Science Fiction and Fantasy showcase or recently acquired books

It was rumoured she held grudges till they died of old age, then had them stuffed and mounted.”

― David Weber, Field of Dishonour

Some of the biggest names in the Science Fiction and Fantasy writing community have released books recently including David Weber, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Gregory Benford.  And as an icing to this very rich cake there  is also a wealth of other titles of great interest including the third entry in Josiah Bancrof’s Books of Babel series The Hod king and Endgames by L.E. Modesitt Jr. So there’s lots of fantastic new titles on offer to be read. Enjoy.

The Hod king / Bancroft, Josiah
“The third novel in the highly acclaimed Books of Babel series, set in a labyrinthine world of menace and wonder. On the orders of the mysterious Sphinx, Thomas Senlin and his crew are dragged ever further into the Tower’s conspiracies. Meanwhile, the hods climb the Black Trail in darkness and whisper of their king. ” (Catalogue)

 

The winter of the witch / Arden, Katherine
“One girl can make a difference…Moscow is in flames, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to blame. Vasilisa, a girl with extraordinary gifts, must flee for her life, pursued by those who blame their misfortune on her magic.Then a vengeful demon returns, stronger than ever. Determined to engulf the world in chaos, he finds allies among men and spirits. Mankind and magical creatures alike find their fates resting on Vasya’s shoulders. But she may not be able to save them all.” (Catalogue)

 

Rewrite : loops in the timespace / Benford, Gregory
“In this thematic sequel to Gregory Benford’s award-winning bestseller Timescape, a history professor finds that he is able travel back to 1968, the year he was sixteen–here, he finds a slew of mentors with the same ability, including Robert Heinlein, Albert Einstein, and Philip K. Dick. ” (Catalogue)

 

Vigilance / Bennett, Robert Jackson
“Robert Jackson Bennett’s Vigilance is a dark science fiction action parable from an America that has permanently surrendered to gun violence. The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces “Vigilance,” a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a “game environment,” and the survivors get a cash prize. The TV audience is not the only one that’s watching though, and McDean soon finds out what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera.” (Catalogue)

The prisoner of Limnos : a fantasy novella in the world of the five gods / Bujold, Lois McMaster
“Penric and Nikys receive a letter from a friend warning them that Nikys’s mother has been taken hostage, and the pair set out to rescue her — adapted from publisher description.” (Catalogue)

 

 

The kingdom of copper / Chakraborty, S. A.
“Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad–and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there. Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend.” (Catalogue)

Here and now and then / Chen, Mike
” To save his daughter, he’ll go anywhere – and any-when… Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142. Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives – eighteen years too late.” (Catalogue)

Endgames / Modesitt, L. E.
“Solidar is in chaos. Charyn, the young and untested ruler of Solidar, has survived assassination, and he struggles to gain control of a realm in the grip of social upheaval, war, and rioting. Solidar cannot be allowed to slide into social and political turmoil that will leave the High Holders with their ancient power and privilege, and the common people with nothing. But the stakes are even higher than he realizes. ” (Catalogue)

 

Shadow captain / Reynolds, Alastair
“Adrana and Fura Ness have finally been reunited, but both have changed beyond recognition. Once desperate for adventure, now Adrana is haunted by her enslavement on the feared pirate Bosa Sennen’s ship. And rumors of Bosa Sennen’s hidden cache of treasure have ensnared her sister, Fura, into single-minded obsession. Neither is safe; because the galaxy wants Bosa Sennen dead and they don’t care if she’s already been killed. They’ll happily take whoever is flying her ship.” (Catalogue)

Through fiery trials / Weber, David
” The unholy war between the small but mighty island realm of Charis and the radical, luddite Church of God’s Awaiting has finally come to an end. Those on the side of progressing humanity through advanced technology have finally triumphed over their oppressors. However, even though a provisional veil of peace has fallen over human colonies, many secrets of Safehold’s past still remain unearthed. With new alliances forged and old regimes fractured, Merlin–the cybernetic avatar of Earth’s last survivor and immortal beacon to humanity–and the colonies of Safehold have many adventures ahead .” (Catalogue)

Comics to Television – Graphic Novel showcase.

Television has long looked to other sources for creative inspiration for its programmes, the world of classic novels has been regularly plundered.  And there has also been a long standing tradition of adapting comic books. As far back as the 1950’s and 60’s the small screen created series featuring many famous comic creations such as Superman,  the archly camp Adam West’s  Batman and in the 1970’s Linda Carter made the role of Wonder woman her own . More recently there has been a whole raft of graphic novels that have been given the green light for small screen adaptation. And to celebrate both past and present we have created a graphic novel showcase to celebrate the rich and diverse contribution graphic works that are either showing, regarded as classics or are in development for the small screen . Below is just a small taster of this fabulous Graphic novel showcase to whet your appetite. Enjoy.

Now showing.

