My Bookish Ways

May 2014 Must Reads in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction

Here are the  books that I’m especially looking forward to in Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction for May (click on the covers to pre-order)! Note I took out the Top 10, because I never (ever) can keep it to just 10. These are in no particular order. 

plastercityPlaster City by Johnny Shaw (Thomas & Mercer-May 1st)

Synopsis (all synopsis are from Amazon or B&N)-Jimmy Veeder and Bobby Maves are back at it, two years after the events of Dove Season—they’re not exactly the luckiest guys in the Imperial Valley, but, hey, they win more fights than they lose.

Settled on his own farmland and living like a true family man after years of irresponsible fun, Jimmy’s got a straight life cut out for him. But he’s knocking years off that life thanks to fun-yet-dangerous Bobby’s booze-addled antics—especially now that Bobby is single, volatile, profane as ever, and bored as hell.

When Bobby’s teenage daughter goes missing, he and Jimmy take off on a misadventure that starts out as merely unfortunate and escalates to downright calamitous. Bobby won’t hesitate to kick a hornets’ nest to get the girl to safety, but when the rescue mission goes riotously sideways, the duo’s grit—and loyalty to each other—is put to the test.

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2014 Edgar Award Nominee Spotlight: Alex Marwood, author of The Wicked Girls

I’m thrilled to have Alex Marwood, author of THE WICKED GIRLS as my guest today in my interview series featuring 2014 Edgar Award nominees! Please give her a warm welcome!

alexmarwoodCongrats on your Edgar nom for Best Paperback Original! Will you tell us a little about THE WICKED GIRLS, and what inspired you to write it?
Thank you! I can’t quite believe how my life has changed over the past couple of years. Like most ‘overnight successes’ it’s been a long time getting to this point, and I still have to pinch myself. The Wicked Girls is the story of Kirstie and Amber, who, as children, became notorious for their involvement in the death of a smaller child, and have been living with the consequences of their actions during a single afternoon ever since. Twenty-five years on. Rehabilitated and released with new identities and a license that forbids them from ever having contact again, both are leading blameless lives among people who have no idea of their terrible history. But when a serial killer starts stalking the streets of the run-down seaside resort where Amber works as a fairground cleaner, Kirstie, now a journalist, is sent to cover the story, and the two are thrown together – both drawn to each other by their shared history and terrified that their meeting will cause the past to be revealed…

A number of things inspired me to write this book. It – the idea of how you’d live with yourself and rebuild your life after doing something terrible – had been bubbling under since I saw Heavenly Creatures back in the Nineties, but it took a long time for it to become clear what I wanted to do with it. We have had a number of notorious child murder cases in the UK – still have them, of course, but the law was changed after Thompson and Venables to provide anonymity for underage killers – and as a journalist I was often quite shocked by the difference between the court reports as they came over the wires and the accounts of the same trials as recounted in some papers. I think that, also, as this was my first foray into writing under a pseudonym, the idea of living in secret was, at least subconsciously, at the forefront of my mind.
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The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher

theoversightThe Oversight by Charlie Fletcher (Orbit, May 6, 2013)-The Oversight is one of those books that, about two pages in, I knew I was in for something good. It begins with an excerpt from The Great and Hidden History of the World by Rabbi Dr. Hayyim Samuel Falk, detailing the function of the Free Company known as The Oversight of London, specifically in protecting innocent humans from the actions of untoward supranaturals. The Oversight has always been manned by people with both supranatural and human blood, so that they may better understand the kinds of beings that they are sworn to protect the human population from. So it begins that a young girl is brought to The Oversight’s Safe House in a sack, mouth covered and hands wrapped, by a man who has been told that the proprietor of said headquarters would pay a pretty penny for young girls. Sara Falk, head of the last Hand of the Oversight, is looking for no such thing, but she finds out that the young girl in question, Lucy Harker, is much like her, and vows to protect her. Lucy’s arrival, however, seems to be the catalyst for bad things to come, and Mr. Sharp, Oversight sentinel and Sara’s protector (whether she likes it or not), is suspicious of Lucy’s arrival from the beginning. He’s right to be suspicious, because there are those that know that the once hundreds strong Oversight is now only five, and they are looking to not only destroy them, but take for them a key that could shift the balance of power in a profound way. Soon, Lucy is separated from the Hand and tragedy befalls Sara. Mr. Sharp is determined to make Sarah whole, even if it threatens their entire existence, and Lucy must make her way amongst a traveling carnival that hides its own dark secrets.
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Interview: Cassandra Rose Clarke, author of The Wizard’s Promise

It’s always a pleasure to have Cassandra Rose Clarke on the blog, and I’m thrilled that she’s here to talk about her upcoming novel, THE WIZARD’S PROMISE, which will be out on May 6th from Strange Chemistry!

cassandraroseclarkeCongrats on the new book! Merboys and lady pirates? I’m there. Will you tell us a little about THE WIZARD’S PROMISE and what inspired you to write it?
The Wizard’s Promise is a YA adventure fantasy that follows the adventures of Hanna, a girl who wants to be a witch but is currently apprenticed to a fisherman. When her boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when the merboy—who’s not exactly a merboy, but definitely something un-human—starts following them. If you want to find out his whole deal, though, you’ll need to read the book!

