Scandinavian noir tales feature in our new mystery fiction!

The Darkness

This month’s featured mysteries include a couple of gripping Scandinavian noir tales, Donna Leon’s twenty-seventh Commissario Guido Brunetti Venetian whodunit plus Anne Perry, Quintin Jardine, Alanna Knight, Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, Mario Giordano and Peter James’ latest work. In short, if you like mystery novels it’s been a bumper month and there’s something new to suit every taste!

Syndetics book coverThe darkness / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
“After being unceremoniously forced into early retirement at the age of 64, Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsd ttir of the Reykjavik Police is refusing to go quietly. Hulda is told to pick a cold case to investigate for two more weeks and she knows just the one. A young woman found dead on the seaweed-covered rocks of the Vatnsleysustrond. A woman who had come to Iceland in search of refuge and found only a watery grave. Her death was ruled a suicide after a slapdash investigation. But when Hulda starts to ask questions she soon realises that there was something far darker to this case. That this was not the only young woman to disappear from the hostel where the asylum seekers waited for their judgement and that no one is telling the whole story. And that if she uncovers something she shouldn’t her own life might be in danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe temptation of forgiveness / Donna Leon.
“In the twenty-seventh novel in Donna Leon’s bestselling mystery series, a suspicious accident leads Commissario Guido Brunetti to uncover a longstanding scam with disturbing unintended consequences. Surprised, if not dismayed, to discover from his superior, Vice-Questore Patta, that leaks are emanating from the Questura, Commissario Guido Brunetti is surprised more consequentially by the appearance of a friend of his wife’s, fearful that her son is using drugs and hopeful Brunetti can somehow intervene. When Tullio Gasparini, the woman’s husband, is found unconscious and with a serious brain injury at the foot of a bridge in Venice after midnight, Brunetti is drawn to pursue a possible connection to the boy’s behavior.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe devil’s dice / Roz Watkins.
“A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face ribboned with scratches. A sinister message amidst rumours of a local curse, DI Meg Dalton is convinced this is cold-blooded murder. There’s just one catch – chiselled into the cave wall above the body is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century. A deadly game as Meg battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, it’s clear someone knows her secrets. The murderer is playing games with Meg – and the dice are loaded…A white-knuckle crime debut introducing DI Meg Dalton, perfect for fans of Broadchurch and Happy Valley.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Staveley suspect / Rebecca Tope.
“Simmy Brown has a lot on her mind. Not just keeping her florist business afloat, her father’s failing health, the challenge of developing a long-term relationship with Christopher, but also the approach of Mother’s Day, a busy and painful day for her. But in taking an order for a retirement party in Staveley, she is pulled into her most challenging investigation. When a daughter starts accusing her own mother of murder, Simmy, Ben and Bonnie find themselves taking different sides of the investigation. With her relationships under strain, Simmy is tried on all fronts. However, she has to learn to leave her own concerns behind to discover just who the killer is.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDark tide rising / Anne Perry.
Dark Tide Rising is the 24th compelling mystery in the William Monk series, from the master of Victorian crime Anne Perry. When Kate Exeter is kidnapped on the shore of the Thames, Commander William Monk is enlisted by her desperate husband to save her. Kate’s captors are demanding a ransom for her safe return and Monk and his most trusted men must arrange a secret handover in the dark slums of Jacob’s Island. But on the night someone betrays them and a brutal skirmish breaks out, leaving death and destruction in its wake… Monk senses tensions mount and no one knows who to trust. Then a whistle blower claims that the ransom money was embezzled funds that incriminate Kate’s husband, and the case takes on a whole new meaning.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Brush with death / Quintin Jardine.
“When millionaire Leo Speight is found poisoned at his Ayrshire mansion, Police Scotland has a tough case on its hands. Speight was a champion boxer with national hero status, and a long list of lovers and friends stand to benefit from his estate. Did one of them decide to speed things up? Or was jealousy or rivalry the motive? The Security Service wants to stay close to the investigation and they have just the man to send in: ex-Chief Constable Bob Skinner. Skinner might have retired from the police, but solving crimes is in his blood. Combining forces with DI Lottie Mann and DS Dan Provan of Serious Crimes, he’s determined to see Speight’s murderer put away for a long time. But there’s a twist even Bob Skinner couldn’t see coming…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe 17th suspect / James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.
“A series of shootings exposes San Francisco to a methodical yet unpredictable killer, and a reluctant woman decides to put her trust in Sergeant Lindsay Boxer. The confidential informant’s tip leads Lindsay to disturbing conclusions, including that something has gone horribly wrong inside the police department itself. With lives at stake, the detective can’t help but follow the case into ever more terrifying terrain. A decorated officer, loving wife, devoted mother, and loyal friend, Lindsay’s unwavering integrity has never failed her. But now she is confronting a killer who is determined to undermine it all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMurder lies waiting : a Rose McQuinn mystery / Alanna Knight.
“For Rose McQuinn the invitation to holiday at a luxury hotel on the isle of Bute is an unexpected delight until she discovers the real reason is to investigate a twenty year old non-proven murder case. With close links to a strange local family of ancient origin whose modern castle holds many dark secrets, Rose’s involvement in this challenge unleashes a web of intrigue and sinister happenings as she realizes too late when a drowned man is a murder victim and someone decides she is close enough to the truth not to leave the island alive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe reckoning / Yrsa Sigurdardóttir ; translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
In 2016 the following people are going to die: K, S, BT, JJ, OV and I. Nobody will miss them. Least of all me. I can’t wait. This is the chilling message found in a school’s time capsule, ten years after it was buried. But surely, if a thirteen-year-old wrote it, it can’t be a real threat… Huldar suspects he’s been given the investigation simply to keep him busy and away from real police work. He turns to Freyja to help with the psychology of the child who hid the note. Soon, however, they find themselves at the heart of another shocking case… For the discovery of the letter coincides with a string of macabre events: body parts found in a garden, followed by the murder of the man who owned the house. His initials are BT… and now time is running out to identify the writer, the victims and the killer, before further deaths come.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDead if you don’t / Peter James.
“Shortly after Kipp Brown and his teenage son, Mungo, arrive at the stadium for their team’s biggest-ever football game, Mungo disappears. A short while later Kipp receives a text with a ransom demand and a warning not to go to the police if he and his wife want to see their son alive again. But as a massive, covert manhunt for the boy and his kidnappers begins, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace starts to realize that not all is what it seems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAuntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord (Auntie Poldi, 2) [paperback]
A Man Called Ove meets Inspector Montalbano , Auntie Poldi leaves no stone unturned in her quest for answers. Wine and murder – nothing is more likely to rouse Auntie Poldi’s love of the chase. Still relishing the notoriety from her spectacular resolution of the Candela case, Poldi is alive to the faintest whiff of criminality. What to others might seem a series of misfortunes – the water supply cut off, a poisoned dog – is clearly, to Poldi, an escalation: the Mafia have had her in their sights ever since she solved Valentino’s murder. Poldi has tasted blood. No one is above suspicion. And trouble will surely follow…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Find a new favourite in our contemporary fiction picks

Folk

The picks of the contemporary fiction this month feature a range of authors who work will enfold or re-enfold you in their worlds. They include debut novelists recommended for their construction and characters and a reprint of an Australian author’s exploration of mortality. Some of these authors are award winners or listed for literary prizes. Intrigue, insight, deception, mystery, invention and sardonic humour can be found in the library’s new fiction additions.

