Festive fiction: The twelve authors of Christmas

The Christmas Surprise book cover

Whether you love the sound of sleigh bells and the taste of falling snow slowly melting on your tongue, or if you are more a bah, humbug type about Christmas, it is good to have a festive read over the festive season. And in this special ‘who writes like…’ promotion we have selected authors that will fit in with both sides of the Christmas season. So sit back, break open the mince pies, throw another yuletide log on the fire and luxuriate into a fantastic book.

Syndetics book coverRivers of London / Ben Aaronovitch
“My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit – we do paperwork so real coppers don’t have to – and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Ben Aaronovitch? Douglas Adams, Jim Butcher, Benedict Jacka, Richard Kadrey, Seanan McGuire.

Syndetics book coverThe fallen / David Baldacci.
“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. Decker has only been there a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene. Decker, with his singular talents, may be the only one who can crack this bizarre case.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like David Baldacci? Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, Brad Meltzer, James Patterson, Stuart Woods.

Syndetics book coverLook to windward / Iain M. Banks.
“It was one of the less glorious incidents of the Idiran wars that led to the destruction of two suns and the billions of lives they supported. Now, eight hundred years later, the light from the first of those ancient deaths has reached the Culture’s Masaq’ Orbital. For the Hub Mind, overseer of the massive bracelet world, its arrival is particularly poignant. But it may still be eclipsed by events from the Culture’s more recent past.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Iain M. Banks? Neal Asher, Peter F. Hamilton, Richard K. Morgan, Alastair Reynolds, Vernor Vinge.

Syndetics book coverDeath of a dreamer: a Hamish McBeth mystery / M.C. Beaton.
“Occasionally, the rugged landscape of Scotland attracts dreamers who move north, wrapped in fantasies of enjoying the simple life. They usually don’t last, defeated by the climate or by inhospitable locals. But it looks as if Effie Garrand has come to stay. When local constable Hamish Macbeth calls on her, he is amazed to find the small woman still in residence after a particularly hideous winter. Unfortunately, Effie is also quite delusional, having convinced herself and everyone else that local artist Jock Fleming is in love with her, and that they are engaged. After a huge fight with Jock, Effie is found in the mountains, poisoned by hemlock. Now it’s up to Hamish Macbeth to find the dreamers killer before any more nightmares unfold.” (Syndetics summary)

Who writes like M.C. Beaton? Lilian Jackson Braun, Chris Cavender, Mary Daheim, Carole Nelson Douglas, Monica Ferris.

Syndetics book coverHeir to the shadows / Anne Bishop.
“The Blood have waited centuries for the coming of Witch, the living embodiment of magic. But Jaenelle, the young girl singled out by prophecy, is haunted by the cruel battles fought over her–for not all the Blood await her as their Savior. Some dismiss her as a myth. Some refuse to believe. And still others look forward to using her, making her a pawn to their shadowy devices. Nothing, however, can deflect her from her destiny–and the day of reckoning looms near. When her memories return. When her magic matures. When she is forced to accept her fate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Anne Bishop? Jacqueline Carey, Gail Carriger, Kate Forsyth, Laurell K. Hamilton, J.R. Ward.

Syndetics book coverThe Christmas surprise / Jenny Colgan.
“Includes mouth-watering recipes Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little sweetshop she owns and runs. But when fate strikes Rosie and her boyfriend, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it’s going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their Lipton friends to hold them together. After all, don’t they say it takes a village to raise a child?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Jenny Colgan? Abby Clements, Debbie Macomber, Milly Johnson, Susan Mallery, Anne Perry.

Syndetics book coverThe woman in the window / A.J. Finn.
“It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening… Anna Fox lives alone — a recluse in her New York City home, drinking too much wine, watching old movies… and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move next door: a father, a mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble — and its shocking secrets are laid bare.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like A.J. Finn? Megan Abbott, Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn.

Syndetics book coverDaughter of the forest / Juliet Marillier.
“Lord Colum of Sevenwaters is blessed with six sons: Liam, a natural leader; Diarmid, with his passion for adventure; twins Cormack and Conor, each with a different calling; rebellious Finbar, grown old before his time by his gift of the Sight; and the young, compassionate Padriac. But it is Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter, who alone is destined to defend her family and protect her land from the Britons and the clan known as Northwoods. For her father has been bewitched, and her brothers bound by a spell that only Sorcha can lift. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Juliet Marillier? Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robin Hobb, Russell Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth Knox, Helen Lowe.

Syndetics book coverThe Denniston rose / Jenny Pattrick.
“The bleak coal-mining of Denniston, isolated high on a plateau above the West Coast, is a place that makes or breaks those who live there. Into this chaotic community come five-year-old Rose and her mother. Set in the 1880s, this is the story of a spirited child who remains a survivor.” (Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Jenny Pattrick? Catherine Cookson, Rosamunde Pilcher, Adriana Trigiani, Mary Wesley, Winston Graham.

Syndetics book coverJitterbug perfume / Tom Robbins.
“This story begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn’t conclude until nine o’clock tonight (Paris time). It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle.The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god. If the liquid in the bottle actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon because it is leaking and there is only a drop or two left.” (Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Tom Robbins? Paul Auster, Kurt Vonnegut, Jonathan Letham, David Sedaris, Haruki Murakami.

Syndetics book coverShelter in place / Nora Roberts.
It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. Then the shooters arrived.The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Nora Roberts? Susan Mallery, Julie Garwood, Sandra Brown, Lisa Kleypas, Elizabeth Lowell.

Syndetics book coverA spool of blue thread: a novel / Anne Tyler.
“‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’ This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of special-ness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. A Spool of Blue Thread tells a poignant yet unsentimental story in praise of family in all its emotional complexity. It is a novel to cherish.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Anne Tyler? Annie Proulx, Sally Rooney, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Donna Tartt. 

“Okay Marlowe,” I said to myself, ‘You’re a tough guy.” – Our choice of December’s mystery showcase books.

“Okay Marlowe,” I said to myself, ‘You’re a tough guy. You’ve been sapped twice, choked, beaten silly with a gun, shot in the arm until you’re crazy as a couple of waltzing mice. Now let’s see you do something really tough—like putting your pants on.” Philip Marlowe in Murder My Sweet (1944).

Whether your taste in mystery novels is for the grimy rain-washed streets of downtown American cities or the more genteel settings of rose-covered cottages in the idyllic British countryside, there’s murder afoot in this month’s mysteries showcase. There’s a new book by Janet Evanovich called Look Alive Twenty-Five as well as other gems including the latest V.I. Warshawski novel from Sara Paretsky called Shell Game. So why not settle into a comfortable Chesterfield chair (or its equivalent) and indulge yourself in a fine mystery read!

