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Review: The Thorn of Dentonhill by Marshall Ryan Maresca


The Thorn of Dentonhill
Author:  Marshall Ryan Maresca
Series:  Maradaine Constabulary 1
Publisher:  DAW, February 3, 2014
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780756410261 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: The Thorn of Dentonhill by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day, he’s a struggling magic student at the University of Maradaine. At night, he spoils the drug trade of Willem Fenmere, crime boss of Dentonhill and murderer of Veranix’s father. He’s determined to shut Fenmere down.

With that goal in mind, Veranix disrupts the delivery of two magical artifacts meant for Fenmere’s clients, the mages of the Blue Hand Circle. Using these power-filled objects in his fight, he quickly becomes a real thorn in Fenmere’s side.

So much so that soon not only Fenmere, but powerful mages, assassins, and street gangs all want a piece of “The Thorn.” And with professors and prefects on the verge of discovering his secrets, Veranix’s double life might just fall apart. Unless, of course, Fenmere puts an end to it first.



Doreen's Thoughts

The Thorn of Dentonhill is a terrific tale of adventure and magic, with the action practically non-stop from the opening page. Veranix is a magic student by day, and a daring thief of those who pedal drugs at night. He leads a personal vendetta against the city’s biggest drug lord, Willem Fenmere, who murdered his father and has been the biggest criminal player since he arrived in the city.

As a university student of magic, Veranix is obligated to do well in his studies and accept a position with the mage group that is sponsoring his education. However, his extracurricular activities as a thief negatively affect his ability to remain awake during lectures and do the actual studying. During the course of his adventures, he has friends, professors, and family who try to support him. His friend and roommate Delmin Sarren assumes that he is having a passionate affair with the lovely groundskeeper, Kaiana, who in actuality helps him hide the tools of his trade and supports his mission to stop the drug dealing in the city. His cousin, Colin, a high-ranking captain in the one of the main gangs that run the city, is certain that Veranix is the Thorn, but believes that his actions in targeting Fenmere will result in a backlash against the gang and the other city citizens, from both Fenmere and the so-called authorities.

For a novel that has this much “swashbuckling” in it, The Thorn of Dentonhill actually is very political. Maresca has created a complex world, with different races and classes side by side with magic users who can use magic to differing degrees. I loved Veranix’s explanation of “the five hundred and five rule,” which explains how one out of five hundred people are born with the talent to feel and channel magic (called numina), and of those five hundred, only one in five has the ability to manipulate it in any useful way. Maresca does a fantastic job of setting the political stage in his city, explaining his magic, and developing the back story for why Veranix is so determined to stop drug sales – all naturally within the story itself, without long-winded paragraphs of explanations relating to which gang has control over which criminal functions. Maresca’s world is probably at an 18th century level in technology, with magic being so scarce that technology already has dealt with and eliminated the problem of having mage rulers.

I enjoyed The Thorn of Dentonhill tremendously. It was a quick read, action-packed but with enough intrigue to balance it out. Maresca is an extremely talented author, and I expect to read more great things from him.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 2015 Winner


The winner of the February 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Thorn of Dentonhill by Marshall Ryan Maresca with 49% of all votes. The Thorn of Dentonhill is published by DAW. The cover art is by Paul Young.



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 2015 Winner





The Final Results

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 2015 Winner





The February 2015 Debut Covers

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 2015 Winner



Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the March Debut covers starting on March 15, 2015. Look for the list of March Debuts on March 1st (here).

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts


2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 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 February 24, 2015.


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




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts
Jacket Art by Stephan Martiniere



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts
Designed by Abby Kagan



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts
Designed by Janet M. Evans



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts
Jacket Art by Veer.com



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts
Jacket photograph © 2015 Getty Images/Eileen O'Donnell



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts
Cover Art by Paul Young



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts
Jacket Design by Lucy Kim



2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Debuts


Interview with Marshall Ryan Maresca, author of The Thorn of Dentonhill - February 1, 2015


Please welcome Marshall Ryan Maresca to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Thorn of Dentonhill will be published on February 3rd by DAW.