The Umbrella Academy. Volume 1, Apocalypse suite / Way, Gerard
“Way, of the East Coast rock band My Chemical Romance, makes his comics writing debut in this outrageous superhero epic that Grant Morrison calls “an ultraviolet psychedelic sherbet bomb of wit and ideas.” (Catalogue)

Doom Patrol. Vol. 1, Brick by brick / Way, Gerard
“Casey Brinke is a young EMT, working the graveyard shift and dealing with a past so bizarre, she’s not sure what’s real and what’s make-believe. With her partner, Sam Reynolds, she’s about to blaze a path through the darkest alleys and blackest hours of the city. The people she finds there–Robotman, Crazy Jane, Negative Man, and Flex Mentallo– will blow your mind. Together, these incredible beings have redefined what it means to be a superhero. Now their power rests in eager new hands.” (Catalogue)

Happy! / Morrison, Grant
Meet Nick Sax, a corrupt, intoxicated ex-cop turned hit-man, adrift in a stinking twilight world of casual murder, soulless sex, eczema, and betrayal. With a hit gone wrong, a bullet in his side, the cops and the mob on his tail, and a monstrous child killer in a Santa suit on the loose, Nick and his world will be changed forever this Christmas — by a tiny blue horse called Happy Collects issues #1-4 of the mini-series.” (Catalogue)

Coming soon.

Watchmen / Moore, Alan
“Exceptional graphic artwork brings to life the story of the Watchmen as they race against time to find a killer, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.” (Catalogue)

Y : the last man [1] : unmanned / Vaughan, Brian K
“This is the saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Invincible : ultimate collection, Volume 1 / Kirkman, Robert
“Mark Grayson is just like most everyone else his age. He’s a senior at a normal American high school. He has a crappy part time job after school and on weekends. He likes girls quite a bit but quite doesn’t understand them. He enjoys hanging out with his friends and sleeping late on Saturdays (at least until the good cartoons come on). The only difference between Mark and everyone else his age is that his father is the most powerful superhero on the planet, and as of late, he seems to be inheriting his father’s powers. But that’s only the beginning of Mark’s problems (Catalogue)

Classics. 

Batman ’66. Vol. 1 / Parker, Jeff
“Put on your go-go boots and get ready to “Batusi” back to the Swingin’ 60s as DC Comics reimagines the classic Batman TV series in comics form for the first time These all-new stories portray The Caped Crusader, The Boy Wonder and their fiendish rogues gallery just the way viewers remember them.” (Catalogue)

Astro Boy. Volume 6 / Tezuka, Osamu
“In the wake of the critical acclaim of the incredible Metropolis animated feature, interest in the work of Osamu Tezuka, creator of Metropolis and the godfather of Japanese comics and animation, has never been greater, and Astro Boy is the flame that ignited the modern manga and anime industries. Perhaps the most endearing, and enduring, character to emerge from Tezuka’s volcanic imagination, Astro Boy thrills, amuses, and warms the hearts of readers of all ages. ” (Catalogue)

Ghost in the shell : stand alone complex. Episode 1, Section 9 / Kinutani, Yū
“Stand Alone Complex takes place in the year 2030, in the fictional Japanese city of New Port. When a high-ranking government official is kidnapped, the Prime Minister must call in his top crime fighting force known as Section 9. Lead by the beautiful (and deadly) Major Kusanagi, the cybernetically enhanced squad must use all their skill to take down the kidnappers and rescue the hostages. But that’s only half of the mission; can Kusanagi and company find out who’s behind the kidnapping, and, more importantly, just what they’re after?” (adapted from Catalogue)

Big shiny spaceships and cool robots: our Hard Science Fiction showcase

Levathian Wakes book cover

“The History Of The Universe In Three Words.
CHAPTER ONE
Bang!
CHAPTER TWO
Sssss
CHAPTER THREE
Crunch
THE END.”
― Iain M. Banks

Sophisticated artificial intelligence, gleaming robots, vast intergalactic space ships and enviable technology rooted in scientifically feasible ideas: these are just some of the trademark characteristics of the genre known as Hard Science Fiction! This month we’ve dedicated our science fiction showcase to these very works, so if you like your spacecraft big and shiny and your space suit mega-practical and hi-tech, then this showcase is very much for you. Enjoy!

Below is just a tiny selection of our favourite titles that fit into this genre.

Syndetics book coverExcession / Iain M. Banks.
Two and a half millennia ago, the artefact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year-old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared. Now it is back.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe complete robot / Isaac Asimov.
“Isaac Asimov’s Robot series – from the iconic collection I, Robot to four classic novels – contains some of the most influential works in the history of science fiction. Establishing and testing the three laws of robotics, they continue to shape the understanding and design of artificial intelligence to this day. Could a robot ever show true creativity? Is it wise to trust self-driving cars? Will robotic body parts transform human beings into machines? Will organic technology allow robots to become human? The Complete Robot combines the stories in I, Robot and The Rest of the Robots.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLeviathan wakes / James S.A. Corey.
“Two hundred years after migrating into space, mankind is in turmoil. When a reluctant ship’s captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings our solar system to the brink of civil war, and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history. Leviathan Wakes is the breakneck science fiction adventure that launched the epic bestselling Expanse series.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe naked god / Peter F. Hamilton.
“Quinn Dexter is loose on Earth, destroying the giant arcologies one at a time. As Louise Kavanagh tries to track him down, she manages to acquire some strange and powerful allies whose goal doesn’t quite match her own. The campaign to liberate Mortonridge from the possessed degenerates into a horrendous land battle, the kind which hasn’t been seen by humankind for six hundred years; then some of the protagonists escape in a very unexpected direction. Joshua Calvert and Syrinx fly their starships on a mission to find the Sleeping God — which an alien race believes holds the key to overthrowing the possessed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNinefox gambit / Yoon Ha Lee.
“To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general. Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAltered carbon / Richard K. Morgan.Altered Carbon
“In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChasm City / Alastair Reynolds.Chasm City
“The once-utopian Chasm City–a domed human settlement on an otherwise inhospitable planet–has been overrun by a virus known as the Melding Plague, capable of infecting any body, organic or computerized. Now, with the entire city corrupted–from the people to the very buildings they inhabit–only the most wretched sort of existence remains. For security operative Tanner Mirabel, it is the landscape of nightmare through which he searches for a low-life post-mortal killer. But the stakes are raised when his search brings him face to face with a centuries-old atrocity that history would rather forget.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRed Mars / Kim Stanley Robinson.Red Mars
From the first pioneers who looked back at Earth and saw a small blue star, to the first colonists – hand-picked scientists with the skills necessary to create life from cold desert – Red Mars is the story of a new genesis. It is also the story of how Man must struggle against his own self-destructive mechanisms to achieve his dreams: before he even sets foot on the red planet, factions are forming, tensions are rising and violence is brewing… for civilization can be very uncivilized.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Procedural Crime Writers: Our latest crime fiction showcase.

