Welcome to Brian’s Book Blog’s weekly New and Notable Post for the Week of April 6th.
We share 11 books from this week that caught our eye featuring Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thrillers, and more. Enjoy!
Comment below on any I missed or what you’re excited about!
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Polar Vortex by Matthew Mather
Narrated by Tom Taylorson
A routine commercial flight disappears over the North Pole. No wreckage. No transponder signals.
Mitch Matthews is writer struggling to make ends meet when his wife’s brother offers them a first-class seat on a flight from Hong Kong to New York. When his wife needs to stay behind, it becomes an opportunity for some quality daddy-daughter time with his five-year-old Lilly. At check-in, they run into a strange Norwegian arguing with a huge Russian. A mysterious redhead is guarding a package in the business lounge. But everything is fine…right up until the event.
Within hours of Allied Airlines 695 disappearing, a massive international search is launched. Aircraft and ships are dispatched from Russia, America, Canada, and Norway. How can a modern airliner simply vanish in one of the most heavily monitored places on Earth?
Global tensions rise. The media and grieving families whip into a frenzy. The armed forces of America and Russia tip the world toward the brink of an apocalyptic war.
Weeks later, found on the ice in a chance discovery, the journal of Mitch Matthews reveals the incredible truth behind the disappearance of Allied 695, and what really happened in the Polar Vortex.
The Rescue by Steven Konkoly
Narrated by Thom Rivera
For fans of Tom Clancy and Lee Child, a heart-pumping thriller of betrayal, revenge, and conspiracy by USA Today bestselling author Steven Konkoly.
Former CIA operative turned mercenary for hire Ryan Decker’s specialty is rescuing kidnap victims. Hired by an influential US senator to liberate his daughter from a human-trafficking ring, Decker never anticipated sabotage or that the assault could go so disastrously wrong. The hostage is dead. His team is wiped out, and so are their families, including Decker’s own wife and son – eliminated one by one by the Russian mafia. And he’s survived to take the fall.
When he’s inexplicably freed soon into a ten-year sentence in federal prison, Decker suspects another setup. And private investigator Harlow Mackenzie knows he’s right. She has evidence that a power greater than the Russian mob was behind the raid that ruined Decker’s life.
The next move in a nationwide cat-and-mouse game of high-level sedition is up to them. Fueled by revenge and an obsession to clear his name, Decker has only one mission: to destroy a growing conspiracy before it’s too late.
Talon the Slayer by A. A. Warren
Narrated by Travis Baldree
A warrior without a past is the galaxy’s only hope for a future….
Talon is a man without a past. A slave, a gladiator. His only memories are a lifetime of bloody combat in the arena. But when a chance encounter with a seductive alien sorceress plunges him into an intergalactic war, he finds himself fighting for the ultimate prize…his freedom.
As Talon and a rag-tag crew of allies embark on a vital mission for an exiled prince, they are pursued by an ancient warlord who has unleashed the most destructive force in the galaxy. The key to stopping it? Talon’s lost memories….
If Talon cannot unlock the secrets of his past, his newfound freedom will be lost, and the fires of annihilation will consume the galaxy. Wielding a plasma axe and an indomitable will, he must triumph over the evil forces that stand in his way. He must be more than just a warrior. He must become…Talon the Slayer.
Dive into a galaxy of high adventure! Fans of Conan the Barbarian, Flash Gordon, and Guardians of the Galaxy will love this high-octane mix of science fiction and fantasy action.
The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
Narrated by Adenrele Ojo
“This claustrophobic, horror-leaning tour de force is highly recommended for fans of Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation and Andy Weir’s The Martian.” (Publishers Weekly)
A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival.
When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck – enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother – meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane.
Instead, she got Em.
Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials and has no qualms using them as a leash – and a lash. And Em has secrets, too….
As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies – missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations – drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, Gyre finds her sense of control giving way to paranoia and anger. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunneler that calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive – she must confront the ghosts in her own head.
