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 cover A wonderfully rendered retelling of this exciting classic novel.

Syndetics book coverOne of the best apocalyptic science fiction novels yet.

Syndetics book coverA gripping highly charged mystery.

Syndetics book coverA suspenseful, almost gothic story of family, love and disappointment in one New Zealand family.

Syndetics book cover An emotionally deep novel about survival, fear and courage.

Fling yourself into this month’s new fiction!

Welcome to the latest fiction newsletter. Here we showcase some of the most exciting new fiction in each genre. This month we feature New Zealand writers in out ‘Other Genres’ category. All sections are linked to the full list of recent picks selections from our new additions to the collection. We wish you many hours of entertaining and satisfying reading.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

The selection of new contemporary novels this month includes new novels from some highly acclaimed authors, and several debut novels that will surely secure each author’s future writing career. For this newsletter we have highlighted three debut novels so readers can judge this for themselves.

Syndetics book cover The Pacific room / Michael Fitzgerald.
“This remarkable debut novel tells of the last days of Tusitala, ‘the teller of tales’, as Robert Louis Stevenson became known in Samoa where he chose to die. In 1892 Girolamo Nerli travels from Sydney by steamer to Apia, with the intention of capturing something of Jekyll and Hyde in his portrait of the famous author. Nerli’s presence sets in train a disturbing sequence of events. More than a century later, art historian Lewis Wakefield comes to Samoa to research the painting of Tusitala’s portrait by the long-forgotten Italian artist. On hiatus from his bipolar medication, Lewis is freed to confront the powerful reality of all the desires and demons that R. L. Stevenson couldn’t control.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Goodbye, vitamin : a novel / Rachel Khong.
“Freshly disengaged from her fiancé; and feeling that life has not turned out quite the way she planned, thirty-year-old Ruth quits her job, leaves town and arrives at her parents’ home to find that situation more complicated than she’d realized. Her father, a prominent history professor, is losing his memory and is only erratically lucid. Ruth’s mother, meanwhile, is lucidly erratic. But as Ruth’s father’s condition intensifies, the comedy in her situation takes hold, gently transforming her all her grief.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The sixteen trees of the Somme / Lars Mytting ; translated from the Norwegian by Paul Russell Garrett
“Edvard grows up on a remote mountain farmstead in Norway with his taciturn grandfather, Sverre. The death of his parents, when he was three years old, has always been shrouded in mystery, he has never been told how or where it took place and has only a distant memory of his mother. But he knows that the fate of his grandfather’s brother, Einar, is somehow bound up with this mystery. One day a coffin is delivered for his grandfather long before his death, a meticulous, beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Perhaps Einar is not dead after all. Edvard’s desperate quest to unlock the family’s tragic secrets takes him on a long journey, from Norway to the Shetlands, and to the battlefields of France, to the discovery of a very unusual inheritance.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

As always the new graphic novels illustrate the diversity of this collection, with narratives ranging from comedy to tragedy, from modern life to horror, from the sublime to the surreal, and all with extraordinary art work. We hope the three titles chosen for this newsletter illustrate this diversity.

Syndetics book cover Little Tulip / Jerome Charyn and François Boucq.
“A serial killer haunts the city streets, a stalker of isolated women who leaves a Santa Claus hat at the scene of his crimes. Pavel, a Russian emigre assists the police investigation as a sketch artist. But Pavel’s true calling is as a tattoo artist, and the so-called Bad Santa killings conjure up memories of the nightmarish world in which he learned his craft: a Russian prison camp that shattered his childhood and destroyed his family. Shifting between the living hell of a 1940s Siberian gulag and the crime-ridden chaos of New York City during the 1970s, this graphic novel’s stunning artwork provides an atmospheric backdrop to its tale of corruption, murder, and revenge.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Pretending is lying / Dominique Goblet ; translated by Sophie Yanow in collaboration with the author.
“The first book to appear in English by the acclaimed Belgian artist Dominique Goblet, Pretending is Lying is a memoir unlike any other. In a series of dazzling fragments–skipping through time, Goblet examines the most important relationships in her life: with her partner, Guy Marc; with her daughter, Nikita; and with her parents.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The Black Monday murders. Volume 1, All hail, God Mammon / words by Jonathan Hickman ; art by Tomm Coker.
“A new crypto-noir series about the power of dirty, filthy money and exactly what kind of people you can buy with it. THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is classic occultism where the various schools of magic are actually clandestine banking cartels that control all of society: a secret world where vampire Russian oligarchs, Black popes, enchanted American aristocrats, and hitmen from the International Monetary Fund work together to keep global control.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

This month many very popular, much acclaimed writers were included in our monthly selection of new mystery novels. The three titles chosen for this newsletter will hopefully tempt fans of this genre to pursue the complete list of selected new mysteries.

Syndetics book cover Glass souls : moths for commissario Ricciardi / Maurizio de Giovanni ; translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar.
“In the abyss of a profound personal crisis, Commissario Ricciardi feels unable to open himself up to life. He has refused the love of both Enrica and Livia and the friendship of his partner. Contentment for Ricciardi proves as elusive as clues to his latest case. The beautiful countess Bianca, pleads with him to investigate an officially closed case. In the tense, charged atmosphere of 1930s Italy, where Benito Mussolini and his fascist thugs monitor the police, an unauthorized investigation is grounds for immediate dismissal. But Ricciardi’s thirst for justice cannot be sated.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Ordeal / Jorn Lier Horst ; translated by Anne Bruce.
“Together with her one year old daughter Maja, single mother Sofie Lund moves into the house she inherited from her grandfather. Sofie has such painful memories that she has had every trace of the old man removed, every trace but a locked safe that has been bolted to the basement floor. Inside the safe, Sofie finds something shocking that will also become crucial evidence in a case that has plagued Inspector William Wisting for a long time. Following this lead though, he will cut across important loyalties and undermine confidence in the police force.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Only human / Kristine Næss ; translated from the Norwegian by Seán Kinsella.
“Bea Britt lives alone in her grandmother’s house in west Oslo. Early one morning, she wakes to find a police hunt outside her window and drama unfolding on her TV. Volunteers are scouring the local woods looking for Emilie, a missing schoolgirl. Emilie’s rucksack is found in Bea Britt’s garden. But as her spiraling doubts and suspicions take over, is she a suspect, a witness or a potential second victim?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

All aspects of science fiction and fantasy, dystopian fiction, space warfare, aliens, magic, planetary missions, and much more are represented each month in our selections from the new novels added to Wellington City Libraries collection. Readers of this genre are always guaranteed hours of escapist pleasure.

