A selection of new graphic novel arrivals

There is some fascinating reading for the holidays in this month’s selection of new graphic novels, with a re-telling of a Jim Thompson classic noir novel, the story of John Lennon in New York, the development of hip hop, and the true story of the kidnapping by terrorist of Christopher Andre, almost twenty years later. The most brilliant cover would go to animator Pieter Coudyzer’s graphic novel Outburst.

Syndetics book coverOutburst / written and illustrated by Pieter Coudyzer ; translated from the Dutch by Peter Mennen.
Outburst is about a man who has a forest inside him. When we meet him, all his limbs end in squeezed branches (or roots) where hands and feet should be. He tells his story, that of a fat, nerdy boy always chosen last for teams and relentlessly bullied, whose only defense is to withdraw within himself. Growth to manhood puts an end to physical abuse but not to ostracism, and he has to take a job that suits him night watchman. Eventually, he experiences an outburst; he now awaits the police or a final decision.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHostage / Guy Delisle ; translated by Helge Dascher.
“How does one survive when all hope is lost? In the middle of the night in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe Andre was kidnapped by armed men and taken away to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three months, Andre was kept handcuffed in solitary confinement, with little to survive on and almost no contact with the outside world. Close to twenty years later, this award-winning cartoonist recounts Andre’s harrowing experience in Hostage, a book that attests to the power of one man’s determination in the face of a hopeless situation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJim Thompson’s The killer inside me / writer, Devin Faraci ; artist, Vic Malhotra.
“Celebrated crime novelist Jim Thompson’s sinewy, brutal, and beloved novel comes to life in this graphic noir novel. Thompson went where few have dared, giving us a pitch-black glimpse into the evil mind of the American serial killer years before Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, and Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. Lou Ford is the deputy sheriff of a small unsuspecting Texas town. The worst thing most people can say against him is that he’s a little slow and a little boring. But most people don’t know about the sickness,the sickness that almost got Lou put away when he was younger, the psychosis that is about to surface again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy favorite thing is monsters. Book one / Emil Ferris.
“Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography. Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbour, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold. When Karen’s investigation takes us back to Anka’s life in Nazi Germany, the reader discovers how the personal, the political, the past, and the present converge.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLennon : the New York years / adaptation by Corbeyran ; illustration by Horne ; story by Foenkinos ; translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger.
“In 1975 John Lennon moved to New York City, stopped being a Beatle, and started being a father. Though his life was cut tragically short in front of his home by a fan, John Lennon’s forty years on earth changed millions of lives and shaped the course of pop culture. Many know the Beatle, the activist, the man gone balmy over Yoko, but more lies beneath the surface. From the imagined couch of a fictional therapist in NYC’s posh Dakota building, Lennon recounts the many joys, shortcomings, failures, and triumphs that marked this pop culture juggernaut’s rise to superstardom.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFaith / Jody Houser, Francis Portela, Marguerite Sauvage, Andrew Dalhouse.
“Faith Herbert has always wanted to be a superhero, just like the ones in her favorite comic books. When she unlocked her latent psiots powers and joined the Harbinger Renegades she finally had her shot. But now she’s going to see if she’s got what it takes to make it as a solo hero, secret identity and all. By day, she’s a mild-mannered pop-culture blogger, by night she’s L.A.’s leading superhero, the sky-soaring Zephyr. When other young psiots start going missing without a trace all over the City of Angels, it’s going to be up to her to find out why.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCryptocracy / written by Van Jensen ; art by Pete Woods.
“For time beyond memory, the Nine Families watched from the shadows, believing themselves shepherds and manipulating whole societies as they saw fit. Nothing happened that they didn’t observe or control. Outsiders knew naught of the Families, much less threatened them, until now.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverViolenzia : and other deadly amusements / by Richard Sala.
“Is she a brave and reckless heroine taking on a monstrous evil? Or is she a deranged angel of death? One thing is clear: whether she is dropping from a high window into a crowd of red-robed fanatical cultists, or facing down a horde of psychotic hillbillies, you don’t want to get in her way.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy brother’s husband. Volume 1 / Gengoroh Tagame ; translated from the Japanese by Anne Ishii.
“Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki, father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji’s past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGhetto brother : warrior to peacemaker / Julian Voloj and Claudia Ahlering.
“From the seemingly bombed-out ravages of his neighbourhood, wracked by drugs, poverty and violence, Benjy manages to extract an incredibly positive energy: his gang is multi-racial and peacemaking. Amongst its many accomplishments: weekly concerts on the asphalt of the streets or in abandoned buildings which see the emergence of hip-hop.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

NZ writers feature in our latest ‘other genre’ fiction picks

This is the fourth ‘other genres’ selection featuring New Zealand writers this year. There has been an amazing number of novels from new and well known writers published this year. Included in this month’s selection are two veterans of New Zealand writing Patrick Evans and C. K. Stead, and two debut novelists, Michalia Arathimos and Jonothan Cullinane.

