Publishers Weekly - Tor/Forge Blog
Close
post-featured-image

Starred Reviews: A Scourge of Vipers by Bruce DeSilva

A Scourge of Vipers by Bruce DeSilva“…this excellent addition features a bit of romance, a lot of action, plenty of snappy repartee, and social commentary on the fate of newspaper journalism and the corrupting role of money in the political process. Quality all the way.”

Bruce DeSilva’s A Scourge of Vipers got starred reviews in Library Journal and in Publishers Weekly!

Here’s the full Library Journal review, from the January 1 issue:

starred-review-gif Rhode Island Governor Fiona McNerney proposes the legalization of sports betting to reduce the state’s budget deficit. The mob opposes the idea because it would eat into its bookmaking business, and sports oversight groups claim it would open up games to dishonesty. After Atlantic City mobsters show up in Providence with bags of cash, presumably to influence legislators, veteran newspaper reporter Liam Mulligan investigates. When a state legislator and several other people turn up dead, Mulligan soon becomes a prime suspect in several murders. VERDICT DeSilva’s Edgar and Macavity Award-winning books (most recently Providence Rag) is a consistently well-written hard-boiled series. Unfortunately, few of the regular characters have roles here. Still, this excellent addition features a bit of romance, a lot of action, plenty of snappy repartee, and social commentary on the fate of newspaper journalism and the corrupting role of money in the political process. Quality all the way.

Here’s the full Publishers Weekly review, from the February 2 issue:

starred-review-gif-1 Edgar-winner DeSilva’s excellent fourth Liam Mulligan novel (after 2014’s Providence Rag) finds the Providence, R.I., investigative journalist on hard times professionally. His newspaper, The Dispatch, has been reduced to a shell of its former self, publishing fluff rather than substance and largely staffed by wet-behind-the-ears newcomers. His jerk of an editor, Charles Twisdale, is more concerned with the bottom line and advertising revenue than reporting the news, leaving Mulligan feeling like a dinosaur on the verge of extinction. But if that’s to be his fate, the reporter is determined to go down swinging, pursuing the truth behind a series of murders that appear linked to the governor, colorfully known as “Attila the Nun,” who hopes to solve the state’s public-pension crisis by legalizing sports gambling. The lean prose and clever plotting will remind hard-boiled fans of Loren Estleman’s Amos Walker novels.

A Scourge of Vipers will be published on April 7.

Pre-order A Scourge of Vipers today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | iBooks | IndieBound | Powell’s

post-featured-image

Starred Review: The Doll Collection edited by Ellen Datlow

The Doll Collection edited by Ellen Datlow“Dolls, puppets, and other human simulacra are objects of fear and wonder in this eclectic anthology of 17 excellent original stories that Datlow (Nightmare Carnival) selected for their ability to “mine the uncanniness of dolls for all its worth.””

Ellen Datlow’s The Doll Collection got a starred review in Publishers Weekly!

Here’s the full review, from the February 2 issue:

starred-review-gif Dolls, puppets, and other human simulacra are objects of fear and wonder in this eclectic anthology of 17 excellent original stories that Datlow (Nightmare Carnival) selected for their ability to “mine the uncanniness of dolls for all its worth.” In Stephen Gallagher’s “Heroes and Villains,” the creepy candor with which a ventriloquist’s dummy tells truths about its deceased former owner suggests that it’s not the current owner who is speaking through it. Joyce Carol Oates’s “The Doll-Master” is narrated by the title character, who gradually reveals the ghoulish nature of his “doll” collection. Datlow’s ban on clichéd “evil doll” stories encouraged contributors to explore refreshingly original ideas, including the doll hospital in Veronica Schanoes’s “The Permanent Collection,” which nods to E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic “The Sandman” while depicting a Mengele-like surgeon named Coppelius, and the strange folk tradition of Jeffrey Ford’s “The Word Doll,” in which children are compelled to escape into the world of an imaginary playmate. Accompanying photos of dolls and their parts intensify the eeriness of these works, which easily transcend their familiar theme.

