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)

 

Lovecraftian Horror: our own special H.P. Lovecraft Graphic Novel Showcase


“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.” –  H. P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft struggled to get his work published and died in poverty,  a virtually unknown author. Since his death in 1937 his influence and reputation as one of the greatest writers of horror and strange tales of unspeakable terror has only grown and grown.  In this  graphic novel showcase we are looking at the rich, strange, frightening and wonderful worlds that H.P. Lovecraft created and how they have  inspired authors and artists from the graphic novel community. Enjoy

Syndetics book coverProvidence. Act 1 / story, Alan Moore ; art, Jacen Burrows.
“Alan Moore’s quintessential horror series has set the standard for a terrifying examination of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. It is being universally hailed as one of Moore’s most realized works in which the master scribe has controlled every iota of the story, art, and presentation. The result has been a masterpiece like no other, unparalleled in tone and content, and a true must have addition to his essential works in the field.”  ( Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNeonomicon / Alan Moore, story & script ; Jacen Burrows, art. The courtyard / Alan Moore, story ; Jacen Burrows, art.
“Brears and Lamper, two young and cocky FBI agents, investigate a fresh series of ritual murders somehow tied to the final undercover assignment of Aldo Sax -the once golden boy of the Bureau, now a convicted killer and inmate of a maximum security prison. From their interrogation of Sax (where he spoke exclusively in inhuman tongues) to a related drug raid on a seedy rock club rife with arcane symbols and otherworldly lyrics, they suspect that they are on the trail of something awful… ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWeird detective / script by Fred Van Lente ; art by Guiu Villanova.
“The streets of New York have been plagued by a pattern of crimes too weird and bizarre for the average detective. Lurking in the evidence are shadows of loathsome horrors from beyond space and time, seeking to usher in the unimaginable evil of the Old Ones. And the only man capable of fighting against the unspeakable terrors isn’t a man at all. Detective Sebastian Green is one of them it takes a monster to catch a monster.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wake / Scott Snyder, writer ; Sean Murphy, artist ; Matt Hollingsworth, colorist.
“When Marine Biologist Lee Archer is approached by the Department of Homeland Security for help with a new threat, she declines, but quickly realizes they won’t take no for an answer. Soon she is plunging to the depths of the Arctic Circle to a secret, underwater oilrig filled with roughnecks and scientists on the brink of an incredible discovery. But when things go horribly wrong, this scientific safe haven will turn into a house of horrors at the bottom of the ocean!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHellboy : strange places / Mike Mignola.
“This 416-page volume covers Hellboy’s adventures from 1998 to 2005, reprinting Conqueror Worm , Strange Places , Into the Silent Sea , and “The Right Hand of Doom, “Box Full of Evil,” and “Being Human” from The Right Hand of Doom and B.P.R.D. Being Human .Hellboy loses faith in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense when they strap a bomb to one of his fellow not-quite-human agents. He gets answers about his destiny, like it or not, in over 300 pages of comics mostly drawn by Mignola, featuring award-winning guests Gary Gianni and Richard Corben.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverB.P.R.D. : Hell on Earth [2] : gods and monsters / story by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi ; art, Tyler Crook, Guy Davis.
“Between tracking down the followers of a prescient teen pursued by crab-like, subterranean beasts, and dealing with a redneck priest who preaches by way of human mutilation to fanatical hillbillies, the B.P.R.D. certainly have their hands full. Can a fractured B.P.R.D. wage a winnable war or are they fighting a battle of attrition?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAbe Sapien [1] : the drowning / story by Mike Mignola ; art by Jason Shawn Alexander.
“A century ago, paranormal investigator Edward Gray fought and destroyed a powerful warlock off the coast of the island of Saint-Sbastien. In the early 1980s, the B.P.R.D.’s newest agent was sent to retrieve the warlock’s remains. But Abe Sapien is ill prepared for the dark forces that block his way. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSaga of the Swamp Thing. Book one / written by Alan Moore ; art by Stephen Bissette…[et al.]
” Writer Alan Moore’s seminal horror series is now published in hardcover for the very first time . Created by a freak accident, Swamp Thing believed he was once scientist Alec Holland – but when he discoveres his true nature, it shatters his universe and sends him on a path of discovery and adventure. Featuring the art of Stephen Bissette and John Totleben, this groundbreaking work features mind-blowing, genre-defying stories starring the rich, complex character that Neil Gaiman called “The No. 1 New Classic Monster.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)


