Fiction Newsletter for June
Welcome to this month’s fiction newsletter. Selected are some great novels, ideal for the cold dark nights ahead. This month we have included new fiction from New Zealand writers, this includes Emily Perkins, Stephanie Johnson and Greg McGee. Deciding what to read first will be the hardest part, but we quarantee that you will forget about winter weather.
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From new contemporary fiction this month we highly recommend The Cove by Ron Rash and Lifeboat by Charlotte.
A perfectly good man / Patrick Gale.
“When 20-year-old Lenny Barnes, paralyzed in a rugby accident, commits suicide in the presence of Barnaby Johnson, the much-loved priest of a West Cornwall parish, the tragedy’s reverberations open up the fault lines between Barnaby and his nearest and dearest. Their personal stories illuminate Barnaby’s ostensibly happy life, and the gulfs of unspoken sadness that separate them all and across this web of relations, scuttles Barnaby’s repellent nemesis, a man as wicked as his prey is virtuous.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The cove / Ron Rash.
“Siblings Laurel and Hank Shelton live in the cove, fruitless farmland nestled in perpetual shadow, land locals say is cursed. Hank has returned an amputee from World War I. He soon falls in love but his new bride refuses to live in the cove. Hank must choose between his bride and abandoning his socially outcast sister in the loneliest place imaginable. Laurel’s fate is altered forever when she discovers an injured man on their land. The stranger slowly heals and insinuates himself in to life in the cove-bringing Laurel happiness, even love. But when Laurel stumbles on the stranger’s true identity, she realises they are in real danger and the ramifications are breathtaking.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The lifeboat / Charlotte Rogan.
“In the summer of 1914, the Empress Alexandra, a magnificent ocean liner, suffers a mysterious explosion on its voyage from London to New York City. On board are Henry Winter, a rich banker, and his young new wife, Grace. Somehow, Henry manages to secure a place in a lifeboat for Grace. But the survivors quickly realize it is over capacity and could sink at any moment. For any to live, some must die. As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace watches and waits. She is a woman who has learned the value of patience, her journey to a life of glittering privilege has been far from straightforward. Now, she knows, it is in jeopardy, and her very survival is at stake. Over the course of three perilous weeks, the passengers on the lifeboat plot, scheme, gossip and console one another while sitting inches apart. Their deepest beliefs about goodness, humanity and God are tested to the limit as they begin to discover what they will do in order to survive.” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)
From our selection of new graphic novels this month, there are two absolute must reads; Zahra’s paradise with the story by Amir & Khalil ; written by Amir, based on trues stories from Iran and the twisting plot thriller Baja : heroes, villians [sic], and everyone in between with the story by Ben Wagner.
Zahra’s paradise / story by Amir & Khalil ; written by Amir ; artwork by Khalil.
“This collected web comic resembles Persepolis in its loathing for the current Iranian regime, but these creators (anonymous for political reasons) focus their story via an urgent crisis within one family, as young Mehdi’s mother and brother search for him after he vanishes during the government’s crackdown on protests against fraudulent national elections in 2009. Now no one in authority will admit knowing what happened to him. From the testimony of the angry but fearful people Medhi’s friends encounter, from cab drivers to former aristocrats, it’s clear that Mehdi is just one of a disaffected majority whose existence the people in power must deny, since they can maintain the official version of righteousness only by rape, torture, and murder. The authors successfully generalize from one case to the dreadful condition of all Iranians.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Macedonia / Harvey Pekar and Heather Roberson ; illustrated by Ed Piskor.
“For years Heather Roberson, a passionate peace activist, has argued that war can always be avoided. But she has repeatedly faced counterarguments that fighting is an inescapable consequence of world conflicts. Indeed, Heather finds proving her point to be a little tricky without examples to bolster her case. So she does something a little crazy: She sets out for far-off Macedonia, a landlocked country north of Greece and west of Bulgaria, to explore a region that has edged – repeatedly – close to the brink of violence, only to refrain. In the process, and as vividly portrayed by the talented duo of Harvey Pekar and Ed Piskor, Heather is tangled in red tape, ripped off by cabdrivers and hotel clerks, hit on by creepy guys, secretly photographed, and mistaken for a spy. She also creates unlikely friendships, learns that getting lost means seeing something new, and makes some startling discoveries.” (adapted from Amazon.com)
Baja : heroes, villians [sic], and everyone in between / story by Ben Wagner ; art by Nathan St John.
“In this sexy, twisting thriller, Hil and Zack, a beautiful woman and a man who knows better, must escape a stalker whose fate is tied to their own in the shadowy criminal world of Baja. St John and Wagner play with conventions, leading readers in unexpected directions with a story that deftly weaves two tales of love, sex, greed, and betrayal.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
New mysteries this month include the lastest novel from the very popular Donna Leon, titled Beastly Things and also the new John Sandford, Stolen Prey.
Beastly things / Donna Leon.
