That new (book about) love in your life

Love romance fiction? These new titles have something for everyone.  A nostalgic glimpse into war-time Manhattan theatre land, City of Girls will transport you into a whirl of charismatic characters. A danger laced placement sees Special Agent Macy Crow rekindling an old flame while her deductive skills provoke a menacing response. Shakespeare and the supernatural round out our selection taking lovers on unfamiliar journeys, despite eons of practice!

And readers rejoice as your page turning is celebrated in While You Were Reading and The Bookshop on the Shore. These novels delight in the place that reading can hold in your life. Enjoy!

While you were reading / Berg, Ali
“Meet Beatrix Babbage – 29-year-old dog-earer of books and accidental destroyer of weddings. After ruining her best friend’s nuptials, Bea relocates to the other side of the country in search of a fresh start. Bea’s job is dead-end. Her romantic life? Non-existent. Then Bea stumbles across a second-hand novel, inscribed with notes. Besotted with the poetic inscriptions, Bea is determined to find the author … and along the way, she finds herself entangled in one hell of a love quadrangle.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hide and seek / Burton, Mary
“Special Agent Macy Crow is gunning for a spot on the FBI’s elite profiling team. As an audition, she offers to investigate the recently discovered bones of Tobi Turner, a high school girl who disappeared fifteen years ago. While investigating with local sheriff Mike Nevada, a former colleague and onetime lover, Macy discovers a link between Tobi’s case and several others that occurred around her disappearance. But the murderer’s had years to hone his skills, and soon Macy herself becomes a target.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Flights of fancy / Turano, Jen
“To escape an unwanted marriage, heiress Isadora Delafield runs away and disguises herself as a housekeeper. She finds a position at the home of self-made man Ian MacKenzie’s parents. Ian is unexpectedly charmed by Isadora and her unconventional ways, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.” (Catalogue)

A desperate hope / Camden, Elizabeth
“Eloise Drake’s prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she’s finally put behind her–or so she thinks. Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town–but he needs Eloise’s help to succeed.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The bookshop on the shore / Colgan, Jenny
“Desperate to escape from London, single mother Lottie wants to build a new life for herself and her son Raffie. On a whim, she answers an ad for a nanny job in the Scottish Highlands. The children’s widowed father is a wreck, and the kids run wild in a huge tumbledown castle on the banks of Loch Ness. With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Lottie begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family–and her own…?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A view to a kilt / Holden, Wendy
“Laura Lake, editor of glamorous glossy magazine Society, is in trouble. Advertising revenues are down, and her job will be in jeopardy if she can’t pick them up. According to those in the know, Scotland is having a moment. With a view to getting a slice of this ultra-high-end market, Laura’s been sent to a baronial estate. It’s supposed to be gorgeous, glitzy, and glamorous. But intrigue follows Laura like night follows day. And at Glenravish Castle Laura finds herself hunting for a scoop that won’t just save her job, it could save her life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Window on the bay : a novel / Macomber, Debbie
“Jenna Boltz’s life is at a crossroads. When her kids and her dear friend push her to begin dating again, Jenna is skeptical. Enter Dr. Rowan Lancaster, who saves the day when Jenna’s elderly mother suffers an accident in her home. Still fearing a romantic relationship, she insists they remain friends–until she realizes that he may be more worthy of a Paris experience than she thought. Learning to put herself first again, Jenna realizes that believing in love can take us beyond our wildest dreams.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

City of girls / Gilbert, Elizabeth
“In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.” (Catalogue)

The trouble with vampires / Sands, Lynsay
“For close to three thousand years Santo Notte has fought in armies across the world and battled his own, more personal enemies. Of all the places he might expect to encounter his life mate, a quiet corner of upstate New York doesn’t seem likely. But as soon as he makes contact with history professor Petronella Stone he knows that she will be the greatest adventure of his eternal life. But as Pet struggles to protect her nephew from a danger lurking too close to home, Santo realizes there’s another threat to her safety-him.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Household affairs: new domestic thrillers

Home is supposed to be our safe space, our refuge. Modern thrillers take this idea and run with it in an unsettling direction. These titles will confront our notions of family as the storylines twist convention on it’s head.

Christopher Brookmyre’s sophisticated family thriller Fallen Angel reveals the flawed characters behind a perfect family, each with secrets that will shift the readers’ perspective as the novel unravels.  Family secrets drive the plot of The Half sister, Catherine Chanter. Psychologically intense, this gothic drama has depths to reveal. And in Those people the entire neighborhood gets in on the act. Louise Candlish pivots her book around ‘property pride’, and the resentment that builds over new residents that play their music too loud, park cars on lawns and generally lower the tone.

