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An Editor’s Dirty Little Secret

October 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Written by Claire Eddy, Senior Editor

I have a dirty little secret.

I like to think of myself as an individual who is concerned only with high minded pursuits. When trying to unwind in the evening I choose to listen to the radio. Do I turn to classical music? NPR perhaps? Well, sometimes. But often I get drawn into the chatter of the latest conspiracy maven or political pundit and sit mesmerized. I want to go to another station but I keep thinking “wow, did he really say that?” I grimace, annoyed with myself for getting sucked into something so banal, so clearly constructed to pander to the lowest common denominator. But I still listen. What is the appeal of these bombastic hosts? Is it the confrontation that hooks us, or the need to feel superior?

This whole thing was brought home to me recently when Ramsey Campbell delivered his latest book. I am very lucky to be able to work with Ramsey — I know that when I sit down to read a new Campbell story I am not only going to get a good read I probably am going to get the pants scared off me. He had mentioned that he was interested in the growth of antagonistic journalism and I was intrigued to see what his take on this would be.

What I didn’t anticipate was the level of awesome that is Ghosts Know. Campbell has written a horror novel with a twist that had me riveted from the get go. We’ve got a bombastic radio host, Graham Wilde, who thrives on controversy; he loves it when he is hated. Wilde sees it as his job to get the audience riled up and he loves to provoke heated exchanges. His juices really flow when he manages to take down a nationally famous psychic using the man’s own tricks and a bit of inside knowledge.

Things go to hell shortly after however when a young girl is found murdered and the psychic manages to implicate Wilde. What follows is a psychological circus as the circumstantial evidence against him begins to mount, alienating his lover, his listeners, and eventually, the reader. We follow Wilde through a series of odd circumstances and twists of public opinion and watch as he slowly loses his grip on reality and begins a descent into madness.

The ending left me shaken and saddened, yet completely satisfied at the same time. Campbell uncovers the nasty twists in the human psyche that none of us like to think about and has crafted a haunting novel of self-deception and self-loathing that will leave you wondering just what is real and what delusions truly rule our perceptions.

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From the Tor/Forge October 7th newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

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Goodreads Sweepstakes: Golden Dawn by Thomas Kostigen

August 8, 2013 Leave a comment

About Golden Dawn: Golden Dawn is a high-octane international thriller from a seasoned journalist and New York Times bestselling nonfiction author Thomas Kostigen.

Trailing his IRA bomber uncle, journalist Michael Shea stumbles onto the biggest story of his life: a plot to smuggle nuclear material into Iran. Discovered and marked for death, Shea flees the Iranian secret service. His only help comes from the beautiful mystic Neda Ghazali, a member of the ancient sect of the Golden Dawn. For centuries, the sect has guarded a secret prophecy of the End Times – a prophecy that international terrorists and Iran’s president are exploiting for their own gain.

Shea leaves a trail of bodies behind as he rushes to reveal the truth – before Neda’s cataclysmic prophecy comes true.

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(Ends August 22)

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Goodreads Sweepstakes: What Are the Chances by Kenny Rogers with Mike Blakely

July 1, 2013 1 comment

About What Are the Chances: Country music legend Kenny Rogers teams up with Spur Award–winning author Mike Blakely for a rousing tale set in the heyday of Nashville in What Are the Chances.

It’s 1975, and Ronnie Breed’s chart-topping rock band has just self-destructed in a recording studio fistfight. Ronnie makes a bold decision — return home to Texas and reinvent himself as a solo act.

Enter Dan Campbell, Ronnie’s cousin, who recruits Ronnie for a new kind of venture. Dan, who always had a penchant for wild schemes, wants to televise a Texas Hold ’Em tournament…and Ronnie could never say no to his cousin Dan.

As celebrity spokesman for the poker tournament, Ronnie soon finds himself recruiting world-class gamblers in illegal card games while trying to put together a new country band and win a Nashville recording contract—not to mention trying to avoid falling head-over-heels in love with his new manager, Dorothy. But when things start to get weird—hidden cameras, secret high-stakes side-bets, a visit from the FBI—it seems that Dan’s poker tournament may be a façade for something much bigger and much more dangerous.

Ronnie begins to wonder if he will end up with the girl of his dreams in the Country Music Hall of Fame, or broke and lonely in some prison cell. What are the chances?

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(Ends August 1)

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Starred Review: The Confessions of Al Capone by Loren D. Estleman

June 21, 2013 Leave a comment

“Estleman’s Capone is a complex and multifaceted figure: jovial family man, convivial host, sharp-dressed fashion plate, and pensive retiree contemplating his memories and mortality. Although mentally deteriorating, he is still, on his good days, a canny judge of character who is capable of ruthless retaliation. Verdict A tense and thoughtful historical thriller, recommended for all fans of crime fiction and historical novels.”

Loren D. Estleman’s The Confessions of Al Capone gets a starred review in Library Journal!

