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Review: Jericho by Alex Gordon


Jericho
Author:  Alex Gordon
Publisher:  Harper Voyager, April 5, 2016
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages
List Price:  $14.99 (print); $10.99 (digital)
ISBN:  9780061687389 (print); 9780062102331 (digital)

Review: Jericho by Alex Gordon
In this follow-up to the masterful debut Gideon, a young witch must risk death and damnation to defeat a powerful ancient evil.

In unearthing her father’s secret past, Lauren Reardon discovered a shocking truth about herself. She is a Child of Endor, a sect of witches who believe they are the guardians of the “thin places”—areas across the globe where evil can seep through the divide between the worlds separating the living and the restless dead. At any time, she can be called upon to close one of these breaches and prevent demons from infiltrating our realm. When Lauren has a disturbing vision of an Oregon forest, she is drawn back to the familiar woods of the misty Pacific Northwest to investigate.

Locals had long whispered about an abandoned logging camp known as Jericho—of the strange disappearances and eerie sounds heard in the woods deep in the night. But these ghost stories only hint at the true evil lurking within the camp’s dilapidated buildings, a primeval malevolence far more terrifying than Lauren’s darkest imaginings. And now, Lauren must face this evil, even if it takes her life . . . even if it costs her soul.



Tracey's/Trinitwo's Point of View

The residents of Gideon, Illinois are witches who follow the teachings of the Lady of Endor. They are entrusted to guard the thin places where supernatural evil seeks to gain entrance into our world. Newcomer Lauren Reardon has been acknowledged as their most powerful practitioner since her victory over the demons that assailed the town six months earlier.

Lauren begins hearing voices beckoning her to a thin place somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. She reluctantly agrees to travel to the secluded woods of Portland Oregon to a gathering of people with similar talents sponsored by business mogul Andrew Carmody.

Upon arrival, Lauren recognizes that her host has ulterior motives for inviting her and the others to his home. Carmody's Peak is said to be cursed and at the nearby abandoned logging town of Jericho, Lauren senses an otherworldly malevolence lurking in its many shadows. As events unfold, Lauren realizes that the abandoned town of Jericho may not be as empty as she was led to believe.

Jericho, Alex Gordon's second book featuring Lauren Reardon, is fraught with tense action and page turning mystery. Due to the setting of Andrew Carmody's high powered world, Jericho has a more modern feel than its predecessor Gideon. This changes the tone of the series slightly which is worth noting because readers looking for the same type of glimpses into the past provided in Gideon may be disappointed. Unlike Gideon, Jericho and its enigmas are as much a puzzle to the protagonist as they are to the reader.

Lauren is a very sympathetic character. Although she's still reeling from the events in Gideon and the secret past her father kept hidden from his family, she continues to persevere. She is appealing because despite her flaws, she's a strong hero that is both compassionate and courageous.

Jericho weaves a web of thrills and chills that is filled with startling plot twists and nail biting action. The woods and their mysterious inhabitants are tangibly ominous, and Jericho's repugnant evil is the stuff of nightmares. However, the plot is somewhat convoluted and I was left feeling both partially disappointed that some of the mysteries remained unanswered, and partially relieved that the graphic details were not disclosed.

I enjoyed Jericho's fast pace, its strong female protagonist and its supernatural elements. Overall, Jericho is engaging and eerie and I would recommend this story to readers who delight in things that go bump in the night. Alex Gordon's series featuring Lauren Reardon is a winner. There's a new witch in town so evil beware!


Jericho can be read as a standalone but I recommend readers start with Gideon, because that's where the story really begins.





Previously

Gideon
Harper Voyager, January 6, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Review: Jericho by Alex Gordon
Preston & Child meets Kim Harrison in this edge-of-your-seat debut thriller—a superb blend of mystery, urban fantasy, horror, romance, and the supernatural.

When Lauren’s father dies, she makes a shocking discovery. The man she knew as John Reardon was once a completely different person, with a different name. Now, she’s determined to find out who he really was, even though her only clues are an old photograph, some letters, and the name of a town—Gideon.

But someone—or something—doesn’t want her to discover the truth. A strange man is stalking her, appearing everywhere she turns, and those who try to help her end up dead. Neither a shadowy enemy nor her own fear are going to prevent her from solving the mystery of her father—and unlocking the secrets of her own life.

Making her way to Gideon, Lauren finds herself more confused than ever. Nothing in this small Midwestern town is what it seems, including time itself. Residents start going missing, and Lauren is threatened by almost every townsperson she encounters. Two hundred years ago, a witch was burned at the stake, but in Gideon, the past feels all too chillingly present . . .


See Tracey's Review here.

The View From Monday - April 4, 2016


Happy first Monday in April!  There are 2 debuts this week:

Arena (Arena 1) by Holly Jennings;

and

Artificial (The Kepler Chronicles 1) by Jadah McCoy.

The View From Monday - April 4, 2016The View From Monday - April 4, 2016
Click on each cover to go to Amazon.


From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

The View From Monday - April 4, 2016 The View From Monday - April 4, 2016 The View From Monday - April 4, 2016
The View From Monday - April 4, 2016 The View From Monday - April 4, 2016 The View From Monday - April 4, 2016
Click on the each cover to go Amazon.

Jericho by Alex Gordon;

Spira Mirabilis (The Wave Trilogy 3) by Aidan Harte;

Burned (An Alex Verus Novel 7) by Benedict Jacka;

Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James;

Trident's Forge (Children of a Dead Earth 2) by Patrick S. Tomlinson;

and

There Will Always Be a Max: A Tor.com Original (Genrenauts) by Michael R. Underwood.



The View From Monday - April 4, 2016



April 4, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Werewolf Cop (h2tp) Andrew Klavan Occ/Sup/Th
Artificial (D) Jadah McCoy CyberP/SFR - The Kepler Chronicles 1



