Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Some Books I am Looking Forward to in the first half of 2014

There are a vast number of books due out during the first six months of 2014 and there are quite a few that I am looking forward to reading.  So far between January 2014 and June 2014 I am looking forward to the following in no particular order!

The Ghost Runner is by Parker Bilal and is due to be published in February 2014.  It is 2002 and as tanks roll into the West Bank and the reverberations of 9/11 echo across the globe, tensions are running high on Cairo's streets.  Private Investigator Makana, in exile from his native Sudan and increasingly haunted by memories of the wife and daughter he lost, is shaken out of his grief when a routine surveillance job leads him to the horrific murder of a teenage girl.  In a country where honour killings are commonplace and the authorities seem all too eager to turn a blind eye, Makana determines to track down the perpetrator.  He finds unexpected assistance in the shape of Zahra, a woman who seems to share Makana's hunger for justice.  Seeking answers in the dead girl's past he travels to Siwa, an oasis town on the edge of the great Sahara desert, where the law seems disturbingly far away and old grievances simmer just below the surface.  As violence follows him through the twisting, sand-blown streets and an old enemy lurks in the shadows, Makana discovers that the truth can be as deadly and as changeable as the desert beneath his feet.
The Tournament is by Matthew Reilly and is due to be published in January 2014.  England, 1546: A young Princess Elizabeth is surrounded by uncertainty.  The Black Death stalks the land and with it deadly conspiracies against her.  She is not currently in line for the throne, but she remains a threat to her older sister and brother.  In the midst of this fevered atmosphere comes an unprecedented invitation from the Sultan in Constantinople.  He seeks to assemble the finest players of chess from the whole civilised world and pit them against each other.  The prize?  Fabulous wealth but also the honour of Christendom.  Roger Ascham, Elizabeth's teacher and mentor, is determined to keep her out of harm's way and continue her education in the art of power and politics.  Ascham resolves to take Elizabeth with him when he accompanies the English chess champion to the Ottoman capital.  But once there, the two find more danger than they left behind.  There's a grotesque killer on the loose and a Catholic cardinal has already been found mutilated in the grounds of the palace.  Ascham is asked by the Sultan to use his razor-sharp mind to investigate the crime.  But as he and Elizabeth delve deeper into the murky world of the court and the glittering chess tournament, they find dark secrets, horrible crimes, and unheard-of depravity.  Things that mark the young princess for life and define the queen that she will become...

The First Horseman is by D K Wilson and is due to be published in June 2014.  1536. In the corrupt heart of Tudor London a killer waits in the shadows...The Real Crime Before dawn on a misty November morning in 1536, prominent mercer Robert Packington was gunned down as he crossed Cheapside on his way to early morning mass.  It was the first assassination by handgun in the history of the capital and subsequently shook the city to its core.  The identity of his assassin has remained a mystery.  Our Story Thomas Treviot is a young London goldsmith and a close family friend of Robert Packington.  Through his own upstanding social connections - and some less upstanding acquaintances he has made along the way -, Thomas launches a dramatic investigation into Packington's death.  As Thomas searches for revenge, he must travel from the golden heart of merchant London, to the straw-covered backstreets of London's poorest districts before reaching the country's seat of power: the court of King Henry VIII.  Before long, he is drawn into a dark conspiracy beyond his wildest imaginings and claiming justice for his friend starts to look impossible.  Especially when Thomas realises that Robert wasn't the man he thought he knew...In the first of a new series investigating real unsolved Tudor crimes, D. K. Wilson brings the streets of Tudor London to spectacular life as Thomas Treviot faces a fight to bring the truth to light in the corrupt world of Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII.