Syndetics book coverTangerine / Christine Mangan.
“Obsession intersects two love triangles in this tale of devotion gone wrong. Twisted passion, perceived betrayal, and a fight for survival are written into the exotic, colourful, and dangerous backdrop of 1950s Tangier, Morocco. Alice Shipley and Lucy Mason are introverted college roommates who quickly become best friends. But when Alice finds romance with Tom, odd things happen, ending with a car accident that tears their lives apart. Trying to forget Lucy and their tainted past, Alice marries a man she hardly knows and moves to Tangier–a place that holds the promise of adventure laced with the thrill of danger but that proves too threatening for Alice. When Lucy discovers that Alice’s marriage is far from happy, she decides to rescue the woman she’d loved in college, once again claiming her as her own.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAdjustment day / Chuck Palahniuk.
“People pass the word only to those they trust most: Adjustment Day is coming. They’ve been reading a mysterious book and memorizing its directives. They are ready for the reckoning. Adjustment Day, the author’s first novel in four years, is an ingeniously comic work in which Chuck Palahniuk does what he does best: skewer the absurdities in our society. When Adjustment Day arrives, it fearlessly makes real the logical conclusion of every separatist fantasy, alternative fact, and conspiracy theory lurking in the American psyche.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrankenstein in Baghdad : a novel / Ahmed Saadawi ; translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright.
“From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi–a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local café–collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial. But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking criminal who, though shot, cannot be killed. Hadi soon realizes he’s created a monster, one that needs human flesh to survive–first from the guilty, and then from anyone in its path.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe executor / Blake Morrison.
“What matters most: marriage or friendship? fidelity or art? the wishes of the living or the talents of the dead? Matt Holmes finds himself considering these questions sooner than he thinks when his friend, the poet Robert Pope, dies unexpectedly. Bestselling novelist and poet Blake Morrison creates a biting portrait of competitive male friendship, sexual obsession and the fragile transactions of married life. The Executor innovatively interweaves poetry and prose to form a gripping literary detective story.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverThe eight mountains / Paolo Cognetti ; translated from the Italian by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre.
“The international sensation about two young Italian boys from different backgrounds who meet in the mountains every summer, and the men they grow to become. Pietro, a lonely city boy, spends his childhood summers in a secluded valley in the Alps. Bruno, the cowherd son of a local stonemason, knows the mountains intimately. A modern Italian masterpiece, The Eight Mountains is a lyrical coming-of-age story spanning three decades; a novel about the power of male friendships and a meditation on loyalty, being in nature, and finding one’s place in the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProperty : stories between two novellas / Lionel Shriver.
“A striking new collection of ten short stories and two novellas that explores the idea of property in every meaning of the word. Lionel Shriver’s first collection explores property in both senses of the word: real estate and stuff. These pieces illustrate how our possessions act as proxies for ourselves, in Lionel Shriver’s world, we may possess people and objects and places, but in turn they possess us. Exhibiting a satisfying thematic unity unusual for a collection, this masterful work showcases the biting insight that has made Shriver one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFolk / Zoe Gilbert.
“The remote island village of Neverness is a world far from our time and place. The air hangs rich with the coconut-scent of gorse and the salty bite of the sea. Harsh winds scour the rocky coastline. The villagers’ lives are inseparable from nature and its enchantments. Tales of this island community interweave over the course of a generation, their earthy desires, resentments, idle gossip and painful losses create a staggeringly original world. Verlyn Webbe, born with a wing for an arm, unfurls his feathers in defiance of past shame; Plum is snatched by a water bull and dragged to his lair; little Crab Skerry takes his first run through the gorse-maze; Madden sleepwalks through violent storms, haunted by horses and her father’s wishes.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBreath / Tim Winton.
“When paramedic Bruce Pike is called out to deal with another teenage adventure gone wrong, he knows better than his colleague, better than the kid’s parents, what happened and how. Thirty years before, that dead boy could have been him. A relentlessly gripping and deeply moving novel about the damage you do to yourself when you’re young and think you’re immortal. Originally published in 2008.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDead men’s trousers / Irvine Welsh.
“Mark Renton is finally a success. An international jet-setter, he now makes significant money managing DJs, but the constant travel, airport lounges, soulless hotel rooms and broken relationships have left him dissatisfied with his life. He’s then rocked by a chance encounter with Frank Begbie, who appears to have reinvented himself as a celebrated artist. Sick Boy and Spud are intrigued to learn that their old friends are back in town, but when they enter the bleak world of organ-harvesting, things start to go so badly wrong. One of these four will not survive to the end of this book. Which one of them is wearing Dead Men’s Trousers?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTwisted prey / John Sandford.Twisted Prey
“Taryn Grant had run successfully for the U.S. Senate, where Lucas had predicted she’d fit right in. He was also convinced that she’d been responsible for three murders, though he’d never been able to prove it. Once a psychopath had gotten that kind of rush, though, he or she often needed another fix, so he figured he might be seeing her again. He was right. A federal marshal now, with a very wide scope of investigation, he’s heard rumours that Grant has found her seat on the Senate intelligence committee, and the contacts she’s made from it, to be very…useful.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPanic room / Robert Goddard.
“Sometimes the danger is on the inside… High on a Cornish cliff sits a vast uninhabited mansion, uninhabited except for Blake, a young woman of dubious background, secretive and alone, currently acting as house sitter. The house has a panic room. Even Blake doesn’t know it’s there. She’s too busy being on the run from life, from a story she thinks she’s escaped. But her remote existence is going to be invaded when people come looking for the house’s owner, missing rogue pharma entrepreneur, Jack Harkness.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverThe woman in the woods / John Connolly.
“The new thrilling instalment of John Connolly’s popular Charlie Parker series. It is spring, and the semi-preserved body of a young Jewish woman is discovered buried in the Maine woods. It is clear that she gave birth shortly before her death. But there is no sign of a baby. Private detective Charlie Parker is engaged by the lawyer Moxie Castin to shadow the police investigation and find the infant, but Parker is not the only searcher. Someone else is following the trail left by the woman, someone with an interest in more than a missing child, someone prepared to leave bodies in his wake. And in a house by the woods, a toy telephone begins to ring. For a young boy is about to receive a call from a dead woman…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Selected picks from our latest graphic novels

Brazen

There is a rich diversity in this month’s graphic novel picks, from continuations of acclaimed series such as Arthur De Pins’ The Revolution of the Crabs to historic seminal cult works such as the DC House of Horror anthology to a wonderful graphic novel celebrating the rebel ladies who rocked the world. All in all it’s a rich cornucopia with works to suit all tastes.