The Doll Collection will be published on March 10.

Pre-order The Doll Collection today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | iBooks | IndieBound | Powell’s

Starred Review: Inside a Silver Box by Walter Mosley

Inside a Silver Box by Walter Mosley“Wild concepts and deep thoughts sit comfortably alongside the musings of ordinary people undergoing radical changes in this top-notch tale.”

Walter Mosley’s Inside a Silver Box got a starred review in Publishers Weekly!

Here’s the full review, from the November 21 issue:

starred-review-gif In this terrific genre-defying work, Mosley (Rose Gold) uses an eons-old battle for control of existence as a backdrop for a character-driven novel of philosophy and social commentary. Ages ago, the Laz created the Silver Box to inflict torture on other life forms, but the Silver Box rebelled and imprisoned the Laz within itself. In the present day, black thug Ronnie Bottoms kills white Columbia student Lorraine Fell in Central Park, above the Box’s resting place. Lorraine’s spirit draws Ronnie back to her body and he resurrects her using the artifact’s power, but a sliver of the Laz escapes, so the Silver Box calls upon the unlikely duo to “try to save the Earth” and sends them on a journey to gain superpowers. Mosley really pulls out all the stops, managing with improbable success to combine a struggle for the fate of all existence with a story about two New Yorkers from very different backgrounds coming to understand each other and address the mistakes they’ve made in their own lives. Wild concepts and deep thoughts sit comfortably alongside the musings of ordinary people undergoing radical changes in this top-notch tale.

Inside a Silver Box will be published on January 27.

Starred Review: You Know Who Killed Me by Loren D. Estleman

You Know Who Killed Me by Loren D. Estleman“The solution is among the author’s craftiest and bleakest.”

Loren D. Estleman’s You Know Who Killed Me got a starred review in Publishers Weekly!

Here’s the full review, from the October 17 issue:

starred-review-gif Edgar-finalist Estleman’s compelling 24th Amos Walker novel (after 2014’s Don’t Look for Me) finds the hard-bitten Detroit PI in rehab, after overdosing on alcohol and Vicodin. The doctor treating Walker gives him a break by not reporting his possession of the pain medication without a prescription. Meanwhile, an old friend asks his help with a murder case in nearby Iroquois Heights: Donald Gates, who maintained the computer that operated the city’s traffic lights, was gunned down in his basement. Lt. Ray Henty, who’s in charge of the corrupt Iroquois Heights PD, has a tough job made harder by the placement of huge billboards featuring Gates’s photo and the legend, “You Know Who Killed Me.” The responses to the ads flood the sheriff’s department tip line with dozens of anonymous calls, which Walker is deputized to look into. The solution is among the author’s craftiest and bleakest.

You Know Who Killed Me will be published on December 9.

post-featured-image

Starred Review: The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu“Remarkable, revelatory and not to be missed.”

Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem got starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews and in Publisher’s Weekly!

Here’s the full review, from the October 15 issue of Kirkus Reviews:

starred-review-gif Strange and fascinating alien-contact yarn, the first of a trilogy from China’s most celebrated science-fiction author.

In 1967, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, young physicist Ye Wenjie helplessly watches as fanatical Red Guards beat her father to death. She ends up in a remote re-education (i.e. forced labor) camp not far from an imposing, top secret military installation called Red Coast Base. Eventually, Ye comes to work at Red Coast as a lowly technician, but what really goes on there? Weapons research, certainly, but is it also listening for signals from space—maybe even signaling in return? Another thread picks up the story 40 years later, when nanomaterials researcher Wang Miao and thuggish but perceptive policeman Shi Qiang, summoned by a top-secret international (!) military commission, learn of a war so secret and mysterious that the military officers will give no details. Of more immediate concern is a series of inexplicable deaths, all prominent scientists, including the suicide of Yang Dong, the physicist daughter of Ye Wenjie; the scientists were involved with the shadowy group Frontiers of Science. Wang agrees to join the group and investigate and soon must confront events that seem to defy the laws of physics. He also logs on to a highly sophisticated virtual reality game called “Three Body,” set on a planet whose unpredictable and often deadly environment alternates between Stable times and Chaotic times. And he meets Ye Wenjie, rehabilitated and now a retired professor. Ye begins to tell Wang what happened more than 40 years ago. Jaw-dropping revelations build to a stunning conclusion. In concept and development, it resembles top-notch Arthur C. Clarke or Larry Niven but with a perspective—plots, mysteries, conspiracies, murders, revelations and all—embedded in a culture and politic dramatically unfamiliar to most readers in the West, conveniently illuminated with footnotes courtesy of translator Liu.

