Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
The Ghoul King

Guy Haley. Tor.com, $14.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-4668-9198-2

Haley’s second postapocalyptic Dreaming Cities novella (after The Emperor’s Railroad) takes readers deeper into the ruined retro-medieval world of zombies and lost technology. The rebel knight Quinn of Atlantis has been captured and forced to fight as a gladiator in the Pit, battling zombies. Quinn is rescued by a group of insurgents whose plans are even more deadly. Their leader, Rachel, wants Quinn to help them sneak into the depths of the ruined city of Old Columbus, defying the always-watching Angels to recover illegal technology from the time called the Gone Before. Ignoring Quinn’s warnings, Rachel leads her team into the city’s dangerous lower levels, where ghouls and other monsters are worth braving for the brutal technology she seeks. Haley further illuminates the damaged world of the Dreaming Cities and the ancient forces that continue to influence human activities. Fans of dark secrets and postapocalyptic adventure will be eager for the next chapter in Quinn’s story. (July)

Reviewed on 05/20/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
And Yet It Moves

Erin Stalcup. Indiana Univ, , $20.99 ISBN 978-0-253-02203-5

The ever-present, everyday magic in Stalcup’s debut collection overlays the mundane world like mist and blurs the lines between the prosaic and the fantastic, in stories that examine life and loss. These losses include a lost child in “Einstein,” in which a dying Albert Einstein writes letters to the daughter he gave away when she was two years old (Stalcup’s choice among the many theories about what happened to the girl, whose true fate is unknown); the loss of self by the hired author of suicide notes in “Ghost Writer”; and lost opportunities in the nonspeculative missed-connections world of “Brightest Corners.” But loss flows alongside restored hope. In “Keen,” professional funeral keener Maeve sings for an otherwise lost soul, and in “Galileo, Hawking, Rabinowitz,” budding physicist Elizabeth Rabinowitz is determined to hunt down the Theory of Everything despite the sexist behaviors of her fellow scientists. Stalcup’s fabulist prose-poetry takes readers on tours of today’s dreams and Nikola Tesla’s memories, her writing surreal but solid enough for the reader to lean against. Stalcup’s work has primarily appeared in literary magazines, but this collection will easily find a home with readers of speculative fiction. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 05/20/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Breath of Earth

Beth Cato. Harper Voyager, , $14.99 ISBN 978-0-06-242206-4

Steampunk author Cato (The Clockwork Dagger) turns to the U.S. in this well-researched and vivid fantasy set in an alternate 1906 San Francisco that’s protected from earthquakes by geomancers. Japan and the U.S. have formed the United Pacific alliance and jointly targeted China. The entire San Francisco council of Earth Wardens is destroyed in a suspicious explosion, leaving only the hidden talents of young Ingrid Carmichael to thwart the next attack on the city. Ingrid, the mixed-race daughter of a vanished warden, is restricted from practicing magic due to both her gender and her dark skin. She must look for allies among the city’s persecuted Chinese refugees, exiles forced to wear yellow ID patches. Along with a renegade inventor (with a handy airship!), Ingrid sets out to confront the terrorists who plan to rubble the city and tries to appease the near-mythic guardian whose subterranean slumber is being disturbed. Cato cleverly brings her colorful Barbary Coast–era San Francisco to life, highlighting the neglected perspectives of the outsiders and the dispossessed who made up the majority of its populace. Agent: Rebecca Strauss, DeFiore & Company. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 05/20/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Hike

Drew Magary. Viking, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-56385-0

In this peculiar literary odyssey, Magary reexamines some of the same themes he covered in The Postmortal while throwing in some fascinating dream imagery, assorted video game tropes, and a story structure that’s deliberately predictable (with nods to many other tales of wandering through strange lands before returning home) but still surprising. A man named Ben wanders from a hotel for a hike, gets attacked by a bizarre man wearing the skinned head of a rottweiler, and soon gets lost in the woods. As he wanders, he slips into dreams where he relives missed opportunities from his life. In his waking hours he meets various fantastical creatures, including a talking crab and a gorgeous, polite, human-eating giant. Magary throws plenty of humor into the tale—the giant has a “death matrix” that measures how painful or slow Ben’s death at her hands will be—but keeps the focus on Ben’s efforts to get home to his family and confront his own demons. Magary smartly doesn’t answer every question Ben’s journey raises, and the story is more satisfying as a result. The sense of disjointedness doesn’t always feel intentional, and the journey is occasionally uneven, but it’s always fascinating and worthwhile. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 05/20/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Spellbreaker

Blake Charlton. Tor, $26.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-7653-1729-2

Charlton’s magnificent epic fantasy novel concludes his Spellwright trilogy (after Spellbound) but also works as a standalone story. Leandra Weal is one of three Wardens, charged with quelling neodemons who arise from malevolent thoughts and the magic energies of the world. A spell induces a vision that warns her she must either kill someone she loves or die herself—very soon—in order to prevent widespread destruction. The other Wardens—her father, Nicodemus Weal, and her mother, Francesca DeVega—have discovered evidence of incursions by spellwrights from a foreign empire and the presence of an ancient demon, which may signal a significant supernatural assault against the human kingdoms. Charlton inserts backstory naturally, and readers will effortlessly pick up on the history and mythology underlying the tale’s present. His worldbuilding is impressive, with each culture having a distinct flavor. His magic is based on spells that can turn words into physical forms, and readers will be awed by the divinity complexes, which are powerful constructs of multiple deities and humans. There is significant emotional depth to the story, and ponderings on fate, love, and the purpose of human society give the novel some gravitas. Intricate plotting, strong characters, and a wonderfully imagined world make this a winner. Agent: Matt Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 05/20/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Last Days of New Paris