“When a body is found floating in a canal, strangely disfigured and with multiple stab wounds, Commissario Brunetti is called to investigate and is convinced he recognises the man from somewhere. However, with no identification except for the distinctive shoes the man was wearing, and no reports of people missing from the Venice area, the case cannot progress. Brunetti soon realises why he remembers the dead man, and asks Signorina Elettra if she can help him find footage of a farmers’ protest the previous autumn. But what was his involvement with the protest, and what does it have to do with his murder? …Both a gripping case and a harrowing exploration of the dark side of Italy’s meat industry, Donna Leon’s latest novel is a compelling addition to the Brunetti series.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
11th hour / James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.
“Millionaire Chaz Smith is mercilessly gunned down and Detective Lindsay Boxer discovers that the murder weapon is linked to the deaths of four of San Francisco’s most untouchable criminals. And it was taken from an SFPD evidence locker. Anyone could be the killer – even her closest friends on the force. Lindsay is then called to the most bizarre crime scene she’s ever seen: two bodiless heads elaborately displayed in the garden of a world-famous actor. Another head is unearthed in the garden, and Lindsay realises that the ground could hide hundreds of victims… 11th Hour is the most shocking, most emotional, and most thrilling Women’s Murder Club novel ever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Stolen prey / John Sandford.
“Lucas Davenport has seen many terrible murder scenes. This is one of the worst. In the small Minnesota town of Deephaven, an entire family has been killed-husband, wife, two daughters, dogs. There’s something about the scene that pokes at Lucas’s cop instincts-it looks an awful lot like the kind of scorched-earth retribution he’s seen in drug killings sometimes. But this is a seriously upscale town, and the husband was an executive vice president at a big bank. It just doesn’t seem to fit. Until it does. And where it leads Lucas will take him into the darkest nightmare of his life.” (Syndetics summary)
If you can only read one new science fiction/fantasy novel this month try Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm, not only a great retro cover, but a gripping read.Another to try is Ken MacLeod’s Intrusion.
Dead harvest / Chris F. Holm.
“As a collector of souls, Sam Thornton wanders the world, ensuring that the damned reach their intended destination. When he is ordered to “collect” the soul of a 16-year-old girl found guilty of brutally murdering her family, Sam believes the girl might be innocent. But refusing an order from his superiors is not an option. Soon Sam and Kate, his charge, are on the run, and the mystery of why certain powers want to claim her soul grows deeper and more dangerous with each step.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Intrusion / Ken MacLeod.
“Imagine a near-future city, say London, where medical science has advanced beyond our own and a single-dose pill has been developed that, taken when pregnant, eradicates many common genetic defects from an unborn child. Hope Morrison, mother of a hyperactive four-year-old, is expecting her second child. She refuses to take The Fix, as the pill is known. This divides her family and friends and puts her and her husband in danger of imprisonment or worse. Is her decision a private matter of individual choice, or is it tantamount to willful neglect of her unborn child?” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Emperor Mollusk versus the sinister brain / A. Lee Martinez.
“Once he was Warlord of the Earth, Conqueror of Other Worlds, and other titles too numerous to mention. Bored with the conquest routine, Emperor Mollusk has retired to live a “normal” life. But other forces in the universe have different ideas. Before long, Mollusk finds himself embroiled in a battle to stop a multitude of assassins sent after him and to prevent super villain, The Sinister Brain from unleashing a rule of terror on an unsuspecting world.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
New fiction from New Zealand writers guarantees some great reading this month, along with Emily Perkins’s new novel, The Forrests we recommend Stephanie Johnson’s The Open World and a new fanasty novel set in Samoa titled Telesa: the covenant keeper by Lani Wendt Young.
The open world / Stephanie Johnson.
“London 1866. Elizabeth Smith is struggling to survive when she hears that her former New Zealand employers, Judge and Lady Martin, are returning to England. Accompanied by her dear friend, the lunatic Reverend Cotton, she makes a pilgrimage to settle old scores. Elizabeth is also accompanied by liberal doses of opiates and two small ghosts, walking by her side whispering, murmuring, calling her.” (adapted from Book Cover)
Love & money : a novel / Greg McGee.
“Welcome to 1987. It’s boom time on the sharemarket and money is flying around the stratosphere just waiting to fall into the hands of those with the nerve to reach high enough to grab it. Mike, a middle-aged romantic lead with a clapped out VW and three kids to different mothers is not amongst them. While his girlfriend Louise is climbing to dizzying heights on the corporate ladder and his six-year-old daughter lives in disdain of anything without a designer label, his teenage son is pilfering from collection plates to pay the rent. When Louise exchanges Mike for someone with a lot more leverage, he has to fall back on his own resources. But how far can three exes, three children and relatively good intentions carry him in a world of mirror glass and paper palaces?” (adapted from Book cover)
Telesā : the covenant keeper / Lani Wendt Young.
“When Leila moves to Samoa, all she wants is a family, a place to belong. Instead she discovers the local ancient myths of the telesa spirit women are more than just scary stories. The more she finds out about her heritage, the more sinister her new home turns out to be. Embraced by a Covenant Sisterhood of earth’s elemental guardians, what will Leila choose? Will it be her fiery birthright as a telesa or will she choose the boy who offers her his heart? Daniel, stamped with the distinctive tattoo markings of a noble Pacific warrior and willing to risk everything for the chance to be with her. Can their love stand against the Covenant Keeper? “ (adapted from Syndetics summary)