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 112021

Acclaimed Hell’s Library series author A.J. Hackwith’s new novel HOLLOW ROAD HOME and its sequel, pitched as a queer, millennial American Gods, about a fae working at a truck stop in Wyoming to hide from her past until she’s blackmailed by a self-taught magician to guide him and his sister—a girl born with a changing map on her skin—across the strange backroads and forgotten spaces of the gothic American Midwest in search of a powerful treasure, to Miranda Hill at Ace for publication in spring 2023, by Caitlin McDonald.

Nov 032021

New York Times: Caitlin Starling’s THE DEATH OF JANE LAWRENCE is a jewel box of a Gothic novel, one filled with ghosts and sorcery, great stores of romance, medical curiosities and so much galloping about in carriages that there is hardly a moment to catch your breath.

Nov 022021

To save the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, former librarian Claire and her allies may have to destroy it first.

Claire, rakish Hero, angel Rami, and muse-turned-librarian Brevity have accomplished the impossible by discovering the true nature of unwritten books. But now that the secret is out, in its quest for power Hell will be coming for every wing of the Library.

To protect the Unwritten Wing and stave off the insidious reach of Malphas, one of Hell’s most bloodthirsty generals, Claire and her friends will have to decide how much they’re willing to sacrifice to keep their vulnerable corner of the afterlife. Succeeding would mean rewriting the nature of the Library, but losing would mean obliteration. Their only chance at survival lies in outwitting Hell and writing a new chapter for the Library. Luckily, Claire and her friends know how the right story, told well, can start a revolution.

Oct 312021

German rights to Chelsea Polk’s THE MIDNIGHT BARGAIN, to Piper, at auction, by Sarah Knofius at the Thomas Schlueck Agency on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Caitlin McDonald.

Spanish rights to Robert Jackson Bennett’s THE FOUNDERS TRILOGY, to Trini Vergara, in a three book deal, by Amaiur Fernanadez at International Editors’, on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Cameron McClure.

Spanish rights to New York Times bestselling author Tamsyn Muir’s NONA THE NINTH, the third book in the Locked Tomb series, to Nova, by Amaiur Fernández at International Editors’ Co. in association with Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.

Turkish rights to David Gerrold’s THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF, to Ithaki, by Merve Ongen at ONK Agency on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Donald Maass.

Oct 142021

Publishers Weekly: Hackwith brings her Hell’s Library series to a vibrant, satisfying conclusion…. As in previous volumes, Hackwith suffuses this story with love in many forms, deep thoughts on reading, and variations on reality…. It’s the perfect finish to this inventive saga, highlighting fun, angsty romance and musing on the nature of storytelling.

Oct 122021

A mysterious former Sith wanders the galaxy in this stunning Star Wars tale, an original novel inspired by the world of The Duel from the Star Wars Visions animated anthology.

The Jedi are the most loyal servants of the Empire.

Two decades ago, Jedi clans clashed in service to feuding lords. Sickened by this endless cycle, a sect of Jedi rebelled, seeking to control their own destiny and claim power in service of no master. They called themselves Sith.

The Sith rebellion failed, succumbing to infighting and betrayal, and the once rival lords unified to create an Empire . . . but even an Empire at peace is not free from violence.

Far on the edge of the Outer Rim, one former Sith wanders, accompanied only by a faithful droid and the ghost of a less civilized age. He carries a lightsaber, but claims lineage to no Jedi clan, and pledges allegiance to no lord. Little is known about him, including his name, for he never speaks of his past, nor his regrets. His history is as guarded as the red blade of destruction he carries sheathed at his side.

As the galaxy’s perpetual cycle of violence continues to interrupt his self-imposed exile, and he is forced to duel an enigmatic bandit claiming the title of Sith, it becomes clear that no amount of wandering will ever let him outpace the specters of his former life.