My Bookish Ways

Interview: Tom Rob Smith, author of The Farm

Tom Rob Smith has gotten tons of attention for his trilogy starring Soviet Union security officer Leo Demidov, and his new novel, The Farm, is excellent. Tom was kind enough to stop by and answer a few of my questions, so please give him a warm welcome!


tomrobsmithCongrats on your new book, THE FARM! Was it a bit bittersweet to wrap up Leo Demidov’s story and begin with a new character?
I was always sure that AGENT 6 was going to be Leo’s last story. The book was written with that in mind, and I think the ending for is exactly right for Leo. But yes, it’s always sad leaving behind a character I’d spent so long with.

Will you tell us a little more about what inspired the story?
Four years ago I received a phone call from my father telling me that my mother had suffered a psychotic breakdown, she was in an asylum and I had to fly out to Sweden to see her. Several years earlier my parents had retired and moved to a farm in a remote part of Sweden. Needless to say, I was shocked and booked a flight to Sweden but before I could catch the flight my mum called me from a pay-phone, telling me that everything my dad had told me was a lie, she wasn’t mad, he was involved in a criminal conspiracy and she was flying to London to tell me the truth.

I met her at Heathrow airport and brought her back to my apartment in order to listen to her version of events.

In my novel the story I tell is a fictional one, all the characters are my creation, but it’s inspired by the idea of not knowing who to believe – your father, or your mother.

Will you tell us more about Daniel and what you think makes him a compelling character?
Daniel is a young man in his mid-twenties who has never really grown up, he’s adrift and oblivious to difficulties of others. This makes him an interesting person to try and piece together the truth of what has happened because he’s so unqualified for such a role. He also has many secrets of his own.

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June 2014 New Releases in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction

Here are the new releases in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction for June 2014.I’ve also included audiobook links where they apply. Enjoy!


redchameleonJune 3rd, 2014:

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June 2014 New Releases in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

Here are the new releases in SF, Fantasy, and Horror for June 2014.I’ve also included audiobook links where they apply. Enjoy!


themontaukmonsterJune 3rd, 2014:

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The Raven’s Banquet by Clifford Beal

theravensbanquetThe Raven’s Banquet by Clifford Beal (Solaris, May 12th, 2014) Reviewed by Michael Parker- This dark historical fantasy tells the story of Sir Richard Treadwell in two parts. The first, set in 1625, documents his first year as a soldier. Richard has neither the temperament nor inclination to enter into the proper pursuits expected of somebody from his class, namely business or politics, and has decided as a young man to seek his fortune fighting for a noble cause. He has decided to join the protestant Danish army as an officer to fight in Germany against their papist king, the Hapsburg Emperor.

The second strand of the story is set twenty years later during the English Civil War. Sir Richard is arrested by Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army and taken to the Tower of London where he will face trial for treason. It is alleged that Sir William has acted for the catholic cause, urging Duke Frederick of Denmark to petition his father King Christian to come to the aid of his relative Charles Stuart, a pretender to the English throne. Sir Richard knows a guilty verdict means the gallows, and death seems likely, even with his brother’s counsel, not least since the charge is true.

The book’s structure, in which, chapters from the two time periods alternate is highly effective in showing Sir Richard’s downfall. He begins as an innocent naif, and as the realities of war strip away his boyish idealism, we see how he ends bitter and humiliated. The young Sir Richard joins a small troop of cavalry men who teach him there is little bounty to be found in war, and that which there is is not given freely but taken by sacking and looting, and by rape and torture. As his campaign progresses, Richard’s soul is increasingly corroded, initially by sins of omission as he is too scared to intervene as his companions torture a local landowner to find his hidden wealth, then later by sins of commission as he murders his retainer then finally as he betrays the woman who saved his life on the battlefield and has grown to love.

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Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea

kokoKoko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea (Titan, June 10th, 2014)-Booze! Orgiastic simulated mass slaughter! More sex than you can shake a, er, stick at, and just about any way you want it! All of this and more can be found at the very adult playground of The Sixty Islands, a manufactured tropical resort. It’s here that Koko Martstellar can be found tending bar and tending her stable of boywhores, as well as enjoying the affection of her favorite, Archimedes. It’s an unorthodox life, but Koko is happy, and glad to be out of the mercenary for hire business. She’s abruptly yanked out of her island idyll when her bar is stormed by a band of ruthless killers, and they seem to be after one thing: Koko. Luckily, Koko hasn’t lost her touch, and she wipes the floor with this pack of predators, but not before racking up plenty of collateral damage. She’s also shocked to find out that the person that’s put out a hit on her is none other than her old mercenary comrade in arms, and, she thought, friend, Portia Delacompte. It’s time for Koko to say goodbye to her bar and run, and she does, with the help of an escape pod she built herself and has managed to keep hidden from her overseers at the CPB (Custom Pleasure Bureau.) Her pod takes her to the Second Free Zone, and eventually she makes her way to a residential barge called the Alaungpaya, and into the orbit of former security deputy Jedidiah Flynn. He could be the key to her survival, and she’s going to need all the help she can get, because a team of hitwomen have been set loose, and they’ve been ordered to terminate Koko once and for all.

