CONVERGENCE is Available To NetGalley Readers Until Feb. 20

Convergence - Michael Patrick Hicks

Calling all sci-fi/cyberpunk/thriller NetGalley reviewers – my debut novel, Convergence, is available for request until Feb. 20 right over here.

I’m happy to say I recently received my first bit of feedback from this site, and feel a good deal of relief. Putting work out there is always a bit scary, so it’s tremendously rewarding to know readers are digging it. Reviewer ‘kim r.’ gave Convergence a 4 out of 5 stars, writing, “I really loved this book. …vivid futuristic society and the idea of the main character taking memories makes for an interesting read.

It’s funny how good a positive review feels. Even though Publisher’s Weekly has already called it a “smart splice of espionage and science fiction. … frighteningly realistic. Well-drawn characters, excellent pacing, and constant surprises make this a great cautionary tale about technology and its abuses.” And never mind that one of my peers, fellow sci-fi author Lucas Bale, said, “Hicks writes like Philip K Dick and Robert Crais combined, making for clean, exciting prose. He focuses on the story and never let’s go.

Making readers happy is a top priority for any writer, I think, and I hope that if you check out this book you’ll dig reading it as much as I loved writing it (and it’s follow-up, Emergence).

And if you’re not on NetGalley, you can pick up Convergence for only $3.99 at Amazon. Be sure to post your thoughts for other readers, too!

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CONVERGENCE is Available To NetGalley Readers Until Feb. 20

New ARCs received!

The end of January was very, very good to me in terms of new books and advanced reader copies. Here’s a peek at what is now on my Kindle:

the-fireman

Release date: May 17, 2016

Pre-order at Amazon

Dark Matter

Release date: Aug. 2, 2016

Pre-order at Amazon

the-hatching-9781501125041_hr

Release date: July 5, 2016

Pre-order at Amazon

Central-Station-Cover-12_14_15

Release date: May 10, 2016

Pre-order at Amazon

Invaders-Cover

Release date: June 20, 2016

Pre-order at Amazon

These last two titles were sent over courtesy of Tachyon Publications, and you can also order both books directly through their website.

Also, Tachyon has a collection of short stories from Lauren Beukes coming out later this summer, which excites me a great deal because Beukes has quickly risen to the top of my list of favorite authors. Seriously, if you haven’t checked out The Shining Girls or Broken Monsters yet, then you really, really need to. In the meantime, scope out the cover of Slipping!

slipping

New ARCs received!

Review: The God’s Eye View by Barry Eisler

Review:

gods eye view

If The God’s Eye View had been released even three or four years earlier, it might have carried with it the weight of a technothriller fueled solely by paranoid delusion and conspiracy fluff. In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding the government’s mass surveillance of American citizens, though, this book reads frighteningly realistic. And although the titular NSA surveillance mechanism codenamed God’s Eye is supposedly a fictional product of Barry Eisler’s authorial creativity, reading this book might prompt more than a few raised eyebrows wondering, “Can they really do that? Are they doing that right now?!”

The God’s Eye View has a good amount of stuff happening all at once – there’s whistleblowers in danger, an NSA tech who asks one too many questions of her superior and finds herself marked for death, that superior being the crazed director of NSA who is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to secure power under the auspices of protecting the American people, and a couple freelance hitmen dealing out the hurt to whoever the director points the finger at.

One of these hitmen is Manus, a brilliantly drawn and conflicted killer (which, let’s face it, is practically an Eisler trademark at this point) who is hearing impaired. When tasked with monitoring Eve, the NSA tech who comes across video surveillance of a government whistle-blower leaking info to an Intercept reporter, his life becomes far more complicated with the discovery that Eve’s son is also deaf.

There’s a few things I expect in a Barry Eisler book – a sound display of spy trade craft, egregious government overreach, brutal violence, and an uncomfortable level of realism when it comes to depicting covert agencies gone berserk and the lengths the smart and skilled protagonists will go to in order to protect themselves. All of these elements are on display in The God’s Eye View, so count me as a happy camper.

If I have to provide a negative to the work, it comes in the novel’s opening chapters where so much of the dialogue feels like an exercise in blatant info-dumping and name-dropping to get readers caught up on the real-world events that have inspired this book. Granted, it’s all done in an effort to ground the book in a firmly recognizable landscape of modern post-Snowden America, and those who are a little less up on recent events might not be bothered. Those that have been following along with the Snowden leaks, Greenwald’s reporting, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation might get a little itchy for the action to start hitting. But when that action does hit? Man, oh, man. You’re in for some good stuff.

