An April Mystery Showcase!

Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand”
Neil Armstrong

This month we have a mystery spree, spreading our net to cover a wide variety of novels that feature a mystery somewhere in the plot. We are going to feature books from across the board, from classic novels to New Zealand titles, award-winners to massively popular bestsellers. As long as they have a mystery at their heart then they have a chance to get in this showcase. Enjoy!

Overdrive cover The Dance of the Seagull, Andrea Camilleri (ebook) (print)
“Inspector Montalbano is awake at dawn, sitting on his porch, when his attention is caught by a seagull which falls from the sky, performing a strange dance, before lying down to die. Montalbano is perplexed by what he has witnessed and the scene hangs over him like an omen. Montalbano’s dear colleague Fazio is discovered missing – and it transpires that the policeman has been involved in his own secret investigations – Montalbano launches a desperate search for his lost friend, as time begins to run out.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Tess / McDougall, Kirsten
“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.” (Catalogue)

 

Overdrive cover The Fifth Witness, Michael Connelly (ebook) (print)
“In tough times, crime is one of the few things that still pays, but even criminals are having to make cut-backs. So for defence lawyer Mickey Haller, most of his new business is not about keeping people out of jail; it’s about keeping a roof over their heads as the foreclosure business is booming. Lisa Trammel has been a client of Mickey’s for eight months, and so far he’s stopped the bank from taking her house. But now the bank’s CEO has been found beaten to death – and Lisa is about to be indicted for murder.” (Overdrive description)

All our secrets / Lane, Jennifer
“A girl called Gracie. A small town called Coongahoola with the dark Bagooli River running through it. The Bleeders – hundreds of ‘Believers’ who set up on the banks of the river, who start to buy up the town and win souls. The River Children – born in the aftermath of the infamous River Picnic. They begin to go missing, one after another. Gracie Barrett is the naively savvy spokesperson for her chaotic family (promiscuous dad, angry mum, twins Lucky and Grub, Elijah the River Child and fervent, prayerful Grandma Bett), for the kids who are taken, for the lurking fear that locks down the town and puts everyone under suspicion. Gracie is funny and kind, bullied and anguished, and her life spirals out of control when she discovers she knows what no one else does: who is responsible for the missing children. Coongahoola is where hope and fear collide, where tender adolescence is confronted by death, where kindness is a glimmer of light in the dark.” — Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover The Complete Ripley Radio Mysteries, Patricia Highsmith (Audiobook)
“In these dramatisations, BBC Radio 4 brings all Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels together in one thrilling series. In The Talented Mr Ripley, Tom makes a bid for another man’s inheritance and succeeds, but has he really got away with it? Ripley Under Ground is set a few years later, when Tom is living in luxury in a French chateau with his beautiful wife Heloise—but the clever art forgery which funds Tom’s expensive tastes is about to be uncovered. In Ripley’s Game, Tom sets up a man he dislikes to carry out two perfect murders, while in The Boy Who Followed Ripley, a rich young stalker arrives at Belle Ombre and he and Tom end up fighting for their lives. Finally, in Ripley Under Water, strange new neighbours show an overdeveloped interest in Ripley’s past. Will Tom’s shady dealings be exposed?” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Strangler’s Honeymoon, Håkan Nesser (ebook) (print)
“Could this be Van Veeteren’s darkest case yet? Desperately lonely, sixteen-year-old Monica Kammerle has little idea of what she is getting herself into when she begins an affair with her mother’s latest partner; the sophisticated Benjamin Kerran… Months later, when a woman’s strangled body is found decomposing in her flat, the Maardam police must discover who has committed this terrible crime. It isn’t long before they realise the perpetrator may have killed before – and is likely to do so again.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Strange Shores, Arnaldur Indridason (ebook) (print)
A young woman walks into the frozen fjords of Iceland, never to be seen again. But Matthildur leaves in her wake rumours of lies, betrayal and revenge.
Decades later, somewhere in the same wilderness, Detective Erlendur is on the hunt. He is looking for Matthildur but also for a long-lost brother, whose disappearance in a snow-storm when they were children has coloured his entire life. He is looking for answers. Slowly, the past begins to surrender its secrets. But as Erlendur uncovers a story about the limits of human endurance, he realises that many people would prefer their crimes to stay buried.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The infinite air / Kidman, Fiona
“The rise and fall of ‘the Garbo of the skies’, as told by one of New Zealand’s finest novelists. A superbly written novel offering an intriguing interpretation of one of the world’s greatest aviators, the glamorous and mysterious Jean Batten. Jean Batten became an international icon in the 1930s. A brave, beautiful 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. Fiona Kidman’s enthralling novel delves into the life of this enigmatic woman, exploring mysteries and crafting a fascinating exploration of early flying, of mothers and daughters, and of fame and secrecy.” (Catalogue)

Guggenheim Museum Library Collection Released Online!

If you are one of the people who have felt the sudden and unexpected–though temporary–lack of access to Wellington Central libraries’ fantastic art book collection, then we have something to ease the pain: the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum Library’s free online resources!

The founder and creator of this museum was the American heiress and self-confessed art addict Peggy Guggenheim. Her support and patronage of 20th century modern artists placed her at the very centre of the modern art movement. She was a unique, colourful, larger than life personality.

