Cover Image: Titan Song

Titan Song

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Titan Song (The Carter Archives #3) by Dan Stout was hands down my most anticipated book of the month and high on my list for all of Spring 2021. I adore Dan Stout's brand of 1970s-esque urban fantasy noir and this third installment is firing on all cylinders. It was great to be back with Carter and Jax once again as well as some other returning cast members. I feel like I haven't mentioned the whole buddy cop thing they have going on, but it is delightful to see them work off of one another. I also loved getting to see a little more of their wider world beyond the city they call home. The central mystery at the heart of the story is also very well written and keeps you guessing with all of the plot twists and complexities, but as always I appreciated Carter and Jax's methodical detective work. Overall, this installment of what has easily become an all time favorite series that somehow just manages to keep getting better and better was exactly what I was looking for. I'm glad that to know that this we'll being seeing more of Titanshde, Carter, and Jax in the future because I definitely wasn't ready to be saying goodbye so soon. If you're a fan of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, Dirty Harry, and The Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee, I have a feeling that you'll love The Carter Archives too. The upcoming fourth book in this series can't come soon enough! This series deserves all the love and attention it can get!
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Titan Song by Dan Stout, third book in the series, very solid. Yet another book into the strange world of Detective Carter and Titanshade, things go wrong fast!
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Titan Song is the third book in the Carter Archives SF police procedural series by Dan Stout. Released 6th April 2021 by Penguin Random House on their DAW imprint, it's 384 pages and is available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

This is a superbly written gritty noir procedural with a lot more. Dan Stout is a genuinely gifted writer (in whatever genre) and this book was a pleasure to read. The noir aspects of the writing would do credibly well in a side-by-side comparison with Hammett, Ellroy, and Dorothy Hughes. The plotting is finely tuned and well controlled. The characters (an ensemble cast) are distinct, easy to remember, and believably motivated. 

There's a 70's cop vibe (pagers, disco, 8 track tapes) which plays along nicely with the extraterrestrial setting and humanoid alien species. In addition to the really solid mystery and police procedural aspects, it's set in an SF world where magic is real and not entirely well understood. 

This is the third book in a series and in this case, there's quite a lot of continuity involved with character and plot development. It certainly *could* be read as a standalone, but it would be improved by being read in series order. My own review was delayed a while because I wanted to go chase down the other 2 currently extant books before finishing this one. 

I would recommend this one to fans of noir procedurals even if they don't normally read SF. The writing is superb, the world building is meticulously detailed and the characters are believable. The denouement and resolution are clever and the whole is pleasantly twisty and engaging. There are even some humorous m0ments. For fans of SF mysteries, this is my best read in the genre for 2021 thus far.

Five stars. Superb. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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This is the first book i read in this series and I loved it so much that I bought the other two books.
It's a great mix of noir, fantasy and dystopia that keeps you turning pages and I wasn't able to stop reading.
There's a great world building, a complex mystery full of twists and turns, and a cast of fascinating and well thought characters.
There's also plenty of humour and the mix of the different elements makes this story highly entertaining and gripping.
I want to know more about this world and can't wait to read the next installment.
This one is strongly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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I was so thrilled to get a copy of Titan Song in to my hands, you have no idea. I adore reading this series because not only is it a police procedural, which I love, but it also has fantasy and science fiction elements all blended together. It is just fascinating to imagine the different alien species and humans all living and working together in the world that the Author has created. I will tell you, though, that if you have not read this series yet, that you should start from book one, Titanshade. At this point, there is a complexity between the characters, the overarching plot, and a religion that has been slowly gaining importance that jumping in now, well, the significance of what Carter is dealing with may be lost to you.

Things have always been tough for Carter when it comes to personal relationships. In Titan Song things are pretty much status quo for him, initially, but when a series of murders with questionable motives start, it places Carter in a position where he will have to trust others with truths that could spell the end of not only his career but his very freedom. Despite the risks, Carter’s sense of justice will not let him ignore that what is taking place in Titanshade goes deeper than just crooked politicians and the appearance of next gen manna laced drugs. Something is stirring beneath the simmering unrest and Carter will need all the help that he can get if he is going to have a chance at keeping those he cares about safe. Titan Song was a thrilling story that left no doubt in my mind that what is coming next in this series is going to be EPIC! 

This review is based on a complimentary book I received. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
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The nitty-gritty: Another strong entry in Dan Stout's retro noir urban fantasy, Titan Song is a rollicking good time.

This is the third book in The Carter Archives series, and it's still going strong, I'm happy to report. Stout has combined a unique set of elements—noir urban fantasy, a 1970s vibe that seems familiar but only on the surface, a gritty detective story where cops do things the old fashioned way, a story with a “buddy cop” sensibility, all set in a fascinating world based on a unique mythology—and this combination of the familiar and unfamiliar makes each book feel fresh. Titan Song builds on everything that has come before it, giving the reader even more information and glimpses into the “Titan” in the title and how it shapes this world.

