This month we have a sample of the diversity of our writers, with short story collections, historical novels, futuristic novels, and murder mysteries all included.
Tumbledown Manor / Helen Brown.
“Life’s going down the gurgler for romance writer Lisa Trumperton. The deadline for her next novel is looming, her daughter won’t eat but has a new tattoo each week, and now her Wall Street trader husband has run off with a woman at work. Lisa makes a quick escape, home to Australia, where at least her girl-magnet son seems to be making hay. Determined to grow older disgracefully, she turns her back on a trim and tidy townhouse that is close to shops, aged-care providers and her bossy older sister, instead buying a grand old house in the country that once belonged to her great-grandfather. But like its new owner, Trumperton Manor has seen better days. Crumbling, filthy and possibly haunted, the old house defies Lisa’s attempts to restore it. Add flood, fire and family secrets, plus a stray cat with attitude and an overly familiar handyman, and the cracks begin to show.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Astonished dice / Geoff Cochrane.
A collection of Wellington writer Geoff Cochrane’s published short stories. All written in his edgy, terse, humorous style giving glimpses of lives lived slightly outside the norm.
Four of a kind / Shannon Clayton.
“Have you ever had one of those days where everything that could go wrong does? Deborah Hayes is dealt that exact hand when dosaster strikes at an event she’s managing, giving her publicity for all the wrong reasons, not to mention breaking up with her English boyfriend. And the trouble doesn’t just end there, but when Deborah starts to investigate she can’t help but feel like the universe is trying to warn.” (Adapted from Book cover)
The naturalist : a novel / Thom Conroy.
“A fascinating, moving novel based on the real life of Dr Ernst Dieffenbach: scientist, explorer, revolutionary, outcast. Featuring Darwin, Charles Heaphy and the notorious Te Rauparaha, this novel connects New Zealand’s past with world history and brings alive the story of this remarkable man.” (Adapted from Book cover)
The sovereign hand / Paul Gilbert.
“Thorn, the gilded capital: bedecked in steam and the dust of convoys bearing riches from across the earth. From here, wise and ruling hands have ensnared all Aurawn in a great story, a Primacy of Peace. A land where every person – humans, gobelin, or drake – can dream, toil hard and succeed. Of course, not everyone sees things that way. But when Alexa Temperen stands above Crucible Square and denounces the First and all his government for their injustices, the last thing she imagines is that she’ll soon be working for them, as a champion: one of the Sovereign Hand.” (Adapted from Book cover)
Shamejoy / Julie Hill.
“ShameJoy (English for schadenfreude) is a collection of smart, darkly comic short stories about pop psychology, pop music, politics and Germans”. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The Witzke woman / Allan Marriott.
“I walk home through a night when the moon is dark. I do not remember crossing streets and do not remember falling but my knees soon bleed to my ankles. I do not know what happened to my hat but I never see it again. I do not know what I do with the spade and guess it probably lies alone in a ditch. In the morning, all I have is the gun and quiet bullets. This is no way to carry out a final solution.” (Adapted from Book cover)
Mistory : a novel / Philip Temple.
“Following Annie’s strange death, her partner is forced to think about what he has allowed to happen to his life, his community and his country. His diary, kept during the year of The Change, reveals how the example Annie left him, and the mission of his young sister Sophie, drive him to escape the life of a bureaucratic cipher and work with the Movement in its fight to bring back a free and fair way of life. A tale of life at mid-century that reveals what the future may hold if we ignore the threats that face us and carry on with ‘business as usual’.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Fallout : a Tito Ihaka novel / Paul Thomas.
“For 25 years McGrail has been haunted by the unsolved killing of 17 year old who was murdered at a 1987 election night party, but finally a witness comes forward with a scrap of information which sheds light on one of the many mysteries surrounding the case and prompts McGrail to instruct Ihaka to look into it. Ihaka, meanwhile, is embroiled in a very personal mystery. A freelance journalist has stumbled across information that Ihaka’s father Jimmy, a trade union firebrand and renegade Marxist, didn’t die of natural causes. Meanwhile Van Roon is unexpectedly hired by a PR man, acting on behalf of a shadowy tycoon, to investigate a reported sighting of a political powerbroker who vanished without trace in 1987. The three strands weave themselves into an exciting climax in an atmosphere of political maneuvering and intrigue surrounding New Zealand’s confrontation with the USA over its anti-nuclear stance.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
ʻAvaiki Tautau : homeland beneath the stars / Keith Tonkin ; illustrated by Spike Wademan.
“Avaiki Tautau is a story set 8-900 years ago when Polynesian navigators made their last and most spectacular journeys to settle the last habitable landmass on Earth, ʻAvaiki Tautau, later to be known as Aotearoa (New Zealand). The story follows Teipe, a boy otherwise destined to be a warrior had not he, his family and friends been chosen by his chief, Tamatea to accompany himself and others leave their native Rarotonga and begin again in the new ʻavaiki, a future homeland that dangled beneath stars far to the southwest.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)