From Kilbirnie to Kapiti and beyond: New NZ fiction

New Zealand writers are the feature of this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category. There is much variation of genre in this selection, with mysteries, psychological thrillers, science fiction, historical, and contemporary life all represented. Included is Witi Ihimaera’s amazing new work titled, Sleeps standing: a story of the Battle of Orakau.

Syndetics book coverSix murders? : the strange case of the Welly alley strangler / by Robert Philip Bolton.
“When Faith and her husband accidentally get involved in the weird life of Ponytail O’Gorman, a beguiling old fraudster, they have no idea how much he will disrupt their peaceful life in suburban Kilbirnie. But he convinces them to help him in his strange quest to find both his friend from prison, Simple Simon, and his own missing cell phone which is being sought by a bunch of desperate crooks as well as by the head of Wellington CIB. Determined to help the strangely charming little con-man and so discover the truth about the notorious Welly Alley Strangler.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sound of her voice : one cop’s descent into darkness / Nathan Blackwell.
“To Detective Matt Buchanan, the world is a pretty sick place. He has probably been in the job too long, for one thing. And then there’s 14-year-old Samantha Coates, and the other unsolved murder cases. Those innocent girls he just can’t get out of his head. When Buchanan pursues some fresh leads, it soon becomes clear he’s on the trail of something big. As he pieces the horrific crimes together, Buchanan finds the very foundations of everything he once believed in start to crumble.” (Adapted from Syndeics summary)

Syndetics book coverA killer harvest / Paul Cleave.
“Joshua is convinced there is a family curse. It has taken loved ones from him, it has robbed him of his eyesight, and is the reason why his father is killed while investigating the homicide of a young woman. Joshua is handed an opportunity he can’t refuse: an operation that will allow him to see the world through his father’s eyes. As Joshua navigates a world of sight, he gets glimpses of what these eyes might have witnessed in their previous life. What exactly was his dad up to in his role as a police officer? There are consequences to the secret life his father was living, and these consequences come in the form of a man hell bent on killing, consequences that bring this man closer and closer to Joshua.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDecline & fall on Savage Street / Fiona Farrell.
“A fascinating novel about a house with a fanciful little turret, built by a river. Unfolding within its rooms are lives of event and emotional upheaval. A lot happens. And the tumultuous events of the twentieth century also leave their mark, from war to economic collapse, the deaths of presidents and princesses to new waves of music, art, architecture and political ideas. Meanwhile, a few metres away in the river, another creature follows a different, slower rhythm. And beneath them all, the planet moves to its own immense geological time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStraight and level : a Claire Hardcastle mystery / Penelope Haines.
“The sequel to Death on D’Urville sees Claire Hardcastle involved in another adventure. Her partner, Jack, has been sent on secondment to the Solomon’s and Claire plans to use the time he’s away to settle down to her studies. If only life were that simple! The night Claire meets newly arrived property developer Jim Mason is also the night she has a chance conversation with investigative journalist Andrew Camborne, who’s been researching reports of crime and corruption on the Kapiti Coast. A short time later, Claire is witness to an altercation between the two men. The next morning, Andrew’s dead body is found on a Paraparaumu Street. Is the cause of death accident, or homicide?” (Adapted from Book Cover)

Syndetics book coverCatching the last tram / Susan Holt.
“After moving house, lonely librarian Beth meets Isaac, a handsome man with timeless manners on her way to work. Sharing the same antiquated tram day after day, the pair becomes close and Beth suspects she is falling in love. But Isaac has a secret that threatens their budding romance. Something dark and as magical as the tram that picks her up every morning and evening. Why does he suddenly push her away? Does he really not care for her? How could she have got the signals so wrong? Then Isaac and the tram go missing and Beth begins to discover the truth. But it might be too late.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSleeps standing : a story of the Battle of Orākau / Witi Ihimaera ; with Hēmi Kelly.
“Both fiction and fact, this fascinating book is a kaleidoscopic exploration of the Battle of Orakau. During three days in 1864, 300 Maori men, women and children fought an Imperial army and captured the imagination of the world. The battle marked the end of the Land Wars in the Waikato and resulted in vast tracts of land being confiscated for European settlement. Instead of following the usual standpoint of the victors, this book takes a Maori perspective, which views the battle through the eyes of a 16-year-old boy named Moetu. Alongside the novella are non-fiction narratives from Maori eyewitnesses, together with images and a Maori translation by Hemi Kelly, further giving voice to and illuminating the people who tried to protect their culture and land.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFletcher of the Bounty : a novel / Graeme Lay.
“On 28 April 1789 Fletcher and his followers take control of HMAV Bounty and set commander William Bligh adrift in the ship’s launch. What follows is a story brimming with conflict as Fletcher, his fellow-mutineers and their Tahitian women seek sanctuary from the wrath of the Royal Navy, then attempt to build a new society on remote Pitcairn Island. But their attempts are doomed, as envy, lust and racism destroy the Utopia that Fletcher and Isabella dreamed of. This is historical fiction at its finest.” (adapted from Mightyape.co.nz)

Syndetics book coverTess / Kirsten McDougall.
“In the silence she could hear the oncoming hum, like a large flock approaching. She didn’t want to hear his story; she’d had enough of them. Tess is on the run when she’s picked up from the side of the road by lonely middle-aged father Lewis Rose. With reluctance, she’s drawn into his family troubles and comes to know a life she never had. Set in Masterton at the turn of the millennium, Tess is a gothic love story about the ties that bind and tear a family apart.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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