Michael Skellig was a military specialist of the “I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you” type. That life is now over. He now runs a limo service with a few other broken ex-military friends. When his latest client, hotshot skateboarder Bismarck Avila, becomes a target for assassination, Michael’s skills kick in and he saves Avila’s life — after which Avila blackmails Michael into being his driver/bodyguard. Meanwhile his lawyer/ex-girlfriend is trying to keep him out of jail, while his latest love interest is a cop that’s investigating the attempted murder. Michael is caught in the middle and trying to stay above water. This book is fast paced and filled with danger, gruesome action and a sense of humor that will keep you turning the pages until the last bullets fly.
Sometimes our expectations are dashed to the ground and pummeled when faced with reality. This happens for Thomas Senlin when he and his wife Marya take a trip to the Tower of Babel in Josiah Bancroft’s debut novel. Thomas’ romanticized vision of the tower as a beautiful place full of wonders and amenities is immediately shattered when he arrives at the base of the tower and is separated from his new bride within minutes. In order to find her again, he has to start going up through the floors, or Ringdoms, of the tower. His encounters range from the surreal (such as an entire floor where visitors are cast in a play that they’ve never read or rehearsed) to the suspiciously serene (a floor dedicated to bathhouses and bars). Thomas will have to use every wit he has to find his wife or he’ll end up like all the other visitors: indentured servants or dead. Bancroft’s novel is a fun Steampunk adventure that will make you want to find out what lies on the next floor, and each one thereafter.
In today’s modern world everyone’s actions can be recorded with small devices in your pocket, even if you don’t want what you’ve done to be seen. Such is the case for assassin Roy Cooper. After performing his latest hit, he comes across an old man being murdered by some young gang members. Roy faces down the gangsters after they get the drop on him, and he manages to stay alive; and the entire thing is caught on a cell phone. The dead man was running for mayor in Los Angeles, and Roy becomes famous, which means death for an assassin. As Roy’s past and celebrity catch up with him, he is set on finding the young gangsters and distracted by his obsession, witnessing a baseball pitcher who’s about to break a record. This fast-paced, hardboiled thriller is quick, funny at times, and starts and ends with the most famous Los Angeles resident … earthquakes.
Paul Tsabo is an ex-cop turned insurance investigator. He’s the only person to ever single-handedly take down a ‘mancer, aka a magic user. Losing his foot in the process he has left the police job in order to live a quieter life filing paperwork. But that all comes to a fiery end as his apartment is burned up and his daughter scarred. Paul is out for revenge. He knows the fire was caused by Flex, a drug that is made by ‘mancers that causes normal people to have unusually good luck. But that luck comes with a price, (the universe demands balance), and creates Flux, the bad luck that needs to go with the good.
As Paul discovers his own ‘mancy he teams up with a fellow magic user and enters the dark world of Flux and ‘mancy. Having to keep his new skills a secret while pursuing a ‘mancer hell-bent on destroying the world, Paul has to make several decisions that he knows will not have a good outcome. Part Breaking Bad, part Sandman Slim, Flex is a fantastic gritty urban fantasy.
We all know the saying, “blood is thicker than water.” But what happens when your parents are the ones set against each other? In Tom Rob Smith’s latest novel, The Farm, this is the situation narrator Daniel faces; being a man who has to judge his parents and find out who is right and who is wrong. This searing novel never lets up. It hits the ground running from page one, and doesn’t stop until the last page is turned. As each piece of evidence is laid out before Daniel he had to decide if there is a small town conspiracy, or if it’s just the ravings of his mother who has gone slowly insane. This is one can’t-miss novel for anyone who enjoys exploring the darker side of humanity and the meaning of family.