The Donnybrook is a three-day bare-knuckle tournament held on a thousand-acre plot out in the sticks of southern Indiana.  Twenty fighters.  One wire-fence ring.  Fight until only one man is left standing while a rowdy festival of onlookers - drunk and high on whatever's on offer - bet on the outcome.  Jarhead is a desperate man who'd do just about anything to feed his children.  He's also the toughest fighter in south eastern Kentucky, and he's convinced that his ticket to a better life is one last fight with a cash prize so big it'll solve all his problems.  Meanwhile, there's Chainsaw Angus - an undefeated master fighter who isn't too keen on getting his face punched anymore, so he and his sister, Liz, have started cooking meth.  And they get in deep.  So deep that Liz wants it all for herself, and she might just be ready to kill her brother for it.  As we travel through the backwoods on the way to the Donnybrook, we meet a cast of nasty, ruined characters driven to all sorts of evil, all in the name of getting their fix - drugs, violence, sex, money, honour.  Donny-Brook is by Frank Bill and is due to be published in March 2014.

Rea Carlisle has inherited a house from an uncle she never knew.  It doesn’t take her long to clear out the dead man’s remaining possessions, but one room remains stubbornly locked.  When Rea finally forces it open, she discovers inside a chair, a table – and a leather-bound book.  Inside its pages are locks of hair, fingernails: a catalogue of victims.  Horrified, Rea wants to go straight to the police but when her family intervene, Rea turns to the only person she can think of: DI Jack Lennon.  However, Lennon is facing his own problems, not least of all his suspension from the police force.  The Final Silence is by Stuart Neville and is due to be published in July 2014.

Judges is three crime stories by Italy’s most renowned crime writers Camilleri, best known for the Inspector Montalbano series, weaves a tale of a Turin judge who moves to a small Sicilian town, and tackles both entrenched mafia corruption and a string of culinary delicacies.  Lucarelli brings us a far darker tale.  “La Bambina” is a beautiful young judge, whose attempts to expose the complicity of the secret service in money laundering lead to multiple attempts on her life, and a desperate struggle for justice.  De Cataldo, a judge himself, tells a tale of an unending feud between a prosecutor and a mayor, set against the background of murder, sleaze, and impenetrable bureaucracy.  Judges is due to be published in May 2014.

The Wolf in Winter is by John Connolly and is due to be published in April 2014.  Prosperous, and the secret that it hides beneath its ruins . . . The community of Prosperous, Maine has always thrived when others have suffered.  Its inhabitants are wealthy, its children's future secure.  It shuns outsiders.  It guards its own.  And at the heart of the Prosperous lie the ruins of an ancient church, transported stone by stone from England centuries earlier by the founders of the town . . . But the death of a homeless man and the disappearance of his daughter draw the haunted, lethal private investigator Charlie Parker to Prosperous.  Parker is a dangerous man, driven by compassion, by rage, and by the desire for vengeance.  In him the town and its protectors sense a threat graver than any they have faced in their long history, and in the comfortable, sheltered inhabitants of a small Maine town, Parker will encounter his most vicious opponents yet.  Charlie Parker has been marked to die so that Prosperous may survive.

The New Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction is edited by Maxim Jakubowski and is due to be published in February 2014.  A truly mammoth collection of 7 decades of pure, unadulterated pulp fiction, jam-packed with tough guys and femme fatales.  Join shady operators, voluptuous molls, ruthless big shots and crooked – or just occasionally, honest – cops on a rollercoaster ride through the mean streets of popular literature in the company of outstanding writers of hardboiled crime such as Dashiell Hammett, Bill Pronzini and Micky Spillane, as well as some forgotten authors well worth rediscovering.

Maybe it was time I forgot about Nico Peterson, and his sister, and the Cahuilla Club, and Clare Cavendish.  Clare? The rest would be easy to put out of my mind, but not the black-eyed blonde . . . It is the early 1950s. In Los Angeles, Private Detective Philip Marlowe is as restless and lonely as ever, and business is a little slow. Then a new client arrives: young, beautiful, and expensively dressed, Clare Cavendish wants Marlowe to find her former lover, a man named Nico Peterson.  Soon Marlowe will find himself not only under the spell of the Black-Eyed Blonde; but tangling with one of Bay City’s richest families – and developing a singular appreciation for how far they will go to protect their fortune . . . The Black-Eyed Blonde is by Benjamin Black and is due to be published in February 2014.  It sees a return of Raymond Chandler’s iconic private detective Philip Marlowe and the dark mesmerising world of The Long Goodbye.

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