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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 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)

November Fiction Newsletter

Welcome to the monthly Fiction Newsletter. Here you will find our top three choices from each genre’s selected list of newly received fiction. This month we feature Suspense/Thriller fiction in our ‘Other Genres’ category all are guaranteed gripping page turners.

We sincerely hope you will enjoy our selections, and discover new writers, and genres you may not have tried before, happy reading.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

This month’s selection of New Contemporary Novels was comprised entirely of Award winning, international acclaimed writers; therefore selecting just three novels for this newsletter was extremely difficult. We hope you will be tempted to view the complete list of selections as there is great reading be found there.

Syndetics book cover Hag-seed : The tempest retold / Margaret Atwood.
“It’s got a thunderstorm in it. And revenge. Definitely revenge Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he’s staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds. Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda, and also brewing revenge. After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The wonder : a novel / Emma Donoghue.
“Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl and soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Black rock white city / A. S. Patrić.
“During a hot Melbourne summer Jovan’s cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children. This is an essential story of Australia’s suburbs now, of displacement and immediate threat, and the unexpected responses of two refugees as they try to reclaim their dreams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Although this month’s selection of new Graphic novels included seven first volumes of new series, we have chosen the only three stand-alone titles for this newsletter. As you can see all three are highly accomplished, much praised graphic novelists and artists.

Syndetics book cover Something new : tales from a makeshift bride / by Lucy Knisley.
“DIY maven Lucy Knisley was fascinated by American wedding culture, but also sort of horrified by it. So she set out to plan and execute the adorable DIY wedding to end all adorable DIY weddings. And she succeeded.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Cigarette girl / Masahiko Matsumoto ; foreword by Yoshihiro Tatsumi ; translated by Spencer Fancutt, with assistance of Atsuko Saisho.
“Welcome to the quiet, evocative urban dramas of Masahiko Matsumoto, one of the leading lights of the Japanese alternative-comics movement known as “gekiga.” Originally published in 1974, these eleven stories now form the first English-language collection of Matsumoto’s mature work. His shy, uncertain heroes face broken hearts, changing families, money troubles, sexual anxiety, and the pressures of tradition, but with a whimsy and lightness of touch that is Matsumoto’s trademark.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Paul up North / Michel Rabagliati.
“Rabagliati continues his award-winning semi-autobiographical Paul series in this coming of age story. The action takes place in 1975-76 just before and during the summer Olympics in Montreal. Paul is now 16, a teenager, and he finds new experiences, changes schools, hitchhikes, falls deeply in love, gets dumped, smokes pot and drinks beer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Mysteries this month included three translated Scandinavian mysteries and several historical mysteries mixed with the customary cold cases, missing persons and kidnappings, found with in this genre. We have selected a mixed assortment for your enjoyment.

Syndetics book cover The owl always hunts at night / Samuel Bjork ; translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund.
“When a young woman is found dead, the police are quick to respond. But what they find at the scene is unexpected. The body is posed, the scene laboriously set. And there is almost no forensic evidence to be found. Detective Mia Kruger has been signed off work pending psychological assessment. But her boss has less regard for the rules than he should. Desperate to get Mia back in the office, Holger Munch offers her an unofficial deal.But the usually brilliant Mia is struggling and the team is unable to close the case. Until a young hacker uncovers something that forces the team to confront the scope of the murderer’s plans and face the possibility that he may already be on the hunt for a second victim.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Malice of waves / Mark douglas-Home.
“Cal McGill is the sea detective: an oceanographer and one-of-a-kind investigator who uses his knowledge of the waves to find where objects came from, or track where they’ve gone. For five years Priest’s Island has guarded the mystery of Max Wheeler’s disappearance. In this isolated township on the edge of the Atlantic, there are no secrets, except what really happened to fourteen-year-old Max. Now Cal McGill has taken up the quest. A grieving father, a community riven by tragedy and resentful of the suspicion all make a powder keg of secrets and vengeance ready to explode.” (Adapted from Syndectics summary)
Syndetics book cover Blind sight / Carol O’Connell.
“A blind child and a Catholic nun disappear from a city sidewalk in plain sight of onlookers. There, then gone, vanished in seconds. Those who witnessed the event still cannot believe it happened. Detective Kathy Mallory and the NYPD’s Special Crimes Unit enter the investigation when the nun’s body is found with three other corpses in varying stages of decomposition left on the lawn of Gracie Mansion, home to the mayor of New York City. Sister Michael was the last to die. The child, Jonah Quill, is still missing. Behind her back, the squad’s name for her is Mallory the Machine, yet she has a dark understanding of what it is to be human. A child is waiting, time is running out, and atop her list of liars is the mayor himself, and a theory of the crimes in which no sane cop could believe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy included some well-known much acclaimed writers. With all the usual plots found in this genre, from alternative histories to zombies, there is no limit to the imaginations of these writers, giving readers a truly out of world experience.