And do be aware that there may be a few spoilers if you haven’t read the first two books, but I will keep them to a minimum. Also, the series should be read in order, as these are not really written to be stand alone stories.

When the story opens, Carter and his Mollenkampi partner Jax are headed out of the city to the ice plains, the site of a defunct oil rig which is now being used as a concert venue. Famous pop singer Dinah McIntire, along with her band, backup singers and dancers, is about to begin a week-long music festival, but a dead body has turned up backstage and now Carter and Jax are assigned to investigate.

When they arrive, Carter is surprised to sense manna on the body, which indicates that sorcery of some kind was involved. Carter has a powerful and inexplicable connection to manna—the magical substance discovered by accident during an oil drilling operation—because he was there during the manna strike and was drenched in it. Somehow his body absorbed the manna, and now he can sense and interact with it whenever it’s present. But when the dead body suddenly appears to come back to life and change before their eyes, Carter knows something much more sinister and complicated is at play. When one of the dancers confesses to the murder, saying that she became enraged for no reason after hearing a weird buzzing sound, Carter also discovers that she was using a particularly dangerous drug called snake oil, a drug infused with manna.

At the same time, a caravan of Barekusu—one of the eight Families in this world (more on that later)—has decided to visit Titanshade, and the citizens are in a frenzy because they rarely see these reclusive creatures. Meanwhile, more dead bodies are turning up, and for each one someone confesses to the murder. Carter starts to see a pattern emerge, but there are still so many unanswered questions. Then a sinkhole appears in the city limits, threatening the very heart of Titanshade—the geovents far beneath the surface that supply heat to the city. Carter and Jax have their work cut out for them with so much going on, and Carter has lots of questions: is the appearance of the Barekusu a coincidence, or do they have something to do with the murders? Are the corrupt Ambassador Paulus and her daughter Gellica involved? And more worrisome to Carter, is his ability to manipulate manna—which he still doesn’t understand—at the root of all the city’s problems?

Stout continues to expand on his world, and I love how he gives his readers just a little more with each book. Because of this, all the mysteries of Titanshade are still being revealed, which means there could be many more books in this series (no firm info on that yet, but I'm hopeful!). To quickly sum up the mythology of Titanshade for those new to the series, the world is set in a bitterly cold land, and the only heat comes from the Titan (this world’s deity), trapped far below the surface. The Titan’s pain and struggles create the heat for Titanshade, flowing through the geovents that snake their way through hidden tunnels. But only the rich are able to live in comfort, closest to the vents, while those less fortunate suffer the biting cold with very little relief. Of course, no one has ever proven that the Titan exists, but the citizens worship him anyway for fear of losing the heat that keeps them alive. Stout has plenty of surprises in store for his readers as he delves further into the mythology surrounding the Titan and the firm beliefs of Titanshade’s citizens.

The murder mystery itself is twisty and takes most of the book to resolve, and I love Carter’s methodical approach to solving crimes. The plot in Titan Song is fairly complex as well, with lots of characters thrown into the mix (both old and new), each with a connection to the murders, which makes untangling everything even harder for Carter and Jax. We also learn more about Gellica, the woman Carter is drawn to but can’t be with, for various reasons. Stout balances the more serious elements with plenty of humor and emotion—we have the always funny banter between Carter and Jax, as well as moments from Carter’s personal life—and there’s also the inevitable political intrigue and maneuvering, because despite the city’s governing agency, there’s a sense of lawlessness to Titanshade, a desperation that comes from living in such a harsh climate. All these elements together are one of the reasons I love this series so much.

This is the first time we’ve met the Barekusu (at least that I can remember), and they were fascinating! I imagined them as mammoth-like creatures who have the ability to speak just like humans, and I loved the sense of mystery that surrounds them wherever they go. I also loved the fact that Carter doesn’t trust them at all, despite their status as the “leaders” of the eight Families, and let’s just say that Carter usually has very good instincts. I also want to note that of the eight “Families,” Stout has really only touched on four—human, Mollenkampi, Gillmyn and Barekusu—so I’m hoping we get to know the other four in future books.

But even though we’re learning new things about the characters and the world, Stout still manages to keep all of my favorite elements going, like the cool 70s vibe (pagers, cassette players, pay phones and disco!) and Carter’s gruff but vulnerable personality. Carter is such a great character, a jaded detective who does whatever he has to in order to solve crimes and protect his loved ones, but underneath he’s got some issues he needs to work out, especially when it comes to his personal interactions and his relationship with the mysterious, magical manna. 