Syndetics book coverThe death of Stalin / writer, Fabien Nury ; artist, Thierry Robin.
“On March 1, 1953, the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, had a severe stroke. A doctor could not be called until the Central Committee had convened, voted, and agreed on which doctor to use, a task made more complex by the fact that Stalin had just ordered the deaths of many of the Soviet Union’s leading physicians. And so began the bureaucratic merry-go-round that became the intense and underhanded struggle for control of a nation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe green hand and other stories / Nicole Claveloux with Edith Zha ; introduction by Daniel Clowes ; translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith.
“Nicole Claveloux’s short stories–originally published in the late 1970s and never before collected in English–are among the most beautiful comics ever drawn: whimsical, intoxicating, with the freshness and splendor of dreams. In hallucinatory colour or elegant black-and-white, she brings us into lands that are strange but oddly recognizable, filled with murderous grandmothers and lonely city dwellers, bad-tempered vegetables and walls that are surprisingly easy to fall through. This new selection, designed and introduced by Daniel Clowes, presents the full achievement of an unforgettable, unjustly neglected master of French comics.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOrion’s outcasts / Corbeyran & Jorge Miguel ; Corbeyran, writer ; Jorge Miguel, artist & colorist ; Mark Bence, translator.
“Now, instead of Kolhen’s warrior tattoo, the young man wears the mark of the rejected, the ‘outcasts’ as they are known on the planet Absalon. Determined to prove his innocence and to get revenge on those who framed him, Kolhen escapes captivity with the help of the fiery Tryana, another of society’s pariahs. On his quest, Kolhen meets a mysterious woman with golden hair, who’s armed with strange and powerful weaponry, and who claims to be an envoy from another planet: Earth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRashomon : a Commissioner Heigo Kobayashi case / story and art by Victor Santos ; translations by Katie LaBarbera.
“Victor Santos (Polar, Violent Love) writes and illustrates a crime and mystery story inspired by Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s tales featuring the heroic commissioner Heigo Kobayashi. When the body of a skilled samurai is found along the road to Yamashina in feudal Japan, the search begins for his killer. Detective Heigo Kobayashi takes the case but finds only dead-end clues and no first-hand witnesses.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe walking dead. Volume 29, Lines we cross / Robert Kirkman, creator, writer ; Charlie Adlard, penciler ; Stefano Gaudiano, inker.
“Recent events have thrown Alexandria into turmoil, and now Rick, Dwight, Eugene and Negan all have something to prove.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBrazen : rebel ladies who rocked the world / Pénélope Bagieu ; English translation by Montana Kane.
“Throughout history and across the globe, one characteristic connects the daring women of Brazen : their indomitable spirit.With her characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, celebrated graphic novelist Pénélope Bagieu profiles the lives of these feisty female role models, some world famous, some little known. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Hellblazer. Vol. 3, The inspiration game / Tim Seeley, Richard Kadrey, writers ; Jesús Merino, Davide Fabbri, José Marzán Jr., artists.
“Death doesn’t just become John Constantine–it shadows the poor bastard’s every step, from his home turf of London to the streets of San Francisco. What’s more, it has a nasty habit of striking where the DC Universe’s street-level sorcerer least expects it–like his dreams. After waking from a vengeful drunken nightmare, Constantine finds that a real-life murder has been committed. Could he have done the deed himself in a blacked-out rage? Or is some sinister force turning his subconscious mind into the ultimate untraceable weapon?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe march of the crabs [3] : the revolution of the crabs / written and illustrated by Arthur de Pins ; translated by Edward Gauvin.
The March of the Crabs concludes in the third volume of the Eisner Award-nominated series. Inhabiting the Gironde estuary, there is a race of crabs known for their strange defect: unable to evolve, they are condemned to spend their lives walking a single straight line. When Sunny, Boater, and Guitar, discovered a way to spur their biology and change directions, their bold moves broke the crabs into two clans: the rigid (who walk straight) and the turners (who change direction). Now, these two factions are prepared for battle as the other underwater creatures look on, ready to take a side. But the stunning rebellion comes in the crosshairs of another species on the brink of their own cataclysmic change of course… humanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBullseye : the Colombian connection.
“He’s a ruthless hitman who never misses, a deadly foe who can turn any object into a lethal weapon! But why is the Marvel Universe’s most dangerous assassin heading to Colombia to take aim at a drug cartel? Find out as Bullseye takes charge!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRock Candy Mountain. Volume one / written & drawn by Kyle Starks.
“It’s the first collection of the manic, hobo fighting epic that is Rock Candy Mountain. Come inside and meet the mysterious, unbeatable hobo Jackson on his quest to find the mythical hobo heaven. Meet his sidekick Pomona Slim. But watch out for the Devil! And the FBI! And the Hobo Mafia too! It’s a fantastical fisticuff frolic through post- World War II America via the rails and backroads through underground fight clubs, prison and the hobo jungles wrought with dangers, hobo fights, jokes and locomotive excitement.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRom [3] : long roads to ruin / plot and script by Chris Ryall & Christos Gage ; art by David Messina ; pencils by Guy Dorian, Sr. ; inks by Michele Pasta and Sal Buscema.
“Rom now has help in his war against the Dire Wraiths in the form of additional Solstar Knights and super-powered human allies both… so why is the battle going from bad to worse? The Wraiths’ master plan grows and Rom can’t even see it, let alone find any way to stop it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New sci fi and fantasy selections

The Wolf

This month’s featured science fiction and fantasy novels are selected from our wide range of new acquisitions, and include a series conclusion from Elizabeth May and a future cop mystery from award-winning author John Scalzi. There are also several novels that weave into their plots such themes as mining, alternative medieval Britain and bleak dystopian cities. All will ensure fascinating, thrilling reading.