Syndetics book cover The management style of the Supreme Beings : A novel / Tom Holt.
“When the Supreme Being and his son decide that being supreme isn’t for them anymore, it’s inevitable that things get a bit of a shake-up. It soon becomes apparent that our new owners, the Venturi brothers, have a very different perspective on all sorts of things. Take good and evil, for example. For them, it’s an outdated concept that never worked particularly well in the first place. Unfortunately, the sudden disappearance of right and wrong, while welcomed by some, raises certain concerns amongst those still attached to the previous team’s management style. In particular, there’s one of the old gods who didn’t move out with the others. A reclusive chap, he lives somewhere up north, and only a handful even believe in him. But he’s watching. And he really does need to know if you’ve been naughty or nice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Exodus / Alex Lamb.
“The Photurians, a hive mind of sentient AIs and machines, were awakened by humanity as part of a complex political trap. But they broke free, evolved, and now the human race is almost finished. Once we spanned dozens of star systems; now only four remain, and Earth is being evacuated. But the Photes can infect us, and among the thousands rescued from our home world may be enemy agents. Tiny colonies struggle to house the displaced. Our warships are failing. The end of humanity has come. But on a distant planet shielded from both humanity and the Photurians, one hope may still live. There is only person who might be able to intervene, the roboteer. He is trapped in a hell of his own making, and does not know he is needed. So a desperate rescue mission is begun. But can he be reached in time? Or will he be the last remnant of humanity in the universe?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The White City / Simon Morden.
“Since escaping London’s inferno, Mary and Dalip have fought monsters and won, though in the magical world of Down, the most frightening monsters come from within. Now they hold the greatest of treasures: maps that reveal the way to the White City, where they can find the answers they’re looking for, and learn the secrets of Down. But to get there they must rely on Crows, who has already betrayed them at every turn. As they battle their way towards the one place in all of Down without magic, they must ask themselves how far they will go to find their way home. After all, if there’s one thing the White City offers those brave enough to enter, it’s more than they bargained for.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

This month we featured New Zealand writers, with much variation of genre with mysteries, psychological thrillers, science fiction, historical, and contemporary life all represented. This newsletter selection highlights some great reads by some of New Zealand’s best writers.

Syndetics book cover The sound of her voice : one cop’s descent into darkness / Nathan Blackwell.
“To Detective Matt Buchanan, the world is a pretty sick place. He has probably been in the job too long, for one thing. And then there’s 14-year-old Samantha Coates, and the other unsolved murder cases. Those innocent girls he just can’t get out of his head. When Buchanan pursues some fresh leads, it soon becomes clear he’s on the trail of something big. As he pieces the horrific crimes together, Buchanan finds the very foundations of everything he once believed in start to crumble.” (Adapted from Syndeics summary)
Syndetics book cover A killer harvest / Paul Cleave.
“Joshua is convinced there is a family curse. It has taken loved ones from him, it has robbed him of his eyesight, and is the reason why his father is killed while investigating the homicide of a young woman. Joshua is handed an opportunity he can’t refuse: an operation that will allow him to see the world through his father’s eyes. As Joshua navigates a world of sight, he gets glimpses of what these eyes might have witnessed in their previous life. What exactly was his dad up to in his role as a police officer? There are consequences to the secret life his father was living, and these consequences come in the form of a man hell bent on killing, consequences that bring this man closer and closer to Joshua.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Decline & fall on Savage Street / Fiona Farrell.
“A fascinating novel about a house with a fanciful little turret, built by a river. Unfolding within its rooms are lives of event and emotional upheaval. A lot happens. And the tumultuous events of the twentieth century also leave their mark, from war to economic collapse, the deaths of presidents and princesses to new waves of music, art, architecture and political ideas. Meanwhile, a few metres away in the river, another creature follows a different, slower rhythm. And beneath them all, the planet moves to its own immense geological time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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From Kilbirnie to Kapiti and beyond: New NZ fiction

New Zealand writers are the feature of this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category. There is much variation of genre in this selection, with mysteries, psychological thrillers, science fiction, historical, and contemporary life all represented. Included is Witi Ihimaera’s amazing new work titled, Sleeps standing: a story of the Battle of Orakau.

Syndetics book coverSix murders? : the strange case of the Welly alley strangler / by Robert Philip Bolton.
“When Faith and her husband accidentally get involved in the weird life of Ponytail O’Gorman, a beguiling old fraudster, they have no idea how much he will disrupt their peaceful life in suburban Kilbirnie. But he convinces them to help him in his strange quest to find both his friend from prison, Simple Simon, and his own missing cell phone which is being sought by a bunch of desperate crooks as well as by the head of Wellington CIB. Determined to help the strangely charming little con-man and so discover the truth about the notorious Welly Alley Strangler.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sound of her voice : one cop’s descent into darkness / Nathan Blackwell.
“To Detective Matt Buchanan, the world is a pretty sick place. He has probably been in the job too long, for one thing. And then there’s 14-year-old Samantha Coates, and the other unsolved murder cases. Those innocent girls he just can’t get out of his head. When Buchanan pursues some fresh leads, it soon becomes clear he’s on the trail of something big. As he pieces the horrific crimes together, Buchanan finds the very foundations of everything he once believed in start to crumble.” (Adapted from Syndeics summary)