Overall, this was an excellent addition to this series, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.
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This review was originally posted on <a href="" target="_blank"> Books of My Heart</a>

<i>Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.</i>

4.5 hearts

I have been really enjoying the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em><strong>Carter Archives</strong></em></a> series, which is a science fiction with police cases.  I would read these in order to give the proper world-building and character development. Carter like all good UF heroes is gathering his misfit allies.  We see some known characters like Gellica and Paulus, Bryyh, Guyer, and Talena.   We meet a few new ones like Vandie Cedrow and a new DO named Harris.

Carter and his partner, Ajax, are working well together. They have had some high profile cases. It makes it a little harder to fly under the radar to investigate some things, and they get recognized more often. It's great to see their trust with each other.  Carter has some "magic" issues and keeps it pretty close.

There are a lot of fascinating aspects to the world-building.  The world has magic from the manna, and seven peoples.  We know the humans, the Mollenkampi, the Gillmyn, and now Barekusu.  The political power is in flux with the new manna.   We learn much more about the way heat is generated and distributed in this ice world.

Carter and Ajax get requested on a new case outside of Titanshade because of a music star.  There seems to be some connection to the new manna.  More cases occur and Carter has to wonder if some of it is connected to his new issues. There are also some unnatural natural disasters.  Cater and Ajax work to sort through the powerful for motives while trying to prevent further death or disaster.

I loved this fast-paced puzzler! I enjoyed learning more about the world and seeing the changes with its characters. But most of all, I love Carter for his brilliant understanding to solve cases, and irritate most people.
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This is the third book in this series, and I think this was probably the best book in the series yet. We are really getting to know Carter, and we learn some things from his past that explain why he is the way he is now. This world is getting even more expanded, and I can’t wait to meet more of the species mentioned in this one. I also like how Jax is really stepping up to be Carter’s best friend even if he doesn’t want it. This is a well-written UF/Sci-fi with some noir elements, and if you are fan of either of these genres, I think you will love this one. I hope this series sticks around. Highly recommend. I was provided a complimentary copy which I voluntarily reviewed.
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As a homicide detective, Carter is no stranger to violent crime, but this latest string of murders is unusual. All across the city, individuals are randomly and suddenly overwhelmed with an anger so intense that they kill someone nearby with whatever they can use, and then, bewildered, surrender to the police. 

Meanwhile, a megastar is in town for a concert and a large contingent of religious leaders is in town for... reasons? Are the killings related to either, or both, or maybe to the strange magic that has been plaguing Carter? 

Another strong entry, and I'm looking forward to more.
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I like mysteries second best after scifi/fantasy so I am probably pretty much the target audience for this series!
With that said the author does an excellent job setting up the world and story. I don’t believe all the hinted at species have made an appearance yet but I haven’t been keeping close count,  The early 1980s tech level was an interesting choice for a setting but it works!
I think it’s a series well worth trying for any reader that goes oooh! sci-fi and mystery/detective story!
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"The third book in the acclaimed Carter Archives noir fantasy series returns to the gritty town of Titanshade, where danger lurks around every corner.

Forbidden magic, murder...and disco. Carter's day keeps getting worse.

With the return of spring, new life floods into Titanshade. The sun climbs higher and stays longer, the economy is ascendant, and ever more newcomers arrive to be part of the city's rebirth. Even pop culture has taken notice, with a high-profile concert only days away. When a band member's murder threatens to delay the show, the diva star performer demands that the famous Detective Carter work the case. But Carter has secrets of his own, and his investigation unearths more victims and dark secrets, triggering a spiral of deceit, paranoia, and nightmarish magical transformations.

As conspiracies are exposed, Carter is sucked even deeper into the machinations of the rich, the powerful, and the venerated. Soon the very foundations of the city threaten to collapse and Carter's own freedom is on the line as he navigates between old enemies and fragile new alliances while racing to learn the true cause of this horrific series of deaths."

Yaroo, a new Carter Archives book!
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Thanks to NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love detective noir and scifi so mashups like The Carter Archives are right up my alley. I really liked the first two books and the stories just keep getting better. I think this might be my favorite one so far.

Jax and Carter are back on the beat in Titanshade, recovering from the city changing events from the end of Titan's Day. Things get crazy right from the beginning when a murder investigation gets entangled with magic, manna and Carter's past. Then the caravan of gypsy aliens show up. Then things get even worse.

I love the worldbuilding of Titanshade and all the interesting interactions between humans and the various non-humans trying to live in harmony. Following Carter's unraveling of the layers of politics, history and cover ups to get the the "bottom of things" was pure entertaining joy. The "bottom of things" takes on a whole new meaning that you will have to read the book to discover.

Things are somewhat wrapped up by the end but there are plenty of lingering questions left for the future of Carter and Titanshade. Can't wait to see where Stout takes them next.
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