Syndetics book coverHead on / John Scalzi.
“John Scalzi returns with Head On, the standalone follow-up to the critically acclaimed Lock In. Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are “threeps,” robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it. Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field. Is it an accident or murder? FBI agents and Haden-related crime investigators, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann, are called in to uncover the truth–and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fallen kingdom / Elizabeth May.
My name is Lady Aileana Kameron. First the fae murdered my mother. Then they destroyed my world. Then one of them killed me. Now I’m fighting for more than revenge.
The long-awaited final book in the Falconer trilogy is an imaginative tour-de-force that will thrill fans of the series. Aileana Kameron, resurrected by ancient fae magic, returns to the world she once knew with no memory of her past and with dangerous powers she struggles to control. Desperate to break the curse that pits two factions of the fae against, her only hope is hidden in an ancient book guarded by the legendary Morrigan, a faery of immense power and cruelty.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEarthcore / Scott Sigler.
“Deep below a desolate Utah mountain lies the largest platinum deposit ever discovered. A billion-dollar find, it waits for any company that can drill a world’s record, three-mile-deep mine shaft. EarthCore is the company with the technology, the resources and the guts to go after the mother lode. Young executive Connell Kirkland is the company’s driving force, pushing himself and those around him to uncover the massive treasure. But at three miles below the surface, where the rocks are so hot they burn bare skin, something has been waiting for centuries. Waiting … and guarding. Kirkland and EarthCore are about to find out firsthand why this treasure has never been unearthed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wolf / Leo Carlew.
“Carlew’s debut novel presents an alternate medieval Britain in which the isle of Albion is shared by human Saxons and two races of giants: the incredibly long-lived Anakim and the larger and rarer Unhieru. The uneasy peace between the southern Saxon kingdom and the Black Kingdom of the Anakim is broken as the Sutherners invade, scoring an unexpected victory and killing the current Black Lord. The novel follows both the Anakim heir, Roper, as he attempts to defend the kingdom from invasion while dealing with rivals for the throne, and the leader of the southern invasion, Bellamus, a commoner attempting to not only destroy the Anakim but also secure his own advancement.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlackfish City / Sam J. Miller.
“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.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBefore Mars : a Planetfall novel / Emma Newman.
“After months of travel, Anna Kubrin finally arrives on Mars for her new job as a geologist and de facto artist-in-residence. Already she feels like she is losing the connection with her husband and baby at home on Earth–and she’ll be on Mars for over a year. Throwing herself into her work, she tries her best to fit in with the team. But in her new room on the base, Anna finds a mysterious note written in her own handwriting, warning her not to trust the colony psychologist. A note she can’t remember writing. Anna begins to suspect that her assignment isn’t as simple as she was led to believe. Is she caught up in an elaborate corporate conspiracy, or is she actually losing her mind?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe hyena and the hawk / Adrian Tchaikovsky.
“From the depths of myth an ancient enemy has returned: the Plague People, whose very presence obliterates whole villages; whose terror destroys minds. In their wake, nothing is left of the people, not their places, not their ways. On the plains, the warriors and the wise of all tribes gather to confront the aggressor. Loud Thunder leads his great war-host south, even as Tecumet and Asman head north with the Sun River army. With Maniye Many Tracks, they plan to forge a new unity between the tribes such as the world has never seen. But will it be enough to stave off an oblivion that might devour even their gods?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAscendant / Jack Campbell.
“In the three years since former fleet officer Rob Geary and former Marine Mele Darcy led improvised forces to repel attacks on the newly settled world of Glenlyon, tensions have only gotten worse. When one of Glenlyon’s warships is blown apart trying to break the blockade that has isolated the world from the rest of human-colonized space, only the destroyer Saber remains to defend it from another attack. Geary’s decision to take Saber to the nearby star Kosatka to safeguard a diplomatic mission is a risky interpretation of his orders, to say the least. When a “peacekeeping force” carrying thousands of enemy soldiers arrives in Kosatka’s star system, the people of that world face an apparently hopeless battle to retain their freedom. It’s said that the best defense is a good offense. But even if a bold and risky move succeeds, Geary and Darcy may not survive it…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOne way / S. J. Morden.
“Andy Weir’s The Martian meets Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None in this edge-of-your-seat science fiction thriller about one man’s fight for survival on a planet where everyone’s a killer. Frank Kittridge is serving life for murdering his son’s drug dealer, so when he’s offered a deal by Xenosystems Operations – the corporation that owns the prison – he takes it. He’s been selected to help build the first permanent base on Mars. Unfortunately, his crewmates are just as guilty of their crimes as he is. As the convicts set to work on the frozen wastes of Mars, the accidents multiply.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOversleeper [paperback]
“What do you do when you wake up one morning and find that everything you know has changed? On Monday morning Ignatius Inuus finds himself on the run in a New York he barely recognises. Helped by a mysterious young woman, he starts to learn about the new regime. And, the brutal society – in which people survive at the expense of their humanity – seems to be more nightmare than dream. In his quest to force change, he discovers that when you possess the power of life or death over people, choosing life is not as simple as it seems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New science fiction novels

The Tangled Lands

All aspects of science fiction and fantasy — dystopian fiction, space warfare, aliens, magic, planetary missions, and much more — are represented each month in our selections from the new novels added to Wellington City Libraries collection. Readers of this genre are always guaranteed hours of escapist pleasure.

Syndetics book coverThe fallen kingdom / Elizabeth May.
My name is Lady Aileana Kameron. First the fae murdered my mother. Then they destroyed my world. Then one of them killed me. Now I’m fighting for more than revenge.
The long-awaited final book in the Falconer trilogy is an imaginative tour-de-force that will thrill fans of the series. Packed with immersive detail, action, romance, and fae lore, The Fallen Kingdom brings the Falconer’s story to an epic and unforgettable conclusion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe tangled lands / Paolo Bacigalupi & Tobias Buckell.
“Khaim, The Blue City, is the last remaining city in a crumbled empire that overly relied upon magic until it became toxic. It is run by a tyrant known as The Jolly Mayor and his devious right hand, the last archmage in the world. Together they try to collect all the magic for themselves so they can control the citizens of the city. But when their decadence reaches new heights and begins to destroy the environment, the people stage an uprising to stop them. In four interrelated parts, The Tangled Lands is an evocative and epic story of resistance and heroic sacrifice in the twisted remains surrounding the last great city of Khaim.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bitter twins / Jen Williams.
“The Ninth Rain has fallen. The Jure’lia are awake. Nothing can be the same again. Tormalin the Oathless and the fell-witch Noon have their work cut out rallying the first war-beasts to be born in Ebora for three centuries. But these are not the great winged warriors of old. Hatched too soon and with no memory of their past incarnations, these onetime defenders of Sarn can barely stop bickering, let alone face an ancient enemy who grow stronger each day.The key to uniting them, according to the scholar Vintage, may lie in a part of Sarn no one really believes exists. But finding it will mean a perilous journey in a time of war, while new monsters lie in wait for those left behind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe long sunset / Jack McDevitt.
“From Nebula Award winner Jack McDevitt comes the eighth installment in the popular The Academy series. Despite taking part in the recent scientific breakthrough that rejuvenates the human body and expands one’s lifespan, Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins finds herself as a famous interstellar pilot with little to do, until a message from an alien race arrives. The message is a piece of music from an unexplored area. Despite the fact that this alien race could pose a great danger and that this message could have taken several thousand years to travel, the program prepares the last interstellar ship for the journey. As the paranoia grows, Hutch and her crew make an early escape–but what they find at the other end of the galaxy is completely unexpected.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTwice bitten : an Argeneau novel / Lynsay Sands.
“For someone who’s been around for over a hundred and forty years, immortal Elspeth Argeneau hasn’t done a whole lot of living. Now that she’s moved away from her controlling mother, she’s tracking down rogue vampires and enjoying some overdue freedom. A fling would be fun. A life mate can wait. Yet to Elspeth’s surprise, her landlady’s hot grandson checks both boxes. Wyatt fell instantly in love with Elspeth four years ago. He’s stunned to run into her again, especially as she has no memory of him. With mysterious “accidents” besieging Elspeth, the ex-Special Forces soldier appoints himself her bodyguard. But time is running out to uncover the truth about her enemies–and rediscover the man determined to love her for eternity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Stitching up the universe: New eAudiobook fiction