The half sister / Chanter, Catherine (print) (eBook)
“When Diana’s mother dies, she impulsively invites estranged half-sister Valerie and her nine-year-old son to stay at her grand country home. On the night of the funeral, fueled by wine and years of resentment, the sisters argue and a terrible accident occurs.The foundations of a well-ordered life begin to crack and the lies begin to surface, one dangerous secret after another.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe whisper man / North, Alex
“Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start. But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’. Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely. He says he hears a whispering at his window.” (adapted from Catalogue)

A family of strangers / Richards, Emilie
“All her life Ryan Gracey watched her perfect older sister from afar. Knowing she could never top Wendy’s achievements, she didn’t even try. Now Wendy shares two little girls with her perfect husband while Ryan mourns the man she lost after a nearly fatal mistake in judgment. Ryan is stunned when Wendy calls, begging for her help. There’s been a murder and Wendy believes she’ll be wrongfully accused. While Wendy lays low, Ryan moves back to their hometown to care for the nieces she hardly knows. The sleuthing skills she’s refined as a true-crime podcaster quickly rise to the surface as she digs for answers with the help of an unexpected ally.  Is Wendy, who always seemed so perfect, just a perfect liar or worse?” (adapted from Catalogue)

One night at the lake : a novel / Chase, Bethany (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“A tragedy on a hot summer night at a lake house forever alters the lives of two best friends, and the man they both love. But the truth isn’t as simple as it appears in this intricate novel of love, friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness. Alternating between the two women’s vibrant voices, One Night at the Lake is an emotional novel that explores a complex tangle of friendship, loyalty, and betrayal, all driving toward one question: Can love overcome what happened on that hot summer night?” (adapted from Catalogue)

Fallen angel / Brookmyre, Christopher
“To new nanny Amanda, the Temple family seem to have it all: the former actress; the famous professor; their three successful grown-up children. But like any family, beneath the smiles and hugs there lurks far darker emotions. Sixteen years earlier, little Niamh Temple died while they were on holiday in Portugal. Now, as Amanda joins the family for a reunion at their seaside villa, she begins to suspect one of them might be hiding something terrible… And suspicion is a dangerous thing.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Gone Too Long, Lori Roy (ebook), (print)
Imogene Coulter is burying her father a Klan leader she has spent her life distancing herself from. But Imogene is forced to confront secrets long held by Simmonsville and her own family when, while clearing out her father’s apparent hideout on the day of his funeral, she finds a child. Young and alive, in an abandoned basement, and behind a door that only locks from the outside.  Driven by a love that extends beyond the ties of blood, Imogene struggles to save a girl she never knew but will now be bound to forever, and to save herself and those dearest to her. Tightly coiled and chilling, Gone Too Long ensnares, twists, and exposes the high price we are willing to pay for the ones we love. (adapted from Overdrive description)

Those people / Candlish, Louise (print), (eBook)
“Until Darren Booth moves in at number 1, Lowland Way, the neighbourhood is a suburban paradise. But soon after his arrival, disputes over issues like loud music and parking rights escalate all too quickly to public rows and threats of violence.
Then, early one Saturday, a horrific crime shocks the street. As the police go house-to-house, the residents close ranks and everyone’s story is the same: Booth did it. But there’s a problem. The police don’t agree with them. ” (adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverDarling / Rachel Edwards.
“I knew she was trouble from the moment I saw her. I felt it as she stood in the doorway that day: disaster. Not just because she was so different, that skin and that hair, as different from me as it’s possible to be. There was something wrong about her. Wrong for us. It was never going to work. Now she is dead and only I am left to love him. She is dead, and it’s all my fault.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Hideaway / Lundrigan, Nicole
“Gloria Janes appears to be a doting suburban mother and loving wife. But beyond her canary-yellow door, Gloria controls her husband, Telly, as well as seven-year-old Maisy and her older brother Rowan, through a disorienting cycle of adoration and banishment. When Telly leaves, Gloria turns on Rowan. He runs away… Gloria is publicly desperate for the safe return of her son. Her behaviour grows more erratic and her manipulation of Maisy begins to seem dedicated toward an outcome that only she can see. Suspenseful, unsettling, and masterful, Hideaway explores the secrets of a troubled family and illuminates an unlikely hero and a source of unexpected strength.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The nicest things come in small packages – new short stories

While there is still a month or so wait for the 2019 Pikihua Awards, the final results of the 2018/19 takahē short story competition are out! Take a look at the new lineup of talent. Our library collection has short stories from individual authors and anthologies of new and experienced writers.

William Trevor’s final work, multi-award-winning master of the form, published on what would have been his 90th birthday, Last Stories is a collection of ten stories, six previously unpublished. Trevor navigates the rough seas of human relations with a new angle, fresh language, deep sympathy, and uncanny insight.  Also hailing from Ireland, Being Various collects the works of Irish writers, revealing the talents of the previously unpublished and the more recognisable.  Two-thirds female, one-third Northern. Two-thirds born in Ireland, two-thirds currently resident, this collection captures the numerous realities of contemporary Ireland.

The origin of detective fiction, Chinese science fiction, Gulag reportage, Italian dreamworld and debut writing from the ash line of Australian bushfires; this selection of short stories is a great place to start exploring the variety on offer in this form. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverLast stories / William Trevor. (print) (eBook)
“In this final collection of ten perceptive and profound stories, William Trevor probes into the depths of the human spirit. Here we encounter a tutor and his pupil, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when they meet again years later; a young girl who discovers the mother she believed dead is alive and well; and a piano-teacher who accepts her pupil’s theft in exchange for his beautiful music. These gorgeous stories – the last that Trevor wrote before his death – affirm his place as one of the world’s greatest storytellers.” (Syndetics summary)