China Miéville. Del Rey, $25 (224p) ISBN 978-0-345-54399-8

Miéville (This Census-Taker) takes on the surrealists in this gritty and erudite fantasy. In 1941, a surrealist bomb exploded in Nazi-occupied Paris, unleashing thousands of manifs—physical manifestations of images taken from surrealist paintings. Some were merely whimsical; others were terrifying and dangerous. Now it’s 1950 and New Paris, as it’s called, is the epicenter of the continuing war. The chaotic city is fought over by Nazis and Parisians, both sides constantly bedeviled by the chaotic manifs. Worse still, the Nazis have made contact with hell and unleashed demons to aid their villainy. Thibault, a soldier in the surrealist cause, fights the Germans using the powers of chaos while attempting to monitor the manifs. While patrolling the city, he observes a manifestation of Carrington’s famous Amateur of Velocipedes and meets Sam, a woman with the unusual plan of photographing all of surrealist New Paris, despite the danger. Thibault soon discovers that Sam is someone much more powerful and dangerous than she seems. Knowledge of surrealist art is not necessary to enjoy this odd, action-filled tale, but it helps. An appendix explains the sources of the dozens of manifs mentioned in the story. Agent: Mic Cheetham, Mic Cheetham Associates Ltd. (U.K.). (Aug.)

Reviewed on 05/20/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Only the Dead Know Burbank

Bradford Tatum. Harper Perennial, $15.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-242875-2

In actor Tatum’s unusual, captivating debut, set in Germany and the U.S. in the early 20th century, a woman cursed with immortality eventually finds comfort in filmmaking. Maddy Ulm narrates her story with a wry pragmatism that doesn’t conceal her underlying melancholy over her unchanging condition, and her longing for the experiences and feelings that only mortals can have. Film proves to be her outlet, and horror her specialty. When one of her silent films is picked up by Universal Pictures, she heads from Bavaria to Hollywood and is soon working on some of the most famous movies of the age. Maddy loves the studio and delights in haunting the nooks and crannies of the sets, but her pervasive sense of loneliness is always evident, and she bears the crushing knowledge that she’ll be forever trapped in the body of a young woman. Spanning the course of about 20 years leading up to the rise of Hitler, this bitingly witty and darkly vibrant concoction features an irresistible heroine, and the gorgeous, lush writing easily conjures the grit and glamour of golden age Hollywood. Maddy’s story is crass, lyrical, and even tragic. Cameos by Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff will undoubtedly delight film buffs, as will the meticulously researched depiction of the dawn of filmmaking. Agent: Noah Ballard, Curtis Brown Ltd. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 05/20/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Big Lead: A Stella Reynolds Mystery

Libby Kirsch. Sunnyside, $12.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-9969350-0-5

Novice reporter Stella Reynolds, the endearingly human heroine of Kirsch’s fiction debut, finds her first job in the TV industry with the Fox affiliate in sleepy Bozeman, Mont. Stella’s appreciative of the opportunity, but she can’t help having second thoughts when she learns how small the staff and resources of her station are. Stella’s first achievement of significance is interviewing river guide Bill James following his arrest for burglarizing a house and trying on the owner’s underwear. After learning that James has an alibi, Stella manages to get the sheriff to agree to dismiss the charges, but that proves to be just a temporary victory when James becomes the prime suspect in the stabbing murders of the burglary victim and her mother. The truth, Stella suspects, is much more complex, and she holds nothing back in pursuing it. The author does a good job of eliciting sympathy for Stella by depicting her embarrassing stumbles on her first days. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/20/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Murder Under the Covered Bridge

Elizabeth Perona. Midnight Ink, $14.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-7387-4805-4

In this diverting sequel to Perona’s Murder on the Bucket List (2015), the women of the Summer Ridge Bridge Club, all in their 70s, gather on a scenic bridge to pose for photos for a sexy pinup calendar as part of the Parke County, Iowa, Covered Bridge Festival. Then gunshots ring out, and the ladies see a man running across a cornfield in their direction; he stumbles down the creek bank below the bridge and falls unconscious at the edge of the water. The unconscious man turns out to be Matthew, a nursing home owner who’s a second cousin of one of the women, Francine McNamara. As they await the arrival of the police, Francine wonders whether the ensuing police investigation might generate some welcome publicity for their group. The solution to the shooting incident may be far-fetched, but cozy fans will enjoy spending time with Francine and friends. Perona is the pseudonym of the father-daughter writing team of Tony Perona and Elizabeth Dombrosky. (July)

Reviewed on 05/20/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Court Trouble: A Platform Tennis Mystery

Mike Befeler. Five Star Publishing, $25.95 (266p) ISBN 978-1-4328-3222-3

Set in Boulder, Colo., this solid series launch from Befeler (Murder on the Switzerland Trail) introduces an unlikely amateur sleuth, platform tennis buff Mark Yeager. Mark, who has recently recovered from cancer surgery, spots his friend Manny Grimes enter an adjoining court one night and get into an argument with the four men already there. Then all the lights go out. When the lights come back on, Manny is lying dead on the court with a gash in his head. Mark, who feels he owes Manny for persuading him to go to the doctor in the first place, resolves to find Manny’s killer. As he digs into his friend’s past, Mark discovers that Manny was involved with some highly unsavory characters. Mark’s wife, his friends, and the police warn him to back off when the attempts on his life begin. But Mark, possessed by a “drive to be alive” again, won’t quit until he catches the culprit. Readers will look forward to seeing more of this determined tennis enthusiast and cancer survivor. (July)

Reviewed on 05/20/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.