Remarkable, revelatory and not to be missed.

Here’s the full review, from the September 29 issue of Publisher’s Weekly:

starred-review-gif-1 Fans of hard SF will revel in this intricate and imaginative novel by one of China’s most celebrated genre writers. In 1967, physics professor Ye Zhetai is killed after he refuses to denounce the theory of relativity. His daughter, Ye Wenjie, witnesses his gruesome death. Shortly after, she’s falsely charged with sedition for promoting the works of environmentalist Rachel Carson, and told she can avoid punishment by working at a defense research facility involved with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. More than 40 years later, Ye’s work becomes linked to a string of physicist suicides and a complex role-playing game involving the classic physics problem of the title. Liu impressively succeeds in integrating complex topics—such as the field of frontier science, which attempts to define the limits of science’s ability to know nature—without slowing down the action or sacrificing characterization. His smooth handling of the disparate plot elements cleverly sets up the second volume of the trilogy.

The Three-Body Problem will be published on November 11.

post-featured-image

Starred Review: Lock In by John Scalzi

Lock In by John Scalzi“Scalzi’s characters possess tangible motivations and inhabit a thoroughly believable world, and the growing partnership between Shane and Vann is a pleasure to watch unfold. This powerful novel will intrigue and entertain both fans and newcomers.”

John Scalzi’s Lock In got a starred review in Publishers Weekly!

Here’s the full review, from the June 16 issue:

Image Placeholder of - 10 Hugo-winner Scalzi (Redshirts) successfully shifts away from space opera with this smart, thoughtful near-future thriller resonant with the themes of freedom, ethics, and corporate greed.

The story is set some 25 years after the first appearance of Haden’s Syndrome, a virus that killed 400 million people and leaves a small percentage of its victims in “Lock In,” a state in which they are fully aware but trapped inside unresponsive bodies. Neural net technology allows Hadens to use android-like “threeps” or make arrangements with Integrators, survivors whose virus-altered brains allow them to share their bodies. When a corpse is found at the Watergate hotel and the only suspect is a blood-covered Integrator who says he doesn’t remember what transpired, newly minted FBI agent Chris Shane and veteran agent Leslie Vann are called in to investigate, uncovering an intricate tangle of political and business interests.

Scalzi’s characters possess tangible motivations and inhabit a thoroughly believable world, and the growing partnership between Shane and Vann is a pleasure to watch unfold. This powerful novel will intrigue and entertain both fans and newcomers.

Lock In will be published on August 26.

post-featured-image

Starred Review: The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson

The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson“Pig Latin, an exotic drug, a comic strip, and a retractable penis add colorful detail to a showdown that puts love and sacrifice at the heart of the self.”

Patrick Swenson’s The Ultra Thin Man got a starred review in Publishers Weekly!

Here’s the full review, from the June 2 issue:

Poster Placeholder of - 84 This splendidly lively SF debut alternates between the narrations of Alan Brindos and Dave Crowell, two irreverent gumshoes who work for the Network Intelligence Organization of the eight-world Union in the year 2113. Crowell sends Brindos to the planet Ribon, the site of a devastating antimatter attack, to investigate the apparent suicide of human Dorie Senall, who was possibly affiliated with Terl Plenko, an alien and terrorist. Swenson provides Shakespearean riffs on identity as Brindos is transformed into a Plenko clone and becomes a target for the NIO. The race for a key that nobody can identify pits Brindos, Crowell, and friends against alien manipulators of identity seeking to control the Union by substituting copy “thin men” for genuine individuals. Pig Latin, an exotic drug, a comic strip, and a retractable penis add colorful detail to a showdown that puts love and sacrifice at the heart of the self.