April 5, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Breach of Crust Ellery Adams PM - A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery 5
Asteroid Made of Dragons G. Derek Adams SF/Hu
The Plague Dogs (ri) Richard Adams LF
Clockwork Phoenix 5 Mike Allen (Ed) Anthology - F
Eva Luna (ri) Isabel Allende LF/MR
The Stories of Eva Luna Isabel Allende LF/MR
Surviving Home (tp2mm) A. American Dys - Survivalist 2
Blood of the Cosmos (h2mm) Kevin J. Anderson SF/SO -Saga of Shadows 2
White Tiger Jennifer Ashley Shifter's Unbound 8
Tales of the Time Scouts 2 Robert Asprin
Linda Evans
SF
The Water Knife (h2tp) Paolo Bacigalupi LF/AP/PA/Th/Tech
The Broken Hours: A Novel of H. P. Lovecraft Jacqueline Baker SF
Ultima (h2mm) Stephen Baxter SF/AC - Proxima 2
Underwater Fistfight Matt Betts SF/H
In the Labyrinth of Drakes: A Memoir by Lady Trent Marie Brennan F - A Natural History of Dragons 4
Blazing Earth Terri Brisbin FR - A Novel of the Stone Circles 3
Mirror Sight (tp2mm) Kristen Britain DF - Green Rider 5
Fellside M. R. Carey Th/Sup
I Dream of Dragons Ashlyn Chase PNR - Boston Dragons 1
Visitor C. J. Cherryh SF/SO/AC - Foreigner 17
Tracker (h2mm) C. J. Cherryh SF/SO/AC - Foreigner 16
Dominion John Connolly
Jennifer Ridyard
SF - The Chronicles of the Invaders 3
Timeless Desire (ri) Gwyn Cready TTR
Flirting with Forever (ri) Gwyn Cready TTR
Of Treasons Born J. L. Doty SF/SO - Treasons Cycle
An Unhappy Medium Dawn Eastman PM - A Family Fortune Mystery 4
Wicked Charms (h2mm) Janet Evanovich
Phoef Sutton
PM - A Lizzy and Diesel Novel 3
The Mountain (h2mm) David L. Golemon SF/Th - Event Group Thrillers 10
Jericho Alex Gordon CF
Smoke and Fire Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings 9
Smoke and Fire: Part 4 (e) Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings
Spira Mirabilis Aidan Harte F - The Wave Trilogy 3
Her Werewolf Hero Michele Hauf PNR
The Pitchfork of Destiny (e) Jack Heckel FairyT/FolkT/ LM - Charming Tales 2
Shadow Rites Faith Hunter UF - Jane Yellowrock 10
Burned Benedict Jacka UF - An Alex Verus Novel 7
Lost Among the Living Simone St. James Hist/GO/GH
Arena (D) Holly Jennings SF/Dys/SFR - Arena 1
Dragonbane (h2mm) Sherrilyn Kenyon FR - Dark-Hunter Novels 19
Silence Mercedes Lackey
Cody Martin
SF/UF - Serrated Edge 9
Septimania Jonathan Levi MR
Replica (e) Shannon Mayer
Denise Grover Swank
H - Blood Borne 2
Down to Zero (e) Jon McGoran Th - Carrick & Watkins Short Story
Every Heart a Doorway Seanan McGuire CF
Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight Liane Merciel F - Pathfinder Tales 32
Blood Sacrifices Brian Moreland H - Collection
The War Against the Assholes (h2tp) Sam Munson CF
Trial of Intentions (h2mm) Peter Orullian F - Vault of Heaven 2
Sever Brian Parker H/PA - Washington, Dead City 3
The Kasari Nexus Richard Phillips SF - Rho Agenda Assimilation 1
The Worm Returns J.R. Rain
Piers Anthony
F/W
Kharn: Eater of Worlds Anthony Reynolds SF - Space Marines
Zero State Cam Rogers SF - Quantum Break 1
Maestro R. A. Salvatore F - Homecoming 2
Total War: Lord of Chaos Rob Sanders F - Warhammer
Alight Scott Sigler SF - The Generations Trilogy 2
The Demonists Thomas E. Sniegoski UF/DF - Demonists 1
Shooting the Rift Alex Stewart SF/SO
Alien Hunter: The White House: A Flynn Carroll Thriller Whitley Strieber Th - Alien Hunter Series 3
Spiral Koji Suzuki H/SupTh - Ring Trilogy
Immortal Redeemed Linda Thomas-Sundstrom PNR
Doom of the Elves: The Curse of Khaine / Deathblade Gav Thorpe
C L Werner
SF - The End Times 2
The Story of Kullervo J.R.R. Tolkien F
Trident's Forge Patrick S. Tomlinson SF/SO - Children of a Dead Earth 2
Almost Dark Letitia Trent UF
Persona (h2tp) Genevieve Valentine SF - Persona Sequence1
Wolf on a Mission N. J. Walters
The Beast J.R. Ward PNR - Black Dagger Brotherhood 14
The Edge of Worlds Martha Wells F - A Novel of the Raksura 4
A Lovely Way to Burn Louise Welsh M - Plague Times Trilogy 1
Dead Letters Anthology Conrad Williams (Ed) H - Anthology
Total War: The Emperor's Armies Chris Wraight F - Warhammer



April 6, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Freedom is Space for the Spirit: A Tor.Com Original (e) Glen Hirshberg UF
There Will Always Be a Max: A Tor.com Original (e) Michael R. Underwood SF/PA - Genrenauts



April 7, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Women of Ice and Fire: Gender, Game of Thrones and Multiple Media Engagements Rikke Schubart (Ed) HC


D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
tp2mm - Trade to Mass Market Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint


AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CyberP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tale
FolkT - Folk Tale
FR - Fantasy Romance
GB - Genre Bender
GH - Ghost
GO - Gothic
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistM - Historical Mystery
Hu - Humor
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
Occ - Occult
PA - Post Apocalyptic
Phil - Philosophy
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
Tech - Technological
TechnoTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
TTR - Time Travel Romance
UF - Urban Fantasy
W - Western


Review: Gideon by Alex Gordon


Gideon
Author:  Alex Gordon
Publisher:  Harper Voyager, January 6, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
List Price:  $14.99 (print); $7.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780061687372 (print); 9780062091765 (eBook)

Review: Gideon by Alex Gordon
Preston & Child meets Kim Harrison in this edge-of-your-seat debut thriller—a superb blend of mystery, urban fantasy, horror, romance, and the supernatural.

When Lauren’s father dies, she makes a shocking discovery. The man she knew as John Reardon was once a completely different person, with a different name. Now, she’s determined to find out who he really was, even though her only clues are an old photograph, some letters, and the name of a town—Gideon.

But someone—or something—doesn’t want her to discover the truth. A strange man is stalking her, appearing everywhere she turns, and those who try to help her end up dead. Neither a shadowy enemy nor her own fear are going to prevent her from solving the mystery of her father—and unlocking the secrets of her own life.

Making her way to Gideon, Lauren finds herself more confused than ever. Nothing in this small Midwestern town is what it seems, including time itself. Residents start going missing, and Lauren is threatened by almost every townsperson she encounters. Two hundred years ago, a witch was burned at the stake, but in Gideon, the past feels all too chillingly present . . .



Trinitytwo's Point of View

December 20, 1836 began abnormally warm. It was the day murderer Nicholas Blaine was to be judged at the stake. The Council had decided against hanging, saying he should suffer like the innocent girl he so callously killed. Blaine was more than a cold-blooded killer, he was also a wielder of potent magic. Gideon's residents had power of their own; they are children of Endor, adhering to the word of the Lady. Their duty lies in guarding the "thin places" from the demons who seek to cross the borders of the "wilderness" where they are damned to wander for eternity.