Myths and Legends inspiring contemporary fiction writers

Circe book cover

Amongst our recent fiction titles are a range of books inspired by myths and legends from Greece, Indonesia, Ireland, and Scandinavia. Myths and legends magnetically draw authors; these ideas reemerge in writing as the tales that form culture, ideas of who we are, and define social boundaries which prove to be an excellent landscape for characters. This selection has a great range of styles and settings, encompassing action, family drama and psychological fiction, set in the modern day and ancient times.

Syndetics book coverEverything under / Daisy Johnson.
“Words are important to Gretel, always have been. As a child, she lived on a canal boat with her mother, and together they invented a language that was just their own. She hasn’t seen her mother since the age of sixteen, though almost a lifetime ago and those memories have faded. Now she works as a lexicographer, updating dictionary entries, which suits her solitary nature. A phone call from the hospital interrupts Gretel’s isolation and throws up questions from long ago.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe mere wife / Maria Dahvana Headley.
“Herot Hall is a fortress guarded by an intense network of gates, surveillance cameras, and motion-activated lights. Dylan and Gren live on opposite sides of the perimeter, neither boy aware of the barriers erected to keep them apart. Gren lives with his mother, Dana, just outside the limits of Herot Hall. A former soldier, Dana didn’t want Gren, didn’t plan Gren, and doesn’t know how she got Gren. But now that she has him, she’s determined to protect him from a world that sees him only as a monster. When Gren crosses the border into Herot Hall and runs off with Dylan, he sets up a collision between Dana’s and Willa’s worlds that echoes the Beowulf story – and gives sharp, startling currency to the ancient epic poem.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverApple and knife / Intan Paramaditha ; translated by Stephen J Epstein.
“Intan Paramaditha’s long-awaited English debut, announcing herself to the West as a startling and provocative new voice. Inspired by horror fiction, myths and fairy tales, Apple and Knife is an unsettling ride that swerves to the supernatural, exploring the danger and power of occupying a female body. These short fictions, set in the Indonesian everyday–in corporate boardrooms, in shanty towns, on dangdut stages–reveal a soupy otherworld stewing just beneath the surface. This is subversive feminist horror at its best, where men and women alike are arbiters of fear, and where revenge is sometimes sweetest when delivered from the grave.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOlympus bound / Jordanna Max Brodsky.
“Manhattan has many secrets. Some are older than the city itself.
Summer in New York: a golden hour on the city streets, but a dark time for Selene. She’s lost her home and the man she loves. A cult hungry for ancient power has kidnapped her father and targeted her friends. To save them, Selene must face the past she’s been running from – a past that stretches back millennia, to when the faithful called her Huntress. Moon Goddess. Artemis. With the pantheon at her side, Selene must journey back to the seat of her immortal power: from the streets of Rome and the temples of Athens — to the heights of Mount Olympus itself.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCirce : a novel / Madeline Miller.
“Circe is not powerful like her father Helios, nor viciously alluring like her mother Perse. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power– the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many figures in mythology. When Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, she ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians.”