Kolyma stories. Volume one / Shalamov, Varlam
Kolyma Stories is a masterpiece of twentieth-century literature, composed of short fictional tales based on Russian writer Varlam Shalamov’s fifteen years in the Gulag.  These collected stories form the biography of a rare survivor, a historical record of the Gulag, and, because the stories have more than documentary value, a literary work of creative power and conviction. This new complete translation of Kolyma Stories will fill a significant gap in the English-language library of Russian literature.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rivals of Sherlock Holmes : the greatest detective stories: 1837-1914
“Davis makes a welcome addition to early English detective fiction anthologies. Unlike scholars who date the birth of the genre to Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Davis starts with an earlier short story, “The Secret Cell” by Poe’s nemesis, William Evans Burton. That tale remains enjoyable today, with its dramatic account of the search for a missing 17-year-old servant, who stood to inherit a fortune from her employer.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLucky girls : stories / Nell Freudenberger.
“In the title story, a young woman who has been involved in a five-year affair with a married Indian man feels bound to both her memories and her adopted country after his death. The protagonist of Outside the Eastern Gate returns to her childhood home in Delhi, to find a house still inhabited by the impulsive, desperate spirit of her mother. Highly anticipated in the literary community and beyond, Lucky Girls marks the debut of a very special talent that places her among today’s most gifted young writers.” (Syndetics summary)

A constant hum / Bishop, Alice (print) (eBook)
“A young and exciting new literary voice, emerging from one of Australia’s worst natural disasters. Before the bushfires–before the front of flames comes roaring over the hills–the ridges are thick with gums. After the fires, the birds have gone. And the lost people: on the TV news in borrowed clothes, or remembered in flyers on a cafe wall. A Constant Hum grapples with the aftermath of disaster with an eye for telling detail. Some of these stories cut to the bone; others are empathetic stories of survival, even hope.” (Catalogue)

The best of R.A. Lafferty / Lafferty, R. A.
“Acclaimed as one of the most original voices in modern literature, Raphael Aloysius Lafferty has been awarded and nominated for a multitude of accolades over the span of his career, including the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. This collection contains 22 unique tall tales, including Hugo Award and Nebula award winning entries. Stories introduced by other modern masters of SF who acknowledge R.A. Lafferty as a major influence and force in the field.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Being various : new Irish short stories (print) (eBook)
“Edited by prize-winning author and playwright Lucy Caldwell, Being Various brings together original stories from Ireland’s current golden age of writing with some exciting new voices, never before published. Following her own brilliant short story collection Multitudes, Lucy Caldwell guest edits the sixth volume of Faber’s long running series of new Irish short stories, continuing the great work started by the late David Marcus and subsequent guest editors Kevin Barry, Deirdre Madden and Joseph O’Connor.” (Catalogue)

Broken stars : contemporary Chinese science fiction in translation
“In Hugo award-winner Liu Cixin’s ‘Moonlight’, a man is contacted by three future versions of himself, each trying to save their world from destruction. Hao Jingfang’s ‘The New Year Train’ sees 1,500 passengers go missing on a train that vanishes into space. In addition, three essays explore the history and rise of Chinese SFF publishing, contemporary Chinese fandom, and how the growing interest in Chinese SFF has impacted writers who had long laboured in obscurity.” (Catalogue)

We love Anderson Cooper : short stories / Maizes, R. L.
“In We Love Anderson Cooper, characters are treated as outsiders because of their sexual orientation, racial or religious identity, or simply because they look different. A young man courts the publicity that comes from outing himself at his bar mitzvah. When a painter is shunned because of his appearance, he learns to ink tattoos that come to life. A paranoid Jewish actuary suspects his cat of cheating on him with his Protestant girlfriend. In this debut collection, humor complements pathos.” (Catalogue)

Elsewhere, home / Aboulela, Leila
“Aboulela again plumbs the immigrant and particularly West-Middle East experience, as characters painfully recall the old and adapt to the new. Shuttling between the dusty, sun-baked streets of Khartoum and the university halls and cramped apartments of Aberdeen and London, Elsewhere, Home explores, with subtlety and restraint, the profound feelings of yearning, loss, and alienation that come with leaving one’s homeland in pursuit of a different life.” (Catalogue)

Crimes, calamities and capers: a caboodle of contemporary comics

The expressive world of ink on paper expands into vision with the latest comics to be found on our library shelves.  From espionage to architecture and filmmaking this month’s crop of new comics is loaded with talent both in storytelling and artistry.

Fior Manuele, the artist who created the Interview, connects to his training in architecture as he spins a mythic tale of a young man in the thrall of seeking perfection. Red Ultramarine, originally published in 2006, has been recently translated by Jamie Richardis. Michael Bendis and David Mack take the touring artist route into counterintelligence. Global travel and a storytelling cover leads to recruitment and an introduction to several comic artists as the con tour continues in Cover. The watercolour illustration bends in style, referencing the introduction of different artists.

The opposite to perfection sees Penny Nichols helping to create glorious schlock horror movie with a disreputable crew. And politics and family don’t mix in an ode to concrete, The Structure is Rotten, Comrade shows the difference between vision for building and the reality of social needs. Viken Berberian and Yann Kebbi have created a vivid comic with a dynamic style with figures sketched over the architecture that is the centre of the story.

It was tricky to select just a few from this month’s collection of comics, below are some of the great assortment of talent and styles. Enjoy!

