Thursday, February 28, 2013

Storm Warning

It seems almost appropriate that I started reading Jeff Somers's new novel Trickster during a tornado warning; I'm thinking we should issue one for this author. Not since I innocently and unknowingly picked up Rob Thurman's debut Nightlife have I been so blown away by a new-to-me urban fantasy writer.

Trickster introduces us to Lem and Mags, a pair of magician grifters who barely subsist on the extreme outer fringes of society. Lem is skinny and clever and a screw-up; Mags is huge and not so clever and devoted to Lem. While running small cons (which they mostly botch) they stumble upon a girl named Claire whom they find tied up and locked in the trunk of a car. Even worse, someone has covered Claire's body from head to toe with runes, marking her as part of a very big, extremely dark and utterly mysterious ritual. Lem and Mags know enough about big, bad magic to understand they should run, not walk, away from Claire. When they don't, the ugly party really gets started.

Jeff Somers delivers this story with tenebrous style and sepulchral wit (which he employs mercilessly, I'll warn you.) Think Steinbeck, if he'd had a straight razor's edge and a real attitude problem. You shouldn't expect anything gruesome in this novel to be draped with a doily of politeness or shoved offstage; you definitely will be having tea and cookies with all the beasties in the good parlor. While the characters are demonstrating how unlikable they should be -- as Lem frequently observes about his sort in the story, We are not good people -- you'll be falling in love with them. I certainly have. Also, the magic involved isn't of the Tinkerbell variety; there are always consequences, and most of them are disastrous. The world of Trickster is grungy, bleak and filled with nightmares, and this novel gives you a front-row seat in the VIP section on the tour bus. I can't wait for the next ride, either.

As always, you don't have to take my word for it. In comments to this post, name a new-to-you author you've recently discovered and enjoyed (or if you're in a reading slump, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Friday, March 1st, 2013. I'll draw five names at random from everyone who participates and send the winners an unsigned copy of Trickster by Jeff Somers. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

38 comments:

  1. New to me author I can't get enough of is Chuck Wendig. Both of the books I've read from him kept me up way toooooo late. Now I want to start over and read them again.

    Thanks for a chance.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fran K4:38 AM

    Casey Daniels is my latest new to me author. I finished Don of the Dead last night and started The Chick & The Dead this morning. Very enjoyable and as with most of my recent new to me authors its a much appreciated recommendation from your blog.

    I'll also be putting Jeff Somers on my TBR list.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm sure I'm the last person on the planet to discover her, but I've gobbled up everything I could find by Gail Carriger lately.

    Trickster sounds good -- will have to hunt it down if I don't win!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I recently discovered Kelley Armstrong though I must be very late to that party since her books seem to be in such high demand at my library.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cynthia Hand's Unearthly series blew me away.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lynn,
    The newest author I have read is H.P Mallory. I read all six of her Dulcie O'Neill books and now I'm checking out her other series Jolie Wilkins and anxiously awaiting her Lily Harper books!
    Tami
    Jacksonville

    ReplyDelete
  7. oh... I love Trickster type books... :0D. My new to me author..caitlin kittredge

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous9:16 AM

    This year I discovered Jennifer Estep's Spider series. The protangonists in Trickster brought to mind Mouser and Fafrd. It's been a couple of decades since I read those books, so I'm not sure about comparing them.

    SandyL

    ReplyDelete
  9. Discovering Lucinda Riley and her compelling fiction lead me to many enjoyable hours of reading.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Been in a massive reading slump. I'll definitely be looking this one up.

    ReplyDelete
  11. clairecherven9:50 AM

    New to me, but probably everyone else knows about this author: Laura Wright. I read Eternal Hunger during a vacation on the beach and seriously neglected the suntan lotion!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I haven't discovered anyone new and fun in a long time. Name in hat, please!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I just picked up N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and enjoyed it quite a bit.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This year I discovered Natasha Solomon's wonderful novels which I found memorable.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've been enjoying Kristine Grayson's Fates series, which contains some beuatifully twisted fairy tales; they are not new, but they are new to me.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim series. Kadrey has become one of my most favorite authors, and I adore James Stark aka Lucifer's hitman--known in the underworld as Sandman Slim. After reading the first book, I was utterly hooked, on the biting humor, the bizarre yet endearing characters, and the twisted plots in a very unique urban fantasy series.

    ReplyDelete
  17. A recent read was Firelight and Kristen Callihan was a new author for me

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've been dying to read this novel. It looks excellent. Also very excited about your new Disenchanted series!

    I recently read Afterlife by Sophie Littlefield, who is a new-to-me author. Great post-apocalyptic story.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've been reading LL Bartlett's Jeff Resnick Mystery series

    ReplyDelete
  20. Jeff Somers does grit and pain like no one else. Mind you, he drinks like no one else as well...

    ReplyDelete
  21. Gayle Forman--I've been on a YA kick. But I'm already intrigued by Trickster. You did this to me with Trick of the Light and then I went on a Rob Thurman kick.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm in a little reading slump at the moment, but I have a stack of books calling to me. I'm looking forward to seeing if I enjoy Brent Weeks' work.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I loved Nightlife but haven't had much luck with urban fantasy since. I'll have to give this book a try. I recently read Earth Girl by Janet Edwards, and really enjoyed it. It's a teen novel set in a future where humans have teleportation technology and have colonized other planets. But some humans can only survive on earth and are considered handicapped. The book details one 'handicapped' girl's entry into a colony university for the purpose of proving she's as good as they are.

    ReplyDelete
  24. hmm. Tossing name in Hat. Maybe I'll be a Gryfndor this time.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Karen W.8:28 PM

    The new- to- me author I recently enjoyed is Gillian Flynn and her newest, GONE GIRL. I LOVE Rob Thurman, so I'm really excited about TRICKSTER!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Name in the hat please,this books sounds cool.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Kristen Callihan - just found Darkest London...

    ReplyDelete
  28. Maggie Stiefvater. The Scorpio Races was just great. Best book I read last year.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Trickster sounds a bit too dark for me, but I want to put in a plug for Cat Trick by Sofie Kelly.

    It arrived yesterday, and I finished it last night -- I was NOT supposed to read last night, so I was just going to peek at the first page. Silly me! I didn't move until I'd finished the last page. It's a great novel, funny and fast paced. I've got find the rest in the series. Thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am in a slump and not read nothing by anyone new recently so just throw my name in the hat.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Kristen Ashley

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  32. Margaret2:24 AM

    Isaac Marion is my latest new-to-me author. His writing is like music to me.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Two new ones for me lately. First, Linda Robertson's UF stuff set around Cleveland. Very fun witches/werewolves/vampire stuff. Plus rock and roll. Second, Ann Patchett's beautiful "Bel Canto."

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Lyn,

    Long time reader first time commenter.

    Thanks for the rec on that book! I followed the link and downloaded the sample on my nook. Immediately after finishing the sample I hit "buy now".

    Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Lou Morgan. I picked up her debut, BLOOD AND FEATHERS, and became an instant fan.

    Funny enough, I had the same response to Rob Thurman.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Alison Pang's debut and Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds. :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Susanne5:34 PM

    Please put my name in the Magic Hat - the book sounds great!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Actually, Jeff Somers himself is my recently-stumbled-upon author. I'm on "The Eternal Prison," the third in his Avery Cates series, and absolutely love it.

    ReplyDelete