Dec 072021

Kirkus: Can perfume kill?

Scent is everything in Donnelly’s unique, voluptuous thriller. Not only does suave antihero Vic Fowler analyze the mix of odors emanating from every person and place he encounters; Donnelly’s introductory list of characters describes them in terms of their “base notes.” She opens each chapter with an analysis of its content in scent—for example, Chapter 1: “Notes de Tête: Whiskey, Jasmine, Oakmoss. Notes de Cœur: Old Cigarettes and Stale Coffee. Notes de Fond: Mildew, Charcoal, Barbicide.” The death of iconoclastic perfume magnate Jonathan Bright has left his company, Bright House, in tatters under the stewardship of Vic, his lover and protégé. Vic’s brilliant invention is a line of perfumes that allows the wearer to relive memories. Down at the heels and subletting a bas ement apartment in Harlem, Vic is determined to use his considerable charm and sex appeal to return to his former glory and exact revenge upon Joseph Eisner, the man he blames for bringing him low. As Vic is implicated in both Jonathan’s death and the disappearances of wealthy Conrad and Caroline Yates, dogged detective Pip Miles lurks in methodical pursuit of the truth. Details of those crimes are doled out in tidbits over hundreds of pages. Vic accepts a commission from Eisner to devise a fatal scent and, with an offbeat trio of sexy sidekicks—bartender, barber, and tailor—hopes to use it as the vehicle of his vengeance. Donnelly offers physical descriptions nearly as rich as the olfactory, and she colorfully depicts a pre-Covid New York City, heavy with detail and likely to trigger nostalgia. But her plot moves at a glacial pace. The question for readers to ponder: Is the journey luscious enough to mitigate a long-delayed destination?

Manhattan’s beau monde served up in juicy, evocative prose.

Dec 022021

Publishers Weekly: New York City perfumer Vic Fowler, the narrator of this clever standalone from Donnelly (the Amberlough Dossier series), has a somewhat less respectable sideline—murder for hire. To save his financially strapped perfume business, Vic accepts a contract from Joseph Eisner to kill the three partners in Eisner’s asset management company. A further condition is that before Vic disposes of the victims’ bodies, he must produce a fragrance that evokes a particular memory in Eisner, a task Vic has no idea if he can accomplish. Vic’s previous victim was Caroline Yates, whose death was ordered by her husband, a partner of Eisner and now one of Eisner’s intended targets. When an investigator comes to interview Vic about Caroline’s disappearance, Vic knows he can no longer do Eisner’s job himself without raising suspicion. He decides to find three other people to carry out the murders. Whom he picks and how he convinces them to do his bidding develops into a fascinating psychological drama. This intoxicating thriller keeps the reader guessing. With luck, Vic will be back for an encore.

Nov 302021

Arabic rights to New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher’s STORM FRONT, FOOL MOON, and GRAVE PERIL, the first three books in the Dresden Files series, to Ebhar Publishing, by Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.

Dutch rights to Annika Martin’s MOST ELIGIBLE BILLIONAIRE and THE BILLIONAIRE’S WAKE-UP-CALL GIRL, to April Books by Emma Lind and Phillip Sane at Lennart Sane Agency on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Cameron McClure.

Russian rights to New York Times bestselling author Martha Wells’ WITCH KING, to Eksmo, by Igor Korzhenevski at Alexander Korzhenevski Agency in association with Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.

Russian rights to Martha Wells’ FUGITIVE TELEMETRY, the newest installment in the New York Times bestselling Murderbot Diaries series, and also a Murderbot omnibus edition, to Eksmo, by Alexander Korzhenevski at Alexander Korzhenevski Agency in association with Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.

Turkish rights to USA Today bestselling author Cassandra Khaw’s THE ALL-CONSUMING WORLD and NOTHING BUT BLACKENED TEETH, to Ithaki, by Merve Öngen at ONK Agency in association with Michael Curry.

Nov 292021

Author of forthcoming TINDERBOX W.A. Simpson’s sequel, TAROTMANCER, when a Black diviner predicts a dark future and assists a wily shape-shifter in a heist gone wrong, it’s up to her to make a deal with a two-faced King to save her friend and the realm from the malevolent Rot, to Don D’Auria at Flame Tree Press, in a nice deal, in an exclusive submission, by Anne Tibbets (world English).

Nov 232021

Kirkus: Creepy hotel managers, jump scares, and an overall eerie atmosphere are entertaining, and the plot moves swiftly…. A brief, engaging, and at times grisly mystery that will keep readers guessing.


Nov 222021

Photo of author S.B. Divya.Hugo and Nebula nominated author S.B. Divya’s MERU and an untitled sequel, in which Jayanthi, a hugely ambitious young woman who dreams of leaving Earth, and Vaha, a post-human pilot struggling to fulfill zir genetic destiny despite repeated failure, must travel together to a newly discovered planet and find that despite their differences, they each hold the key to unlocking the other’s dreams, pitched as The Culture Series meets “A Memory Called Empire”, to Adrienne Procaccini at 47 North, in a two-book deal, for publication in January 2023, by Cameron McClure (world).

Nov 192021

Financial Times: Nick Mamatas’s The Second Shooter likewise revels in weirdness, delving into America’s conspiracy theory culture. Mike Karras, a down-at-heel journalist working for a small-press publisher, is carrying out research for a book about mysterious, half-glimpsed additional gunmen whom eyewitnesses claim to have seen at assassinations and mass shootings.

Karras’s investigations into the phenomenon lead him deep into the realms of rightwing radio talk-show hosts and QAnon-style paranoia. In its final third, the story takes a turn for the metaphysical, following its own dark logic to a downbeat conclusion. Along the way Mamatas offers plenty of scathing commentary on gun violence and misuse of social media, in a novel that is both smart and topical.