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February’s Fiction Newsletter

Welcome to the latest Fiction newsletter. We have selected a great range of fiction across all genres from our recently received new material guaranteed to provide many hours of pleasurable reading. Translated novels are featured in this month’s ‘Other Genre’ category and these provide an interesting and at times riveting view of other cultures, traditions, and people, whether historically or in the present day.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

In this month’s selection of New Contemporary fiction, there are several historical novels, and three debut novels from promising new talented writers. Also included are the latest novels by Zadie Smith, Jay McInerney and T. Coraghessan Boyle, all promising some great reading.

Syndetics book cover The story of a brief marriage / Anuk Arudpragasam.
“This haunting debut novel takes place in a Sri Lankan civil-war-evacuee camp. The opening scene in which a young boy’s shrapnel-damaged forearm is amputated with a kitchen knife prepares readers for what is to come, as newlyweds Dinesh and Ganga, who barely know each other, try to navigate the intimacies of marriage in the midst of great brutality.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Inch levels / Neil Hegarty.
“Patrick Jackson lies on his deathbed in Derry and recalls a family history marked by secrecy and silence, and a striking absence of conventional pieties. He remembers the death of an eight-year-old girl, whose body was found on reclaimed land called Inch Levels on the shoreline of Lough Swilly. And he is visited by his beloved but troubled sister Margaret and by his despised brother-in-law Robert, and by Sarah, his hard, unchallengeable mother. Each of them could talk about events in the past that might explain the bleakness of their relationships, but leaving things unsaid has become a way of life. Guilt and memory beat against them, as shock waves from bombs in Derry travel down the river to shake the windows of those who have escaped the city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Swing time / Zadie Smith.
“Two brown girls dream of being dancers, but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either. This is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Nearly all fiction genres and some biography are included in this month’s selection from the recently received additions to our Graphic Novel collection. Along with the first volumes in three new series, we promise some great reading experiences for fans of this very popular collection.

Syndetics book cover Carbon Grey / story, script & lettering, Paul Gardner ; created by Hoang Nguyen, Khari Evans, Mike Kennedy ; art, Khari Evans, Hoang Nguyen, Kinsun Loh.
“The Sisters Grey are warriors, sworn to protect their Kaiser. But as a great war rages, the Kaiser is found dead, and one sister, Giselle Grey is accused of his murder. Pursued by enemies, Giselle must unravel the prophecy of the Carbon Grey before history itself unravels.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Space-Mullet! [1] : one gamble at a time / written and illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson.
“Ex space marine Jonah and his co-pilot Alphius rove the galaxy, just trying to get by. Drawn into one crazy adventure after another, they forge a crew of misfits into a family that must face the darkest parts of the universe together.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover An Olympic dream : the story of Samia Yusuf Omar / by Reinhard Kleist.
“The image of Samia Yusuf Omar running for last place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics will forever be imprinted in the minds of all who saw it: The lean Somalian, wearing knee-length leggings and a baggy T-shirt, came in seconds behind her competitors. What the cheering crowd couldn’t know then was what it took to get there. An Olympic Dream follows Omar’s second attempt to represent her country at the Olympics, this time in London. Reinhard Kleist pictures the athlete training in one of the most dangerous cities in the world; her passage through Sudan and into Libya; and her fateful attempt to reach Europe” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

The second novel again set in Mumbai by Vaseem Khan, a new writer in this genre, who is becoming very popular, is included in this month’s selection of new mystery fiction. Also we have new mysteries from several popular authors, and two new Scandinavian mysteries, one Anne Holt and the other by Kjell Eriksson.

Syndetics book cover Stone coffin / Kjell Eriksson ; translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg.
“One sunny summer morning a young woman and her six-year old daughter are run over by a car. Both are killed immediately. Is it an accident, or did someone kill them on purpose? The same morning the husband of the deceased young woman disappears. During the police investigation, it turns out that the husband had recently bought a property that nobody knew anything about. A few days later a macabre discovery is made in a forest nearby” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The perplexing theft of the jewel in the crown / Vaseem Khan.
“For centuries, the Koh-i-Noor diamond has set man against man and king against king. Now part of the British Crown Jewels, the priceless gem it is a prize that many have killed to possess. So when the Crown Jewels go on display in Mumbai, security is everyone’s principal concern. And yet, on the very day Inspector Chopra visits the exhibition, the diamond is stolen from under his nose.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The reckoning on Cane Hill / Steve Mosby.
“Every year, Detective David Groves receives a birthday card for his son–even though he buried him years ago. His son’s murder took everything from him, apart from his belief in the law, even though the killers were never found. This year, though, the card bears a different message: I know who did it. Uncovering the facts will lead him on a dark journey, where he must face his own wrongs as well as those done to those they love.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

There are new novels from science fiction and fantasy’s best known authors included in this month’s selection of new material. From Ben Bova, to David Webber, Marion Zimmer Bradley to Nora Roberts, and of course, Ken Lui and Lev Grossman, deciding who to start reading first, will prove to be the hardest problem

 

Syndetics book cover Warp / Lev Grossman.
“Twenty-something Hollis Kessler languishes in a hopelessly magician-less world (with the exception of a fleet-footed nymph named Xanthe) not too far from where he graduated college. His friends do, too. They sleep late, read too much, drink too much, talk too much, and work and earn and do way too little. But Hollis does have an obsession: there’s another world going on in his head, a world of excitement and danger and starships and romance, and it’s telling him that it’s time to stop dreaming and get serious.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The wall of storms / Ken Liu.
“Book 2 in the Dandelion dynasty series. Grace of Kings, Kuni Garu, now known as Emperor Ragin, runs the archipelago kingdom of Dara, but struggles to maintain progress while serving the demands of the people and his vision. Then an unexpected invading force from the Lyucu Empire in the far distant west comes to the shores of Dara and chaos results. But Emperor Kuni cannot go and lead his kingdom against the threat himself with his recently healed empire fraying at the seams, so he sends the only people he trusts to be Dara’s savvy and cunning hopes against the invincible invaders: his children, now grown and ready to make their mark on history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The dark side / Anthony O’Neill.
“In this dark and gripping sci-fi noir, an exiled police detective arrives at a lunar penal colony just as a psychotic android begins a murderous odyssey across the far side of the moon. Purgatory is the lawless moon colony of eccentric billionaire, Fletcher Brass: a mecca for war criminals, murderers, sex fiends, and adventurous tourists. You can’t find better drugs, cheaper plastic surgery, or a more ominous travel advisory anywhere in the universe. But trouble is brewing in Brass’s black-market heaven. When an exiled cop arrives in this wild new frontier, he immediately finds himself investigating a string of ruthless assassinations in which Brass himself, and his equally ambitious daughter, are the chief suspects.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

With translated novels being the feature of this month’s ‘Other Genres’ selection some really fascinating reading is here for the choosing. Opening different worlds, cultures and characters, the novels in this section include some brilliant, internationally acclaimed writers.