The God’s Eye View is a great thriller filled with well-realized characters and a frenetic pace. It also gives an uncomfortably realistic, and frighteningly prescient, view of the NSA’s capabilities and the loss of privacy threatening every American. Highly recommended.

[I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review.]

 

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Review: The God’s Eye View by Barry Eisler

Convergence – Now On NetGalley

IMG_2427

Calling all NetGalley sci-fi, mystery/thriller, cyberpunk reviewers! Convergence is now available for request! Click here! Many, many thanks to my editors at Red Adept Editing (a division of Red Adept Publishing that caters to those who wish to self-publish, as I did with this title) for the listing!

OK, that’s probably enough with all the exclamation marks. Sorry about that.

For those that are finding out about this work now for the first time, Convergence was my sci-fi debut and released back in February 2014 after being named a quarter-finalist in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.

Being in that contest brought me some decent visibility, and even won me a review by Publisher’s Weekly of that earlier, unpublished manuscript. Although the final release was polished even further, thanks to the valiant efforts of my editors at Red Adept, they called that earlier draft a

smart splice of espionage and science fiction. … frighteningly realistic. Well-drawn characters, excellent pacing, and constant surprises make this a great cautionary tale about technology and its abuses.

Since its publication, a few other high-profile indie and hybrid authors scoped out my work and had some rather kind things to say about it.

“Hicks writes like Philip K Dick and Robert Crais combined, making for clean, exciting prose. He focuses on the story and never let’s go.” – Lucas Bale, author of the award-winning Beyond The Wall series.

“From the opening page of Convergence I was hooked. The dystopian world building is well done and the descriptions are vivid. The technology is imaginary and different…great characters and plenty of suspense/action.” – Nicholas Sansbury Smith, author of Extinction Horizon and the Orbs series

Convergence is fast-paced, full of action and a thrilling ride from start to finish. There is violence, depth of feeling, explosions, car chases and tenderness. The book has everything and is perfect for those who like their SciFi gritty, edgy and realistic.”J.S. Collyer, author of ZERO

“A cyberpunk thrillride through a future America under Chinese rule. The conflict between the humanity of the main character, Jonah, and the things he has had to do to survive in this harsh new world makes ‘Convergence’ an absolute pleasure to read.” – SciFi365.net

I’m hoping that it can find even more readers and reviewers through this NetGalley offering, and that I can get more (and hopefully more positive) reviews on Amazon that can, hopefully, help boost this book’s signal a bit and draw more eyes to it.

So, what’s it about you may be asking? Here’s the synopsis for you.

Memories are the most dangerous drug.

Jonah Everitt is a killer, an addict, and a memory thief.

After being hired to kill a ranking officer of the Pacific Rim Coalition and download his memories, Everitt finds himself caught in the crosshairs of a terror cell, a rogue military squadron, and a Chinese gangster named Alice Xie. Xie is a profiteer of street drugs, primarily DRMR, a powerful narcotic made from the memories of the dead. With his daughter, Mesa, missing in post-war Los Angeles, Everitt is forced into an uneasy alliance with Alice to find her.

Mesa’s abduction is wrapped up in the secrets of a brutal murder during the war’s early days, a murder that Alice Xie wants revenged. In order to find her, Jonah will have to sift through the memories of dead men that could destroy what little he has left.

In a city where peace is tenuous and loyalties are ever shifting, the past and the present are about to converge.

Convergence is a blend of various genres that I love dearly. There’s a cyberpunk thriller edge to it, a little bit of mystery, some action and urban warfare, all gussied up with a shiny veneer of near-future science fiction. I’m a big fan of Barry Eisler and Richard K. Morgan, and I think those influences come through pretty readily. I’ll let you be the judge of that though.

If you are a NetGalley reviewer and all of the above sounds interesting enough to you, you can submit a request right over here. Convergence will be available for review until Feb. 20.

Happy reading!

 

Convergence – Now On NetGalley

“X” Marks The (Sweet) Spot

x-files_i_want_to_believe_the_2008_5389_poster

This post is coming much later than I had wanted it to, but I guess it’s at least given me some time to digest the return of my all-time favorite television series and organize my thoughts a bit.

I remember being a 14-year-old who watched this with his mother on the Friday night it premiered. She had been more interested in watching it than I was, but by the end of that pilot episode, I was hooked. A few weeks later, I sat glued to the television as Eugene Victor Tooms made his first appearance in “Squeeze.” This series was unlike anything I had ever seen, and Tooms became a lasting figure in my imagination as an incredible new horror icon.

Following the finale of “The Erlenmeyer Flask,” I sat there stunned, reeling over the death of such an important character who had become a series staple by that point. This was a show where nobody was safe.