The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us. – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

But is that true? And if so, what’s been stitched together in this month’s new eAudiobook fiction from Overdrive? As well as Bradbury’s 1953 classic, there’s a patchwork of other great titles, from Zadie Smith’s White Teeth to Ian McEwan’s The Innocent. Political tensions emerge in Alex Berenson’s The Deceivers and to top it off, there’s the novel that spawned the latest Netflix hit: Altered Carbon!

Overdrive cover Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
“Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of 20th-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future, narrated here by Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins. Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities: the printed book.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover White Teeth, by Zadie Smith
“Zadie Smith’s dazzling debut caught critics grasping for comparisons, but the truth is that Zadie Smith’s voice is remarkably, fluently, and altogether wonderfully her own. Set against London’s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Bachelor Girl, by Kim van Alkemade
“From the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 comes a fresh and intimate novel in the vein of Lilac Girls and The Alice Network about the destructive power of secrets and the redemptive power of love—inspired by the true story of Jacob Ruppert, the millionaire owner of the New York Yankees, and his mysterious bequest in 1939 to an unknown actress, Helen Winthrope Weyant.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Code of Conduct, by Brad Thor
“Hidden deep within one of the world’s most powerful organizations is a secret committee with a devastating agenda. Its members are afforded incredible protections—considered elites, untouchables. But when four seconds of video is captured halfway around the world and anonymously transmitted to D.C., covert wheels are set in motion, and counter-terrorism operative Scot Harvath is tapped to undertake the deadliest assignment of his career.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover This Could Hurt, by Jillian Medoff
“Jillian Medoff explores the inner workings of an American company in all its brilliant, insane, comforting and terrifying glory. Authentic, razor-sharp and achingly funny, This Could Hurt is a novel about work, loneliness, love and loyalty; about sudden reversals and unexpected windfalls; a novel about life.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Innocent, by Ian McEwan
“The setting is Berlin. Into this divided city, wrenched between East and West, between past and present; comes twenty-five-year-old Leonard Marnham, assigned to a British-American surveillance team. Though only a pawn in an international plot that is never fully revealed to him, Leonard uses his secret work to escape the bonds of his ordinary life – and to lose his unwanted innocence.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Every Note Played, by Lisa Genova
“An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world. But that was eight months ago. Richard now has ALS. As his muscles, voice and breath fade, he and his ex-wife Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late. Poignant and powerful, Every Note Played is a masterful exploration of redemption and what it means to find peace inside of forgiveness.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Deceivers, by Alex Berenson
“It was supposed to be a terrorist sting. The guns were supposed to be disabled. Then why was there so much blood? The target was the American Airlines Center, the home of the Dallas Mavericks. The FBI had told Ahmed Shakir that his drug bust would go away if he helped them, and they’d supply all the weaponry, carefully removing the firing pins before the main event. It never occurred to Ahmed to doubt them, until it was too late.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan
“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.” (Overdrive description.)

New mysteries for the month

Pandora's Boy

This month we have included in our selection the latest mystery novels from many very popular much acclaimed writers. These include Jo Nesbo, Donna Leon and Arnaldur Indriðason. There are also debut authors, who show much promise for continuing their main characters’ development in future mysteries.