Interview with Marshall Ryan Maresca, author of The Thorn of Dentonhill - February 1, 2015




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

Marshall:  I’ve been drawn to writing from an early age. In seventh grade I tried writing a huge fantasy epic called “The Last Righon”, even though when I started I had no idea what a ‘RIghon’ was or what the significance of the last one meant. But it sounded epic. I couldn’t resist the urge to come up with stories.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Marshall:  Definitely a plotter. I love my outlines. I even worked out a whole structure for them. At one point, early on in my writing attempts, I had a romantic idea of pantsing— it sounds so thrilling! Just go where the writing takes you! I found out it takes me nowhere. I need to have a plan about where I’m going.



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

Marshall:  Getting myself into the rhythm on a daily basis. On any given day, getting those first hundred words is like starting the car on a frigid day. Once my engine gets warmed up, then the words are flying like arrows at Agincourt.



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

Marshall:  Early influences include Zilpha Keatly Snyder, David Eddings and Isaac Asimov. I just devoured Asimov as a teenager. Right now I’ve been reading John Scalzi a lot. Plus I have an enormous “too read” pile, especially for genre stuff.



TQ:  Describe The Thorn of Dentonhill in 140 characters or less.

Marshall:  Student by day, hero by night fights drug dealers, assassins and evil mages with magic, quick wits and moxie.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Thorn of Dentonhill that is not in the book description.

Marshall:  There’s plenty of food in Thorn. Magic burns calories, so Veranix is hungry almost all the time. You might want to have snacks nearby when you read it.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Thorn of Dentonhill? What appealed to you about writing a fantasy novel featuring both organized crime and academia?

Marshall:  It partly came from wanting to take the thief-hero tropes in fantasy and turn them a bit on their ear, and thinking along those lines led me to the superhero tropes, especially the street-level types like Spiderman and Daredevil. And one recurring concept in those tropes is the hero having some grounding, a responsibility that keeps them from just being in hero mode full time. An academic life that couldn’t be ignored felt like the best fit, and from that Veranix came together as a vibrant protagonist that I had to write about.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Thorn of Dentonhill?

Marshall:  I studied cities: how they grow, how they break into neighborhoods, how the people of the neighborhoods define its character. I spent some time in Mexico City, observing those kinds of rhythms. For example, the neighborhood of Coyoacan in Mexico City is a relatively safe district with a lot of historic architecture, where you’ll see groups of young men working the street in a unique way: if you’re trying to park your car, for example, they’ll run ahead, find a spot for you, make sure you get in all right. Things like that: nothing illegal or even shady, just being helpful. And you tip them for their help— help you didn’t necessarily ask for or need, but you tip them just the same. A lot of the character of the Rose Street Princes and other gangs in the Aventil neighborhood came from these observations.



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

Marshall:  Veranix is the easiest, by far. When I sat down to work on the sequel to Thorn after having been “away” from him for a while (I wrote A Murder of Mages and a few other things after finishing Thorn), writing Veranix again was like putting on a comfortable sweater. Colin is probably the hardest, because he’s got loyalties pulling him in different directions and mixed feelings about Veranix, so finding the balance of what he wants to do, what he needs to do, and what he can’t let himself do is challenging.



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

Marshall:  You mean, what is the correct pronunciation of “Veranix”? I’m glad you asked! (I’ve already heard it mangled several ways.) Veranix has the same vowels and stresses as “therapist”.



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

Marshall

         “If you ask me, the Blue Hand are especially odious. A little boys club, if you get my drift, and they all nearly worship their leader. Disturbing man. I only met him once, and it was two times too many.”

         Delmin leaned in to the prefect. “Listen, what would you rather have, two annoyed, hungry mages, or two mages who owe you a favor?” The prefect thought about this for a minute, and then opened the door.



TQ:  What's next?

Marshall:  Next up is A Murder of Mages, which is not a sequel to Thorn, but the start of a separate series also set in the city of Maradaine. The two books do have some interconnectivity, though. A Murder of Mages follows two constabulary inspectors as they try to solve a gruesome series of murders. It’s coming out July 7th.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Marshall:  Thanks for having me!