Syndetics book cover This house is mine / Dörte Hansen ; translated from the German by Anne Stokes.
“All her life Vera has felt like a stranger in the old and drafty half-timbered farmhouse she arrived at as a five-year-old refugee from East Prussia in 1945, and yet she can’t seem to let it go. Sixty years later, her niece Anne suddenly shows up at her door with her small son. Anne has fled the trendy Hamburg, Germany neighborhood she never fit into after her relationship imploded. Vera and Anne are strangers to each other but have much more in common than they think. As the two strong-willed and very different women share the great old house, they find what they have never thought to search for: a family.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The graveyard apartment / Mariko Koike ; translated from the Japanese by Deborah Boliver Boehm.
“A young family that believes it has found the perfect home to grow into, only to realize that the apartment’s idyllic setting harbors the specter of evil and that the longer they stay, the more trapped they become.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Moshi Moshi / Banana Yoshimoto ; translated by Asa Yoneda.
“Yoshie’s much-loved musician father has died in a suicide pact with an unknown woman. It is only when Yoshie and her mother move to Shimo-kitazawa, a traditional Tokyo neighborhood of narrow streets, quirky shops, and friendly residents that they can finally start to put their painful past behind them. However, despite their attempts to move forward, Yoshie is haunted by nightmares in which her father is looking for the phone he left behind on the day he died, or on which she is trying, unsuccessfully to call him. Is her dead father trying to communicate a message to her through these dreams?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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The best of the best: must reads from this month’s fiction selection

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverInch levels / Neil Hegarty.
A poetic, wonderful debut novel, about the legacy of families, and how the past can influence the future. Haunting stays in the mind long after reading has ended.

Syndetics book coverNo echo : a Hanne Wilhelmsen novel / Anne Holt and Berit Reiss-Andersen ; translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce.
Another gripping mystery from an author who always succeeds with psychological analysis of human desires and weaknesses, an author who never disappoints.

Syndetics book coverThe dark side / Anthony O’Neill.
A dark, gripping sci-fi noir, with brutal crimes to be solved and thrilling adventure. Who could resist a psychotic android?

Syndetics book coverLovf : the illustrated diary of a man literally losing his mind / Jesse Reklaw.
Jammed with cartoons, mad schemes, psychedelic portraits, and notes from the road, this is a travel journal and a mirror of the post-traumatic dream world where the author can find no escape. Illustrated using with many varied mediums, this multi-layered graphic novel is a must read for enthusiast.

Syndetics book coverMoshi Moshi / Banana Yoshimoto ; translated by Asa Yoneda.
A moving story of loss, grief and recovery, through believable characters, brilliantly portrayed.

New Mysteries for February

This month’s selection of new mystery novels has an international flavour, with four translated mysteries, from France, Italy, Norway and Sweden. There is also a debut mystery from Arjum Gaind, set in India in1909, titled A very pukka murder: a Maharaja mystery that comes highly recommended.

Syndetics book coverThe sleepwalker : a novel / Chris Bohjalian.
“When a sleepwalker who has experienced episodes of near violence while unconscious goes missing, her eldest daughter, Lianna, finds herself drawn to a lead detective who seems to know more than he is revealing.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlack water lilies / Michel Bussi ; translated from the French by Shaun Whiteside.
“Giverny, is during the day, the home of the famous artist Claude Monet and the gardens where he painted his waterlilies. But once the tourists have gone, there is a darker side to the peaceful French village. This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe falling detective / Christoffer Carlsson ; translated by Michael Gallagher.
“The second instalment in the internationally bestselling Leo Junker series. Leo Junker is back in the homicide unit, after a murder case where he was the intended victim. Still abusing prescription drugs and battling his inner demons, he’s doing his best to appear fit for duty. A sociologist named Thomas Heber is found murdered. The only clues the police have to work with are Heber’s cryptic research notes, which indicate that someone else’s life is also under threat, but who? Leo is put on the Heber case with his former nemesis Gabriel Birck, but when the case is abruptly reassigned to the Swedish Security Service, he realizes this is no ordinary street mugging.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA very pukka murder : a Maharaja mystery / Arjun Raj Gaind.
“Major William Russell, the English Resident of the princely state of Rajpore, is found dead the morning after the 1909 New Year’s Ball. The fabulously wealthy Maharaja of Rajpore, a lover of luxury cars and beautiful women, cannot resist a mystery and, over the objections of the local Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police, attempts to solve the crime. As the British authorities dispatch their own investigator from Simla, His Highness deals with the growing hostility of the English Establishment, learning that Major Russell was not as pukka, as proper, as he liked to pretend.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe last act of Hattie Hoffman / Mindy Mejia.
“Seventeen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. When she’s found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community.Local sheriff Del Goodman, a close friend of Hattie’s dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers: it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe unseen witness : power and vanity meets danger and death / Grant Peake.
“Power and vanity meets danger and death. Shortly after the suspicious death of his best friend, a mysterious note appears on desk of Private Investigator Paul O’Shea. Desperate to get to the bottom of things, O’Shea and his secretary, Donna Weston, decide to take the law into their own hands. The pair soon find themselves in the midst of a series of disturbing killings. In order to crack the case Paul and Donna must uncover a long-kept secret that has been fiercely guarded for decades.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe birdwatcher / William Shaw.
“Police Sergeant William South has a reason for not wanting to be on the murder investigation. He is a murderer himself. But the victim was his only friend; like him, a passionate birdwatcher. South is warily partnered with the strong-willed Detective Sergeant Alexandra Cupidi, newly recruited to the Kent coast from London. Together they find the body, violently beaten, forced inside a wooden chest. Only rage could kill a man like this. South knows it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhere roses never die / Gunnar Staalesen ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
“Mette Misvaer, a three-year-old girl, disappears without trace from the sandpit outside her home. Her family and community are devastated, but their enquiries and the police produce nothing. Almost 25 years later, Mette’s mother approaches PI Varg Veum, in a last, desperate attempt to find out what happened to her daughter. As Veum starts to dig, he uncovers an intricate web of secrets.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe third sin / Aline Templeton.
“Pleasure is the highest good: the group who called themselves the Cyrenaics practised the principle until the death of one from an overdose and the apparent suicide of another. Sobered, the group went their several ways. One heads to Canada, another disappears and a third is believed to have committed suicide, at least until his body turns up two years later in the wreck of a car swept up on to the Solway mud flats. The murky relationships among the Cyrenaics, revived when they start returning for a party bring more pain and death. DI Marjory Fleming finds this and the murder which follows on her own patch, obstructed by the unpleasant and resentful inspector she has been asked to direct.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath in the Tuscan hills / Marco Vichi ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“Spring, 1967. The trail of tragedy and destruction that followed the previous winter’s flood seems to have died down; Florence is beginning to recover. But Inspector Bordelli does not feel the same sense of relief, he has not had a moment’s peace since his investigation of a young boy’s murder went disastrously wrong. Unsettled and embittered, Bordelli resigns from the force and leaves the city. Now, in the solitude of his new home in the Tuscan hills, he spends his days cooking, going for long walks and learning to grow his own vegetables. But the thought of that case, of justice not served, is constantly with him. Until fate, in which he has never believed, unexpectedly offers him the chance of retribution.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mysteries for January