A lethal and unnatural freeze follows hard on the heels of Blaine's death and the ice storm kills the men of Gideon right where they stand. The women and children, who wait in security two miles away, are grief-stricken by their losses. All the while, Blaine's soul awaits the spell from his accomplice that will bring him back more powerful than he was before. Eliza, despite the mistrust of the community, is able to thwart the plot, binding Blaine with a spell of her own to the underground chamber where he has been laid to rest. As the years pass, Blaine's malevolent spirit hungrily waits and the people of Gideon conveniently forget the evil lingering in their vaults.

In the here and now, Lauren Reardon mourns the death of her beloved father, John. While going through her father's personal effects, she finds a small leather bound book called The Book of Endor. Printed inside is the name Matthew James Mullin and a location, Gideon Illinois. Curious, she scans the book's pages and finds a newspaper clipping wedged inside with a photo of teenaged Matthew Mullin. Lauren is shocked to discover her father and Mullin are one and the same.

Desperate to uncover the secrets of her father's hidden past, Lauren goes to Gideon for answers. But Gideon is falling into disrepair and the grudges of its people have not been forgotten. Being an outsider and a Mullin puts Lauren in danger. She senses the palpable enmity of its occupants and the malignant spirit who has become impatient to be freed.

Gideon is appealing on many levels. The author took actual tragic historical events such as Chicago's "Sudden Freeze" of 1836 and the subsequent "Great Fire" in 1871 and intertwined them to provide a gripping and realistic background. The eerie tone of the town's growing despair and impending doom paired with the author's descriptions of the "in between" places was frightful.

Lauren is a terrific heroine. She's smart and strong and when things start to go bad, she's bold enough to face the supernatural challenges head on. The supporting cast of characters were also well-written and some of them definitely had me fooled. In Gideon, I was never sure which members of the Society of Endor were working for good and which had sided with evil. This uncertainty ratcheted up the tension levels and made for some exciting and unexpected twists and turns to the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the sojourn into Gideon's past and rooted for both Eliza and Lauren as they fought their monsters; both human and demonic. Gordon artfully spreads Nicholas Blaine's malignant presence slowly, like a disease whose evil taints the town and the souls that live there. Alex Gordon's Gideon is a delightfully dark tale that kept me under its spell from start to finish.




Upcoming

Jericho
Harper Voyager, April 5, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

Review: Gideon by Alex Gordon
In this follow-up to the masterful debut Gideon, a young witch must risk death and damnation to defeat a powerful ancient evil.

In unearthing her father’s secret past, Lauren Reardon discovered a shocking truth about herself. She is a Child of Endor, a sect of witches who believe they are the guardians of the “thin places”—areas across the globe where evil can seep through the divide between the worlds separating the living and the restless dead. At any time, she can be called upon to close one of these breaches and prevent demons from infiltrating our realm. When Lauren has a disturbing vision of an Oregon forest, she is drawn back to the familiar woods of the misty Pacific Northwest to investigate.

Locals had long whispered about an abandoned logging camp known as Jericho—of the strange disappearances and eerie sounds heard in the woods deep in the night. But these ghost stories only hint at the true evil lurking within the camp’s dilapidated buildings, a primeval malevolence far more terrifying than Lauren’s darkest imaginings. And now, Lauren must face this evil, even if it takes her life . . . even if it costs her soul.


What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 35


This is the thirty-fifth in a series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their 2015 works published since the last update and any upcoming works for 2016. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year she/he was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.



Part 1 herePart 11 herePart 21 herePart 31 here
Part 2 herePart 12 herePart 22 herePart 32 here
Part 3 herePart 13 herePart 23 herePart 33 here
Part 4 herePart 14 herePart 24 herePart 34 here
Part 5 herePart 15 herePart 25 here
Part 6 herePart 16 herePart 26 here
Part 7 herePart 17 herePart 27 here
Part 8 herePart 18 herePart 28 here
Part 9 herePart 19 herePart 29 here
Part 10 herePart 20 herePart 30 here



Alex Gordon (2015)

Jericho
Harper Voyager, April 5, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 35
In this follow-up to the masterful debut Gideon, a young witch must risk death and damnation to defeat a powerful ancient evil.

In unearthing her father’s secret past, Lauren Reardon discovered a shocking truth about herself. She is a Child of Endor, a sect of witches who believe they are the guardians of the “thin places”—areas across the globe where evil can seep through the divide between the worlds separating the living and the restless dead. At any time, she can be called upon to close one of these breaches and prevent demons from infiltrating our realm. When Lauren has a disturbing vision of an Oregon forest, she is drawn back to the familiar woods of the misty Pacific Northwest to investigate.

Locals had long whispered about an abandoned logging camp known as Jericho—of the strange disappearances and eerie sounds heard in the woods deep in the night. But these ghost stories only hint at the true evil lurking within the camp’s dilapidated buildings, a primeval malevolence far more terrifying than Lauren’s darkest imaginings. And now, Lauren must face this evil, even if it takes her life . . . even if it costs her soul.




Ken Liu (2015)

The Grace of Kings
The Dandelion Dynasty 1
Saga Press, August 9, 2016
Mass Market Paperback, 656 pages
Trade Paperback, August 9, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, April 7, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 35
Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. “A magnificent fantasy epic” (NPR).

Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.

Fans of intrigue, intimate plots, and fast-paced action will find a new series to embrace in the Dandelion Dynasty.


The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
Saga Press, March 8, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages
Trade Paperback, August 23, 2016

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 35
A publishing event: Bestselling author Ken Liu selects his award-winning science fiction and fantasy tales for a groundbreaking collection—including a brand-new piece exclusive to this volume.

With his debut novel, The Grace of Kings, taking the literary world by storm, Ken Liu now shares his finest short fiction in The Paper Menagerie. This mesmerizing collection features all of Ken’s award-winning and award-finalist stories, including: “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” (Finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Theodore Sturgeon Awards), “Mono No Aware” (Hugo Award winner), “The Waves” (Nebula Award finalist), “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species” (Nebula and Sturgeon award finalists), “All the Flavors” (Nebula award finalist), “The Litigation Master and the Monkey King” (Nebula Award finalist), and the most awarded story in the genre’s history, “The Paper Menagerie” (The only story to win the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards).

A must-have for every science fiction and fantasy fan, this beautiful book is an anthology to savor.


Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation
Edited and Translated by Ken Liu
Tor Books, November 1, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 35

[description not yet available]




Note:  The Wall of Storms (The Dandelion Dynasty 2) will be published in Fall 2016.