Syndetics book coverFor the immortal / Emily Hauser.
“Thousands of years ago, in an ancient world where the gods control all and heroes fight to have their names remembered down the ages, two extraordinary women become entangled in one of the greatest heroic tales of all time . . . and must face how much they are willing to risk for immortality. Desperate to save her dying brother, Admete persuades her father, the king of Tiryns, to let her join Hercules on one of his legendary twelve labours. Travelling to the renowned female warrior Amazons in search of a cure, Admete soon discovers that both Hercules and the fearsome Amazons are not as they first seemed.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe testament of Loki / Joanne M. Harris.
“Ragnarok was the End of Worlds. Asgard fell, centuries ago, and the old gods have been defeated. Some are dead, while others have been consigned to eternal torment in the netherworld – among them, the legendary trickster, Loki. A god who betrayed every side and still lost everything, who has lain forgotten as time passed and the world of humans moved on to new beliefs, new idol and new deities . . . But now mankind dreams of the Norse Gods once again, the river Dream is but a stone’s throw from their dark prison, and Loki is the first to escape into a new reality.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAwayland : stories / Ramona Ausubel.
“An inventive story collection that spans the globe as it explores love, childhood, and parenthood with an electric mix of humor and emotion. And though some of the stories are steeped in mythology, they remain grounded in universal experiences: loss of identity, leaving home, parenthood, joy, and longing.
Crisscrossing the pages of Awayland are travelers and expats, shadows and ghosts. A girl watches as her homesick mother slowly dissolves into literal mist. The mayor of a small Midwestern town offers a strange prize, for stranger reasons, to the parents of any baby born on Lenin’s birthday. And a lonely heart searches for love online, never mind that he’s a Cyclops.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeneath the mother tree / D.M. Cameron.
“Beneath the Mother Tree is a spine-chilling mystery and contemporary love story, played out in a unique and wild Australian setting interwoven with Indigenous history and Irish mythology. This spiritual subtext becomes a stage for unforgettable characters who navigate vital questions of identity and belonging. The result is a compelling portrait of how our dark history and dreaming landscape can make extraordinary things of ordinary lives.” (Syndetics summary)

Crime du jour: The latest mysteries at Wellington City Libraries

Into The Night book cover

“It’s in the best tradition of detective fiction, I understand,” said Allyen with a smile.”
― Ngaio Marsh, Death and the Dancing Footman

Our final 2018 intake of newly acquired Mystery titles is an absolute cracker with new works from Elly Griffiths, Håkan Nesser, Karin Fossum, Anthony Horowitz and Quintin Hardine to name but a few. So why not take the load off your feet sit back and enjoy a jolly good murder mystery this festive season.

Syndetics book coverDown to the woods / M. J. Arlidge.
“There is a sickness in the forest. First, it was the wild horses. Now it’s innocent men and women, hunted down and murdered by a faceless figure. Lost in the darkness, they try to flee, they try to hide. In desperation, they call out for help. But there is no-one to hear their cries here… The arrow-ridden victims hang from the New Forest’s ancient oaks, like pieces of strange fruit. Why are helpless holidaymakers being targeted in peak camping season? Is a psychopath stalking the forest? Could the murders even be an offering to the Forest itself?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInto the night / Sarah Bailey.
“The riveting follow-up to The Dark Lake , acclaimed debut novel and international bestseller. The murder of homeless Walter Miller has priority with Melbourne police until another case takes precedence. Actor Sterling Wade, known for his television work, is killed during the filming of a crowd scene while being mobbed by actors costumed as zombies in what was to be his breakthrough movie role. Detectives Gemma Woodstock and Nick Fleet, assigned to the Wade case, are soon frustrated by a wealth of information but no leads. Only when Woodstock notices that the stab wounds on Miller and Wade seem identical do the two cases take a different turn.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe whisperer / Karin Fossum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.
“Ragna Riegel works in a supermarket and still lives in her childhood home. Ragna lives her life within strict self-imposed limits: she sits in the same seat on the bus every day, on her way to her predictable job. On her way home she always visits the same local shop. She feels safe in her routine, until one day she receives a letter with a threatening message scrawled in capital letters. An unknown enemy has entered her world and she must use all her means to defend herself. When the worst happens, Inspector Konrad Sejer is called in to interrogate Ragna. Is this unassuming woman out of her depth, or is she hiding a dark secret?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe stranger diaries / Elly Griffiths.
“Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case. Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe root of evil / Håkan Nesser.
“July 2007. A letter arrives on Inspector Barbarotti’s doorstep detailing a murder that is about to take place in his own quiet Swedish town. By the time the police track down the subject of the letter, he is already dead. So when a second letter arrives, then a third, and a fourth, it’s a game of cat and mouse to stop the killer before he can make good on all of his promises. Meanwhile, an anonymous diary is unearthed depicting the incidents of a two week holiday in France five years earlier, and it doesn’t take Barbarotti long to realise the people populating the diary are the ones whose lives are now in the balance.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCold case / Quintin Jardine.
“Is a killer still on the loose? The story of the Body in the Quarry was well-known around Edinburgh all those years ago: a popular priest found dead in a frozen quarry; a suspect with a clear motive charged; a guilty verdict. But with a journalist uncovering new evidence, the cold case has come back to haunt Skinner’s old mentor Jimmy Proud – and only one man can help him.
Skinner is long out of the police force, but he can’t say no. With the clock ticking, and his friend’s reputation at stake, he must uncover the truth to find out if an innocent man was convicted for murder. And if a killer is still on the loose.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiss Blaine’s prefect and the golden samovar / Olga Wojtas.
“Never underestimate a librarian. Comfortably padded and in her middle years, Shona McMonagle may look bookish and harmless, but her education at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls has left her with a deadly expertise in everything from martial arts to quantum physics. It has also left her with a bone-deep loathing for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, that scurrilous novel that spread scandalous untruths about the finest educational institution in Edinburgh. Her skills, her deceptively mild appearance, and her passionate loyalty make Shona the perfect recruit for a new and interesting project: Time-travel to Tzarist Russia, prevent a gross miscarriage of romance, and to see to it that only the right people get murdered. It’s a big job, but no task is too daunting for a Head Girl from Miss Blaine’s.” (Syndetics summary)