But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?
Finder by Suzanne Palmer
Narrated by Joe Hempel
From acclaimed short-fiction star Suzanne Palmer comes an action-packed sci-fi caper that launches a high-stakes space adventure trilogy.
Fergus Ferguson, repo-man, has one job: find the spacecraft Venetia’s Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. Finding Gilger in the farthest corner of human-inhabited space, a gas-giant harvesting colony called Cernee, was easy. The hard part will be getting past a field of space mines, hacking into the Sword’s compromised AI, and fighting a crew of hostile enemies to take control of the ship.
But when a cable car explosion launches Cernee into a civil war, Fergus finds himself caught in the crosshairs. Repossessing the Sword requires him to side with Gilger’s enemies, risk death, and get abducted by aliens. Fergus must learn to set aside his pride – and confront a past he’s been running from his whole life – in order to take back the Sword and simultaneously save Cernee from destruction.
Entropy: A Science Fiction Thriller by Gerald M. Kilby
Narrated by Steven Jay Cohen
The science vessel Hermes has been urgently recalled from its mission to survey the moons of Saturn, just as First Officer Miranda Lee receives bad news from home – her mother is dying so she must leave the ship and return to Earth – for good. Commander Scott McNabb is so distraught by her sudden decision to leave that he pays little or no attention to the parameters of the new mission being requested by the Council of Europa. Big mistake.
Powerful forces on Earth are now moving to resume inter-AI communications, risking the development of an all-out war. But other powers within the System are also mobilizing to prevent them from achieving their objective. Scott and the remaining crew of the Hermes are totally unaware that they are now at the very nexus of an inter-planetary battle – and ultimately heading toward disaster.
As the mission starts to fall apart Scott begins to realize the secrets that the ship’s QI, Aria, has been hiding from them all along. Secrets that could tip the balance of power within the System. He must now put aside all thoughts of Miranda and focus on trying to save his crew – including Aria. Failure to do so could ultimately plunge the entire System into total chaos.
No pressure, then.
The story is set a few centuries into the future where humanity has colonized most of the inner solar system. The asteroid belt (The Belt) is now a hive of mining activity and ships ply the trade routes to Earth and Mars. The technology depicted is, for the most part, what I consider to be technically plausible, although I do stretch it a little with quantum entanglement. That said, you won’t need a calculator or a slide-rule to enjoy the story.
The Jesus Man by Keith Anthony Baird
Narrated by Joseph Hincks
It is 2037. Radicals in the Middle East have done the unthinkable. Low-yield nuclear weapons have been unleashed, and the subsequent escalation of exchanges is enough to blacken the skies.
In time, the world goes dark. Crops fail, and economies begin the inevitable collapse. Countries close their borders, cease trading with one another, and declare martial law to control their populations. As oil and power dwindle, the descent into chaos follows, and the global meltdown unfolds.
An entity arrives, and this malevolent force begins its strategy to claim this broken territory as a piece in a long-waged celestial conflict. Moving half a century ahead, the story centers on a colony entrenched in the desert of the Four Corners region of the United States. It is a place of sanctuary, established in the postwar years and grown to be a stronghold in the badlands. In the wake of the entity’s global strategy, it stands as the sole remaining seat of the human race. Its citizens are ruled by a brotherhood of elders who cling to the shattered remnants of the Christian faith.
A priest, favored of the sect, begins to suffer nightmarish visions as evil turns its intent on the last bastion of mankind still to fall by its hand. Overcome, and subsequently possessed, the holy man becomes the vessel through which dark forces infiltrate the colony and lay low the last of men with a crushing malediction that will claim their souls, their home world, and ultimately their Godhead for all time.
Rich in descriptive content and paced throughout with a growing sense of doom, The Jesus Man delivers an unsurpassed vision of hell on Earth.
V by Sandra Rains DeBusk
Narrated by Ross Allen
Mistakes are made every day.