This free resource has over 200 art works covering key artists such as Picasso, Rothko, Ernst and Kandinsky and art subjects as wide as Surrealism, pop, Aztec artefacts and Russian constructivism. Just click the link here to access this fabulous resource. Enjoy!

Also available at Wellington City Libraries:

Peggy Guggenheim : the shock of the modern / Prose, Francine
“A biography of one of twentieth century America’s most influential patrons of the arts that covers her personal life, uncompromising spirit, and relationships with such modern masters as Jackson Pollock and Man Ray.” (Catalogue)

 

 

The unfinished palazzo : life, love and art in Venice : the stories of Luisa Casati, Doris Castlerosse and Peggy Guggenheim / Mackrell, Judith
“The story of Venice’s ‘Unfinished Palazzo’–told through the lives of three of its most unconventional, passionate, and fascinating residents: Luisa Casati, Doris Castlerosse, and Peggy Guggenheim. Each vivid life story is accompanied by previously unseen materials from family archives, weaving an intricate history of these legendary art world eccentrics.” (Catalogue)

 

And The Fantastic Peggy Guggenheim : art addict. documentary film is also available to borrow from several of our branches . Click Here for full details.

Science Fiction and Fantasy showcase or recently acquired books

It was rumoured she held grudges till they died of old age, then had them stuffed and mounted.”

― David Weber, Field of Dishonour

Some of the biggest names in the Science Fiction and Fantasy writing community have released books recently including David Weber, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Gregory Benford.  And as an icing to this very rich cake there  is also a wealth of other titles of great interest including the third entry in Josiah Bancrof’s Books of Babel series The Hod King and Endgames by L.E. Modesitt Jr. So there’s lots of fantastic new titles on offer to be read. Enjoy.

The Hod king / Bancroft, Josiah
“The third novel in the highly acclaimed Books of Babel series, set in a labyrinthine world of menace and wonder. On the orders of the mysterious Sphinx, Thomas Senlin and his crew are dragged ever further into the Tower’s conspiracies. Meanwhile, the hods climb the Black Trail in darkness and whisper of their king. ” (Catalogue)

 

The winter of the witch / Arden, Katherine
“One girl can make a difference…Moscow is in flames, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to blame. Vasilisa, a girl with extraordinary gifts, must flee for her life, pursued by those who blame their misfortune on her magic.Then a vengeful demon returns, stronger than ever. Determined to engulf the world in chaos, he finds allies among men and spirits. Mankind and magical creatures alike find their fates resting on Vasya’s shoulders. But she may not be able to save them all.” (Catalogue)

 

Rewrite : loops in the timespace / Benford, Gregory
“In this thematic sequel to Gregory Benford’s award-winning bestseller Timescape, a history professor finds that he is able travel back to 1968, the year he was sixteen–here, he finds a slew of mentors with the same ability, including Robert Heinlein, Albert Einstein, and Philip K. Dick. ” (Catalogue)

 

Vigilance / Bennett, Robert Jackson
“Robert Jackson Bennett’s Vigilance is a dark science fiction action parable from an America that has permanently surrendered to gun violence. The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces “Vigilance,” a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a “game environment,” and the survivors get a cash prize. The TV audience is not the only one that’s watching though, and McDean soon finds out what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera.” (Catalogue)

The prisoner of Limnos : a fantasy novella in the world of the five gods / Bujold, Lois McMaster
“Penric and Nikys receive a letter from a friend warning them that Nikys’s mother has been taken hostage, and the pair set out to rescue her — adapted from publisher description.” (Catalogue)

 

 

The kingdom of copper / Chakraborty, S. A.
“Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad–and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there. Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend.” (Catalogue)

Here and now and then / Chen, Mike
To save his daughter, he’ll go anywhere – and any-when… Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142. Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives – eighteen years too late.” (Catalogue)

Endgames / Modesitt, L. E.
“Solidar is in chaos. Charyn, the young and untested ruler of Solidar, has survived assassination, and he struggles to gain control of a realm in the grip of social upheaval, war, and rioting. Solidar cannot be allowed to slide into social and political turmoil that will leave the High Holders with their ancient power and privilege, and the common people with nothing. But the stakes are even higher than he realizes. ” (Catalogue)

 

Shadow captain / Reynolds, Alastair
“Adrana and Fura Ness have finally been reunited, but both have changed beyond recognition. Once desperate for adventure, now Adrana is haunted by her enslavement on the feared pirate Bosa Sennen’s ship. And rumors of Bosa Sennen’s hidden cache of treasure have ensnared her sister, Fura, into single-minded obsession. Neither is safe; because the galaxy wants Bosa Sennen dead and they don’t care if she’s already been killed. They’ll happily take whoever is flying her ship.” (Catalogue)

Through fiery trials / Weber, David
“The unholy war between the small but mighty island realm of Charis and the radical, luddite Church of God’s Awaiting has finally come to an end. Those on the side of progressing humanity through advanced technology have finally triumphed over their oppressors. However, even though a provisional veil of peace has fallen over human colonies, many secrets of Safehold’s past still remain unearthed. With new alliances forged and old regimes fractured, Merlin–the cybernetic avatar of Earth’s last survivor and immortal beacon to humanity–and the colonies of Safehold have many adventures ahead.” (Catalogue)

Comics to Television – Graphic Novel showcase.