Syndetics book coverAukati / Michalia Arathimos.
“Alexia is a law student escaping the Greek family that stifles her, and Isaiah is a young Maori returning home to find the family he’s lost. Cut loose from their own cultures, they have volunteered to help Isaiah’s Taranaki iwi get rid of the fracking that’s devastating their land and water. The deeper Alexia and Isaiah go into the fight, the closer they get to understand the different worlds they inhabit. But when a protest march becomes violent a boundary is crossed, and they need to decide where they stand and fast. It’s clear the police have been tipped off, and the activists gathered at the marae suspect they’re being watched or, worse, there is an informant in the group. Can Alexia and Isaiah be trusted and can they trust themselves?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTo the white Gate / by Robert Philip Bolton.
“In a park in an antipodean city in the 1930s a teenaged boy starts work as an apprentice nurseryman. It’s an idyllic world, patient and unhurried, with a pace as predictable as the seasons; this is a miniature version of the pre-war colonial empire lying just beyond the park gates. But as secure as the park may seem it can’t protect anyone, least of all Tommy, from the changing world outside. There’s a war coming, an unwanted baby and heartbreaking changes at home. Through all this the park is a constant, a companion, a teacher, a home and a friend. With it he grows, learning wisdom and patience, as the park brings him friendship, love, knowledge and family.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe direction of our fear / David Briggs.
“On a morning commuter train in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, the lives of three people briefly intersect. Sally is a 17-year-old, tentatively stepping into womanhood. Brendan is a middle-aged widower, living in the shadow of his wife’s death. Tamas is a Hungarian immigrant, missing his wife and child as he struggles to begin a new life far from home. Meanwhile, in a nondescript building near Dunedin’s Otago University, Farida translates messages for the security services and catches glimpses of a plot that could threaten them all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRed herring / Jonothan Cullinane.
“In Auckland 1951 the workers and the government are heading for bloody confrontation and the waterfront is the frontline. But this is a war with more than two sides and nothing is what it seems. Into the secret world of rival union politics, dark political agendas and worldwide anti-communist hysteria steps Johnny Molloy, a private detective with secrets of his own. Caitlin O’Carolan, a feisty young reporter, is following her own leads. Together they begin to uncover a conspiracy that goes to the heart of the Establishment – and which will threaten their own lives in the process.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSoldier’s son / by Ian Dodds.
“David sees his father’s World War II 2 ex-soldier macho behavior as being destructive and abusive. When his father gives up alcohol he sees that he could change himself too, and be a more sensitive man than his father has been. When he goes to Teachers College the seventies feminist wave is filtered through his feminist friends. This results in giving him the tools he needed to be the kind of father he wished he’d always had earlier in his life enabling him to be in tune with the roles of husband and father.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSalt picnic / Patrick Evans.
“All the time on the island there had been something she was looking for. She knew she had to keep this in mind, and that she’d know what it was when she found it, whatever it proved to be. It’s 1956 and Iola arrives on the island of Ibiza, on the fringes of Franco’s Spain, with little more than a Spanish phrasebook. Soon she meets a fascinating American photographer who falls in and out of focus: is he really a photographer, and who exactly is the German doctor he keeps asking her about? The mysterious doctor, when he appears, takes Iola for a picnic on a salt island, where she learns how easily the world can be obscured.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSodden downstream / Brannavan Gnanalingam.
“Thousands flee central Wellington as a far too common ‘once in a century’ storm descends. Roads are closed and all rail is halted. For their own safety, city workers are told that they must go home early. Sita is a Tamil Sri Lankan refugee living in the Hutt Valley. She’s just had a call from her boss. If she doesn’t get to her cleaning job in the city she’ll lose her contract. This novel charts the help and hindrances that make for a long, damp evening. But the book also highlights the kinds of care and solidarity that come out in times of need.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBaby / Annaleese Jochems
“Cynthia is twenty-one, bored and desperately waiting for something big to happen when her bootcamp instructor, the striking Anahera, suggests they run away together. With stolen money and a dog in tow they buy ‘Baby’, an old boat docked in the Bay of Islands, where Cynthia dreams they will live in a state of love. But there is an intruder waiting to upset Cynthia’s plans and when a trip to an island utopia goes horribly wrong, a rot sets in on their relationship.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe necessary angel / C. K. Stead.
“A beautifully written, carefully observed novel that takes you to the heart of contemporary Paris and into a world of books and witty conversation. It can be read on many levels, as a story of people grappling with love and fidelity; as a story about the importance of books in everyday life; as a commentary on living in complex modern-day Europe; and as a page-turning mystery.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOperation Iran / Brian Wilson.
“The CIA have a double agent leaking secrets to the Chinese. In an attempt to identify the double agent, Adam Brown, a senior CIA operative disappears leading to speculation and confusion, which is added to when Frank, a world renowned physicist becomes involved.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New contemporary fiction featuring Aussie award winners

This month’s selection of new contemporary fiction show cases the best latest works from several well-known, much acclaimed writers. There are three debut authors, whose novels have been much praised. Also two award winning Australian writers, Man Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan and this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award winner Josephine Wilson. These come highly recommended, as do all the novels in this selection.