This month’s selection of new Mystery novels will provide readers with many satisfying hours of thrilling reading. Included and highly recommended is the second novel by Vaseem Khan, a new writer in this genre, who is becoming very popular. His latest mystery is titled The perplexing theft of the jewel in the crown.

Syndetics book coverNone but the dead / Lin Anderson.
“Sanday, one of Britain’s northernmost islands, inaccessible when the wind prevents the ferry crossing from the mainland, or fog grounds the tiny, island-hopping plane. When human remains are discovered to the rear of an old primary school, forensic expert Dr Rhona MacLeod and her assistant arrive to excavate the grave. Approaching midwinter, they find daylight in short supply, the weather inhospitable and some of the island’s inhabitants less than co-operative. When the suspicious death of an old man in Glasgow appears to have links with the island, DS Michael McNab is dispatched to investigate. Desperately uncomfortable in such surroundings, he finds no internet, no CCTV, and no police station. As the weather closes in, the team, including criminal profiler and Orkney native Professor Magnus Pirie are presented with a series of unexplained incidents.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLovemurder / Saul Black.
“Troubled San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart is planning a rare weekend away from the job when she gets the call. The body of a woman, brutally murdered has been found and a cryptic note left by the body is addressed to Valerie.The victim is unknown to her, but as Valerie analyses the scene, the clues begin to point in a deeply disturbing direction: to a maximum security prison where a woman called Katherine Glass is awaiting execution for a series of gruesome killings. And Valerie was the cop who put her there.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStone coffin / Kjell Eriksson ; translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg.
“One sunny summer morning a young woman and her six-year old daughter are run over by a car. Both are killed immediately. Is it an accident, or did someone kill them on purpose? The same morning the husband of the deceased young woman disappears. During the police investigation, it turns out that the husband had recently bought a property that nobody knew anything about. A few days later a macabre discovery is made in a forest nearby” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe inheritance / Charles Finch.
“Charles Lenox has received a cryptic plea for help from an old Harrow schoolmate, Gerald Leigh, but when he looks into the matter he finds that his friend has suddenly disappeared. As boys they had shared a secret: a bequest from a mysterious benefactor had smoothed Leigh’s way into the world after the death of his father. Lenox, already with a passionate interest in detective work, made discovering the benefactor’s identity his first case, but was never able to solve it. Now, years later, Leigh has been the recipient of a second, even more generous bequest. Is it from the same anonymous sponsor? Or is the money poisoned by ulterior motives? Leigh’s disappearance suggests the latter, and as Lenox tries, desperately, to save his friend’s life, he’s forced into confrontations with both the most dangerous of east end gangs and the far more genteel denizens of the illustrious Royal Society.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNo echo : Hanne Wilhelmsen Series, Book 6 / Anne Holt
“When celebrity chef Brede Ziegler is discovered stabbed to death on the steps of the Olso police headquarters it sends a shockwave through the city’s in-crowd. Ziegler had lots of famous friends, is there a culprit among them, or was this a random act of violence? Police investigator Billy T. takes on the case, but is met with conflicting information about what kind of man Ziegler was. It seems nobody really knew the dead man, including his glamorous wife, the restaurant co-owner and the editor of his memoir.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe perplexing theft of the jewel in the crown / Vaseem Khan.
“For centuries, the Koh-i-Noor diamond has set man against man and king against king. Now part of the British Crown Jewels, the priceless gem it is a prize that many have killed to possess. So when the Crown Jewels go on display in Mumbai, security is everyone’s principal concern. And yet, on the very day Inspector Chopra visits the exhibition, the diamond is stolen from under his nose.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRuler of the night / David Morrell.
“1855. The railway has irrevocably altered English society: a whole day’s journey can now be covered in a matter of hours. This brings freedom and danger. When a gentleman is stabbed to death in a locked first-class passenger compartment, the crime paralyzes London. In the next compartment, Thomas De Quincey and his daughter, Emily, discover the homicide in a most gruesome manner. They join forces with their allies in Scotland Yard, Detective Ryan and his partner-in-training, Becker, to pursue the killer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe reckoning on Cane Hill / Steve Mosby.
“Every year, Detective David Groves receives a birthday card for his son–even though he buried him years ago. His son’s murder took everything from him, apart from his belief in the law, even though the killers were never found. This year, though, the card bears a different message: I know who did it. Uncovering the facts will lead him on a dark journey, where he must face his own wrongs as well as those done to those they love.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn Oxford anomaly / Norman Russell.
“Jeremy Oakshott, Fellow of Jerusalem Hall, and an authority on the Crusades, is content with life until renowned archaeologist Mrs Lestrange urges him to join her expedition to Syria. His wealthy uncle, Ambrose Littlemore, refuses to help him, and is murdered soon afterwards. Detective Inspector Antrobus has already investigated the savage murder of one of Oakeshott’s old friends, but the scholar’s alibis are completely water-tight. Assisted by his doctor friend, Sophia Jex-Blake, Antrobus looks further afield, visiting two criminal lunatic asylums, a remote nunnery, and a quiet country village, where at last they uncover the truth about five savage murders, and the identity of their perpetrator.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn bitter chill / Sarah Ward.
“Bampton, Derbyshire, January 1978. Two girls go missing: Rachel Jones returns, Sophie Jenkins is never found. Thirty years later: Sophie Jenkins’s mother commits suicide. Rachel Jones has tried to put the past behind her and move on with her life. But news of the suicide re-opens old wounds and Rachel realises that the only way she can have a future is to finally discover what really happened all those years ago.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Best of the Best: must reads from this month’s fiction selection

