology edited by Samira Ahmed and Sona Charaipotra contains a wide range of stories from 14 bestselling, award-winning, and emerging writers from the South Asian diaspora.
Dahlan, Sarina: Preset (Blackstone Publishing 9798200962549, $27.99, 334pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, audio, 5/23/2023)
Dystopian post-apocalyptic SF novel. After the Last War destroyed most of the world, survivors formed a new society in four self-sustaining cities in the Mojave Desert. To halt extinction, everything in the Four Cities is carefully predicted and carefully controlled, even love. But how can you control love and freedom? In the engrossing prequel to Reset, Preset weaves the tales of Eleanor, the Crone, and Eli, the Planner, before and after the creation of the Four Cities.
El-Arifi, Saara: The Battle Drum (Penguin Random House/Del Rey 9780593356975, $29.99, 560pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, audio, 5/23/2023)
Fantasy novel. Anoor is the first blue-blooded ruler of the Wardens’ Empire, but when she is accused of a murder she didn’t commit, her reign is thrown into turmoil. She must solve the mystery and clear her name without the support of her beloved, Sylah. Sylah braves new lands to find a solution for the hurricane that threatens to destroy her home. But in finding answers, she must make a decision: Should she sacrifice her old life in order to raise up her sword once more?
James, Alice: Grave Danger (Rebellion/Solaris UK 9781786188403, $16.99, 298pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, 5/23/2023)
Humorous dark fantasy mystery novel. Agatha Raisin meets Sookie Stackhouse, with love, heartbreak and zombies. More murder. More mayhem. More champagne. Toni Windsor is failing at ‘happily ever after,’ but it really isn’t her fault. All she wants is true love and the perfect wardrobe, but it doesn’t look like they are coming her way any time soon. Instead, there are murders to solve and zombies to raise, and she’s broken her phone again.
Jeffery, Ross: The Devil’s Pocketbook (DarkLit 9781998851041, $35.00, 308pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, 5/23/2023)
Horror novel. Erik and Lara are in mourning for their daughter, who was born “incompatible with life.” To get away from their suffocating grief and the ever-present shadow their daughter has cast in their lives since passing, and desperately trying to recover their increasingly rocky relationship, they take a trip to the seaside town of Polperro, in Cornwall. No sooner have they arrived, than they realize that their grief cannot be so easily eluded. Drawn to the waters, Erik and Lara discover a large Devil’s Pocketbook, and inside: the miracle child they could never have. Scylla.
Lee, Thomas D.: Perilous Times (Penguin Random House/Ballantine 9780593499016, $28.99, 496pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, audio, 5/23/2023)
Contemporary fantasy novel with Arthurian elements. An immortal Knight of the Round Table faces his greatest challenge yet—saving the politically polarized, rapidly warming world from itself—in this slyly funny contemporary take on Arthurian legend.
O’Keefe, Megan E.: The Blighted Stars (Orbit US 9780316290791, $18.99, 544pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, audio, 5/23/2023)
Space opera SF novel. Stranded on a dead planet with her mortal enemy, a spy must survive and uncover a conspiracy in the first book of an epic space opera trilogy by an award‑winning author. She’s a revolutionary. Humanity is running out of options. Habitable planets are being destroyed as quickly as they’re found and Naira Sharp thinks she knows the reason why. The all-powerful Mercator family has been controlling the exploration of the universe for decades, and exploiting any materials they find along the way under the guise of helping humanity’s expansion. But Naira knows the truth, and she plans to bring the whole family down from the inside. He’s the heir to the dynasty. Tarquin Mercator never wanted to run a galaxy-spanning business empire. He just wanted to study rocks and read books. But Tarquin’s father has tasked him with monitoring the settlement of a new planet, and he doesn’t really have a choice in the matter.
Priest, Christopher: Airside (Orion UK/Gollancz 9781399608831, £22.00, 304pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, 5/25/2023)
Speculative historical novel. Hollywood actress Jeanette Marchand was beautiful, talented, beloved by audiences. During a time of personal crisis, she declares she is going to take a vacation in England, to explore the possibilities of working in London, before returning to the US. She never returned. She never even left the airport. At least, no-one saw her leave. Years later, a young film student finds himself digging deeper into her disappearance. Where did she go? Was she really dead? Who was the mysterious man who sat beside her on the flight across from New York? This is a gripping speculative historical novel, grounded in the golden age of film. Perfect for fans of true crime, conspiracy theories, and SF that is chillingly close to reality.
Waller, Jae: The Call of the Rift: Wake (ECW Press 9781770414594, $18.95, 488pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, 5/23/2023)
Young-adult fantasy novel. The Battle of Tjarnnaast left its mark: Katja is adrift, haunted by her memories of the battle and dark visions of a desolate wasteland. Her only guidance is her parents’ cryptic messages from the spirit world. On their instructions, Katja goes south to track down her mercenary friend Tiernan. Maybe together, they can find the Rúonbattai’s elusive cleric leader, defeat their ranks forever, and end the war. Then Katja could finally go home―if she can decide where home is.
Whitfield, Kit: All the Hollows of the Sky (Quercus UK/Jo Fletcher 9781529414936, £7.99, 640pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, audio, 5/25/2023)
Fantasy novel. Jedediah’s father walked out of his life 40 years ago. Now he’s back. He won’t apologize, he doesn’t explain, and, impossibly, he hasn’t aged a day. If you asked the folks of Gyrford, they’d tell you Jedediah Smith looked up to his father. After all, Corbie Mackem was the Sarsen Shepherd: the man who saved the Smith clan from Ab, the terrifyingly well-meaning fey who blighted a whole generation with unwanted gifts.
Winn, Claire: City of Vicious Night (North Star Editions/Flux 9781635830842, $14.99, 456pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, 5/20/2023)
Young-adult SF novel. For the most hated crew on Requiem, the only way out is up. It’s been four months since runaway heiress Asa crash-landed on the matriarchal outlaw colony Requiem, bringing a nasty AI and a host of deadly secrets with her. Now, she runs with her almost-girlfriend Riven’s smuggler crew, stealing kisses between gunfights and heists. But when a mysterious hacker sabotages their latest job, other gangs turn against them, blaming them for the destruction the rogue AI caused. Nowhere in the city is safe.
Womack, Marian: On the Nature of Magic (Titan Books UK 9781803361345, $15.95, 416pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, audio, 5/23/2023)
Fantasy novel. A Gothic supernatural mystery for fans for The Quickening and The Shape of Darkness, featuring real-life events and people, such as George Méliès and the Moberly-Jourdain incident, where two English women claim to have seen the ghost of Marie Antoinette in the gardens of Versailles.