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Free & Cheap Reads, 3/30/15 | Fantasy Thrillers, Joss Whedon's Biography & 1800s New England

This week, we bring you tales of misfits and eccentrics and their adventures and misfortunes in breathless thrillers from Marcus Sakey and Scott Pratt, we venture into mystical and supernatural territory with Brandt Legg and Angie Fox, get a peek into the genius of Joss Whedon from Amy Pascale, and travel back in time to old New England with Anita Diamant.

Brilliance (The Brilliance Saga Book 1) by Marcus Sakey, $1.99

Brilliance by Marcus SakeyA 2013 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Paperback Original

In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called “brilliants,” and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in—and betray his own kind.

From Marcus Sakey, “a modern master of suspense” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “one of our best storytellers” (Michael Connelly), comes an adventure that’s at once breakneck thriller and shrewd social commentary; a gripping tale of a world fundamentally different and yet horrifyingly similar to our own, where being born gifted can be a terrible curse.

Author Gillian Flynn Reviews Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

Let me first begin by saying, Marcus Sakey is a friend of mine. He’s a friend because I read his whip-smart thrillers years ago (The Amateurs is one of my favorites) and loved them so much I decided I had to meet the twisted mind behind them. So I was a fan before I was a friend. After reading Brilliance, the scales may have tilted: I may now be more fan than friend—it’s that ridiculously good.

Brilliance is the kind of novel that makes you grin at its high-flying feats of imagination, and then grin harder because it sticks the landing. It’s thrilling and funny and disturbing and sharp as hell… Read the rest of this review at www.kindlepost.com.

An Innocent Client by Scott Pratt, $0.99

An Innocent Client by Scott PrattA preacher is found brutally murdered in a Tennessee motel room.

A beautiful, mysterious young girl is accused.

In this bestselling debut, criminal defense lawyer Joe Dillard has become jaded over the years as he’s tried to balance his career against his conscience. Savvy but cynical, Dillard wants to quit doing criminal defense, but he can’t resist the chance to represent someone who might actually be innocent. His drug-addicted sister has just been released from prison and his mother is succumbing to Alzheimer’s, but Dillard’s commitment to the case never wavers despite the personal troubles and professional demands that threaten to destroy him.

“Pratt’s richly developed characters are vivid and believable, especially the strong Southern women who fight their male-dominated culture from behind a facade of vulnerability in this brilliantly executed debut.” — Publisher’s Weekly

Outview (The Inner Movement, Book 1) by Brandt Legg, FREE

Outview by Brandt LeggThere is a secret so powerful that, once known, the world will never be the same. For centuries they have died to protect it.
Nate found it. They know he did. Across time and dimension they are after him . . .

Four years ago, his father died. Two years ago, Nate’s mother locked his brother in a mental institution. One year ago, horrific visions began to torture him. Now, a clandestine group, wielding overwhelming power, wants him silenced. Nate is only sixteen.
Nothing is what it appears and the tragedies of his life are all connected to the secret, a secret so unimaginable that it will decide whether our modern society becomes a utopian or dystopian world.

Nate embarks on a breathless quest to save his brother and unravel the mystery of their father’s death. His desperate flight takes a stunning turn when, along with three school friends, he encounters mystics who teach forgotten skills and lost wisdom and reveal an extraordinary destiny.

A fantasy thriller, set in present day Oregon and California, will appeal to more than young adult fans. Outview, the first book of the Inner Movement trilogy, combines mystics, metaphysical magic, psychics and reincarnation to push this new age conspiracy beyond the realm of the Celestine Prophecy and the Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist.

The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox, FREE

The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie FoxIt’s never a good day when an ancient demon shows up on your toilet bowl. For Lizzie Brown, that’s just the beginning. Soon her hyperactive terrier starts talking, and her long-lost biker witch Grandma is hurling Smuckers jars filled with magic. Just when she thinks she’s seen it all, Lizzie learns she’s a demon slayer—and all hell is after her.