The Hazards of Time Travel with eAudiobook Fiction!

Hazards of time travel

If you’re a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale, good news! Overdrive has added another dystopian masterpiece to its eAudiobook collection: Hazards of Time Travel by the legendary Joyce Carol Oates. Hazards of Time Travel tells the story of a near-future America where the punishment for challenging the state is to be separated from your friends, family and even your own name–by being sent back in time to the 1950s! There are also classics from Agatha Christie, Karl Ove Knausgaard and Alice Munro as well as the excellent new Things We Lost in the Fire. Enjoy!

Overdrive cover Hazards of Time Travel, by Joyce Carol Oates
“When a recklessly idealistic girl in a future society dares to test the perimeters of her world, she is punished by being sent back in time to a region of North America–Wainscotia, Wisconsin–that existed 80 years before. Cast adrift in time, she is set upon a course of ‘rehabilitation’–but she falls in love with a fellow exile and starts to question the constraints of her new existence, with results that are both devastating and liberating.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Dear Life, by Alice Munro
“Moments of change, chance encounters, twists of fate that create a new way of thinking or being: the stories in Dear Life build to form a radiant, indelible portrait of just how dangerous and strange ordinary life can be. The collection includes four powerful pieces, including ‘Autobiographical in Feeling’, set during the time of Munro’s own childhood.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover My Struggle, by Karl Ove Knausgaard
My Struggle: Book One introduces readers to the audacious, addictive and profoundly surprising international literary sensation that is the provocative and brilliant six-volume autobiographical novel by Karl Ove Knausgaard. It has already been anointed a Proustian masterpiece and is the rare work of dazzling literary originality that is intensely, irresistibly readable.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Pieces of Her, by Karin Slaughter
“Andrea Oliver’s mother, Laura, is the perfect small-town mum. Laura lives a quiet but happy life in sleepy beachside Belle Isle. She’s a pillar of the community. But when Andrea is caught in a random violent attack at a shopping mall, Laura intervenes and acts in a way that is unrecognisable to her daughter. It’s like Laura is a completely different person–and that’s because she was. Thirty years ago. Before Andrea. Before Belle Isle…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Murder in Mesopotamia, by Agatha Christie
“It was clear to Amy Leatheran that something sinister was going on at the Hassanieh dig in Iraq; something associated with the presence of ‘Lovely Louise’, wife of celebrated archaeologist Dr Leidner. In a few days’ time Hercule Poirot was due to drop in at the excavation site. But with Louise suffering from terrifying hallucinations, and tension within the group becoming almost unbearable, Poirot might just be too late… ” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Spare Room, by Helen Garner
“Helen lovingly prepares her spare room for her friend Nicola. She is coming to visit for three weeks, to receive treatment she believes will cure her cancer. From the moment Nicola staggers off the plane, gaunt and hoarse but still somehow grand, Helen becomes her nurse, her guardian angel and her stony judge. The two women—one sceptical, one stubbornly serene—negotiate an unmapped path towards the novel’s terrible and transcendent finale.”
(Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Things We Lost in the Fire, by Mariana Enriquez
“An arresting collection of short stories, reminiscent of Shirley Jackson and Julio Cortazar, by an exciting new international talent.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett
“Susan had never hung up a stocking. She’d never put a tooth under her pillow in the serious expectation that a dentally inclined fairy would turn up. It wasn’t that her parents didn’t believe in such things. They didn’t need to believe in them. They know they existed. They just wished they didn’t.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover True Grit, by Charles Portis
“Mattie Ross, a fourteen-year-old girl from Dardanelle, Arkansas, sets out to avenge her Daddy who was shot to death by a no-good outlaw. Mattie convinces one-eyed “Rooster” Cogburn, the meanest U.S. marshal in the land, to ride along with her. In True Grit, we have a true American classic, as young Mattie–as vital as she is innocent–outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten men of the trail in a legend that will last through the ages.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Ring out the old, ring in the new: the best novels of 2018!