“He was pushing fifty, with a face life had chewed on, and long wisps of graying hair parted low on one side and combed over his balding pate.”

Patricia Cornwell, Postmortem

Police procedural crime novels place the emphasis on investigative procedure. The investigative procedure often carried out by a police officer, a forensic scientist or someone closely associated with a police department- rather than the more traditional private investigator. Sometimes unlike traditional ‘whodunnits,’ the identity of the criminal is revealed at the start of the book, inverting the traditional narrative structure turning the readers’ interest in the book into a ‘how to catch em’. These novels attempt to correctly depict police activities, and procedure, and to accurately portray police-related topics such as interrogation, autopsies, gathering evidence and acting within existing real legal constraints.

Below is just a small sample of the books featured in this showcase.  Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverCreole belle / James Lee Burke.Creole Belle
Creole Belle finds Dave Robicheaux languishing in a New Orleans recovery unit since surviving a bayou shoot-out. The detective’s body is healing; it’s his morphine-addled mind that conjures spectral visions of Tee Jolie Melton, a young woman who in reality has gone missing. An iPod with an old blues song left by his bedside turns Robicheaux into a man obsessed… And as oil companies assign blame after an epic disaster threatens the Gulf’s very existence, Robicheaux unearths connections between tragedies both global and personal–and faces down forces that can corrupt and destroy the best of men.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath at sea: Montalbano’s early cases / Andrea Camilleri; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“A collection of mysteries, from the title story, 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 that 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 Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cleaner / Paul Cleave.The Cleaner
“Three-letter word for omniscient being, middle letter O. Joe. After all, Joe is in control of everything in his simple life, including both his day job at the police department and his ‘night work’. Nor is he bothered by the daily news reports of the Christchurch Carver, who, they say, murdered seven women. But Joe knows the Carver only killed six. He knows that for a fact. And Joe is going to find that copy-cat killer, he’s going to punish him for the one, then frame him for the other six. It’s a perfect plan because he already knows he can outwit the police.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverScarpetta / Patricia Cornwell.
“Leaving behind her forensic pathology practice in South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta takes up an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured patient in a psychiatric ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on him, he begins to talk – and the story he has to tell turns out to be one of the most bizarre she has ever heard. He says his injuries were sustained in the course of a murder, that he did not commit. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLast bus to Woodstock / Colin Dexter.
“The death of Sylvia Kaye figured dramatically in Thursday afternoon’s edition of the Oxford Mail. By Friday evening, Inspector Morse had informed the nation that the police were looking for a dangerous man – facing charges of wilful murder, sexual assault and rape. But as the obvious leads fade into twilight and darkness, Morse becomes more and more convinced that passion holds the key.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Black Dahlia / James Ellroy.
“Los Angeles, 1st January 1947- a beautiful young woman walked into the night and met her horrific destiny. Five days later, her tortured body was found drained of blood and cut in half. The newspapers called her ‘The Black Dahlia’. Two cops are caught up in the investigation and embark on a hellish journey that takes them to the core of the dead girl’s twisted life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fire engine that disappeared / Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö.
“A dingy Stockholm apartment house under police surveillance blows up in an explosion that kills at least three people. Martin Beck doesn’t suspect arson or murder until he discovers a peculiar link with suicide that same day.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBound / Vanda Symon.
“A brutal home invasion shocks the nation. A man is murdered, his wife bound, gagged and left to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard scratches the surface, the victim, a successful businessman, is not all he seems to be. And when the evidence points to two of Dunedin’s most hated criminals, the case seems cut and dried… until the body count starts to rise. Meanwhile, Sam is in big trouble again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The 2019 Nebula long list has been announced

The long list for the 2018 Nebula best novel award has just been announced. The Nebula’s are one of the most prestigious awards in the Science Fiction and Fantasy community and are awarded annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. They aim to recognise the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in America the previous year. They were first awarded in 1966 and now feature six categories the most recent category addition was in 2018 when a Best Game writing category was added. The latest list of nominees is incredibly varied and shows just how strong and vibrant the Science Fiction genre is.