Television has long looked to other sources for creative inspiration for its programmes, the world of classic novels has been regularly plundered.  And there has also been a long standing tradition of adapting comic books. As far back as the 1950’s and 60’s the small screen created series featuring many famous comic creations such as Superman,  the archly camp Adam West’s  Batman and in the 1970’s Linda Carter made the role of Wonder woman her own . More recently there has been a whole raft of graphic novels that have been given the green light for small screen adaptation. And to celebrate both past and present we have created a graphic novel showcase to celebrate the rich and diverse contribution graphic works that are either showing, regarded as classics or are in development for the small screen . Below is just a small taster of this fabulous Graphic novel showcase to whet your appetite. Enjoy.

Now showing.

The Umbrella Academy. Volume 1, Apocalypse suite / Way, Gerard
“Way, of the East Coast rock band My Chemical Romance, makes his comics writing debut in this outrageous superhero epic that Grant Morrison calls “an ultraviolet psychedelic sherbet bomb of wit and ideas.” (Catalogue)

Doom Patrol. Vol. 1, Brick by brick / Way, Gerard
“Casey Brinke is a young EMT, working the graveyard shift and dealing with a past so bizarre, she’s not sure what’s real and what’s make-believe. With her partner, Sam Reynolds, she’s about to blaze a path through the darkest alleys and blackest hours of the city. The people she finds there–Robotman, Crazy Jane, Negative Man, and Flex Mentallo– will blow your mind. Together, these incredible beings have redefined what it means to be a superhero. Now their power rests in eager new hands.” (Catalogue)

Happy! / Morrison, Grant
Meet Nick Sax, a corrupt, intoxicated ex-cop turned hit-man, adrift in a stinking twilight world of casual murder, soulless sex, eczema, and betrayal. With a hit gone wrong, a bullet in his side, the cops and the mob on his tail, and a monstrous child killer in a Santa suit on the loose, Nick and his world will be changed forever this Christmas — by a tiny blue horse called Happy Collects issues #1-4 of the mini-series.” (Catalogue)

Coming soon.

Watchmen / Moore, Alan
“Exceptional graphic artwork brings to life the story of the Watchmen as they race against time to find a killer, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.” (Catalogue)

Y : the last man [1] : unmanned / Vaughan, Brian K
“This is the saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Invincible : ultimate collection, Volume 1 / Kirkman, Robert
“Mark Grayson is just like most everyone else his age. He’s a senior at a normal American high school. He has a crappy part time job after school and on weekends. He likes girls quite a bit but quite doesn’t understand them. He enjoys hanging out with his friends and sleeping late on Saturdays (at least until the good cartoons come on). The only difference between Mark and everyone else his age is that his father is the most powerful superhero on the planet, and as of late, he seems to be inheriting his father’s powers. But that’s only the beginning of Mark’s problems (Catalogue)

Classics. 

Batman ’66. Vol. 1 / Parker, Jeff
“Put on your go-go boots and get ready to “Batusi” back to the Swingin’ 60s as DC Comics reimagines the classic Batman TV series in comics form for the first time These all-new stories portray The Caped Crusader, The Boy Wonder and their fiendish rogues gallery just the way viewers remember them.” (Catalogue)

Astro Boy. Volume 6 / Tezuka, Osamu
“In the wake of the critical acclaim of the incredible Metropolis animated feature, interest in the work of Osamu Tezuka, creator of Metropolis and the godfather of Japanese comics and animation, has never been greater, and Astro Boy is the flame that ignited the modern manga and anime industries. Perhaps the most endearing, and enduring, character to emerge from Tezuka’s volcanic imagination, Astro Boy thrills, amuses, and warms the hearts of readers of all ages. ” (Catalogue)

Ghost in the shell : stand alone complex. Episode 1, Section 9 / Kinutani, Yū
“Stand Alone Complex takes place in the year 2030, in the fictional Japanese city of New Port. When a high-ranking government official is kidnapped, the Prime Minister must call in his top crime fighting force known as Section 9. Lead by the beautiful (and deadly) Major Kusanagi, the cybernetically enhanced squad must use all their skill to take down the kidnappers and rescue the hostages. But that’s only half of the mission; can Kusanagi and company find out who’s behind the kidnapping, and, more importantly, just what they’re after?” (adapted from Catalogue)

Big shiny spaceships and cool robots: our Hard Science Fiction showcase

Levathian Wakes book cover

“The History Of The Universe In Three Words.
CHAPTER ONE
Bang!
CHAPTER TWO
Sssss
CHAPTER THREE
Crunch
THE END.”
― Iain M. Banks

Sophisticated artificial intelligence, gleaming robots, vast intergalactic space ships and enviable technology rooted in scientifically feasible ideas: these are just some of the trademark characteristics of the genre known as Hard Science Fiction! This month we’ve dedicated our science fiction showcase to these very works, so if you like your spacecraft big and shiny and your space suit mega-practical and hi-tech, then this showcase is very much for you. Enjoy!

Below is just a tiny selection of our favourite titles that fit into this genre.

