This month we are featuring New Zealand fiction in our ‘Other Genres’ category. In this selection there is an exciting, diverse, range on novels, and some great writing. New work from two much acclaimed veteran writers Owen Marshall and Damien Wilkins are also included.
My father’s ears / Karen Goa.
“When an Italian immigrant’s harsh but intriguing past catches up with him, his skeptical daughter Sophie sets out to discover the truth about her father, his affair with a Romanian trapeze artist and a mysterious New Zealander claiming to be his son. This twisting tale of secrets and social dilemmas is set against a remarkable and moving history of Italian immigration.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Hold my teeth while I teach you to dance / Mike Johnson.
“Investigative journalist Jason Argonaut is not content to rest on his laurels and dream of past glories. No, he has to take too great an interest in his fascinating new neighbours, play the Grandfather Detective, and find himself in possession of the world best kept secret, or is it? A delicious mix of murder, mayhem and intrigue.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Return to Lucifer Creek/ Gary Joll.
“Barry Morton is hunting illegally on Lilybank, a large property in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. He seeks a unique trophy, a pure white bull Tahr. Upon returning to his well-concealed secret camp he discovers a young woman bathing in the hot pool, a pool he believed was known only to members of his family. He is then forced to save his own life by killing two individuals wearing grey camo who clearly were intent on killing him. Barry quickly realizes this group of apparent terrorists, is killing all persons unlucky enough to encounter them. Within hours of his lethal encounter with these Grey Ghosts Barry suspects they may have killed members of the climbing party to which Helen, his unexpected camp companion, belongs. If they are to survive, Barry and Helen must play a deadly game of hide-and-seek; becoming the hunters not the hunted.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Absence / Joanna King.
“Four sisters meet for a holiday on the spectacularly beautiful Cinque Terre Coast of Italy. One of the sisters disappears. Under the stress, the hidden emotional and sexual rivalries between the others are laid bare. For the youngest, the disappearance of her sister is a profound threat. This is the person with whom she has had the truest bond since the collapse of the family twenty years ago. Is the disappearance accidental or intentional? Have the sisters shockingly misunderstood one of their own? How radically will the missing sister’s fate alter their lives? Husbands and lovers, future hopes and the family’s past, all come under intense scrutiny in the vortex of events” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Cold hard murder / Trish McCormack.
“Two people struggle on a ledge high above the surge pool at Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks. One falls to their death, beginning a sequence of violence as Department of Conservation ranger Matt Grey announces plans for a commercial tourism venture bitterly opposed by the local community. More people die, and it seems their murders are motivated by something more personal than a threat to the integrity of the national park. But the trail is as cold and twisted as some of the park’s most labyrinthine caves. Philippa Barnes is asked to do some unofficial sleuthing, which is not welcomed by the police. She delves into the lives of some strong-willed individuals, many of whom have secrets, uncovering a dark story that resonates with events in her own life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The death ray debacle / David McGill.
“In June 1935 Takapuna inventor Victor Penny was attacked by foreign agents seeking what the newspapers dubbed a ‘death ray’. The government secretly shifted him to Somes Island in Wellington harbour to develop the weapon. The novel of this true story is told by Temporary Acting Detective Dan Delaney, seconded to Special Branch, forerunner of the Security Intelligence Service.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Love as a stranger / Owen Marshall.
“Temporarily in Auckland while her husband is undergoing treatment, Sarah enjoys a walk in the coolness of the Symonds Street Cemetery. As she pauses at the grave of Emily Keeling, murdered in 1886 by a rejected suitor, a stranger named Hartley strikes up a conversation. Before long he arranges to meet Sarah for coffee. So their friendship begins, and soon blossoms into an affair, rich in mutual understanding and sexual excitement. But love may become obsession, which brings with it disquieting demands, even menace. When love is not madness, it is not love.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Rachel’s legacy / Julie Thomas.
“The sequel to The Keeper of Secrets, following the fortunes of the Horowitz family from pre-war Berlin to the present. When Dr Kobi Voight is given a set of old letters by his mother he has no inkling that they will lead him around the world and deep into the tragic past of his family. Within the letters, written in Hebrew and filled with delicate illustrations, lie the reflections of a young Jewish woman, forced to give up her baby daughter while fighting with the Resistance in Berlin. Who is the author, known only as ‘Ruby’, and what became of her child? And how does a priceless work of art, stolen by the Nazis, form part of the unfolding mystery?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Dad art / Damien Wilkins.
“It’s Wellington, now. Acoustic Engineer Michael Stirling’s old life is gone. He’s on the dating scene, learning te reo Maori, living in an upmarket apartment complex, and visiting his father who has dementia. Wearing his online dating disguise, Michael meets Chrissie, the widowed mother of a young son. Then his beloved adult daughter arrives from Auckland with a new attachment, an artist whose project will push them all towards key moments of risk and revelation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Twister / Jane Woodham.
“March 2013. Two months before parliament is to vote on legalising gay marriage, a spate of vicious attacks on gay men erupts in Dunedin. Then a twister rips through, uncovering the body of schoolgirl, Tracey Wenlock. Former Londoner, Detective Senior Sergeant Leo Judd, is to lead the investigation, the first such enquiry since his own daughter, Beth, went missing nine years earlier. As Judd carefully uncovers the truth surrounding Tracey Wenlock’s death, the trauma associated with his own daughter’s disappearance resurfaces.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)