Of course, that’s not the only thing after her. Dimitri Kallinikos, a devastatingly handsome shape-shifting griffin, needs Lizzie to slay a demon of his own. But how do you talk a girl you’ve never met into going straight to the underworld? Lie. And if that doesn’t work how dangerous could a little seduction be…?

From Booklist

Prim and proper preschool teacher Lizzie Brown is on the verge of her thirtieth birthday when her hitherto unknown grandmother shows up, quickly followed by a demon erupting out of her toilet who Lizzie surprisingly manages to blast into “a million flecks of light.” Raised by distant adoptive parents, Lizzie had no idea that she was born to be a demon slayer. Her granny, a biker who communes with spirits in a metal lawn shed, then takes her to join her coven of senior biker witches who will help her defeat the demons who want to kill Lizzie before she can go after them. Along the way, Lizzie meets sexy shape-shifter Dimitri Kallinkikos, a sometime griffin who claims to be her protector but may have a hidden agenda that will take her straight to hell. This rollicking paranormal comedy will appeal to fans of Dakota Cassidy, MaryJanice Davidson, and Tate Hallaway. –Diana Tixier Herald

Joss Whedon: The Biography by Amy Pascale, $3.99

Joss Whedon The Biography by Amy PascaleFrom the cult favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which netted four million viewers per episode, to the summer blockbuster The Avengers, which amassed a box office of $1.5 billion, Joss Whedon has made a name for himself in Hollywood for his penchant for telling meaningful, personal tales about love, death, and redemption even against the most dramatic and larger-than-life backdrops. This biography follows his development from a creative child and teenager who spent years away from his family at an elite English public school, through his early successes—which often turned into frustrating heartbreak in both television (Roseanne) and film (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)—to his breakout turn as the creator, writer, and director of the Buffy television series. Extensive, original interviews with Whedon’s family, friends, collaborators, and stars—and with the man himself—offer candid, behind-the-scenes accounts of the making of groundbreaking series such as Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse, as well as new stories about his work with Pixar writers and animators during the creation of Toy Story. Most importantly, however, these conversations present an intimate and revealing portrait of a man whose creativity and storytelling ability have manifested themselves in comics, online media, television, and film.

“Pascale collects enough fascinating details and candid anecdotes to surprise even the most devoted of Whedonites.” —Maclean’s Magazine

“Now that I’ve read this and feel like I know Joss as a person rather than merely a hit-making, critically adored peer, my schadenfreude has been reduced to completely manageable levels.” —Rob Thomas, creator of Veronica Mars

“Like a series of great tales told during a boozy night of friends reminiscing, Pascal’s biography of Joss Whedon does what the great artistic biographies do — it makes you want to go back and re-experience his work.” —Patton Oswalt

The Last Days of Dogtown: A Novel by Anita Diamant, $1.99

The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita DiamantA magnificent storyteller with vast imaginative range, Anita Diamant gave voice to the silent women of the Old Testament in The Red Tent. Now, in her third novel, she brings to vivid life an early New England world that history has forgotten.

Set on Cape Ann in the early 1800s, The Last Days of Dogtown is peopled by widows, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, whores, free Africans, and “witches.” Nearly a decade ago, Diamant found an account of an abandoned rural backwater near the Massachusetts coastline at the turn of the nineteenth century. That pamphlet inspired a stunning novel about a small group of eccentrics and misfits, struggling in a harsh, isolated landscape only fifty miles north of Boston, yet a world away.

Among the inhabitants of Dogtown are Black Ruth, an African woman who dresses as a man and works as a stone mason; Mrs. Stanley, an imperious madam whose grandson, Sammy, comes of age in her rural brothel; Oliver Younger, who survives a miserable childhood at the hands of a very strange aunt; and Cornelius Finson, a freed slave whose race denies him everything. At the center of it all is Judy Rhines, a fiercely independent soul, deeply lonely, who nonetheless builds a life for herself and inspires those around her to become more generous and tolerant themselves.

This is a story of hardship and resilience — and an extraordinary re-creation of an untold chapter of early American life. With a keen ear for language and profound compassion for her characters, Diamant has written her most moving and powerful novel.

 

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