Syndetics book coverExcession / Iain M. Banks.
Two and a half millennia ago, the artefact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year-old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared. Now it is back.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe complete robot / Isaac Asimov.
“Isaac Asimov’s Robot series – from the iconic collection I, Robot to four classic novels – contains some of the most influential works in the history of science fiction. Establishing and testing the three laws of robotics, they continue to shape the understanding and design of artificial intelligence to this day. Could a robot ever show true creativity? Is it wise to trust self-driving cars? Will robotic body parts transform human beings into machines? Will organic technology allow robots to become human? The Complete Robot combines the stories in I, Robot and The Rest of the Robots.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLeviathan wakes / James S.A. Corey.
“Two hundred years after migrating into space, mankind is in turmoil. When a reluctant ship’s captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings our solar system to the brink of civil war, and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history. Leviathan Wakes is the breakneck science fiction adventure that launched the epic bestselling Expanse series.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe naked god / Peter F. Hamilton.
“Quinn Dexter is loose on Earth, destroying the giant arcologies one at a time. As Louise Kavanagh tries to track him down, she manages to acquire some strange and powerful allies whose goal doesn’t quite match her own. The campaign to liberate Mortonridge from the possessed degenerates into a horrendous land battle, the kind which hasn’t been seen by humankind for six hundred years; then some of the protagonists escape in a very unexpected direction. Joshua Calvert and Syrinx fly their starships on a mission to find the Sleeping God — which an alien race believes holds the key to overthrowing the possessed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNinefox gambit / Yoon Ha Lee.
“To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general. Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAltered carbon / Richard K. Morgan.Altered Carbon
“In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChasm City / Alastair Reynolds.Chasm City
“The once-utopian Chasm City–a domed human settlement on an otherwise inhospitable planet–has been overrun by a virus known as the Melding Plague, capable of infecting any body, organic or computerized. Now, with the entire city corrupted–from the people to the very buildings they inhabit–only the most wretched sort of existence remains. For security operative Tanner Mirabel, it is the landscape of nightmare through which he searches for a low-life post-mortal killer. But the stakes are raised when his search brings him face to face with a centuries-old atrocity that history would rather forget.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRed Mars / Kim Stanley Robinson.Red Mars
From the first pioneers who looked back at Earth and saw a small blue star, to the first colonists – hand-picked scientists with the skills necessary to create life from cold desert – Red Mars is the story of a new genesis. It is also the story of how Man must struggle against his own self-destructive mechanisms to achieve his dreams: before he even sets foot on the red planet, factions are forming, tensions are rising and violence is brewing… for civilization can be very uncivilized.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Procedural Crime Writers: Our latest crime fiction showcase.

“He was pushing fifty, with a face life had chewed on, and long wisps of graying hair parted low on one side and combed over his balding pate.”

Patricia Cornwell, Postmortem

Police procedural crime novels place the emphasis on investigative procedure. The investigative procedure often carried out by a police officer, a forensic scientist or someone closely associated with a police department- rather than the more traditional private investigator. Sometimes unlike traditional ‘whodunnits,’ the identity of the criminal is revealed at the start of the book, inverting the traditional narrative structure turning the readers’ interest in the book into a ‘how to catch em’. These novels attempt to correctly depict police activities, and procedure, and to accurately portray police-related topics such as interrogation, autopsies, gathering evidence and acting within existing real legal constraints.

Below is just a small sample of the books featured in this showcase.  Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverCreole belle / James Lee Burke.Creole Belle
Creole Belle finds Dave Robicheaux languishing in a New Orleans recovery unit since surviving a bayou shoot-out. The detective’s body is healing; it’s his morphine-addled mind that conjures spectral visions of Tee Jolie Melton, a young woman who in reality has gone missing. An iPod with an old blues song left by his bedside turns Robicheaux into a man obsessed… And as oil companies assign blame after an epic disaster threatens the Gulf’s very existence, Robicheaux unearths connections between tragedies both global and personal–and faces down forces that can corrupt and destroy the best of men.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath at sea: Montalbano’s early cases / Andrea Camilleri; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“A collection of mysteries, from the title story, Death at Sea, in which the alleged manslaughter of an engineer upon a fishing trawler leads Inspector Montalbano to uncover an even more sinister crime, Andrea Camilleri takes his readers through eight cunning cases from the Vigàtan police files. Starting with an arson attack on a hotel that leaves the distraught owner as the chief suspect; to the mysterious case of a woman who goes missing in an underpass with a million lira in her handbag; to a threat on Montalbano’s own life, as an anonymous motorcyclist takes a shot at the detective.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cleaner / Paul Cleave.The Cleaner
“Three-letter word for omniscient being, middle letter O. Joe. After all, Joe is in control of everything in his simple life, including both his day job at the police department and his ‘night work’. Nor is he bothered by the daily news reports of the Christchurch Carver, who, they say, murdered seven women. But Joe knows the Carver only killed six. He knows that for a fact. And Joe is going to find that copy-cat killer, he’s going to punish him for the one, then frame him for the other six. It’s a perfect plan because he already knows he can outwit the police.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverScarpetta / Patricia Cornwell.
“Leaving behind her forensic pathology practice in South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta takes up an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured patient in a psychiatric ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on him, he begins to talk – and the story he has to tell turns out to be one of the most bizarre she has ever heard. He says his injuries were sustained in the course of a murder, that he did not commit. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLast bus to Woodstock / Colin Dexter.
“The death of Sylvia Kaye figured dramatically in Thursday afternoon’s edition of the Oxford Mail. By Friday evening, Inspector Morse had informed the nation that the police were looking for a dangerous man – facing charges of wilful murder, sexual assault and rape. But as the obvious leads fade into twilight and darkness, Morse becomes more and more convinced that passion holds the key.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Black Dahlia / James Ellroy.
“Los Angeles, 1st January 1947- a beautiful young woman walked into the night and met her horrific destiny. Five days later, her tortured body was found drained of blood and cut in half. The newspapers called her ‘The Black Dahlia’. Two cops are caught up in the investigation and embark on a hellish journey that takes them to the core of the dead girl’s twisted life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fire engine that disappeared / Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö.
“A dingy Stockholm apartment house under police surveillance blows up in an explosion that kills at least three people. Martin Beck doesn’t suspect arson or murder until he discovers a peculiar link with suicide that same day.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBound / Vanda Symon.
“A brutal home invasion shocks the nation. A man is murdered, his wife bound, gagged and left to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard scratches the surface, the victim, a successful businessman, is not all he seems to be. And when the evidence points to two of Dunedin’s most hated criminals, the case seems cut and dried… until the body count starts to rise. Meanwhile, Sam is in big trouble again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The 2019 Nebula long list has been announced

