The Hollows by Daniel Church
Angry Robot , Daniel Church , Horror / November 11, 2022

In a lonely village in the Peak District, during the onset of a once-in-a-lifetime snowstorm, Constable Ellie Cheetham finds a body. The man, a local ne’er-do-well, appears to have died in a tragic accident: he drank too much and froze to death. But the facts don’t add up: the dead man is clutching a knife in one hand, and there’s evidence he was hiding from someone. Someone who watched him die. Stranger still, an odd mark has been drawn onto a stone beside his body. The next victims are two families on the outskirts of town. As the storm rises and the body count grows, Ellie realises she has a terrifying problem on her hands: someone – or some thing – is killing indiscriminately, attacking in the darkness and using the storm for cover. The killer is circling ever closer to the village. The storm’s getting worse… and the power’s just gone out. A bit of seasonal, wintry horror this week. The Hollows by Daniel Church is a fresh take on old-school creature features.  Officer Ellie Cheetham is a lowly police constable responsible for upholding the law in this rural, isolated community. During the worst snowstorm in years, she finds…

Bystander 27 by Rik Hoskin
Angry Robot , Rik Hoskin , Sci-Fi / August 7, 2020

For ex-Navy SEAL Jon Hayes, the super-powered ‘costumes’ are just part of ordinary life in New York City, until the day his pregnant wife Melanie is senselessly killed in a clash between Captain Light and The Jade Shade. But as Hayes struggles to come to terms with his loss, and questions for the first time who the costumes are and where they come from, the once sharp lines of his reality begin to blur… If Hayes wants to uncover the shocking truth about the figures behind the costumes, and get justice for his fallen family, he’ll have to step out of the background, and stop being a bystander. In Bystander 27 by Rik Hoskin, superheroes and supervillains are a fact of life. They are famous, or infamous, depending on what side they are on. We get to follow a single man, Jon Hayes, as his entire existence is changed at a fundamental level by a seemingly random, horrific event that involves the biggest hero in New York. Those of you who have read or watched The Boys are going to see, at least initially, similarities between Hayes and Wee Hughie’s origin story, but don’t worry that doesn’t last for long….

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
Angry Robot , Kameron Hurley , Sci-Fi / April 4, 2019

They said the war would turn us into light. I wanted to be counted among the heroes who gave us this better world. The Light Brigade: it’s what soldiers fighting the war against Mars call the ones who come back…different. Grunts in the corporate corps get busted down into light to travel to and from interplanetary battlefronts. Everyone is changed by what the corps must do in order to break them down into light. Those who survive learn to stick to the mission brief—no matter what actually happens during combat. Dietz, a fresh recruit in the infantry, begins to experience combat drops that don’t sync up with the platoon’s. And Dietz’s bad drops tell a story of the war that’s not at all what the corporate brass want the soldiers to think is going on. Is Dietz really experiencing the war differently, or is it combat madness? Trying to untangle memory from mission brief and survive with sanity intact, Dietz is ready to become a hero—or maybe a villain; in war it’s hard to tell the difference. What makes a hero? Is it their actions? How they comport themselves when surrounded by death and destruction? Or is it the side…

The Bayern Agenda by Dan Moren
Angry Robot , Dan Moren , Sci-Fi , Thriller / March 15, 2019

Simon Kovalic, top intelligence operative for the Commonwealth of Independent Systems, is on the frontline of the burgeoning Cold War with the aggressive Illyrican Empire. He barely escapes his latest mission with a broken arm, and vital intel which points to the Empire cozying up to the Bayern Corporation: a planet-sized bank. There’s no time to waste, but with Kovalic out of action, his undercover team is handed over to his ex-wife, Lt Commander Natalie Taylor. When Kovalic’s boss is tipped off that the Imperium are ready and waiting, it’s up to the wounded spy to rescue his team and complete the mission before they’re all caught and executed. The Commonwealth and the Illyrican Empire are, on paper at least, at peace. The truth however is far more complex. Factions within factions have distinctly different ideas about this uneasy truce. Simon Kovalic exists in the front line of an invisible war. He and his team of counter-intelligence agents are tasked with attempting to stop any plot from boiling over into the resumption of direct conflict. It’s probably unsurprising to discover the Kovalic is a complicated soul. The political machinations he must try and navigate are not clear cut. There is…