The Wizard’s Promise is actually a semi-sequel to my other YA duology. Although I finished that story with The Pirate’s Wish, I didn’t want to just abandon the world—or the characters—I had created for it. So I decided to look at a new set of characters in a new part of the world, where I could develop new facets of the world’s culture and look more closely at places that had only been mentioned in the first two books.
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Operation Fourth Story Interview: Cameron Salisbury, Managing Editor of Apex Magazine

The newest Apex Magazine digital subscription drive has been dubbed Operation Fourth Story, and in honor of that, a few of us are hosting editors, authors and artist that have all contributed to Apex Magazine! Today, please welcome Cameron Salisbury, Managing Editor of Apex!

ApexMag04Will you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Have you always wanted to work in editing?
I’m a giant dilettante. My father is a scientist and my mother is an artist, so, growing up, the whole family would be out fossil hunting one weekend and poking around a gallery the next. It took me a long time even to decide whether I wanted to focus on science or humanities in school. I wound up studying languages and education, though I still keep up my Scientific American subscription. I finished grad school just in time for the recession, moved to Boston to be close to my best friends, and landed a nice, steady job that pays the bills and leaves plenty of time in the evenings for writing and editing. My editing career has kind of snuck up on me over the past few years, but these days I love it best, and I love my niche and the range of genre fiction and nonfiction, fan, pro, and academic work that crosses my desk. I’d love to transition into editing full time.

You’re the managing editor of Apex Magazine (and Symposium Editor for Transformative Works and Cultures), and you also juggle a day job! Will you give us a day-in-the-life for you?
Lots of snack breaks. I get up early, check my feeds, and hop on the train, where I usually ride with my head buried in an old sci-fi mag or anthology, trawling for reprints. Then it’s nine hours of day job before I zip home again and curl up with my laptop and my Apex and TWC inboxes. A big part of my job for Apex is distributing the slush pile among our thirteen magnificent submissions editors. We get hundreds of submissions per week, and we’re about to announce an exciting chance to our guidelines that will likely increase that number. I also field queries, solicit art, essays and reprints, copy edit, keep an eye on our social media, and act as an extra set of hands for solving all the random, minor puzzles that pop up as issues come together. My favorite task is helping Sigrid, Apex’s editor in chief, sort all the content we purchase into coherent issues — groups of stories that complement and talk to each other in interesting ways.
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Interview: Michael J Sullivan, author of Hollow World

Michael J Sullivan’s new book, HOLLOW WORLD, just came out in March and he stopped by to chat about it, and more!

michaeljsullivanCongrats on the new book! Will you tell us a little about HOLLOW WORLD and what inspired you to write it?
Thank you very much, and I’d love to tell you more about Hollow World. It’s the story of Ellis Rogers who is pretty much an “ordinary Joe.” He is rather intelligent (he builds his own time machine after all), but he also has everyday problems such as a failing marriage and personal regrets he carries around. When diagnosed with a terminal disease, he has nothing to lose, so he goes into the future hoping to find a cure. What he discovers I’ll not go into, as I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but suffice to say it’s a future he didn’t expect. Ellis is caught up in a murder mystery and through the course of the novel I explore themes about individuality, what it means to love, and the price of paradise.

As for the inspiration behind Hollow World, it started because of an anthology I was asked to contribute to. I wrote a short story with a kind of “Twilight Zone” vibe, where someone from our time goes into the future resembling John Lennon’s song Imagine…a world with no religion, countries, greed or hunger…and although it would seem utopic, he sees it as hell on earth since much of what he values has disappeared over the years. In that short story he is “locked away” as his outdated thinking may infect and spoil the world he arrives in. I showed the short to my wife and a few writer friends and they all came back with the same response, which basically boiled down to there was a lot of potential in the ideas presented, and it should be expanded into a novel. I ended up writing a different short story for the anthology so I could make use of some of the elements of the short for Hollow World.
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Interview: Daniel Levine, author of Hyde

Daniel Levine’s debut novel, HYDE, just came out in March, and he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the new book, and more!