The long list for the 2018 Nebula best novel award has just been announced. The Nebula’s are one of the most prestigious awards in the Science Fiction and Fantasy community and are awarded annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. They aim to recognise the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in America the previous year. They were first awarded in 1966 and now feature six categories the most recent category addition was in 2018 when a Best Game writing category was added. The latest list of nominees is incredibly varied and shows just how strong and vibrant the Science Fiction genre is.

The full fiction finalists list:

The poppy war / Kuang, R. F.
“A powerful epic fantasy novel with roots in the 20th-century history of China. Opium runs through the heart of the Nikara Empire, a constant reminder of the war with the Federation of Mugen that brought it to the empire’s shores. A war that only ended thanks to three heroes – the Vipress, the Dragon Emperor and the Gatekeeper – known as the Trifecta. They were legendary figures, each bestowed with god-like powers, who united the warlords of the Empire against the Federation. Decades have passed. The Trifecta is shattered; the Dragon Emperor is dead, the Gatekeeper is missing, and the Vipress alone sits on the throne at Sinegard. Peace reigns, yet the poppy remains.” (Catalogue)

The calculating stars / Kowal, Mary Robinette
“On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process. Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Blackfish City / Miller, Sam J
“After the climate wars, a floating city was constructed in the Arctic Circle. Once a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, it has started to crumble under the weight of its own decay – crime and corruption have set in, a terrible new disease is coursing untreated through the population, and the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside deepest poverty are spawning unrest. Into this turmoil comes a strange new visitor – a woman accompanied by an orca and a chained polar bear. She disappears into the crowds looking for someone she lost thirty years ago, followed by whispers of a vanished people who could bond with animals. Her arrival draws together four people and sparks a chain of events that will lead to unprecedented acts of resistance.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverSpinning silver / Naomi Novik
Spinning Silver is a new take on the classic fairytale Rumpelstiltskin. Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father is not a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has left his family on the edge of poverty – until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what is owed, and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when an ill-advised boast brings her to the attention of the cold creatures who haunt the wood, nothing will be the same again.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Already highly regarded is the stunning Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. It is an urban fantasy adventure novel written from a Native American viewpoint set in a future climate changed ravaged Earth,  its a powerful, unique and gripping read.

Currently available on our eBook Overdrive service:

Overdrive coverWitchmark, C. L. Polk (ebook)
“In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Our latest mysteries

What I feel is that if one has got to have a murder actually happening in one’s house, one might as well enjoy it, if you know what I mean.”

― Agatha Christie, The Body in the Library

Libraries are very safe places (unless of course you are Agatha Christie). However they are also a veritable treasure trove of fabulous murder mysteries. Wellington Central Library contains murder mystery novels of every genre, shape and size. Which ranges from a new Sherlock Holmes tale by James Lovegrove called Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils to a novel by The Killing’s multiple award winning Screenwriter Søren Sveistrup called The chestnut man and also features a fantastic mystery novel translated from Brazilian Portuguese called Bellini and the sphinx by Tony Bellotto. Enjoy.

Bellini and the sphinx : a novel / Bellotto, Tony
” Who is the missing dancer Ana Cíntia Lopes? Why did her coworkers, Camila and Dinéia, disappear? What does the voluptuous prostitute Fatima want? Who killed renowned surgeon Dr. Samuel Rafidjian? And what is the role of the hulking live-sex performer known as the Indian? To confront the puzzle of several sphinxes, most of them female, private detective Remo Bellini plunges into the underworld of S o Paulo. Little by little, the mysteries unravel in a surprising fashion, until the solving of the final enigma leaves Bellini perplexed, with a bitter taste in his mouth.” (Catalogue)

 

