Books on CD: a new lease on borrowing life!

The Origin audiobook cover

Audiobooks are free at Wellington Central Library! If you’re downloading or listening on CD there is no charge and the lending period for books on CD is still four weeks. We have collected all of the CD audiobooks at the Central Library and you can now find them at the end of the Fiction collection on the ground floor, just to the side of the Fiction Enquiries desk.

Books on CD are a curious phenomena in the story telling world- a whole book read to you as you choose to hear it! No USB port in your vehicle? Books on CD are great for a road trip, lengthy car trips become a time to enjoy a tale. A ten CD set can be devoured in one sitting, well you might need a comfort stop or three. Admittedly, there is the odd cringe at the delivery of the occasional narrator, but the variety of classic titles to newly published material, read by an array of performers means that there is plenty to choose from.

There are some great titles to borrow have look at some of our new acquisitions below:

Earthly remains / Leon, Donna
“During an interrogation Commissario Guido Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will quickly come to regret. In the aftermath, he begins to doubt his career choices and realises that he needs a break. Granted leave from the Questura, Brunetti is shipped off to a villa on Sant’Erasmo- a place of rest, reflection, and reading. Then David Casati, the caretaker, goes missing after a storm, and Brunetti feels compelled to investigate.” (Catalogue)

Death of a ghost / Beaton, M. C
“When Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth hears reports of a haunted castle near Drim, he assumes the eerie noises and lights reported by the villagers are just local teenagers. Still, Hamish decides that he and his policeman, Charlie “Clumsy” Carson, will spend the night at the ruined castle to get to the bottom of the rumors once and for all. There’s no sign of any ghost… but a dead body propped against the wall. Something strange and deadly is going on at the castle, and Hamish must get to the bottom of it before the “ghost” can strike again…” (Catalogue)

The last Tudor / Gregory, Philippa
“The latest novel from Philippa Gregory features one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen. At seventeen, Lady Jane Grey was England’s queen for nine days before Mary Tudor claimed the throne and had her executed. Jane’s younger sister, Katherine, was locked in the Tower of London by queens Mary and Elizabeth to prevent her producing a Tudor son. But the last Grey sister, a beautiful dwarf disregarded by the court, keeps her family’s secrets.” (Catalogue)

A legacy of spies / Le Carré, John
“Spymaster le Carré returns with his greatest creation, George Smiley. Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War.” (Catalogue)

The house of unexpected sisters / McCall Smith, Alexander
“Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi investigate a new mystery and learn valuable lessons about first impressions and forgiveness in this latest installment of this irresistibly charming series. Precious Ramotswe has always idolised her father, the late Obed Ramotswe. She feels that she knows all about his life, but does she? Sometimes our parents surprise us, and we discover that things were not quite what we thought them to be.” (Catalogue)

The terranauts / Boyle, T. Coraghessan
“It’s 1994, and in the Arizona desert a grand experiment is underway. As climate change threatens the earth, eight scientists, four men and four women dubbed the “Terranauts,” are to live under glass in a prototype of an off-earth colony. With humor and wit, T.C. Boyle inhabits the perspectives of the players in this survivalist game, illuminating the inherent fallibility of human nature.” (Catalogue)

Origin : a novel / Brown, Dan
“In keeping with his trademark style, Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and Inferno, interweaves codes, science, religion, history, art, and architecture into this new novel. Origin thrusts Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon into the dangerous intersection of humankind’s two most enduring questions, and the earthshaking discovery that will answer them.” (Catalogue)

The woman in the window : a novel / Finn, A. J
“A twisty, powerful Hithcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house. Finn’s white-knuckler defines the term hot debut. Its heroine, the reclusive Anna Fox, hides away in her New York apartment tippling wine, watching old movies, and looking out the window, most recently at the husband, wife, and teenage son who just moved in across the way. Then she sees-or thinks she sees-something shocking, and what follows has wracked nerves enough to merit Gone Girl/Girl on the Train comparisons. (Catalogue)

Reader’s Choice Fiction selections

Sometimes reading gives you those “I can’t believe they did that!” moments, when an author turns around a plot or a character arc, or kills off the last person you expected!  Sometimes you get an “I see what they did there” when writing unexpectedly speaks directly to your own life experience. Sometimes you want to tell someone about it…

The Readers’ Choice selections are books nominated by people who want to pass on their reading experience to the library community. These selections are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that others can find great reading material.  You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.