Syndetics book coverA killer harvest / Paul Cleave.
“Joshua is convinced there is a family curse. It has taken loved ones from him, it has robbed him of his eyesight, and is the reason why his father is killed while investigating the homicide of a young woman. Joshua is handed an opportunity he can’t refuse: an operation that will allow him to see the world through his father’s eyes. As Joshua navigates a world of sight, he gets glimpses of what these eyes might have witnessed in their previous life. What exactly was his dad up to in his role as a police officer? There are consequences to the secret life his father was living, and these consequences come in the form of a man hell bent on killing, consequences that bring this man closer and closer to Joshua.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDecline & fall on Savage Street / Fiona Farrell.
“A fascinating novel about a house with a fanciful little turret, built by a river. Unfolding within its rooms are lives of event and emotional upheaval. A lot happens. And the tumultuous events of the twentieth century also leave their mark, from war to economic collapse, the deaths of presidents and princesses to new waves of music, art, architecture and political ideas. Meanwhile, a few metres away in the river, another creature follows a different, slower rhythm. And beneath them all, the planet moves to its own immense geological time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStraight and level : a Claire Hardcastle mystery / Penelope Haines.
“The sequel to Death on D’Urville sees Claire Hardcastle involved in another adventure. Her partner, Jack, has been sent on secondment to the Solomon’s and Claire plans to use the time he’s away to settle down to her studies. If only life were that simple! The night Claire meets newly arrived property developer Jim Mason is also the night she has a chance conversation with investigative journalist Andrew Camborne, who’s been researching reports of crime and corruption on the Kapiti Coast. A short time later, Claire is witness to an altercation between the two men. The next morning, Andrew’s dead body is found on a Paraparaumu Street. Is the cause of death accident, or homicide?” (Adapted from Book Cover)

Syndetics book coverCatching the last tram / Susan Holt.
“After moving house, lonely librarian Beth meets Isaac, a handsome man with timeless manners on her way to work. Sharing the same antiquated tram day after day, the pair becomes close and Beth suspects she is falling in love. But Isaac has a secret that threatens their budding romance. Something dark and as magical as the tram that picks her up every morning and evening. Why does he suddenly push her away? Does he really not care for her? How could she have got the signals so wrong? Then Isaac and the tram go missing and Beth begins to discover the truth. But it might be too late.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSleeps standing : a story of the Battle of Orākau / Witi Ihimaera ; with Hēmi Kelly.
“Both fiction and fact, this fascinating book is a kaleidoscopic exploration of the Battle of Orakau. During three days in 1864, 300 Maori men, women and children fought an Imperial army and captured the imagination of the world. The battle marked the end of the Land Wars in the Waikato and resulted in vast tracts of land being confiscated for European settlement. Instead of following the usual standpoint of the victors, this book takes a Maori perspective, which views the battle through the eyes of a 16-year-old boy named Moetu. Alongside the novella are non-fiction narratives from Maori eyewitnesses, together with images and a Maori translation by Hemi Kelly, further giving voice to and illuminating the people who tried to protect their culture and land.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFletcher of the Bounty : a novel / Graeme Lay.
“On 28 April 1789 Fletcher and his followers take control of HMAV Bounty and set commander William Bligh adrift in the ship’s launch. What follows is a story brimming with conflict as Fletcher, his fellow-mutineers and their Tahitian women seek sanctuary from the wrath of the Royal Navy, then attempt to build a new society on remote Pitcairn Island. But their attempts are doomed, as envy, lust and racism destroy the Utopia that Fletcher and Isabella dreamed of. This is historical fiction at its finest.” (adapted from Mightyape.co.nz)

Syndetics book coverTess / Kirsten McDougall.
“In the silence she could hear the oncoming hum, like a large flock approaching. She didn’t want to hear his story; she’d had enough of them. Tess is on the run when she’s picked up from the side of the road by lonely middle-aged father Lewis Rose. With reluctance, she’s drawn into his family troubles and comes to know a life she never had. Set in Masterton at the turn of the millennium, Tess is a gothic love story about the ties that bind and tear a family apart.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Short Stories in August

This month we have selected new short story collections as the feature for our ‘Other Genres’ category. Included are three anthologies, one from Canada, with fictional stories about climate change, another a collection of stories from Icelandic writers and lastly an interesting concept of very short stories written on Twitter. This selection also includes the latest horror stories from the prolific writer Joyce Carol Oates.

Syndetics book coverAustralia Day / Melanie Cheng.
Australia Day is a collection of stories by debut author Melanie Cheng. The people she writes about are young, old, rich, poor, married, widowed, Chinese, Lebanese, Christian, and Muslim. What they have in common, no matter where they come from, is the desire we all share to feel that we belong. The stories explore universal themes of love, loss, family and identity, while at the same time asking crucial questions about the possibility of human connection in a globalized world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCli-fi : Canadian tales of climate change / edited by Bruce Meyer ; afterword by Dan Bloom.
“With the world facing the greatest global crisis of all time, climate change, personal and political indifference has wrought a series of unfolding complications that are altering our planet, and threatening our very existence. Reacting to the warnings sounded by scientists and thinkers these stories of Climate Fiction (Cli-fi) feature perspectives by culturally diverse Canadian writers of short fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and futurist works, and transcend traditional doomsday stories by inspiring us to overcome the bleak forecasted results of our current indifference.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary

Syndetics book coverThe redemption of Galen Pike / Carys Davies.
“From remote Australian settlements to the snows of Siberia, from Colorado to Cumbria, restless teenagers, middle-aged civil servants, and Quaker spinsters traverse expanses of solitude to reveal the secrets of the human heart. Stories that remind us how little we know of the lives of others.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLetters from Klara and other short stories / Tove Jansson ; translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal.
“The rich seam that is Jansson’s adult prose continues with this penultimate collection of short stories, written in her seventies at the height of her Moomin fame and translated into English for the first time. In these light-footed, beautifully crafted yet disquieting stories, Jansson tells of discomfiting encounters, unlooked for connections and moments of isolation that span generations and decades.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDis mem ber : and other stories of mystery and suspense / Joyce Carol Oates.
“Joyce Carol Oates is renowned for her rare ability to “illuminate the mind’s most disturbing corners”. That genius is on full display in her new collection of seven feverishly unsettling works, that includes “The Crawl Space,” winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction and a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Short Story.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOut of the blue : new short fiction from Iceland / Helen Mitsios, editor ; foreword by Sjón.
“This extraordinary collection, the first anthology of Icelandic short fiction published in English translation, features work by twenty of Iceland’s most popular and celebrated living authors. Included is a story titled, Self Portrait by Auaur Jonsdottir granddaughter of Halldor Laxness, who won the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature. This collection is an excursion to an island where almost two million travelers descend yearly on a population of 345 thousand natives. This promises to be a seminal collection that will define Icelandic literature in translation for decades to come.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTales on tweet : illustrated short fiction / edited & curated by Manoj Pandey.
“Manoj Pandey tweeted out several stories. Then others began tweeting tales right back at him: Margaret Atwood and Kabir Bedi with death tales, Salman Rushdie and Jeet Thayil with their dark humour, Teju Cole meditating on loneliness, Prajwal Parajuly on literature, Shashi Tharoor on India. It was a literary moment of sorts: spontaneous, changeable, tangential and then, just like Twitter itself, surprisingly poignant in bursts and flashes. But it was when these stories came together with Yuko Shimizu’s phantasmagorical images that Tales on Tweet stepped off the scrollable vortex of a webpage and into the tactile intimacy of the reading experience.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWait till you see me dance : stories / Deb Olin Unferth.
“For more than ten years, Deb Olin Unferth has been publishing startlingly askew, wickedly comic, cutting-edge fiction in magazines such as Granta, Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s and The Paris Review. Her stories are revered by some of the best American writers of our day, but until now there has been no stand-alone collection of her short fiction. This unforgettable collection consists of several extraordinary longer stories as well as a selection of intoxicating very short stories.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe refrigerator monologues / Catherynne M. Valente ; with illustrations by Annie Wu. 
“A series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so that a male superhero’s storyline will progress.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSour heart : stories / Jenny Zhang.
“A debut story collection that conjures the experience of adolescence through the eyes of Chinese American girls growing up in New York City, frank and subversive interpreter of the immigrant experience in America. Narrated by the daughters of Chinese immigrants who fled imperiled lives as artists back home only to struggle to stay afloat, dumpster diving for food and scamming Atlantic City casino buses to make a buck, these seven stories showcase Zhang’s compassion, moral courage, and a perverse sense of humor.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New ‘Other Genre’ fiction for July featuring NZ writers

New Zealand writers are featured in this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category. This selection highlights the diversity of subject and genres in New Zealand fiction, from historical to science fiction, romance to biographical, horror to contemporary New Zealand life. Highly recommended, both historical, are Heloise by Mandy Hager, her first adult novel and Through the Lonesome Dark by much acclaimed writer Paddy Richardson.

Syndetics book coverThe Nam legacy : a novel / Carole Brungar.
The Nam Legacy is an epic love story set during the ’60s and ’70s. When the Rolling Stones and Jefferson Airplane drove parents crazy, teenagers found sexual freedom and peace slogans covered placards. When Vietnam abducted the nation’s young men and sent them to fight in New Zealand’s most controversial campaign. After 18 months in Vietnam, New Zealand soldier Jack Coles thought killing others to stay alive would be the hardest thing he would ever have to live with. He was wrong. Although the nightmare of what he saw and did still haunts him constantly, what tortures him the most is what he has left behind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe last McAdam / Holly Ford.
“This romantic, irresistibly entertaining novel tells the story of Tess Drummond, who’s been sent to turn around the fortunes of a remote sheep and cattle station her employer has taken over. What Tess hasn’t counted on is coming up against the station’s handsome and charismatic head stockman, Nate McAdam, whose family owned the property for generations.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHeloise / Mandy Hager.
“What happens when the 12th century’s most famous French lovers are caught in the crossfire of factions, religious reform and zealotry? Heloise has an exceptional mind. In her determination to pursue learning rather than marriage or life as a cloistered nun, her path inevitably crosses with Peter Abelard, the celebrity philosopher, theologian and master at Paris’ famed Cathedral School. When two such brilliant minds meet and engage, sparks are likely to fly. But theirs is an impossible love. At a time when the Gregorian Reforms are starting to bite and celibacy among the clergy and church officials is being rigorously imposed, these two embark on an affair that will see their lives forever changed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmpress of the fall / David Hair.
“Emperor Constant is dead and his rivals are scrabbling for power, but any misstep could plunge the land, already devastated by the shocking outcome of the Third Crusade, into a calamitous civil war. The Imperial throne is not the only one in jeopardy. Two brothers, imprisoned veterans of the Crusades, finally return home to find their father’s kingdom being plundered but the price of regaining their birthright will have far-reaching implications for the entire empire.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGood sons : a novel of the Great War / Greg Hall
“In early 1914 Frank Wilson and his two close friends, Tom Davis and Robert Sutherland, are growing up in Oamaru in the South Island of New Zealand. The coming war in Europe arouses the hopes and dreams of a generation of young men. The pressure becomes irresistible and one by one the boys become soldiers. Frank delays his decision but in 1916 a strange encounter shocks him into enlisting. After a rapid coming-of-age in the training camps of the North Island the novel moves to France. A reunion, the insanity of a love affair in the midst of a terrible war and a brutal event set Frank on course for the best and worst days of his young life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInto the mist / Lee Murray.
“When New Zealand Defense Force Sergeant Taine McKenna and his squad are tasked with escorting a bunch of civilian contractors into Te Urewera National Park, it seems a strange job for the army. Militant Tahoe separatists are active in the area, and with its cloying mist and steep ravines, the forest is a treacherous place in winter. Yet nothing has prepared Taine for the true danger that awaits them. They backtrack toward civilization, stalked by a prehistoric creature intent on picking them off one by one. With their weapons ineffective, the babysitting job has become a race for survival.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe suicide club / Sarah Quigley.
“When Bright is suddenly catapulted to fame, he can’t cope with the pressure. He decides to end it all by jumping from the 20th floor of a high-rise on his twentieth birthday. He’s saved by the quirky, eccentric Gibby, and soon the two boys find themselves in a love triangle, vying for the attention of the beautiful, brilliant, unreachable Lace, and also trying to protect her from harm. The three misfits, close to genius, close to the brink, travel from England to a beautiful old spa town in Bavaria. Here, in an experimental institution under the colourful Dr Geoffrey, the pressure mounts. Soon it’s no longer clear who’s in the greatest danger and who needs saving the most.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThrough the lonesome dark / Paddy Richardson.
“Blackball, West Coast, pre-World War I. For three youngsters; Pansy, Clem and Otto, life had an idyllic surface with a far from idyllic underside in this mining town. As a World War approaches, the harsh realities become apparent, just because you are smart and motivated there is no certainty that you can advance yourself in this world, especially if you are a girl. With a light hand on a dark time in history, Paddy Richardson navigates the territory between.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe insides of banana skins / Jane Seaford.
“Sukey, seventeen, lost and uncertain, shares a crowded, shabby flat with Kitty, who becomes a stripper, with Malc, a drug dealer, and Jaz, a drama student with sexual identity issues. Bridie, who lives downstairs, sells sex to support her two kids This is Sukey’s story, told from her point of view, about a young girl in a strange world and how she gradually learns to live in it.” (Adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverFive Strings / Apirana Taylor.
“Mack is a larger-than-life street philosopher and Puti’s a former gang member looking for something more. Together they’re at the bottom of the heap. They live out their lives in a haze of smoke and alcohol, accompanied by a host of other characters scraping by on the fringes of society. Will any of them be redeemed?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSouthern gold : survival and desire in a raw new land / Jude Thomas.
“Set in Dunedin and Central Otago during the gold rush period, from 1858 to1876. The story revolves around an illegitimate baby who is found on the road and brought up in the notorious community of Maclaggan Street. She grows into a singular girl, and into a young woman to be reckoned with. This is the story of courage and love against the odds.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New ‘Other Genres’, this month featuring Historical Fiction