The full fiction finalists list:

The poppy war / Kuang, R. F.
“A powerful epic fantasy novel with roots in the 20th-century history of China. Opium runs through the heart of the Nikara Empire, a constant reminder of the war with the Federation of Mugen that brought it to the empire’s shores. A war that only ended thanks to three heroes – the Vipress, the Dragon Emperor and the Gatekeeper – known as the Trifecta. They were legendary figures, each bestowed with god-like powers, who united the warlords of the Empire against the Federation. Decades have passed. The Trifecta is shattered; the Dragon Emperor is dead, the Gatekeeper is missing, and the Vipress alone sits on the throne at Sinegard. Peace reigns, yet the poppy remains.” (Catalogue)

The calculating stars / Kowal, Mary Robinette
“On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process. Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Blackfish City / Miller, Sam J
“After the climate wars, a floating city was constructed in the Arctic Circle. Once a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, it has started to crumble under the weight of its own decay – crime and corruption have set in, a terrible new disease is coursing untreated through the population, and the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside deepest poverty are spawning unrest. Into this turmoil comes a strange new visitor – a woman accompanied by an orca and a chained polar bear. She disappears into the crowds looking for someone she lost thirty years ago, followed by whispers of a vanished people who could bond with animals. Her arrival draws together four people and sparks a chain of events that will lead to unprecedented acts of resistance.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverSpinning silver / Naomi Novik
Spinning Silver is a new take on the classic fairytale Rumpelstiltskin. Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father is not a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has left his family on the edge of poverty – until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what is owed, and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when an ill-advised boast brings her to the attention of the cold creatures who haunt the wood, nothing will be the same again.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Already highly regarded is the stunning Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. It is an urban fantasy adventure novel written from a Native American viewpoint set in a future climate changed ravaged Earth,  its a powerful, unique and gripping read.

Currently available on our eBook Overdrive service:

Overdrive coverWitchmark, C. L. Polk (ebook)
“In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Special Author Interview: International bestselling Scottish crime writer, Alex Gray!

Still Dark book cover
Author Alex Gray in Central Library, taken from her twitter account @alexincrimeland

Central Library recently had the unexpected pleasure of a visit from the hugely popular Scottish crime writer, Alex Gray. Alex has published fifteen novels featuring DCI Lorimer, and his psychological profiler Solomon Brightman, and are mainly set on the gritty streets of Glasgow. Alex is also one of the co-founders (with Lin Anderson) of the renown Bloody Scotland festival — Scotland’s biggest crime festival. Alex had been visiting New Zealand for Rotorua Noir: New Zealand’s first crime festival, so we took the golden opportunity to ask Alex about her life and work. This is what she had to say for herself…

Q: Were there any major differences between Rotorua Noir (the New Zealand crime writing festival you’ve just been at) and Bloody Scotland the Scottish crime festival you organize and run?

A: Yes, there were major differences between Rotorua Noir and Bloody Scotland, mainly due to scale. In Stirling, where Bloody Scotland is held, we have the Albert Halls, a theatre holding an audience of around 800 plus the ballroom in The Golden Lion Hotel and a church hall that seats about 100. At most times of the programme three events run concurrently whereas Rotorua Noir had one at a time over two days. One thing the two festivals do have in common, though, is a desire to promote budding writers and on the Friday of each respective weekend masterclasses are held. We normally attract about 55 students for that full day.

Q: Are there any new upcoming crime writers whose works that you were particularly excited about? And why? You mentioned Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare.

A: I chair an event each year that is billed as ‘Alex Gray’s new blood’ and at this time of year I am reading lots of debut novels. I did attend J.P. Pomare’s debut launch and had that lovely shivery feeling of being in at the start of something that was going to be really special. I intend to read his novel once I return to Scotland so watch this space!

Q: We feel Glasgow exists as a character in your novels. How do you go about creating a place as a character? And are we likely to see any places in New Zealand turning up in this context ?

A: Glasgow as a character really owes much to its people, folk who are blessed with natural good humour, friendliness and energy. Sometimes that energy is channeled into not such good places: our crime stats are nothing to be proud of. Yet it is a city with a warm heart, both cultured and couthy. In some ways it sums up the Scottish psyche; a split personality that has light and dark growing together. I would love to return to NZ but as yet there are no thoughts of using it in a future novel. Never say never, though.

Q: Have you read a lot of New Zealand crime fiction?  If so do you feel it is different Scottish crime fiction? Is it that different from Scottish crime fiction? Does it have a distinctive national flavour for example?

A: I haven’t read a lot of contemporary NZ crime fiction. Reading mostly Liam McIlvanney recently. However Ngaio Marsh was one of my favourite crime writers when I was younger. Sorry, no real basis to compare Scottish and NZ crime but have to say our writers are pretty similar in outlook. We are the pussycats of the literary world!

Q: Could you perhaps go way back and tell us about the creative origins of your main protagonists Chief Inspector Lorimer and Solomon Brightman? Where did the roots of their characters originate.

A: How did Lorimer and Solly come to be? Well, Lorimer began as a very tall, rather remote person, very seriously involved in a major case. He was always dedicated and driven but I deliberately wanted to portray him as a normal man, so no hang ups, no chip on the shoulder, alcoholism etc and happily married (as I am). I think he owes a lot to a real life senior detective who helped me a lot in the early days called Ronnie Beattie. A nice, normal guy with exceptional talent and who commanded the respect of his fellow officers. Lorimer grew as a character over the books, unlike Solomon Brightman. I used to hear some writers claim their characters just appeared in a flash and I was derisory about this… till it happened to me! Solly did come fully formed in appearance, character and back story, much to my amazement. Years later I analysed where his name came from and I figured out Solomon the wise, bright man! I love them both dearly but am not above throwing some terrible things at them both. Kind of like real life, eh?