Syndetics book coverFirst person / Richard Flanagan.
“A young and penniless writer, Kif Kehlmann, is rung in the middle of the night by the notorious con man and corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl. About to go to trial for defrauding the banks of $700 million, Heidl proposes a deal, $10,000 for Kehlmann to ghost write his memoir in six weeks. But as the writing gets under way, Kehlmann begins to fear that he is being corrupted by Heidl. As the deadline draws closer, he becomes ever more unsure if he is ghost writing a memoir, or if Heidl is rewriting him, his life, his future. Everything that was certain grows uncertain as he begins to wonder, who is Siegfried Heidl and who is Kif Kehlmann?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMunich / Robert Harris ; [map by Gemma Fowlie].
“September 1938 Hitler is determined to start a war. Chamberlain is desperate to preserve the peace. The issue is to be decided in a city that will forever afterwards be notorious for what takes place there. Munich. As Chamberlain’s plane judders over the Channel and the Fuhrer’s train steams relentlessly south from Berlin, two young men travel with secrets of their own. Hugh Legat is one of Chamberlain’s private secretaries; Paul Hartmann a German diplomat and member of the anti-Hitler resistance. Great friends at Oxford before Hitler came to power; they haven’t seen one another since they were last in Munich six years earlier. Now, as the future of Europe hangs in the balance, their paths are destined to cross again. When the stakes are this high, who are you willing to betray, your friends, your family, your country or your conscience?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAffections / Rodrigo Hasbún ; translated by Sophie Hughes.
“The eccentric, fascinating Ertl clan, headed by the egocentric and extraordinary Hans, was once the cameraman for the Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. Shortly after the end of World War II, Hans and his family flee to Bolivia to start over. There, the ever-restless Hans decides to embark on an expedition in search of the fabled lost Inca city of Paititi, enlisting two of his daughters to join him on his outlandish quest into the depths of the Amazon, with disastrous consequences.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStandard deviation / Katherine Heiny.
“Graham Cavanaugh’s second wife, Audra, is everything his first wife was not. She considers herself privileged to live in the age of the hair towel, talks non-stop through her epidural, labour and delivery, invites the doorman to move in and the eccentric members of their son’s Origami Club to Thanksgiving. She is charming and spontaneous and fun but life with her can be exhausting.In the midst of the day-to-day difficulties and delights of marriage and raising a child with Asperger’s, his first wife, Elspeth, reenters Graham’s life. Former spouses are hard to categorize, are they friends, enemies, old flames, or just people who know you really, really well? Graham starts to wonder: How can anyone love two such different women? Did he make the right choice? Is there a right choice?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverElmet / Fiona Mozley.
“Daniel is heading north. He is looking for someone. The simplicity of his early life with Daddy and Cathy has turned menacing and fearful. They lived apart in the house that Daddy built for them in the woods with his bare hands. They foraged and hunted. Cathy was more like their father: fierce and full of simmering anger. Daniel was more like their mother: gentle and kind. Sometimes their father disappeared, and would return with a rage in his eyes. But when he was at home, he was at peace. He told them that the little copse in Elmet was theirs alone. But that wasn’t true. Local men, greedy and watchful, began to circle like vultures. All the while, the terrible violence in Daddy grew.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverActs of vanishing / Fredrik T. Olsson, translation by Michael Gallagher.
“It was ten past four on the afternoon of the third of December. Everything was darkness and ink, and the snow falling turned to water. Through it ran Sara Sandberg, the girl who was about to die, and somewhere in the cold, lead-grey hell that was Stockholm was a man who called himself her father. In her rucksack, she had a warning for him. Now whether he would receive it or not was all down to her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMan with a seagull on his head / by Harriet Paige.
“Under the intense summer sun on the Essex coast a gull falls from the sky and strikes an unassuming local council worker sitting on the beach below. From that moment on he is obsessed, a crazed visionary repeatedly depicting the scene and the unknown figure within in it which filled his view at the moment of impact. The mysterious beauty of his creations draws others to him but can they lay hold of that which possesses him and what of his anonymous muse?”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe last hours / Minette Walters ; [maps by Janet Hunt].
“When the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly. The Church cites God as the cause, and religious fear grips the people as they come to believe that the plague is a punishment for wickedness. But Lady Anne of Develish has her own ideas. With her brutal husband absent from Develish when news of this pestilence reaches her, she takes the decision to look for more sensible ways to protect her people than daily confessions of sin. The people of Develish are alive but for how long and what will they discover when the time comes for them to cross the moat?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExtinctions / Josephine Wilson.
“Professor Frederick Lothian, retired engineer, world expert on concrete, and connoisseur of modernist design, has quarantined himself from life by moving to a retirement village. His wife, Martha, is dead and his two adult children are lost to him in their own ways. Surrounded and obstructed by the debris of his life-objects he has collected over many years and tells himself he is keeping for his daughter, he is determined to be miserable. When a series of unfortunate incidents forces him and his neighbour, Jan, together, he begins to realise the damage done by the accumulation of a lifetime’s secrets and lies, and to comprehend his own shortcomings. Finally, Frederick Lothian has the opportunity to build something meaningful for the ones he loves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New murder mystery madness!

Another wonderful variation on the theme of murder in this month’s selection of new mysteries recently received. Set around the world from France to Atlanta, London to Los Angeles, Spain to Texas, there are many hours of thrilling reading for the mystery genre enthusiast.

Syndetics book coverSnap judgment / Marcia Clark.
“When the daughter of prominent civil litigator Graham Hutchins is found with her throat slashed, the woman’s spurned ex-boyfriend seems the likely suspect. But only days later, the young man dies in what appears to be a suicide. Or was it? Now authorities are faced with a possible new crime. And their person of interest is Hutchins. After all, avenging the death of his daughter is the perfect reason to kill. If he’s as innocent as he claims, only one lawyer has what it takes to prove it: his friend and colleague Samantha Brinkman. It’s Sam’s obligation to trust her new client. Yet the deeper she digs on his behalf, the more entangled she becomes in a thicket of family secrets, past betrayals, and multiple motives for murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmile and be a villain : a Dorothy Martin mystery / Jeanne M. Dams.
“When Dorothy Martin and her husband, retired police detective Alan Nesbitt, decide to visit the beautiful island of Alderney in the English Channel, they hope for a pleasant, peaceful holiday. It’s not to be. Taking a walk on their very first day, they discover a body, apparently the victim of an unfortunate accident, on a precipitous hill path. The dead man, they learn, is an American named Abercrombie who had made himself both loved and hated during his few weeks on the island. Although there is no concrete evidence of foul play, both Dorothy and Alan are uneasy about the death and decide to delve further. They then unearth some most disquieting revelations.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath shall come / Simon R. Green.
“Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny have been summoned to remote Cardavan House, home of the world’s largest private collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts, for the unveiling of George Cardavan’s latest acquisition: a bone fide Egyptian mummy. When a bloodstained body is discovered beside the empty sarcophagus, Ishmael is dismissive of the theory that the mummy’s curse is to blame. Instead he sets out to uncover the human killer responsible. But how can Ishmael explain the strange, shuffling footsteps that creep along the corridors? Who is playing games with them and why?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe man who wasn’t there : a Sebastian Bergman thriller / translated by Marlaine Delargy ; Hjorth & Rosenfeldt.
“On the side of a mountain in Sweden, six bodies have been found, skeletons, more precisely. These bodies were buried a long time ago and for Sebastian Bergman that just makes the investigation into who they are, who killed them, and why, even more complex. For Bergman at first it was a chance to escape his ex-girlfriend and spend some time with his daughter, Vanja. An opportunity to try and build a relationship with her before it’s too late. But soon he finds that he’s more involved than he would ever want to be. And his personal life is horribly, disastrously, tangled up in it all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnleashed / Peter Laws.
“Fifteen years ago, 29 Barley Street in Menham, South London, became notorious as the scene of alleged poltergeist activity which led to the death of young Holly Wasson. The shadow cast by this episode is still felt in the town, and among the gang of friends who were caught up in the tragic events. That shadow looms larger than ever when one of the group dies in horrific and strange circumstances. Matt Hunter, former minister and now professor of sociology, is called in to advise the police on the possible ritualistic elements of the death. He is forced to ask himself, are forces beyond the grave at work or is a flesh-and-blood killer at large?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBluebird, bluebird : a novel / Attica Locke.
“When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules, a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home. When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders, a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman, have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes, and save himself in the process, before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLightning men : a novel / Thomas Mullen.
“Officer Denny Rakestraw and “Negro Officers” Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith have their hands full in an overcrowded and rapidly changing Atlanta. It’s 1950 and racial tensions are simmering as black families, including Smith’s sister, begin moving into formerly all-white neighborhoods. When Rake’s brother-in-law launches a scheme to rally the Ku Klux Klan to “save” their neighborhood, his efforts spiral out of control, forcing Rake to choose between loyalty to family or the law. Battling corrupt cops and ex-cons, Nazi brown shirts and rogue Klansmen, the officers are drawn closer to the fires that threaten to consume the city once again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTwenty-one days / Anne Perry.
“1910. Sir Thomas Pitt’s son, Daniel, is in the middle of his first case as a barrister when he is summoned to the Old Bailey for an important trial. Renowned biographer Russell Graves is charged with the brutal murder of his wife and Daniel must assist in his defence. When the jury finds the accused guilty, Graves insists he has been framed. He is writing a shocking expose of a powerful figure, revealing state secrets so damning that someone might well have wanted to silence him. With the reputations of those closest to him at stake, Daniel has twenty-one days to uncover the truth and ensure that an innocent man isn’t sent to the gallows.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOffering to the storm / Dolores Redondo ; translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Lorenza García.
“When Detective Inspector Amaia Salazar is called in to investigate the death of a baby girl, she finds a suspicious mark across the child’s face, an ominous sign that points to murder. The baby’s father was caught trying to run away with the body, whether from guilt or grief nobody can be sure. And when the girl’s grandmother tells the police that the ‘Inguma’ was responsible, an evil demon of Basque mythology that kills people in their sleep, Amaia is forced to return to the Baztan valley for answers. Back where it all began, in the depths of a blizzard, she comes face to face with a ghost from her past. And finally uncovers a devastating truth that has ravaged the valley for years.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe essence of malice / Ashley Weaver.
“When Amory Ames’s husband Milo receives a troubling letter from his childhood nanny, Madame Nanette, the couple travel to Paris where they become embroiled in a mystery surrounding the death of a famous parfumier. Helios Belanger died suddenly, shortly before the release of his new, highly anticipated perfume, and Madame Nanette, who works for his family, is convinced that her employer’s death was not due to natural causes. When secrets unfold and things take a dangerous turn, Amory and Milo must work quickly to uncover the essence of the matter and catch a killer before the scent goes cold.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Cults, colonies and cyberterrorism: New sci-fi and fantasy