Red ultramarine / Fior, Manuele
“The Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus is woven into this psychologically complex graphic novel, for the first time in English! Fausto, a young architect, is a prisoner of his own obsession: the search for perfection. Only the love of Silvia, his girlfriend, can save him. To help him, she goes to a strange doctor, who will guide her on a journey between reality and myth. This is an early work of the internationally acclaimed cartoonist Mauele Fior, rendered in a striking red and black two-color palette.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cover. Volume one / Bendis, Brian Michael
“Based on a true story, the intelligence community figures out that the traveling band of social misfits who make comic books are an exact match to the profiles of candidates recruited for intelligence and counterintelligence gathering.  A very well-known comics creator is recruited by the agency to live a double life as a spy…And convention season is upon us. With a nod to films like Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and The In-Laws, this comic celebrates comics, comic creators, readers and of course, spies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The structure is rotten, comrade / Berberian, Viken
“More in love with the alluring properties of cement than he is with his girlfriend, Frunz’s overriding ambition is to become the next legendary architect. His father, known as Mr. Cement, is a builder in bed with the autocrats who run Yerevan, the capital of post-Soviet Armenia. As father and son team up to transform the city into a post-modern mecca of Trumpian high-rises, outraged citizens rise up in Revolution against them and Yerevan’s corrupt regime.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Little girls / Aflleje, Nicholas
“Sam and Lielet are two new friends living in Ethiopia who are dealing with the kind of problems that all kids have: judgmental social cliques, condescending adults, alienation, and a legendary brain-eating monster of folklore. Sure, it’s not going to be easy, but all they have to do is live through it.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hot comb / Flowers, Ebony
Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into black women’s lives and coming-of-age stories. Ebony Flowers re-creates classic magazine ads idealizing women’s need for hair relaxers and products. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfections of identity swirl through these stories and ads, which are by turns sweet, insightful, and heartbreaking.  From her black-and-white drawings to her color construction-paper collages, Hot Comb is a propitious display of talent from a new cartoonist who has already made her mark.” (Catalogue)

Penny Nichols / Reed, M. K
“Stuck working mind-numbing temp jobs, Penny Nichols yearns to break free from the rut she’s found herself in. When, by chance, she falls in with a group of misfits making a no-budget horror movie called “Blood Wedding,” everything goes sideways. Soon her days are overrun with gory props, a horny cameraman, and a disappearing director. This hilarious original graphic novel is a loving tribute to the chaos and camaraderie of DIY filmmaking, and the ways we find our future and our family in the unlikeliest of places.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The dreaming. Volume one, Pathways and emanations / Spurrier, Simon
“Twenty-three years after he was anointed as its master, the lord of dreams has inexplicably abandoned his domain. Lord Daniel’s absence triggers a series of crimes and calamities that consume the lives of those already tangled in his fate. The most senior storytellers are tormented by invasive secrets, the warden Lucien is doubting his own mind, and beyond the gates, something horrific awaits with tooth and talon.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Outer darkness [1] : each other’s throats / Layman, John
“Sci-fi and horror collide in this new series from the creator of Chew. Mankind has colonized the galaxy, but during our interstellar travels, we’ve discovered a terrifying secret out in the Outer Darkness of space. Join Captain Joshua Rigg and the crew of the starship Charon as they encounter demonic possessions, hauntings, cosmic horror and more. Collects Outer darkness #1-6.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Grace : the Jeff Buckley story / DeBartolo, Tiffanie
“California, 1991. All his life, people have told Jeff Buckley how much he looks like his father, the famous ’60s folksinger he barely knew. But Jeff believes he has gifts of his own: a rare, octave-spanning voice and a songwriting genius that has only started to show itself. What follows are six turbulent years of music, heartbreak, hope, and daring. This graphic novel biography uses archival material provided by Jeff’s mother, Mary Guibert, to reveal the young songwriter in the process of becoming a legend.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Our latest Science Fiction and Fantasy showcase of newly acquired books.

“Well, all information looks like noise until you break the code.”
– Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

With the 2019 Hugo award nominees recently announced and it now being just under a year until the Hugo awards ceremony here in Wellington at CoNZealand, it is great to see two newly acquired science fiction and fantasy books that have connections to the Hugos. The first is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik which is on the 2019 Hugo long list. The second is Mercedes Lackey’s Eye Spy. Mercedes Lackey is one of the guests of honour at CoNZealand next year.

There were lots of other new titles that caught our attention including the continuing rise of the awesome Afro Futurism genre as represented in this month’s list by Tade Thompson’s The Rosewater Insurrection. There is also Neal Stephenson’s latest magnum opus Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, described by the New York Times no less as “a staggering work of imagination”. And as if that wasn’t enough two new books from acknowledged fantasy masters Stephen Donaldson and Tad Williams as well as a whole plethora of other science fiction and fantasy goodies to enjoy.