Syndetics book coverAgatha Raisin and the dead ringer / M. C. Beaton.
The team of bells at St. Ethelred church is the pride and glory of the idyllic Cotswolds village of Thirk Magna, together with the most dedicated bell ringers in the whole of England: the twins Mavis and Millicent Dupin. As the village gets ready for the Bishop’s visit, the twins get overly-excited at the prospect of ringing the special peal of bells created for the occasion and start bullying the other bell ringers, forcing them to rehearse and rehearse . When the twins’ home is broken into one night and Millicent is found dead, struck from a hammer blow, suspicion falls onto the lawyer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Snapshot of Murder (Kate Shackleton Mysterie) [paperback]
“Yorkshire, 1928. Indomitable sleuth Kate Shackleton is taking a well-deserved break from her detective work and indulging in her other passion: photography. When her local Photographic Society proposes an outing, Kate jumps at the chance to visit Haworth and Stanbury, in the heart of Brontë country, the setting for Wuthering Heights. But when an obnoxious member of their party is murdered, the group is thrown into disarray. Is the murderer amongst them, or did the loud-mouthed Tobias have more enemies than they might have imagined?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDark sacred night / Michael Connelly.
“Detective Renée Ballard is working the night beat and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard can’t let him go through department records, but when he leaves, she looks into the case herself and feels a deep tug of empathy and anger. She has never been the kind of cop who leaves the job behind at the end of her shift — and she wants in. The murder, unsolved, was of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally killed, her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy, and to finally bring her killer to justice. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLook alive twenty-five / Janet Evanovich.
“There’s nothing like a good deli, and the Red River Deli in Trenton is one of the best. World-famous for its pastrami, cole slaw, and for its disappearing managers. Over the last month, three have vanished from the face of the earth, and the only clue in each case is one shoe that’s been left behind. The police are baffled. Lula is convinced that it’s a case of alien abduction. Whatever it is, they’d better figure out what’s going on before they lose their new manager, Ms. Stephanie Plum.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sentence is death / Anthony Horowitz.
“‘You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late…’ These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer Richard Pryce , found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine – a 1982 Chateau Lafite, to be precise. Odd, considering he didn’t drink. And why those words? And, most importantly, which of the mans many, many enemies did the deed? Baffled, the police are forced to bring in Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, the author Anthony.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Katharina code / Jørn Lier Horst ; translated by Anne Bruce.
“Twenty-four years ago Katharina Haugen went missing. All she left behind was her husband Martin and a mysterious string of numbers scribbled on a piece of paper. Every year on October 9th Chief Inspector William Wisting takes out the files to the case he was never able to solve. But now Martin Haugen is missing too. As Wisting prepares to investigate another missing persons case he’s visited by a detective from Oslo. Adrian Stiller is convinced Martin’s involved in another disappearance of a young woman and asks Wisting to close the net around Martin. But is Wisting playing cat and mouse with a dangerous killer or a grief-stricken husband who cannot lay the past to rest?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA missed murder / Michael Jecks.
“London, 1555. Queen Mary is newly married to Philip II of Spain – and not everyone is happy about the alliance. The kingdom is divided between those loyal to Catholic Mary and those who support her half-sister, Lady Elizabeth. Former cutpurse turned paid assassin Jack Blackjack has more immediate matters to worry about. Having been ordered to kill a man, he determines to save him instead. But Jack defies his spymaster at his peril.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShell game : a V.I. Warshawski novel / Sara Paretsky.
When V. I Warshawski gets word that her closest friend and mentor Lotty Herschel’s nephew has become a suspect in a murder, the legendary detective will do everything she can to save him. The cops found Felix Herschel’s name and phone number on the unknown victim’s remains, but Felix insists he doesn’t know why. As Vic digs deeper, she discovers that the dead man was obsessed with Middle Eastern archeology. The first clue in a bewildering case that leads to a stolen artifact and a shadowy network of international criminals.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Christmas revelation : a novel / Anne Perry.
Christmas is coming and the streets of London are full of festive cheer. As young Worm returns to his home at the Portpool Lane clinic, he encounters the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and, spellbound, he follows her until she is dragged away by two evil-looking men. Convinced that she is in grave danger, Worm begs Squeaky Robinson to help him track her down. But Elouise is embroiled with dangerous criminals who want information that only she can tell. They will stop at nothing to get what they want and, with Christmas day fast approaching, Worm and Squeaky must conjure up a daring plan to help Elouise before it is too late.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaigret and the Saturday caller / Georges Simenon ; translated by Siân Reynolds.
“When Maigret returns home at the end of a long day, he is surprised to find a tense man named Léonard Planchon waiting on his doorstep with an unusual problem. Planchon wants to kill his wife, or perhaps his wife and her lover, who for two years have been making him sleep on a cot in the dining room. He has even worked out a plan to hide their bodies in concrete. Uneasy and hoping to stop the man before he goes too far, Maigret must investigate a murder that has not yet been committed and uncover the truth behind this peculiar ménage à trois.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Divertingly different November’s Graphic Novel selection

November brings an influx of series and some unusual comics that bring words to life. Poets and musicians from Rimbaud to the Smiths have inspired creators to produce a rich experience in a diverse range of styles. Nick Hayes uses Rimbaud’s own words to wash through the entire graphic novel, The Drunken Sailor taking the reader on a journey through the poet’s life. The Tales of the Smiths was a daily strip now bound in a single volume documenting the early years of Morrissey and forming the band The Smiths. Con Chrisoulis has illustrated the lives of David Bowie and is now focusing on Jack ‘King’ Kirby, an architect of Marvel and DC comics who’s iconic graphic style formed the way we see superheroes.

All of these and more are available from your library. Lucky ain’t we?