From astronomy to cyberterrorism, cults to space colonies, virtual reality to time travel, artificial intelligence to alternative histories, this selection of new science fiction and fantasy novels illustrates the wonderful diversity of theme and brilliant imaginations of writers in this genre.

Syndetics book coverGood morning, midnight : a novel / Lily Brooks-Dalton.
“Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. At his latest posting, news of a catastrophic event arrives and the scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home. As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSea of rust / C. Robert Cargill.
“It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI, One World Intelligence, the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality, their personality, for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRetrograde / Peter Cawdron.
“Mankind has long dreamed of reaching out to live on other planets, and with the establishment of the Mars Endeavour colony, that dream has become reality. The fledgling colony consists of 120 scientists, astronauts, medical staff, and engineers. Buried deep underground, they’re protected from the harsh radiation that sterilizes the surface of the planet. The colony is prepared for every eventuality except one, what happens when disaster strikes Earth?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverParadox bound : a novel / Peter Clines.
“Nothing ever changes in Sanders. The town’s still got a video store, so why doesn’t Eli Teague want to leave? Not that he’d ever admit it, but maybe he’s been waiting, waiting for the traveler to come back. The one who’s roared into his life twice before, pausing just long enough to drop tantalizing clues before disappearing in a cloud of gunfire and a squeal of tires, the one who’s a walking anachronism, with her tricorne hat, flintlock rifle, and steampunked Model-A Ford. So when the mysterious traveler finally reappears, Eli’s determined that this time, he’s going to get some answers. But his hunt soon yields far more than he bargained for, plunging him headlong into a dizzying world full of competing factions and figures straight out of legend” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIron angels / Eric Flint & Alistair Kimble.
“A bizarre kidnapping case leads FBI Special Agent Jasper Wilde into the mysterious world of a strange religious cult and even stranger criminals. At the scene of the kidnapping itself, a frightening apparition is seen. Then, a hideously-mutilated corpse is found nearby. Something wicked has come to the normal-seeming Chicago suburbs. It doesn’t take long before the FBI agents realize that something truly extraordinary is unfolding in northwest Indiana and that, whatever it is, the area’s huge steel industry is somehow at the center. A cult is discovered and erupts in open warfare. As the FBI agents race to intervene and finally put a stop to the horrors, they come to understand and accept that something very ancient and very evil has surfaced in the world or, perhaps, something that is very, very alien.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLost in Arcadia / Sean Gandert.
“The America of 2037 is a country distracted by, infatuated with, and addicted to Arcadia. The brainchild of reclusive genius Juan Diego Reyes, Arcadia is a wickedly immersive, all-encompassing social-media platform and virtual-reality interface. Although Arcadia has made the Reyes family fabulously wealthy, it has left them and the rest of the country impoverished of that rare currency: intimacy. When Juan Diego mysteriously vanishes, the consequences shatter the lives of the entire Reyes clan. As matriarch Autumn struggles to hold the family together, siblings Gideon, Holly, and Devon wrestle with questions of purpose and meaning, seeking self-worth in a world where everything has been cheapened.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn excess male : a novel / Maggie Shen King.
“China’s One Child Policy and its cultural preference for male heirs have created a society overrun by 40 million unmarriageable men. By the year 2030, more than twenty-five percent of men in their late thirties will not have a family of their own. An Excess Male is one such leftover man’s quest for love and family under a State that seeks to glorify its past mistakes and impose order through authoritarian measures, reinvigorated Communist ideals, and social engineering.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sea peoples : a novel of the Change / S. M. Stirling.
“The spirit of troubadour Prince John, the brother of Crown Princess Orlaith, has fallen captive to the power of the Yellow Raja and his servant, the Pallid Mask. Prince John’s motley band of friends and followers, headed by Captain Pip of Townsville and Deor Godulfson, must lead a quest through realms of shadow and dreams to rescue Prince John from a threat far worse than death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVirology / Ren Warom.
“It’s been four weeks since Shock Pao broke open the virtual world of the Slip. With the stolen bio-ware Emblem in his head, he controls all the world’s systems, and so the shadiest characters in Foon Gung are desperate to track him down. Shock and the Hornets are running out of places to hide. Meanwhile, the Patient Zeros’ cryptic illness is worsening, the source of the disease points to the distant hubs; Earth’s former cities snatched up and sent into orbit. With their pursuers nearing and time running out to find the cure, the Hornets flee skywards, from the insane underworld of Tokyo to the throngs of New York, all the time moving towards an evil that makes Hive Queens look like garden insects.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCloudbound / Fran Wilde
“The Towers are in disarray, without a governing body or any defense against the dangers lurking in the clouds, and daily life is full of terror and strife. Nat Densira, the wing-brother to Kirit sets out to be a hero in his own way, sitting on the new Council to cast votes protecting Tower-born, and exploring lower tiers to find more materials to repair the struggling City. But what he finds down-tier is more secrets and now Nat will have to decide who to trust, and how to trust himself without losing those he holds most dear, before a dangerous myth raises a surprisingly realistic threat to the crippled City.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Start a new series: New graphic novels