Recently received historical novels are featured in this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category. Included are three translated historical novels, and the latest novel by Colm Toibin, a re-working of Greek mythology. Highly recommended is The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve, set in Maine in 1947.

Syndetics book coverThe revolution of the moon / Andrea Camilleri ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“Sicily, 1677. From his deathbed, Charles III’s viceroy, the marquis of Castle Rodrigo, names his wife as his successor. Eleanora de Moura is a highly intelligent and capable woman who immediately applies her political acumen to heal the scarred soul of Palermo, a city afflicted by poverty, misery and the frequent uprisings that are their consequences. But the machinations of powerful men soon result in Donna Eleanora, whom the Church sees as a dangerous revolutionary, being recalled to Spain. Her rule lasted 27 days, the exact time it takes for the moon to complete a cycle.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe principle / Jérôme Ferrari ; translated from the French by Howard Curtis.
“Beguiled by the figure of German physicist Werner Heisenberg, who, with his notorious uncertainty principle disrupted the assumptions behind quantum mechanics, earning him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1932, a young, disenchanted philosopher attempts to right his own intellectual and emotional course, and take the measure of the evil at work in the contemporary world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe confessions of young Nero / Margaret George.
“In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman, or child. As a boy, Nero’s royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead. While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina’s machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero’s determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become an Emperor who became legendary.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe evening road / Laird Hunt.
“Ottie Lee Henshaw, is a startling, challenging beauty in small-town Indiana. Quick of mind, she navigates a stifling marriage, a lecherous boss, and on one day in the summer of 1930 an odyssey across the countryside to witness a dark and fearful celebration. Calla Destry is a determined young woman desperate to escape the violence of her town and to find the lover who has promised her a new life. On this day, the countryside of Jim Crow-era Indiana is no place for either. It is a world populated by frenzied demagogues and crazed revelers, by marauding vigilantes and grim fish suppers, by possessed blood hounds and, finally, by the Ku Klux Klan itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe patriots : a novel / Sana Krasikov.
“When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe frozen hours : a novel of the Korean War / Jeff Shaara.
“June 1950. The North Korean army invades South Korea, intent on uniting the country under Communist rule. In response, the United States mobilizes a force to defend the overmatched South Korean troops, and together they drive the North Koreans back to their border with China. But several hundred thousand Chinese troops have entered Korea, laying massive traps for the Allies. In November 1950, the Chinese spring those traps. Allied forces, already battling stunningly cold weather, find themselves caught completely off guard as the Chinese advance around the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. A force that once stood on the precipice of victory now finds itself on the brink of annihilation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe stars are fire / Anita Shreve.
“In October 1947, after a summer long drought, fires break out all along the Maine coast from Bar Harbor to Kittery and are soon racing out of control from town to village. Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her husband, Gene, joins the volunteer firefighters. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie’s two young children, Grace watches helplessly as their houses burn to the ground, the flames finally forcing them all into the ocean as a last resort. The women spend the night frantically protecting their children, and in the morning find their lives forever changed: homeless, penniless, awaiting news of their husbands’ fate, and left to face an uncertain future in a town that no longer exists. In the midst of this devastating loss, Grace discovers glorious new freedoms, joys and triumphs she could never have expected her narrow life with Gene could contain. And then the unthinkable happens and Grace’s bravery is tested as never before.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHouse of names / Colm Toibin.
“Judged, despised, cursed by gods she has long since lost faith in, the murderess Clytemnestra tells of the deception of Agamemnon, how he sacrificed her eldest daughter, her beloved Iphigenia, to the Trojan campaign; how Clytemnestra used what power she had, seducing the prisoner Aegisthus, turning the government against its lord; plotting the many long years until her beacon fires announce the king’s return. Electra, daughter of a murdered father, loyal subject of the rightful king, studies Clytemnestra and her lover with cold anger and slow-burning cunning. She watches as they walk the gardens and corridors of the palace. She waits for the traitors to become complacent, to believe they are finally safe; she waits for her exiled brother, Orestes, for the boy to become a warrior, for fate to follow him home. She watches and she waits, until her spies announce her brother’s return.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRetribution Road / Antonin Varenne ; translated from the French by Sam Taylor.
“Burma, 1852. Arthur Bowman, a sergeant in the East India Company, is sent on a secret mission during the Second Anglo-Burmese War. But the expedition is foiled, his men are captured and tortured. Throughout their ordeal, a single word becomes Bowman’s mantra, a word that will stiffen their powers of endurance in the face of unimaginable suffering: “Survive”. But for all that, only a small number escape with their lives. Some years later in London, battling his ghosts through a haze of alcohol and opium, Bowman discovers a mutilated corpse in a sewer. The victim appears to have been subjected to the same torments as Bowman endured in the Burmese jungle. And the word “Survive” has been daubed in blood by the body’s side. Persuaded that the culprit is one of the men who shared his captivity, Bowman resolves to hunt him down.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnne Boleyn : a king’s obsession / Alison Weir.
“The second captivating novel in the series. An unforgettable portrait of the ambitious woman whose fate we know all too well, but whose true motivations may surprise you. Fresh from the cultivated hothouse of Renaissance France, Anne draws attention at the English court. A nobleman, a poet and a king vie for her love. She has a spirit worthy of a crown and a crown is what she seeks. It is a more powerful aphrodisiac than love. So she embarks on her perilous course, which will plunge a kingdom into turmoil.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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 coverInto the water / Paula Hawkins.
Another brilliant, complex spine chilling thriller, from a very skilled writer.