Syndetics book cover Obelisk / Stephen Baxter.
“This collection contains stories set in the worlds of the bestselling duology ULTIMA and PROXIMA, which expand on the characters and worlds of that series, including two brand new short stories. There is also a selection of alternate histories and possible futures, building on Baxter’s work with Terry Pratchett on the LONG EARTH series.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The span of empire / Eric Flint, David Carrico ; with K.D. Wentworth.
“A new novel in the Jao Empire series. It has become clear to both the Jao and their human and Lleix partners that if they are going to defeat the Ekhat who have been terrorizing the galaxy for eons, they need more allies. To that end, Preceptor Ronz, guardian of Earth and greatest living strategist of the Jao, has harnessed the energy of Earth’s humans to create and send out an exploration fleet under the command of Caitlin Kralik. But after a long search, all the expedition has found are dead worlds and now-extinct intelligent species slaughtered by the genocidal Ekhat. Do they continue to search down the galactic arm in which Earth and the Jao worlds lie, or do they make an astounding leap in another direction?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The ghoul king / Guy Haley.
“The Knight, Quinn, is down on his luck, and he travels to the very edge of the civilized world, whatever that means any more, to restock his small but essential inventory. After fighting a series of gladiatorial bouts against the dead, he finds himself in the employ of a woman on a quest to find the secret to repairing her semi-functional robot. But the technological secret it guards may be one truth too many.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary

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Other genres

With Suspense/thriller being the feature of this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category, there was a great variation in location, time, character. The three selected for this newsletter are good examples of the amazing variation in the suspense/thriller genre.

Syndetics book cover Home / Harlan Coben.
“A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: what can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Out of bounds.
“When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car, a routine DNA test could be the key to unlocking the mystery of a twenty-year-old murder inquiry. Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is an expert at solving the unsolvable. With each cold case closed, justice is served. So, finding the answer should be straightforward, but it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Breaking cover / Stella Rimington.
“Liz Carlyle, still reeling from the aftershocks of a botched anti-terrorist operation in Paris, has been posted to MI5′s counter-espionage desk, where her bosses hope the relative calm might give her the chance to find her feet again. But they hadn’t counted on the fallout from Russia’s incursions into the Crimea and President Putin’s determination to silence those who would oppose him, wherever they may be living in the world. So it is not long before Liz finds herself on the hunt for a Russian spy on British soil, a spy whose intentions are unknown, and whose presence is a threat not only to Russian dissidents living in England but also to the security of the nation itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New Mysteries for October

Another great assortment of new mysteries selected from our recently received new material. Included are three translated Scandinavian mysteries and several historical mysteries mixed with the customary cold cases, missing persons and kidnappings found with in this genre. Highly recommend is Mark Douglas-Home’s mystery titled Malice of Waves, something slightly different with an oceanographer detective.