“Fiction is art and art is the triumph over chaos… to celebrate a world that lies spread out around us like a bewildering and stupendous dream.” ― John Cheever

As the old year draws to a close and the new year begins it’s a good time to take stock of the best fiction releases of 2018. To do this, we’ve created a list of 100 books that we regard as amongst the finest releases of the year. We’ve selected titles from across the fiction spectrum, from science fiction to mysteries, best sellers to award-winners and all points in between. Amongst them is a growing trend of popular and commercially-successful books whose world views, ideas and perspectives originate from non-western backgrounds. China and the Middle Eastern countries were particularly strong, especially with books like Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif, Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk and Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri.

There have also been a few names who have either burst onto the fiction scene or have cemented their reputation, like Anna Burns with her Booker Prize-winning novel Milkman or Sally Rooney with Normal People. And finally we’ve seen some well-established writers creating masterful works like All This by Chance by Vincent O’Sullivan or Warlight by Michael Ondaatje.

All in all it’s been a fascinating and exciting year–roll on 2019!

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

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

Syndetics book coverDrive your plow over the bones of the dead / Olga Tokarczuk ; translated from the Polish by Antonia Llyod-Jones.Server ErrorYour request could not be completed.
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead takes place in a remote Polish village, where Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, she becomes involved in the investigation. Duszejko is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she’s unconventional, believing in the stars, and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake, from whose work the title of the book is taken.” (Adapted from  Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmpire of sand / Tasha Suri.
” Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri’s  Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy. The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.
When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.”  (Adapted from  Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMilkman / Anna Burns.Milkman
In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.” (Adapted from  Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNormal people / Sally Rooney.
Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years.This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness.” (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 practise 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 multigenerational family saga about the legacy of the Holocaust and the burden of secrets never shared, by one of New Zealand’s finest writers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWarlight / Michael Ondaatje.Warlight: A Novel
“London, 1945. The capital is still reeling from the war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister Rachel are abandoned by their parents who leave the country on business, and are left in the dubious care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. Nathaniel is introduced to The Moth’s band of criminal misfits and is caught up in a series of teenage misadventures, from smuggling greyhounds for illegal dog racing to lovers’ trysts in abandoned buildings at night. Years later Nathaniel, now an adult, begins to slowly piece together using the files of intelligence agencies – and through reality, recollection and imagination – the startling truths of puzzles formed decades earlier.” (Adapted from  Syndetics summary)

 

Our most popular Fiction: Top reads at a mystery branch location

Our fiction collection brings you the talent of local writers and international award winners. Those brave enough to write out their inner workings or extrapolate on the world around them. So whether you enjoy untangling a thriller with unexpected plot twists or delving into the imagination of the world’s best fantasy writer maybe a reader’s favourite out there will be your next favourite too!

Wellington City Libraries is lucky enough to have eleven branches throughout the city. It’s no surprise that each branch has it’s own particular set of reading loves. This month the most popular ten reads is brought to you from a mystery location, maybe it’s the branch you borrow from?