A time to scatter stones : a Matthew Scudder novella / Block, Lawrence
“Well past retirement age and feeling his years–but still staying sober one day at a time–Matthew Scudder learns that alcoholics aren’t the only ones who count the days since their last slip. Matt’s longtime partner, Elaine, tells him of a group of former sex workers who do something similar, helping each other stay out of the life. But when one young woman describes an abusive client who’s refusing to let her quit, Elaine encourages her to get help of a different sort. The sort only Scudder can deliver.” (Catalogue)

Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils / Lovegrove, James
” Now retired from detective work, Sherlock Holmes is called on once again to do battle with occult forces. Members of the Dagon Club, the secretive inner circle of the Diogenes Club, are being killed systematically, among them Holmes’s own brother Mycroft. Meanwhile, unrest in Europe is threatening to turn into all-out war, and London is riddled with German spies whose machinations could have far-reaching, apocalyptic consequences. New enemies and old are conspiring against the great detective, and the stakes have never been higher. With trusty Watson once more at his side, Holmes sallies forth one last time to defy the nameless, unspeakable entities from beyond who would wish to conquer the earth and make every human their slave.” (Catalogue)

A fatal obsession / Martin, Faith
” There’s a murderer on the loose and two unlikely heroes are poised to solve the case. Meet Probationary WPC Trudy Loveday – smart, enthusiastic and always underestimated. In the hope of getting her out of the way, Trudy’s senior officer assigns her to help coroner Clement Ryder as he re-opens the case of a young woman’s death. She can’t believe her luck – she is actually going to be working on a real murder case. Meanwhile, the rest of the police force are busy investigating a series of threats and murders in the local community, and Clement can’t help but feel it’s all linked. As Trudy and Clement form an unlikely partnership, are they going to be the ones to solve these crimes before the murderer strikes again?” (Catalogue)

Slow motion ghosts / Noon, Jeff
” It is 1981. London is bruised by austerity, social unrest and racial tension, and the police are at war. Anger has erupted in the Brixton Riots and is finding expression in protest, anarchy and punk. For Detective Inspector Hobbes, the battle lines are being redrawn within his own ranks as right and wrong are clouded by prejudice. Into this mess comes a murder. A promising young singer has been maimed and killed and the artistry of the crime is disturbing. On the hunt for the killer, Hobbes begins an investigation that will lead him deep into a subculture hidden beneath the everyday. A cult of personality that hides from the problems of the city and escapes to a world of its own, a world that is at once seductive and devastating. ” (Catalogue)

Hearts of the missing / Potenza, Carol
” When a young woman linked to a list of missing Fire-Sky tribal members commits suicide, Pueblo Police Sergeant Nicky Matthews is assigned to the case. As the investigation unfolds, she uncovers a threat that strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Fire-Sky Native: victims chosen and murdered because of their genetic makeup. But these deaths are not just about a life taken. In a vengeful twist, the killer ensures the spirits of those targeted will wander forever, lost to their family, their People, and their ancestors. When those closest to Nicky are put in jeopardy, she must be willing to sacrifice everything–her career, her life, even her soul–to save the people she is sworn to protect.” (Catalogue)

Death & the viking’s daughter / Ross, Loretta
” While Death and Wren are helping prepare auction items at an old supper club, a Viking reenactor nearly dies at the historical settlement next door. The cause? Seeing the ghost of his daughter, who went missing twenty years ago. As Wren looks into what happened to the Viking’s daughter, Death is hired to investigate the theft of historical items that have high sentimental value. When their respective investigations turn out to be connected, the couple gets caught in a deadly conflict.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe chestnut man / Søren Sveistrup ; translated by Caroline Waight.
“In a playground just outside Copenhagen a woman is found dead with one hand cut off. A small chestnut figure hangs over her. Naia Thulin and Mark Hess are sent to investigate but they soon discover another woman has been brutally murdered. This time both her hands have been cut off.  And the chestnut figure is back. Thulin and Hess soon suspect that these murdered women are connected to the missing daughter of Rosa Hartung, the Minister for Social Affairs, and work against the clock to stop the killer from striking again.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverDeath on a Shetland isle / Marsali Taylor.
“Readying her Norwegian sail-training ship, Sorlandet, for a fresh voyage through the Shetland Islands, Cass Lynch has the shock of her life when the new third officer is a ghost from her past – the man she thought she’d left to drown in the Atlantic eleven years before. Readying her Norwegian sail-training ship, Sorlandet, for a fresh voyage through the Shetland Islands, Cass Lynch has the shock of her life when the new third officer is a ghost from her past – the man she thought she’d left to drown in the Atlantic eleven years before. Cass has an odd feeling about some of the new trainees: a slick city-boy, and a brother and sister. As her distrust of the newcomers deepens, two people go missing and a third is found dead. Struggling to confront the ghosts of her past, the deceased of her present, and the man of her future, Cass must out-manoeuvre the killer before she too becomes one of the victims.” (Catalogue)

Special Author Interview: International bestselling Scottish crime writer, Alex Gray!

Still Dark book cover
Author Alex Gray in Central Library, taken from her twitter account @alexincrimeland

Central Library recently had the unexpected pleasure of a visit from the hugely popular Scottish crime writer, Alex Gray. Alex has published fifteen novels featuring DCI Lorimer, and his psychological profiler Solomon Brightman, and are mainly set on the gritty streets of Glasgow. Alex is also one of the co-founders (with Lin Anderson) of the renown Bloody Scotland festival — Scotland’s biggest crime festival. Alex had been visiting New Zealand for Rotorua Noir: New Zealand’s first crime festival, so we took the golden opportunity to ask Alex about her life and work. This is what she had to say for herself…

Q: Were there any major differences between Rotorua Noir (the New Zealand crime writing festival you’ve just been at) and Bloody Scotland the Scottish crime festival you organize and run?