The Beast of Nightfall Lodge by S A Sidor
Angry Robot , Horror , S A Sidor , Supernatural / February 15, 2019

Please note, though not a direct sequel to Fury From The Tomb chronologically The Beast of Nightfall Lodge does occur after the events in that book. Due to that it is possible that what follows may include some minor spoilers. When Egyptologist Rom Hardy receives a strange letter from his old friend, the bounty-hunting sniper Rex McTroy, he finds himself drawn into a chilling mystery. In the mountains of New Mexico, a bloodthirsty creature is on the loose, leaving a trail of bodies in its wake. Now, a wealthy big game hunter has offered a staggering reward for its capture, and Rom’s patron – the headstrong and brilliant Evangeline Waterston – has signed the team up for the challenge. Awaiting them are blizzards, cold-blooded trappers, remorseless hunters, a mad doctor, wild animals and a monster so fearsome and terrifying, it must be a legend come to life. The brave souls who make up The Institute for Singular Antiquities have returned with a new adventure. Dr Romulus Hugo Hardy, Rom to his friends, is the brains of the operation. Evangeline Waterston is the Institutes benefactor and occult expert while cowboy Rex McTroy is the action man. Finally, there is Wu the…

Fury From The Tomb by S A Sidor
Angry Robot , Horror , S A Sidor , Supernatural / May 10, 2018

Saqqara, Egypt, 1888, and in the booby-trapped tomb of an ancient sorcerer, Rom, a young Egyptologist, makes the discovery of a lifetime: five coffins and an eerie, oversized sarcophagus. But the expedition seems cursed, for after unearthing the mummies, all but Rom die horribly. He faithfully returns to America with his disturbing cargo, continuing by train to Los Angeles, home of his reclusive sponsor. When the train is hijacked by murderous banditos in the Arizona desert, who steal the mummies and flee over the border, Rom – with his benefactor’s rebellious daughter, an orphaned Chinese busboy, and a cold-blooded gunslinger – must ride into Mexico to bring the malevolent mummies back. If only mummies were their biggest problem… Angry Robot have long been one of my favourite imprints; their authors always deliver the most delightfully quirky reads. Based on experience I know that anything they publish is going to be a treat. When it comes to genre fiction, the self-styled Exasperated Automatons consistently deliver books that are hugely entertaining and blissfully easy to lose yourself in.  I’m pleased to report that their latest, Fury From The Tomb by S A Sidor, continues this trend. Take it from me, I work…

Damnation by Peter McLean

Please note that Damnation is the third book in The Burned Man series and if you haven’t read books one and two then this review is highly likely to contain spoilers… I’m not kidding… seriously there is one in the first paragraph. Ok, consider yourself warned. Shambolic demon-hunting hitman Don Drake is teetering on the edge of madness in this smart, witty urban fantasy novel. Don Drake is living rough in a sink estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh, doing cheap spells for even cheaper customers while fending off the local lowlifes. Six months ago, Don fled from London to Glasgow to track down his old girlfriend Debbie the alchemist. With the Burned Man gradually driving him mad, Don meets with an ancient and mysterious tramp-slash-magician, with disastrous consequences. Now his old accomplices must step into save Don from himself, before he damns himself for good this time. The thing I like most about this book, and by extension this series, is Don Drake himself. You would think that someone who had the ability to control magic would be a bit more together. Not in this case. You can almost guarantee that if there is a wrong thing to say,…

Hunger Makes The Wolf by Alex Wells
Alex Wells , Angry Robot , Sci-Fi / March 10, 2017