Syndetics book coverMacbeth / Jo Nesbo ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
“He’s the best cop they’ve got. When a drug bust turns into a bloodbath it’s up to Inspector Macbeth and his team to clean up the mess. He’s also an ex-drug addict with a troubled past. He’s rewarded for his success. Power. Money. Respect. They’re all within reach. But a man like him won’t get to the top. Plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, Macbeth starts to unravel. He’s convinced he won’t get what is rightfully his. Unless he kills for it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverQueen Anne’s lace / Susan Wittig Albert.
“While helping Ruby Wilcox clean up the loft above their shops, China comes upon a box of antique handcrafted lace and old photographs. Soon, strange happenings start to occur in Thyme and Seasons: misplaced items, a ringing bell, and the appearance of lavender sprigs in odd places. China must finally admit what Ruby has always known: their building is haunted. But by whom? As China investigates, the tragic story of a woman in one of the old photographs unfolds. China delves into Annie’s century-old mystery and realises that solving it could have unimaginable repercussions in the here and now.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe temptation of forgiveness / Donna Leon.
“In the twenty-seventh novel in Donna Leon’s bestselling mystery series, a suspicious accident leads Commissario Guido Brunetti to uncover a longstanding scam with disturbing unintended consequences The memorable characters and Venetian drama that have long captivated Donna Leon’s many readers are on full display in The Temptation of Forgiveness. As the twenty-seventh novel unfolds in Donna Leon’s exquisite chronicle of Venetian life in all its blissful and sordid aspects, Brunetti pursues several false and contradictory leads while growing ever more impressed by the intuition of his fellow Commissario, Claudia Griffoni, and by the endless resourcefulness and craftiness of Signorina Elettra, Patta’s secretary and gate-keeper.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe shadow killer / Arnaldur Indriðason ; translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
“Reykjavík, August 1941. When a travelling sales rep is found murdered in a Reykjavík flat, killed by a bullet from a Colt 45, the police initially suspect a member of the Allied occupation force. Flóvent, Reykjavík’s sole detective, is joined by the young military policeman Thorson. Flóvent and Thorson race to solve the case before US Counterintelligence can take it out of their hands, amid rumours of a pending visit by Churchill. But the plot thickens as evidence emerges of dubious experiments carried out on Icelandic schoolboys in the 1930s, while Thorson becomes increasingly suspicious of the role played by the murdered man’s former girlfriend, Vera, and her British soldier lover.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe killing site : a Liberty Lane mystery / Caro Peacock.
“July, 1847. Now a happily married mother-of-two, Liberty Lane is undertaking very few private investigative assignments. But when she is kidnapped from outside a smart London townhouse, where she had been attending a dinner party with her husband Robert, she must call on all her old investigative skills to discover who has taken her, and why. As Libby tries to formulate a plan of escape, her old friends, former street urchin Tabby and groom Amos Legge, desperately search for her. Tabby keeps watch on the house – and makes a truly shocking discovery.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFakes and lies : a Naomi Blake novel / Jane A. Adams.
“When artist and sometime forger Freddie Jones is found dead of an apparent heart attack, no one is surprised. Freddie drank heavily and was a lifelong smoker. The only dissenting voice comes from Freddie’s daughter, Bee. Before he died, her father confided that he was afraid of something – and she is convinced he was murdered. Unable to interest the police, Bee takes her suspicions to her father’s old friend, Bob Taylor, who in turn seeks the advice of ex-police officer Naomi Blake. When a prominent gallery owner is murdered and a portfolio of Freddie’s drawings is stolen, it would appear to confirm Bee’s suspicions. What dangerous games had Freddie Jones been playing? And is Bee herself in danger?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPandora’s boy / Lindsey Davis.
“On the Quirinal Hill, a young girl named Clodia has died, apparently poisoned with a love potion. Only one person could have supplied such a thing: a local witch who goes by the name of Pandora, whose trade in herbal beauty products is hiding something far more sinister. The supposedly sweet air of the Quirinal is masking the stench of loose morality, casual betrayal and even gangland conflict and, when a friend of her own is murdered, Albia determines to expose as much of this local sickness as she can – beginning with the truth about Clodia’s death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe smiling man / Joseph Knox.
“Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift. Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to The Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city. There they find the body of a man. He is dead. And he is smiling. The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life… But even as Waits puts together the pieces of this stranger’s life, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move. And to discover the smiling man’s identity, he must finally confront his own.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhiteout / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated by Quentin Bates.
“Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kalfshamarvik. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thor Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA dangerous crossing / Ausma Zehanat Khan.
“For Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty, the Syrian refugee crisis is about to become personal. Esa’s childhood friend, Nathan Clare, calls him in distress: his sister, Audrey, has vanished from a Greek island where the siblings run an NGO. Audrey had been working to fast-track refugees to Canada, but now, she is implicated in the double-murder of a French Interpol agent and a young man who had fled the devastation in Syria. Had Audrey been on the edge of a dangerous discovery, hidden at the heart of this darkest of crises–one which ultimately put a target on her own back?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Comedians + crows: New graphic novels

Crow of Whareatua

This month’s selection of new graphic novels illustrates the diversity of this collection. The narratives range from comedy to tragedy, from modern life to horror, from the sublime to the surreal, some classic re-releases, and all have extraordinary artwork.

Syndetics book coverIs this guy for real? : the unbelievable Andy Kaufman / Box Brown.
“Comedian and performer Andy Kaufman’s resume was impressive–a popular role on the beloved sitcom Taxi, a high-profile stand-up career, and a surprisingly successful stint in professional wrestling. Although he was by all accounts a sensitive and thoughtful person, he’s ironically best remembered for his various contemptible personas, which were so committed and so convincing that all but his closest family and friends were completely taken in. Why would someone so gentle-natured and sensitive build an entire career seeking the hatred of his audience? What drives a performer to solicit that reaction? With the same nuance and sympathy with which he approached Andre the Giant in his 2014 biography, graphic novelist Box Brown’s Is This Guy For Real? takes on the complex and often hilarious life of Andy Kaufman.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProvidence. Act 2 / story, Alan Moore ; art, Jacen Burrows.
“Robert Black came looking for a story but what he found is a world of misery and woe. He’s becoming a broken man, only beginning to accept the horrors of the Lovecraftian world are real and hiding in plain sight. Alan Moore’s quintessential horror series has set the standard for a terrifying reinvention of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. It is being universally hailed as one of Moore’s most realized works in which the master scribe has controlled every iota of the story, art, and presentation. The result has been a masterpiece like no other and a true must-have addition to his essential work in the field.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Crow of WhareatuaCrow of Whareatua : a New Zealand war story : a graphic novel / Marsh, Sid
“Set in 1869, Te Kooti Arikirangi te Turuki is founder of the Ringatū religion and the commander of the deadliest Māori guerilla force of the nineteenth century. Te Urewera is the battleground a wilderness of forest and bird, mountain and waterway. A war fought with a ruthlessness and ferocity that even Vietnam, one hundred years later cannot surpass. Kupapa warrior and colonist trooper pitted against Tuhoe toa and Ringatū land-grunt. Crow of Whareatua seeks to bring life to a one month period of a bitter four year war.” (Catalogue summary)