Transcription / Kate Atkinson.
Syndetics book cover“In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathisers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever. Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat.” (Syndetics summary)

The furthest station / Ben Aaronovitch.
Syndetics book cover“A brand new novella in the PC Grant series! There’s something going bump on the Metropolitan line and Sergeant Jaget Kumar knows exactly who to call. It’s PC Peter Grant’s speciality. Only it’s more than going ‘bump’. Traumatised travellers have been reporting strange encounters on their morning commute, with strangely dressed people trying to deliver an urgent message. Stranger still, despite calling the police themselves, within a few minutes the commuters have already forgotten the encounter – making the follow up interviews rather difficult. Peter and Jaget are heading out on a ghost hunting expedition. Because finding the ghost and deciphering their urgent message might just be a matter of life and death.” (Syndetics summary)

Why mummy swears : the struggles of an exasperated mum / Gill Sims.
Syndetics book cover“Welcome to Mummy’s world… The Boy Child Peter is connected to his iPad by an umbilical cord, The Girl Child Jane is desperate to make her fortune as an Instagram lifestyle influencer, while Daddy is constantly off on exotic business trips… Mummy’s marriage is feeling the strain, her kids are running wild and the house is steadily developing a forest of mould. Mummy has also found herself a new challenge, working for a hot new tech start-up. But not only is she worrying if, at forty-two, she’s also somehow (accidentally) rebranded herself as a single party girl who works hard, plays hard and doesn’t have to run out when the nanny calls in sick. Can Mummy keep up the facade while keeping her family afloat? And, more importantly, can she find the time to pour herself a large G+T? Probably effing not.” (Syndetics summary)

Everything is lies / Helen Callaghan.
Syndetics book cover“Sophia’s parents have lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she’s always believed. Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find her mother hanging from a tree in the garden. Her father lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death. The police are convinced it is an attempted murder-suicide. But Sophia is sure that the woman who brought her up isn’t a killer. To clear her mother’s name Sophia needs to delve deep into her family’s past – a past full of dark secrets she never suspected were there…” (Syndetics summary)

Kill the farm boy / Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
Syndetics book cover“Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born… there is a faraway kingdom…the land of Pell. There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy’s untimely death… and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar ‘happily ever after’ that ever once-upon-a-timed.” (Syndetics summary)

Wild fire / Ann Cleeves.
Syndetics book coverWild Fire is the eighth, and final book, in Ann Cleeves’ bestselling Shetland series Shetland: Welcoming. Wild. Remote. Drawn in by the reputation of the islands, an English family move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life.But when a young nanny’s body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread like wild fire. With suspicion raining down on the family, DI Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate.” (Syndetics summary)

End game / David Baldacci.
Syndetics book cover“Will Robie and Jessica Reel are two of the most lethal people alive. They’re the ones the government calls in when the utmost secrecy is required to take out those who plot violence and mass destruction against the United States. And through every mission, one man has always had their backs: their handler, code-named Blue Man. But now, Blue Man is missing. Last seen in rural Colorado, Blue Man had taken a rare vacation to go fly fishing in his hometown when he disappeared off the grid. With no communications since, the team can’t help but fear the worst.” (Syndetics summary)

The after wife / Cass Hunter.
Syndetics book cover“When Rachel and Aidan fell in love, they thought it was forever.
She was a brilliant, high-flying scientist. He was her loving and supportive husband. Now she’s gone, and Aidan must carry on and raise their daughter alone.
But Rachel has left behind her life’s work, a gift of love to see them through the dark days after her death…a gift called iRachel.
The After Wife is an emotional story about love, loss, longing and belonging.” (Syndetics summary)

All for nothing / Walter Kempowski ; translated from the German by Anthea Bell ; introduction by Jenny Erpenbeck.
Syndetics book cover“A wealthy family tries–and fails–to seal themselves off from the chaos of post-World War II life. The von Globig family’s manor house, the Georgenhof, is falling into disrepair. Auntie runs the estate as best she can since Eberhard von Globig, a special officer in the German army, went to war, leaving behind his beautiful but vague wife, Katharina, and her bookish twelve-year-old son, Peter. As the road fills with Germans fleeing the occupied territories, the Georgenhof begins to receive strange visitors–a Nazi violinist, a dissident painter, a Baltic baron, even a Jewish refugee. Yet in the main, life continues as banal, wondrous, and complicit as ever for the family, until their caution, their hedged bets, and their denial are answered by the wholly expected events they haven’t allowed themselves to imagine.” (Syndetics summary)

Sleeping beauties : a novel / Stephen King and Owen King.
Syndetics book cover“In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent. And while they sleep they go to another place, a better place, where harmony prevails and conflict is rare.
One woman, the mysterious “Eve Black,” is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Eve a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain? ” (Syndetics summary)

Fantasy with wings: Recently published Dragon reads!