A: Yes, there were major differences between Rotorua Noir and Bloody Scotland, mainly due to scale. In Stirling, where Bloody Scotland is held, we have the Albert Halls, a theatre holding an audience of around 800 plus the ballroom in The Golden Lion Hotel and a church hall that seats about 100. At most times of the programme three events run concurrently whereas Rotorua Noir had one at a time over two days. One thing the two festivals do have in common, though, is a desire to promote budding writers and on the Friday of each respective weekend masterclasses are held. We normally attract about 55 students for that full day.

Q: Are there any new upcoming crime writers whose works that you were particularly excited about? And why? You mentioned Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare.

A: I chair an event each year that is billed as ‘Alex Gray’s new blood’ and at this time of year I am reading lots of debut novels. I did attend J.P. Pomare’s debut launch and had that lovely shivery feeling of being in at the start of something that was going to be really special. I intend to read his novel once I return to Scotland so watch this space!

Q: We feel Glasgow exists as a character in your novels. How do you go about creating a place as a character? And are we likely to see any places in New Zealand turning up in this context ?

A: Glasgow as a character really owes much to its people, folk who are blessed with natural good humour, friendliness and energy. Sometimes that energy is channeled into not such good places: our crime stats are nothing to be proud of. Yet it is a city with a warm heart, both cultured and couthy. In some ways it sums up the Scottish psyche; a split personality that has light and dark growing together. I would love to return to NZ but as yet there are no thoughts of using it in a future novel. Never say never, though.

Q: Have you read a lot of New Zealand crime fiction?  If so do you feel it is different Scottish crime fiction? Is it that different from Scottish crime fiction? Does it have a distinctive national flavour for example?

A: I haven’t read a lot of contemporary NZ crime fiction. Reading mostly Liam McIlvanney recently. However Ngaio Marsh was one of my favourite crime writers when I was younger. Sorry, no real basis to compare Scottish and NZ crime but have to say our writers are pretty similar in outlook. We are the pussycats of the literary world!

Q: Could you perhaps go way back and tell us about the creative origins of your main protagonists Chief Inspector Lorimer and Solomon Brightman? Where did the roots of their characters originate.

A: How did Lorimer and Solly come to be? Well, Lorimer began as a very tall, rather remote person, very seriously involved in a major case. He was always dedicated and driven but I deliberately wanted to portray him as a normal man, so no hang ups, no chip on the shoulder, alcoholism etc and happily married (as I am). I think he owes a lot to a real life senior detective who helped me a lot in the early days called Ronnie Beattie. A nice, normal guy with exceptional talent and who commanded the respect of his fellow officers. Lorimer grew as a character over the books, unlike Solomon Brightman. I used to hear some writers claim their characters just appeared in a flash and I was derisory about this… till it happened to me! Solly did come fully formed in appearance, character and back story, much to my amazement. Years later I analysed where his name came from and I figured out Solomon the wise, bright man! I love them both dearly but am not above throwing some terrible things at them both. Kind of like real life, eh?

Q: How do you use social media to promote yourself, your work and Bloody Scotland.

A: Social media just Twitter @alexincrimeland and Facebook under my married name, Sandra McGruther. My middle name really is Gray and my late mother wanted me called Alexandra so it is shortened to Sandra for everyday use and Alex when I am being a book person. I do love Alex in crimeland as it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, another character that plunged down into a rabbit hole full of interesting characters! I don’t have a blog but I do some blogspots to promote books, particularly my US titles. I love it when readers get in touch to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed a particular book: it makes all the hard work of writing so worthwhile.

P.S. promoting Bloody Scotland is mainly by Twitter but I talk about it a lot and have ‘trained’ audiences to say “hurrah!” henever I mention Bloody Scotland out loud. I love them for that!

Q: Who are your favourite authors and why? Crime or otherwise.

A: Favourite authors include Louise Penny, Ann Cleeves, Chris Brookmyre, Alexander McCall Smith. I do enjoy the latter’s sense of humour plus his refreshing take on life. Reading any of Sandy’s books is a tonic. Please spread the word about Louise Penny: begin with Still Life and read the books in chronological order since there is an overarching plot to them. Beautiful writer! Ann’s two series are great but I have to confess to a very soft spot for her Shetland series especially after driving through the island with her! Chris Brookmyre is a genius, simple as that! First of his books that I read, One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, had me laughing so hard at his black humour that I literally fell off my sunbed onto the grass. That incident made him two other fans: my late Mum and my husband who wanted to know for themselves what made me crease myself with laughter! Incidentally my Mum was nursed in her final days by Chris’s aunt. Small world indeed. Nowadays I am really happy to call these four writers my pals! A privilege indeed.

Q: What did you enjoy most about your visit to New Zealand.