Michael Livingston (2015)

The Shards of Heaven
The Shards of Heaven 1
Tor Books, October 25, 2016
Trade Paperback, 432 pages
Hardcover and eBook, November 24, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 35
Julius Caesar is dead, assassinated on the senate floor, and the glory that is Rome has been torn in two. Octavian, Caesar's ambitious great-nephew and adopted son, vies with Marc Antony and Cleopatra for control of Caesar's legacy. As civil war rages from Rome to Alexandria, and vast armies and navies battle for supremacy, a secret conflict may shape the course of history.

Juba, Numidian prince and adopted brother of Octavian, has embarked on a ruthless quest for the Shards of Heaven, lost treasures said to possess the very power of the gods-or the one God. Driven by vengeance, Juba has already attained the fabled Trident of Poseidon, which may also be the staff once wielded by Moses. Now he will stop at nothing to obtain the other Shards, even if it means burning the entire world to the ground.

Caught up in these cataclysmic events, and the hunt for the Shards, are a pair of exiled Roman legionnaires, a Greek librarian of uncertain loyalties, assassins, spies, slaves . . . and the ten-year-old daughter of Cleopatra herself.

Michael Livingston's The Shards of Heaven reveals the hidden magic behind the history we know, and commences a war greater than any mere mortal battle.
[description from Hardcover edition]


The Gates of Hell
The Shards of Heaven 2
Tor Books, November 15, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 35

[description not yet available]





Marshall Ryan Maresca (2015)

A Murder of Mages
The Maradaine Constabulary 1
DAW, July 7, 2015 Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 35
A Murder of Mages marks the debut of Marshall Ryan Maresca’s novels of The Maradaine Constabulary, his second series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine. A Murder of Mages introduces us to this spellbinding port city as seen through the eyes of the people who strive to maintain law and order, the hardworking men and women of the Maradaine Constabulary.

Satrine Rainey—former street rat, ex-spy, mother of two, and wife to a Constabulary Inspector who lies on the edge of death, injured in the line of duty—has been forced to fake her way into the post of Constabulary Inspector to support her family.

Minox Welling is a brilliant, unorthodox Inspector and an Uncircled mage—almost a crime in itself. Nicknamed “the jinx” because of the misfortunes that seem to befall anyone around him, Minox has been partnered with Satrine because no one else will work with either of them.

Their first case together—the ritual murder of a Circled mage— sends Satrine back to the streets she grew up on and brings Minox face-to-face with mage politics he’s desperate to avoid. As the body count rises, Satrine and Minox must race to catch the killer before their own secrets are exposed and they, too, become targets.


The Alchemy of Chaos
A Novel of Maradaine 2
DAW, February 2, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 35
Veranix Calbert is The Thorn—the street vigilante-turned-legend—and a danger to Willem Fenmere, the drug kingpin of Dentonhill. Veranix is determined to stop Fenmere and the effitte drug trade, especially when he discovers that Fenmere is planning on using the Red Rabbits gang in his neighborhood. But Veranix is also a magic student at the University of Maradaine, and it’s exam week. With his academic career riding on his performance, there’s no time to go after Fenmere or the Red Rabbits. But when a series of pranks on campus grow deadly, it’s clear that someone has a vendetta against the university, and Veranix may be the only one who can stop them…




Susan Murray (2015)

Waterborne Exile
Waterborne 2
Angry Robot Books, August 4, 2015
       (North America Print and eBook)
  August 6, 2015 (UK Print)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 35
A nameless priestess will stop at nothing to get revenge on the killers of her lover.

In a world of turmoil, following the king’s death, the traitor Vasic is struggling to secure his rule over the combined Peninsular Kingdoms whilst the exiled queen, Alwenna, has taken refuge with a freemerchant community whose elders fear her dark power.

Mistrust rules the day with bribery, drugs, trafficking of children, and murder rife throughout the kingdom.

As the priestess’ plot for revenge continues, Alwenna leaves to seek the outcast group of loyal kinsman. Marten attempts to restore Alwenna to the throne but as the priestess closes in, will he succeed?

File Under: Fantasy [ Unholy Office / Blood Ties / Dark Visions / Betrayals & Betrothals ]


Interview with Alex Gordon, author of Gideon - Janaury 15, 2015


Please welcome Alex Gordon to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews! Gideon was published by Harper Voyager on January 6, 2015.



Interview with Alex Gordon, author of Gideon - Janaury 15, 2015




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Alex:  Thank you for having me!

English was my best subject in grade school and high school, and teachers always complimented my essays and reports. I wrote a few stories, but they were class assignments. Unlike so many other writers, I didn’t write outside school--I wrote a few pages of an SF novel while in college, but that fizzled. Fast forward to the early 90’s, when I was in my early 30’s. I don’t recall any particular flash of inspiration. I simply decided to take a creative writing course of some sort. All my friends were returning to school for their MBAs. A writing class was going to be my MBA. From there, I went on attend writers conferences and science fiction-fantasy conventions, and kept plugging away.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Alex:  I would say 75% pantser/25% plotter. I can follow a vague outline that I set out beforehand in a short synopsis or on an index card, and I know the ending. But the twists and turns of the plot and the actions of my characters don’t sort themselves out until I actually write the scenes. Too many times, something that makes complete sense in the planning fails to work out on the page. It’s frustrating. There are times when I envy plotters. I have yet to make a lasting peace with my process.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Alex:  Focusing. I am so distractable. Wow—look at that smudge on the window. I really need to clean it NOW. And heaven forbid I look at a bookshelf. I have to page through at least one book I haven’t touched in years.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Alex:  John Le Carré. Two of his books in particular, the classics TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY and SMILEY'S PEOPLE. He described spycraft and the people who practiced it better than anyone else I've read. Then the world changed, the Cold War ended, and he retooled, stayed fresh, found new adversaries--arms dealers, pharmaceutical companies.

Terry Pratchett, the author of the Discworld books, can define a character with a single thought or action. He manages to sneak the sadness and poignancy into humorous stories, and to say so many things without lapsing into lecture mode. He is also the creator or co-creator of two of my literary crushes, The Patrician from the Discworld series and Crowley, from GOOD OMENS.

Gillian Flynn—I envy her ability to make unlikeable, troubled, troubling characters compelling. I enjoyed GONE GIRL, but SHARP OBJECTS is, I think, an even more profound example. Camille Preaker—I wanted to take her by the shoulders and shake her, protect her, and run and hide from her all at the same time.



TQ:  Describe Gideon in 140 characters or less.

Alex:  I’ll use a line from the book: "just because you don’t know your past doesn’t mean you don’t pay the price for it.”



TQ:  Tell us something about Gideon that is not in the book description.