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverThe wish child / Catherine Chidgey.
This wonderfully authentic novel is compelling reading, a great accomplishment.

Syndetics book coverHot dog taste test : a cook [crossed out] book / by Lisa Hanawalt.
A very funny exploration of the author’s anxieties and obsessions, making the mundane disturbing and the strange normal.

Syndetics book coverMagpie murders / Anthony Horowitz.
A brilliantly multilayered thriller with a very satisfying twist.

Syndetics book coverDeath and the seaside / Alison Moore.
A dark unsettling novel, at times funny, that you will want to read again.

Syndetics book coverThe gradual / Christopher Priest.
A challenging, but thought provoking novel from this much acclaimed skillful writer.

Fiction Newsletter for the new year

Welcome to this month’s Fiction Newsletter. New Zealand writers feature in our ‘Other Genres’ category. We only have room for three titles from each genre’s selection of new material, just as a sample, so do visit the complete lists, where you will find more great reading.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

There is some great entertaining reading in this month’s new contemporary fiction, perfect for the long hot, lazy days of summer. From the new additions to the collection, we have selected new novels from three of the most popular writers for this newsletter, but do check out all the other great reads chosen.

Syndetics book cover Moonglow / Michael Chabon.
Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact and the creative power of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The dark flood rises / Margaret Drabble.
“Fran may be old but she’s not going without a fight. So she dyes her hair, enjoys every glass of red wine, drives around the country for her job with a housing charity and lives in an insalubrious tower block that her loved ones disapprove of. And as each of them, her pampered ex Claude, old friend Jo, flamboyant son Christopher and earnest daughter Poppet, seeks happiness in their own way, what will the last reckoning be? Will they be waving or drowning when the end comes?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The whole town’s talking : a novel / Fannie Flagg.
“Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. “Resting place” turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking. This is an unforgettable story of life, afterlife, and the remarkable goings-on of ordinary people.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

There was another fabulous selection of Graphic Novels added to the Wellington City Libraries collection this month. There is as always a diverse range of genre and art work, making this collection one of our library’s most popular and heavily read, and therefore difficult to select just three for this newsletter.

Syndetics book cover We stand on guard / Brian K. Vaughan, Steve Skroce.
“A subversive, action-packed military thriller. Set 100 years in our future, the story follows a heroic band of Canadian civilians turned freedom fighters who must defend their homeland from invasion by a technologically superior opponent, the United States of America.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Day of the magicians / Michelangelo La Neve and Marco Nizzoli ; introduction by Alexandro Jodorowsky.
“Drazen; a child kidnapped, trained by a mysterious band of magicians, and destined to seek out and destroy his own father. Lancaster; a father who will stop at nothing to achieve his own plans, including manipulating his son’s childhood friend. Torn between destiny and desire, the young magician will be forced to confront these conflicts, with terrible consequences.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Cruising through the Louvre / David Prudhomme ; translation by Joe Johnson.
“Author David Prudhomme meanders through the Louvre, feeling as if in the panels of a giant comic while he himself is creating his own. In this institution, all manner of people from all over the world rub elbows quietly. So he decides to cruise through the Louvre at a quick pace, not to look at the art but to observe the people and their interaction with it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Although police procedural mysteries were predominant in this month’s selection of recently arrived novels, we have chosen three with very different plots for this edition of the fiction newsletter.

Syndetics book cover Without mercy / Jefferson Bass.
“Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton has spent twenty-five years solving brutal murders but none so horrific and merciless as his latest case: A ravaged set of skeletal remains is found scattered in the woods of nearby Cook County. They are all that is left of a victim who had been chained, hand and foot, to a tree on a remote mountainside. The bones tell Brockton and his longtime graduate assistant, Miranda, that the victim was a young male under the age of thirty. As they dig deeper to establish his identity, they uncover warning signs that long-simmering hatred is about to explode into violence, engulfing the region in chaos.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Between the crosses / Matthew Frank.
“Now a freshly-minted DC, war-hero-turned-copper Joseph Stark is called to the scene of a double murder. The husband and wife victims were shot dead in their own home. It looks like a tragic burglary gone wrong. But Stark has a creeping feeling that the killings might be something more chilling. And when new evidence points to a twenty-year-old cold case the hunt is on.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Rather be the devil / Ian Rankin.
“For John Rebus, forty years may have passed, but the death of beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand and it still preys on his mind. Murdered in her hotel room on the night a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there, Maria’s killer has never been found. Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs. A young pretender, Darryl Christie, may have staked his claim, but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and an inquiry into a major money laundering scheme threatens his position. Has old-time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost, or is he biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

There were some amazing new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels received this month. The three selected here for this newsletter illustrate the scope of imagination writers of this genre possess.