Syndetics book coverBlue Madonna / James R. Benn.
“It’s late May 1944. Captain Billy Boyle is court-martialed on spurious charges of black market dealings. Billy is given an opportunity: he can avoid his punishment if he goes behind enemy lines to rescue a high-value Allied soldier. A secret chamber and tunnels, once used by escaping Huguenots in the 17th century, has since been taken over by the Allies. But this “safe house” on the outskirts of Chaumont turns out to be anything but, two downed airmen, one Canadian and the other American, have been murdered. Billy is flown in as part of a three-man team on June 5, 1944, the night before the Normandy invasion, and must solve the mystery of who is behind the murders before then leading a group escape back to England, with both the Germans and a killer hot on their heels.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe owl always hunts at night / Samuel Bjork ; translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund.
“When a young woman is found dead, the police are quick to respond. But what they find at the scene is unexpected. The body is posed, the scene laboriously set. And there is almost no forensic evidence to be found. Detective Mia Kruger has been signed off work pending psychological assessment. But her boss has less regard for the rules than he should. Desperate to get Mia back in the office, Holger Munch offers her an unofficial deal.But the usually brilliant Mia is struggling and the team is unable to close the case. Until a young hacker uncovers something that forces the team to confront the scope of the murderer’s plans and face the possibility that he may already be on the hunt for a second victim.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMalice of waves / Mark douglas-Home.
“Cal McGill is the sea detective: an oceanographer and one-of-a-kind investigator who uses his knowledge of the waves to find where objects came from, or track where they’ve gone. For five years Priest’s Island has guarded the mystery of Max Wheeler’s disappearance. In this isolated township on the edge of the Atlantic, there are no secrets, except what really happened to fourteen-year-old Max. Now Cal McGill has taken up the quest. A grieving father, a community riven by tragedy and resentful of the suspicion all make a powder keg of secrets and vengeance ready to explode.” (Adapted from Syndectics summary)

Syndetics book coverHellfire / Karin Fossum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.
“A mother and child are found brutally murdered in an old caravan on a remote piece of land. A bloody footprint is discovered at the scene, and Chief Inspector Sejer is called to investigate. Meanwhile, another mother, dying of cancer, confesses to her 21-year-old son that he is adopted. The man who abandoned them, whom the boy has become obsessed by, is not his real father. Why do we lie to those closest to us? Hellfire delves deep into the dark heart of family, and what drives people to commit the most horrific of crimes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ice beneath her / Camilla Grebe ; translated by Elizabeth Clark Wessel.
“A young woman is found beheaded in an infamous business tycoon’s marble-lined hallway. The businessman, scandal-ridden CEO of the retail chain Clothes & More, is missing without a trace. But who is the dead woman? And who is the brutal killer who wielded the machete? Rewind two months earlier to meet Emma Bohman, a sales assistant for Clothes & More, whose life is turned upside down by a chance encounter with Jesper Orre. Insisting that their love affair is kept secret, he shakes Emma’s world a second time when he suddenly leaves her with no explanation. As frightening things begin to happen to Emma, she suspects Jesper is responsible. But why does he want to hurt her? And how far would he go to silence his secret lover?”
(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeep waters / Patricia Hall.
“1964. Detective Sergeant Harry Barnard has been ordered to track down notorious Soho club owner Ray Robertson, who hasn’t been seen for several days. The case takes on a greater urgency when a battered body is discovered at the gym Ray owns. Is Ray the killer or is he a victim? Photographer Kate O’Donnell meanwhile is working on a feature about the regeneration of Canvey Island, finally being rebuilt after the devastating East Coast floods of 1953. But as Kate and Harry are about to discover, the Canvey Island floods, the murder and Ray Robertson’s disappearance are connected in more ways than one.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTimetable of death / Edward Marston.
“1859. St Mary’s Church, Spondon. A little girl playing hide-and-seek jumps into a freshly-dug grave to find a dead man already occupying it. It is the body of Cedric Norton, a senior director of the Midland Railway. Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming travel to Derbyshire to investigate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverQuick and the dead : an Alex Quick mystery / Susan Moody.
“When her business partner, acclaimed art historian and university professor Dr Helena Drummond, disappears, Alexandra Quick is consumed by guilt. Shortly before she vanished, Helena had complained of being menaced by a stalker, and Alex had dismissed her fears as groundless. Now Alex, a former police detective, is determined to use her finely-honed investigative skills to find out what’s happened to her friend and colleague. But the more she uncovers, the more Alex realizes how little she really knew Dr Helena Drummond. As it becomes increasingly clear that the woman she thought she knew so well has been keeping a great many secrets from her, Alex must decide: is Helena a victim or is she a killer?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlind sight / Carol O’Connell.
“A blind child and a Catholic nun disappear from a city sidewalk in plain sight of onlookers. There, then gone, vanished in seconds. Those who witnessed the event still cannot believe it happened. Detective Kathy Mallory and the NYPD’s Special Crimes Unit enter the investigation when the nun’s body is found with three other corpses in varying stages of decomposition left on the lawn of Gracie Mansion, home to the mayor of New York City. Sister Michael was the last to die. The child, Jonah Quill, is still missing. Behind her back, the squad’s name for her is Mallory the Machine, yet she has a dark understanding of what it is to be human. A child is waiting, time is running out, and atop her list of liars is the mayor himself, and a theory of the crimes in which no sane cop could believe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRat run : an Anderson and Costello mystery / Caro Ramsay.
“In August 1992, a young mother and her two small sons were brutally murdered in the woods behind their home. Her neighbour Andrew Gyle was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life imprisonment. Now, twenty-three years later, a macabre discovery throws new light on the case. Could there have been a shocking miscarriage of justice? DCI Colin Anderson and his partner, DI Costello, uncover serious discrepancies in the original investigation it becomes clear that not everyone is telling them the truth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Mystery Fiction for September