Alex:  The story describes the very first stages of the entrance of the otherworldly into this world, and vice versa. In a way, it’s a First Contact story. Even though we have told tales of ghosts and demons and other non-human entities for thousands of years, and many people believe in their existence, these are individual, personal experiences, not the event that leads to the first faltering steps toward formal rapprochement.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Gideon? Your publisher describes the novel as "...a superb blend of mystery, urban fantasy, horror, romance, and the supernatural." What appealed to you about writing a genre bending novel?

Alex:  I initially intended GIDEON as straight urban fantasy, with a heroine on the run from demons and the humans who thought they could control them. But I opened with the chapters that took place in 1836, and my editor at the time didn’t feel that the heroine on the run part worked as well as those chapters did. After a lot of trial and error, I finally, finally realized that the main story was very personal—a woman finding out about her father, learning that he wasn’t what she thought he was. Combine that with the history of witches, and the genre mix—the elements of mystery, horror, romance, etc--evolved as the story developed. I didn’t have to purposely add anything. All the elements made organic sense. They were necessary aspects of the story.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Gideon ?

Alex:  Lots of historical research—details about the Sudden Freeze of 1836, the Chicago Fire, the Civil War. Many thanks to all the local historical societies and groups that post historical documents online—I don’t know how I would have found some of the personal accounts of the Freeze and the Fire without them. I also researched clothing of the 1830s and 1870s. I drove around the area of north central Illinois in which I set Gideon, and imagined the layout of the town, the description of the surrounding area.

I took several REI classes—kayaking, camping, outdoor survival, first aid. Lauren Reardon is a woman comfortable with the outdoors—there are things she would know and do as a matter of course. She is the type of person who carries a go-pack with first aid equipment, flints and blankets and other emergency gear in her car. She prefers to wear technical clothing. She adapts quickly. It’s funny, admitting that my fictional character knows so much more about a subject than I do, that I had to take classes in order to keep up.

I read about the Pseudepigrapha, ancient writings that are attributed to authors who really didn't write them. I was particularly interested in the Testament of Solomon, which was supposedly written by him and contained information that allowed him to control demons. I used that information to develop the Book of Endor, the guiding text of the witches of Gideon.

Some research I did went into scenes that wound up getting cut or rewritten. CPR. Google street routes through Seattle. Woodworking tools.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Alex:  Eliza Blaylock Mullin was surprisingly simple. She had Blaine figured out from the start, and she had a single goal—keep him from coming back from the dead. She was a very focused character.

The hardest character was my protagonist, Lauren Reardon. As I discussed above, I had a devil of a time figuring out who exactly she was and what her story was. Then I had to figure out how much she knew, how much she discovered along the way. How much did she know about her own magical abilities? Working out all the reasons for her to move forward, her transition from businesswoman to practitioner and guardian without letting it appear forced, too convenient—it was a struggle at times, a challenge always.



TQ:  Which question about your novel do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Alex:  Is “The Laird o’ Windywa's,” the bawdy ballad that turns up throughout the book, a real song? Yes! It’s been recorded by a Scottish folksinger named Jeannie Robertson. If I ever give a reading of the first chapter, I’m going to have to sing it. Fear this moment.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Gideon.

Alex:

“Disappointment made her sound kind.” Because I think I managed to nail this person’s character in five words.


"Gideon stood wrapped in silence, a doll’s town swaddled in cotton and packed away.” The description of Gideon after the Freeze and subsequent snowstorm.



TQ:  What's next?

Alex:  I am working on JERICHO, which is the follow-up to GIDEON. Lauren Reardon is still the protagonist and primary POV.

In JERICHO, the stakes are much greater. In GIDEON, I drop hints that magical influence stretches well beyond one small town in Illinois, that there are other ’thin places’ that may not be as well-guarded as they need to be. In JERICHO, Lauren is going to learn just how pervasive that magical influence is, as well as who else is interested in that power. The world as it exists is very, very different from the one she’s familiar with. Her hero’s journey continues.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Alex:  Thank you.





Gideon
Harper Voyager, January 6, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Interview with Alex Gordon, author of Gideon - Janaury 15, 2015
Preston & Child meets Kim Harrison in this edge-of-your-seat debut thriller—a superb blend of mystery, urban fantasy, horror, romance, and the supernatural.

When Lauren’s father dies, she makes a shocking discovery. The man she knew as John Reardon was once a completely different person, with a different name. Now, she’s determined to find out who he really was, even though her only clues are an old photograph, some letters, and the name of a town—Gideon.

But someone—or something—doesn’t want her to discover the truth. A strange man is stalking her, appearing everywhere she turns, and those who try to help her end up dead. Neither a shadowy enemy nor her own fear are going to prevent her from solving the mystery of her father—and unlocking the secrets of her own life.

Making her way to Gideon, Lauren finds herself more confused than ever. Nothing in this small Midwestern town is what it seems, including time itself. Residents start going missing, and Lauren is threatened by almost every townsperson she encounters. Two hundred years ago, a witch was burned at the stake, but in Gideon, the past feels all too chillingly present . . .





About Alex

Interview with Alex Gordon, author of Gideon - Janaury 15, 2015
Photo by Libby Bulloff
Alex Gordon resides in Illinois. She is currently developing her next thriller and is having too much fun doing research. When she isn't working, she enjoys watching sports and old movies, running, and playing with her dog. She dreams of someday adding the Pacific Northwest to the list of regions where she has lived.






Website  ~   Twitter @alexgordon36


2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts



Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2015 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on January 24, 2015.


Vote for your favorite January 2015 Debut Cover
 
pollcode.com free polls




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January Debuts

The View From Monday - January 5, 2015


Happy New Year! Another wonderful reading year is ahead of all of us. This is a very full release week with 4 debuts:

The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman;

Gideon by Alex Gordon;

Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba 1) by Daniel José Older;

and

Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova.


From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Foxglove Summer (Rivers of London / Peter Grant 5) by Ben Aaronovitch;

Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy 2) by Pierce Brown;

California Bones (California Bones 1)by Greg van Eekhout is out in Trade Paperback;

Blood Will Follow (Valhalla Saga 2) by Snorri Kristijansson;

Evensong by John Love;

Return to Honor (Powder Mage) Brian McClellan;

and

Soul Ink (Grimm Agency 1.5) by J. C. Nelson.