Overdrive cover Spinning Silver / Novik, Naomi (print) (eBook)
“Miryem was brought up in a snowbound village, on the edge of a charmed forest. She comes from a family of moneylenders, but her kind father shirks his work. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, his family faces poverty – until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what’s owed, and her neighbours soon whisper that she can turn silver into gold. Then an ill-advised boast attracts the cold creatures that haunt the wood. Nothing will be the same again, for words have power.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Eye spy / Lackey, Mercedes
“In this second installment of the Family Spies series, set in the bestselling world of Valdemar, the children of Heralds Mags and Amily must follow in their parents’ footsteps to protect the realm. When Abi senses the imminent collapse of a bridge only moments before it happens, she saves countless lives, including that of her best friend, Princess Katiana. The experience, though harrowing, uncovers her unique Gift–an ability to sense the physical strains in objects.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Rosewater insurrection / Thompson, Tade
“All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret. The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fall, or, Dodge in hell : a novel / Stephenson, Neal
Fall, or Dodge in Hell is pure, unadulterated fun: a grand drama of analog and digital, man and machine, angels and demons, gods and followers, the finite and the eternal. In this exhilarating epic, Neal Stephenson raises profound existential questions and touches on the revolutionary breakthroughs that are transforming our future. Combining the technological, philosophical, and spiritual in one grand myth, he delivers a mind-blowing speculative literary saga for the modern age.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The war within / Donaldson, Stephen R
“It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. But an ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Empire of grass / Williams, Tad
“The kingdoms of Osten Ard have been at peace for decades, but now, the threat of a new war grows to nightmarish proportions. Their allies in Hernystir have made a pact with the dreadful Queen of the Norns to allow her armies to cross into mortal lands. The ancient, powerful nation of Nabban is on the verge of bloody civil war, and the fierce nomads of the Thrithings grasslands have begun to mobilize, united by superstitious fervor and their age-old hatred of the city-dwellers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Exhalation / Stories / Chiang, Ted (print) (eBook)
“This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary “Exhalation,” an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Triumphant / Campbell, Jack (print) (eBook)
“The recently colonized world of Glenlyon has learned that they’re stronger when they stand with other star systems than they are on their own. But after helping their neighbor Kosatka against an invasion, Glenlyon has become a target. An attack is launched against Glenlyon’s orbital facility with forces too powerful for fleet officer Rob Geary to counter using their sole remaining destroyer, Saber. Mele Darcy’s Marines must repel repeated assaults while their hacker tries to get into the enemy systems to give Saber a fighting chance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Agatha Christie meets the Tour de France in our latest fiction mysteries showcase

“It’s incredible… Many Colombians have tried before, we’ve had great cyclists in the past. But I’m the first one to win the Tour! Colombia deserves it.” – Egan Bernal 2019 Tour de France winner.

With the 2019 Tour de France over and the first ever Colombian rider Egan Bernal winning the race, it is very timely that Mexican author Jorge Zepeda Patterson has just released an Agatha Christiesque murder mystery, where riding for the coveted yellow jersey takes a deadly turn. Other intriguing new acquisitions in this month’s showcase include The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes – a compendium of tales of fictional detectives that were written during the same era as the deer stalker-topped sleuth. We also have a new novel by top Scottish crime writer Alex Grey as well as new works by R.J. Ellory and Katherine Hall Page.

The black jersey : a novel / Zepeda Patterson, Jorge
“Marc Moreau, a professional cyclist with a military past, is part of a top Tour de France team led by his best friend, an American star favored to win this year’s Tour. But the competition takes a dark turn when racers begin to drop out in a series of violent accidents: But as the victim count rises, the number of potential murderers–and potential champions–dwindles.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rivals of Sherlock Holmes : the greatest detective stories: 1837-1914
“If “Rue Morgue” was the first true detective story in English, the title of the first full-length detective novel is more hotly contested. Two books by Wilkie Collins–The Woman in White (1859) and The Moonstone (1868)–are often given that honor, with the latter showing many of the features that came to identify the genre: a locked-room murder in an English country house; bungling local detectives outmatched by a brilliant amateur detective; a large cast of suspects and a plethora of red herrings; and a final twist before the truth is revealed.” (Catalogue)

The darkest goodbye / Gray, Alex
“When newly fledged DC Kirsty Wilson is called to the house of an elderly woman, what appears to be a death by natural causes soon takes a sinister turn when it is revealed that the woman had a mysterious visitor in the early hours of that morning – someone dressed as a community nurse, but with much darker intentions. As Kirsty is called to another murder she finds herself pulled into a complex case involving vulnerable people and a sinister service that offers them and their loved ones a ‘release’.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Three bullets / Ellory, Roger Jon
“It was the shot heard around the world. On 22nd November 1963, John F. Kennedy’s presidential motorcade rode through Dealey Plaza. But what if it missed? Mitch Newman is a photojournalist based out of Washington, D.C. His phone never rings. When it does, a voice he hasn’t heard in years will tell him his former fiancée Jean has taken her own life. Jean was an investigative reporter working the case of a lifetime. Somewhere in the shreds of her investigation is the truth behind her murder.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The body in the wake / Page, Katherine Hall (print) (eBook)
“For the first time in years, Faith Fairchild has time for herself. Her friend Sophie Maxwell is also spending the summer on Sanpere Island, hoping for distractions from her worries that she isn’t yet pregnant.  Faith has her hands full. And that’s before a body with a mysterious tattoo and connections far away from small Sanpere Island appears in the Lily Pond. Once again, Faith will get to the bottom of this strange case–and whip up a delicious blueberry buckle on the side.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Girls like us / Alger, Cristina
“FBI Agent Nell Flynn hasn’t been home in ten years. When Martin Flynn dies in a motorcycle accident, Nell returns to the house she grew up to spread her father’s ashes and close his estate. At the behest of her father’s partner, Detective Lee Davis, Nell becomes involved in an investigation into the murders of two young Latina women in Suffolk County. The further Nell digs, the more likely it seems to her that her father should be the prime suspect.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A summer of murder / Bottini, Oliver
“When the local fire brigade is called to a burning farm shed, a volunteer is killed as a weapons cache beneath it explodes. Louise Bonì, back with Freiburg Kripo after a period of withdrawal, is assigned to the task force dealing with the case. The meagre evidence they gather points to a possible connection with German neo-Nazis or illegal arms dealers from the former Yugoslavia, but the appearance of secret service agents marking out the forest suggests more is at stake.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The roadhouse / McGinnis, Kerry
“When aspiring actress Charlie Carver learns that her cousin Annabelle has died, she immediately leaves Melbourne to fly home. The reunion, however, is interrupted when Molly suffers a heart attack. With her mother airlifted out for life-saving surgery, Charlie is left to take the reins of the struggling family business. The authorities declare Annabelle to have taken her own life, but when a woman’s body turns up at an abandoned mine site, Charlie begins to wonder what else is being covered up, and why.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New fictional excursions