The Thorn of Dentonhill
Maradaine 1
DAW, February 3, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Marshall Ryan Maresca, author of The Thorn of Dentonhill - February 1, 2015
Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day, he’s a struggling magic student at the University of Maradaine. At night, he spoils the drug trade of Willem Fenmere, crime boss of Dentonhill and murderer of Veranix’s father. He’s determined to shut Fenmere down.

With that goal in mind, Veranix disrupts the delivery of two magical artifacts meant for Fenmere’s clients, the mages of the Blue Hand Circle. Using these power-filled objects in his fight, he quickly becomes a real thorn in Fenmere’s side.

So much so that soon not only Fenmere, but powerful mages, assassins, and street gangs all want a piece of “The Thorn.” And with professors and prefects on the verge of discovering his secrets, Veranix’s double life might just fall apart. Unless, of course, Fenmere puts an end to it first.




About Marshall

Marshall Ryan Maresca grew up in upstate New York and studied film and video production at Penn State.  He now lives Austin with his wife and son.  His work appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced and has worked as a stage actor, a theatrical director and an amateur chef.  The Thorn of Dentonhill is his debut novel. DAW will also be publishing A Murder of Mages, the first novel in Marshall’s second fantasy series, set in the city of Maradaine. For more information, visit Marshall’s website at www.mrmaresca.com.

Website  ~  Twitter @marshallmaresca

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts


2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts


There are 12 debuts for February. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The February 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 February cover for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on February 15th.

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 February. The list is correct as of the day posted.




Dave Bara

Impulse
The Lightship Chronicles 1
DAW, February 3, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts
Lieutenant Peter Cochrane of the Quantar Royal Navy believes he has his future clearly mapped out. It begins with his new assignment as an officer on Her Majesty’s Spaceship Starbound, a Lightship bound for deep space voyages of exploration.

But everything changes when Peter is summoned to the office of his father, Grand Admiral Nathan Cochrane, and given devastating news: the death of a loved one. In a distant solar system, a mysterious and unprovoked attack upon Lightship Impulse resulted in the deaths of Peter’s former girlfriend and many of her shipmates.

Now Peter’s plans are torn asunder as he is transferred to a Unified Space Navy ship under foreign command, en route to an unexpected destination, and surrounded almost entirely by strangers. To top it off, his superiors have given him secret orders that might force him to become a mutineer.

The crisis at hand becomes a gateway to something much more when the ship’s Historian leads Peter and his shipmates into a galaxy of the unknown — of ancient technologies, age-old rivalries, new cultures, and unexpected romance. It’s an overwhelming responsibility for Peter, and one false step could plunge humanity into an apocalyptic interstellar war….




Quan Barry

She Weeps Each Time You're Born
Pantheon, February 10, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts
Quan Barry’s luminous fiction debut brings us the tumultuous history of modern Vietnam as experienced by a young girl born under mysterious circumstances a few years before the country’s reunification, a child gifted with the otherworldly ability to hear the voices of the dead.

At the peak of the war in Vietnam, a baby girl is born along the Song Ma River on the night of the full moon. This is Rabbit, who will journey away from her destroyed village with a makeshift family thrown together by war. Here is a Vietnam we’ve never encountered before: through Rabbit’s inexplicable but radiant intuition, we are privy to an intimate version of history, from the days of French Indochina and the World War II rubber plantations through the chaos of postwar reunification. With its use of magical realism—Rabbit’s ability to “hear” the dead—the novel reconstructs a turbulent historical period through a painterly human lens. This is the moving story of one woman’s struggle to unearth the true history of Vietnam while simultaneously carving out a place for herself within it.




Laura van den Berg

Find Me
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, February 17, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts
After two acclaimed story collections, Laura van den Berg brings us Find Me, her highly anticipated debut novel—a gripping, imaginative, darkly funny tale of a young woman struggling to find her place in the world.