Over the summer, my parents bought a summer home roughly five hours north of our primary residence. We spent Friday, September 16, 1994 driving up there after school released for the weekend, moving in boxes and furniture and making the place habitable. I kept my eye on the dashboard clock as we drove, watching the digital display roll over to 8:00 p.m., feeling nervous and agitated, worried that I was going to miss it. Worried that I would miss, for the first time, an episode of The X-Files. And not just any episode either. This was the night of the second season premiere, and I’d been waiting for “Little Green Men” to air practically since the prior season’s finale ended.

I’d been bugging my parents, making sure we prioritized getting the TV hooked up and the VCR, so I could record it in case we were still too busy to watch it live at 9:00 p.m. There was little time to spare, but I recall sitting on the floor and unpacking some boxes of books and movies that I would be keeping at the house, listening to Mulder’s opening narration and then forgetting entirely about my tasks as a violent rainstorm lashed against the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico and a mysterious light filled the station. Oh my god, were the aliens there? Were they going to get Mulder? What was happening?!

I watched it again the next day just so I could soak it all in, and make sure I hadn’t missed anything.

the_x_files

As the season progressed, I found myself lurking a TV board on AOL dedicated to The X-Files, reading other viewers’ speculations, guesses, rumors, synopses copied from TV Guide for future episodes and downloading scanned advertisements and promo art for upcoming episodes.

This series consumed me whole for nine years. To put it simply, I was, obviously, a fan. A big fan. Enough of a fan that I don’t really understand all the hate that the second movie, I Want To Believe, gets burdened with. And although there may be a few redeeming episodes to season 9, I still think the show would have been better served by ending with the season 8 two-parter. I waited years for a third X-Files movie, getting antsy over the impending arrival of December 22, 2012, the date of alien colonization and the rumored storyline for the proposed film. 2012 came and went, but I was still hopeful that The X-Files would not be relegated to television and film history.

And then in 2013, a Season 10 comic book launched from IDW, with Joe Harris on writing duties and Chris Carter attached as ‘executive producer.’ Naturally, I had to follow Mulder and Scully into the funny pages and found myself mostly satisfied. But, damn it, I still needed and wanted to see these two intrepid FBI agents back in action and on-screen.

In March 2015, the six-episode relaunch was announced. I was so freaking overjoyed. I was tweeting about it, liking and sharing Facebook news announcements, and following along with every bit of developing information I could find. Season 9 was a bad memory, but not one so repugnant that it made me any less of a fan. I was exuberant to see how the show would return with both Mulder and Scully front and center.

x-files-2016

Weeks before the premier, I bought the season pass on iTunes. Having a four-month old means my likelihood of watching the show as it airs, as I had been able to for the nine years of its initial run, is incredibly slim. And being able to watch it across the two-night premiere that kicked off this week would be damn near impossible. Unsurprisingly, I’ve so far only seen the premiere, “My Struggle,” and haven’t found the time to sit down and watch “Founder’s Mutation.”

But, The X-Files is back. And I am incredibly satisfied. I’m a fan, first and foremost. Maybe too much of a fan to be able to critically examine the series. I just love this world and its characters too much. Right now, I’m just riding high on the emotions of it all. I can’t even adequately express how good, how satisfying, it felt to get caught up again in a Mulder monologue, or his frantic, angry recitation of the latest conspiracy and Scully’s disbelief. I can’t help but feel a measure of excitement over the latest wrinkle Chris Carter and his team of writer’s have introduced to the series’ overarching mythology and the new shape of the alien conspiracy. It’s a switch-up that makes sense and feels timely in our post-9/11, post-Snowden, post-Patriot Act era of NSA surveillance and government overreach. In some ways, 2016 might be even more temporally relevant to the core mission statement of The X-Files – Trust No One.

The X-Files is back, and there’s a certain part of me that feels restored right alongside it. A certain faith that has been resurrected. We’ve been lucky to get another six episodes, but I’m already hoping to see another announcement for a future return. We may be asked to trust no one, but like Mulder, I Want to Believe.

“X” Marks The (Sweet) Spot

Review: The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker (Audiobook)

Review:

hellboundheart

My original THE HELLBOUND HEART audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Clive Barker is an author that’s been on my to-read list for a number of years, ever since I first saw the movie Lord of Illusions (jesus, twenty years ago now? yeesh…) and heard Stephen King sing his praises as “the future of horror” way back when. So yeah, Barker’s been in the game for quite a long time, has established himself as an icon within the genre, and I am a woefully massive latecomer to his work. I figured it’s high-time I corrected that by giving The Hellbound Heart a listen.