Two new series are included in this month’s selection of new graphic novels. Each month, with our selections we attempt to illustrate the diversity of this most popular collection. Highly recommend is the latest work from the much acclaimed Jeff Lemire titled Roughneck.

Syndetics book coverSoviet daughter : a graphic revolution / Julia Alekseyeva.
“The story of Lola, the author’s great-grandmother, who lived an adventurous life as a feminist, secret service agent, military nurse, and Jewish refugee in the soviet Ukraine. The story is interwoven with the author’s political and romantic coming-of-age a century later in present-day Chicago.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAdam Sarlech : a trilogy / Frédéric Bézian, writer & artist ; Mark Bence, translator.
“Mid-19th century France, and Father Gabriel Raven has just taken over a small parish surrounded by moorland. He soon meets Doctor Spitzner, personal physician to the notorious Malherbe family. Intrigued, the young priest visits the sumptuous property of this bizarre, wealthy dynasty that shuns all contact with the outside world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHarley Quinn. Vol. 1, Die laughing / Amanda Connor, Jimmy Palmiotti, writers ; John Timms [and four others], artists.
“Her name is Dr. Harleen Quinzel, better known to her friends and enemies as playful-but-deadly Harley Quinn. Her ex-boyfriend, the Joker, may be the Clown Prince of Crime, but Harley’s the Queen of Coney Island! So when a zombie apocalypse threatens her small seaside stretch of paradise, who else would you call to save you?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWorld without end : the complete collection / Jamie Delano, John Higgins ; with an afterword by Stephen R. Bissette.
“Millions of years in the future, a new world emerges, a world made of living flesh, surrounded by acidic seas. Rotten at the edges, awash in gangrene swamps, and bristling with mountains of bone, the planet’s simmering core houses the stark city of Bedlam, where an all-male race suppresses every manifestation of femininity. In this magnificently illustrated dreamscape of brutality and eroticism, a mysterious female presence called Rumour arises to challenge super-commando Brother Bones in a deadly war between the sexes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe complete Phonogram / Kieron Gillen, writer ; Jamie McKelvie, artist ; Chrissy Williams, editor.
“Collected in a single volume for the first time, the first critically beloved work from the creators of The Wicked + the Divine. The world where Music Is Magic has never looked better.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArclight / story, Brandon Graham ; art and colors, Marian Churchland.
“A lady of the blood house has had her mind trapped in a strange alien body. While hiding on the outskirts of her kingdom until she learns that an alien monster pretending to be her has taken her place.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRoughneck / Jeff Lemire.
“Derek Ouellette’s glory days are behind him. His hockey career ended a decade earlier in a violent incident on ice, and since then he’s been living off his reputation in the remote northern community where he grew up, drinking too much and fighting anyone who crosses him. When his long-lost sister Beth shows up, on the run from an abusive boyfriend, the two escape to a secluded hunting camp in the woods. There, living off the land, they reconnect with each other, the painful secrets of their past, and their Cree heritage and start to heal. But Beth’s ex-boyfriend is hunting them. As he circles closer, he threatens to shatter this newfound peace and pull both Derek and Beth back into the world of self-destruction they’ve fought so hard to leave behind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSaving Grace / Grace Wilson.
“The story of four twenty-somethings, Grace, Vicky, Jess and Maxine, who live in a ramshackle house in a rapidly gentrifying East London, until the landlord announces he’s selling up and they’ve got four weeks to leave. New plans form effortlessly for the others, but the odds feel stacked against Grace as she struggles to find self-fulfillment, a half decent job or even a roof over her head.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBriggs Land. Volume 1, State of grace / script, Brian Wood ; art, Mack Chater.
“Briggs Land, nearly a hundred square miles of rural wilderness, contains the largest anti-government secessionist movement in the United States. When matriarch Grace Briggs wrests control of the operation from her incarcerated husband, she sparks a war within the community and her immediate family that threatens to bring the full power of the federal government down on their heads” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New contemporary fiction featuring your favourite authors

Some of contemporary fictions most popular, much acclaimed writers are included in this month’s selection of new contemporary fiction. Included are the much awaited new novels from Dan Brown, Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan, Alan Hollinghurst and John Le Carre. There is much to enjoy.

