An amazing selection this month that features some new exciting writers, several well-known popular writers plus a ‘Granta Best Young Novelist’ Xiaolu Guo and her novel titled I am China.
The Marco effect : a Department Q novel / Jussi Adler-Olsen ; translated by Martin Aitken ; translation consultant, Steve Schein.
“All fifteen-year-old Marco Jameson wants is to become a Danish citizen and go to school like a normal teenager. But his uncle Zola rules his former gypsy clan with an iron fist. Revered as a god and feared as a devil, Zola forces the children of the clan to beg and steal for his personal gain. When Marco discovers a dead body proving the true extent of Zola’s criminal activities he goes on the run. But his family members aren’t the only ones who’ll go to any lengths to keep Marco silent forever. When Department Q learn that a mysterious teen named Marco may have as much insight into the case as he has fear of the police, Carl is determined to solve the mystery and save the boy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Lucky us : a novel / Amy Bloom.
“Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island. With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Wolf in white van / John Darnielle.
“Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. As the creator of Trace Italian, a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail, Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore, turn by turn, seeking sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America. Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called to account for it. In the process, he is pulled back through time, tunneling toward the moment of his own self-inflicted departure from the world in which most people live.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Perfidia / James Ellroy.
“It is December 6, 1941. America stands at the brink of World War II. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles has been a haven for loyal Japanese-Americans, but now, war fever and race hate grip the city and the Japanese internment begins. The hellish murder of a Japanese family summons three men and one woman. The investigation throws them together and rips them apart. The crime becomes a political storm center that brilliantly illuminates these four driven souls–comrades, rivals, lovers, history’s pawns.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The spring of Kasper Meier / Ben Fergusson.
“The war is over, but Berlin is a desolate sea of rubble. There is a shortage of everything: food, clothing, tobacco. The local population is scrabbling to get by. Kasper Meier is one of these Germans, and his solution is to trade on the black market to feed himself and his elderly father. He can find anything that people need, for the right price, even other people. When a young woman, Eva, arrives at Kasper’s door seeking the whereabouts of a British pilot, he feels a reluctant sympathy for her but won’t interfere in military affairs. But Eva is prepared for this. Kasper has secrets, she knows them, and she’ll use them to get what she wants.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Mr Mac and me / Esther Freud.
“It is 1914, and Thomas Maggs, the son of the local publican, lives with his parents and sister in a village on the Suffolk coast. He is the youngest child, and the only son surviving. Life is quiet, shaped by the seasons, fishing and farming… Then one day a mysterious Scotsman arrives. Mac is what the locals call him when they whisper about him in the inn. But Mac isn’t a detective, he’s the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and together with his red-haired artist wife, they soon become a source of fascination and wonder to Thomas. Yet just as Thomas and Mac’s friendship begins to blossom, war with Germany is declared.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
I am China / Xiaolu Guo.
“In a flat above a noisy north London market, translator Iona Kirkpatrick starts work on a Chinese letter: Dearest Mu, The sun is piercing, old bastard sky. I am feeling empty and bare. Nothing is in my soul, apart from the image of you. In a detention centre in Dover exiled Chinese musician Jian is awaiting an unknown fate. In Beijing his girlfriend Mu sends desperate letters to London to track him down. As Iona unravels the story of these Chinese lovers, Jian and Mu seem to be travelling further and further away from each other while Iona feels more and more alive. Intoxicated by their romance, Iona sets out to bring them back together, but time seems to be running out.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The skeleton road / Val McDermid.
“When a skeleton is discovered hidden at the top of a gothic Victorian building in Edinburgh, which is scheduled for renovation, Cold Case Squad detective Karen Pirie is given the task of identifying the decades-old bones. Her investigation leads her back to past conflicts, false identities and buried secrets.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
In search of Solace / Emily Mackie.
“Jacob Little is in trouble, existential trouble. Ten years ago, in pursuit of a philosophical theory, he ditched his girlfriend Solace and took to the road, adopting a series of personae and obsessions: he’s been Keith, the archaeologist, Otto, the purple-bearded pagan, Isaac, the gardener, and many more. Now, with no sense of who he is at all, he’s decided to find the one person who knows the real Jacob, Solace. Jacob’s quest leads him to Solace’s Scottish hometown and into the lives of four people with their own issues. Each sees Jacob in a different light. For each, he is a catalyst. But where does that leave Jacob? And will he ever find Solace?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Shark / Will Self.
“4 May 1970. A week earlier President Nixon has ordered American ground forces into Cambodia to pursue the Vietcong. By the end of the day four students will be lying in the grounds of Kent State University, shot dead by the National Guard. On the other side of the Atlantic, it’s a brilliant sunny morning after an April of heavy rain, and maverick psychiatrist Dr Zack Busner has been tricked into joining a decidedly ill-advised LSD trip with several of its disturbed residents. Five years later, sitting in a nearby cinema watching Steven Spielberg’s Jaws with his young son, Busner realizes the true nature of the events that transpired on that dread-soaked day, when a survivor of the worst disaster in the US Navy’s history, the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in the shark-infested south Pacific, came face-to-face with the British Royal Air Force observer on the Enola Gay’s mission to Hiroshima.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)