Welcome to the November Fiction newsletter a selection of the best fiction from our most recently received titles. This month’s Other Genre features some exciting new fiction from New Zealand writers and in the New Contemporary Fiction category, we have the latest blockbusters from three top Australian writers. As the holiday season approaches there are many great new books with which to read away the long summer days.
- Plenty of great bargains at the December book sale!
- Come join our online book group on Goodreads – Wellington Reads!
An officer and a spy / Robert Harris.
“January 1895. On a freezing morning in the heart of Paris, an army officer, Georges Picquart, witnesses a convicted spy, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, being publicly humiliated in front of twenty thousand spectators baying ‘Death to the Jew!’ The officer Picquart is made the French army’s youngest colonel and put in command of ‘the Statistical Section’, the shadowy intelligence unit that tracked down Dreyfus. The spy, meanwhile, is shipped off to a lifetime of solitary confinement on Devil’s Island, unable to speak to anyone, not even his guards, his case seems closed forever. But gradually Picquart comes to believe there is something rotten at the heart of the Statistical Section. When he discovers another German spy operating on French soil, his superiors are oddly reluctant to pursue it. Despite official warnings, Picquart persists, and soon the officer and the spy are in the same predicament.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Barracuda / Christos Tsiolkas.
“Daniel Kelly, a talented young swimmer, has one chance to escape his working-class upbringing. His astonishing ability in the pool should drive him to fame and fortune, as well as his revenge on the rich boys at the private school to which he has won a sport scholarship. Everything Danny has ever done, every sacrifice his family has ever made, has been in pursuit of his dream. But when he melts down at his first big international championship and comes only fifth, he begins to destroy everything he has fought for and turn on everyone around him.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
Eyrie / Tim Winton.
“The story of Tom Keely, a man who’s lost his bearings in middle age and is now holed up in a flat at the top of a grim high-rise, looking down on the world he’s fallen out of love with. He’s cut himself off, until one day he runs into some neighbours: a woman he used to know when they were kids, and her introverted young boy. The encounter shakes him up in a way that he doesn’t understand. Despite himself, Keely lets them in.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
I’m not a plastic bag : a graphic novel / story and art by Rachel Hope Allison ; forward [sic] by Jeff Corwin.
“An allegorical tale about pollution. In this wordless graphic novel, produced in association with biologist/TV host Jeff Corwin, Allison tackles the real-world result of modern consumption and trash production: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But rather than showing the formless slew it is in reality, Allison creates a lonely, floating landfill that communicates in words from restaurant signs and name tags. By its very nature, the trash monster is a danger to those it would befriend, and its only hope for happiness lies in transformation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Ferals. Vol. 1 / written by David Lapham ; art by Gabriel Andrade.
“Officer Dale Chesnutt is a lawman with a big, bloody problem. Slaughtered civilians are turning up in the sleepy town of Cypress, and the burden falls on him to end the carnage. But no sooner does he begin his investigation than he finds himself violently drawn to a sexy, mysterious woman and a vicious creature strikes again at Dale’s own family.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Supurbia. Volume one, Power couples / [created and written by Grace Randolph ; art by Russell Dauterman].
“What goes down when the capes come off? Meet the ‘Real Housewives’ of Earth’s greatest super-team, the Meta legion! It’s the egos, the tantrums, and the betrayals of the super set. Find out what happens behind the masks as superhero families are faced with the sordid problems of everyday life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Yet more translated Scandinavian crime fiction feature in this month’s selection of new Mystery fiction. For something different, the debut thriller titled, Japantown by Barry Lancet is highly recommended.
He who kills the dragon / Leif G.W. Persson ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“It should have been an open-and-shut case. Two drunks, previously acquainted with one another, meet for a bite to eat and considerably more to drink, fall into an argument about one of the many pointless matters that make up their private shared history. And one of them brings their evening together to an end by beating the other to death. A strangely routine and yet puzzling scenario for Detective Superintendent Evert Bäckström, whose legendary poor temper not been improved by strict orders from his doctor to lead a healthier life. His gut feeling proves him right: within days, his team has another murder on their hands, linked to the first, and reports of alleged ties to a van heist in which two people died. The nation needs a hero, and who better to save the day than Evert Bäckströ – misanthropic, ostentatious, devoid of morals, Hawaii-shirt-clad, and latterly armed? Once again a combination of laziness, luck and an unbelievable sense of timing may rescue him from the perils of his fifteen minutes of fame.” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)
Japantown : a thriller / Barry Lancet.