Syndetics book coverOrigin : a novel / Dan Brown.
“In keeping with his trademark style, Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and Inferno, interweaves codes, science, religion, history, art, and architecture into this new novel. Origin thrusts Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon into the dangerous intersection of humankind’s two most enduring questions, and the earthshaking discovery that will answer them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmile / Roddy Doyle.
“Who is unreliable? Just moved in to a new apartment, alone for the first time in years, Victor Forde goes every evening to Donnelly’s pub for a pint, a slow one. One evening his drink is interrupted. A man in shorts and pink shirt brings over his pint and sits down. He seems to know Victor’s name and to remember him from school. Says his name is Fitzpatrick. Victor dislikes him on sight, dislikes too the memories that Fitzpatrick stirs up of five years being taught by the Christian Brothers. He prompts other memories too, of Rachel, his beautiful wife who became a celebrity, and of Victor’s own small claim to fame, as the man who says the unsayable on the radio. But it’s the memories of high school, and of one particular Brother, that he cannot control and which eventually threaten to destroy his sanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverManhattan Beach : a novel / Jennifer Egan.
“This novel begins in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a nightclub, she chances to meet Dexter Styles again, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Image from Mightyape.co.nzThe Sparsholt affair / Alan Hollinghurst.
“In 1940, Dax and David, two young men from very different backgrounds, meet at Oxford University. Hollinghurst’s masterly novel takes us through several generations and across key periods of change in British society. From the darkest days of WWII, it moves to the socially and sexually liberated London of the 1960s, before landing in the mid-1970s.” (Adapted from Syndtics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe rules of magic / Alice Hoffman.
“In New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk. From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverForest dark : a novel / Nicole Krauss.
“Jules Epstein, a man whose drive, avidity, and outsized personality have, for sixty-eight years, been a force to be reckoned with, is undergoing a metamorphosis. In the wake of his parents’ deaths, his divorce from his wife of more than thirty years, and his retirement from the New York legal firm where he was a partner, he’s felt an irresistible need to give away his possessions, alarming his children and perplexing the executor of his estate. With the last of his wealth, he travels to Israel, with a nebulous plan to do something to honor his parents. In Tel Aviv, he is sidetracked by a charismatic American rabbi planning a reunion for the descendants of King David who insists that Epstein is part of that storied dynastic line. He also meets the rabbi’s beautiful daughter who convinces Epstein to become involved in her own project, a film about the life of David being shot in the desert, with life-changing consequences. But Epstein isn’t the only seeker embarking on a metaphysical journey that dissolves his sense of self, place, and history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA legacy of spies / John Le Carré.
“Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized under disturbing criteria by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe golden house : a novel / Salman Rushdie.
“When the aristocratic Golden family moves into a self-contained pocket of New York City, a park in Greenwich Village called “The Gardens,” their past is an absolute mystery. They seem to be hiding in plain sight: Nero Golden, the powerful but shady patriarch, and his sons Petya, a high functioning autistic and recluse; Apu, the successful artist who may or may not be profound; and D, the enchanting youngest son whose gender confusion mirrors the confusion and possibilities of the world around him. And finally there is Vasilisa, the Russian beauty who seduces the patriarch to shape their American stories. An aspiring filmmaker decides the Golden family will be his subject. He gains the trust of this strange family, even as their secrets gradually unfold. Meanwhile, an insane Presidential Candidate known as only The Joker grows stronger and stronger, and America itself grows mad.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHome fire / Kamila Shamsie.
“Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she is finally studying in America, resuming a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream: to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. Then Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. Handsome and privileged, he inhabits a London that is worlds away from theirs. As the son of a powerful British Muslim politician, Eamonn has his own birthright to live up to or defy. Is he to be a chance at love, the means of Parvaiz’s salvation? Two families’ fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined, in this searing novel that asks: what sacrifices will we make in the name of love?” (Adpated from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSing, unburied, sing : a novel / Jesmyn Ward.
“ Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise. This novel grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Read around the globe: New translated fiction

Translated novels feature in this month’s selection of ‘Other Genres’ fiction. With some wonderful novels, translated from Swedish, Mandarin, Norwegian, Japanese, Spanish, French, Turkish and Hungarian, many hours of reading pleasure are guaranteed.

Syndetics book coverNevada days / Bernardo Atxaga ; translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa.
“A fictionalised account of the author’s nine months’ stay as writer-in-residence at the Centre for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada. He is accompanied by his wife, Angela, who is also doing research there, and by their two daughters. During their first few weeks, the family encounter a strange mapache (racoon), which is always staring at them from the garden, a flight of helicopters immediately overhead, a black widow spider, a warning about bears, a party of prisoners in the desert, a lake that is somehow far too calm and too blue, and, not long into their stay, the kidnap and murder of a young girl living in the house right next door.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPenance / Kanae Minato ; translated by Philip Gabriel.
“The tense, chilling story of four women haunted by a childhood trauma. When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emili by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emili is found murdered hours later. Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren’t able to accurately describe the stranger’s appearance to the police after the Emili’s body was discovered. Asako, Emili’s mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter’s murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWaiting for Monsieur Bellivier / Britta Röstlund ; translated from the Swedish by Alice Menzies.
“Are you waiting for Monsieur Belliver, madame? Helena Folasadu should of course say no. She doesn’t know the man talking to her, she doesn’t know Monsieur Bellivier, and she certainly isn’t waiting for him. But, bored of life, and sparked by a whim, she says yes. The go-between leads her to a deserted floor in an office building and offers her a large sum of money to sit at a computer and forward emails to Monsieur Bellivier. The emails turn out to be in code, and the bouquets Helena is handed every evening entangle her in an even greater mystery.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe history of bees / Maja Lunde.
“England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive one that will give both him and his children honor and fame. United States, 2007, George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation. China 2098, Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him. Three very different narratives lead into one gripping and thought-provoking story that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSundays in August / Patrick Modiano ; translated from the French by Damion Searls.
“Stolen jewels, black markets, hired guns, crossed lovers, unregistered addresses, people gone missing, shadowy figures disappearing in crowds, newspaper stories uncomfortably close and getting closer, this ominous novel is Set in Nice. A young couple in hiding keeps close watch over a notorious diamond necklace known as the Southern Cross, with its provenance murky, only they know it’s whereabouts, who find themselves trapped by its potential value, and its ultimate cost.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe red-haired woman / Orhan Pamuk ; translated from the Turkish by Ekin Oklap.
“On the outskirts of a town thirty miles from Istanbul a master well digger and his young apprentice are hired to find water on a barren plain. As they struggle in the summer heat, the two will develop a filial bond neither has known before. In the nearby town, the boy will find an irresistible diversion. The Red Haired woman, an irresistibly alluring member of a travelling theatre company, catches his eye and seems as fascinated by him as he is by her. The young man’s wildest dream will be realized, but, when in his distraction, a horrible accident befalls the well-digger; the boy will flee, returning to Istanbul. Only years later will he discover whether he was in fact responsible for his master’s death and who the redheaded enchantress was.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe children / Carolina Sanín ; translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor.
“One day, as she enters her local supermarket, Laura Romero has a startling encounter with a beggar, who seems to offer her a child. A short while later, in the middle of the night, she discovers a mysterious young boy on the pavement outside her apartment building: Fidel, who is six years old, a child with seemingly no origins or meaning. With few clues to guide her as she tries to attach significance to his presence, Laura find herself swept into a bureaucratic maelstrom of fantastical proportions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKatalin Street / Magda Szabó ; translated from the Hungarian by Len Rix.
“In prewar Budapest three families live side by side on gracious Katalin Street, their lives closely intertwined. Their lives are torn apart in 1944 by the German occupation, which only the Elekes family survives intact. The postwar regime relocates them to a cramped Soviet-style apartment and they struggle to come to terms with social and political change, personal loss, and unstated feelings of guilt over the deportation of the Held parents and the death of little Henriette, who had been left in their protection.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe postman’s fiancée / Denis Thériault ; translated by John Cullen.
“Tania moves from Bavaria to Montreal to fine-tune her French and fall in love. Finding work as a waitress at a low-key restaurant in a working-class area of the city, she meets Bilodo, a shy postman who writes haiku and who is passionate about calligraphy. The two become friends. One stormy day their lives take a dramatic turn, and as their destinies become increasingly entwined the two are led into a world where nothing is as it seems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Mysterious new Mystery novels