This month’s selection from the recently received new mystery novels are set in a wide variety of places, from Aosta, Italy to Blackasen, Finland. From Osaka, Japan to Kolkata, India, Normandy, France to Sweden. Experience some great mysteries in some wonderful places.

Syndetics book coverCrowned and dangerous / Rhys Bowen.
“Set in late 1934,this novel opens on the road to Gretna Green, Scotland, where distant heir to the British throne Lady Georgiana Rannoch and the Honorable Darcy O’Mara plan to elope. En route, Darcy learns that his father, Lord Kilhenny, is in custody for killing Timothy Roach, the wealthy American who bought Kilhenny Castle and the adjacent horse-racing stable. Lord Kilhenny argued with Roach, his fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and he drank too much on the evening in question to remember whether he’s guilty, so he’ll likely hang for the crime. To save Georgie from scandal, Darcy ends his engagement to her and returns home to County Kildare, Ireland.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJourney under the midnight sun / Keigo Higashino ; translated by Alexander O. Smith, with Joseph Reeder.
“A twenty-year-old murder. A chain of unsolvable mysteries, can one detective solve this epic riddle? When a man is found murdered in an abandoned building in Osaka in 1973, unflappable detective Sasagaki is assigned to the case. He begins to piece together the connection of two young people who are inextricably linked to the crime; the dark, taciturn son of the victim and the unexpectedly captivating daughter of the main suspect. Over the next twenty years we follow their lives as Sasagaki pursues the case, which remains unsolved, to the point of obsession.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAdam’s rib / Antonio Manzini ; translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar.
“Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone has been demoted from the police force in his native Rome for beating up a rape suspect. He’s been reassigned to the town of Aosta in the Italian Alps. Schiavone is cut off from Rome, from his friends, and, most grievously, from his beloved, murdered wife. Schiavone’s lethargy is interrupted by a maid’s discovery of her female employer hanging from a light fixture. The scene and the condition of the woman’s body make Schiavone believe this is not, as was first believed, a suicide but rather a carefully staged murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn the month of the midnight sun / Cecilia Ekbäck.
“Stockholm 1856. A telegram arrives on the Minister of Justice’s desk, with the news of a massacre on one of Lapland’s mountains; a priest, a law enforcement officer, and a local settler have been slaughtered by one of the indigenous Sami people. The murderer is in custody; he refuses to talk. The Minister dispatches his son-in-law, a geologist, to investigate for there is more than one reason to visit Blackasen: it is a mountain with many secrets, a mountain that has never been mapped. Magnus does not journey alone. The Minister’s daughter, in disgrace, is sent with him. What they discover about the murders and what lies behind them will be as nothing compared with what they discover about themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA rising man / Abir Mukherjee.
“Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Calcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force. But with barely a moment to acclimatise to his new life or to deal with the ghosts that still haunt him, Wyndham is caught up in a murder investigation that will take him into the dark underbelly of the British Raj. With rising political dissent and the stability of the Raj under threat, Wyndham and his two new colleagues, arrogant Inspector Digby and British-educated, but Indian-born Sergeant Banerjee, one of the few Indians to be recruited into the new CID embark on an investigation that will take them from the luxurious parlours of wealthy British traders to the seedy opium dens of the city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA summer with Kim Novak / Håkan Nesser ; translated from the Swedish by Saskia Vogel.