Syndetics book coverThe drunken sailor : the life of the poet Arthur Rimbaud in his own words / by Nick Hayes.
The Drunken Sailor traces the life of Arthur Rimbaud- poet, surrealist, libertine and gun runner. In dazzling artwork, Nick Hayes follows Rimbaud from his youth in Ardennes to the poetry salons of Paris, from the absinthe-glazed passion of his relationship with Verlaine to his flight into the jungles of Indonesia and the deserts of Yemen and Egypt. Told entirely in Rimbaud’s own words, The Drunken Sailor confirms Nick Hayes’ place as one of the most talented graphic novelists at work today.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTales of The Smiths : a graphic biography / Con Chrisoulis.
Tales of The Smiths is a comic book retelling of the band members’ teenage years, before the group was famous, and includes fascinating digressions about their influences (the New York Dolls, Nico, Sex Pistols, NY punk, Patti Smith, etc) and the times in which they were growing up. The story reaches its climax with the meeting of Morrissey and Marr, the formation of the band in 1982 and their first gig as The Smiths.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Hchom book / by Marian Churchland.
“If you were a goblin, what would your treasure hoard contain? Gems and minerals, biscuits and pastries, fine-tailored jackets, or perhaps all of the above. This mischievous collection of particular delights gathers posts from Churchland’s sketch blog, Hchom, wherein she envisions herself as a wry-eyed goblin and counts her possessions, real and desired, as her “hoard”. The volume is divided into four chapters on larder, closet, hoard, and house, each representing a key element of her cozy, nerdy, bookish lifestyle.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPassing for human : a graphic memoir / Liana Finck.
Part magical odyssey, part feminist creation myth, Passing for Human is most of all an extraordinary, moving meditation on what it means to be an artist and a woman. On a quest for self-understanding and self-acceptance, along the way, she seeks to answer some eternal questions- What makes us whole? What parts of ourselves do we hide or ignore or chase away – because they’re embarrassing, or inconvenient – and at what cost?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMysteries of the quantum universe / by Thibault Damour & Mathieu Burniat ; translated by Sarah-Louise Raillard.
“Famous explorer Bob and his dog Rick have been around the world and even to the Moon, but their travels through the quantum universe show them the greatest wonders they’ve ever seen. As they follow their tour guide, the giddy letter h (also known as the Planck constant), Bob and Rick have crepes with Max Planck, talk to Einstein about atoms, visit Louis de Broglie in his castle, and hang out with Heisenberg on Heligoland. On the way, we find out that a dog – much like a cat – can be both dead and alive, the gaze of a mouse can change the universe, and a comic book can actually make quantum physics fun, easy to understand and downright enchanting.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTokyo Ghoul : re. Volume 1 / story and art by Sui Ishida ; translation, Joe Yamazaki.
“The Commission of Counter Ghoul is the only organization fighting the Ghoul menace, and they will use every tool at their disposal to protect humanity from its ultimate predator. Their newest weapon in this hidden war is an experimental procedure that implants human investigators with a Ghoul’s Kagune, giving them Ghoul powers and abilities. But both the procedure and the newly formed Qs Squad are untested. Will they become heroes…or monsters?!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInvincible : ultimate collection, Volume 1 / Robert Kirkman, writer ; Cory Walker, penciler, inker ; Ryan Ottley, penciler, inker ; created by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker.
“Get in on the ground floor! This massive hardcover collects the first 13 issues of Robert Kirkman’s Eisner-Nominated super-hero, along with all the extras from the first three trade paperback volumes and even more on top of that! Invincible: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 1 is a can’t-miss for anyone who’s wanted to start reading Invincible , but needed an easier way to start from the beginning.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOur story : a memoir of love and life in China / Rao Pingru ; translated from the Chinese by Nicky Harman.Our Story: A Memoir of Love and Life in China
“A graphic memoir like no other- the true story of a marriage in China that spanned the twentieth century, told in vibrant, original paintings and prose. Rao Pingru was a twenty-six-year-old soldier when he first saw the beautiful Mao Meitang. One glimpse of her through a window as she put on lipstick was enough to capture Pingru’s heart. It was a moment that sparked a union that would last almost sixty years. But when Meitang passed away in 2008, Pingru realised that their marriage and all the small moments and memories of a life together, would be lost to history. And so at the age of eighty-eight, in an outpouring of love and grief, Pingru began to paint.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMonstress. Volume three, Haven / Marjorie Liu, writer ; Sana Takeda, artist.
“Maika Halfwolf has begun to unlock the mysteries of her past – but the challenges of the present are only growing. Maika’s journey takes her to the neutral city of Pontus, where she hopes to find temporary refuge from her pursuers. Unfortunately, Pontus may not be as safe as Maika and her allies had hoped. As the impending war between humans and Arcanics creeps ever closer, and powerful players fight for the chance to control her future, Maika finds she must work with Zinn, the Monstrum that lives inside her, in order to ensure their mutual survival. But even that alliance might not be enough to prepare Maika for the horrors to come.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKick-Ass : the new girl. Book one / Mark Millar, writer ; John Romita Jr., pencils.
“Kick-Ass is back–ready to wipe out the city’s criminal low lives, destroy its gangs, and save its communities from decay. But there’s a new face beneath the old mask, a new figure wearing that famous green and yellow spandex. Who is this new vigilante superhero? Who can fill Dave Lizewski’s shoes? Who is the new Kick-Ass? Find out in the first collection of Kick-Ass: the new girl.” (Syndetics summary)

Fantasy with wings: Recently published Dragon reads!

Dragon's Code

Dragons are a huge influence in fantasy writing. They are embedded in storytelling traditions from European legends of beasts snacking on villages, ripe for a conquering by a hero, to Chinese and East Asian elemental figures, kin to the people of the land. Many authors have worked these figures into tales contemporary and as part of creating new worlds.

There are a wealth of new titles featuring scaled, fire breathing, winged creatures. The McCaffrey clan’s Pern saga has another twist to the tale with Gigi McCaffrey’s Dragon’s codeand the soon to be released Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History) by George R.R. Martin, delves into the history of the Dragonlords. Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea stories have all been gathered into a gorgeous new illustrated edition, The Books of Earthsea, celebrating the 50 years since the publication of A Wizard of Earthsea and N K Jemisin’s new short story collection How long ’til black future month? has dragons haunting post hurricane Katrina New Orleans.

See below for more recently published dragon reads.