The new mystery novels selected from our recent additions to the mystery collection include several popular much acclaimed writers: Ann Cleeves, Martina Cole, Michael Hjorth and Val McDermid. Highly recommended is the debut novel by Jessica Fellowes titled The Mitford murders.

Syndetics book coverDead woman walking / Sharon Bolton.
“The twelve sightseers in a hot-air balloon are drifting over Northumberland. They’re passing over an isolated farmhouse when Jessica and her sister, Bella see a man killing a young woman. Everyone in the balloon is watching the man when he looks up and spots them. He only has one option to kill them all. After a furious crash the balloon crashes, and Jessica’s the only survivor. She’s seen his face and he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe seagull / Ann Cleeves.
“A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two. This cold case case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as ‘the Prof’, were close friends of Hector, her father. Vera must confront her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth, as the past begins to collide dangerously with the present.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDamaged / Martina Cole.
“When the bodies of missing schoolgirls start turning up, former DCI Kate Burrows is dragged out of retirement. A new Grantley serial killer is in town and DCI Annie Carr turns to Kate for help. She welcomes the distraction from her home life with former gangster, Patrick Kelly, whose long lost son has turned up out of the blue, bringing trouble with him. It soon becomes clear the killer is on their doorstep and as the body count grows, Kate and Annie face a race against the clock. But they have no real leads and there’s more to these murders than meets the eye. Can Kate take the killer down before another schoolgirl dies?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe missing masterpiece / Jeanne M. Dams.
“When Dorothy Martin goes to France alone because Alan is stuck back home in Sherebury with a broken ankle, she worries about her ability to get along in a language she barely speaks, and in a country she hasn’t seen for over fifty years. But by the time Alan joins her a week later, Dorothy has found herself embroiled in one mystery after another: a woman drowning in quicksand; a man suffering a near fatal fall in the abbey at Mont Saint Michel; and a missing American archaeologist, all seemingly connected to a monk named Abelard who has been dead for almost nine hundred years. It isn’t until another body is discovered that Dorothy’s ability to ‘think outside the box’ finally unravels the threads of a despicable scheme.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Mitford murders / Jessica Fellowes.
“It’s 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle. Louisa’s salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nursery maid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy, an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories. But when a nurse, Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake, is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTruly evil / Mark Hardie.
“A body has been found dumped on the sandy shores of Southend. Already under scrutiny following the murder of a corrupt cop, DS Frank Pearson and DC Cat Russell of the Essex Major Investigation Team are tasked with solving the case quickly, and quietly. When the victim’s identity is revealed, the list of suspects begins to grow. A young woman knows more than she’s letting on, but is she really involved? Or the estranged father, who’s been trying to find the victim for months. One thing is clear: no one is telling the whole truth. Then a shocking tragedy leads Pearson to a similar murder case from decades before. Is it a coincidence, or is history repeating itself?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeyond absolution / Cora Harrison.
“Ireland. 1925. Pierced through to the brain, the dead body of the priest was found wedged into the small, dark confessional cubicle. Loved by all, Father Dominic had lent a listening ear to sinners of all kinds: gunmen and policemen; prostitutes and nuns; prosperous businessmen and petty swindlers; tradesmen and thieves. But who knelt behind the metal grid and inserted a deadly weapon into that listening ear? The Reverend Mother Aquinas can do nothing for Father Dominic, but for the sake of his brother, her old friend Father Lawrence, she is determined to find out who killed him, and why.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe silent girl : a Sebastian Bergman thriller / [Michael] Hjorth & [Hans] Rosenfeldt ; translated by Marlaine Delargy.
“An idyllic white, two-storey, beautiful house in Sweden. Inside, a family has been brutally murdered, mother, father and two young children all shot in broad daylight. And the killer has got away. Sebastian Bergman has been brought in to solve the crime, but with no credible suspects, he is at a dead end. Until he discovers that there was a witness to the crime. A young girl who saw it all happen and she has disappeared. Bergman has to track the young girl down before it’s too late. But the killer is chasing her too and he is determined to finish what he started.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInsidious intent / Val McDermid.
“When charred human remains are discovered in the driver’s seat of a burning car, DCI Carol Jordan and psychological profiler Tony Hill are brought in to investigate. They soon discover that what appeared to be a terrible accident is, in fact, murder. Delving deeper into the case, they begin the dangerous hunt for a most sinister killer with the power to inflict untold fear and pain on their victims.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFatal music / Peter Morfoot.
“Captain Paul Darac of the Brigade Criminelle arrives at a crime scene to find a woman’s mutilated corpse. Initially routine, the case deepens and darkens into a complex enquiry that threatens to close in on Darac himself. But allegiances past and present must be set aside to unravel a tale of greed, deception and treachery that spans the social spectrum. It is among the winding streets of his own neighbourhood in Nice’s old town, the Babazouk, that Darac faces his severest test yet.” (Adapted from syndetics summary)

Try these new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels

Leading this month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels is the multiple award winning novel by Naomi Alderman titled The Power and is highly recommended. Other novels in this selection cover well-loved themes of this genre including interplanetary voyages, alternative histories, dystopian fiction, artificial intelligence, and imaginary wars and battles.

