Among the Newest Releases
Here comes Rica Marin...
First she was in hardcover, then in audio, then in e book as Blackjack by Lee Singer! And now, confusing as it may be, she has yet another incarnation with some excellent revisions and is reborn as Torch Song by Shelley Singer, a beautiful e book from BooksBNimble.
Torch Song--the near-future dystopian thriller
From the back cover--
"Rica Marin is a mercenary who can fight, shoot--and sing torch songs. She kick-starts the action from page one, and never lets up. Part mystery, part noir, set in a frighteningly plausible near-future America terrorized by roving gangs, Torch Song is a thriller I couldn't put down." --Ellen Klages, Nebula Award-winning author of Portable Childhoods and The Green Glass Sea.
"A chillingly logical, beautifully worked out post-apocalyptic thriller, further distinguished by in-depth characterization and evocative writing. Rica Marin is a tough, pragmatic, and multi-skilled mercenary perfectly suited to her not-so-brave new
world. A powerful new voice in science fiction." --Marcia Muller, Vanishing Point and The Ever-Running Man
Bill Pronzini, The Crimes of Jordan Wise and Savages
Singer's vision of a near-future America is clear-eyed and absolutely convincing. The protagonist, Rica Marin, is made of equal parts toughness, intelligence, and courage. You will not forget this book or this heroine for a very long time!"--Richard A. Lupoff, Terrors, Marblehead: A Novel of H. P. Lovecraft, and The Universal Holmes
The earliest review to appear, on the online site Euroreviews, gave the novein its original Blackjack incarnationl 5 stars and had this to say about it:
"In 2066, the entire geopolitical and socioeconomic landscape of the globe has changed, and not for the better. Terrorism by biochemical weapons, rampant plagues and famines, and killing for its own sake have literally decimated the population. All former nations have imploded, and only small political territories remain. The former United States, for example, is now a mere collection of eighteen separate territories, a shadow of its prior glory.
"Rica Marin is a late-thirties mercenary, actor, and accomplished torch singer. Orphaned at four when her parents both died of a fever, her Gran raised her in Redwood, formerly a portion of California. Gran had legal training but is not one to be the sole stability in the family, so Rica took over that role early, earning money for the two of them to purchase the necessary inoculations (in the vernacular, "vax") by performing as a freelance mercenary. A summons to the territory of Sierra finds her in way over her head, as both the chief and the mobster who hire her betray her, and the family organization she is sent to infiltrate prods at her own personal loyalties.
"Blackjack is truly one of those books that the reader simply cannot set aside until completion. A story whose pace is akin to the speed of a rocket-launcher missile, Blackjack will grasp any reader by the throat and hang on until the end. What characters! What plotting! What a wealth of historical background (especially of the Twentieth Century) and the descriptive setting of the 'New World' from our time forward to the plot setting of 2066! Accomplished author Lee Singer, who has already published suspense novels as Shelley Singer, is a writer never to be missed. Blackjack will linger in the mind for long after the completion, with the question ringing: 'Could a near-future like this actually occur?'"--Annie
From Library Journal:
"In the latter half of the 21st century, the United States has devolved into a depleted continent of Balkanized nations: Redwood, Sierra, Olympia, Rocky Mountain, and others, all ruled by local chiefs or warlords. Rica Marin makes her living as a mercenary. Sent to Sierra to spy on the powerful Coleman "casino" clan, she insinuates herself into the heart of the family only to realize that for once, she might have chosen the wrong side in a political situation that could make or break the future of the no-longer-united America. Fast-paced action and a decisive, strong-minded heroine make this a good choice for fans of postapocalyptic thrillers."
Lee Singer's novel is less a science fiction adventure than a projection of life on the far side of a worst-case scenario. Singer takes the sci-fi tropes of laser pistols and floating cars and incorporates them into an earthly, complex political landscape in which today's legacy to the future owes less to technology than to our immediate political and social divisions, with most of humanity having expired in a rush of falling ecological and political dominoes.