Syndetics book coverFire & Blood : 300 Years Before a Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History)
“The thrilling history of the Targaryens comes to life in this masterly work by the author of A Song of Ice and Fire. Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen–the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria–took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire & Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow Long ’til Black Future Month?: Stories
“In these stories, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story The City Born Great, a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis’ soul” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDragon’s code / Gigi McCaffrey.Dragon’s Code: Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern
“The last time Thread attacked Pern, the world was unprepared for the fight–until the Oldtimers appeared. These courageous dragonriders arrived from the past, traveling four hundred years to help their descendants survive. But the collision of past and present took its toll. While most of the displaced rescuers adapted to their new reality, others could not abide the jarring change and found themselves in soul-crushing exile, where unhappiness and resentment seethed… Now, in a world already beset by Thread, another, more insidious danger looms: For the first time in living memory, dragons may be on the verge of fighting dragons.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverScales of empire / Kylie Chan.
“Corporal Jian Choumaliis on the mission of a lifetime – security officer on one of Earth’s huge generation ships, fleeing Earth’s failing ecosystem to colonise a distant planet. The ship encounters a technologically and culturally advanced alien empire, led by a royal family of dragons. The empire’s dragon emissary offers her aid to the people of Earth, bringing greater health, longer life, and faster-than-light travel to nearby stars.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe forbidden city / Deborah A. Wolf.
“The Dragon King is dying. As heir to his throne Sulema must be trained to take his place, yet the more she learns, the less she trusts the sinister agendas that surround her. Knowing that her life hangs in the balance, Sulema seeks to return to the Zeera. Salvation may lie with her mother, Hafsa Azeina, who walks the dark and deadly pathways of the Dreaming Lands. To save her daughter, the dreamshifter will be forced to strike a pact with her greatest enemy, a huntress who would rather kill her than assist her.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe empire of ashes / Anthony Ryan.The Empire of Ashes
“For hundreds of years, the Ironship Trading Syndicate was fueled by drake blood–and protected by the Blood-blessed, those few who could drink it and wield fearsome powers. Drake of unimaginable power has risen, and it commands an army of both beasts and men. Humanity itself is at stake, but with the aid of ancient knowledge, revolutionary technology and unexpected allies, all hope is not lost. Saving the world will require sacrifice, as Clay, Lizanne and Hilemore will see all they know either consumed by flames or reborn from the ashes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStygian / Sherrilyn Kenyon.
“Born before man recorded time, I lived for thousands of years believing myself to be something I’m not. Lied to and betrayed by gods, Daimons and Dark-Hunters, I’ve struggled to find my way in a world where I’ve been cursed since the moment I was prematurely ripped from my mother and planted into the womb of an innocent woman who thought me her son. Trained as a slayer and predator, I learned to fit in and stay low. To become a tool for evil. Until I was sent to kill the one woman I couldn’t. My hesitation cost her her life. Or so I thought…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpymaster / Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes.
“The start of a swashbuckling adventure from New York Times bestselling author Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes.
Captain Kate Fitzmaurice was born to sail. She has made a life of her own as a privateer and smuggler. Hired by the notorious Henry Wallace, spymaster for the queen of Freya, to find a young man who claims to be the true heir to the Freyan, she begins to believe that her ship has finally come in.” (Syndetics summary)

 

 

Iconic legend of the comic book world, Stan Lee, has died

Stan Lee, co-creator of some of the most famous super heroes ever: including Spider-man, The Hulk, The X-men, The Fantastic Four, Thor and the Black Panther died yesterday (12th November 2018). It is no exaggeration to say that the comic creations he helped bring to life changed the global entertainment world profoundly. Some of those characters have permeated just about every aspect of world culture. His larger than life public persona often appeared as cameos in Marvel Universe films.

He will be greatly missed but there is no doubt those creations he helped to form will go on.

R.I.P. Stan Lee.

Syndetics book coverAmazing fantastic incredible : a marvelous memoir / Stan Lee and Peter David and Colleen Doran.
“In this gorgeously illustrated, full-color graphic memoir, Stan Lee–comic book legend and cocreator of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Incredible Hulk, and a legion of other Marvel superheroes–shares his iconic legacy and the story of how modern comics came to be.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpider-Man 2099 [6] : Apocalypse soon / Peter David, writer ; Will Sliney, artist.
“Spider-Man 2099 has learned the location of the headquarters of the Fist – the extremist anti-government offshoot of the Hand that put his fianc’e in a coma – and he’s ready to mount his attack! But it turns out that he’s not the only one investigating the radical group. Elektra Natchios, Marvel’s most deadly assassin, has her own reasons for hunting these terrorists. Can Miguel trust this mysterious newcomer, or is she yet another obstacle in his quest for vengeance?  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStan Lee’s How to draw comics : from the legendary creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Iron Man / Stan Lee.
Contents of this book include: A brief history of comic books . . . by a guy who lived them! — Tools of the trade — Form, perspective & foreshortening — The human head — Amazing anatomy, action & acting — Characters & costumes — Bring on the backgrounds — The life behind the layouts — Peerless penciling — Imaginative inking — Lively lettering — Crafting the color — Commanding covers — and Creating the comic book.

 

Magnified for your convenience! Latest Large Print Fiction titles

Every Breath book cover

The Large print collection has a great range of fiction and non-fiction material. These books feature text at 18 points or larger for ease of reading. This month there are a swathe of new titles from well known contemporary authors and a few reprints of classic authors.

Thrillers that navigate the twisted paths of dark deeds and stories that warm the heart. Loyalty to country in a time of war levers Kate Atkinson’s latest hero into a role that will affect her future reality in Transcription. In Every Breath Nicolas Sparks uses a deft hand to bring to life chance encounters that can have extensive consequences. Take a look below for more recent titles.

Every breath / Sparks, Nicholas
“Spending time at her family’s North Carolina beach cottage after her father is diagnosed with ALS, Hope Anderson mulls over big life decisions. Zimbabwe-born safari guide Tru Walls is also in town, tracking down a man who claims to be his father. Illuminating life’s heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, Every Breath explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties — and asks the question, how long can a dream survive?” (Catalogue)

Transcription / Atkinson, Kate
“In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers. Ten years later, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat.
Transcription is a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit and empathy.” (Catalogue)

Snap / Bauer, Belinda
“On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed forever. Three years later, Jack is still in charge: of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother…” (Catalogue)

The birdwatcher / Shaw, William
“Police Sergeant William South has a good reason to shy away from murder investigations: he is a murderer himself. A methodical, diligent, and exceptionally bright detective, South is an avid birdwatcher and trusted figure in his small town on the rugged Kentish coast. He also lives with the deeply buried secret that, as a child in Northern Ireland, he may have killed a man. When a fellow birdwatcher is found murdered in his remote home, South’s world flips. The Birdwatcher is British crime fiction at its finest; a stirring portrait of flawed, vulnerable investigators; a meticulously constructed mystery; and a primal story of fear, loyalty and vengeance.” (Catalogue)

Paradox / Coulter, Catherine
“Chief Ty Christie of Willicott, Maryland, witnesses a murder at dawn from the deck of her cottage on Lake Massey. When dragging the lake, not only do the divers find the murder victim, they also discover dozens of bones. Even more shocking is the identification of a unique belt buckle found among the bones. Working together with Chief Christie, Savich and Sherlock soon discover a frightening connection between the bones and the escaped psychopath.” (Catalogue)

A question of thyme / Jones, Jan
“When Jen answers an advertisement to create a 1915 herb garden for a TV documentary, she expects it to get her out of a money hole, not to change her life. Borderline recluse Theo Grainger is scarred mentally and physically from an appalling fall seven years ago. Adjusting to the presence of a TV documentary team next door is one thing. Dealing with Jen Matlock, who helps people in trouble whether they want her to or not, is something else entirely.” (Catalogue)

