Dan Stout’s The Carter Archives: Titanshade, Titan Day, and Titan Song (DAW, 2019-21). Covers by Chris McGrath
Whenever an author wraps up a trilogy, we bake a cake in the Black Gate offices.
But what if it’s not actually, like, a trilogy? What if the third book is just a rest stop on a long and exciting journey toward five books? Or seven? Or, Wheel-of-Time like, a stupendous 12 volumes (or 14, or whatever the heck it is)?? If it’s not clear should we bake, or not bake?
Ha! You’re right, of course. Like we’d let nuance like that get in the way of cake. Fire up the oven, lads.
When Black Gate columnist Brandon Crilly selected the opening novel in Dan Stout’s Carter Archives as one of his Top Five Books of 2019 he said:
Titanshade is the story Bright should have been. Stout provides this fascinating, pseudo-dieselpunk world populated by unique creatures instead of orcs and elves. It has everything I loved about Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys without the problematic bits, centered on truly engaging and dynamic characters.
Brandon certainly wasn’t the only one who enjoyed it. Publishers Weekly called it “a pitch-perfect noir” in a starred review, and W. Michael Gear described it as “a little Mickey Spillane, some Dashiell Hammett, a bit of Raymond Chandler, and… Phillip K. Dick’s Blade Runner… a masterpiece of a first novel.” My favorite notice was the starred review from ALA Booklist, who said:
Titanshade is entirely unique: it’s a gritty noir murder mystery on an alien world with multiple species, a strange form of sorcery, a powerful religion, and large-scale political intrigue. And it’s set in the 1970s, with pay phones, 8-track tapes, racial tensions, and arguments about disco music. What’s amazing is how good it is at being all of these: the genuinely compelling mystery lives in a hugely original sf world and an immersive historical milieu.
The sequel Titan Day arrived in 2020, and Titan Song arrived in April of this year. Here’s the publisher’s description.
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.
Will the series wrap up as a trilogy? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Here’s the deets for the first three volumes.
Titanshade (416 pages, $26 hardcover/$7.99 paperback, $12.99 digital, $24.99 audio CD, March 12, 2019)
Titan’s Day (432 pages, $26 hardcover/$8.99 paperback, $13.99 digital, April 7, 2020)
Titan Song (384 pages, $27 hardcover, $14.99 digital, April 6, 2021)
See all our recent cover of the best new fantasy series here.