Syndetics book coverBingo love / written by Tee Franklin ; art by Jenn St-Onge.
“When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage. Bingo Love is a touching story of love, family, and resiliency that spans over 60 years.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe unquotable Trump / compiled and drawn by R. Sikoryak.
“R. Sikoryak is famous for taking classic comics and mashing them with famous literature as he did in Masterpiece Comics or even using comics to visualize the iTunes Terms and Conditions contract. Now in these uncertain times, cartoonist R. Sikoryak draws upon the power of comics and satire to frame President Trump and his controversial declarations as the words and actions of the most notable villains and antagonists in comic book history. Reimagining the most famous comic covers, Sikoryak transforms Wonder Woman into Nasty Woman; Tubby Tompkins into Trump; Black Panther into the Black Voter; the Fantastic Four into the Hombres Fantasticos and Trump into Magneto fighting the Ex-Men.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPortugal / Pedrosa ; translation by Montana Kane.
“From the author of the acclaimed Equinoxes comes a return to roots that serves as spiritual renewal. Comics artist Simon Muchat is stuck. Suffering writer’s block, uninspired, vegetating as a school art teacher, he is losing direction and his taste for life, until one day he is invited to appear at a comics convention in Portugal, the country his family came from and which he hadn’t seen since his childhood. Even though he is a foreigner there, so many elements of the country are familiar to him. Meeting its lively citizens and recounting early memories brought by back his distant yet welcoming family all prove reinvigorating–the breath of fresh air he so badly needed. Based on his own experience, Pedrosa narrates this return to his roots in a deeply compelling and warmly human way.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ghost of Gaudí / written by El Torres ; illustrated by Jesús Alonso Iglesias ; translation by Ester Villardon Grande.
“Someone is committing barbarous murders throughout Barcelona, focusing on locations designed by renowned visionary architect Antoni Gaudi. The police have no clues, but a young woman is thrust into the investigation by a man resembling the late Gaudi himself, led to the scenes of the crimes before they even occur… could be a precognizant ghost? A visual tour through the beautiful streets of Barcelona on a true edge-of-your-seat thriller written by El Torres and illustrated by Jesus Alonso, both natives of the city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSamaris ; and, The mysteries of Pâhry / written by Benoît Peeters ; illustrated by François Schuiten.
“Against the urging of his friends and his lover, Franz, a young officer in the Xhystos government, is sent on a mission to the remote and elusive city of Samaris to investigate the disappearance of several of his colleagues. After weeks of travel, Franz reaches Samaris, to find a practically deserted city of enveloping and deceptive architecture. He is immediately bewitched by a mysterious young woman, drawing the suspicion of the other residents. Can Franz escape the impending doom of this sprawling metropolis?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSaga of the Swamp Thing. Book two / written by Alan Moore, Len Wein ; art by Stephen Bissette…[et al.]
“In this second collection Swamp Thing hardcover featuring SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #28-34 and SWAMP THING ANNUAL #2, the Earth Elemental says goodbye to the illusion of his own humanity after learning that he is 100 percent plant, meets a crew of benevolent alien invaders inspired by the classic swamp-based comic strip Pogo, and consummates his relationship with Abigail Arcane as only he could.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe lie and how we told it / Tommi Parrish.
“Parrish’s emotionally loaded, painted graphic novel is is a visual tour de force, always in the service of the author’s themes: navigating queer desire, masculinity, fear, and the ever-in-flux state of friendships.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New and recommended contemporary fiction

Image from Syndetics

All the novels in this month’s selection of new contemporary fiction come highly recommended. With psychological thrillers, translated novels, romantic fiction, historical and gothic fiction, this selection will provided hours of enjoyable reading. This selection includes new novels from some highly acclaimed authors, and several debut novels that will surely secure these authors’ future writing careers.

Syndetics book coverThe Tuscan child / Rhys Bowen.
“In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal. Nearly thirty years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation. Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father’s history–and maybe come to understand herself as well.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe good doctor of Warsaw / Elisabeth Gifford.
“Deeply in love and about to marry, students Misha and Sophia flee a Warsaw under Nazi occupation for a chance at freedom. Forced to return to the Warsaw ghetto, they help Misha’s mentor, Dr Korczak, care for the 200 children in his orphanage. As Korczak struggles to uphold the rights of even the smallest child in the face of unimaginable conditions, he becomes a beacon of hope for the thousands who live behind the walls. This novel is based on the true accounts of Misha and Sophia, and on the life of one of Poland’s greatest men, Dr. Korczak.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTemplar silks / Elizbeth Chadwick.
“William Marshal has reached the end of his long and glorious life. On his deathbed at his manor in Caversham, he has one final task for his loyal servant: to fetch the silks William had woven in Jerusalem as a young man. William made a solemn promise to the Order of the Templars and he intends to leave the world as a member of that order. As he waits to perform to his last knightly duty, William is swept back into his own past. Determined to fulfil his last vow to his beloved Prince, William set forth on a quest to Jerusalem, which led him down dark and twisting paths, and brought him great passion and great loss… In the holiest and most dangerous of cities, William Marshall became the Greatest Knight.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKintu / Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.
“The year is 1750. Making his way to the capital to pledge allegiance to the new leader of the Buganda Kingdom, Kintu Kidda unleashes a curse that will plague his family for generations. As the centuries pass, the tale moves down the bloodline, exploring the lives of four of Kintu’s descendants. Although the family members all have their own stories and live in very different circumstances, they are united by one thing – the struggle to break free from the curse and escape the burden of the family’s past.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfter Anna / Lisa Scottoline.
“Dr. Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie Ippolitti, and for the first time in a long time, he and his young son are happy. Maggie is happy too, and she’s even more overjoyed when she unexpectedly gets another chance to be a mother to the child she thought she’d lost forever, her only daughter Anna. Anna turns out to be a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules, though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble brewing in a once-perfect marriage and home. Riveting and disquieting, After Anna is a groundbreaking domestic thriller, as well as a novel of emotional justice and legal intrigue. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe thief : a novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood / J.R. Ward.
“New enemies rise and desire burns in the next thrilling novel of the #1 New York Times bestselling paranormal romance series the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Sola Morte, former cat burglar and safecracker, has given up her old life on the wrong side of the law. Her heart, though, is back up north, with the only man who has ever gotten through her defenses: Assail, son of Assail, who never meant to fall in love–and certainly not with a human woman. Fate, however, has other plans for them. When Assail falls into a coma and lingers on the verge of death, his cousins seek out Sola and beg her to give him a reason to live. The last thing she wants is a return to her past, but how can she leave him to die?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Apothecary’s Shop : A Novel of Venice 1118 A.D.
“The young Costanza, of the noble Grimani family, has disappeared. Edgardo, the family scribe, vows to return the girl to her family, an ambitious enterprise considering his failing eyesight. Physical ailments and emotional torment hinder Edgardo’s search, for as he undertakes this perilous investigation, images of his own lost love–Kallis, a slave from the Far East who disappeared in a storm years ago–are resurrected. Help arrives in the form of Abella, the only female doctor in Venice. From her, Edgardo learns of occult medical practices and of Sabbatai’s Apothecary, where the city’s most desperate citizens seek heretical remedies and concoctions to sooth their suffering. It is here, however, where the secret of Constanza’s disappearance may lie.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cutting edge : a Lincoln Rhyme novel / Jeffery Deaver.
“In the early hours of a quiet, weekend morning in Manhattan’s Diamond District, a brutal triple murder shocks the city. Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs quickly take the case. Curiously, the killer has left behind a half-million dollars’ worth of gems at the murder scene, a jewelry store on 47th street. As more crimes follow, it becomes clear that the killer’s target is not gems, but engaged couples themselves. The Promisor vows to take the lives of men and women during their most precious moments–midway through the purchase of an engagement ring, after a meeting with a wedding planner, trying on the perfect gown for a day that will never come. Soon the Promiser makes a dangerous mistake: leaving behind an innocent witness, Vimal Lahori, who can help Rhyme and Sachs blow the lid off the case.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Fallen
“Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes–obscure bible verses, odd symbols–have the police stumped. Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are in Baronville visiting Alex’s sister and her family. It’s a bleak place: a former mill and mining town with a crumbling economy and rampant opioid addiction. Decker has only been there a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene. Then the next killing hits sickeningly close to home. And with the lives of people he cares about suddenly hanging in the balance, Decker begins to realize that the recent string of deaths may be only one small piece of a much larger scheme–with consequences that will reach far beyond Baronville.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSail away / Celia Imrie.
“The phone hasn’t rung for months. Suzy Marshall is discovering that work can be sluggish for an actress over sixty – even for the former star of a 1980s TV series. So when she’s offered the plum role of Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest in Zurich, it seems like a godsend. Until, that is, the play is abruptly cancelled in suspicious circumstances, and Suzy is forced to take a job on a cruise ship to get home. Meanwhile Amanda Herbert finds herself homeless in rainy Clapham. Her flat purchase has fallen through, and her children are absorbed in their own dramas. Then she spots an advertisement for an Atlantic cruise, and realises a few weeks on-board would tide her over – and save her money – until the crisis is solved. As the two women set sail on a new adventure, neither can possibly predict the strange characters and dodgy dealings they will encounter – nor the unexpected rewards they will reap.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreeks bearing gifts : a Bernie Gunther thriller / Philip Kerr.
“1957, Munich. Bernie Gunther’s latest move in a long string of varied careers sees him working for an insurance company. It makes a kind of sense: both cops and insurance companies have a vested interest in figuring out when people are lying to them, and Bernie has a lifetime of experience to call on. Sent to Athens to investigate a claim from a fellow German for a ship that has sunk, Bernie takes an instant dislike to the claimant. When he discovers the ship in question once belonged to a Greek Jew deported to Auschwitz, he is convinced the sinking was no accident but an avenging arson attack. Then the claimant is found dead, shot through both eyes. Strong-armed into helping the Greek police with their investigation, Bernie is once again drawn inexorably back to the dark history of the Second World War.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Historical fiction features in this month’s fiction picks from other genres