A wartime friend / Lane, Lizzie
“Leah escapes from a train bound for a death camp – along with a surprising friend, a kind-natured German Shepherd dog. Discovered in France by an RAF pilot, the traumatised Leah wakes to find she’s forgotten everything. Lily is fostered by the kind RAF pilot and his wife, Meg. Before long their lives are disrupted once again by the war and, with their home in ruins, they are forced to flee to the country. In Somerset, Lily is reunited with Rudy, the heroic dog. However it soon becomes clear that Rudy is not just her companion, he is protecting her too, and someone wants him out of the way.” (Catalogue)

Large Print Non-Fiction:

The sheep stell : memoirs of a shepherd / White, Janet
“As a child in wartime England, Janet White decided that she wanted to live somewhere wild and supremely beautiful, to inhabit and work the landscape. She imagined searching the whole world for a place, high and remote as a sheep stell, quiet as a monastery – challenging and pristine. Janet has always tended sheep – first as a young girl in the Cheviots, then on an uninhabited island off the coast of New Zealand, with a bonfire as her only means of communication with the mainland. After a brutal attack, she was forced to leave her island and returned to England, where she married, became a smallholder in Sussex, and finally bought a hill farm in Somerset. Underpinning this account is Janet’s attachment to the land, and her commitment to combine the principles of conservation with successful farming.” (Catalogue)

Believe / Adams, Nicola
“At London 2012, Nicola Adams made history when she became the first woman ever to win an Olympic Gold medal for boxing. In Rio 2016, with the nation cheering her on, she did it all over again. Years of relentless training, fundraising and determination have seen Nicola battle through injury, prejudice and defeat to become one of Britain’s best-loved athletes and an inspiration to all those who are chasing after a seemingly impossible dream. A trailblazer and a record-breaker, she has led the way for women’s boxing. From a leisure centre in Leeds to the Olympic Stadium, Nicola has become the poster girl for women in sport.” (Catalogue)

“Is it a two or three pipe problem?” Our Selection of the Best Newly Acquired Mystery Novels

The Colours of the all the Cattle book cover

“It is quite a three pipe problem, and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes.”

― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Red Headed League

Whatever your taste in crime/mystery books, be it novels from the golden age of crime or more hard hitting dark gritty realist tales, you’re sure to find something in this selection of showcased mystery novels. The Tartan Noir sub genre of the crime novel world include the Edinburgh located The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry, a new piece from the ever popular Alexander McCall Smith called The Colours of All the Cattle, and The Blood Road by Stuart MacBride. So whether it is a one, two or three pipe problem sit back look out the Persian slipper and relax into a great mystery read.

Four funerals and maybe a wedding / Bowen, Rhys
“Star amateur sleuth of the 1930s-set Royal Spyness Mystery series, Lady Georgiana Rannoch is getting ready to walk down the aisle and is offered her godfather’s fully staffed country estate as a home. But the staff don’t seem very trustworthy, and the gas leak in her bedroom doesn’t seem like an accident.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

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

Syndetics book coverThe spotted dog / Kerry Greenwood.
“Corinna Chapman, baker extraordinaire, talented sleuth, stalwart friend and lover, is back! When a distraught Scottish veteran from Afghanistan is knocked unconscious, waking up to find his beloved ex-service dog missing, Corinna and her lover, Daniel, find themselves inextricably drawn into the machinations of a notorious underworld gang of drug runners. Corinna and Daniel need to pull together all the strings to find the connections between their wandering Scottish veteran, his kidnapped dog, a student dramatic society that’s moved into Corinna’s building, burglaries, and the threatening notes that begin to mysteriously appear in her apartment.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLethal white / Robert Galbraith.
“When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott – once his assistant, now a partner in the agency – set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe way of all flesh / Ambrose Parry.
“Edinburgh, 1847. City of Medicine, Money, Murder.In the city’s Old Town a number of young women have been found dead, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends. Across the city in the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson. Simpson’s patients range from the richest to the poorest of this divided city. His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. It is here that Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh’s underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn a house of lies / Ian Rankin.
“In a house of lies, everyone has something to hide.
A missing private investigator is found, locked in a car hidden deep in the woods. Worse still – both for his family and the police – is that his body was in an area that had already been searched. Everyone has secrets… Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is part of a new inquiry, combing through the mistakes of the original case. There were always suspicions over how the investigation was handled and now – after a decade without answers – it’s time for the truth. Nobody is innocent.
Every officer involved must be questioned, and it seems everyone on the case has something to hide, and everything to lose. But there is one man who knows where the trail may lead – and that it could be the end of him: John Rebus.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe blood road / Stuart MacBride.
Some things just won’t stay buried… Logan McRae’s personal history is hardly squeaky clean, but now that he works for Professional Standards he’s policing his fellow officers. When Detective Inspector Bell turns up dead in the driver’s seat of a crashed car it’s a shock to everyone. Because Bell died two years ago, they buried him. Or they thought they did. As an investigation is launched into Bell’s stabbing, Logan digs into his past. Where has he been all this time? Why did he disappear? And what’s so important that he felt the need to come back from the dead? But the deeper Logan digs, the more bones he uncovers – and there are people out there who’ll kill to keep those skeletons buried. If Logan can’t stop them, DI Bell won’t be the only one to die.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDark sacred night / Michael Connelly.
“Detective Renée Ballard is working the night beat — known in LAPD slang as “the late show” — and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard can’t let him go through department records, but when he leaves, she looks into the case herself and feels a deep tug of empathy and anger. She has never been the kind of cop who leaves the job behind at the end of her shift -and she wants in.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe colours of all the cattle / Alexander McCall Smith.
Mma Ramotswe’s friend will persuade her to stand for election to the City Council. ‘We need women like her in politics,’ Mma Potokwani says, ‘instead of having the same old men every time…’
To be elected, Mma Ramotswe must have a platform and some policies. She will have to canvas opinion. She will have to get Mma Makutsi’s views. Her slogan is ‘I can’t promise anything – but I shall do my best’. Her intention is to halt the construction of the Big Fun Hotel, a dubious, flashy business near a graveyard – an act that many consider to be disrespectful. Mma Ramotswe will take the campaign as far as she can, but lurking around the corner, as ever, is the inextinguishable Violet Sephotho.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

The burgeoning Spring Fiction collection

Ponti book cover

The unpredictable spring season brings a wealth of new material to the library. New to the fiction collection are seasoned writers exploring new territory and first time writers with a unique take on the world. In Milkman, prize winning author Anna Burns delivers a disturbing account of how personally affecting times of conflict can be, when distrust is sown in the closest of communities. Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif also takes the reality of conflict as a starting point for his novel on how wartime affects your view of others. Marcus Zuzak takes his writing in a new direction with Bridge of Clay describing the transformation of a family. First time novelist Daisy Johnson upturns the myth of Oedipus Rex in Everything Under, using an invented childhood language to prise open memories.