The strange planet known as Tanegawa’s World is owned by TransRifts Inc, the company with the absolute monopoly on interstellar travel. Hob landed there ten years ago, a penniless orphan left behind by a rift ship. She was taken in by Nick Ravani and quickly became a member of his mercenary biker troop, the Ghost Wolves. Ten years later, she discovers that the body of Nick’s brother out in the dunes. Worse, his daughter is missing, taken by shady beings called the Weathermen. But there are greater mysteries to be discovered – both about Hob and the strange planet she calls home. I immediately took to Hob Ravani. I’ll admit it might have been initially due to the cocky attitude, motorcycle, and eye-patch, but it turns out that there is much more to her than that. She is fiercely loyal to her friends and will gladly do anything for them. Her adopted father, Nick, is a cantankerous old so and so, but he looks after his own. He has a strong sense of justice and if he sees something wrong he’ll fix it. He has instilled that same sense of morality in Hob. The downtrodden of Tanegawa’s World are her…

Dr Potter’s Medicine Show by Eric Scott Fischl
Angry Robot , Eric Scott Fischl , Fantasy , Historical / February 10, 2017

Dr Alexander Potter, disgraced Civil War surgeon, now snake-oil salesman, travels the Pacific Northwest with a disheartened company of strongmen, fortune-tellers, and musical whores. Under their mysterious and murderous leader they entertain the masses while hawking the Chock-a-saw Sagwa Tonic, a vital elixir touted to cure all ills both physical and spiritual. For a few unfortunate customers, however, the Sagwa offers something much, much worse. At first glance, the plot of this novel appears to be relatively straight-forward. Alexander Potter is a charlatan, little more than a con man. He travels from town to town with his medicine show, separating the locals from their hard-earned cash. The Sagwa tonic he is peddling is nothing but a sham, it has no medicinal properties at all. Of course, looks can be deceptive, there is far more to the story than that. It turns out that one form of the tonic is utterly fake, but there is another variant that has the potential to be something miraculous. Dr Potter is a fascinating fellow. It’s quickly established that he has been ground down by his time in the world. A series of ill-advised decisions has left him in a situation he can’t get out…

Dominion by Peter McLean
Angry Robot , Fantasy , Horror , Peter McLean / November 18, 2016

Before we begin a word of dire warning. Dominion is a direct sequel to Drake. If you haven’t read book one in this series then there is a good chance that this review may continue something akin to minor spoiler. Don’t say I didn’t warn you… In the tunnels deep under London, the Earth elementals are dying. Hunted by something they know only as the Rotman, the elementals have no one trustworthy they can turn to. Enter Don Drake, diabolist and semi-reformed hitman, and an almost-fallen angel called Trixie. When the Matriarch tells Don that Rotman is actually the archdemon Bianakith, he knows this is going to be a tough job. Bianakith is the foretold spirit of disease and decay whose aura corrupts everything it comes near, and even the ancient foundations of London will crumble eventually. Now Don, Trixie and the Burned Man have to hatch a plan to keep Bianakith from wiping out the elementals and bringing down the city. But the Burned Man has other plans, and those may have dire consequences for everyone. The past never stays buried, and old sins must be atoned for. Judgement is coming, and its name is Dominion. At the beginning…

Twilight of the Dragons by Andy Remic
Andy Remic , Angry Robot , Fantasy / September 7, 2016

Please note Twilight of the Dragons is a direct sequel to The Dragon Engine so it is highly likely that this review may contain minor spoilers if you haven’t read that first. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! During a recent dwarf civil-war deep under the Karamakkos Mountains, the magick-enslaved dragonlords have broken free from centuries of imprisonment and slaughtered tens of thousands throughout the Five Havens before exploding from the mountain and heading in fire and vengeance for the lands of Vagandrak. Two once-noble war heroes of Vagandrak – Dakeroth and his wife Jonti Tal, an archer and scholar, the Axeman, the White Witch and a Kaalesh combat expert find themselves in a unique position: for they have discovered the ancient dragon city of Wyrmblood, and a thousand unhatched dragon eggs. Dakeroth and his companions must work with their enemies, Skalg and the Church of Hate, in order to bring down the dragonlords and save the world of men and dwarves. But there is no bartering with these ancient dragons; for they seek to hatch their eggs and rebuild the cruel Wyrmblood Empire of legend. I’ll begin this review with a warning. Those of you delicate disposition probably don’t…