Syndetics book coverStar sailors / James McNaughton.
An exciting, compelling dystopian novel set in Wellington in a not too distant future.

Syndetics book coverGrizzlyshark / Ryan Ottley, story, art, & letters.
A blood-splattered adventure, fabulous illustrations, but definitely not for the faint hearted.

Syndetics book coverThe stars are fire / Anita Shreve.
Based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine’s history, this is a suspenseful, but heartwarming story, from a much acclaimed best-selling author.

Syndetics book coverBefore the dawn / Jake Woodhouse.
A gripping, but at times darkly humorous, detective mystery with a fast paced twisting plot.

Fiction Newsletter for June

Welcome to the latest Fiction Newsletter. We hope you will find some great reading from these highlighted titles. This month’s ‘Other Genre’ novels category features New Zealand Fiction, new work from some very talented writers.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

There is some wonderful new contemporary fiction in this month’s selection from the recently received new material. With many much acclaimed writers, along with several new novelists, this selection is just a sample of the exciting reading added each month to the Wellington City Libraries fiction collection.

Syndetics book cover Larchfield / Polly Clark.
“It’s early summer when a young poet, Dora Fielding, moves to Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland and her hopes are first challenged. Newly married, pregnant, she’s excited by the prospect of a life that combines family and creativity. She thinks she knows what being a person, a wife, a mother, means. She is soon shown that she is wrong. As the battle begins for her very sense of self, Dora comes to find the realities of small town life suffocating, and, eventually, terrifying; until she finds a way to escape reality altogether. Another poet, she discovers, lived in Helensburgh once. Wystan H. Auden, brilliant and awkward at 24, with his first book of poetry published, should be embarking on success and society in London. Instead, in 1930, fleeing a broken engagement, he takes a teaching post at Larchfield School for boys where he is mocked for his Englishness and suspected, rightly, of homosexuality.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Birdcage walk / Helen Dunmore.
“It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants. In a tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror, Diner’s passion for Lizzie darkens until she finds herself dangerously alone.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Erotic stories for Punjabi widows / Balli Kaur Jaswal.
“When Nikki takes a creative writing job at her local temple, with visions of emancipating the women of the community she left behind as a self-important teenager, she’s shocked to discover a group of barely literate women who have no interest in her ideals. Yet to her surprise, the white dupatta of the widow hides more than just their modesty, these are women who have spent their lives in the shadows of fathers, brothers and husbands; being dutiful, raising children and going to temple, but whose inner lives are as rich and fruitful as their untold stories. But as they begin to open up to each other about womanhood, sexuality, and the dark secrets within the community, Nikki realises that the illicit nature of the class may place them all in danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

The Graphic Novel collection never fails to provide hours of entertainment. With such a variation of new material added each month, there will always be something to satisfy every reader. This month’s selection is a great example of the diversity within this collection. From artist skill to writing brilliance, it is all there.

Syndetics book cover Death of the artist : a graphic novel / by Karrie Fransman and friends.
“On 13 August 2013 graphic novelist Karrie Fransman invited four old friends from university to an isolated cottage on the misty moors of the Peak District to join her for a week of hedonism and creativity. Like Shelley and Byron before them, they would use the retreat to tell stories. Except these would be comics, collected together in this very book. The theme would be The Death of the Artist. None of the five friends realised how appropriate this theme would become.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The Arab of the future 2 : a graphic memoir : a childhood in the Middle East (1984-1985) / Riad Sattouf ; translated by Sam Taylor.
“Riad has settled in his father’s hometown of Horms, gets to go to school, where he dedicates himself to becoming a true Syrian in the country of the dictator Hafez Al-Assad. Told simply yet with devastating effect, Riads story takes in the sweep of politics, religion, and poverty, but is steered by acutely observed small moments: the daily sadism of his schoolteacher, the lure of the black market, with its menu of shame and subsistence, and the obsequiousness of his father in the company of those close to the regime. As family strains to fit in, one chilling, barbaric act drives the Sattoufs to make the most dramatic of changes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Disillusioned illusions : a graphic novel / Greg Stump.
“When a pair of washed-up silhouettes abandon the optical illusion business to make a graphic novel, they desperately hope the book will rocket them to fame and fortune. They’ll do just about anything to finish their project, anything, that is, except put forth any kind of effort whatsoever. Instead, they enlist a Juilliard-trained actor named Rodney to bear the burden of the work while they bicker, smoke, and relax in the break room. But their ingenious attempts at evading the hard labors of proper storytelling backfire when the three become entangled in a labyrinthine narrative of deception, adoption, and betrayal. Alliances and identities are forged and discarded with the turn of a page as the trio hurtles towards a thrilling courtroom conclusion that threatens to pull back the curtain on closely-guarded secrets and conspiracies” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Mystery novels range from the cosy and gentle, to the horrific and shocking, with everything in-between. With our monthly selections of recently received material, we try to give a wide range of variations within this genre, and hope readers will find some great reading.