Joy has no one. She spends her days working the graveyard shift at a grocery store outside Boston and nursing an addiction to cough syrup, an attempt to suppress her troubled past. But when a sickness that begins with memory loss and ends with death sweeps the country, Joy, for the first time in her life, seems to have an advantage: she is immune. When Joy’s immunity gains her admittance to a hospital in rural Kansas, she sees a chance to escape her bleak existence. There she submits to peculiar treatments and follows seemingly arbitrary rules, forming cautious bonds with other patients—including her roommate, whom she turns to in the night for comfort, and twin boys who are digging a secret tunnel.

As winter descends, the hospital’s fragile order breaks down and Joy breaks free, embarking on a journey from Kansas to Florida, where she believes she can find her birth mother, the woman who abandoned her as a child. On the road in a devastated America, she encounters mysterious companions, cities turned strange, and one very eerie house. As Joy closes in on Florida, she must confront her own damaged memory and the secrets she has been keeping from herself.




Viola Carr

The Diabolical Miss Hyde
Electric Empire 1
Harper Voyager, February 10, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts
Forensic science, magic, mystery, and romance mix in this edgy steampunk fantasy—a retelling of the horror classic, in which Dr. Eliza Jekyll, daughter of the infamous Dr. Henry Jekyll—pursues a dangerous murderer in an alternate Victorian London.

In an electrified Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with newfangled technological gadgets. She will need every advantage available to catch a terrifying new psychopath splattering London with blood. Hidden in the grimy shadows, the fiendish murderer preys on beautiful women, drugging them before slicing off their limbs. Finding the “Slicer” can make Eliza’s career . . . or unmask her darkest secret. Like her father, she has a hidden second self that emerges when she drinks his forbidden magical elixir. Just a few sips, and a seductive and impulsive Lizzie Hyde is unleashed.

The members of the Royal Society do not trust Eliza, and they send their enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she’s a dangerous sorceress. The careful doctor knows that one wrong step can make her prey to the clever Lafayette, a man who harbors an evil curse of his own. No matter how much she craves the elixir, she must resist.

But as the Slicer case draws her into London’s luminous magical underworld, Eliza will need the potion’s power to help her . . . even if it might attract the attentions of Lafayette. .

Even if it means setting the wild Lizzie free. . . .




Randy Henderson

Finn Fancy Necromancy
Tor Books, February 10, 2015
Hardcover and eBook,  368 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts
Writers of the Future grand prize winner Randy Henderson presents a dark and quirky debut in Finn Fancy Necromancy.

Finn Gramaraye was framed for the crime of dark necromancy at the age of 15, and exiled to the Other Realm for twenty five years. But now that he’s free, someone—probably the same someone—is trying to get him sent back. Finn has only a few days to discover who is so desperate to keep him out of the mortal world, and find evidence to prove it to the Arcane Enforcers. They are going to be very hard to convince, since he’s already been convicted of trying to kill someone with dark magic.

But Finn has his family: His brother Mort who is running the family necrotorium business now, his brother Pete who believes he’s a werewolf, though he is not, and his sister Samantha who is, unfortunately, allergic to magic. And he’s got Zeke, a fellow exile and former enforcer, who doesn’t really believe in Finn’s innocence but is willing to follow along in hopes of getting his old job back.




Lee Kelly

City of Savages
Saga Press, February 3, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts
After the Red Allies turn New York City into a POW camp, two sisters must decipher the past in order to protect the future in this action-packed thriller with a dual narrative.

It’s been nearly two decades since the Red Allies first attacked New York, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp, ruled by Rolladin and her brutal, impulsive warlords. For Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s younger sister, Phee, the POW camp is a dangerous playground of possibility, and the only home she’d ever want.

When Sky and Phee discover their mom’s hidden journal from the war’s outbreak, they both realize there’s more to Manhattan—and their mother—than either of them had ever imagined. And after a group of strangers arrives at the annual POW census, the girls begin to uncover the island’s long-kept secrets. The strangers hail from England, a country supposedly destroyed by the Red Allies, and Rolladin’s lies about Manhattan’s captivity begin to unravel.