“Fourteen-year old Erik and his friend Edmund spend their summer vacation in 1962 by a Swedish lake, daydreaming about Ewa, a young teacher who looks just like actress Kim Novak. When Ewa’s fiancé is found dead, Erik’s brother is the prime suspect at first, but the actual killer is never found. Twenty-five years later, when Erik happens to come across an article about unsolved crimes, he is overwhelmed by memories about that summer. What really happened back then? And why was Ewa’s fiance murdered?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhen the music’s over : an Inspector Banks novel / Peter Robinson.
“Det. Insp. Annie Cabbot investigates the rape and murder of 15-year-old Mimosa “Mimsy” Moffat, a white girl found naked on a country road, who lived in the nearby estates in Wytherton, York, and ran with a crowd that included several older guys of Pakistani descent. Cabbot must tread carefully in the racially charged atmosphere during her investigation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRevolver / Duane Swierczynski.
“In 1965, Philadelphia police officer Stan Walczak and his partner are in a bar, taking a break from their duties managing street protests in a poor neighborhood, when someone enters with a gun, and both men are shot dead. In 1995, Stan’s son, Jim, a Philadelphia PD homicide detective, looks into the rape-murder of magazine fact checker Kelly Farrace, a case that attracts the interest of a City Hall eager for a quick resolution. In 2015, Jim’s daughter, Audrey Kornbluth, returns home from Houston to attend the unveiling of a plaque memorializing the 1965 slayings. Audrey’s on the verge of flunking out of Criminal Scene Investigator school, but she hits on the idea of reinvestigating the 50-year-old murders, a choice that not everyone in her family supports.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA dreadful past / Peter Turnbull.
“Things are slow for Det. Chief Insp. George Hennessy and Det. Sgt. Somerled Yellich. Hennessy and his team have time to look at a case that’s not only cold but practically frostbitten: a 20-year-old murder of a couple and their 17-year-old daughter in an isolated house. Now the son, the sole survivor of the massacre, tells the police that he has found a damaged vase in an antique shop that was stolen from his family the night of the murders. Hennessy and company start to trace the vase and re-interview the victims’ neighbors for details they might not have told the police before.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA climate of fear / Fred Vargas ; translated from the French by Siân Reynolds.
“A woman is found murdered in her bathtub, and the murder made to look like a suicide. A strange symbol is found near the body.Then a second victim is discovered, who was also part of a group of tourists on a doomed expedition to Iceland ten years earlier.How are these deaths, and rumours of an Icelandic demon, linked to the secretive Association for the Study of the Writings of Maximilien Robespierre? And what does the mysterious symbol signify? Commissaire Adamsberg is about to find out.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The latest Fiction Newsletter

Welcome to the latest Fiction Newsletter where we have collected three titles from this month’s fiction recent picks as an appetiser. This month’s ‘Other Genres’ selection features New Zealand writers. We hope that you will find some wonderful reading from amongst all this new fiction, no matter what genre you prefer.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

A wide range of genres were included in this month’s selection of new Contemporary Fiction. The following three are examples of this with historical, translated and futuristic novels chosen for this month’s newsletter.

