Fiction eNewsletter for April
This fiction newletter for April highlights some of the best novels received in the previous month. Selected from the graphic novels, contemporary fiction, mysteries, science fiction and fantasy, and New Zealand fiction recent picks, there is something for every reading preference. Remember if a title is unavailable you can easily place a reserve.
This month’s selection of new Contemporary novels guarantees some great reading.Highly recommended titles are ‘Defending Jacob’ by William Landay, ‘Alys, always’ by Harriet Lane and the historical novel, translated from the Chinese, ‘The Flowers of War’ by Geling Yan.
Defending Jacob : a novel / William Landay.
“Andy Barber, a respected First Assistant DA who lives in Newton, Mass., with his gentle wife, Laurie, and their 14-year-old son, Jacob, must face the unthinkable when Ben Rifkin, Jacob’s classmate, is found stabbed to death in the woods. Internet accusations and incontrovertible evidence point to big, handsome Jacob. Andy’s prosecutorial gut insists a child molester is the real killer, but as Jacob’s trial proceeds and Andy’s marriage crumbles under the forced revelation of old secrets, horror builds on horror toward a breathtakingly brutal outcome.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Alys, always / Harriet Lane.
“Frances is a thirty-something sub-editor, an invisible production, drone on the books pages of the Questioner. Her routine and colourless existence is disrupted one winter evening when she happens upon the aftermath of a car crash and hears the last words of the driver, Alys Kyte. When Alys’s family makes contact in an attempt to find closure, Frances is given a tantalising glimpse of a very different world: one of privilege and possibility. The relationships she builds with the Kytes will have an impact on her own life, both professionally and personally, as Frances dares to wonder whether she might now become a player in her own right.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)
The flowers of war / Geling Yan ; translated from the Chinese by Nicky Harman.
“December 1937. The Japanese have taken Nanking. A group of terrified schoolgirls hides in the compound of an American church. Among them is Shujuan, through whose thirteen-year-old eyes we witness the shocking events that follow. Run by Father Engelmann, an American priest who has been in China for many years, the church is supposedly neutral ground in the war between China and Japan. But it becomes clear the Japanese are not obeying international rules of engagement. As they pour through the streets of Nanking, raping and pillaging the civilian population, the girls are in increasing danger. And their safety is further compromised when prostitutes from the nearby brothel climb over the wall into the compound seeking refuge.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)
All the Graphic novels selected this month are mysteries: dark, psychological and spin tinglingly good.
Who is Jake Ellis?  / story Nathan Edmondson ; art, Tonci Zonjic.
“The answer as to who is Jake Ellis is anything but simple. Finding the answer is the responsibility of a mercenary spy named Jon Moore, who must come to terms with Jake’s identity if he is to understand anything about himself. Ever since escaping the “Facility,” Jon has had Jake Ellis as an invisible asset. No one can see or hear Jake but Jon. In fact, Jon can’t be sure that Jake isn’t just an extension of his own unconscious. Jon gets into tight fixes, but Jake seems able to get him out of anything. In order to really know who Jake Ellis is, however, Jon will need to avoid a whole host of people who are after him and return to the “Facility”. – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Green River killer : a true detective story / writer Jeff Jensen ; artist Jonathan Case.
“Throughout the 1980s, the highest priority of Seattle-area police was the apprehension of the Green River Killer, the man responsible for the murders of dozens of women. But in 1990, with the body count numbering at least forty-eight, the case was put in the hands of a single detective, Tom Jensen. After twenty years, when the killer was finally captured with the help of DNA technology, Jensen and fellow detectives spent 188 days interviewing Gary Leon Ridgway in an effort to learn his most closely held secrets. Written by Jensen’s own son, this is the ultimate insider’s account of America’s most prolific serial killer.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)
Potter’s Field / Mark Waid, writer ; Paul Azaceta, artist.
“Outside New York City is Potter’s Field, where the unnamed dead are buried. Now, a mysterious man has taken it upon himself to name the unnamed in this cemetery. Using a network of underground operatives, he fights to save the unsaved and solve the mysteries of the unjustly slain.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)
This selection of new mysteries includes the new V. I. Warshawski novel from Sarah Paretsky, John Lescroart’s new Wyatt Hunt novel, and Charles Todd’s new 1920s mystery featuring Inspector Ian Rutledge.
Breakdown / Sara Paretsky.