Syndetics book cover Night without stars : Chronicle of the Fallers / Peter F. Hamilton
“The planet Bienvenido is in crisis. It has finally escaped the Void, emerging into regular space. But it’s millions of light-years from Commonwealth assistance, and humans are battling the Fallers for control of their world. This rapacious adversary, evolved to destroy all sentient life, has infiltrated every level of human society, hijacking unwilling bodies so its citizens fear their leaders, friends and family. A mysterious figure known as the Warrior Angel leads a desperate resistance. But the government obstructs the Angel’s efforts at every turn, blinded by prejudice and technophobia. Then astronaut Ry Evine uncovers one last hope. On a mission against the enemy, his spacecraft damages an unidentified vessel carrying unexpected cargo: a baby. This extraordinary Commonwealth child possesses knowledge that could save them all. But if the Fallers catch her, the people of Bienvenido will not survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Death’s end / Cixin Liu ; translated by Ken Liu.
“Book three of the Three-Body Trilogy concludes with Death’s End . Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Mort(e) : a novel / by Robert Repino.Mort(e)
“After the War With No Name, a cat assassin searches for his lost love in this strange, moving fantasy epic. The colony of ants has risen up to set about creating a human-free Utopia on Earth. Former housecat turned war hero, Mort is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend, a dog named Sheba.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

New Zealand fiction is featured in this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category, showcasing great writing and a diverse range of subjects. This month we received the much acclaimed new Catherine Chidgey novel, and new work from Deborah Challinor and Emma Neale. So with the novels we have selected for this newsletter we are highlighting three different, but just as skillful writers.

Syndetics book cover Daylight second / Kelly Ana Morey.
“In a new novel about the Australian race horse Phar Lap, award -winning writer, Kelly Ana Morey recreates the short life of the gigantic chestnut gelding who became the darling of the Australian race tracks during the Depression years. From Timaru in New Zealand where he was born, to Australia where he rewrote track and race records and finally Mexico where he would run his last race, Daylight Second chronicles the death threats and attempts on Phar Lap’s life that were made before the running of two of the three Melbourne Cups he contested, his many triumphs including winning the Melbourne Cup in 1930 and the Agua Caliente Handicap in 1932, and finally his death in America in mysterious circumstances.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Strip / Sue Wootton.
“Their dreams of parenthood dashed, Harvey and Isobel go for dream jobs instead. Harvey hangs up his stethoscope to become a cartoonist and Isobel takes a promotion at the local museum. Then an abandoned baby comes up for adoption, and Harvey and Isobel discover a family is more work than they bargained for. By Fleur’s eighth birthday it’s all come together nicely, but that’s before a voice from the past threatens to nuke their hard-won happiness. Harvey doesn’t stop to think. He acts, and with tragic consequences” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The student body / written by former police detective Simon Wyatt.
“A popular fifteen-year-old girl is strangled to death at a school camp on Auckland’s west coast. The posing of the body suggests a sexual motive. Nick Knight, a week into his role as a newly promoted detective sergeant, is tasked with the critical job of leading the Suspects Team. Nick, who turned his back on a lucrative career as a lawyer, is well-versed at dealing with the dark sides of human nature. With no shortage of suspects, he sets a cracking pace on the trail of the murderer, grappling his own personal demons along the way. But are things really as they seem?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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The best of the best: must reads from this month’s fiction selections

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverRinse, spin, repeat : a graphic memoir of loss and survival / Edith Fassnidge.
An amazing memoir, told in simple graphics about survival and loss.

Syndetics book coverThose who leave and those who stay / Elena Ferrante ; translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein.
Another Neapolitan about a novel by this elusive author, about power, beauty and human relationships.

Syndetics book coverThe tidal zone / Sarah Moss.
A novel parental love, overwhelming fear, illness, recovery and the challenges of marriage. This novel is quite unforgettable.

Syndetics book coverSleeping giants / Sylvain Neuvel.
A wonderful debut novel, a political thriller and part apocalyptic fiction, a gripping page turner.

Syndetics book coverHolding / Graham Norton.
A brilliant debut novel from this famous comedian. A black comedy cleverly plotted that is a joy to read.

New Mysteries for December

Police procedural mysteries are predominant in this month’s selection of new mystery novels, also included are two historical mysteries and one where a Defense Lawyer is the protagonist. One novel that is far removed from the previous plot forms is Anthony Horowitz’s Magpie murders, and is highly recommended.