Q: How do you use social media to promote yourself, your work and Bloody Scotland.

A: Social media just Twitter @alexincrimeland and Facebook under my married name, Sandra McGruther. My middle name really is Gray and my late mother wanted me called Alexandra so it is shortened to Sandra for everyday use and Alex when I am being a book person. I do love Alex in crimeland as it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, another character that plunged down into a rabbit hole full of interesting characters! I don’t have a blog but I do some blogspots to promote books, particularly my US titles. I love it when readers get in touch to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed a particular book: it makes all the hard work of writing so worthwhile.

P.S. promoting Bloody Scotland is mainly by Twitter but I talk about it a lot and have ‘trained’ audiences to say “hurrah!” henever I mention Bloody Scotland out loud. I love them for that!

Q: Who are your favourite authors and why? Crime or otherwise.

A: Favourite authors include Louise Penny, Ann Cleeves, Chris Brookmyre, Alexander McCall Smith. I do enjoy the latter’s sense of humour plus his refreshing take on life. Reading any of Sandy’s books is a tonic. Please spread the word about Louise Penny: begin with Still Life and read the books in chronological order since there is an overarching plot to them. Beautiful writer! Ann’s two series are great but I have to confess to a very soft spot for her Shetland series especially after driving through the island with her! Chris Brookmyre is a genius, simple as that! First of his books that I read, One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, had me laughing so hard at his black humour that I literally fell off my sunbed onto the grass. That incident made him two other fans: my late Mum and my husband who wanted to know for themselves what made me crease myself with laughter! Incidentally my Mum was nursed in her final days by Chris’s aunt. Small world indeed. Nowadays I am really happy to call these four writers my pals! A privilege indeed.

Q: What did you enjoy most about your visit to New Zealand.

A: Most enjoyable aspect of visiting NZ is the people. What a nice, friendly bunch you are! Highlights include the Powhiri at Rotorua Noir, seeing lots of dolphins in the Bay of Islands, spending time in the nicest B&B’s in Coromandel and Lake Taupo. And, of course, all the wildlife and scenery. I so want to come back!

Q: What did you like best about Wellington Central Library and how do you think public libraries and authors can work best together to build a mutual reading community?

A: Wellington City library is perfectly located right at the Civic Square. I loved the user friendly displays of books, so easy to find titles. And of course it was a joy to find my books. Yippee! Meeting Neil Johnstone was great of course!

All of Alex’s fifteen works are available to borrow from the library. Below is a review of just one of her terrific books.

Thank you Alex.

Syndetics book coverStill dark / Alex Gray.
“‘Alex Gray brings Glasgow to life in the same way Ian Rankin evokes Edinburgh’ Daily Mail New Year’s Eve should be a time for celebrating. But for Detective Superintendent William Lorimer, this is one night he will never forget… Called to a house after gunshots are reported, the carnage Lorimer finds there leaves him traumatised and questioning his future with Police Scotland. Meanwhile, the body count is rising on Glasgow’s streets. A number of known addicts are dying from accidental overdoses, but something’s not adding up. Where would the city’s poorest residents get hold of high-quality morphine?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

The strange flowers of romance: our alternative Valentine’s day reads

You want to play? Come find me angel boy.”

― Nalini Singh, Angels’ Blood.

In our very alternative Valentine’s Day fiction showcase we are looking at the rich, diverse and wonderful world of urban fantasy. From hot passionate vampire love affairs to smouldering liaisons with Werewolves or other beings of the night. These tales are out to quicken the blood and set your pulses racing. And to tempt you here are just a few of the authors in fantastic showcase. Enjoy

Syndetics book coverOn the edge/ Illona Andrews.On the Edge
“The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…Rose Drayton thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out the way she’d planned, and now she works an off-the-books job in the Broken just to survive. .” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPersonal demon / Kelley Armstrong.Personal Demon
“Kelly Armstrong follows No Humans Involved with a sexy, action-packed Women of the Otherworld novel featuring a wickedly beautiful, supernaturally gifted heroine who may love danger a bit too much.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFlirt / Laurell K. Hamilton.
“When Anita Blake meets with prospective client Tony Bennington, who is desperate to have her reanimate his recently deceased wife, she is full of sympathy for his loss. Anita knows something about love, and she knows everything there is to know about loss. But what she also knows, though Tony Bennington seems unwilling to be convinced, is that the thing she can do as a necromancer isn’t the miracle he thinks he needs.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBad moon rising / Sherrilyn Kenyon.
“Fang Kattalakis isn’t just a wolf. He is the brother of two of the most powerful members of the Omegrion: the ruling council that enforces the laws of the Were-Hunters. And when war erupts among the lycanthropes, sides must be chosen. Enemies are forced into shaky alliances. When Aimee, the woman Fang loves, is accused of betraying her people, her only hope is that Fang believes in her. Yet in order to save her, Fang must break the law of his people and the faith of his brothers. That breech could very well spell the end of both their races and change their world forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDaylight / Elizabeth Knox.Daylight
“Brian “Bad” Phelan, New Zealander and bomb disposal expert. While on vacation on the French/Italian border in 2001, he helps to bring a body out of a rocky cove. The dead woman bears striking similarities to a young woman he met years ago, under mysterious circumstances, shortly before she disappeared in a flooded French cave. Bad is compelled to investigate. Jesuit Father Daniel Octave is making his own investigation, into the truth behind the story of the life of the Blessed Martine Raimondi, but it turns out that they are looking for the same thing and a secret vampire family is the common thread.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLove bites / Lynsay Sands.Love Bites
“In the world of the sexy and seductive Argeneau family of vampires, true love is good from the first bite to the last. Love Bites is a classic from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lynsay Sands, the second volume in her much beloved Argeneau series–the story of an achingly hot three hundred year-old bachelor immortal and the beautiful coroner he chooses as his lifemate. Paranormal romance just doesn’t get any tastier than this! “(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPlaying with fire / Gena Showalter.Playing with Fire
“Twenty-four-year-old barista Belle Jamison dreams of a better job and a decent love life. Until a crazy scientist spikes her mocha latte! Suddenly Belle can wield the four elements–earth, wind, fire and water–with only a thought. Coffee too hot? No problem. Hair in need of a blow-dry? Done. Gorgeous government agent Rome Masters has been sent to neutralize Belle. But he’s not the only one after her. Together they must outrun the rogue agents on their trail and find a way to control her powers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArchangel’s blade / Nalini Singh.
“Trying to discover the identity of a murder victim brings together the vampire Dmitri and a hunter for the Guild, Honor. And as the gruesome murders continue, a lethal sensuality explodes between them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrave / J.R. Ward.Crave
“The battle between good and evil has left the future of humanity in the hands of a reluctant saviour and his band of fallen angels. Seven deadly sins that must be righted. Seven souls that must be saved. Fallen Angel Jim Heron has completed his first task: helping Vin Di Pietro to redeem his soul. Now he must identify and battle a demon that can take any form. Worse still, his old boss Matthias wants him to assassinate Isaac, a member of The Firm who’s gone AWOL – and Jim’s pretty sure he’s supposed to save him. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