Syndetics book cover Field service / Robert Edric.
“Morlancourt, Northern France, 1920.In the aftermath of the world’s bloodiest conflict, a small contingent of battle-worn soldiers remains in France. Captain James Reid and his men are tasked with the identification and burial of innumerable corpses as they come to terms with the events of the past four years. The stark contrast between the realities of burying men in France and the reports of honouring the dead back in Britain is all too clear. But it is only when the daily routine is interrupted by a visit from two women, both seeking solace from their grief, that the men are forced to acknowledge the part they too have played.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The Mandibles : a family, 2029 – 2047 / Lionel Shriver.
“In 2029, the United States is engaged in a bloodless world war that will wipe out the savings of millions of American families. Overnight, on the international currency exchange, the “almighty dollar” plummets in value, to be replaced by a new global currency, the “bancor.” In retaliation, the president declares that America will default on its loans. “Deadbeat Nation” being unable to borrow, the government prints money to cover its bills. What little remaining savings are been rapidly eaten away by runaway inflation .The Mandibles have been counting on a sizable fortune filtering down when their ninety-seven-year-old patriarch dies. Once the inheritance turns to ash, each family member must contend with disappointment, but also, as the U.S. economy spirals into dysfunction, the challenge of sheer survival.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Six four / Hideo Yokoyama ; translated from the Japanese by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies.
“For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again. For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police’s apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as ‘Six Four’. They would never forgive the authorities their failure. For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case. He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he’d known what he would find.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Guaranteed for diversity of theme, artwork and genre, the Graphic Novel collection never fails to entertain and fascinate readers. Deciding on just three as a temptation for readers is always difficult.

Syndetics book cover 365 days / by Julie Doucet.
“A year in the life of a world-renowned artist. This visual journal, starting in late 2002, is an idiosyncratic collision of her various creative interests, wherein personal narrative, collage, and drawing begin to tell the story of her pursuits into printmaking and beyond, chronicling her maturation as a mid-career artist and her fluid extension into a broader arts community.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Beverly / by Nick Drnaso.
“A darkly funny portrait of middle America seen through the stunted, numb minds of its children. Connected by a series of gossipy teens, the modern lost souls of Beverly struggle with sexual anxieties that are just barely repressed and social insecurities that undermine every word they speak. A group of teenagers pick up trash on the side of the highway, flirting, preening, and ignoring a potentially violent loner in their midst. A young woman experiences a traumatic incident at the pizza shop where she works and the fallout reveals the racial tensions simmering below the surface. Precisely and hauntingly recounted, each chapter of Beverly reveals something new and yet familiar, about the world in which we live.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Rosalie Lightning : a graphic memoir / by Tom Hart and Rosalie Lightning and Leela Corman and the residents of New York City, Gainesville, Florida, New Mexico, and Hawaii, as well as various singer-songwriters, film directors, actors, animators, comic artists, donors, lovers and friends.
“Cartoonist Tom Hart’s New York Times bestselling is a touching and beautiful graphic memoir about the untimely death of his young daughter, Rosalie. His heart-breaking and emotional illustrations strike readers to the core, and take them along his family’s journey through loss. Hart creatively portrays the solace he discovers in nature, philosophy, great works of literature, and art across all mediums in this expressively honest and loving tribute to his daughter.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

The three translated novels included in this month’s selection of new Mystery Fiction have been chosen for this newsletter. Do check the complete list of selections for other new mysteries by some very talented writers.

Syndetics book cover The silent dead / Tetsuya Honda ; translated by Giles Murray.
“When a body wrapped in a blue plastic tarp and tied up with twine is discovered near the bushes near a quiet suburban Tokyo neighborhood, Lt. Reiko Himekawa and her squad take the case. The victim was slaughtered brutally, his wounds are bizarre, and no one can figure out the “what” or the “why” of this crime. Reiko makes a discovery that leads the police to uncover eleven other bodies, all wrapped in the same sort of plastic. Only a few of the bodies are identifiable and those that are have connection to each other. The only possible clue is a long shot lead to a website spoken only in whispers on the Internet, something on the dark web known as “Strawberry Night”.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Stalker / Lars Kepler ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“A video-clip is sent to the National Criminal Investigation Department. Someone has secretly filmed a woman through her window from the garden. The next day she is found dead after a frenzied knife-attack. The police receive a second film of another unknown woman. There is no way of identifying her before time runs out. When her husband finds her he is so traumatized that he cleans the whole house and puts her to bed. He may have seen a vital clue, but is in such an extreme state of shock that the police are unable to question him. Psychiatrist Erik Maria Bark is called in to hypnotize him but what the man tells him under hypnosis leads Erik to start lying to the police. If the lights are on, a stalker can see you from outside. But if the lights are off, you can’t see a stalker who is already inside the house.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The dying detective / Leif G.W. Persson ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“Retired Chief of the National Crime Police and Swedish Security Service Lars Martin Johansson has just suffered a stroke. He is paying the price for a life of excess – stress, good food and fine wine. With his dangerously high blood pressure, his heart could fail at the slightest excitement. In the hospital, a chance encounter with a neurologist provides an important piece of information about a 25-year-old murder investigation and alerts Lars Martin Johansson’s irrepressible police instincts. Lars Martin Johansson is determined to solve the atrocious crime even from his deathbed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels included five debut novelists, all bound to have readers eagerly waiting their next publications. We have chosen new work from three very popular, veteran writers for this newsletter.