Syndetics book coverThe power / Naomi Alderman.
“Suddenly tomorrow or the day after, girls find that with a flick of their fingers they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman’s extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed, and we look at the world in an entirely new light. What if the power were in women’s hands?” (Adapted from Sydetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe rift / Nina Allan.
“Selena and Julie are sisters. As children they were closest companions, but as they grow towards maturity, a rift develops between them. There are greater rifts, however. Julie goes missing at the age of seventeen. It will be twenty years before Selena sees her again. When Julie reappears, she tells Selena an incredible story about how she has spent time on another planet. Selena has an impossible choice to make: does she dismiss her sister as a damaged person, the victim of delusions, or believe her, and risk her own sanity in the process? Is Julie really who she says she is, and if she isn’t, what does she have to gain by claiming her sister’s identity?”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKilling is my business / Adam Christopher.
“Another golden morning in a seedy town, and a new memory tape and assignment for intrepid PI-turned hitman and last robot left in working order, Raymond Electromatic. But, in Killing Is My Business, he finds his skills may be rustier than he remembered.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWalkaway / Cory Doctorow.
“Hubert, Seth, and their ultra-rich heiress friend Natalie are getting a little old to hang out at the “Communist parties,” techno-raveups in abandoned industrial spaces, full of insta-printed drugs and toys. Natalie was finished, years ago, with her over controlling zillionaire dad and now that anyone can manufacture food, clothing, shelter with equipment comparable to a computer printer, there seems to be little reason to stick with the world of rules and jobs. So, like hundreds of thousands of others in the mid-21st century, the three of them walk away. Mind you, it’s still dangerous out there. Much of the countryside is wrecked by climate change, and predators are with us always. Yet when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death” (Adapted from Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverRed vengeance : a novel of alien resistance / Brendan DuBois.
“U.S Army Sergeant Randy Knox is sixteen, and already a seasoned veteran. He is an alien killing prodigy who has eradicated more of the invading Creepers than anyone can keep track of. But Randy is also a high school student struggling with geometry. And he is a young man whose heart is being pulled in two directions by two very different girls. One, Abby Monroe, a straightforward warrior, the other, Serena Coulson, dangerous and mysterious. Randy, with the help of Serena’s strange brother, alien interpreter Buddy Coulson, has convinced a Creeper base to surrender. After a decade of conflict, misery, and the death of millions of humans, it finally seems that the war may come to an end. But then the surrender effort turns into a bloody ambush. More disturbing, Buddy and Serena Coulson arrive, having escaped torture and interrogation at the hands of a C.I.A. operative. It begins to dawn on Randy that, as much as he doesn’t want to believe it, the powers-that-be may not want the war to be over.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDarien / C. F. Iggulden.
“The city of Darien stands at the weary end of a golden age. Twelve families keep order with soldiers and artefacts, spies and memories, clinging to a peace that shifts and crumbles. The people of the city endure what they cannot change. Here, amongst old feuds, a plot is hatched to kill a king. It will summon strangers to the city, Elias Post, a hunter, Tellius, an old swordsman banished from his home, Arthur, a boy who cannot speak, Daw Threefold, a chancer and gambler, Vic Deeds, who feels no guilt and Nancy, a girl whose talent might be the undoing of them all. As the sun sets, their arrival inside the walls will spark a series of explosive events. Before the sun returns, six destinies will have been made and lost in Darien.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe punch escrow / Tal M. Klein.
“It’s the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We’ve genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. Teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport, the world’s most powerful corporation, in a world controlled by corporations. Joel Byram spends his days training artificial-intelligence engines to act more human and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. He’s pretty much an everyday twenty-second century guy with everyday problems, until he’s accidentally duplicated while teleporting. Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProvenance / Ann Leckie.
“A power-driven young woman has just one chance to secure the status she craves and regain priceless lost artifacts prized by her people. She must free their thief from a prison planet from which no one has ever returned. Ingray and her charge will return to her home world to find their planet in political turmoil, at the heart of an escalating intergalactic conflict. Together, they must make a new plan to salvage Ingray’s future, her family, and her world, before they are lost to her for good.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA man of shadows : a Nyquist mystery / Jeff Noon.
“Below the neon skies of Dayzone, where the lights never go out, and night has been banished, lowly private eye John Nyquist takes on a teenage runaway case. His quest takes him from Dayzone into the permanent dark of Nocturna. As the vicious, seemingly invisible serial killer known only as Quicksilver haunts the streets, Nyquist starts to suspect that the runaway girl holds within her the key to the city’s fate. In the end, there’s only one place left to search: the shadow-choked zone known as Dusk.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe idiot gods / David Zindell.
“The Idiot Gods is an epic tale of a quest for a new way of life on Earth, told by an orca .When Arjuna of the Blue Aria Family encounters three signs of cataclysm, he leaves his home in the Arctic Ocean to seek out the Idiot Gods and ask us why we are destroying the world. But the whales’ ancient Song of Life is beyond our understanding, and we know nothing of the Great Covenant between our kinds. Arjuna is captured, starved, tortured and made to do tricks in a tiny pool at Sea Circus. His love for a human linguist gives him hope. As the whales’ beloved Ocean turns toward the Blood Solstice the fate of humanity hangs in the balance: for if Arjuna gains the Voice of Death he could destroy mankind. But if understanding can prevail, he may, through the whales’ mysterious power of quenging, create a new Song of Life and enable human evolution to unfold.” (Adapted from Syndetics summaries)