 

 

Fiction showcase: general novels for 2019

Stories are like children. They grow in their own way.”

― Madeleine L’Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

With the new year firmly established and its feet firmly under the tables, new titles are already beginning to arrive in droves. January’s newly acquired titles include a new work from thriller maestro James Lee Burke called The New Iberia blues, a superb new book from Chigozie Obioma, which is already hotly tipped to be on the Booker prize selectors minds, and a light hearted nod towards Chinese New Year with Lillian Li’s Number one Chinese Restaurant. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverEvening in paradise : more stories / Lucia Berlin.
“Evening in Paradise is a careful selection from the remaining Berlin stories – a jewel box follow-up to A Manual for Cleaning Women for Lucia Berlin’s hungry fans. ‘Lucia Berlin’s collection of short stories, , deserves all of the posthumous praise its author has received Her work is being compared to Raymond Carver, for her similar oblique, colloquial style; her mordant humour; the recurrence of alcoholics; and her interest in the lives of working-class or marginalised people.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn Orchestra Of Minorities [paperback]
“Umuahia, Nigeria. Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, sees a woman attempting to jump to her death from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his most prized chickens into the water below to demonstrate the severity of the fall. The woman, Ndali, is moved by his sacrifice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe New Iberia blues / James Lee Burke.The New Iberia Blues
“Detective Dave Robicheaux’s world isn’t filled with too many happy stories, but Desmond Cormier’s rags-to-riches tale is certainly one of them. Robicheaux first met Cormier on the streets of New Orleans, when the young, undersized boy had foolish dreams of becoming a Hollywood director. Twenty-five years later, when Robicheaux knocks on Cormier’s door, it isn’t to congratulate him on his Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. Robicheaux has discovered the body of a young woman who’s been crucified, wearing only a small chain on her ankle. She disappeared near Cormier’s Cyrpemort Point estate, and Robicheaux, along with young deputy, Sean McClain, are looking for answers.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe boy / Tami Hoag.
” In the sleepy Lousiana town of Bayou Breaux, the police arrive to find Genevieve Gauthier cradling her seven-year-old son in her arms as he bleeds to death. The scene is chaotic, but as Detective Nick Fourcade moves through the house, he sees no evidence of a robbery. Detective Annie Broussard sits with Genevieve, trying to make sense of her story. A mother herself, Annie understands the emotional devastation this woman is going through, but as a detective she’s troubled by parts of Gauthier’s story that make no sense. The next day, thirteen-year-old Nora Florette is reported missing.  ”   (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNumber one Chinese restaurant : a novel / Lillian Li.
“The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs and celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters and kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. When disaster strikes, this working family’s controlled chaos is set loose, forcing each character to confront the conflicts that fast-paced restaurant life has kept at bay.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYou know you want this : Cat person and other stories / Kristen Roupenian.
You Know You Want This brilliantly explores the ways in which women are horrifying as much as it captures the horrors that are done to them. Among its pages are a couple who becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex, then seeing them have sex…until they can’t have sex without him; a ten-year-old whose birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for “something mean”; a woman who finds a book of spells half hidden at the library and summons her heart’s desire: a nameless, naked man; and a self-proclaimed “biter” who dreams of sneaking up behind and sinking her teeth into a green-eyed, long-haired, pink-cheeked coworker. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTrick / Domenico Starnone ; translated from the Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri.
“The same blood runs through their veins. One, Daniele Mallarico, is a successful illustrator at the peak of his career. The other, Mario, is his four-year-old grandson who has barely learned to talk but has a few tricks up his loose-fitting sleeves all the same. The older combatant has lived for years in almost complete solitude. The younger one has been dumped with a grandfather he barely knows for 72 hours.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSo many islands : stories from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian and Pacific Oceans / edited by Nicholas Laughlin with Nailah Folami Imoja.
“So Many Islands brings together stories from the distant shores of the island communities in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Pacific. Giving voice to their challenges and triumphs, these writers paint a vibrant portrait of what it is like to live, love and lose the things most precious to them on the small islands they call home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlist

The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlist has just been announced and what a fabulous, rich and diverse list it is. Ranging from The Man Who Would Not See by Rajorshi Chakraborti to Caroline’s Bikini by Kirsty Gunn, from The New Ships by Kate Duignan to All This by Chance by Vincent O’Sullivan, the judges are going to have a hard time selecting an overall winner. It’s great to see how healthy and flourishing the New Zealand fiction world is. May the best book win!