Syndetics book coverWithout mercy / Jefferson Bass.
“Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton has spent twenty-five years solving brutal murders but none so horrific and merciless as his latest case: A ravaged set of skeletal remains is found scattered in the woods of nearby Cook County. They are all that is left of a victim who had been chained, hand and foot, to a tree on a remote mountainside. The bones tell Brockton and his longtime graduate assistant, Miranda, that the victim was a young male under the age of thirty. As they dig deeper to establish his identity, they uncover warning signs that long-simmering hatred is about to explode into violence, engulfing the region in chaos.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath at the seaside / Francis Brody.
“Tenacious sleuth Kate Shackleton heading off for a long-overdue holiday to Whitby, she visits her school friend Alma who works as a fortune teller there. Kate had been looking forward to a relaxing seaside sojourn, but upon arrival discovers that Alma’s daughter Felicity has disappeared, leaving her mother a note and the pawn ticket for their only asset: a watch-guard. What makes this more intriguing is the jeweller who advanced Felicity the thirty shillings is Jack Phillips, Alma’s current gentleman friend. Kate can’t help but become involved, and goes to the jeweller’s shop to get some answers. When she makes a horrifying discovery in the back room, it soon becomes clear that her services are needed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA voice in the night / Andrea Camilleri ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“Inspector Montalbano decides to cheer himself up by dealing with a young driver’s road rage in his own unique way. But his joy is short-lived, as at police headquarters he receives an angry phone call from a supermarket boss; there’s been a robbery at his store and Montalbano’s colleague is treating him as a suspect. On arrival at the scene, Montalbano quickly agrees with Inspector Augello that this was no ordinary break-in, but with the supermarket’s infamous links to the Mafia creating problems at every turn, this isn’t going to be an easy case for the inspector to solve.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBetween the crosses / Matthew Frank.
“Now a freshly-minted DC, war-hero-turned-copper Joseph Stark is called to the scene of a double murder. The husband and wife victims were shot dead in their own home. It looks like a tragic burglary gone wrong. But Stark has a creeping feeling that the killings might be something more chilling. And when new evidence points to a twenty-year-old cold case the hunt is on.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMagpie murders / Anthony Horowitz.
“When editor Susan Ryeland is given the tattered manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has little idea it will change her life. She’s worked with the revered crime writer for years and his detective, Atticus Pund, is renowned for solving crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s. As Susan knows only too well, vintage crime sells handsomely. It’s just a shame that it means dealing with an author like Alan Conway. But Conway’s latest tale of murder at Pye Hall is not quite what it seems. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but hidden in the pages of the manuscript there lies another story: a tale written between the very words on the page, telling of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition and murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSlaughter Park / by Barry Maitland.
“The final book in the critically acclaimed Belltree Trilogy. Harry Belltree’s obsessive pursuit of justice has cost him everything, his job in homicide, his marriage and his newborn child. He has nothing left to lose, or so he thinks. Then his estranged wife disappears, leaving their baby daughter behind. The police think Jenny has murdered a man. Harry thinks she’s in danger. When severed limbs are found dangling from the branches of trees in a suburban park, Harry’s former colleagues are pulled off Jenny’s case. It’s up to Harry to track his missing wife down on his own and to lay bare, at last, the extraordinary conspiracy that led to his parents’ murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRather be the devil / Ian Rankin.
“For John Rebus, forty years may have passed, but the death of beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand and it still preys on his mind. Murdered in her hotel room on the night a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there, Maria’s killer has never been found. Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs. A young pretender, Darryl Christie, may have staked his claim, but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and an inquiry into a major money laundering scheme threatens his position. Has old-time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost, or is he biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe twelve dogs of Christmas / David Rosenfelt.
“Defense lawyer Andy Carpenter usually tries to avoid taking on new cases at all costs. But this time, he’s happy, eager, even to take the case that’s just come his way. Andy’s long-time friend Martha “Pups” Boyer takes in stray puppies that the local dog rescue center can’t handle, raises them until they’re old enough to adopt, and then finds good homes for them. With Christmas just around the corner, one of Pups’s neighbors has just reported Pups to the city for having more than the legal number of pets in her home under the local zoning laws. Andy happily takes Pups’s case, and he feels confident in a positive outcome. Who could punish someone for rescuing puppies, after all, especially at Christmastime? But things get a lot more complicated when Randy Hennessey, the neighbor who registered the complaint against Pups, turns up dead.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)

Syndetics book coverAsh and bones / Mike Thomas.
“At a squalid flat near the Cardiff docks, an early morning police raid goes catastrophically wrong when the police aren’t the only unexpected guests. A plain clothes officer is shot dead at point blank range; the original suspect is left in a coma. The killer, identity unknown, slips away. Young and inexperienced, Will MacReady starts his first day on the CID. With the city in shock and the entire force reeling, he is desperate to help, but unearths truths that lead the team down an increasingly dark path.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe plague road / L. C. Tyler.
“1665, and the Great Plague has London in its grip. Everyone who can has fled and the only sounds are the tolling bells and the incessant cry of ‘bring out your dead!’ Where better, then, to hide a murdered man than amongst the corpses on their way to the plague pit? John Grey, now a successful lawyer, is called in by Secretary of State Lord Arlington to investigate an unexpected admission to the Tothill pit. The man was, before his murder, known to be carrying a letter from the Duke of York to the French ambassador. But the letter has vanished and Arlington wants it. The contents will compromise not only the duke but many others around him. But Arlington is not the only one trying to recover the letter. Somebody has killed once to try to obtain it and is prepared to kill again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Fiction Newsletter for the holiday season

Welcome to our latest fiction newsletter where we tempt you with some highlights across all genres from our selection of recently received new fiction. This month we are featuring translated novels in our ‘Other Genres’ category. We are certain there will be many new novels for readers to enjoy, and new authors to discover. You’re sure to find something new to delve into for the holidays.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

This month’s new Contemporary fiction included many award winning writers. We hope the three chosen for this newsletter will tempt you to check the complete selection from the recently received new material.

Syndetics book cover My name is Leon / Kit De Waal
“Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. Their mum isn’t feeling herself, so they’ve gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers, since Jake is white and Leon is not.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Siracusa / Delia Ephron.Siracusa
“Two couples on vacation in Siracusa, a town on the coast of Sicily, where the secrets they have hidden from each other are exposed and relationships are unravelled. New Yorkers Michael, a famous writer, and Lizzie, a journalist, travel to Italy with their friends from Maine,-Finn, his wife Taylor, and their daughter Snow. “From the beginning,” says Taylor, “it was a conspiracy for Lizzie and Finn to be together.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Do not say we have nothing : a novel / Madeleine Thien.
“In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. Her name is Ai-Ming. As her relationship with Marie deepens, Ai-Ming tells the story of her family in revolutionary China, from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. It is a history of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians, the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Once again, choosing three new Graphic novels for this month’s newsletter has been difficult, as they were all brilliant. The three chosen demonstrate the diversity of imagination and artwork always found in this collection

Syndetics book cover The infinite loop / written and lettered by Pierrick Colinet ; illustrated and colored by Elsa Charretier.
“A science-fiction series that asks the age-old question, “What would you risk for a chance at true love?” Teddy is a young woman who lives in a faraway future where time traveling is a common practice and her job is to maintain the status quo by correcting time paradoxes. But when she meets Ano, “a time paradox” and the girl of her dreams, Teddy must decide between fixing the time stream or the love of her life, both of which have unique consequences.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Pride & joy / Garth Ennis, writer ; John Higgins, artist & colorist.
“Still mourning the loss of his wife, Jimmy Kavanagh lives quietly in the backwoods of New England, raising his devoted daughter and resentful teenage son. But fate has come calling in the worst possible way, as Jimmy’s criminal past threatens to destroy his entire family, raising the spectra of his crushing guilt for an old and awful crime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Different ugliness, different madness / Marc Malès, writer & artist ; Jonathan Tanner, translator.
“A radio star of the 1930s returns to the airwaves after a yearlong absence. A dying woman tells her life story to her daughter on a deserted railway platform. These dual stories spin together in Malés’ moody, mysterious tale, spotlighting the enigmatic nature of identity and personal reflection. In a flashback, Helen, a woman with a possibly-imaginary twin, travels Depression-era roads in search of her own identity, a journey that eventually uncovers the radio star’s secret.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Avid fans of mystery novels need no introduction to this section of the newsletter, as once again there are many new novels from favourite writers. Included also some new talented writers that will no doubt over time become established favourites.