Syndetics book cover A high mortality of doves / Kate Ellis.
“1919. The Derbyshire village of Wenfield is still reeling from four terrible years of war, and now, just when the village is coming to terms with the loss of so many of its sons, the brutal murder of a young girl shatters its hard-won tranquillity. Myrtle Bligh is found stabbed and left in woodland, her mouth slit to accommodate a dead dove, a bird of peace. During the war Myrtle worked as a volunteer nurse with caring for badly wounded soldiers at the nearby big house, Tarnhey Court. When two more women are found murdered in identical circumstances, Inspector Albert Lincoln is sent up from London. Once in Wenfield, Albert begins to investigate the three recent murders and the Cartwright family of Tarnhey Court and their staff fall under suspicion as their hidden lives and secrets are uncovered.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Blue light Yokohama / Nicolás Obregón.
“Setagaya ward, Tokyo Inspector Kosuke Iwata, newly transferred to Tokyo’s homicide department, is assigned a new partner and a secondhand case. Blunt, hard as nails and shunned by her colleagues, Assistant Inspector Noriko Sakai is a partner Iwata decides it would be unwise to cross. A case that’s complicated, a family of four murdered in their own home by a killer who then ate ice cream, surfed the web and painted a hideous black sun on the bedroom ceiling before he left in broad daylight. A case that so haunted the original investigator that he threw himself off the city’s famous Rainbow Bridge. Fearing corruption among his fellow officers and trying to put his own shattered life back together, Iwata knows time is running out before he’s taken off the case or there are more killings.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Snowblind / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated by Quentin Bates.
“Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: is a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik, with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theater, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

Many hours of reading pleasure for lovers of science fiction and fantasy are provided in this month’s new book selection. Follow the link to the full list of sci-fi selections to ensure you do not miss any new books from favourite authors or series.

Syndetics book cover Sins of empire / Brian McClellan.
“A world on the cusp of a new ag, the young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place, a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of an oppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires. The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with guile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Mad Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall’s present.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Seven surrenders / by Ada Palmer.
“It is a world in which near-instantaneous travel from continent to continent is free to all. In which automation now provides for everybody’s basic needs. In which nobody living can remember an actual war. In which it is illegal for three or more people to gather for the practice of religion, but ecumenical “sensayers” minister in private, one-on-one. In which gendered language is archaic, and to dress as strongly male or female is, if not exactly illegal, deeply taboo. In which nationality is a fading memory, and most people identify instead with their choice of the seven global Hives, distinguished from one another by their different approaches to the big questions of life. It is a world in which, unknown to most, the entire social order is teetering on the edge of collapse, because even in utopia, humans will conspire. Also because something new has arisen: Bridger, the child who can bring inanimate objects to conscious life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Slow bullets / Alastair Reynolds.
“A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But for Scur and for humanity, peace is not to be. On the brink of the ceasefire, Scur is captured by a renegade war criminal, and left for dead in the ruins of a bunker. She revives aboard a prisoner transport vessel. Something has gone terribly wrong with the ship. Passengers,ombatants from both sides of the war, are waking up from hibernation far too soon. Their memories, embedded in bullets, are the only links to a world which is no longer recognizable. Scur will be reacquainted with her old enemy, but with much higher stakes than just her own life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

New Zealand writers feature in this month’s selection from the new ‘Other Genres’ category. Included were several very promising debut novelist and of course new titles from some very popular veteran authors. The three titles chosen for this newsletter provide only a small sample from the new material available.

Syndetics book cover The Chinese proverb / Tina Clough.
“Army veteran Hunter Grant thought he had left war behind in Afghanistan, a conflict that left him with physical and psychological scars. But finding an unconscious girl in the Northland bush and gradually untangling her story involves him in a war of a different kind in his own country. Hunter sets out to find and punish the man Dao calls Master, but he soon finds there is more to this story than enslavement.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Leap of faith/ Jenny Pattrick.
“Billy is a young, impressionable dreamer. In 1907, he strikes off on his own, keen to prove himself an able worker on the new railroad. It’s being cut through steep mountainsides and across deep gullies to join the two ends of the Main Trunk Line. Also drawn to the remote worker settlements is a preacher, Gabriel Locke, who is running from a shady past and determined to avoid the daily grind. With untimely and suspicious deaths, the horrendous weather, impossible deadlines, the rugged landscape and a blossoming romance, it will take a lot more than a leap of faith for this disparate group to complete the railroad and build the magnificent Makatote viaduct.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Obsession / Elspeth Sandys.
“Two men and woman: the woman obsessed with her husband; the husband obsessed with his island home and the country whose stories he had made it his mission to tell; the man obsessed with the couple whose dynamic both fascinates and repels him. Against a background of two decades of social upheaval, this bitter-sweet tale of tangled relationships moves towards its dramatic unpredictable conclusion.” (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 coverThe earth cries out / Bonnie Etherington.
An exciting, brilliantly written debut novel.

Syndetics book coverRolling blackouts : dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq / Sarah Glidden.
The impact of the Iraq War on Middle Eastern inhabitants is told through a two-month journey through Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. This is a precise and topical graphic novel from an award winning writer.