The View From Monday - January 5, 2015



January 1, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Blood Wolf Dawning (e) Rhyannon Byrd PNR - Bloodrunners
Harlequin Nocturne January 2015 Box Set: Blood Wolf Dawning\Shades of the Wolf Rhyannon Byrd PNR
A Wizard of Their Age: Critical Essays from the Harry Potter Generation Cecilia Konchar Farr LC
Marked Sarah Fine UF - Servants of Fate 1
The Rats (ri) James Herbert H - Rats 1
The Last Passenger Manel Loureiro SF/TT
Night After Night Phil Rickman H
A Trail Through Time Jodi Taylor SF/TT -  Chronicles of St. Mary's 4
War Master's Gate Adrian Tchaikovsky SF - Shadows of the Apt 9
Shades of the Wolf Karen Whiddon PNR



January 5, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Colbana Files Boxed Set (e) J.C. Daniels UF



January 6, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Foxglove Summer Ben Aaronovitch UF - Rivers of London / Peter Grant 5
Wolves' Bane (e) Angela Addams PNR - Order of the Wolf 3
Death Mask Alex Archer UF - Rogue Angel 52
The Technician (ri) Neal Asher SF - Polity
Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2014: A Tor.Com Original (e) Various Authors SF/F/UF
Hive Invasion James Axler SF - Deathlands 120
Agenda 21: Into the Shadows Glenn Beck PA - Agenda 21 #2
The Dead Wife's Handbook (D - US) Hannah Beckerman LF/F
The Witches of Echo Park Amber Benson UF -  Witches of Echo Park 1
A Seamless Murder Melissa Bourbon PM - Magical Dressmaking 6
Golden Son Pierce Brown SF -  Red Rising Trilogy 2
Drifters John L. Campbell H/Z - Omega Days 3
A Case of Possession KJ Charles PNR - A Charm of Magpies 2
A Case of Spirits (e) KJ Charles PNR - A Charm of Magpies 2.5
Spell Blind David B. Coe UF - Case Files of Justis Fearsson 1
Sunglasses After Dark: Full Blooded Collection Nancy Collins GN
In Hot Water J. J. Cook PM - A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade 3
Daierwolves of Paris - Lou Roxane Dambre F/R - Daierwolves of Paris1
Pandorax C Z Dunn SF - Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Battles 15
California Bones (h2tp) Greg van Eekhout DF - California Bones 1
Diaspora (ri) Greg Egan SF
Distress (ri) Greg Egan SF
Dreamwalker (h2mm) C.S. Friedman UF - Dreamwalker 1
Return to Exile Lynne Gentry Hist/TT - The Carthage Chronicles 2
Gideon (D) Alex Gordon F/P
Tales from the Nightside Simon R. Green UF - Nightside Short Stories
Iron Axe Steven Harper F - The Books of Blood and Iron 1
First and Last Sorcerer Barb Hendee F - Noble Dead 10
A Wind in the Night (h2mm) Barb Hendee F - Noble Dead 9=
Unbound Jim C. Hines UF - Magic Ex Libris 3
Unbound: A Novella Sara Humphreys PNR - Amoveo Legend
Ghost in the Guacamole Sue Ann Jaffarian PM - Ghost of Granny Apples 5
Dreamwalker Russell James H
The Nightmare Girl (e) Jonathan Janz H
The String Diaries (h2tp) Stephen Lloyd Jones Su/H
Mr. Mercedes (h2tp) Stephen King Th/Su
Demon Seed (ri) Dean Koontz Th/H
Blood Will Follow Snorri Kristijansson F - Valhalla Saga 2
Dreamer's Daughter Lynn Kurland F - Nine Kingdoms 3
No Ghouls Allowed: A Ghost Hunter Mystery Victoria Laurie PM - Ghost Hunter Mystery  9
The Bright Empires Collection: The Skin Map, The Bone House, The Spirit Well, The Shadow Lamp, The Fatal Tree (e) Stephen R. Lawhead F - Bright Empires
Carousel Seas Sharon Lee F - Archers Beach 3
The Galaxy Game Karen Lord SF
Evensong John Love SF
Return to Honor (e) Brian McClellan F - Powder Mage
The Winter People (h2tp) Jennifer McMahon Th/Gh
Slavers of the Savage Catacombs Jon F Merz F - Shadow Warrior 2
The Dragon in the Sword Michael Moorcock F - Eternal Champion Sequence 3
Soul Ink (e) J. C. Nelson UF - Grimm Agency Novella
Orphan Brigade (e) Henry V. O'Neil SF - Sim War 2
Half-Resurrection Blues (D) Daniel José Older UF - Bone Street Rumba 1
Dead Wrong Richard Phillips Esp - Rho Agenda 2
Murder Sarah Pinborough H - Dr. Thomas Bond / Mayhem 2
Mayhem (h2tp) Sarah Pinborough H - Dr. Thomas Bond / Mayhem 1
The Flight of the Silvers (h2tp) Daniel Price SF/PA/Ap - Silvers 1
The Stargods Trilogy Irene Radford SF
Strands of Sorrow John Ringo SF - Black Tide Rising 4
Island of the Forbidden (e) Hunter Shea H
Originator Joel Shepherd SF - Cassandra Kresnov 6
The Light and the Dark (h2tp) Mikhail Shishkin LF/F/TT
The Guard Peter Terrin Dys/SF
Hungry Like the Wolf Paige Tyler PNR - SWAT 1
Fire Water: A Prospero's War Novella (e) Jaye Wells UF - Prospero's War
The Judge of Ages (h2tp) John C. Wright SF - Count to a Trillion 3
Wildalone (D) Krassi Zourkova Oc/Su



January 7, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Kia and Gio: A Tor.Com Original (e) Daniel José Older UF


January 8, 2015
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Accursed Kings Series Books 1-3: The Iron King, The Strangled Queen, The Poisoned Crown (e) Maurice Druon HistF
Nature's Confession J. L. Morin SF
The Accidental Alchemist The Accidental Alchemist PM - An Accidental Alchemist Mystery 1



D - Debut
e - eBook
ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
K e - Kindle eBook only
ri - reissue or reprint


Ap - Apocalyptic
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
Esp - Espionage
F - Fantasy
Gh - Ghosts
GN - Graphic Novel
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
Oc - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
Su - Supernatural
UF - Urban Fantasy
Z - Zombies



2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts



2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts



There are 14 debuts for January. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The December debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite January cover for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on January 5th.

If you are participating as a reader in the Challenge, please let us know in the comments what you are thinking of reading or email us at "DAC . TheQwillery  @  gmail . com" (remove the spaces and quotation marks). Please note that we list all debuts for the month (of which we are aware), but not all of these authors will be 2015 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for January. The list is correct as of the day posted.

Updated 1/2/2015 to include Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish and Fatal Feast by Jay Ruud.



W.C. Bauers

Unbreakable
Tor Books, January 13, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
The colonists of the planet Montana are accustomed to being ignored. Situated in the buffer zone between two rival human empires, their world is a backwater: remote, provincial, independently minded. Even as a provisional member of the Republic of Aligned Worlds, Montana merits little consideration—until it becomes the flashpoint in an impending interstellar war.