Syndetics book cover War factory / Neal Asher.
“The second book in the Transformation series. Thorvald Spear, resurrected from his death over a hundred years earlier, continues to hunt Penny Royal, the rogue AI and dangerous war criminal on the run from Polity forces. Beyond the Graveyard, a lawless and deadly area in deep space, Spear follows the trail of several enemy Prador, the crab-like alien species with a violent history of conflict with humanity. Blite, captain of a bounty hunting ship, hands over two prisoners and valuable memplants from Penny Royal to the Brockle, a dangerous forensics entity under strict confinement on a Polity spaceship that quickly takes a keen interest in the corrupted AI and its unclear motives. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The seascape tattoo / Larry Niven and Steven Barnes.
“Aros of Azteca and Neoloth-Pteor are the deadliest of enemies: Swordsman and Sorcerer, locked in mortal combat, who have tried to kill each other more times than either can count. But when the princess Neoloth loves is kidnapped, there is only one plan that offers any hope of rescueand that requires passing off the barbarian Aros as a lost princeling and infiltrating the deadliest cabal of necromancers the world has ever seen. They cannot trust each other. They will betray or kill each other the first chance they get. But they’re all each other has.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Age of myth / Michael J. Sullivan.
“This is the first in a proposed five book series five-book series. Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between humans and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over. The time of rebellion has begun.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

The feature of this month’s Other Genres category is New Zealand fiction. Included in this month’s newsletter selection are new novels from two of New Zealand’s most talented, popular writers.

Syndetics book cover The quiet spectacular / Laurence Fearnley.
“Loretta is a school librarian, who embarks on compiling The Dangerous Book for Menopausal Women while waiting to collect her son from after-school activities. Chance is a teenager, who discovers an unusual creative outlet to offset the strain of her controlling mother. Riva is the founder of a wetlands sanctuary, who is seeking a way to fulfil her promise to her dying sister to do something ‘absolutely spectacular’. Within a clearing in the woods by a lake there is a den, a secret sanctuary and eventual meeting place for all three women.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover All day at the movies / Fiona Kidman.
“Life isn’t always like it appears in the movies. In 1952, Irene Sandle takes her young daughter to Motueka. Irene was widowed during the war and is seeking a new start and employment in the tobacco fields. There, she finds the reality of her life far removed from the glamour of the screen. Can there be romance and happy endings, or will circumstances repeat through the generations? Each subsequent episode in this poignant work follows family secrets and the dynamics of Irene’s children. The story doesn’t just track their lives, but also New Zealand itself as its attitudes and opportunities change and reverberate through the decades.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The case of the missing body / Jenny Powell.
“The Case of the Missing Body is the true and unusual story of Lily, who has no sense of her body. She has struggled with the effects of this her whole life. Desperate to try anything to ‘be normal’, a nevertheless skeptical Lily agrees to begin work with her physiotherapist in a gymnasium. One extraordinary day, working in the gym, Lily discovers she has shoulder blades. All her life she has thought people only felt their heads, with thoughts trailing along in and behind them. Now she has shoulder blades. There is nothing easy about what is to follow. Neither Patrick (the physiotherapist) nor Lily could have predicted it. But with help from professionals, the writer of this beautiful, moving memoir becomes her own detective, searching for clues to help her find her own body.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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