Syndetics book coverExit west : a novel / Mohsin Hamid.
An amazing story of love and hope from an internationally acclaimed writer.

Syndetics book coverSnowblind / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated by Quentin Bates.
An extraordinary debut novel, from a new Iceland writer, filled with gripping suspense and terror.

Syndetics book coverThe collapsing empire / John Scalzi.
A bawdy, brutal, and brilliant political adventure from one of Science Fiction’s, best writers.

New ‘Other Genres’ this month featuring New Zealand fiction

This month’s ‘Other Genres’ selection features New Zealand writers. Here is a wonderful collection of talented skilful writing, from debut novelists, such as Bonnie Etherington and Sarah Schmidt, to ever popular veteran writers such as Jenny Pattrick, Elspeth Sandys and Damien Wilkins. All will provide many hours of enjoyable reading.

Syndetics book coverThe Chinese proverb / Tina Clough.
“Army veteran Hunter Grant thought he had left war behind in Afghanistan, a conflict that left him with physical and psychological scars. But finding an unconscious girl in the Northland bush and gradually untangling her story involves him in a war of a different kind in his own country. Hunter sets out to find and punish the man Dao calls Master, but he soon finds there is more to this story than enslavement.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe earth cries out / Bonnie Etherington.
“After the accidental death of Ruth’s five-year-old sister, their father decides that atonement and healing are in order, and that taking on aid work in a mountain village in Irian Jaya is the way to find it. It is the late 1990s, a time of civil unrest and suppression in the Indonesian province now known as West Papua. The family drops into what seems the middle of nowhere, where they experience a vibrant landscape, an ever-changing and disorientating world, and for Ruth new voices. While her parents find it a struggle to save themselves, let alone anyone else, Ruth seeks redemption in bearing witness to and passing on the stories of those who have been silenced, even as she is haunted by questions about what it means to witness and who gets to survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary

Syndetics book coverBrushstrokes of memory / Karen McMillan.
“On her thirty-second birthday, Rebecca is in high spirits. Life could not be better. She adores her husband of seven years, Daniel, a successful musician. She is carving out a reputation as a talented painter after several successful exhibitions. She expects to juggle travel, motherhood and a stellar career in the future. But in 2003 she wakes in a hospital after a head injury and finds out that nine years, nine months and nineteen days of her life are erased from her memory. Now nearly forty two she can’t remember anything after her thirty second birthday, a decade fraught with changes she never would have anticipated” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe plot to kill Peter Fraser / David McGill.
“Peter Fraser was our greatest prime minister on the international stage. He proved it as World War Two was ending and he played a major part in shaping the United Nations. In the process he made enemies. He is back in New Zealand, where a plot is under way to kill him. If it is successful, New Zealand’s influence on the international stage ends and the country descends into chaos, a divided country ripe for international manipulation. Former detective Dan Delaney returns from sitting out the war in Italian and German prison camps. All he wants is a peaceful life with his refugee bride, but his old boss Inspector Biggart needs his help. The hunt for would-be Nazi assassins takes them into Wellington’s black market underworld, a defensive Italian fishing village and an upmarket yachting haven.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStar sailors / James McNaughton.
“In the not too distant future, the effects of climate change devastate the world and New Zealand becomes a haven for elites. When a young couple, from the wrong side of the tracks, gain entry into Wellington’s most exclusive gated community, it appears their troubles are over. But they find themselves divided over the identity of Sam Starsailor, an alien prophet who has washed up on a beach near New Hokitika and is said to bring warnings from another planet. The couple’s housewarming party becomes an all-night carnival, and revolution gathers beyond the gate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLeap of faith/ Jenny Pattrick.
“Billy is a young, impressionable dreamer. In 1907, he strikes off on his own, keen to prove himself an able worker on the new railroad. It’s being cut through steep mountainsides and across deep gullies to join the two ends of the Main Trunk Line. Also drawn to the remote worker settlements is a preacher, Gabriel Locke, who is running from a shady past and determined to avoid the daily grind. With untimely and suspicious deaths, the horrendous weather, impossible deadlines, the rugged landscape and a blossoming romance, it will take a lot more than a leap of faith for this disparate group to complete the railroad and build the magnificent Makatote viaduct.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverObsession / Elspeth Sandys.
“Two men and woman: the woman obsessed with her husband; the husband obsessed with his island home and the country whose stories he had made it his mission to tell; the man obsessed with the couple whose dynamic both fascinates and repels him. Against a background of two decades of social upheaval, this bitter-sweet tale of tangled relationships moves towards its dramatic unpredictable conclusion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSee what I have done / Sarah Schmidt.
“When her father and stepmother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden, 32years old and still living at home, immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHunters & collectors / M. Suddain.
“John Tamberlain is The Tomahawk, the universe’s most feared food critic, though he himself prefers the term ‘forensic gastronomer’. He’s on a quest, in search of the much-storied Hotel Grand Skies, a secretive and exclusive haven where the rich and famous retreat to bask in perfect seclusion. A place where the waiters know their fish knife from their butter knife, their carotid from their subclavian artery, and are trained to enforce the house rules with brutal efficiency. A mesmeric trip, blurring the lines between detective story, horror and science fiction.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSouthern gold : survival and desire in a raw new land / Jude Thomas.
“Set in Dunedin and Central Otago during the gold rush period, spanning 1858 to 1876. An illegitimate baby is found on the road and brought up in the notorious community of Maclaggan Street. She grows into a singular girl, and into a young woman to be reckoned with.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLifting / Damien Wilkins.
“Amy is a store detective at Cutty’s, the oldest and grandest department store in the country. She’s good at her job. She can read people and catch them. But Cutty’s is closing down. Amy has a young baby, an ailing mother and a large mortgage. She also has a past as an activist. Lifting opens in a police interview room, with Amy narrating the weeks leading up to the chaotic close of Cutty’s, a time when the store moves from permanent feature to ruin and when people under stress do strange things.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)