When pirate raids threaten to destabilize the region, the RAW deploys its mechanized armored infantry to deal with the situation. Leading the assault is Marine Corps Lieutenant and Montanan expatriate Promise Paen of Victor Company. Years earlier, Promise was driven to join the Marines after her father was killed by such a raid. Payback is sweet, but it comes at a tremendous and devastating cost. And Promise is in no way happy to be back on her birthworld, not even when she is hailed as a hero by the planet's populace, including its colorful president. Making matters even worse: Promise is persistently haunted by the voice of her dead mother.

Meanwhile, the RAW's most bitter rival, the Lusitanian Empire, has been watching events unfold in the Montana system with interest. Their forces have been awaiting the right moment to gain a beachhead in Republic territory, and with Promise's Marines decimated, they believe the time to strike is now.

Unbreakable by W.C. Bauers is character driven, military science in the tradition of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War.




Hannah Beckerman

The Dead Wife's Handbook
Arcade Publishing, January 6, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 496 pages
(Debut - US)

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Rachel, Max, and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life—until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating. She was thirty-six.

Just as her family can’t forget her, Rachel can’t quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives.

This fresh debut novel touches on the various stages of bereavement, from denial to acceptance. As Max and Ellie work through their grief, Rachel too struggles to come to terms with her death. And as her husband starts to date again, Rachel realizes that one day Max will find love, and that Ellie will have a new mother figure in her life.

The Dead Wife’s Handbook is a heartwarming and touching book, very commercial in its approach and a compelling read. It will touch a wide readership, and is a perfect read for fans of the bestseller The Lovely Bones.




Kristi Charish

Owl and the Japanese Circus
Gallery Books, January 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.




Cecilia Ekbäck

Wolf Winter
Weinstein Books, January 27, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 376 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
‘Wolf winter,' she said, her voice small. ‘I wanted to ask about it. You know, what it is.'
 He was silent for a long time. ‘It's the kind of winter that will remind us we are mortal,' he said. ‘Mortal and alone.'


Swedish Lapland, 1717. Maija, her husband Paavo and her daughters Frederika and Dorotea arrive from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of their past and put down new roots in this harsh but beautiful land. Above them looms Blackåsen, a mountain whose foreboding presence looms over the valley and whose dark history seems to haunt the lives of those who live in its shadow.

While herding the family's goats on the mountain, Frederika happens upon the mutilated body of one of their neighbors, Eriksson. The death is dismissed as a wolf attack, but Maija feels certain that the wounds could only have been inflicted by another man. Compelled to investigate despite her neighbors' strange disinterest in the death and the fate of Eriksson's widow, Maija is drawn into the dark history of tragedies and betrayals that have taken place on Blackåsen. Young Frederika finds herself pulled towards the mountain as well, feeling something none of the adults around her seem to notice.

As the seasons change, and the "wolf winter," the harshest winter in memory, descends upon the settlers, Paavo travels to find work, and Maija finds herself struggling for her family's survival in this land of winter-long darkness. As the snow gathers, the settlers' secrets are increasingly laid bare. Scarce resources and the never-ending darkness force them to come together, but Maija, not knowing who to trust and who may betray her, is determined to find the answers for herself. Soon, Maija discovers the true cost of survival under the mountain, and what it will take to make it to spring.




Alex Gordon

Gideon
Harper Voyager, January 6, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Preston & Child meets Kim Harrison in this edge-of-your-seat debut thriller—a superb blend of mystery, urban fantasy, horror, romance, and the supernatural.

When Lauren’s father dies, she makes a shocking discovery. The man she knew as John Reardon was once a completely different person, with a different name. Now, she’s determined to find out who he really was, even though her only clues are an old photograph, some letters, and the name of a town—Gideon.

But someone—or something—doesn’t want her to discover the truth. A strange man is stalking her, appearing everywhere she turns, and those who try to help her end up dead. Neither a shadowy enemy nor her own fear are going to prevent her from solving the mystery of her father—and unlocking the secrets of her own life.

Making her way to Gideon, Lauren finds herself more confused than ever. Nothing in this small Midwestern town is what it seems, including time itself. Residents start going missing, and Lauren is threatened by almost every townsperson she encounters. Two hundred years ago, a witch was burned at the stake, but in Gideon, the past feels all too chillingly present . . .




Darin Kennedy

The Mussorgsky Riddle
Curiosity Quills Press, January 12, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 350 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Psychic Mira Tejedor possesses unique talents that enable her to find anything and anyone, but now she must find a comatose boy wandering lost inside the labyrinth of his own mind. Thirteen-year-old Anthony Faircloth hasn’t spoken a word in almost a month and with each passing day, his near catatonic state worsens. No doctor, test, or scan can tell Anthony’s distraught mother what has happened to her already troubled son. In desperation, she turns to Mira for answers, hoping her unique abilities might succeed where science has failed.

At their first encounter, Mira is pulled into Anthony’s mind and finds the child’s psyche shattered into the various movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s classical music suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. As she navigates this magical dreamscape drawn from Anthony’s twin loves of Russian composers and classical mythology, Mira must contend with gnomes, troubadours, and witches in her search for the truth behind Anthony’s mysterious malady.

The real world, however, holds its own dangers. The onset of Anthony’s condition coincides with the disappearance of his older brother’s girlfriend, a missing persons case that threatens to tear the city apart. Mira discovers that in order to save Anthony, she will have to catch a murderer who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets contained in Anthony’s unique mind from ever seeing the light.




Greer Macallister

The Magician's Lie
Sourcebooks Landmark, January 13, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus in The Magician’s Lie, a debut novel in which the country’s most notorious female illusionist stands accused of her husband's murder —and she has only one night to convince a small-town policeman of her innocence.

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.

But when Virgil happens upon the fleeing magician and takes her into custody, she has a very different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless—and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Over the course of one eerie night, Virgil must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free… and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.




Daniel José Older

Half-Resurrection Blues
Bone Street Rumba 1
Roc, January 6, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
FIRST IN A BRAND NEW URBAN FANTASY SERIES

“Because I’m an inbetweener—and the only one anyone knows of at that—the dead turn to me when something is askew between them and the living. Usually, it’s something mundane like a suicide gone wrong or someone revived that shouldn’ta been.”

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.

One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.

But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death.…




Robert Repino

Morte
Soho Press, January 20, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
The “war with no name” has begun, with human extinction as its goal. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that would forever eradicate the destructive, oppressive humans. Under the Colony's watchful eye, this utopia will be free of the humans' penchant for violence, exploitation and religious superstition. The final step in the Colony's war effort is transforming the surface animals into high-functioning two-legged beings who rise up to kill their masters.