This month our new fiction selection offers humour and tragedy with authors that craft tales to confront and amuse. Travelling to new lives, the characters of Christy Lefteri and polyglot Pajtim Statovci reveal two very different tales of escape from Syria in The Beekeeper of Aleppo and European peregrinations in Crossings as politics and violence carve new and unexpected paths. These authors have lived the lives of their characters through emigration and profession, the absurd coincidences of real life enhance their writing.

Colson Whitehead relates the brutal reality of a segregation era reform school in The Nickel Boys. Inspired by horrific events that transpired at the real-life Dozier School for Boys, Whitehead’s brilliant examination of America’s history of violence is a stunning novel of impeccable language and startling insight.

The talented Deborah Moggach, script writer and serial inspiration for movies, Tulip Fever and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has written on the ever expanding care for the elderly in The Carer. And the transformative Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame writes on female self determination with a flair for the theatrical 1940’s. Other selections delve into espionage, undertaking and small town justice, a wealth of enjoyment to discover. Enjoy!

The carer / Moggach, Deborah
“James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips, and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss. Is this really their father, the distant figure who never once turned up for a sports day? Phoebe and Robert discover that life most definitely does not stop for the elderly.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Nickel boys : a novel / Whitehead, Colson
“Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. But given the time and the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy. Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Joe Country / Herron, Mick
“If Spook Street is where spies live, Joe Country is where they go to die. In Regent’s Park, Diana Taverner’s tenure as First Desk is running into difficulties. If she’s going to make the Service fit for purpose, she might have to make deals with a familiar old devil. Jackson Lamb would sooner be left brooding in peace, but even he can’t ignore the dried blood on his carpets. So when the man responsible breaks cover at last, Lamb sends the slow horses out to even the score.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Beirut Hellfire Society : a novel / Hage, Rawi
“When his father meets a sudden and untimely death, Pavlov, the son of a local undertaker is approached by a colorful member of the mysterious Hellfire Society, an anti-religious sect that, among many rebellious and often salacious activities, arranges secret burial for outcasts who have been denied last rites because of their religion or sexuality. Deftly combining comedy with tragedy, gritty reality with surreal absurdity, Beirut Hellfire Society asks: What, after all, can be preserved in the face of certain change and imminent death?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The care and feeding of ravenously hungry girls / Gray, Anissa
“The Butler family has had their share of trials, as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest.  Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe beekeeper of Aleppo / Christy Lefteri.
“Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees. As Nuri and Afra travel, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

City of girls / Gilbert, Elizabeth (print) (eBook) (eAudiobook)
“In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.” (Catalogue)

Crossing / Statovci, Pajtim
“In the devastation of post-Communist Albania, Bujar and Agim feel trapped: Bujar struggling to come to terms with the loss of his father, Agim facing dangerous realizations about his sexuality and his feelings for Bujar. When shame and guilt push Bujar and Agim to leave everything behind, the unfamiliar life of an immigrant and asylum seeker sets Bujar on a path of reinvention. But Bujar’s quest for identity and belonging is haunted by the mystery of what happened to Agim–his one, true beloved.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Confession with blue horses / Hardach, Sophie
“Tobi and Ella’s childhood in East Berlin is shrouded in mystery, their past in full of unanswered questions. Both remember their family’s daring and terrifying attempt to escape. Where did their parents disappear to, and why? And was there ever a painting of three blue horses? In contemporary Germany, Aaron works for the archive, piecing together the tragic history of thousands of families. But one file in particular catches his eye, unravelling the secrets at its heart becomes an obsession.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Thriller talent revival: fights, intrigue, action!

Dire consequences and sweet rewards–welcome to our latest crop of thrillers!

With its landlines and lack of internet, Domino Island by Desmond Bagley may encapsulate 1972, but its political tension is as fresh and relevant as the day it was written. This previously unpublished title was long considered lost, and its reappearance after 40 years has reinvigorated the genre with its craftsmanship, authenticity and expertise. Domino Island was curated by Michael Davies, taking the 1972 typewritten pencil annotated first draft into completion.

Legal loopholes, terrifying coincidence and deadly subterfuge run through the rest of this month’s thriller picks, with deadly foes and locations that will seize your imagination. You’ve been warned!

