Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By Stan Lee and Kat Rosenfield
Afterword: Ryan Silbert, Luke Lieberman
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release date: September 17, 2019
A Trick of Light is a self-aware, pop culture snapshot that introduces us to the Stan Lee’s Alliances series. It serves as a love letter to Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z with many references to current trends, technology, internet language and culture, classic and modern gaming, and issues such as misinformation and digital privacy. The book further combines many genres and subjects: science fiction, urban legends, politics, ethics, technological singularity, horror, adventure, and cyberpunk and pays its respect to other books and series like Ghost in The Shell, Ready Player One, Harry Potter, Ender’s Game, Invasion of The Body Snatchers, Bioshock, and more.
With his marriage falling apart due to a series of tragic events, Charles Hayden – a literary scholar – and his wife Erin take a trip to Yorkshire, England to stay at the family estate of the 19th century children’s author, Caedmon Hollow. Hollow’s only book, In The Night Wood, is the subject of Charles’ research and a way to hopefully turn his recent misfortunes around; however, as secrets regarding Hollow’s past begin to reveal themselves, and small-town life threatens to place Charles in a vicious, repetition of the past, the veil between reality and fantasy becomes unclear in the most haunting of ways.
Wow! That was the exact exclamation I used out loud when finishing In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey, and the feeling remains the same 24 hours later while writing this review.
A police inspector and a stage magician team up to investigate the murder of their old wartime commander as well as a possibly related case of the suspicious death of a local gypsy fortune-teller in The Blood Card, the third book in the Magic Men Mysteries series by Elly Griffiths.
It’s May 1953, and all of London is prepping for the imminent coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is busy investigating the death of Madame Zabini, a local gypsy psychic whose body had washed up by the pier, while nearby his best friend and old World War II buddy, the famous magician Max Mephisto, prepares for a prominent two-week run at the Theatre Royal during a time when people more and more are staying home to get their entertainment via television. The two friends are then summoned together by General Petre to the scene of the murder of Colonel Peter Cartwright, the man who had recruited them into the Magic Men, a top secret wartime espionage unit.
There’s a risk inherent in reading the first published novel by an otherwise new author. There’s additional risk when that first published novel is announced as part of a planned trilogy before the author has even had the opportunity to toe the waters of publishing success. I admit I initially felt this way about reading Rebecca Schaeffer‘s Not Even Bones. But the official synopsis won me over and made me overlook my trepidations and dive in.
The Wild Dead The Bannerless Saga Book 2 Paperback | Kindle
By Carrie Vaughn
Publisher: John Joseph Adams | Mariner Books | HMH Books
Release date: July 17, 2018
In The Wild Dead, author Carrie Vaughn delves back into the world she created in Bannerless, where in a future dystopian society the survivors must earn their keep and prove themselves worthy of a banner, which permits a household to have a child. This follow-up sees investigator Enid embroiled in another rare murder-mystery after the body of a young woman is found inside one of the far-off communities. After Enid discovers that the murdered woman was one of the “Wild” folk who live outside of The Coast Road, the name for this rebuilt society, she goes above and beyond the call of duty as well as dangerously out of bounds to try to solve the case.
The sequel opens with Enid away on what should be a quick assignment with her new, rookie partner Teeg, to resolve a simple household dispute. She’s eager to get back home, though, as her household is awaiting the imminent arrival of their baby, being delivered by her housemate Olive. It’s an immensely joyous occasion, and Enid promised to be there for it, but she still has a long way to travel back from The Estuary community, the northern-most town, which borders The Wild area. Just as she’s ready to hand down her judgment on the dispute, the young Wild woman’s body is found. Teeg thinks they should leave the matter unsolved and head home, since it doesn’t fall under their jurisdiction, but Enid is compelled to continue the probe, even if it leads her in uncharted territory.