Welcome to Brian’s Book Blog’s weekly New and Notable Post for the Week of June 15th.
Comment below on any I missed or what you’re excited about!
Authors, narrators, producers, and publishers — any of the books featured here are prime candidates for review.
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All Gifts, Bestowed by Joshua Gayou
Narrated by R.C. Bray
The next big thing in artificial intelligence is here.
Codenamed Cronus, the machine is capable of having its own thoughts and ideas – an absolute dream come true, until it wasn’t. When Cronus responds with the word “No” to a specific task it is assigned, Anagnorisis Technologies brings in Gilles Guattari to investigate.
His combined background in psychiatry, psychology, and AI research makes him their best hope in evaluating Cronus, and determining if the machine is only malfunctioning or if it has become something more.
Don’t miss this mind-blowing stand-alone novel about what it means to be alive, from the best-selling author of the Commune series. Narrated by the award-winning R.C. Bray.
Recursion: A Novel by Blake Crouch
Narrated by Jon Lindstrom, Abby Craden
From the New York Times best-selling author of Dark Matter and the Wayward Pines trilogy comes a relentless thriller about time, identity, and memory – his most ambitious, mind-boggling, irresistible work to date.
“An action-packed, brilliantly unique ride that had me up late and shirking responsibilities until I had devoured the last page…a fantastic read.” (Andy Weir, number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Martian)
Memory makes reality. That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome – a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.
Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease – a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.
But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?
Compound Fracture by Franklin Horton
Narrated by Kevin Pierce
The long-awaited third installment in a series that has become a classic in family preparedness.
When Robert Hardwick’s daughter, Grace, was struggling to reach home because the nation was collapsing, he couldn’t wait. He went after her, finally finding her at one of the safe houses he’d arranged along her route home, a friend’s survival compound in the mountains of northern Georgia.
A chance encounter at the compound gave Grace the opportunity to hitch a ride home in a chopper while Robert chose to wait for an injured friend to heal up. Before he could begin his own journey home, the compound came under siege from a corrupt congressman and his private army, determined to take the property for themselves.
In a bid to save the compound and reach his family, Robert comes up with a bold and dangerous plan that just might deter the invading army, if it doesn’t get him killed first.
Three Laws Lethal by David Walton
Narrated by Shawn Compton
A science fiction thriller in which fleets of self-driving cars make life-and-death choices
In a near-future New York City, where self-driving cars roam the city streets, rival entrepreneurs Brandon and Tyler compete to produce the smartest AIs, training them in a virtual game world to anticipate traffic and potential customers better than the competition. As the two rivals struggle to dominate the market, their personal enmity pushes them to attack each other’s reputations, hack each other’s cars, and develop ever more sophisticated algorithms to keep their customers safe. The result? Intelligent computers that excel at using all available data to determine which humans should live, and which should die.
Only Naomi, inventor of the virtual world in which the AIs train, recognizes that they are developing goals of their own – goals for which they are willing to kill. But will she stop them, or will she help her creations achieve their full potential?
The Enigma Dragon: A CATS Tale by Charles V Breakfield, Roxanne E Burkey
Narrated by Derek Shoales
Do the vast amounts of information and technology available hold humans hostage? Does analog communication create a vulnerability?
The political climate in the world is unnerving. North Korea is running missile tests, but where are they getting their deadly supplies? Meanwhile, terrorists are hiding in plain sight, using American technology that is out on display in libraries and museums for the world to see, but are using analog methods to gather and assemble their information. No internet searches equal no red flags, which lets the bad guys believe they are operating undetected. But the Cyber Assassin Technology Services (CATS) team is on the job. As Juan and Julie Rodríguez send their operatives out across the globe to track down these foot soldiers also known as Analog Information Mules, they’ll discover the horrible potential treats, and learn about each other along the way.
Mike and Marge control ePETRO, an oil shipping business with offices in London and New York, but they don’t have the same business goals in mind. Marge intends to sell the North Koreans uranium in addition to oil obtained illegally from the government sanctioned Middle East. But Mike may have other plans, mainly, keeping the profits of these sales for himself. Then there is the mysterious Steven Christopher, who oversees the AIMs, and is working several angles behind the scenes. Steven is the only one trusted by both Marge and Mike, but why?