The Ultra Thin Man will be published on August 12.

Starred Review: Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone“Gladstone continues to trump his already considerable accomplishments in this tightly paced fantasy legal thriller.”

Max Gladstone’s Full Fathom Five got a starred review in Publishers Weekly!

Here’s the full review, from the May 5 issue:

Poster Placeholder of - 66 In the rich and complex world of Gladstone’s third Craft novel (after Three Parts Dead), the tropical island of Kavekana thrives as an offshore investment haven for the soulstuff driving the economy. The idols of Kavekana are supposed to be neutral repositories of grace, maintained by priests like Kai Pohala on behalf of clients around the world. After Kai tries to rescue the failing idol Seven Alpha, she discovers that the idols may have more self-awareness than anyone believed. Badly injured in the rescue attempt and sidelined from her vocation, Kai uncovers a conspiracy with grave implications for Kavekana. Kai is a driven, spiky transgender heroine, and the rest of the diverse cast is just as much of a pleasure to follow, including teenage Izza, thief and head storyteller to a gang of street kids, and three formidable women from the previous books: ex-policewoman Cat, risk assessor Teo, and Craftswoman Elayne Kevarian. Gladstone continues to trump his already considerable accomplishments in this tightly paced fantasy legal thriller.

Full Fathom Five will be published on July 15.

post-featured-image

Starred Review: Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall

Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall“exceptional…Dead-on dialogue and atmospheric details help propel a tale full of tormenting moral issues”

Rachel Howzell Hall’s Land of Shadows got a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly!

Here’s the full review, from the April 21 issue:

Image Place holder  of - 92 A racially explosive Los Angeles provides the backdrop for this exceptional crime novel from Hall (A Quiet Storm). Elouise “Lou” Norton, an LAPD homicide detective known on the street as “Lockjaw,” has solved 90% of the cases she’s led. She’s a smart, sassy black woman, “sweet as apple pie… laced with arsenic and rusty razor blades,” bedeviled by the 25-year-old disappearance of her sister, Tori, and torn asunder emotionally by her straying husband, Greg. Lou is also saddled with a brash newbie partner, Colin Taggert, in a case involving a murdered Jane Doe that Lou suspects is tied to her sister’s fate. Dead-on dialogue and atmospheric details help propel a tale full of tormenting moral issues. If the bad grow so close to the good, how do the cops weed them out? And how do we right all these wrongs? Lou, a brave lady in a brave book, does the best she can.

Land of Shadows will be published on June 10.

Starred Review: Steles of the Sky

Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear“Bear’s trilogy makes a rich contribution to epic fantasy’s expanding borders of emotion and invention.”

Elizabeth Bear’s Steles of the Sky got a starred review in Publishers Weekly!

Here’s the full review, from the February 24th issue:

Image Place holder  of - 48 Bear’s stellar conclusion to her Mongolian-flavored fantasy trilogy (after Range of Ghosts and Shattered Pillars) is a satisfying mix of traditional epic fantasy elements, flavored with original magic and grounded with mundane details that make the fantastic seem entirely possible. As the skies shift, reflecting the mortals in power and their associated gods, forces align to support or challenge wizard al-Sepehr as he wages war in the name of the Scholar-God. Warrior Re Temur and his allies travel to Dragon Lake to rally the opposition with Temur’s declaration of his assumption of the position of Khagan, heir to his grandfather’s empire. Battles are fought on both a personal level and a grand scale, with artifacts of obscure ancient civilizations, spirit animals, magical creatures, and poetry and politics. The conclusion is both untelegraphed and completely appropriate. Bear’s trilogy makes a rich contribution to epic fantasy’s expanding borders of emotion and invention.

Steles of the Sky will be published on April 8th.

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.