Syndetics book cover The wrong side of goodbye / Michael Connelly.
“Harry Bosch is still working, both as a volunteer at a suburban cop shop and as a PI, but he’s very picky about his cases, which is why when a billionaire of dubious reputation comes calling, Harry is weary. But the mogul, nearing death, has a compelling story to tell: a dalliance with a Latina student decades ago may have produced a child, who may or not still be alive but who may have produced a grandchild. Harry’s job is to determine if there is an heir and then to report only to the mogul, not to any of his greedy underlings. The first part goes relatively easily yes, there is an heir but the mogul is murdered before Harry has a chance to talk to him. Juggling his investigation with the responsibilities of his volunteer gig, Harry finds himself caught between the sometimes contradictory demands of finding bad guys and helping victims.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Chameleon people / Hans Olav Lahlum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.
“1972. On a cold March morning the weekend peace is broken when a frantic young cyclist rings on Inspector Kolbjorn ‘K2′ Kristiansen’s doorbell, desperate to speak to the detective. Compelled to help, K2 lets the boy inside, only to discover that he is being pursued by K2′s colleagues in the Oslo police. A bloody knife is quickly found in the young man’s pocket: a knife that matches the stab wounds of a politician murdered just a few streets away. The evidence seems clear-cut, and the arrest couldn’t be easier. But with the suspect’s identity unknown, and the boy refusing to speak, K2 finds himself far from closing the case. And then there is the question that K2 can’t get out of his head: why would a guilty man travel directly to a police detective from the scene of his own brutal crime?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Goodwood / Holly Throsby.
“Goodwood is a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone. It’s a place where it’s impossible to keep a secret. In 1992, when Jean Brown is seventeen, a terrible thing happens, two terrible things. Rosie White, the coolest girl in town, vanishes overnight. One week later, Goodwood’s most popular resident, Bart McDonald, sets off on a fishing trip and never comes home. People die in Goodwood, of course, but never like this. They don’t just disappear. As the intensity of speculation about the fates of Rosie and Bart heightens, Jean, who is keeping secrets of her own, and the rest of Goodwood are left reeling.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

This month’s new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels recently added to the collection included many well known great writers. There are also several exciting new writers making their debut in this genre.

Syndetics book cover Ninth City burning / J. Patrick Black.
“Generations after Earth has been attacked by an unknown alien force, the world is a different place. Most cities were instantly destroyed by the invaders using an element known as “thelemity,” and human survival depends on a few who can wield this power as well. In the intervening centuries, those who use thelemity are sought and put into military service. But while the surviving cities lead the ongoing war efforts, the rural settlements resent being employed as a supply source of resources and soldiers. Two young sisters from the unincorporated wild country are dragged into the conflict.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The obelisk gate / N.K. Jemisin.
“In the world called the Stillness-which the first book hints may actually be our world, thousands of years in the future-orogenes are hated and feared for their ability to control the geological forces that shape the land. Powerful orogene Essun desperately searches for her eight-year-old daughter, Nassun, who was stolen away by her father. He hopes to find someone to “fix” the girl and excise her burgeoning orogene talent. But Essun’s search is interrupted by her old mentor, Alabaster. Alabaster is dying, and he hopes to use Essun’s powers to end the current “season,” a disastrous change in global climate that could destroy all life, by recapturing the planet’s long-lost moon, whose absence is the cause of the ironically named Stillness’s geological instability.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Infomocracy / Malka Older.
“In the (slightly implausible) future, most of the world is part of a massive democracy divided into “centenals” of 100,000 people. Governments are global and overlapping, and each centenal decides which government to belong to. A worldwide organization known as Information manages elections and attempts to keep governments’ campaign promises in check; the governments themselves range from corporate ones such as PhilipMorris to more traditional ones with names like Liberty and Policy1st. Ken, a Brazilian of Japanese descent who works for the Policy1st government, is attempting to research non-Policy1st centenals that might be willing to change governments in the upcoming election. After he learns of a potential conspiracy involving the election, he ends up working with (and falling for) Information agent Mishima.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

Translated novels are featured in this month’s ‘Other Genre’ category, with fascinating examples of modern global fiction covering all genres. Our selection for this newsletter showcases this diversity.

Syndetics book cover Men / Marie Darrieussecq ; translated from the French by Penny Hueston.
“It’s love at first sight for French actress Solange when she lays eyes on enigmatic Cameroonian actor Kouhouesso at a party in the Hollywood Hills. Solange takes him to bed but wants more than a tryst, much more. But Kouhouesso remains elusive, focusing his energies on his passion project: directing a new version of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Solange angles for the role of the Intended, Kurtz’s fiancée, who appears in only one scene. Kouhouesso considers several better-known actresses before finally settling on Solange. And so lovesick Solange follows Kouhouesso to his native Cameroon, hoping the film shoot will allow her to peel back his protective layers and truly bring them closer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The explosion chronicles / Yan Lianke ; translated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas.
“With the Yi River on one side and the Balou Mountains on the other, the village of Explosion was founded more than a millennium ago by refugees fleeing a seismic volcanic eruption. But in the post-Mao era the name takes on a new significance as the community grows explosively from a small village to a vast metropolis. Behind this rapid expansion are members of the community’s three major families, including the four Kong brothers. Linked together by a complex web of loyalty, betrayal, desire, and ambition, these figures are the driving force behind their hometown’s transformation into an urban superpower.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The brother / Joakim Zander ; translated from the Swedish by Elizabeth Clark Wessel.
“Growing up poor, Yasmine vowed she would always protect her little brother from harm. She broke her promise on the day she left home, abandoning Fadi to his life in the Stockholm slums. Now, five years later, Yasmine still carries the guilt of leaving him behind. She hears a rumor that he is dead, killed by a US drone in Syria. What happened to turn her sweet-natured brother into one of the CIA’s most wanted men? The answer will shock her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New Mysteries for December

New mysteries in this month’s selection are once again located in many different places around the world, from Amsterdam to Australia, Scotland to Los Angeles, and Oslo to Cork, New Mexico to Belfast. Highly recommended are two debut mysteries, Holding by Graham Norton, and Goodwood by Holly Throsby, both writers are well known for their previous careers, one as a comedian and the other as a song writer/singer.