daniellevineCongratulations on your new book, HYDE! Have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us a little more about yourself and your background?
In fifth grade I wrote an essay envisioning my life in twenty-five years. I imagined myself as a horror writer, divorced from my wife who wanted me to be a lawyer instead. I was fortunate to grow up in a house filled with books. My parents are voracious readers and academics—my mother a professor of Spanish Literature and my father a physicist. They read to me (and my brother) over the years. I loved storytelling, the genuine suspense of not knowing what would happen next, the sleights of hand. I loved too the special voice a storyteller takes on. The storyteller must be a kind of outsider, looking in on the drama, observing with sharpened senses, distinct from the rest of humanity by virtue of his/her narrative power. I think I’ve always felt like an outsider in this sense: that I was observing with keen interest the action around me, and responding to it with colorful emotional analysis. The events of my life, compared with others, haven’t been especially dramatic or difficult: a happy childhood in the New Jersey suburbs, good schooling, violin lessons, athletics, a fine college education, graduate school. No abuse or trauma or strife, not like my Henry Jekyll, certainly. But I lead a rich inner life, romantic, brooding, and grand. It’s the urge to birth this inner life that drives writers to write, I imagine. It was my natural impulse. I’ve never wanted to do anything else.
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Giveaway: The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Vol. 8 edited by Jonathan Strahan

Courtesy of the wonderful folks at Solaris, I’ve got 4 copies of The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume 8, edited by Jonathan Strahan, and including stories by Neil Gaiman, Madeline Ashby, Greg Egan, and more! Also, it’s INTERNATIONAL! Check out the details, and good luck!

The best of the year’s Science Fiction and Fantasy stories as selected by the multiple award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan. The series moves to its new publishing home, Solaris, with this eighth annual volume of the celebrated and popular series.


The best, most original and brightest science fiction and fantasy stories from around the globe from the past twelve months are brought together in one collection by multiple award winning editor Jonathan Strahan. This highly popular series now reaches volume eight and will include stories from both the biggest names in the field and the most exciting new talents.

Previous volumes have included stories from Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Cory Doctorow, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Joe Abercrombie, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Jeffrey Ford, Margo Lanagan, Bruce Sterling, Adam Robets, Ellen Klages, and many many more.

With this volume the series comes to a new home at Solaris, publishers of Jonathan Strahan’s award-winning original Infinities SF anthologies and the and Fearsome fantasy anthologies.

Giveaway details:

1.) You MUST fill out the form below (if you’ve signed into Rafflecopter before, it will remember you!)
2.) Giveaway is for 4 copies of THE BEST SFF OF THE YEAR: VOL 8, edited by Jonathan Strahan to 4 
3.) Giveaway is open to everyone (INTERNATIONAL)
4.) You must enter on or before 4/20/14
5.) Giveaway book courtesy of Solaris
6.) Please see my Giveaway Policy.

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Bram Stoker Award winners and nominees (ebooks all under $5)!

It’s Award season, and since I did a post on quite a few of the Edgar Award winners and noms that were on sale (ebook), the other day, and being Friday, I thought it would be fun to do a post of Bram Stoker Award winners and nominees, so you’ll have plenty of reads to choose from over the weekend, if the scaries are your thing. This post covers titles from the past 4 years, and I’ll try to do another couple of posts before the awards are announced in May. So, all you horror fans, get ready to blow up your TBR, and as usual, make sure to doublecheck the price before you click BUY! Enjoy!

Also, be sure to check out the current Bram Stoker nominees, and see a list of all past winners and nominees HERE.

Current Nominees (Please note: A few titles are priced right at $5):

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Afterparty by Daryl Gregory

afterpartyAfterparty by Daryl Gregory (Tor, April 22nd, 2014)-Lyda Rose has just gotten out of the detention facility where, recently, a 17 year old committed suicide. Turns out the girl had taken a drug called Numinous, which helps its victims find God, but when she came down from the mind altering substance, joy turned to despair, and death is the only way out. However, Lyda is a little bit different from the typical addict. Numinous sounds suspiciously like a drug she herself helped develop, and she’s determined to find the source. The drug that Lyda developed, like Numinous, helped the user find a higher power, but if you OD’d the hallucinations stayed with you. That’s where Dr. Gloria comes in. Dr. Gloria is an angel, and she is Lyda’s permanent hallucination. Lyda’s goal is to find out where and how the Numinous is being made, and eliminate the threat. The use of this drug must NOT spread, and Lyda will do anything to make sure that it doesn’t. But there’s much, much more at work here then just one bad guy (or girl) heading up the manufacturing. Luckily, Lyda has a few friends (plus an angel) to help her out.

Afterparty is one of those books that’s very hard to write about. The reason for this is that it refuses to be pigeonholed, which is a good thing, but sometimes hell on the reviewing process. But, I’ll try. Afterparty is told mostly in Lyda’s voice, with interludes into the doings of other characters, and Lyda makes for a fascinating narrator. She’s a rather brilliant neuroscientist with an addict’s sensibility.
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