Here’s the full review:

 In 1939, Al Capone was released from Alcatraz after serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for income tax evasion. Suffering from the effects of syphilis he had contracted as a young man, the former gang boss retired to a palatial beach house near Miami, where he lived with his wife and son until his death in 1947. Into this historical scenario, Estleman, the popular and award-winning author of 70 novels, weaves a gripping fictional tale of a young FBI agent on a perilous mission. Owing to his family connections with the Capone “outfit” and his training at a Catholic seminary, Peter Vasco is seen by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover as an ideal tool with which to infiltrate Capone’s household, masquerading as a priest, and collect information that can be used to investigate Capone’s family and associates. In addition to this difficult mission, Vasco faces the awkward duty of mending his strained relationship with his father, whose link to the Capone gang during Peter’s childhood years remains murky and unexplained, and his own unresolved feelings about his unfinished religious training. Estleman’s Capone is a complex and multifaceted figure: jovial family man, convivial host, sharp-dressed fashion plate, and pensive retiree contemplating his memories and mortality. Although mentally deteriorating, he is still, on his good days, a canny judge of character who is capable of ruthless retaliation.

Verdict A tense and thoughtful historical thriller, recommended for all fans of crime fiction and historical novels. [Previewed in Kristi Chadwick’s “Following the Digital Clues: Mystery Genre Spotlight,” LJ 4/15/13.—Ed.]—Bradley Scott, Corpus Christie, TX

The Confessions of Al Capone was published on June 11th.

Starred Review: Drift by Jon McGoran

June 5, 2013 Leave a comment

“McGoran (Body Trace and two other Madison Cross mysteries under his D.H. Dublin pseudonym) impressively integrates concerns about genetically modified produce with an action-filled storyline and fleshed-out characters.”

Jon McGoran’s Drift gets a starred review in Publishers Weekly!

Here’s the full review, from the May 13th issue:

 McGoran (Body Trace and two other Madison Cross mysteries under his D.H. Dublin pseudonym) impressively integrates concerns about genetically modified produce with an action-filled storyline and fleshed-out characters. Det. Doyle Carrick of the Philadelphia PD, suspended after putting a gun to a drug dealer’s head to coerce information, uses his mandatory vacation to take residence in the house he’s inherited from his recently deceased parents in the rural community of Dunston, Pa. At a Dunston diner, he steps in to save organic farmer Nola Watkins from a creep who grabs her by the wrist. Watkins has also been receiving hang-up calls, which may be related to efforts by real-estate developers to buy out most of the local land owners. Watkins’s refusal to sell may have ticked off those who have already cut deals and who perhaps fear that she will ruin their sales. The disturbing, but scientifically plausible, secret at the heart of the bad guys’ schemes is an original one, and McGoran makes the most of it. Agent: Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (July)

Drift will be published on July 9th.

Starred Review: Mirror Image by Ice-T and Jorge Hinojosa

May 23, 2013 Leave a comment

“There’s a procedural vibe here and the story reads long with its excessive details of Crush’s setup, but Ice-T’s slang rings true. Electronic surveillance gear rivaling James Bond films plays a big role as Crush’s crew scams the cops while planning the robbery. A rousing action scene provides a satisfying finale.”

Ice-T and Jorge Hinojosa’s Mirror Image gets a starred review in Library Journal!

Here’s the full review, from the April issue:

 Ice-T, star of television’s Law and Order: SVU, ponies up the next episode of the street life of Marcus “Crush” Casey following 2011’s Kings of Vice. After serving a 20-year bid in the joint and still reeling from his son’s murder, Crush finds himself in a gangster midlife crisis when his woman Carla demands stability in their lives. But he channels his inner gangster by godfathering New York City’s gangs and exposing police corruption. Backed by his right-hand dude Champa and an uneasy alliance with rival Armenian gangster Alek Perosian who may be his mirror image, Crush aims to pull off one more major heist of priceless cars. Crush hasn’t lived this long by making rash decisions, but love and loyalty may cloud his vision. VERDICT There’s a procedural vibe here and the story reads long with its excessive details of Crush’s setup, but Ice-T’s slang rings true. Electronic surveillance gear rivaling James Bond films plays a big role as Crush’s crew scams the cops while planning the robbery. A rousing action scene provides a satisfying finale, but hardened street lit readers may be frustrated with this “clean” novel short on sex and violence.

Mirror Image published in May.

Goodreads Sweepstakes: The Navigator by Michael Pocalyko

April 24, 2013 Leave a comment

About The Navigator: Wall Street comes to Washington in Michael Pocalyko’s The Navigator.

On the darkest night of 1945, a 20-year-old B-24 navigator assists in the liberation of a German concentration camp. His haunting trauma is prologue to destiny.

Flash forward to present-day Manhattan. Warren Hunter, reigning master of the financial universe, is poised to close the world’s first trillion dollar deal. ViroSat is the Street’s biggest-ever technology play—an entirely new worldwide communication system. It will catapult his investment bank and the global economy into a bright future . . . if the deal goes through.

In Washington, ViroSat captures the attention of Senate political aide Julia Toussaint. Meanwhile, battered tech start-up veteran Rick Yeager has just landed his dream job at a mysterious but well-connected financial firm whose partners want a piece of the action.

Warren, Julia, and Rick are caught in a web of intrigue, money, power, and dangerous secrets. Coincidences are not what they seem as the past collides with the present in a way that will change their lives forever.

A gripping story written by a consummate insider from both Washington and Wall Street, Michael Pocalyko’s The Navigator is a furiously-paced parable of our troubled age.

Enter for a chance to win here!

(Ends May 22)

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