Dragon's Code

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

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

See below for more recently published dragon reads.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Visions of the Past: New eBook Fiction

The Winter Witch book cover

From the construction of the Sydney Opera House to the Tiananmen Square protests to the forgotten language of childhood, this month’s new eBook fiction from Overdrive will help you see the past through fresh eyes. Included are the Booker-longlisted Everything Under by Daisy Johnson and National Book Award finalist The Friend by Sigrid Nunez. Nunez’s work has been described as “a beautiful book crammed with a world of insight into death, grief, art and love.” Enjoy!

Overdrive cover The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez
“When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane. But while troubles abound, rich and surprising rewards lie in store for both of them.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Everything Under, by Daisy Johnson
“Words are important to Gretel. As a child she lived on a canal boat with her mother, and together they invented a language that was just their own. She hasn’t seen her mother since the age of sixteen though, and those memories have faded. Now Gretel works as a lexicographer, updating dictionary entries, which suits her solitary nature. But then a phone call interrupts Gretel’s isolation and throws up questions from long ago.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Map and the Territory, by Michel Houellebecq
“Artist Jed Martin emerges from a ten-year hiatus with good news. It has nothing to do with his broken boiler, the approach of another lamentably awkward Christmas dinner with his father or the memory of his doomed love affair with the beautiful Olga. It is that, for his new exhibition, he has secured the involvement of none other than celebrated novelist Michel Houellebecq!” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Once We Were Brothers–A Novel, by Ronald H. Balson
“Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fundraiser when he is suddenly accused of being a former Nazi SS officer. Although the charges are denounced as preposterous, his accuser is convinced he is right and engages attorney Catherine Lockhart to bring Rosenzweig to justice. Two lives, two worlds, and sixty years converge in an explosive race to redemption.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Winter Witch, by Paula Brackston
“In her small Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana. She is small and quick and pretty enough to attract a suitor, but there are things that set her apart from other girls. Though her mind is sharp she has not spoken since she was a young girl. Her silence is a mystery, as well as her magic—the household objects that seem to move at her command, the bad luck that visits those who do her ill. But Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Shell, by Kristina Olsson
“In 1965 as Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s striking vision for the Sydney Opera House unleashes a storm of controversy, the shadow of the Vietnam War threatens to tear the country apart. Journalist Pearl Keogh, exiled to the women’s pages after being photographed at an anti-war protest, is desperate to find her two missing brothers. Axel Lindquist, a visionary young glass artist, is obsessed with creating a work that will do justice to Utzon’s towering masterpiece.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner
“Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Outside is the world from which she has been permanently severed: the San Francisco of her youth, changed almost beyond recognition. Inside is a new reality to adapt to: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials. Romy sees the future stretch out ahead of her in a long, unwavering line – until news from outside brings a ferocious urgency to her existence.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Red Doc>, by Anne Carson
“In a stunningly original mix of poetry, drama, and narrative, Anne Carson brings the red-winged Geryon from Autobiography of Red into manhood. We join him as he travels with his friend and lover ‘Sad’ (short for Sad But Great), a war veteran, and Ida, an artist. Haunted by Proust, juxtaposing the hunger for flight with the longing for family and home, this deeply powerful picaresque verse invites readers on an extraordinary journey of the soul.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Beijing Coma, by Ma Jian
“Dai Wei lies in his bedroom, a prisoner in his body, after he was shot in the head at the Tiananmen Square protest ten years earlier. As his mother tends to him, and his friends bring news of their lives in an almost unrecognisable China, Dai Wei escapes into his memories. As the minute-by-minute chronicling of the lead-up to his shooting becomes ever more intense, the reader is caught in a gripping emotional journey.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

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

The Colours of the all the Cattle book cover

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

― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Red Headed League

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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