Domino Island / Bagley, Desmond (print), (eBook)
“Bill Kemp, an ex-serviceman working in London as an insurance investigator, is sent to the Caribbean to verify a claim that will make property magnate David Salton’s young widow a very rich lady. Salton’s political ambitions had made him a lot of enemies, and that his friends are reluctant to reveal themselves, local tensions around the forthcoming elections spill over into protest and violence on the streets – and murder.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Assassin’s silence / Larsen, Ward (print), (eBook)
“When it comes to disappearing, David Slaton has few equals. Police in three countries have written off trying to find him. So when an assault team strikes, Slaton is taken by surprise. He kills one man and manages to escape. Half a world away, an obscure air cargo company purchases a derelict airliner. On the first flight, the jet plunges toward the ocean. The CIA assesses the two spectacles: a practiced killer leaving a trail of bodies across Europe, and a large airplane disappearing without a trace. The two affairs are increasingly seen to be intertwined . . .” (Adapted from catalogue)

Unsolved / Patterson, James
“FBI agent Emmy Dockery is relentless. She’s young and driven, and her unique skill at seeing connections others miss has brought her an impressive string of arrests. But a shocking new case-unfolding across the country-has left her baffled. The victims all appear to have died by accident, and have seemingly nothing in common. But this many deaths can’t be coincidence. The killer is somehow one step ahead of every move Dockery makes. How?” (Adapted from catalogue)

The 45th / Buffa, Dudley W.
“What if a political party in disarray turned to a man to lead them with no political background? What if a country torn apart by ideology turned to a man whose charisma belied a complete lack of governing experience? What if a country elected a President based not on qualifications, but on hope? Would this man lead the country into a new era of fortune and prosperity? Or would he lead them into total and complete chaos?” (Adapted from catalogue)

Warning light / Ricciardi, David
“When a commercial aircraft makes an emergency landing at an Iranian military base, it looks like a crisis has been narrowly avoided. But for undercover intelligence analyst Zac Miller, the CIA-staged crash landing is the only part of his assignment that goes right. What was supposed to be a surveillance mission quickly heads south when the Iranians apprehend the smooth-talking American. Zac’s in over his head, especially when it turns out escaping from captivity is only the beginning of his problems . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

The never game / Deaver, Jeffery
“Colter Shaw is an itinerate ‘reward-seeker,’ traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. When he learns of a reward for a missing college student in Silicon Valley, he takes the job. The investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of Silicon Valley and the cutthroat billion-dollar video gaming industry, then a second kidnapping happens . . . and this victim turns up dead.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The substitution order / Clark, Martin
“Kevin Moore, once a high-flying Virginia attorney, lands in the middle of nowhere with a job at the world’s saddest sandwich shop. His closest confidants: a rambunctious rescue puppy and the 20-year-old computer whiz manning the restaurant counter. When a mysterious stranger wanders into the shop armed with a threatening “invitation” to join a multimillion-dollar scam, Kevin will need every bit of his legal savvy just to stay out of prison.” (Adapted from catalogue)

 

Corpses, Castles, Cannibals: New Mystery Fiction

This month’s new mystery titles feature the work of Japanese writer Keigo Higashino. Winner of the Edogawa Rampo Prize for his debut novel After School, Higashino’s body of work has grown to include several award-winning detective series and short story collections (as well as a picture book!). His latest work, Newcomer, weaves together nine self-contained stories, and has been called “a genre-splicing masterclass in crime fiction.”

We’ve also got a range of other great works, from Peter James’ Dead at First Sight to Simon Beaufort’s Watchers of the Dead. And for some extra insight into David Hewson’s new mystery set on the remote Faroe Islands, check out this excellent Behind the Book feature. Enjoy!

Newcomer / Higashino, Keigo
“Detective Kyoichiro Kaga has just been transferred to a new precinct in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo. Newly arrived, but with a great deal of experience, Kaga is promptly assigned to the team investigating the murder of a woman. But the more he investigates, the greater number of potential suspects emerges. Buried somewhere in the woman’s past, in her family history, and the last few days of her life is the clue that will lead to the murderer.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Dead at first sight / James, Peter (print), (eBook)
“Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to investigate the suicide of a woman in Brighton, that is clearly not what it seems. As his investigations continue, a handsome Brighton motivational speaker comes forward. He’d discovered his identity is being used to scam 11 different women, online. Roy Grace realizes he is looking at the tip of an iceberg. A global empire built on clever, cruel internet scams and the murder of anyone who threatens to expose them.” (Catalogue)

The body in the castle well / Walker, Martin
“A rich American art student, Claudia, is found dead at the bottom of a deep well in an ancient hilltop castle. Claudia’s grieving mother arrives, her family’s White House connections get the US Embassy and the FBI involved. Bruno tries to trace the people and events that led to her death. This takes Bruno down a trail that leads him from the ruins of Berlin in 1945, to France’s colonial war in Algeria. The long arm of French history has reached out to find a new victim.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Women of the dunes / Maine, Sarah
“In AD 800 there is Ulla, lost in a foreign country after her lover is brutally killed. Ellen, a servant-girl in the 1800s, catches the unwanted attentions of the master of the house’s lascivious son. And, in the present day, there is Libby – an archaeologist who is determined to uncover an age-old mystery. The fates of these three women become ever more tightly bound around the legend of Ulla.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