Singer doesn't offer neatly packaged answers; if anything, she builds the threads of a larger story into the novel. The world Singer imagines is so complete, with its crazies, its filthy, rapacious mercenaries, its chemical pools, pandemics, and scarred survivors of toxic weapons, that it doesn't need to be detailed exhaustively to take on a life of its own; with mere inference and a smattering of futuristic slang words ("toxbag," "vax"), Singer's future, shocked and scorched, opens up automatically in the imagination to something vast, and carries the story in its grip rather than the other way around. It could easily carry a trilogy, or more. --Kilian Melloy
From Romance Reviews Today:
What was once the United States of America is now a war-ravaged shadow of its former self. There are no longer states, just small countries like Rockymountain, Sierra, and Redwood, each with its own currency. Roads are crumbling, technology is limited and trust is in short supply. Here and there, pockets of civility and civilization remain.
Blackjack is one of those pockets, and Rica has been sent to gather information about the owners. But, she finds something that she did not expect there: a group of mismatched survivors fighting to keep hope and freedom alive.
The world of Blackjack is one of terror, disease, bandits, and the tenacity of humans who simply refuse to believe there is no reason to fight on. Lee Singer paints a bleak picture of the future but has saved a few streaks of color to represent rays of light that can, with care, shatter the stranglehold darkness has on humanity's remnants. BLACKJACK contains incendiary politics, intrigue, mystery, mayhem, and sometimes scary individuals. …BLACKJACK is good, and I recommend it. --Vi Janaway
From the North Bay Bohemian:
A sort of Mad Maxine for the flat-accented, Marin makes a convincing antihero for the post-U.S. age, an era seemingly closer than ever before.--G.G.
On Royal Flush--Since their last appearance, the San Francisco Bay Area duo has been through some changes. First Rosie, then Jake left Oakland for Marin County, north of the Golden Gate. Jake has never bothered to get his private eye license--but Rosie did, and now he's working for her. Happily for readers, their relationship is still solid. "Their respect for each other's privacy and integrity is so deeply ingrained that they are careful with their affection, would not quite call it love, and so their wisecracking takes on a softened, humane edge."(San Francisco Chronicle)
From the Back Cover:
Jake and Rosie Are Back
Laid-back private eye Jake Samson is now living in mellow Marin County, and he's working for a new boss, former assistant Rosie Vicente. This time, they're going undercover, infiltrating an ultra-right-wing group to help a young warrior named Royal who wants out. The problem is, the last time someone tried to leave the gang, he ended up dead. The disguised investigators risk their lives as they follow a beerhall trail of convoluted connections, bizarre secrets, and outright lunacy. Then someone else dies, and the violent, raving, group suspects Royal and our two detectives of treachery. Jake and Rosie must move fast to keep one step ahead of the terminal incompetence of the leaders and their troops, who seem more bent on offing each other than on world domination.
From the Publisher:
Jake Samson Rides Again
Critics have described Jake Samson as "attractive, ingenious, and fearless"(San Francisco Chronicle), "wry, skeptical, easygoing"(Kirkus), "one of the nicer guys in the private eye business, who operates in a relaxed, casual style without need for macho posturing"(Washington Post). He and his assistant, carpenter Rosie Vicente, "are entirely engaging, familiar folks, easy to be with"(San Francisco Chronicle). Now author Shelley Singer has brought Jake and Rosie back in her new mystery, Royal Flush, sixth in the series and the first to be published by Perseverance Press/John Daniel and Company.
Jake and Rosie's latest poker-titled case, Royal Flush, calls on all their strength and commitment to one another, as they must go underground to infiltrate a dangerous neo-Nazi group. On their skill and intelligence depend the life of a misguided but essentially good kid and possibly the lives of several political assassination targets. But the gang's incompetence may be even more deadly than their megalomaniac plans. Today's news headlines echo in Royal Flush: violent youth, pop culture and technology, easy availability of weapons, extremist ravings, and dissemination of hatred for outsiders.
Singer's light touch with serious issues makes Royal Flush as enjoyable a read as all of her previous books. New readers will join with longtime fans in hailing the latest installment of this beloved and trend-setting series.
For a Complete List of Books and Short Stories, click here.