Countering springtime, the spectre of Halloween is raised by a long established voice in vampire literature, Anne Rice has a new work on the long reign of Prince Lestat. New author Sharlene Teo spins a tale around the lives of three women defined by the ghostly role in a horror movie. Korean writer Ŏn-su Kim’s fast paced translated novel The Plotters looks to satisfy more than one audience with a deft plot, quirky characters and two cats named Reading Lamp and Book Stand.

Something for all to enjoy in the Fiction selection from October.

Milkman / Burns, Anna
Written in a perfectly-rendered Irish vernacular Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. The story of inaction with enormous consequences and decisions that are never made, but for which people are judged and punished. Middle sister is our protagonist. Middle sister is about to become ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Red birds / Hanif, Mohammed
“An American pilot crash lands in the desert and takes refuge in the very camp he was supposed to bomb. Hallucinating palm trees and worrying about dehydrating to death isn’t what Major Ellie expected from this mission. Still, it’s an improvement on the constant squabbles with his wife back home. In the camp, teenager Momo ‘s money-making schemes are failing. His brother left for his first day at work and never returned, his parents are at each other’s throats, his dog is having a very bad day, and an aid worker has shown up wanting to research him for her book on the Teenage Muslim Mind…” (Catalogue)

Boomer1 / Torday, Daniel
“Mark Brumfeld, a bluegrass musician and newly minted English PhD. When his punk bassist girlfriend Cassie rejects his marriage proposal he retreats to the basement of his childhood home. From there, he launches a series of acidulous online video monologs blasting Baby Boomers for their grip on available jobs. But as his videos go viral, Mark loses control of what he began with consequences that ensnare himself and ex-girlfriend in a matter of national security. Told through the perspectives of Mark, Cassie, and Mark’s mother, Julia, a child of the ’60s whose life is more conventional than she ever imagined, Boomer1 is timely, suspenseful, and in every line alert to the siren song of endless opportunity that beckons and beguiles all of us.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ponti / Teo, Sharlene
“I am Miss Frankenstein, I am the bottom of the bell curve.” So declares Szu, a teenager living in a dark, dank house on a Singapore cul-de-sac. Szu lives in the shadow of her mother Amisa, once a beautiful actress, who gained fame for her portrayal of a ghost – and now a hack medium performing seances with her sister in a rusty house. When Szu meets the privileged, acid-tongued Circe, an unlikely encounter develops into a fraught friendship that will haunt them both for decades to come. With remarkable emotional acuity, dark comedy, and in vivid prose, Sharlene Teo’s Ponti traces the suffocating tangle the lives of four misfits, women who need each other as much as they need to find their own way.” (Catalogue)

Everything under / Johnson, Daisy
“Words are important to Gretel, always have been. As a child, she lived on a canal boat with her mother, and together they invented a language that was just their own. Now Gretel works as a lexicographer, updating dictionary entries, which suits her solitary nature. A phone call from the hospital interrupts Gretel’s isolation and throws up questions from long ago. Daisy Johnson’s debut novel turns classical myth on its head and takes readers to a modern-day England unfamiliar to most. As daring as it is moving, Everything Under is a story of family and identity, of fate, language, love and belonging that leaves you unsettled and unstrung.” (Catalogue)

Love is blind : the rapture of Brodie Moncur / Boyd, William
Love is Blind is a tale of dizzying passion and brutal revenge; of artistic endeavour and the illusions it creates; of all the possibilities that life can offer, and how cruelly they can be snatched away. When Brodie is offered a job in Paris, he seizes the chance to flee Edinburgh and sparks an obsessive love affair with a beautiful Russian soprano. Brodie’s love for Lika and its dangerous consequences pursue him around Europe and beyond, during an era of overwhelming change as the nineteenth century becomes the twentieth.” (Catalogue)

Hippie / Coelho, Paulo
Drawing on the rich experience of his own life, best-selling author Paulo Coelho takes us back in time to relive the dreams of a generation that longed for peace and dared to challenge the established social order. In Hippie, he tells the story of Paulo, who wants to become a writer and sets off on a journey in search of a deeper meaning for his life. Paulo’s travels take him to Amsterdam here he meets Karl. She convinces Paulo to join her on a trip aboard the Magic Bus that travels across Europe and Central Asia to Kathmandu. They embark on the journey in the company of fascinating fellow travelers, each of whom has a story to tell, and each of whom will undergo a personal transformation, changing their priorities and values along the way.” (Catalogue)

Bridge of Clay / Zusak, Markus
“Bridge of Clay is about a boy who is caught in the current – of destroying everything he has, to become all he needs to be. He’s a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for memory and tragedy. He builds a bridge to save his family, but also to save himself. It’s an attempt to transcend humanness, to make a single, glorious moment: A miracle and nothing less.” (Catalogue)

Blood communion : a tale of Prince Lestat / Rice, Anne
“In this spellbinding novel, Lestat, rebel outlaw, addresses the tribe of vampires, directly, intimately, passionately, and tells the mesmerizing story of the formation of the Blood Communion and how he became Prince of the vampire world. As the tale unfolds, Lestat takes us from the towers and battlements of his ancestral castle in the snow-covered mountains of France to the verdant wilds of lush Louisiana with its lingering fragrances of magnolias and night jasmine; from the far reaches of the Pacific’s untouched islands to the 18th-century city of St. Petersburg and the court of the Empress Catherine.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The plotters / Kim, Ŏn-su
“The important thing is not who pulls the trigger but who’s behind the person who pulls the trigger, the plotters, the masterminds working in the shadows. Raised by Old Raccoon in The Library of Dogs, Reseng has always been surrounded by plots to kill, and by books that no one ever reads. In Seoul’s corrupt underworld, he was destined to be an assassin. Until he breaks the rules. That’s when he meets a trio of young women; a convenience store worker, her wheelchair-bound sister, and a cross-eyed obsessive knitter, with an extraordinary plot of their own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Recommended Science Fiction show case books for October

The Poppy War book cover

“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.” -Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing.

This month’s science fiction showcased books have a wide appeal and feature many of the tropes and genres of the sci-fi world. From Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Moon to Ilona Andrew’s Magic Triumphs, from Raymond E Feist’s King of Ashes to Ben Bova’s Power Failure, there is a whole universe of book choices to enjoy.