Roy Stikes is a genius scientist. Our government recruited him to work for them in a top-secret building full of labs meant for high-clearance biological war tactics. Diseases and viruses are what Dr. Stikes studied, but he excelled in rare and unheard of strains of the flu, which made him an extremely valuable asset.
As “by protocol” as he always was, it made no difference that one fateful day when he so carelessly let a drop of the malevolent virus leak out onto his lab table. Roy knew the cameras were watching his every move, and yet he still managed to hide his mistake and leave the building.
Special Batch Number 37 has made its debut into society.
The R.E.M. Effect: A Thriller by J. M. Lanham
Narrated by Lee Alan
They thought Big Pharma had created the perfect sleeping pill. A handful of patients would disagree.
From J.M. Lanham comes a heart-pumping thrill ride that puts a sci-fi twist on the future of medicine, technology, and philosophy.
It’s 2021 and Paul Freeman just landed a job with Asteria Pharmaceuticals, a world leader in revolutionary drug development. Paul knows the company’s future is riding on the success of their latest product – a sleeping pill designed to interact with the human genome to deliver the perfect eight-hour sleep cycle.
Just a few blocks from Asteria’s Atlanta headquarters, troubled self-help guru Donny Ford is selling a different kind of drug, empowering followers to take control of their lives using a sacred meditation technique skeptics believe may have already taken his mind to a dangerous place.
Three thousand miles away, war-hardened journalist Claire Connor sits captive in a top-secret facility hidden deep in the Costa Rican jungle, guilty of two offenses: seeking help for a sleep disorder, and asking too many questions.
When these worlds collide, the three will discover just how far some companies are willing to go to protect the bottom line.
The debut novel by J.M. Lanham, The R.E.M. Effect is a new addition to the science fiction tradition of Michael Crichton, Preston & Child, Douglas Richards, and Blake Crouch.
Dive into fast-paced suspense that explores Big Pharma corruption, clandestine government experiments, and the mysteries of the human brain to create a world where taking a pill could mean taking lives.
Jezero City: Colony Four Mars by Gerald M. Kilby
Narrated by Nicol Zanzarella
When a colonist dies in tragic circumstances, just a few sols before a major terraforming experiment, Dr. Jann Malbec begins to suspect that all is not what it seems. Her fears begin to grow when every attempt she makes to investigate the death is thwarted by the ruling council on Mars.
In desperation, she resorts to secretly recruiting a recently arrived colonist, Mia Sorelli, an ex-cop with a troubled past, to quietly look into the incident. But Mia has some very good reasons why she left her old life on Earth behind. Nevertheless, she reluctantly accepts the assignment even if it means hooking up with the malcontented, semi-sentient droid Gizmo.
But what Mia uncovers goes way beyond anything she or Dr. Malbec could ever have imagined. As she investigates, she begins to suspect that a terraforming experiment may be compromised by those who seek to undermine the future of the colony.
Mia must now face down her old fears if she is to save not just herself, but the entire population of Jezero City.
This audiobook can be listened to as a stand-alone novel.
Kill Code by Jamie Hawke, Justin Sloan
Narrated by Matthew Broadhead
In a world where war would result in complete annihilation, proxy war by simulation is the new way.
When a Marine turned video gamer is recalled for the world’s first virtual war, he learns the sim has been hacked. What follows is a crazy adventure of one Marine searching for survivors, battling mechs, and finding abnormalities in the sim that tie back to his old-school days as a gamer. His only help comes in the form of three badass warrior ladies, and two of them are characters from his favorite games.
It’s up to him and his new friends to win this war or die trying.
Note: This audiobook has a lot of death but a lot of fun. Be prepared for chaos and mayhem one minute, silly old-school game references the next (think Rampart, Seiken Densetus 2, etc.), and team building in a harem style. It’s possibly the weirdest audiobook to which you’ve ever listened. For fans of Ready Player One and consumers of GameLit.