Hungry for the truth, the sisters set a series of events in motion that end in the death of one of Rolladin’s guards. Now they’re outlaws, forced to join the strange Englishmen on an escape mission through Manhattan. Their flight takes them into subways haunted by cannibals, into the arms of a sadistic cult in the city’s Meatpacking District and, through the pages of their mom’s old journal, into the island’s dark and shocking past.




Robert Levy

The Glittering World
Gallery Books, February 10, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts
In the tradition of Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Scott Smith (The Ruins), and Jason Mott (The Returned), award-winning playwright Robert Levy spins a dark tale of alienation and belonging, the familiar and the surreal, family secrets and the search for truth in his debut supernatural thriller.

When up-and-coming chef Michael “Blue” Whitley returns with three friends to the remote Canadian community of his birth, it appears to be the perfect getaway from New York. He soon discovers, however, that everything he thought he knew about himself is a carefully orchestrated lie. Though he had no recollection of the event, as a young boy, Blue and another child went missing for weeks in the idyllic, mysterious woods of Starling Cove. Soon thereafter, his mother suddenly fled with him to America, their homeland left behind.

But then Blue begins to remember. And once the shocking truth starts bleeding back into his life, his closest friends—Elisa, his former partner in crime; her stalwart husband, Jason; and Gabe, Blue’s young and admiring coworker—must unravel the secrets of Starling Cove and the artists’ colony it once harbored. All four will face their troubled pasts, their most private demons, and a mysterious race of beings that inhabits the land, spoken of by the locals only as the Other Kind...




Marshall Ryan Maresca

The Thorn of Dentonhill
Maradaine 1
DAW, February 3, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts
Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day, he’s a struggling magic student at the University of Maradaine. At night, he spoils the drug trade of Willem Fenmere, crime boss of Dentonhill and murderer of Veranix’s father. He’s determined to shut Fenmere down.

With that goal in mind, Veranix disrupts the delivery of two magical artifacts meant for Fenmere’s clients, the mages of the Blue Hand Circle. Using these power-filled objects in his fight, he quickly becomes a real thorn in Fenmere’s side.

So much so that soon not only Fenmere, but powerful mages, assassins, and street gangs all want a piece of “The Thorn.” And with professors and prefects on the verge of discovering his secrets, Veranix’s double life might just fall apart. Unless, of course, Fenmere puts an end to it first.




Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Signal to Noise
Solaris, February 10, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 272 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts
A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City.

Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends -- Sebastian and Daniela -- and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. With help from this newfound magic, the three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love...
Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father’s funeral. It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, and it revives memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? And, is there any magic left?




Katie Schickel

Housewitch
Forge, February 17, 2015
Hardcover and ebook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts
Former foster child, now a stay-at-home mom of three, Allison Darling desperately wants to fit in with the latte drinking and hundred-dollar-yoga-pants wearing moms that run Monrovia, her charming seaside town. Constantly feeling like an outsider, Allison dreams of more for her children.

When Allison’s estranged mother passes away, her previously dormant special talents emerge. Soon she is reunited with the family that abandoned her and learns of their heartbreaking legacy.

At the same time, the Glamour Girls, a soap-selling company run by the most popular women in Monrovia, recruits Allison to join them. They have a monopoly on everything in town, from bake sales to businesses deals. But once you’re a Glamour Girl, there’s no going back.

Suddenly caught between the rag-tag, hippie relatives she once so desperately wanted and the rich, charismatic Glamour Girls—Allison is unsure where she fits in. Could she come to trust the strange outcast family that abandoned her, or really hang with the most powerful, glamorous women in town?

For Allison, it’s like high school all over again, except this time, the mean girls have more than killer manicures and the nobodies aren’t sulking in the band hall. They’re adults. They’ve got husbands, children, and livelihoods on the line. And they also happen to be witches.

Allison’s decision to lend her powerful magical talents to either group will change Monrovia—and Allison—forever.




Miranda Sherry

Black Dog Summer
Atria Books, February 10, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 256 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts
In this extraordinary debut novel reminiscent of The Lovely Bones and Little Bee, a mother watches from the afterlife as her teenage daughter recovers amidst the startling dysfunction of her extended family.

