1. Dead Man in a Ditch (The Fetch Phillips Archives #2) by Luke Arnold (Orbit)
A former soldier turned PI solves crime in a world that’s lost its magic in this brilliant sequel to actor Luke Arnold’s debut The Last Smile in Sunder City.
The name’s Fetch Phillips — what do you need?
Cover a Gnome with a crossbow while he does a dodgy deal? Sure.
Find out who killed Lance Niles, the big-shot businessman who just arrived in town? I’ll give it shot.
Help an old-lady Elf track down her husband’s murderer? That’s right up my alley.
What I don’t do, because it’s impossible, is search for a way to bring the goddamn magic back.
Rumors got out about what happened with the Professor, so now people keep asking me to fix the world.
But there’s no magic in this story. Just dead friends, twisted miracles, and a secret machine made to deliver a single shot of murder.
Welcome back to the streets of Sunder City, a darkly imagined world perfect for readers of Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher.
Last Smile in Sunder City was one of the first urban fantasies that I truly enjoyed. Fetch Phillips is such a well written character that I often zoned out and lost track of all time reading well into the night and waking late for work. Luke Arnold made the jump from silver scene to written word so well with his debut. I can only hope that Dead Man in a Ditch continues the series as well as the first.
I’m also trying to get hold of an ARC of this. Fingers crossed it happens. Well, to be honest I’m after an ARC of all books on this list 😅
2. The Last Ritual by S A Sidor (Aconyte)
A mad surrealist’s art threatens to rip open the fabric of reality, in this twisted tale of eldritch horror and conspiracy, from the wildy popular world of Arkham Horror.
Aspiring painter Alden Oakes is invited to join a mysterious art commune in Arkham: the New Colony. When celebrated Spanish surrealist Juan Hugo Balthazarr visits the colony, Alden and the other artists quickly fall under his charismatic spell. Balthazarr throws a string of decadent parties for Arkham’s social elite, conjuring arcane illusions which blur the boundaries between nightmare and reality. Only slowly does Alden come to suspect that Balthazarr’s mock rituals are intended to break through those walls and free what lies beyond. Alden must act, but it might already be too late to save himself, let alone Arkham.
So, this one is a unique listing for me. I first came across S A Sidor’s debut, Fury from The Tomb, a few years back and it was an instant love of mine. Fury from the Tomb is the first book in the Institute of Singular Antiquities series followed by The Beast of Nightmare Lodge both of which are fantastic and you need to check out the covers…
The covers remind me of the awesome 80’s movie posters that littered the walls of all good cinemas and stole me eye. I had the get these books. Now I wait for another instalment of the series however little to no information has come out and I’m starting to lose faith that I will ever get to read the latest adventures of Rom Hardy and the crew ever again 😢 So if you happen to be reading this S A Sidor please make it so 🙏
Then I stumble across a little known publisher going by the name of Aconyte that was featuring some book covers with the same feel as The Institute of Singular Antiquities and I just had to check them out. BAM… There it is, The Last Ritual, a new book by S A Sidor. What are the odds?! Gimme, gimme.
3. The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper (Off Limits Press)
New York City, 1990: When you slip through the cracks, no one is there to catch you. Monique learns that the hard way after her girlfriend Donna vanishes without a trace.
Only after the disappearances of several other impoverished women does Monique hear the rumors. A taloned monster stalks the city’s underground and snatches victims into the dark.
Donna isn’t missing. She was taken.
To save the woman she loves, Monique must descend deeper than the known underground, into a subterranean world of enigmatic cultists and shadowy creatures. But what she finds looms beyond her wildest fears—a darkness that stretches from the dawn of time and across the stars.
Needless to say that Off Limits Press’s first publication Crossroads by Laurel Hightower was my first and so far only five star read this year. It was a great read and my review can be found here. I would highly recommend Crossroads to all horror fans.
If The Worm and His Kings follows suit then Off Limits Press will have pulled off an amazing feat of back to back 5 star ratings. Time will tell.
4. Outlaw Empire (The Band #2) by Nicholas Eames (Orbit)
So this section is going to be a little empty due to the fact that other than a promise of a third book in the series and a title there is nothing else To be seen. For those that have read Kings of the Wyld (My favourite book) and Bloody Rose you can understand why i am looking forward to the release of this instalment. If you have not heard or read either book in The Band series then i highly recommend that you do. For me Nicholas Eames threw in all the right ingredients to make a fantastic read.
- Good amount of humor (Kit and Moog come straight to mind here)
- A whole line up of beastly creatures (Owlbears being a fav amongst fans)
- Some of the best fight scenes Ranging from Single 1 vs 1 combat to full on hordes battling it out on treacherous terrain.
5. Titanwar Saga book 2 by Gem Jackson (Indie Publication)
Again not much to go in this section and even less than the above as not even a title is out there yet but the first book was a blast and I had the honour to review a copy. Gem Jackson has mentioned that book 2 is in the work and I’m a little giddy about it. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to our ragtag crew and where this next adventure takes them. I recommend getting yourself a copy of book 1, The Aggressive, and delving deep into a solar system on the brink of war.