 Devil’s Fjord / Hewson, David (print), (eBook)
“Newly-appointed District Sheriff Tristan Haraldsen and his wife Elsebeth are looking forward to a peaceful semi-retirement in the remote fishing village of Djevulsfjord on the stunningly beautiful island of Vagar. But when two boys go missing during the first whale hunt of the season, the repercussions strike at the heart of the isolated coastal community. As he pursues his investigations, Tristan discovers that the Mikkelsen brothers aren’t the first young men to have vanished on Vagar. . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Watchers of the dead / Beaufort, Simon
“December 1882. Attending the opening of the new Natural History Museum, reporter Alec Lonsdale and his colleague Hulda Friederichs are shocked to discover a body in the basement, hacked to death. Suspicion immediately falls on a trio of cannibals, brought over from the Congo as museum exhibits. Alec however has his doubts–especially when he discovers that three other influential London men have been similarly murdered.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Cruel acts / Casey, Jane (print), (eBook)
“How can you spot a murderer? Leo Stone is a ruthless killer–or the victim of a miscarriage of justice. A year ago, he was convicted of the murder of two women and sentenced to life in prison. But now he’s free, and according to him, he’s innocent. DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent are determined to put Stone back behind bars where he belongs, but the more Maeve finds out, the less convinced she is of his guilt. Have they been wrong about Stone from the start?” (Adapted from the catalogue)

A beautiful corpse / Daugherty, Christi (print), (eBook)
“With its antebellum houses and ancient oak trees draped in a veil of Spanish moss, Savannah’s graceful downtown is famous around the world. When a woman is killed in the heart of that affluent district, the shock is felt throughout the city. Only twenty-four years old, Naomi Scott was just getting started. There are no witnesses to the crime. The police have three suspects. All three men claim to love her. Could one of them be her killer?” (Adapted from the catalogue)

The Wolf-Cub in the Pinafore Dress: New Fiction

Salt Slow is exemplary . . . Melancholy, powerful and poised. — China Mieville

There’s a host of great new fiction titles out this month, but perhaps the work we’re most excited about is Salt Slow. Salt Slow is the debut collection of short stories by the prize-winning Julia Armfield, and has been described as a combination of ancient mythology and contemporary observation. A woman burns her ex-boyfriend’s possessions (and toenails) at the bottom of the garden; a wolf-cub is clothed in a blue pinafore dress; a city forgets how to sleep . . .

Julia Armfield isn’t the only debut author with great new work: we’ve also got the irresistible Oksana, Behave! by Maria Kuznetsova as well as This Storm from literary giant James Ellroy. And of course there’s the English translation of Genki Kawamura’s Sekai kara Neko ga Kieta nara–aka If Cats Disappeared from the World. Enjoy!

Salt slow / Armfield, Julia
“This collection of short stories is about women and their experiences in society, about bodies and the bodily, mapping the skin and bones of its characters through their experiences of isolation, obsession and love. Throughout the collection, women become insects, men turn to stone, a city becomes insomniac and bodies are picked apart to make up better ones. Blending the mythic and the Gothic, Salt Slow is an extraordinary collection of short stories that are sure to dazzle and shock.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Oksana, behave! : a novel / Kuznetsova, Maria
“When Oksana’s family begins their new American life in Florida after emigrating from Ukraine, her physicist father delivers pizza to make ends meet, her depressed mother sits home all day and her flamboyant grandmother relishes the attention she gets when she walks Oksana to school. Oksana just wants to have friends and lead a normal life–and though she constantly tries to do the right thing, she keeps getting herself in trouble . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

This storm / Ellroy, James
“1941, war has been declared and the Japanese internment is in full swing. Los Angeles is gripped by war fever and racial hatred. Sergeant Dudley Smith of the Los Angeles Police Department is now Army Captain Smith and a budding war profiteer. Hideo Ashida is cashing LAPD paychecks and working in the crime lab, but he knows he can’t avoid internment forever. Then Ashida becomes obsessed with finding the identity of a body discovered in a mudslide . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Blood / Gee, Maggie
“When a corrupt, brutal dentist, Albert Ludd, is found battered and bloody after failing to attend a memorial party for his youngest son, suspicion falls on the dentist’s other children. Especially on Dad’s middle daughter, 37-year-old buxom bruiser Monica Ludd, who was heard ‘uttering threats’ against her absent father. How come her car is found outside Dad’s house? And why did she buy an axe?” (Adapted from the catalogue)

If cats disappeared from the world / Kawamura, Genki
“The postman’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat Cabbage to keep him company, he was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. But before he can tackle his bucket list, the Devil appears to make him an offer: In exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, our narrator will get one extra day of life. And so begins a very bizarre week . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

The Farm / Ramos, Joanne
“Ambitious businesswoman Mae Yu runs Golden Oaks–a luxury retreat transforming the fertility industry–where women get the very best of everything, so long as they play by the rules. Jane is a young immigrant in search of a better future. Stuck living in a cramped dorm with her baby daughter and her shrewd aunt Ate, she sees an unmissable chance to change her life. But at what cost? A brilliant, darkly funny novel that explores the role of luck and merit, class, ambition and sacrifice, The Farm is unforgettable.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Necessary secrets / McGee, Greg
“Spanning the four seasons of a year, Necessary Secrets tells the story of Dennis (Den) Sparks and his three adult children. Starting with Den contemplating his mortality on the day of his 70th birthday, the year ahead is told from four different points of view. A searing picture of NZ society today, the family deals with love, loss, financial struggles, drugs, domestic violence and all the issues that Kiwis deal with daily.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

We, the survivors / Aw, Tash
“Ah Hock is an uneducated man born in a Malaysian fishing village and now trying to make his way in a country that promises riches to everyone, but delivers them only to a chosen few. With society changing around him, like many he remains trapped in a world of poorly paid jobs that just about allow him to keep his head above water but ultimately lead him to murder a migrant worker from Bangladesh. A confession–devastating, unblinking, unforgettable–which reveals a story of class, education and destiny.” (Adapted from the catalogue)