“On The Smugglers’ Radar” is a feature for books that have caught our eye: books we have heard of via other bloggers, directly from publishers, and/or from our regular incursions into the Amazon jungle. Thus, the Smugglers’ Radar was born. Because we want far more books than we can possibly buy or review (what else is new?), we thought we would make the Smugglers’ Radar into a weekly feature – so YOU can tell us which books you have on your radar as well!
On Ana’s Radar:
New tor.com novella alert – “inspired by pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy” – SAY NO MORE:
San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World’s Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer “authentic” experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet.
Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where mystery, science, and art intersect.
Michelle Paver’s Dark Matter was a super favourite Horror novel a few years back. Now, she has a new horror story coming out in the same lines as Dark Matter and I want it very very badly:
In 1935, young medic Stephen Pearce travels to India to join an expedition with his brother, Kits. The elite team of five will climb Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain and one of mountaineering’s biggest killers. No one has scaled it before, and they are, quite literally, following in the footsteps of one of the most famous mountain disasters of all time – the 1907 Lyell Expedition.
Five men lost their lives back then, overcome by the atrocious weather, misfortune and ‘mountain sickness’ at such high altitudes. Lyell became a classic British hero when he published his memoir, Bloody, But Unbowed, which regaled his heroism in the face of extreme odds. It is this book that will guide this new group to get to the very top.
As the team prepare for the epic climb, Pearce’s unease about the expedition deepens. The only other survivor of the 1907 expedition, Charles Tennant, warns him off. He hints of dark things ahead and tells Pearce that, while five men lost their lives on the mountain, only four were laid to rest.
But Pearce is determined to go ahead and complete something that he has dreamed of his entire life. As they get higher and higher, and the oxygen levels drop, he starts to see dark things out of the corners of his eyes. As macabre mementoes of the earlier climbers turn up on the trail, Stephen starts to suspect that Charles Lyell’s account of the tragedy was perhaps not the full story…
We’ve got an intriguing pitch this week for a book called VISCERA that has blurbs from folks like Kat Howard, Nicole Kornher-Stace and Phoebe North!
A woman with strange abilities travels across a bizarre war-torn land in an inventive and gruesomely comic fantasy tale.
Rafe Davin joined the dice-rolling cult of the Assemblage out of desperation, in hopes that his life might be better under their protection. Now, tied helplessly to his Ace and leader, he soon finds himself wandering the perilous woods surrounding the cutthroat city of Eth, plotting unspeakable deeds.
Eternal survivor Ashlan Ley is a strange woman navigating a strange land. But when her journey becomes inextricably tangled in the fates of these cultists, Ashlan’s only hope is to return to Eth, accompanied by outcasts and addicts, where her darkest secrets lie under the streets.
Through Eth’s pearly walls, conflict is simmering, egged on by the calcified organs of long-dead gods that radiate eldritch power from subterranean catacombs. And when what’s hidden comes to a boil, this band of misfits will fight with everything they’ve got—guts and all.
A darkly comic tale of unforgettable characters, Viscera drags classic swords-and-sorcery through the mire of modern grimdark, taking readers on a journey through a world whose weirdness gleams from every nook and cranny.
And another one from tor.com by a fave author:
Captain Ronaldo Aldo has committed an unforgivable crime. He will ask for forgiveness all the same: from you, from God, even from himself.
Connected by ansible, humanity has spread across galaxies and fought a war against an enemy that remains a mystery. At the edge of human space sits the Citadel—a relic of the war and a listening station for the enemy’s return. For a young Ensign Aldo, fresh from the academy and newly cloned across the ansible line, it’s a prison from which he may never escape.
Deplorable work conditions and deafening silence from the blackness of space have left morale on the station low and tensions high. Aldo’s only hope of transcending his station, and cloning a piece of his soul somewhere new is both his triumph and his terrible crime.
On Thea’s Radar:
OH MY GOD A NEW MICHELLE PAVER!?!?!?! I loved A Dark Matter so, so, so goddamn much. I need this book NOW.
First up on my radar this week, a book I received in the mail from another dearly respected author: Kenneth Oppel.
Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth-century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt, it’s the “rex,” the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.
But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. And if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.
As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. Their flourishing romance is one that will never be allowed. And with both eyeing the same prize, it’s a romance that seems destined for failure. As their attraction deepens, danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light and forcing Samuel and Rachel to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry, and with it a new life together, or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other?
I just finished reading Strange Star from new-to-me author Emma Carroll and I cannot wait to dive into her backlist because, goodness, that book was lovely and haunting and the right mixture of Kate Milford and Frances Hardinge. I shall start with this one:
‘The gates to Frost Hollow Hall loomed before us. They were great tall things, the ironwork all twisted leaves and queer-looking flowers. And they were very definitely shut.’
Tilly’s heart sinks. Will’s at the door of their cottage, daring her to come ice-skating up at Frost Hollow Hall. No one goes near the place these days. Rumour has it that the house is haunted . . . Ten years ago the young heir, Kit Barrington, drowned there in the lake. But Tilly never turns down a dare.
Then it goes horribly wrong. The ice breaks, Tilly falls through and almost drowns. At the point of death, a beautiful angel appears in the water and saves her. Kit Barrington’s ghost.
Kit needs Tilly to solve the mystery of his death, so that his spirit can rest in peace. In order to discover all she can, Tilly gets work as a maid at Frost Hollow Hall. But the place makes her flesh crawl. It’s all about the dead here, she’s told, and in the heart of the house she soon discovers all manner of dark secrets . . .
‘Frost Hollow Hall’ is a thrilling historical fiction debut. Told in Tilly’s unique voice, it is a tale of love and loss, and how forgiveness is the key to recovery.
Also in the mail this week:
Twin Peaks meets Pretty Little Liars in acclaimed author Maggie Thrash’s new Strange Truth series.
It’s better to know the truth. At least sometimes.
Halfway through Friday night’s football game, beautiful cheerleader Brittany Montague—dressed as the giant Winship Wildcat mascot—hurls herself off a bridge into Atlanta’s surging Chattahoochee River.
Just like that, she’s gone.
Eight days later, Benny Flax and Virginia Leeds will be the only ones who know why.
And last but not least, the last item in my mail haul for this past week:
James R. Hannibal presents a thrilling adventure through history, complete with mysteries, secret items, codes, and a touch of magic in this stunning middle grade debut.
Thirteen-year-old Jack Buckles is great at finding things. Not just a missing glove or the other sock, but things normal people have long given up on ever seeing again. If only he could find his father, who has disappeared in London without a trace.
But Jack’s father was not who he claimed to be. It turns out that he was a member of a secret society of detectives that has served the crown for centuries—and membership into the Lost Property Office is Jack’s inheritance.
Now the only way Jack will ever see his father again is if he finds what the nefarious Clockmaker is after: the Ember, which holds a secret that has been kept since the Great Fire of London. Will Jack be able to find the Ember and save his father, or will his talent for finding things fall short?
And that’s it from us! What books do you have on YOUR radar?