The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for fiction (Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize) longlisted titles are:

Syndetics book coverThe man who would not see / Rajorshi Chakraborti.
“As children in Calcutta, Ashim and Abhay made a small mistake that split their family forever. Thirty years later, Ashim has re-entered his brother’s life, with blame and retribution on his mind. It seems nothing short of smashing Abhay’s happy home will make good the damage from the past. At least, this is what Abhay and his wife Lena are certain is happening. A brother has travelled all the way from small-town India to New Zealand bearing ancient – and false – grudges, and with the implacable objective of blowing up every part of his younger brother’s life. Reconciliation was just a Trojan horse. But is Ashim really the villain he appears to be, or is there a method to his havoc?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new ships / Kate Duignan.
“Peter Collie is adrift in the wake of his wife’s death. His attempts to understand the turn his life has taken lead him back to the past, to dismaying events on an Amsterdam houseboat in the seventies, returning to New Zealand and meeting Moira, an amateur painter who carried secrets of her own, and to a trip to Europe years later with his family. An unexpected revelation forces Peter to navigate anew his roles as a husband, father and son. Set in Wellington after the fall of the Twin Towers, and traversing London, Europe, the Indian subcontinent.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMazarine / Charlotte Grimshaw.
“When her daughter vanishes during a heatwave in Europe, writer Frances Sinclair embarks on a hunt that takes her across continents and into her own past. What clues can Frances find in her own history, and who is the mysterious Mazarine? Following the narrative thread left by her daughter, she travels through cities touched by terrorism and surveillance, where ways of relating are subtly changed, and a startling new fiction seems to be constructing itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCaroline’s bikini : an arrangement of a novel with an introduction and some further materials / Kirsty Gunn.
“Art needs a sense of lack to bring about its own effects; where there is no feeling of need to make up a shortfall, there will be no work. Alright’ I said, ‘I’ll try…’ This is how Emily Stuart opens the intricately involved account of a classic love affair that becomes Caroline’s Bikini: a tale of hope, passion, and the power of the imagination. For they say, the story of love – or, rather, falling in love – is timeless, and that unrequited love is the most passionate of all. It’s certainly a narrative that is, in its own curious and enticing way, as old as Western literature itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cage / Lloyd Jones.
“Two mysterious strangers appear at a hotel in a small country town.
Where have they come from? Who are they? What catastrophe are they fleeing?
The townspeople want answers, but the strangers are unable to speak of their trauma. And before long, wary hospitality shifts to suspicion and fear, and the care of the men slides into appalling cruelty.
Lloyd Jones’s fable-like novel The Cage is a profound and unsettling novel about humanity and dignity and the ease with which we’re able to justify brutality.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Ice Shelf / Anne Kennedy.
“On the eve of flying to Antarctica to take up an arts fellowship, thirty-something Janice, recently separated, has a long night of remembrance, regret and realisation as she goes about the city looking for a friend to take care of her fridge while she’s away. En route she discards section after section of her novel in the spirit of editing until there is nothing left to edit. The Ice Shelf, a novel written as Acknowledgements, is an allegory for the dangers of wasting love and other non-renewable resources.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThis mortal boy / Fiona Kidman.This Mortal Boy
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Tina Makereti.
“The tale of James Poneke- orphaned son of a chief; ardent student of English; wide-eyed survivor. All the world’s a stage, especially when you’re a living exhibit. But anything can happen to a young New Zealander on the savage streets of Victorian London. When James meets the man with laughing dark eyes and the woman who dresses as a man, he begins to discover who people really are beneath their many guises. Although London is everything James most desires, this new world is more dark and dazzling than he could have imagined.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAll this by chance / Vincent O’Sullivan.
“If we don’t have the past in mind, it is merely history. If we do, it is still part of the present. Esther’s grandparents first meet at a church dance in London in 1947. Stephen, a shy young Kiwi, has left to practice pharmacy on the other side of the world. Eva has grown up English, with no memory of the Jewish family who sent their little girl to safety. When the couple emigrate, the peace they seek in New Zealand cannot overcome the past they have left behind. Following the lives of Eva, her daughter Lisa and her granddaughter Esther, All This by Chance is a moving multi generational family saga about the legacy of the Holocaust and the burden of secrets never shared, by one of New Zealand’s finest writers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Due in the library shortly and already highly regarded is Majella Cullinane’s The Life of De’Ath set in Otago and the battlefields of France during World War I. It’s a searing read about deserters during the War I, and a young man struggles to find himself and break free of the social and family pressures to conform. 

