James Nicoll Reviews

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Books Received, September 24 — September 30

1 Oct, 2022


It Walks in Beauty Selected Prose of Chandler Davis

It Walks in Beauty: Selected Prose of Chandler Davis Chandler Davis (September 2010)

It Walks in Beauty: Selected prose of Chandler Davis, edited and with an introduction by Josh Lukin, collects several of Daviss science fiction stories, which probe deeply into such social and political issues as nuclear escalation, gender roles, and eugenics, as well as a selection of his essays, originally published in venues ranging from The New York Review of Books to the Waging Peace Series of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. The volume also includes a lengthy interview of Davis by Lukin, a speech Davis made at the February 1995 meeting of AAAS, as well as three essays by Lukin, taking a long view of Daviss work.

The Foreign Exchange A Novel

The Foreign Exchange: A Novel by Veronica G. Henry (February 2023)

A Vodou priestess turned amateur sleuth investigating a ritual murder is embroiled in an insidious case of corruption that reaches beyond the shadows of New Orleans. After solving a crime blamed on Vodou in New Orleans’ French Quarter, Vodou priestess turned amateur detective Reina Dumond has returned to her benevolent work as a healer. But when her friend and enigmatic client Evangeline Vangie” Stiles comes to her for a spell, Mambo Reina quickly realizes what Vangie really needs is a sleuth. Something is amiss in the Stileses’ marriage. Five thousand dollars has inexplicably appeared in the bank account Vangie shares with her scam-artist husband, Arthur, and she smells trouble. So does Reina. Especially when her investigation into Arthur’s likely new con leads to murder. Considering the manner of death and the signs on the victim’s body, Reina recognizes it for what it is: ritual magic of the vodouisant kind. As Reina digs deeper, she encounters a conspiracy exploiting vulnerable youth — one of whom may have abilities just like hers. With the help of her friends Darryl and Tyka, Reina must hone her ever-evolving skills to uncover a mystery that reaches further than she imagined. 

Into the Light

Into the Light by Mark Oshiro (March 2023)

Hidden Secrets Always Come to Light. 

Award-winning author Mark Oshiro (Anger is a Gift) returns with a new contemporary coming-of-age novel laced with a twisty, dark mystery you’ll have to read to believe. 

Manny lives by the rules―the rules that have kept him moving, kept him alive, and have helped him survive being thrust into adulthood long before he was ready. It’s been a year since breaking the rules got him cast out of his family. But the existence of an unidentified body found in the hills of Idyllwild, California is drawing him back to his deepest trauma because he may know who it is. 

Eli lives for the future―he’s put his entire faith into the teachings that raised him: family, duty, and love. After all, obedience leads to deliverance from a harsh world into an eternal paradise. But why doesn’t Eli remember his past? What if he can’t escape the doubt that eats away at his foundation of belief? 

For fans of Courtney Summers and Tiffany Jackson―Into the Light is a thrilling, ripped-from-the-headlines story about the traumas facing a nation and two young men caught in the crossfire of inherited pain and their crisis of faith, all with Oshiro’s signature mix of raw emotions and gorgeous depiction of queer resilience. 

The Cradle of Ice

The Cradle of Ice by James Rollins (February 2023)

The second book in the New York Times bestselling Moon Fall series from thriller-master James Rollins, The Cradle of Ice is a page-turning tale of action, adventure, betrayal, ambition, and the struggle for survival in a harsh world that hangs by a thread. 

To stop the coming apocalypse, a fellowship was formed. 

A soldier, a thief, a lost prince, and a young girl bonded by fate and looming disaster. 

Each step along this path has changed the party, forging deep alliances and greater enmities. All the while, hostile forces have hunted them, fearing what they might unleash. Armies wage war around them. 

For each step has come with a cost―in blood, in loss, in heartbreak. 

Now, they must split, traveling into a vast region of ice and to a sprawling capital of the world they’ve only known in stories. Time is running out and only the truth will save us all. 

The Lies of the Ajungo

The Lies of the Ajungo by Moses Ose Utomi (March 2023)

Set in a secondary world reminiscent of Saharan Africa, Moses Ose Utomi’s debut novella, The Lies of the Ajungo, follows one boy’s epic quest to bring water back to his city and save his mother’s life. They say there is no water in the City of Lies. They say there are no heroes in the City of Lies. They say there are no friends beyond the City of Lies. But would you believe what they say in the City of Lies?In the City of Lies, they cut out your tongue when you turn thirteen, to appease the terrifying Ajungo Empire and make sure it continues sending water. Tutu will be thirteen in three days, but his parched mother won’t last that long. So Tutu goes to his oba and makes a deal: she provides water for his mother, and in exchange he will travel out into the desert and bring back water for the city. Thus begins Tutu’s quest for the salvation of his mother, his city, and himself. 

The Lies of the Ajungo opens the curtains on a tremendous world, and begins the epic fable of the Forever Desert. With every word, Moses Ose Utomi weaves magic.