I went into this book mostly blind. I had a fairly superficial knowledge of Pinhead and the Cenobites (think demonic, leather-clad, freaky, mutilated S&M goth types) thanks to the Hellraiser flicks and their place in pop culture. I knew this was the book that inspired the first Hellraiser movie, which I haven’t seen, and had little idea what to expect story-wise. I guess I had expected a lot of Pinhead and his Cenobites, and was surprised to find them mostly absent save for brief appearances at the beginning and end of this book.

In their absence, though, we get a pretty cool and mysterious gothic-tinged story. Frank Cotton has come to possess an old artifact, Lemarchand’s puzzle box. When opened, it serves as a key between realities, opening the door separating the real from the more realer still. This is, in short, a dimension of nightmares.

Following Frank’s disappearance, his brother Rory and Rory’s wife, Julia, move into the house that Frank had briefly inhabited. Julia finds herself becoming drawn to an empty, drafty room, in which the drapes have been nailed to the window sills to keep the light out. The room seems to ‘speak’ to her, and she finds herself growing emboldened, bringing lovers to this room in order to spill their blood. Blood that Frank needs to return.

Narrated by Jeffry Kaver, Barker’s elegant prose is brought to life in a style somewhat reminiscent of the golden age of radio plays and a touch of Rod Serling. This is a terrific match for the fantastical, metaphysical horrors Barker describes. And, oh boy, describe it he does. We get some pretty brilliant depictions of sex and violence, from the gory-looking Cenobites and Frank’s initial encounter with them, right on up to chaotic finale. Barker goes for the guts, sometimes literally (I suspect “the carpet of her bowels” is a phrase that will stick with me for too damn long), but there is a rather strange beauty to the madness.

The audio production is superb, and I really liked the bit of sound engineering that went into the delivery of dialogue from the Cenobites. Kaver’s narration suddenly takes on an ethereal, otherworldly echo to drive home the fact that these things are not human and most definitely not of this Earth. It was a bit startling to hear at first, but jeez is it ever a cool and welcome addition, and a nice demonstration of the elasticity in design that audiobooks are capable of. Kudos to Crossroads Press for that extra bit of effort!

Ultimately, I felt The Hellbound Heart was a satisfying introduction to Barker’s work, and I’ll be checking out his works in the future as time allows.

 

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Review: The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker (Audiobook)

Review: Lustlocked (A Sin du Jour Affair Book 2) by Matt Wallace

Review:

Lustlocked

Lustlocked is the second installment in Matt Wallace’s Sin du Jour Affair series, which revolves around a New York catering company that caters to the supernatural elements of society.

In the previous book, Envy of Angels, the chefs and crew hosted a diplomatic dinner sponsored by a secret government agency in an effort to stave off war between two demonic groups. Lustlocked picks up on the heels of that event, as the company prepares to host a grand goblin wedding under the supervision of the Goblin King.

Yes, that Goblin King. In a fitting and sadly timely homage, Wallace gives us yet one more avenue to prove the immortality of David Bowie’s lasting legacy. Although at the time of Wallace’s writing, Bowie was alive and well, and expected to remain so for quite some time. It’s a sad fluke that Lustlocked just so happens to have released on heels of Mr. Bowie’s death from cancer. This is, however, a wonderfully befitting bit of fan service toward not only Bowie’s iconic character from the film Labyrinth, but of the iconic performer himself. It’s a pleasure getting to “see” the King once more.

As with Envy of Angels and the short story, Small Wars, which acts an inbetweenquel, Lustlocked doses out the humor, providing a keen edge to the affairs and preventing the seriousness of the story from delving deeply in the morose and macabre. While preparing for the grandiose wedding of the goblin prince and his human bride-to-be, some shady bit of spell-casting goes wildly awry and leaves the human guests transformed into horny lizard creatures that threaten to hump to death the entire guest list.

Again, these books are crafted to be sheer entertainment, and Wallace maneuvers a peculiar tightrope with aplomb. This story could have drifted precariously into dark meanness, or perhaps a bit of weirdo erotica, but Wallace averts those traps and sticks to the fun and fantastical side of things, first and foremost. There’s a certain Buffy The Vampire Slayer but for Netflix vibe here that I find really appealing. He also gives his characters brief moments to shine and continues to flesh out his cast in interesting ways, right up to its sucker-punch finale.

I am now feeling the long, heavy weight of the intervening months between now and June, when the third installment releases. I think it’d be a sin to miss what comes next.

 

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Review: Lustlocked (A Sin du Jour Affair Book 2) by Matt Wallace