Syndetics book coverPower failure / Ben Bova.
“Dr. Jake Ross came to Washington to try to make a difference, but he’s learned the only way to get something done in Washington, assuming your ideals survive the corrosive atmosphere, is to gather power. Ross has gathered a great deal, riding in the wake of Frank Tomlinson. But now Tomlinson has decided to shoot for the moon. If they win, they get it all. If they lose, the game is over for Jake Ross. In the Power trilogy, Bova’s vision of a future powered by solar satellite transmission is tantalizingly within reach.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Magic triumphs / Andrews, Ilona
Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be. Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Barren / Brett, Peter V
“A new Demon Cycle novella from internationally bestselling author Peter V. Brett After The Great Bazaar and Brayan’s Gold and Messenger’s Legacy comes Barren, an enchanting new novella set in the much-loved world of the Demon Cycle series.” (Catalogue)

Chasing shadows : visions of our coming transparent world
“David Brin, Hugo award-winning author of The Uplift War, presents Chasing Shadows, a collection of short stories and essays by other science fiction luminaries. As we debate Internet privacy, revenge porn, the NSA, and Edward Snowden, cameras get smaller, faster, and more numerous. Has Orwell’s Big Brother finally come to pass? Or have we become a global society of thousands of Little Brothers – watching, judging, and reporting on one another? Partnering with the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, and inspired by Brin’s nonfiction book The Transparent Society, noted author and futurist David Brin and scholar Stephen Potts have compiled essays and short stories from writers such as Robert J. Sawyer, James Morrow, William Gibson, Damon Knight, Jack McDevitt, and many others to examine the benefits and pitfalls of technologic transparency in all its permutations.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

King of ashes / Feist, Raymond E.
“For centuries, the five greatest kingdoms of North and South Tembria, twin continents on the world of Garn, have coexisted in peace. But the balance of power is destroyed when four of the kingdoms violate an ancient covenant and betray the fifth: Ithrace, the Kingdom of Flames, ruled by Steveren Langene, known as ‘the Firemane’ for his brilliant red hair. As war engulfs the world, Ithrace is destroyed and the Greater Realms of Tembria are thrust into a dangerous struggle for supremacy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverShiang / C. F. Iggulden.
In Shiang, the young king rules without dissent. Mazer swordsmen stand watch on every corner, looking for the first sign of rebellion. This city is a place of quiet and slow dignity, like a man eating rice with a razor pressed against his throat. Yet with one sharp movement, order is overturned. The balance of centuries is undone in the sudden spill of blood – and in the darkness, something terrible returns to Shiang.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe poppy war / R.F. Kuang.
“When Rin aced the Keju – the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies – it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising. But surprises aren’t always good.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRed moon / Kim Stanley Robinson.
“It is thirty years from now, and we have colonized the moon.
American Fred Fredericks is making his first trip, his purpose to install a communications system for China’s Lunar Science Foundation. But hours after his arrival he witnesses a murder and is forced into hiding. It is also the first visit for celebrity travel reporter Ta Shu. He has contacts and influence, but he too will find that the moon can be a perilous place for any traveler.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUncompromising Honor / David Weber.
“The Solarian League’s navy counts its superdreadnoughts by the thousands. Not even its own government knows how enormous its economy truly is. And for hundreds of years, the League has borne the banner of human civilization, been the ideal to which humanity aspires in its diaspora across the galaxy. But the bureaucrats known as the Mandarins who rule today’s League, are not the men and women who founded it so long ago. They are corrupt, venal, accountable to no one… and they’ve decided the upstart Star Kingdom of Manticore must be destroyed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Ember Blade : book one of the Darkwater legacy / Chris Wooding.
“Empires rise, civilisations fall and one culture comes to subsume another. It’s the way of the world… sometimes ways of life are improved, sometimes they are not. But the progression of change is huge and – usually – unstoppable. In this story, the Ossian way of life is fading and the Dachen way is taking its place and Aren is comfortable with that. Even when his parents are accused of treason he supports the establishment and maintains there’s been some mistake… which is all it takes to get himself and his best friend arrested.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

October’s outstanding new graphic novels

Ever wonder what the inside of people’s heads look like? Graphic novels are an amazing way to peer into the imagination with a slew of styles that either make you go ‘what were they thinking?’ or ‘I totally get that’. This month’s graphic novels have a some unique stand alone titles and new chapters of worlds that expand on original themes and characters.

Lisa Hanawalt of BoJack Horseman fame (producer and production designer) has an original style. Bright watercolours reveal a a gritty character who’s rough world gets a poke in the ribs with a funny bone to keep those Western cliches clopping along. A nod to spookiness for Halloween with Idle Days Thomas Desaulniers-Brousseau’s haunting tale set in a remote cabin. And Giant Days full of gigantic living and beings of incredible size from the minds of Carlos Valderrama and John Allison. Have your heartstrings tugged with Tagame’s My Brother’s Husband, Volume 2 the concluding chapter in a family dealing with difference in Japan. Then top this off with some twisty mind-games in a Patricia Highsmith-esk Tumult from John Harris Dunning and Michael Kennedy and you have a small introduction to this month’s graphic novel collection.

Coyote Doggirl / Hanawalt, Lisa
“An homage to and a lampoon of Westerns like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Lisa Hanawalt’s Coyote Doggirl is a self-aware, playful subversion of tropes. As our fallible hero attempts to understand the culture of the wolves, we see a journey in understanding and misunderstanding, adopting and co-opting. Uncomfortable at times but nonetheless rewarding and empowering, the story of these flawed, anthropomorphized characters is nothing if not relentlessly hilarious and heartbreakingly human. Told in Hanawalt’s technicolor absurdist style, Coyote Doggirl is not just a send-up of the Western genre but a deeply personal story told by an enormously talented cartoonist.” (Catalogue)

Tumult / Dunning, John Harris
“A stylish psychological thriller set in London. Adam Whistler has it all, so why does he feel so empty? At a house party he meets the lovely Morgan. But when he encounters her a few days later she has no memory of him and introduces herself as Leila. Leila has dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personalities. People are being murdered and Leila fears that Morgan, the personality Adam first met, is the killer. He doesn’t believe that any part of her is capable of it, so he sets out to unravel the mystery of her past.” (Catalogue)

Idle days / Desaulniers-Brousseau, Thomas
“Depressed and unmoored by his father’s violent death, and drafted into the Canadian military to serve in World War II, Jerome has fled, taking refuge in a cabin his grandfather owns in a remote part of the countryside. But Jerome’s troubles are only beginning. A strange dread fills the woods, and rumors of murders and ghosts cast his refuge in a sinister light. As Jerome struggles to come to terms with his father’s death, he obsessively seeks to uncover the mystery of what, exactly, happened in his grandfather’s house.” (Catalogue)