The ‘other genres’ category this month features historical fiction. This latest selection includes a new novel by the popular, prolific Bernard Cornwell. Highly recommend is the much praised debut novel by Imogen Hermes Gowar, titled The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock.

Syndetics book coverCarnegie’s Maid : a novel / Marie Benedict.
“Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She’s not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets, but the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home. If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills he doesn’t have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does has is an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future and her family’s.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe girls in the picture / Melanie Benjamin.
“It is 1914, and twenty-five-year-old Frances Marion has left her (second) husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. But the new industry of the silent moving pictures is enthralling theatergoers everywhere. In this fledgling industry, Frances finds her true calling: writing stories for this wondrous new medium. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford. The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, their kinship fomented by their mutual fever to create, to move audiences to a frenzy, to start a revolution. But their ambitions are challenged by both the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender and their astronomical success could come at a price.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWarriors of the storm / Bernard Cornwell.
“King Alfred’s son Edward and formidable daughter, Ãthelflaed, rule Wessex, Mercia and East Anglia. But all around the restless Northmen, eyeing the rich lands and wealthy churches, are mounting raids. Uhtred of Bebbanburg, the kingdom’s greatest warrior, controls northern Mercia from the strongly fortified city of Chester. But forces are rising up against him. Northmen allied to the Irish, led by the fierce warrior Ragnall Ivarson, are soon joined by the Northumbrians, and their strength could prove overwhelming. Despite the gathering threat, both Edward and Ãthelflaed are reluctant to move out of the safety of their fortifications. But with Uhtred’s own daughter married to Ivarson’s brother, who can be trusted?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreyfriars House / Emma Fraser.
“Once a home full of love, all that remains in Greyfriars House are secrets and lies. On a remote Scottish island sits Greyfriars House, a house haunted by unspoken words and family mysteries. But once it was a happy and comforting place and in the summer of 1939, family and friends gather to forget their fears about the impending war.”

Syndetics book coverThe mermaid and Mrs Hancock : a history in three volumes / written by Imogen Hermes Gowar.
“This voyage is special. It will change everything. One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid. As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr. Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe great alone / Kristin Hannah.
“Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier. At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources. But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture, soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sealwoman’s gift / Sally Magnusson.
“Barbary pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted some 400 of its people, including 250 from a tiny island off the mainland. Among the captives sold into slavery in Algiers were the island pastor, his wife and their three children. This story is told through the voice of the pastor’s wife Asta” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn unlikely agent / Jane Menczer.
“London, 1905. Margaret Trant lives with her ailing, irascible mother in a dreary boarding house in St John’s Wood. The pair have fallen on hard times, with only Margaret’s meagre salary from a ramshackle import-export company keeping them afloat. When a stranger on the tram hands her a newspaper open at the recruitment page, Margaret spots an advertisement that promises to ‘open new horizons beyond your wildest dreams!’ After a gruelling interview, she finds herself in a new position as a secretary in a dingy backstreet shop. But all is not as it seems; she is in fact working for a highly secret branch of the intelligence service, Bureau 8, whose mission is to track down and neutralise a ruthless band of anarchists known as The Scorpions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPale horse riding / Chris Petit.
“By 1943 Auschwitz is the biggest black market in Europe. The garrison has grown epically corrupt on the back of the transportations and goods confiscated, and this is considered even more of a secret than the one surrounding the mass extermination. Everything is done to resist penetration until August Schlegel and SS officer Morgen, after solving the case of the butchers of Berlin, are sent in disguised as post office officials to investigate an instance of stolen gold being sent through the mail. Their chances of getting out of Auschwitz alive are almost nil, unless Schlegel and Morgen accept that the nature of the beast they are fighting means they too must become as corrupt as the corruption they are desperate to expose. Even if they survive, will it be at the cost of losing their souls?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe shape of water / Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus.
“It is 1962, and Elisa Esposito, mute her whole life, orphaned as a child, is struggling with her humdrum existence as a janitor working the graveyard shift at Baltimore’s Occam Aerospace Research Center. Were it not for Zelda, a protective coworker, and Giles, her loving neighbor, she doesn’t know how she’d make it through the day. Then, one fateful night, she sees something she was never meant to see, the Center’s most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man, captured in the Amazon, to be studied for Cold War advancements. The creature is terrifying but also magnificent, capable of language and of understanding emotions and Elisa can’t keep away. Using sign language, the two learn to communicate. Soon, affection turns into love, and the creature becomes Elisa’s sole reason to live. But outside forces are pressing in. Richard Strickland, the obsessed soldier who tracked the asset through the Amazon, wants nothing more than to dissect it before the Russians get a chance to steal it. Elisa has no choice but to risk everything to save her beloved.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)