 

 

“Just the facts, ma’am” — Dragnet. Our crime showcase selection for our January’s newly acquired books

There are over five thousand men in this city who know that being a policeman is an endless, glamorless, thankless job that’s gotta be done. I know it, too. And I’m damned glad to be one of them.” Dragnet 1967

Whether your taste in crime novels is for procedural crime, classic whodunit, lone amateur detective or Hard-boiled crime, this months Crime fiction showcase has something for everyone . From Philippe Georget’s Crimes of winter to Jonathan Lethem’s The feral detective from new works from hugely popular established writers like James Patterson’s Liar Liar to perhaps lesser well known authors like Anja de Jager and her critically acclaimed A death in Rembrandt Square her latest novel featuring her Amsterdam detective Lotte Meerman. Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverThe secrets of Gaslight Lane / M.R.C. Kasasian.
“London, 1883. All is quiet at 125 Gower Street. Private detective Sidney Grice is studying up on the anatomical structure of human hair whilst his ward, March Middleton, sneaks upstairs for her eighth secret cigarette of the day. The household is, perhaps, too quiet.So, when a beautiful young woman turns up at the door, imploring London’s foremost private detective to solve the mystery of her father’s murder, Grice can barely disguise his glee.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe feral detective / Jonathan Lethem.
“Phoebe Siegler, travels to the Mojave Desert in search of Arabella, a friend’s missing daughter and an 18-year-old dropout of Reed College. She hires hirsute Charles Heist, the “feral detective,” who lives with three dogs and an opossum. Quickly falling for his woodsy charms, Phoebe travels with Heist to the far reaches of the desert, where the mostly female Rabbit group is engaged in a long standoff with the male Bear group. To save Arabella, Heist will have to do battle with the charismatic Bear leader, called Solitary Love, as Phoebe learns to question her assumptions here on “the far side of the Neoliberal Dream.” ( Catalogue.)

Syndetics book coverBye bye baby / Fiona McIntosh.
“A spate of seemingly unconnected murders in southern England prompt a high-profile taskforce to be formed and led by DCI Jack Hawksworth, one of the Force?s new rising stars who combines modern methods with old-school instincts. The victims appear as disparate as their style of death; the only link that Hawk and his team can pull together is that the murdered are all men of an identical age. The taskforce has nothing but cold cases of decades past to comb through in the hope that they might find a clue to who is behind the savagery.A heart-stopping tale of brutal revenge with a chilling twist by a powerhouse Australian author.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLiar liar / James Patterson and Candice Fox.
“Detective Harriet Blue is clear about two things. Regan Banks deserves to die. And she’ll be the one to pull the trigger. But Regan – the vicious serial killer responsible for destroying her brother?s life – has gone to ground. Suddenly, her phone rings. It’s him. Harriet needs to find this killing machine fast, even if the cost is her own life. So she follows him down the Australian south coast with only one thing on her mind. Revenge is coming, and her name is Harriet Blue.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVerses for the Dead
“After an overhaul of leadership at the FBI’s New York field office, A. X. L. Pendergast is abruptly forced to accept an unthinkable condition of continued employment: the famously rogue agent must now work with a partner.
Pendergast and his new colleague, junior agent Coldmoon, are assigned to investigate a rash of killings in Miami Beach, where a bloodthirsty psychopath is cutting out the hearts of his victims and leaving them with cryptic handwritten letters at local gravestones. As he digs deeper, he realizes the brutal new crimes may be just the tip of the iceberg: a conspiracy of death that reaches back decades.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPoints of danger / Edward Marston.
“1861, East Anglia. Alone in a first-class carriage, the Swarbricks are robbed at gunpoint, but when the universally-admired Swarbrick fights back, the train robber takes more than money and jewellery, killing the man working to unify East Anglia’s tangle of railway networks. Inspector Colbeck is brought in from London, as the only detective in Britain with enough expertise for the job. Is the Railway Detective following the right track or will he need to switch points to bring the murderer to justice?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrimes of winter : variations on adultery and venial sins / Philippe Georget ; translated from the French by Steven Rendall.
“This winter is going to be a rough one for Inspector Gilles Sebag, for he has discovered Claire has been cheating on him. Bouncing between depression, whisky, and insomnia, he buries himself in work. But his investigations lead him inexorably to bigger tragedies – a woman murdered in a hotel, a depressed man who throws himself from a roof, another who threatens to blow up the neighbourhood – all of them involving betrayals of some sort.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA death in Rembrandt Square / Anja de Jager.
As the podcast reveals hidden facts about the arrest of Ruud Klaver, the one thing Lotte is still convinced of is that it was Ruud who was guilty of the murder of a student near Rembrandt Square ten years earlier. However, when Ruud Klaver then dies in suspicious circumstances, only hours after the final podcast proving his innocence is broadcast, Lotte has to accept that maybe she was wrong. As Lotte digs deeper and involves colleagues from her past, it starts to look like the murder in Rembrandt Square was part of an even bigger deception .” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLucifer Falls / Colin Falconer.
“When a priest is found crucified in a derelict North London chapel, it makes a dramatic change for DI Charlie George and his squad at Essex Road. The brutal murder could not be further from their routine of domestic violence and stabbings on the estates. And that’s only the beginning … On Christmas Eve, a police officer goes missing and his colleagues can’t help but anticipate the worst. It turns out they’re right to when eventually the body is found and they discover he’s been stoned to death. As tensions rise, it’s up to Charlie and his team to venture into the city’s cold underbelly to try and find an answer to the madness … before anyone else dies a martyr’s death.” (Catalogue)