My brother’s husband. Volume 2 / Tagame, Gengoroh
“The concluding volume in the story of Yaichi, his daughter Kana, and how their meeting Mike Flanagan changes their lives. As Mike continues his journey of discovery concerning Ryoji’s past, Yaichi gradually comes to understand that being gay is just another way of being human. And that, in many ways, remains a radical concept in Japan even today. In the meantime, the bond between Mike and young Kana grows ever stronger, and yet he is going to have to return to Canada soon. But not before more than a few revelations come to light.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Old man Hawkeye [1] : an eye for an eye / Sacks, Ethan
“The super heroes have fallen. The country has been divided into territories controlled by super villains. Among the wastelands lives Clint Barton – one of the few Avengers to survive. Trying to eke out a living any way he can, the former Hawkeye is confronted with a startling discovery: the sharpshooter is going blind. With time running short, Clint realizes there’s one last thing he wants to see: revenge for his fallen comrades-in-arms. Rising-star writer Ethan Sacks and superstar artist Marco Checchetto take you back to the Wastelands in a story set five years before the original classic Old man Logan.” (Catalogue)

The Arab of the future 3 : a graphic memoir : a childhood in the Middle East (1985-1987) / Sattouf, Riad
“In this third volume (1985-1987), Riad’s mother, fed up with the grinding reality of daily life in the village, decides she cannot take it any longer. When she resolves to move back to France, young Riad sees his father torn between his wife’s aspirations and the weight of family traditions.” (Catalogue)

Giants / Valderrama, Carlos
“Greed and ambition collide with survival and the love of family in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by giant monsters whose only goal is destruction .A cataclysm of unknown origin unleashed a race of massive creatures whose presence has driven humanity underground. There, two orphans discover that the most dangerous monster is ambition, which unchecked, will grow until it devours you. In their first work for American comics, the Valderrama Bros. have layered a modern day kaiju story with a personal tale of a friendship gone wrong, and how the decisions we make can change our world… and seal our fates” (Catalogue)

Giant days. Volume eight / Allison, John
“It’s the end of second year for best mates Susan, Daisy, and Esther, and cracks are appearing in the foundation of this unshakeable trio. Between (irritating) new loves, (secretive) old loves, (unlikely) new friendships and (terrible) old houses, they’ll be lucky to make it to third year alive!” (Catalogue)

The Butler in the Library with the Candlestick: Our Selection of this Month’s Best Mystery Novels

Mystery of 3 Quarters book cover

The suspects are hazy, the motives uncertain and the murder weapon is in doubt: none the less, I suspect the butler in the library with the candlestick! This month’s fictional sleuths solve their crime puzzles in a dazzling variety of ways, from the classic stylings of Sophie Hannah’s new Hercule Poirot mystery to the gritty Tartan Noir of Lin Anderson’s Sins of the Dead.

Sins of the dead / Anderson, Lin
“While illegally street racing in the underground tunnels of Glasgow, four Harley Davidson riders make a horrifying discovery. A dead man left in the darkness, hands together on his chest as if peacefully laid to rest. The cause of death unclear, the only clues being a half glass of red wine, and a partially eaten chunk of bread by his side that echo the ancient religious practice of sin-eating. Called to the scene, forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod is perplexed by the lack of evidence. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The angel in the glass / Clare, Alys
“Physician-sleuth Dr Gabriel Taverner uncovers dark secrets in his small Devon village in the second of this intriguing historical mystery series: June, 1604. When the emaciated body of a vagrant is found on the edge of the moor, it’s the verdict of physician Gabriel Taverner that the man died of natural causes – but is all as it seems? Who was the dead man, and why had he come to the small West Country village of Tavy St Luke’s to die cold, sick and alone? With no one claiming to have known him, his identity remains a mystery.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dark queen rising / Doherty, P. C
“The Wars of the Roses are reaching their bitter and bloody climax. Edward of York has claimed the English throne, and his supporters are extracting a savage revenge on all who supported the Lancastrian cause. Surrounded by enemies wherever she turns, the position of Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and mother to Henry Tudor, the last remaining hope of the House of Lancaster, is precarious to say the least. When four bodies are discovered in a London tavern, their throats slit, and Margaret herself is suspected of being behind the crime, it’s up to Ulswicke to prove his mistress’s innocence and unmask the real killer.” (Adapted from Catalogue).

Keeper / Gustawsson, Johana
“Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror. London, 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of 10 years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings. Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s mutilated body is found in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes locked up, do the new killings mean he has an accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose? Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells are again drawn into an intriguing case with personal links.” (Catalogue)

The mystery of three quarters : the new Hercule Poirot mystery / Hannah, Sophie
“Returning home after lunch one day, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met. Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabas Pandy, and has accused nobody of murder. Shaken, he goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him – a man who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy… Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Walking shadows / Kellerman, Faye
“Who would savagely kill two innocent men? With a little help from his wife Rina, Detective Peter Decker must use all of his skills to put the pieces of this deadly puzzle together… before the murderer strikes again. Detective Decker and his wife risk life and limb to solve a pair of brutal murders that may be tied to a crime from more than twenty years ago in this intense and addictive mystery from New York Times bestselling author Faye Kellerman. .”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder mile / La Plante, Lynda
“Four brutal murders, a city living in fear, a killer on the streets…Prime Suspect’s Jane Tennison returns in the 4th book in the bestselling Tennison series, from the doyenne of crime fiction.” (Catalogue)

Leverage in death / Robb, J. D.
“Lieutenant Eve Dallas puzzles over a bizarre suicide bombing in a Manhattan office building in the latest in the #1 New York Times bestselling series… In this next installment of Robb’s mega-best-selling futuristic police procedural, NYPSD lieutenant Eve Dallas investigates when marketing VP Paul Rogan walks into a big Wall Street mergers meeting strapped with explosives and blows the place sky-high. He was forced to act by masked men holding his family hostage, but their goal is murky.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A shot in the dark : a Constable Twitten mystery / Truss, Lynne
“The charming first novel in a new comic crime series, from one of Britain’s most-loved writers, the incomparable Lynne Truss. It is 1957 in Brighton and Inspector Steine is rather enjoying his life as a policeman by the sea. No criminals, no crime, no stress. So it’s really rather annoying when an ambitious – not to mention irritating – new constable shows up to work and starts investigating a series of burglaries. And it’s even more annoying when, after Constable Twitten is dispatched to the theatre for the night, he sits next to a vicious theatre critic who is promptly shot dead part way through the opening night of a new play. It seems Brighton may be in need of a police force after all.” (Catalogue)