Former housecat turned war hero, Mort(e) is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend—a dog named Sheba. When he receives a mysterious message from the dwindling human resistance claiming Sheba is alive, he begins a journey that will take him from the remaining human strongholds to the heart of the Colony, where he will discover the source of EMSAH and the ultimate fate of all of earth's creatures.




Adam Roberts

Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea
St. Martin's Griffin, January 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
(Debut - US)

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Adam Roberts revisits Jules Verne's classic novel in a collaboration with the illustrator behind a recent highly acclaimed edition of The Hunting of the Snark

It is 1958 and France's first nuclear submarine, Plongeur, leaves port for the first of its sea trials. On board, gathered together for the first time, are one of the Navy's most experienced captains and a tiny skeleton crew of sailors, engineers, and scientists. The Plongeur makes her first dive and goes down, and down and down. Out of control, the submarine plummets to a depth where the pressure will crush her hull, killing everyone on board, and beyond. The pressure builds, the hull protests, the crew prepare for death, the boat reaches the bottom of the sea and finds nothing. Her final dive continues, the pressure begins to relent, but the depth guage is useless. They have gone miles down. Hundreds of miles, thousands, and so it goes on. Onboard the crew succumb to madness, betrayal, religious mania, and murder. Has the Plongeur left the limits of our world and gone elsewhere?




Jay Ruud

Fatal Feast
Merlin Mystery 1
Five Star, January 21, 2015
Hardcover, 298 pages
(Debut - Fiction)

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
When an Irish knight dies mysteriously at a banquet she is hosting' Queen Guenivere is charged with murder and faces death at the stake if found guilty. Her loyal page' Gildas' rushes to the woods to track down Merlin and convince him to take up the investigation and save the queen.

Fatal Feast is a fast-paced murder mystery set in the legendary court of Camelot' imagined as it might have existed in the high Middle Ages' with Sir Gawain' Sir Gareth' and Sir Lancelot in pivotal roles' and the young Gildas' enamored of the queen's young lady-in-waiting Rosemounde' an unlikely courtly lover focused on saving the queen and impressing his Rosemounde -- not necessarily in that order.




Hilary Scharper

Perdita
Sourcebooks Landmark, January 20, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
Marged Brice is 134 years old.
She’d be ready to go, if it wasn’t for Perdita . . .


The Georgian Bay lighthouse’s single eye keeps watch over storm and calm, and Marged grew up in its shadow, learning the language of the wind and the trees. There’s blustery beauty there, where sea and sky incite each other to mischief… or worse…

Garth Hellyer of the Longevity Project doesn’t believe Marged was a girl coming of age in the 1890s, but reading her diaries in the same wild and unpredictable location where she wrote them might be enough to cast doubt on his common sense.

Everyone knows about death.
It’s life that’s much more mysterious…




Sharma Shields

The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac
Holt Paperbacks, January 27, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
A dark, fantastical, multi-generational tale about a family whose patriarch is consumed by the hunt for the mythical, elusive sasquatch he encountered in his youth

Eli Roebuck was nine years old when his mother walked off into the woods with "Mr. Krantz," a large, strange, hairy man who may or may not be a sasquatch. What Eli knows for certain is that his mother went willingly, leaving her only son behind. For the rest of his life, Eli is obsessed with the hunt for the bizarre creature his mother chose over him, and we watch it affect every relationship he has in his long life--with his father, with both of his wives, his children, grandchildren, and colleagues. We follow all of the Roebuck family members, witnessing through each of them the painful, isolating effects of Eli's maniacal hunt, and find that each Roebuck is battling a monster of his or her own, sometimes literally. The magical world Shields has created is one of unicorns and lake monsters, ghosts and reincarnations, tricksters and hexes. At times charming, as when young Eli meets the eccentric, extraordinary Mr. Krantz, and downright horrifying at others, The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac is boldly imaginative throughout, and proves to be a devastatingly real portrait of the demons that we as human beings all face.




Krassi Zourkova

Wildalone
William Morrow, January 6, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts
In this enchanting and darkly imaginative debut novel full of myth, magic, romance, and mystery, a Princeton freshman is drawn into a love triangle with two enigmatic brothers, and discovers terrifying secrets about her family and herself—a bewitching blend of Twilight, The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and A Discovery of Witches.

Arriving at Princeton for her freshman year, Thea Slavin finds herself alone, a stranger in a strange land. Away from her family and her Eastern European homeland for the first time, she struggles to adapt to unfamiliar American ways and the challenges of college life—including an enigmatic young man whose brooding good looks and murky past intrigue her. Falling into a romantic entanglement with Rhys and his equally handsome and mysterious brother, Jake, soon draws Thea into a sensual mythic underworld as irresistible as it is dangerous.

In this shadow world that seems to mimic Greek mythology and the Bulgarian legends of the Samodivi or “wildalones”—forest witches who beguile and entrap men—she will discover a shocking secret that threatens everything she holds dear. And when the terrifying truth about her own family is revealed, it will transform her forever . . . if she falls under its spell.

Mesmerizing and addictive, The Wildalone is a thrilling blend of the modern and the fantastic. Krassi Zourkova creates an atmospheric world filled with rich characters as fascinating and compelling as those of Diana Gabaldon, Deborah Harkness, and Stephenie Meyer.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Gideon by Alex Gordon



2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Gideon by Alex Gordon



The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.



Alex Gordon

Gideon
Harper Voyager, January 6, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Gideon by Alex Gordon
Preston & Child meets Kim Harrison in this edge-of-your-seat debut thriller—a superb blend of mystery, urban fantasy, horror, romance, and the supernatural.

When Lauren’s father dies, she makes a shocking discovery. The man she knew as John Reardon was once a completely different person, with a different name. Now, she’s determined to find out who he really was, even though her only clues are an old photograph, some letters, and the name of a town—Gideon.

But someone—or something—doesn’t want her to discover the truth. A strange man is stalking her, appearing everywhere she turns, and those who try to help her end up dead. Neither a shadowy enemy nor her own fear are going to prevent her from solving the mystery of her father—and unlocking the secrets of her own life.

Making her way to Gideon, Lauren finds herself more confused than ever. Nothing in this small Midwestern town is what it seems, including time itself. Residents start going missing, and Lauren is threatened by almost every townsperson she encounters. Two hundred years ago, a witch was burned at the stake, but in Gideon, the past feels all too chillingly present . . .


Review: Jericho by Alex GordonThe View From Monday - April 4, 2016Review: Gideon by Alex GordonWhat's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 35Interview with Alex Gordon, author of Gideon - Janaury 15, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January DebutsThe View From Monday - January 5, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge - January 2015 Debuts2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Gideon by Alex Gordon

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