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Interview: Karin Salvalaggio, author of Bone Dust White

Karin Salvalaggio’s debut thriller, BONE DUST WHITE, just came out this month, and she was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the new book, and much more! Please give her a warm welcome!


karinsalvalaggioBone Dust White has already gotten some amazing buzz! Will you tell us a little about it and what inspired you to write it?
BONE DUST WHITE is a tale of abandonment and betrayal set in the icy depths of a northern Montana winter. After witnessing a murder, a troubled young woman named Grace has to negotiate a whole host of unseemly townspeople who are hell bent on settling old scores. Past crimes are revealed and the community quickly unravels under the strain. Detective Macy Greeley is brought in to uncover the truth, but untangling Collier’s web of complex relationships and long kept secrets isn’t a task for the faint-hearted. Grace’s story is what originally inspired me to write the novel. Because of her heart condition and background she has been raised in near isolation and didn’t expect to live beyond her 18th birthday. She’s been given a new lease on life, but in order to survive she must change. I wanted to show the full arc of her transformation. I wanted the reader to go from feeling ambivalent to being fully engaged. I was also interested in examining the aftermath of crime on a community. I created a point of contention, a cast of characters and a setting. By throwing in an inciting incident I was able to explore how the shock waves rippled through the town of Collier. It was by following those waves that I found the real story.

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Giveaway: Wide Open, Deep Down, and Strange Country by Deborah Coates

Deborah Coates’s wonderful contemporary fantasy trilogy has come to its conclusion this week with STRANGE COUNTRY and the lovely folks at Tor have offered up the entire trilogy (Wide Open, Deep Down, Strange Country) to one lucky winner (US/Canada.) I love this series and can’t recommend it highly enough, so if you haven’t discovered it yet, you’re in for a treat!


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Interview: Terry Hayes, author of I Am Pilgrim

I absolutely loved I AM PILGRIM, so I’m thrilled to have its author, Terry Hayes on the blog today to chat about the book, what he’s working on next (more Pilgrim!!), and so much more! Please give Terry a warm welcome!


terryhayesCongratulations on the new book, I AM PILGRIM! Will you tell us a little about it and what inspired you to write it?
At its heart it is a race against time, an espionage thriller that takes it’s hero – a man code-named Pilgrim – through vastly different cultures and across continents in a desperate attempt to identify and locate a ghostly figure who is planning a cataclysmic attack on the US and the Western world in general. It deals with leading edge science, the haemorrhaging of hitherto closely-guarded secrets on the internet and the almost impossible task that intelligence agencies throughout the world have in trying to find what they call cleanskins – men and women with no criminal history, no radical affiliations and no entry in any data base. In reality, this is just the sort of man they fear most, the one that keeps them awake at 3am in the morning. Beyond that, it is also a classic hero story – an ordinary man, born in unusual circumstances, goes on an extraordinary adventure, finds skills and courage he didn’t even know he had and achieves something of great importance to the world. That is an ages-old story – it is the tale of Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Jesus, Moses, countless others and, I. A small way I suppose, Mad Max. And now it is also the basic story of the man we know as Pilgrim.

I don’t really know what inspired me to write it – apart from the fact that I thought it was a rattling good story, one of the best I had ever started thinking about. And once that starts to really burrow into your mind, you can’t stop asking yourself ‘what if Pilgrim did such and such?’; what about this or that; would such and such make a great action sequence? Before long it starts to take over your life and if you really fall in love with it, if the excitements sustains, if the characters are really alive for you, then you don’t have much choice except to sit down and start writing it. And then, of course, cursing all of those thoughts that led you into it in the first place!

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The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker

truthaboutharryThe Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker (Viking, May 27th, 2014)-When Marcus Goldman publishes his first novel, it makes him a star. High on money and fame, he barely stops to consider that more may be expected of him. Soon, though, his publisher and agent are hounding him to produce another book, or else, and after many false starts, Marcus suspects that he doesn’t have it in him to write another book. Desperate, he returns to Somerset, Massachusetts, where he first met Harry Quebert, author of The Origin of Evil, considered a masterpiece by some. He hasn’t seen Harry in about a decade, but Harry welcomes Marcus back into his home and insists that soon, he’ll be able to write another book. One day, Marcus sets about snooping in Harry’s office, hoping that he’ll find something to unlock the secrets of overcoming his persistant writer’s block. Instead, he finds a box with pictures of Harry with a very young girl. Harry catches him with the pictures and flies into a rage, but after calming himself, he begins to tell Marcus about the girl, Nola Kellergan, a girl that Harry insists that he was in love with. The problem is, Nola was only fifteen in 1975, much too young to be involved with a man in his 30s, and soon Marcus finds out that, in addition to being Harry’s lover, Nola disappeared that year, never to be seen again.

If Marcus was a bit disgusted to find out that Harry had fallen for a 15 year old girl, he gets an even bigger shock when her body is found on Harry’s property, three feet under the soil that was disturbed by landscapers, planting flowers at Harry’s request. Immediately, Harry is suspected, and subsequently arrested for Nola’s murder, but Marcus is sure that Harry would never kill anyone, and if he did, why would he request that flowers be planted in the very spot that he supposedly buried the body. Once Marcus’s publisher gets wind of the scandal, he demands that Marcus produce a sensational tell all about the case, full of sex and violence, but Marcus refuses. He then embarks on his own investigation, determined to clear Harry’s name.

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And the winner of the signed copy of I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes is…

Congratulations, Sabine! You’ve won a signed and personalized copy of I AM PILGRIM by Terry Hayes, and I’ve got the photos to prove it! Your book is on the way to you, and thanks so much to everyone that entered the giveaway, as well as huge thanks to the lovely folks at Atria/Emily Bestler books!

The inscription reads:
To Sabine, Congratulations! I hope it lives up to your expectations! Best Wishes, Terry Hayes


TerryHayesSigning
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