“Lancet successfully places a PI in an international thriller plot in his highly entertaining debut. Five members of the Nakamura family have been gunned down at a pedestrian mall in San Francisco’s Japantown. SFPD Lt. Frank Renna asks Jim Brodie, an antiques dealer who inherited his father’s Tokyo-based private investigation firm, to decipher the one clue found at the crime scene: a single kanji, or Japanese letter, written on a piece of paper. Jim saw that same letter before-at the house fire in which his wife, Mieko, perished. Tokyo communications mogul Katsuyuki Hara hires Jim to find out who murdered his eldest daughter and the four other family members, including two children. The PI gets on the trail of the ruthless Soga, a private army for hire that’s responsible for unsolved high-profile deaths worldwide. The case becomes personal when the Soga kidnap Jim’s six-year-old daughter, Jenny. Readers will want to see more of the talented Jim, with his expertise in Japanese culture, history, and martial arts.” (Adapted from Syndetics review)
Savage spring / Mons Kallentoft ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“The Swedish town of Linkping is bathed in Spring sunshine. The trees are blossoming and families are having breakfast at outdoor tables in the main square. Then a deafening explosion rips through the air. Broken glass and tulip petals cover the cobblestones, and two little girls, twin sisters, are killed while their mother is left fighting for her life. Detective Inspector Malin Fors has just attended her own mother’s funeral when she is summoned to the devastating scene. But, although Malin is plagued with questions about her past and the secrets her mother never revealed, she must once again bury her own pain if she is to find Tuva and Mira Viger?’s killer before he strikes again.” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)
From Aliens to Zombies, Kings to Kraken, cobra snakes to Japanese Monks, all will provide entertaining reading for Science Fiction and Fantasy enthusiasts in this month’s newly received material. Recommended is the latest novel by veteran Science Fiction writer Stephen Baxter, titled Proxima.
Proxima / Stephen Baxter. “The 27th century: Proxima Centauri, an undistinguished red dwarf star, is the nearest star to our sun and (in this fiction), the nearest to host a world, Proxima IV, habitable by humans. But Proxima IV is unlike Earth in many ways. Huddling close to the warmth, orbiting in weeks, it keeps one face to its parent star at all times. The ’substellar point’, with the star forever overhead, is a blasted desert, and the ‘antistellar point’ on the far side is under an ice cap in perpetual darkness. How would it be to live on such a world? Needle ships fall from Proxima IV’s sky. Yuri Jones, with 1000 others, is about to find out.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
The incrementalists / Steven Brust and Skyler White.
“A secret society has existed for millennia, operating under the surface of society. The Incrementalists are improving the world by making slight adjustments that make human existence a bit better than it might have been. They had a hand in the invention of the MP3 format, and they practically invented Robin Hood. But now they have a major problem on their hands. One of their own, who recently died, might have been murdered, and the woman who was given her memories paradoxically doesn’t seem to be able to remember her. Even worse, it looks like the dead woman has somehow manipulated the Incrementalists (or, to be more precise, Phil, who has loved her for centuries) into putting her memories into a very specific young woman for a very specific and quite troubling, possibly catastrophic, reason.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
On the razor’s edge / Michael Flynn.
“The Harper, Mearana, is kidnapped by Ravn Olafsdotter or, more accurately, manipulated into venturing to Terra to rescue her father, and Bridget ban, as Ravn and Mearana know, follows with a pack of Hounds. Gidula, one of the rebels, holds Donovan, demanding that he retrieve the secrets held between the fractured personalities of his mind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
This month’s Other Genre selection highlights new works form New Zealand writers. Some great reading from some talented writers. Highly recommend new novel from Carl Nixon titled, The Virgin and the Whale.
Husbandry for the single woman / Carmel Hurdle.
“As electric drills whirr and there’s threat of a wrecking ball hitting her office desk, Ginny Barnes decides her workplace has become a demolition site. The final straw is discovering that the harbour-view office ear-marked for her on the renovation plan has now been allocated to the big-bosomed Darlene Duffy. She decides to place an advertisement in a farming newspaper. The response is promising, but after sifting through several dubious replies, Ginny is about to give up the idea of leaving town for the countryside. Then she opens a letter from an older woman, Maureen Moffat, an Elvis Presley fan, who is looking for help on her farm.” (Adapted from Book cover)
The infinite air / Fiona Kidman.
“Jean Batten became an international icon in the 1930s. A brave, glamorous woman, she made a number of heroic solo flights across the world. The newspapers couldn’t get enough of her; and yet she suddenly slipped out of view, disappearing to the Caribbean with her mother and dying in obscurity in Majorca, buried in a pauper’s grave.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The virgin and the whale : a love story / Carl Nixon.
“It is 1919. Elizabeth Whitman is working as a nurse in the local hospital, waiting for her husband to return from war, though he is missing in action, ‘presumed dead’. She keeps him alive for their four-year-old son, Jack, by telling the story of a man she calls The Balloonist, who went away in a hot-air balloon and has adventures in exotic countries. When she is asked to nurse a returned soldier, whose head injury has reduced him to an animal-like state with no memory, Elizabeth starts telling stories to him. It is through them that she manages to engage his interest and offer him a new life in more ways than one.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)