A small, bright thread of a story weaves out from the moment of my passing and seems to tether me to this place. Perhaps this is why I have not left yet. Perhaps I have no choice but to follow the story to its end.

Compulsively readable and stylistically stunning, Black Dog Summer begins with a murder, a farmstead massacre, in the South African bush. Thirty-eight-year-old Sally is but one of the victims. Her life brutally cut short, she narrates from her vantage point in the afterlife and watches as her sister, Adele, her brother-in-law and unrequited love Liam, her niece Bryony, and her teenage daughter, Gigi, begin to make sense of the tragedy.

A suspenseful drama focusing on marriage and fidelity, sisterhood, and the fractious bond between mothers and daughters, Black Dog Summer asks: In the wake of tragedy, where does all that dark energy linger? The youngest characters, Bryony and Gigi, cousins who are now brought together after Sally’s murder, are forced into sharing a bedroom. Bryony becomes confused and frightened by the violent energy stirred up and awakened by the massacre, while Gigi is unable to see beyond her deep grief and guilt. But they are not the only ones aware of the lurking darkness. Next door lives Lesedi, a reluctant witchdoctor who hides her mystical connection with the dead behind the façade of their affluent Johannesburg suburb.

As Gigi finally begins to emerge from her grief, the fragile healing process is derailed when she receives some shattering news, and in a mistaken effort to protect her cousin, puts Bryony’s life in imminent danger. Now Sally must find a way to prevent her daughter from making a mistake that could destroy the lives of all who are left behind.

Gorgeously written, with a pace that will leave readers breathless, Black Dog Summer introduces a brilliant new voice in fiction.




Judd Trichter

Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Thomas Dunne Books, February 3, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts
Set in a near-future LA, a man falls in love with a beautiful android—but when she is kidnapped and sold piecemeal on the black market, he must track down her parts to put her back together.

Bad luck for Eliot Lazar, he fell in love with an android, a beautiful C-900 named Iris Matsuo. That’s the kind of thing that can get you killed in late 21th century Los Angeles or anywhere else for that matter – anywhere except the man-made island of Avernus, far out in the Pacific, which is where Eliot and Iris are headed once they get their hands on a boat. But then one night Eliot knocks on Iris’s door only to find she was kidnapped, chopped up, sold for parts.

Unable to move on and unwilling to settle for a woman with a heartbeat, Eliot vows to find the parts to put Iris back together again—and to find the sonofabitch who did this to her and get his revenge.

With a determined LAPD detective on his trail and time running out in a city where machines and men battle for control, Eliot Lazar embarks on a bloody journey that will take him to the edge of a moral precipice from which he can never return, from which mankind can never return.

Judd Trichter's Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is a science fiction love story that asks the question, how far will you go to save someone you love?

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Thorn of Dentonhill by Marshall Ryan Maresca



2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Thorn of Dentonhill by Marshall Ryan Maresca



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



Marshall Ryan Maresca

The Thorn of Dentonhill
Maradaine 1
DAW, February 3, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Thorn of Dentonhill by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day, he’s a struggling magic student at the University of Maradaine. At night, he spoils the drug trade of Willem Fenmere, crime boss of Dentonhill and murderer of Veranix’s father. He’s determined to shut Fenmere down.

With that goal in mind, Veranix disrupts the delivery of two magical artifacts meant for Fenmere’s clients, the mages of the Blue Hand Circle. Using these power-filled objects in his fight, he quickly becomes a real thorn in Fenmere’s side.

So much so that soon not only Fenmere, but powerful mages, assassins, and street gangs all want a piece of “The Thorn.” And with professors and prefects on the verge of discovering his secrets, Veranix’s double life might just fall apart. Unless, of course, Fenmere puts an end to it first.

Review: The Thorn of Dentonhill by Marshall Ryan Maresca 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 2015 Winner2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February DebutsInterview with Marshall Ryan Maresca, author of The Thorn of Dentonhill - February 1, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge - February Debuts2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Thorn of Dentonhill by Marshall Ryan Maresca

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