“Both Paretsky and her sharp-tongued justice-seeker, V. I. Warshawski, remain formidable in the masterfully suspenseful fifteenth novel in this superb and adored Chicago-set series… called away by Petra, her young cousin, now a regular in the series, to look for the teenage girls Petra works with in a program that brings together daughters of penniless immigrants with daughters of privilege, V. I. finds them in a cemetery, performing a ritual inspired by their ardor for a series of vampire novels. She also finds a dead man with a metal rod driven through his heart. The ensuing morally reprehensible case, which V. I. compares to a Rubik’s Cube, involves class divides, a state mental hospital, warped brother-sister relationships, a tricked-out Camaro, a Holocaust survivor’s tale, a wrongful murder conviction, and the politics of hate…” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)
The hunter : a novel / John Lescroart.
“Raised by loving adoptive parents, San Francisco private investigator Wyatt Hunt never had an interest in finding his birth family – until he gets a chilling text message from an unknown number: “How did ur mother die?” The answer is murder, and urged on by curiosity and the mysterious texter, Hunt takes on a case he never knew existed, one that has lain unsolved for decades. His family’s dark past unfurls in dead ends. Child Protective Services, who suspected but could never prove that Hunt was being neglected, is uninformed; his birth father, twice tried but never convicted of the murder, is in hiding; Evie, his mother’s drug-addicted religious fanatic of a friend, is untraceable. And who is the texter, and how are they connected to Hunt?… The cat-and-mouse game leads Hunt across the country and eventually to places far more exotic-and far more dangerous…” (Adapted from Amazon description)
The confession / Charles Todd.
“Set in 1920, Todd’s excellent 14th mystery featuring Insp. Ian Rutledge (after 2011’s A Lonely Death) offers an intriguing setup. When Wyatt Russell shows up at Scotland Yard and confesses to murdering a cousin, Justin Fowler, five year earlier, Rutledge is unwilling to accept the story at face value, especially since Russell refuses to explain why he killed Fowler. Russell, who’s dying of cancer, agrees to lunch with the inspector in London, but divulges little more. Rutledge travels to a remote corner of Essex to pursue the few leads Russell provides, but receives an extremely hostile reception from the locals. The cold case takes an even stranger turn after Russell suffers a fatal gunshot wound to the back of his head. The plot convolutions compel, but the book’s main strength is its remarkable lead, who has survived the trench warfare of WWI and remains haunted by what the exigencies of the battlefield forced him to do…” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)
The best of the Science Fiction and Fantasy novel selection this month includes the new novel by Julianna Baggott titled, Pure and the parallel universe of Empire State by Adam Christopher. Also included is Raymond E. Feist’s penultimate volume in the Riftwar cycle.
Pure / Julianna Baggott.
“Like most survivors of the Detonations, teen Pressia is disfigured, a doll’s head fused into the place where her hand should be. She’s better off than people who were merged into each other, with animals, or even with the Earth itself, but she’s also at risk of being drafted into the paramilitary Operation Sacred Revolution. The few who survived unscathed-known as “Pures,” live in the Domes, impenetrable arcologies where the few children are forced into rigid training and genetic enhancement. When Partridge, believing his mother to be alive in the wilderness, escapes from a Dome, he’s rescued by Pressia. Along with a conspiracy theorist named Bradwell, they gradually discover dark secrets about events on both sides of the Dome walls.” – (adapted from Syndetics Summary)
Empire state / Adam Christopher.
“It’s a parallel-universe, Prohibition-era world of mooks and shamuses that is the twisted magic mirror to our bustling Big Apple. It’s a city where sinister characters lurk around every corner while the great superheroes who once kept the streets safe have fallen into deadly rivalries and feuds. Not that its colourful residents know anything about the real New York, until detective Rad Bradley makes a discovery that will change the lives of all its inhabitants.” – (adapted from Book cover)
A crown imperilled / Raymond E. Feist.
“The penultimate volume of the mighty Riftwar Cycle. War rages in Midkemia but behind the chaos there is disquieting evidence of dark forces at work. Jim Dasher’s usually infallible intelligence network has been cleverly dismantled; nowhere is safe. He feels that the world is coming apart at the seams and is helpless to protect his nation. Quiet palace coups are underway in Roldem and Rillanon; and King Gregory of the Isles has yet to produce an heir. In each kingdom a single petty noble has risen from obscurity to threaten the throne.Lord Hal of Crydee and his great friend Ty Hawkins, champion swordsman of the Masters’ Court, are entrusted with the task of smuggling Princess Stephané and her lady-in-waiting, the lovely but mysterious Lady Gabriella, out of Roldem to a place of greater safety. But is there any safe haven to be found?” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)
This selection of New Zealand fiction includes the new novel by Anthony McCarten, the new murder mystery from Paddy Richardson, and the Courier’s Tale, a new historical novel by Peter Walker.
In 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)
Traces 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)
The 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)