New NZ fiction: featuring the latest from Paul Cleave and more

This selection of recently received New Zealand fiction includes the new novel by Anthony McCarten, the new murder mystery from Paddy Richardson, and Paul Cleave’s great new suspense thriller.

Syndetics book coverCollecting Cooper : a thriller / Paul Cleave.
” Emotionally tortured PI Theodore Tate, is released after serving four months in prison for a drunk driving accident that seriously injured a 17-year-old girl. A former Christchurch police colleague asks him to help track a murderer known as Melissa X, who’s been targeting men in uniform and Donovan Green, Tate’s former lawyer, also approaches him. Donovan wants Tate to find his daughter, Emma, who happens to be the girl Tate nearly killed in the accident. Emma’s disappearance is connected with the abduction of a college psychology professor of hers, Cooper Riley. Set in the city of Christchurch depicted as a hot bed of violence and human weakness, with complex characters and a twisting plot that will keep every reader guessing.”(adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI play the mermaid song : the autobiography of a dead transvestite / Sebastian Hales.
“ Because of his compulsive cross-dressing Richard has grown up alienated form the conventional society of New Zealand. All his life he has lived between two worlds, his public face of Richard the violinist, and his inner heart of Nora, and only now can he try to reconcile them? Richard must peel off his past, his disguises, the elaborate patchwork of lies and deceits and shadow he has built up. Only then will he find his true skin. But when he unpicks the tapestry with its threads of heredity, convention, music, sex and fantasy, what will be left.” (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverBarefoot / Michelle Holman.
“This blistering tale of two self-centred headstrong high-achievers is the continuation of Holman’s first novel, Bonkers. Sherry and Glen have three things in common. They’re uncommonly tall, neither is anything like their married siblings, and they fancy each other rotten. The trouble is that Sherry can’t stand the arrogant American former-NBA star, while Glenn can’t stand the aloof “don’t mess with me” policewoman. Ending up in bed together is a great surprise.” (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverIn the absence of heroes / Anthony McCarten.
“Jim and Renata Delpe’s life is in a very modern crisis. With their son, Jeff, sending text messages to his dead brother while slipping quickly into internet addiction, and with Renata engaged in a secret internet relationship with a figure she has never actually met, Jim Delpe, who has had ‘a love-hate relationship’ with computers, is left with no choice but to log in himself, if the family is to be saved.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTraces of red / Paddy Richardson.
“ The ratings are dropping and television journalist Rebecca Thorne has lost her edge. She has to find a hard-hitting story, something that will make people notice. Connor Bligh, doing time for the vicious murders of three family members, has always protested his innocence. He’s eccentric and a loner, but does that make him a ruthless killer? There are gaping holes in the prosecution’s case. This is the story Rebecca need but she’s breaking the rules, becoming too involved. How can she remain objective? And, most of all how can she trust Connor Bligh?” (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe weigh, the piece and the loaf : a novel / by Fionna Sheppard.
“Thirty-something, unattached Carrie wants a life, just not the one she has. Carrie believes that to attract a man, she must change herself. If she was thin she would feel great and look wonderful, then the perfect man would appear. Life would be blissful. So she writes a plan, but the journey to bliss doesn’t quite follow the plan. The real world, events, her family and her best friends all get in the way.” (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverDark jelly / Alice Tawhai.
“In this her third collection of stories, Alice Tawhai delves into the nature of reality, enabling readers to experience altered perceptions, encounters that weave madness and sanity, dreams and drug-induced hallucinations, darkness and light. Glimpsing what goes on behind closed doors, we are given a snapshot of mew Zealand subcultures, exploring what people filter out, what they let into their consciousness, and how everyone enters the illusion of the world through different paths.” (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe far beyond / by Warwick Thompson.
“A fictionalized account of the voyage from Scotland to New Zealand in the 19th century of the author’s great-grandparents.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe courier’s tale / Peter Walker.
“ It is 1536. King Henry need a champion to defend the change he has made in England and lights on his young cousin, Reginald Pole, a brilliant scholar living in Venice, to make the case for divorce on his behalf. And as a result, Thomas Cromwell needs a courier to carry the King’s Letters back to Italy. The King’s chief minister chooses Michael Throckmorton, the hard-up younger son of a titled family. Now two very different men are caught between the rock of the King’s desire and the hard place of the Pope’s refusal. What will become of the scholar’s scruples? And what will become of the courier’s hopes for his first love now that his life has become a tragicomedy of endless journeys?” (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverCoast / David Carnegie Young.
“Coast examines the power of dune country upon the lives of three generations of men as it heals the effects of two world wars. The first, a Scottish ploughman finds in Turakina, New Zealand a black-sand estuary in the path of the Roaring Forties, a place of beauty, unexpected violence and surprising familiarity. Following the demise of his father from wounds after World War I, the son discovers solace in this same landscape. He courts trouble however, taking his attitudes into the Air Force during the war in the Pacific. The grandson discovers astonishing links with his grandfather’s history along this wild coastline. He must deal with the delayed impacts of the past, though, and must return to where it all began.” (adapted from