An irresistibly sexy suspense tale.

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THE ROGUE KING

INFERNO RISING

A dragon shifter and exiled king gets more than he bargained for when he discovers a fiery and passionate phoenix in this paranormal romance.

Brand Astarot, a dragon shifter and rightful heir to his family’s gold throne, is driven by a single goal. He seeks revenge against Uther Hagan, the man responsible for the murders of his parents and siblings and the loss of his clan’s throne. For centuries, Brand has worked as a mercenary for King Ladon Ormarr, accepting the toughest assignments while developing a plan to avenge the killings. His latest mission takes him to a medical facility in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and a young woman described as a “supernova” by a staff member. The patient is Kasia Amon, a rare phoenix whose powers include prophetic visions. If Brand brings Kasia to Ladon, he will secure the support of the king’s clan and have the leverage he needs to defeat Uther. But Kasia is accustomed to life on the run, and she escapes from the facility. Undeterred, Brand pursues her, and they embark on a harrowing journey to Ladon’s clan in Ben Nevis, Scotland. Along the way, they discover they share a powerful and profound physical and emotional connection. Although Brand promised Kasia to Ladon, his desire to claim her as his mate leads him to reconsider this scheme. When Uther discovers Kasia is a phoenix, Brand is locked in a race to protect the woman he loves. This first installment of Owen’s (The Rookie, 2019, etc.) Inferno Rising series is an engaging and compulsively readable love story with the right mix of action and eroticism. Kasia and Brand are appealing protagonists whose slow-burn romance is punctuated by passionate chemistry and spirited and witty dialogue (“Who put you in charge?” “I’m your mate.” “That doesn’t mean a damn thing, lizard boy”). They are surrounded by a large and well-developed cast of supporting characters and a panoply of supernatural beings, including Brand’s friend and protector Ladon; Hershel, a demon who runs a very unusual biker bar; and Pytheios Chandali, a king who wanted Kasia’s mother, Serefina, and ultimately murdered her father. The sprawling narrative takes Kasia and Brand on a long journey from Wyoming to Scotland, but the author’s confident storytelling keeps the narrative moving at a brisk clip. The novel is perfect for fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kelley Armstrong.

An irresistibly sexy suspense tale.

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-531-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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If nothing else, you have to giggle over how this novel’s namesake, who held vicious white supremacist opinions, must be...

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY

Some very nice, very smart African-Americans are plunged into netherworlds of malevolent sorcery in the waning days of Jim Crow—as if Jim Crow alone wasn’t enough of a curse to begin with.

In the northern U.S. of the mid-1950s, as depicted in this merrily macabre pastiche by Ruff (The Mirage, 2012, etc.), Driving While Black is an even more perilous proposition than it is now. Ask Atticus Turner, an African-American Korean War veteran and science-fiction buff, who is compelled to face an all-too-customary gauntlet of racist highway patrolmen and hostile white roadside hamlets en route from his South Side Chicago home to a remote Massachusetts village in search of his curmudgeonly father, Montrose, who was lured away by a young white “sharp dresser” driving a silver Cadillac with tinted windows. At least Atticus isn’t alone; his uncle George, who puts out annual editions of The Safe Negro Travel Guide, is splitting driving duties in his Packard station wagon “with inlaid birch trim and side paneling.” Also along for the ride is Atticus’ childhood friend Letitia Dandridge, another sci-fi fan, whose family lived in the same neighborhood as the Turners. It turns out this road trip is merely the beginning of a series of bizarre chimerical adventures ensnaring both the Turner and Dandridge clans in ancient rituals, arcane magical texts, alternate universes, and transmogrifying potions, all of which bears some resemblance to the supernatural visions of H.P. Lovecraft and other gothic dream makers of the past. Ruff’s ripping yarns often pile on contrivances and overextend the narratives in the grand manner of pulp storytelling, but the reinvented mythos here seems to have aroused in him a newfound empathy and engagement with his characters.

If nothing else, you have to giggle over how this novel’s namesake, who held vicious white supremacist opinions, must be doing triple axels in his grave at the way his imagination has been so impudently shaken and stirred.

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-229206-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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