Recent New Zealand fiction selections for July
The selected New Zealand novels for July cover nearly every genre, from historical fiction, to suspense, psychological thrillers to modern New Zealand life, also science fiction. One highlight this month is the new dark novel from Julian Novitz, Little Sister.
The widow’s daughter / Nicholas Edlin.
“Peter Sokol, an artist living in San Doego, is haunted by his past. In 1943 Captain Sokol is a surgeon in the U.S. Marines stationed in Auckland, New Zealand, where he and his longtime nemesis have fallen in love with the same beautiful enigmatic woman, Emily Walters. Dismissive of Emily’s suspiciously British mother and violent brother, the two vie for her hand. When Emily’s brother is discovered murdered, Sokol is prime suspect. As he fights to prove his innocence, he finds that the woman he loves is not who she seems and the blood of another might be on his hands.” – (adapted from Book cover summary)
Blood roots / Michael Green.
“This is the thrilling conclusion to the Blood line triology. Following a deadly pandemic, members of the Chatfield family, scattered across the globe fight for survival. Their only hope is to form one strong community together, but power struggles, violence and deception keep them apart.” – (adapted from Book cover summary)
The peastick girl / Susan Hancock.
“Teresa Matheson has returned to Wellington after five years in Melbourne. Haunted by childhood memories, assailed by hallucinations and visions, she retreats into isolations in a house near her family home. What is and what might have been disturbingly converge. Struggling to maintain her equilibrium she is rescued by the return from Australian of her Russian lover. In an isolated, seemingly fairytale location she stumbles across a hidden truth of her past and finds ambiguous peace.” – (adapted from Book cover summary)
Daisy chains / a novel by Kevin Ireland.
“David Asquith is a bumptious, preposterous rogue, yet as the rest of the world slides into financial ruin he plans a radiant pathway to personal success and universal happiness. The catalyst for his miraculous transformation is a chance meeting with a young woman called Daisy, beginning a chain of unlikely events that sees him quickly develop from pathetic failure to, in his eyes, a highly successful and brilliant entrepreneur and self-styled public benefactor.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Valley low / John Jarvis.
“Peter Harrington is the only applicant for headmaster at Valley High School, a dysfunctional school surrounded by a declining town under civil siege and overfunded drug gangs. He battles ministerial apathy, incompetent staffing, suicide, sex scandals, Tsunami, Japanese intrigue and a family kidnapping to instill pride, performance and panache.” – (adapted from Book cover summary)
Two shadows / Desiree Jury.
“It is 1815 and Napoleon has been defeated. Lieutenant Ralph Fairfax returns to England haunted by his war in Spain. His hopes for peace are shattered by the secret his father never confessed. Instead of marrying his neighbour Flavia Stanton, he is kidnapped, and wakes as a convict, bound for the prison colony of New South Wales. Here he must fight to survive, trapped between his conflicting identities of gentleman and convict. Meanwhile Flavia, devastated by Ralph’s desertion, tries to rebuild her life. But her generosity and growing awareness of injustice set her at odds with her family. A fateful decision plays out against the demands for political reform, which culminate in the Peterloo Massacre of 1819.” – (adapted from Book cover summary)
Little sister / Julian Novitz.
“At 11.06 pm, on 6 September 2001, eighteen-year-old Shane stands near the house of his girlfriend’s father, staring at the hilt of a sword stabbed into the ground. The next morning, his best friend Will is sitting in a police station, trying to explain the tangled relationship between him, Shane, and Shane’s girlfriend Eileen. Ten years later, Eileen is living in a distant city under an assumed name. As she faces the tenth anniversary of the murder that re-defined her life, she is confronted by a young woman who claims to be the little sister that Eileen abandoned, all those years ago… And, on the morning of 7 September 2001, a failed teacher and father wakes up on his couch, unaware of what has transpired the night before and that he alone holds the key to these past and future events.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Skylark / Jenny Pattrick.
“The little French girl, Alouette, was singing and dancing almost as soon as she could walk, and performing became as much a part of her as breathing. When she is left an orphan in an unfamiliar country after her parents have emigrated to the goldfields, it is performing in a circus that offers survival. Later she takes to the stage in New Zealand and Australia, which is where she attracts the attention of two men. One is faithful Jack Lacey; the other is the renowned pirate Bully Hayes. While Jack has to compete with both Bully and the theatre to win Lily’s attention, Lily finds she must share Jack, too.” – (adapted from Book cover summary)
The faceless / Vanda Symon.
“Bradley is a middle-aged man trapped in middle-class New Zealand. He is in a job that he hates, working day after day to support his wife and two children. One day when it has all gets too much, Bradley picks up a teenage hooker in downtown Auckland. Unfortunately he can’t keep it up and then she laughs at him. That was a mistake. He beats her, ties her up and takes her to an abandoned warehouse that he owns. But then he doesn’t know what to do. Max is homeless. He eats from rubbish bins, bums cigarettes from anyone and anywhere, including the footpath, and he doesn’t smell that fresh. But Max has one friend and she has gone missing. If he is to find her he is going to have to call on some people from his past life and re-open old wounds that have remained unhealed for a long time.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Burnt ice / Steve Wheeler.
“In our future worlds the Administration rules the Sphere of humankind, the Games Board sanctions and funds wars and conflicts, and the Haulers’ Collective roams the space routes like the caravanners of old. Marko and his crew of fellow soldier-engineers are sent to investigate a largely unknown planet. When they encounter strange artifacts and an intelligent but aggressive squid species, they are forced to embark on a perilous journey far from the Sphere. They will have to survive not only alien encounters but also their own Administration’s deadly manipulations.” – (adpated from Book cover summary)