Thought I’d just share a recent read here – Chasing the Dark by Sam Hepburn. This is a thriller for 10+ that goes very much against the recent run of teen super-spy/wizardy stuff and reinvents something that I’ve not seen since my own teenage days… and it’s good – really good. It’s fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat stuff that reminded me very much of the early Robert Ludlum thrillers with all the throw-backs to the ‘Cold War’ – KGB networks, espionage related murders and underhand, cold-blooded dealings in secrets.
Joe Slattery’s world falls apart when his mother is killed in a hit-and-run car crash. Her last words are a message for someone he’s never heard of. Joe is determined to find out what really happened on the night she was killed, but the truth is not easy to find and no sooner does he start digging for answers than danger appears round every corner. I’m loathe to give too much away, as I’ll ruin the story. Suffice it to say that this is well worth a read. Due to a busy schedule I read this in bits over a couple of months, but every time I picked it up I found I was instantly hurled back into the plot and I remembered all the detail of what had happened up to that point, which is great testament to how much of an impact this book had on me.
Chasing the Dark gets a big thumbs up from me – a great book that will be enjoyed particularly by boys, but also by girls who like their stories with a healthy dose of action.
As authors we all get a kick out of seeing what illustrators and designers make of our mad imaginings. Then someone comes along and films a proper live action trailer! Have loved Andy Briggs’s and Joe Craig’s trailers… and now it’s MY turn!
Oxford University Press commissioned the trailer as part of a promotional blitz which will also see the poster on railway hoardings all over the UK. Blimey!
Out Of This World is out on Thursday and with it comes the You Tube trailer. Check it out by clicking HERE.
And if you’re thinking it’s all a bit like a trailer for a movie, you’re right. Out Of This World is coming to an exclusive high definition cinema… in your head.
Here at TBM last November I named Joseph D’Lacey as my favourite Horror author writing today. After reading volume one of Black Feathers I’ve changed my mind…
He’s even better.
Black Feathers is a tale of two intertwining timelines: in the future a young woman undergoes trials and torments to bring to light the secret history of a godlike being known as the Crowman; in the present a young man faces global environmental catastrophe and his own strange, feather-strewn destiny.
Black Feathers is not a Horror book. It’s something else – something ambitious, passionate, vast yet intimate and utterly thrilling. I was already a fan of D’Lacey’s writing: with Black Feathers he’s pushed it to a whole new level. If volume two lives up to the promise of the first – and I fully expect it will – we’re looking at a new classic story of apocalypse and rebirth to rank with Stephen King’s The Stand, George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides, Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker and one final Great EscapeI intend to recommend here very soon. ;D
Do you KIND OF like books..? Are you more into pictures..? Do you sometimes feel you should do more than read comics? If so… I’ve just found the PERFECT book for you.
I was gurgling with laughter within minutes of picking up Magic Ink by Steve Cole (& comic artist Jim field). It’s a brilliant blend of comedy and action and cartoon drawing with appeal for readers of all ages – but particularly scribbly doodly artistic types who may have a short attention span for lots of pages of text.
When the Penders family moves into dear departed grandpa’s old house it’s not long before young Stu finds his way into the forbidden attic filled with the legendary comic book artist’s old stuff – paper, pencils, pens, magic ink… Before you can shout ‘Superhero’ a cheeky pig in a top hat springs to life from Grandpa’s old sketches and causes mayhem among the Penders family – but only Stu gets to properly meet Posho Pig and find out what his mission is…
Soon, if Stu can’t find a way to to harness his grandpa’s Magic Ink and draw some decent superheroics himself, things are going to get pretty bad for the Penders… and maybe even the WORLD…
This is a perfect step up from Captain Underpants and Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. And if you’re into full on texty books, as it happens, you’ll love it anyway.
Chris Bradford first told me about his Bodyguard series when I was launching TARZAN at the Hay Festival (as it happens, Chris is at Hay now talking about it – and I’m there this Friday with TARZAN action! (http://www.hayfestival.com/p-5709-tarzan-the-savage-lands.aspx)) – and I was blown away by his idea. It was such a fantastic concept that I couldn’t believe nobody had done it before.
Now I have read it – and it delivers on its promise, in a BIG way.
BODYGUARD: HOSTAGE follows teenager, Connor Reeves, as he is recruited by the secretive BuddyGuard program. Here, he is taught the intricacies of bodyguard protection after which he is pitched into his first assignment: protecting the President of the United State’s Daughter.
I really don’t want to give anything away, but I can assure you the plot races forward to a breathtaking finale. The action and tension does not relent – even as hell breaks lose across Washington – and you are taken on a wild ride through some superb action sequences. Chris Bradford has outdone himself on this, my favourite book of the year by far.
I’ve already heartily recommended The Incal on TBM here. The Metabarons concerns the genealogy of one of that book’s most memorable characters.
Imagine a family line of assassins – the most powerful and deadly warriors in the universe. Each Metabaron can earn that title only by defeating the previous Metabaron – their father – in a duel to the death.
We’re deep in space opera territory here – perhaps at the pinnacle of the genre. The themes are huge and mythic, the plot contrivances outrageous, the tone relentlessly hysterical. The closest you’ll get to an “audience point of view character” – an easily identifiable bridge between “normality” and the gleeful, epic weirdness these pages contain – are Tonto and Lothar, two bickering robots. And The Metabarons is all the better for it.
On any one page of The Metabarons there’s more spectacle, sauce and soul than you’ll find in an entire summer’s worth of blockbuster movies.
Sick of faded franchises, septuagenarian superheroes, risk-free reboots and sucking fequels? The Metabarons is a message from a parallel dimension – a better one. Seek it out and prepare to be astounded.
A starving girl. A walled garden. A kind, lonely man with a darkly magical secret. A gem of a story that glints in the shadows of your mind long after you read it: Porcelain by Benjamin Read and Chris Wildgoose is fabulous.
I have to admit, when I opened it I was nervous. I’d met writer Benjamin Read and had another connection to Improper Books – the collective that published Porcelain – through glittering TBM guest Laura Trinder, whose gorgeous art lit up my story Family last year. I had high hopes; Porcelain met them and surged past them.
Chris Wildgoose’s art is stunning; Benjamin Read’s writing is as rich and vivid and shares the art’s concision and delicacy – but it’s the way the art and writing work together that marks out Porcelain as something seriously special. Each panel is subtly, unobtrusively packed with deeply imagined details that draw you further into the story, the characters, their world.
Porcelain‘s publishing history so far is almost as inspiring a fairytale as the story itself. Improper Books firstreleased it completely independently, without the backing of major publishers or distributors. In a world where plenty of similarly spirited ventures vanish without trace, word on just how wonderful Porcelain is has spread and blossomed into glorious success.
It’s well deserved. Porcelain is a spectacular debut, and a delightful book that would grace the library of anyone aged nine to ninety.