Syndetics book coverDeadly secrets / Britta Bolt.
“Pieter Posthumus wouldn’t live anywhere but Amsterdam even though the big Earth 2050 conference, with its crowds of delegates and protestors, has left him feeling somewhat under siege. At least his work at the Lonely Funerals team is quiet. Then one of the delegates is left for dead under a bypass. Ever curious, Posthumus agrees to look into the case, which sparks memories of his own time as a student radical. Amsterdam has always attracted people with fierce views, but is someone willing to kill for their principles? Or did the attack have a much more personal motive? Forced to contend with family secrets, political machinations and international conspiracies, Posthumus finds himself in ever deeper, darker waters as he tries to uncover what really happened, and why.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCold earth / Ann Cleeves.
“In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the main Lerwick-Sumburgh road and sweeps down to the sea. At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and peaty water smash through a croft house in its path. Everyone thinks the croft is uninhabited, but in the wreckage he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress. In his mind, she shares his Mediterranean ancestry and soon he becomes obsessed with tracing her identity. Then it emerges that she was already dead before the landslide hit the house. Perez knows he must find out who she was, and how she died.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wrong side of goodbye / Michael Connelly.
“Harry Bosch is still working, both as a volunteer at a suburban cop shop and as a PI, but he’s very picky about his cases, which is why when a billionaire of dubious reputation comes calling, Harry is weary. But the mogul, nearing death, has a compelling story to tell: a dalliance with a Latina student decades ago may have produced a child, who may or not still be alive but who may have produced a grandchild. Harry’s job is to determine if there is an heir and then to report only to the mogul, not to any of his greedy underlings. The first part goes relatively easily yes, there is an heir but the mogul is murdered before Harry has a chance to talk to him. Juggling his investigation with the responsibilities of his volunteer gig, Harry finds himself caught between the sometimes contradictory demands of finding bad guys and helping victims.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSoulmates : a novel / Jessica Grose.
“Attorney Dana Powell learns of her ex-husband’s death from the front page of the New York Post. Drawn by the photo of his familiar eyes, she’s stunned as she absorbs the news that Ethan and Amaya (the Other Woman) were found dead in a cave in New Mexico. Once she’s been contacted by local law enforcement with a tip about the pair’s last whereabouts as yoga instructors, a hint at foul play, and a nudge toward citizen investigation, Dana heads off to the Zuni Retreat in search of answers. If Ethan was to blame in a murder-suicide, she needs to know what went wrong. Disguised as a yoga student in search of grounding, she encounters the famed guru Lama Yon and sifts through Ethan’s past to come to terms with her own.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe missing hours / Emma Kavanagh.
“One moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children and the next, she has vanished without a trace. Twenty hours later, Selena is found safe and well, but with no memory of where she has been. What took place in those missing hours, and are they linked to the discovery of a nearby murder?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChameleon people / Hans Olav Lahlum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.
“1972. On a cold March morning the weekend peace is broken when a frantic young cyclist rings on Inspector Kolbjorn ‘K2’ Kristiansen’s doorbell, desperate to speak to the detective. Compelled to help, K2 lets the boy inside, only to discover that he is being pursued by K2’s colleagues in the Oslo police. A bloody knife is quickly found in the young man’s pocket: a knife that matches the stab wounds of a politician murdered just a few streets away. The evidence seems clear-cut, and the arrest couldn’t be easier. But with the suspect’s identity unknown, and the boy refusing to speak, K2 finds himself far from closing the case. And then there is the question that K2 can’t get out of his head: why would a guilty man travel directly to a police detective from the scene of his own brutal crime?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe queen’s accomplice / Susan Elia MacNeal.
“In bombed and blacked-out 1942 London, a young woman’s horrifically butchered body is discovered in Regent’s Park near graffiti proclaiming that “Jack Is Back.” With the discovery of a second, similarly brutalized corpse, a pattern emerges: the murders explicitly mimic Jack the Ripper’s, and both women have been tapped for the Special Operations Executive, a top-secret unit that sends women spies behind enemy lines. American expat Maggie Hope, an experienced SOE operative, joins the investigation jointly conducted by Scotland Yard and MI5. The stakes rise when a young woman trained by Maggie disappears, possibly abducted by the killer that the press dubs the Blackout Beast.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSo say the fallen / Stuart Neville.
“Det. Chief Insp. Serena Flanagan of the Belfast police investigates the apparent suicide of Henry Garrick, who was bedridden while slowly and painfully recovering from a serious car accident. It seems that his wife, Roberta, and a family friend, Rev. Peter McKay, gave him his evening medication of a packet of morphine granules mixed into a tub of yogurt, but after they left, he added an additional 10 packets and died during the night. The case is officially closed, but Flanagan can’t help following the remaining loose ends until something approaching justice is done in this complex and compassionate study of the human condition.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHolding / Graham Norton.
“Duneen is a quiet place, far enough from the big towns to have kept its own rhythms. Its residents include cast down policeman PJ who lives a lonely, uneventful life punctuated only by the next meal, until now; the beautiful and mysterious family of three spinster sisters each with their own secrets and sorrows; and of course, the town’s gossip who think she knows the answers. When a grim discovery is made on a building site up by the old school, it becomes the catalyst for long buried secrets and rivalries to come to light and this silent, once innocent and repressed-seeming town is revealed to have a much darker, hungrier undertow.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGoodwood / Holly Throsby.
“Goodwood is a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone. It’s a place where it’s impossible to keep a secret. In 1992, when Jean Brown is seventeen, a terrible thing happens, two terrible things. Rosie White, the coolest girl in town, vanishes overnight. One week later, Goodwood’s most popular resident, Bart McDonald, sets off on a fishing trip and never comes home. People die in Goodwood, of course, but never like this. They don’t just disappear. As the intensity of speculation about the fates of Rosie and Bart heightens, Jean, who is keeping secrets of her own, and the rest of Goodwood are left reeling.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)


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