Hot Off the Proverbial Presses: July 16, 2013

This Is How You Die Ryan NorthThis Is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death [edited] by Matthew Bennardo, David Malki and Ryan North

If a machine could predict how you would die, would you want to know? This is the tantalizing premise of This Is How You Die, the brilliant follow-up anthology to the self-published bestseller, Machine of Death.

The machines started popping up around the world. The offer was tempting: with a simple blood test, anyone could know how they would die. But the machines didn’t give dates or specific circumstances-just a single word or phrase. DROWNED, CANCER, OLD AGE, CHOKED ON A HANDFUL OF POPCORN. And though the predictions were always accurate, they were also often frustratingly vague. OLD AGE, it turned out, could mean either dying of natural causes, or being shot by an elderly, bedridden man in a botched home invasion. The machines held onto that old-world sense of irony in death: you can know how it’s going to happen, but you’ll still be surprised when it does.

This addictive anthology–sinister, witty, existential, and fascinating–collects the best of the thousands of story submissions the editors received in the wake of the success of the first volume, and exceeds the first in every way.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: A follow up to the intriguing anthology Machine of Death, in which a machine predicts how you will die with hilarious consequences. No, really.

The Midnight Heir Bane Chronicles Cassandra ClareThe Midnight Heir (The Bane Chronicles) by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

In Edwardian London, Magnus Bane discovers old friends and new enemies…including the son of his former comrade Will Herondale. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles.

Magnus thought he would never return to London, but he is lured by a handsome offer from Tatiana Blackthorn, whose plans—involving her beautiful young ward—are far more sinister than Magnus even suspects. In London at the turn of the century, Magnus finds old friends, and meets a very surprising young man…the sixteen-year-old James Herondale.

This standalone e-only short story illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality populates the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. This story in The Bane Chronicles, The Midnight Heir, is written by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: We love the continuing side-stories in the saga of our favorite Cassandra Clare character, Magnus Bane. TEAM MAGNUS BANE!

The Poisoned Pilgrim Oliver PötzschThe Poisoned Pilgrim: A Hangman’s Daughter Tale by Oliver Pötzsch

1666: The monastery at Andechs has long been a pilgrimage destination, but when the hangman’s daughter, Magdalena, her doctor husband Simon, and their two small children arrive there, they learn that the monks have far larger concerns than saying Mass and receiving alms. It seems that once again, the hangman’s family has fallen into a mysterious and dangerous adventure.

Two monks at the monastery experiment with cutting edge technology, including a method of deflecting the lighting that has previously set the monastery ablaze. When one of the monks disappears and his lab is destroyed, foul play is suspected. Who better to investigate than the famed hangman Jakob Kuisl? But as the hangman and his family attempt to solve the mystery of the missing monk, they must deal with both the eccentric denizens of the monastery and villagers who view the monks’ inventions as witchcraft that must be destroyed at all costs.

This thrilling fourth entry of The Hangman’s Daughter series features scheming monks, murderous robots, and the action and intrigue that never seem to cease when the Kuisls are on a case.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: The fourth story in The Hangman’s Daughter series. Historical fiction, now with 100% more robots.

Beyond Dinocalypse Chuck WendigBeyond Dinocalypse by Chuck Wendig

Thrown through time and space, Jet Black and his friends find themselves in a future that has changed everything they’ve ever known. Hunted, exhausted, and desperate to return home, they must stay one step ahead of the conquering psychosaurs who have taken over the world and enslaved humanity! But as the world changed, so did the people they left behind. Bitter enemies turn into vital allies and old friends sacrifice their ideals to seek victory by any means necessary in this fast-paced sequel to Dinocalypse Now!

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Dinosaurs plus the apocalypse = everything we would have wanted to read when we were growing up. Bonus: the prequel title Dinocalypse Now!

Countdown City the Last Policemen Ben WintersCountdown City: The Last Policeman Book II by Ben Winters

Detective Hank Palace returns in Countdown City, the second volume of the Last Policeman trilogy. There are just 77 days before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective Palace is out of a job. With the Concord police force operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, Hank’s days of solving crimes are over…until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband.
 
Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace—an easy feat in a world with no phones, no cars, and no way to tell whether someone’s gone “bucket list” or just gone. With society falling to shambles, Hank pieces together what few clues he can, on a search that leads him from a college-campus-turned-anarchist-encampment to a crumbling coastal landscape where anti-immigrant militia fend off “impact zone” refugees.
 
Countdown City presents another fascinating mystery set on brink of an apocalypse–and once again, Hank Palace confronts questions way beyond “whodunit.” What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you?

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: A hard-broiled crime novel set during the impending apocalypse. What’s not to like?

The Never List Koethi ZanThe Never List by Koethi Zan

For years, best friends Sarah and Jennifer kept what they called the “Never List”:  a list of actions to be avoided, for safety’s sake, at all costs.  But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride with grave, everlasting consequences. For the next three years, they are held captive with two other girls in a dungeon-like cellar by a connoisseur of sadism.

Ten years later, at thirty-one, Sarah is still struggling to resume a normal life, living as a virtual recluse under a new name, unable to come to grips with the fact that Jennifer didn’t make it out of that cellar. Now, her abductor is up for parole and Sarah can no longer ignore the twisted letters he sends from jail.

Finally, Sarah decides to confront her phobias and the other survivors—who hold their own deep grudges against her. When she goes on a cross-country chase that takes her into the perverse world of BDSM, secret cults, and the arcane study of torture, she begins unraveling a mystery more horrifying than even she could have imagined.

A shocking, blazingly fast read, Koethi Zan’s debut is a must for fans of Karin Slaughter, Laura Lippman, and S.J. Watson.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Sounds like a terror-filled psychological suspense story of the best kind.

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