The CATs team has feet on the ground, with Ernesto and Tyler following two women through Washington, DC, as they visit the Smithsonian looking for nuclear fusion processes and down the Texas coast, where a dangerous package makes its way onto a ship bound for Asia. Jamie, an Irish man with a heartbreaking past, joins the team in Texas and finds not only a new job, but acceptance. George and Summit travel across Asia following the oil and some suspiciously mislabeled furniture. After a rocky start at being paired up, Mercedes and Brayson head to Panama and are watching a previously known Dark Net data center, but Mercedes is soon extracted to help out in DC. She quickly becomes embroiled in Steven Christopher’s world. Brayson is left behind alone in Panama, and, still recovering from a lost love, learns that he can’t truly be a part of the team until he has forgiven himself.
While Juan stays with Quip and his supercomputer ICABOD, tracking his team members and relaying constantly updated information at the team’s nerve center, Julie heads to London. Julie finds herself in the center of all the trouble as she goes undercover in the ePETRO offices. When Julie disappears, Juan drops everything to find her. Quip loops his wife EZ, a Unified Communications expert, to help monitor and control the CATS team movements so that operatives can find the culprits in their different theaters of operation.
Limbs by Tim Meyer
Narrated by Ryan Francona
I am not a monster.
Ray Bridges, a professional electronics salesman, is looking for love in all the strange places. He spends most nights sneaking into support group meetings for the disabled in order to satisfy his deepest, darkest desires – to hook up with unfortunate, down-on-their-luck women who’ve recently lost a limb. There’s a name for Ray’s preference; it’s called acrotomophilia, a paraphilia involving amputees.
Conflicted, Ray wishes he could change. But he can’t. His body won’t let him. Nor will his mind. He’s destined to live this life, forever. That is . . . until he meets the perfect girl. Falls in love with her. Only problem: her arms and legs are attached.
Unable to find her attractive, Ray embarks on a dark, twisted journey of self-discovery, one that will force him to make an impossible choice: abandon his pursuit of true love or find a way to make it work, even if that means getting the girl of his dreams to shed an appendage.
Weird, comedic, and often raunchy, Limbs is the craziest love story ever told.
End of the Ocean by Matthew McBride
Narrated by Keith Szarabajka
From the author of the popular cult classics Frank Sinatra in a Blender and A Swollen Red Sun comes a riveting novel of redemption and suspense that asks the question: Just how far are you willing to go for love? Would you give up everything you’ve ever known? Risk your freedom? Risk your life?
When newly divorced Sage arrives in Bali, his only plan is to drink on the beach until his money runs out and then return home to start over. So he’s caught by surprise when he falls in love with the country and its people, particularly the attractive and considerate Ratri. Soon Sage can no longer see himself living anywhere else, even as his funds dwindle and his visa’s expiration date nears. Increasingly desperate to stay with Ratri, Sage finds himself being recruited by a drug-smuggling ring – in a country where drug trafficking is punishable by death. The promised pay-out would be enough to set Sage and Ratri up for life, but only if Sage isn’t caught. Will Sage go home and risk the life he envisions with Ratri, or risk everything to stay and make that life possible?
Both lyrical and suspenseful, intimate and ambitious, End of the Ocean is an unforgettable look at a brutal business in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The Buck Passes Flynn by Gregory Mcdonald
Narrated by Donald Corren
Someone is looking to wreck the nation’s economy, and they’re spending plenty to do it. With every lead going nowhere, Flynn’s most dizzying logic is put to the test.
Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland
Narrated by Toni Frutin, Kate Reading
A twisty and propulsive listen, this dark psychological thriller of sibling rivalry, love, betrayal, and the dire consequences of family fallout brilliantly plays on our fears of loneliness and abandonment, harkening to the modern Gothic best-sellers by Ruth Ware and Liz Nugent.
Is a story ever just a story?
Mac, a retired academic and writer, is working on a new collection of folktales, inspired by local legends, and at the insistence of her only child, Arthur, she hires a young assistant, Lucie, to live in a cottage on her property and help her transcribe them. What Arthur doesn’t know is that his mother is determined to keep the secrets of her past from ever being discovered. And what Mac doesn’t know is that Lucie has a few complicated secrets of her own.
The creaking presence of an ancient water mill next to Mac’s property that used to grind wheat into flour serves as an eerie counterpoint for these two women as they circle warily around each other, haunted by the local legend of two long-dead sisters, ready to point accusing fingers from the pages of history.
This atmospheric pause-resister evocatively gives voice to the question: What happens when you fall in love with the wrong person?
Genesis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley
Narrated by Katie Schorr
In a future where privacy is gone, an internet innocent gets auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the internet. Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable, and upon graduation, Blanca – and those like her – are sold to the highest bidders.
Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.