A: Most enjoyable aspect of visiting NZ is the people. What a nice, friendly bunch you are! Highlights include the Powhiri at Rotorua Noir, seeing lots of dolphins in the Bay of Islands, spending time in the nicest B&B’s in Coromandel and Lake Taupo. And, of course, all the wildlife and scenery. I so want to come back!

Q: What did you like best about Wellington Central Library and how do you think public libraries and authors can work best together to build a mutual reading community?

A: Wellington City library is perfectly located right at the Civic Square. I loved the user friendly displays of books, so easy to find titles. And of course it was a joy to find my books. Yippee! Meeting Neil Johnstone was great of course!

All of Alex’s fifteen works are available to borrow from the library. Below is a review of just one of her terrific books.

Thank you Alex.

Syndetics book coverStill dark / Alex Gray.
“‘Alex Gray brings Glasgow to life in the same way Ian Rankin evokes Edinburgh’ Daily Mail New Year’s Eve should be a time for celebrating. But for Detective Superintendent William Lorimer, this is one night he will never forget… Called to a house after gunshots are reported, the carnage Lorimer finds there leaves him traumatised and questioning his future with Police Scotland. Meanwhile, the body count is rising on Glasgow’s streets. A number of known addicts are dying from accidental overdoses, but something’s not adding up. Where would the city’s poorest residents get hold of high-quality morphine?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

The strange flowers of romance: our alternative Valentine’s day reads

You want to play? Come find me angel boy.”

― Nalini Singh, Angels’ Blood.

In our very alternative Valentine’s Day fiction showcase we are looking at the rich, diverse and wonderful world of urban fantasy. From hot passionate vampire love affairs to smouldering liaisons with Werewolves or other beings of the night. These tales are out to quicken the blood and set your pulses racing. And to tempt you here are just a few of the authors in fantastic showcase. Enjoy

Syndetics book coverOn the edge/ Illona Andrews.On the Edge
“The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…Rose Drayton thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out the way she’d planned, and now she works an off-the-books job in the Broken just to survive. .” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPersonal demon / Kelley Armstrong.Personal Demon
“Kelly Armstrong follows No Humans Involved with a sexy, action-packed Women of the Otherworld novel featuring a wickedly beautiful, supernaturally gifted heroine who may love danger a bit too much.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFlirt / Laurell K. Hamilton.
“When Anita Blake meets with prospective client Tony Bennington, who is desperate to have her reanimate his recently deceased wife, she is full of sympathy for his loss. Anita knows something about love, and she knows everything there is to know about loss. But what she also knows, though Tony Bennington seems unwilling to be convinced, is that the thing she can do as a necromancer isn’t the miracle he thinks he needs.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBad moon rising / Sherrilyn Kenyon.
“Fang Kattalakis isn’t just a wolf. He is the brother of two of the most powerful members of the Omegrion: the ruling council that enforces the laws of the Were-Hunters. And when war erupts among the lycanthropes, sides must be chosen. Enemies are forced into shaky alliances. When Aimee, the woman Fang loves, is accused of betraying her people, her only hope is that Fang believes in her. Yet in order to save her, Fang must break the law of his people and the faith of his brothers. That breech could very well spell the end of both their races and change their world forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDaylight / Elizabeth Knox.Daylight
“Brian “Bad” Phelan, New Zealander and bomb disposal expert. While on vacation on the French/Italian border in 2001, he helps to bring a body out of a rocky cove. The dead woman bears striking similarities to a young woman he met years ago, under mysterious circumstances, shortly before she disappeared in a flooded French cave. Bad is compelled to investigate. Jesuit Father Daniel Octave is making his own investigation, into the truth behind the story of the life of the Blessed Martine Raimondi, but it turns out that they are looking for the same thing and a secret vampire family is the common thread.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLove bites / Lynsay Sands.Love Bites
“In the world of the sexy and seductive Argeneau family of vampires, true love is good from the first bite to the last. Love Bites is a classic from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lynsay Sands, the second volume in her much beloved Argeneau series–the story of an achingly hot three hundred year-old bachelor immortal and the beautiful coroner he chooses as his lifemate. Paranormal romance just doesn’t get any tastier than this! “(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPlaying with fire / Gena Showalter.Playing with Fire
“Twenty-four-year-old barista Belle Jamison dreams of a better job and a decent love life. Until a crazy scientist spikes her mocha latte! Suddenly Belle can wield the four elements–earth, wind, fire and water–with only a thought. Coffee too hot? No problem. Hair in need of a blow-dry? Done. Gorgeous government agent Rome Masters has been sent to neutralize Belle. But he’s not the only one after her. Together they must outrun the rogue agents on their trail and find a way to control her powers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArchangel’s blade / Nalini Singh.
“Trying to discover the identity of a murder victim brings together the vampire Dmitri and a hunter for the Guild, Honor. And as the gruesome murders continue, a lethal sensuality explodes between them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrave / J.R. Ward.Crave
“The battle between good and evil has left the future of humanity in the hands of a reluctant saviour and his band of fallen angels. Seven deadly sins that must be righted. Seven souls that must be saved. Fallen Angel Jim Heron has completed his first task: helping Vin Di Pietro to redeem his soul. Now he must identify and battle a demon that can take any form. Worse still, his old boss Matthias wants him to assassinate Isaac, a member of The Firm who’s gone AWOL – and Jim’s pretty sure he’s supposed to save him. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)