The surrogate / Jensen, Louise
“Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream. But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets. And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye. As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family.” (Catalogue)

“I thought this book was a really good psychological thriller with a good twist at the end.  Overall would recommend it to other fans of Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, The Couple Next Door, etc.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5 stars)

Stick together / Hénaff, Sophie
“After their successful solving of three cold cases and exposing corruption at the very highest level of the Paris police force, Anne Capestan’s squad of misfits and no-hopers should be in a celebratory mood. However, now despised by their colleagues at 36 quai des Orfevres and worried for their future, morale has never been lower among the members of the Awkward Squad. Capestan does her best to motivate her troops, but even she cannot maintain a cheerful facade when she has to investigate the murder of Commissaire Serge Rufus, the father of her ex-husband.” (Catalogue)

“I thought this book was entertaining and well written with characters that were unusual enough to be memorable.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 stars)

A dangerous crossing / Khan, Ausma Zehanat
” For Inspector Esa Khattak and Sergeant Rachel Getty, the Syrian refugee crisis is about to become personal. Esa’s childhood friend, Nathan Clare, calls him in distress: his sister, Audrey, has vanished from a Greek island where the siblings run an NGO. Audrey had been working to fast-track refugees to Canada, but now, she is implicated in the double-murder of a French Interpol agent and a young man who had fled the devastation in Syria.” (Catalogue)

“The murders are incidental to the main (or more important) story – that of life as a refugee in a Greek refugee camp.  It is written from an outsider’s perspective, but I almost felt I was in the camp at times…” ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 stars)

The girl in the moon / Goodkind, Terry
Angela juggles multiple jobs to live a secluded life in a cabin in the mountains. But she also lives a secret life, right under everyone’s noses. Because her family’s bloodline carries the ability to recognize killers, she adopts a solitary, violent existence in service of her own, personal mission in life. When Angela unexpectedly finds herself the prey of a group of international terrorists, she is the only one who knows the truth of what they are about to do. She might look like an unlikely hero. She might also be our only hope.” (Catalogue)

“Fantastic. I will definitely read other books written by this author. I hope this author writes further in the series with the lead female, Angels Constantine.” (no star rating given)

I am watching you / Driscoll, Teresa
“A missing girl. A tormented witness. A web of lies. And someone is watching… When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it – until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls – beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard – has disappeared. A year later, Anna is still missing. Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night – and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own. Someone knows where Anna is – and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ells.”  (Catalogue)

“I thought this book was an excellent read. A great story that kept me glued.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5 star rating)

Thrillers feature in this month’s novels from other genres

Featuring this month in our ‘other genre’ category we have selected fiction from the thriller genre. These are guaranteed reading for ardent fans of tension and suspense, and at times not for the faint hearted. Highly recommend is The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn.

Syndetics book coverEighteen below / Stefan Ahnhem ; translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles.
“On a hot summer’s day the police chase a speeding car through the streets of Helsingborg. When they reach the quay, the driver keeps going, straight into the cold, dark water. The body recovered from the wreck is Peter Brise, a wealthy tech entrepreneur. Fabian Risk and his team are confident this is a suicide. Young, rich, successful, Brise just didn’t know how to ask for help. But then the autopsy reveals something unexpected. Brise was already dead when his car crashed. He’d been brutally murdered two months ago. His body was frozen in perfect condition, at eighteen degrees below zero.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRobicheaux : a novel / James Lee Burke.
“Dave Robicheaux is a haunted man. From the acts he committed in Vietnam, to his battles with alcoholism, to the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Molly, his thoughts drift from one irreconcilable memory to the next. Images of ghosts pepper his reality. Robicheaux’s only beacon remains serving as a detective in New Iberia, Louisiana With the sudden death of T.J. Dartez, the New Iberian local responsible for Molly’s death, Robicheaux’s colleague, Spade Labiche, thinks Robicheaux had something to do with it. Robicheaux’s determined to clear his name. He’s not alone; his daughter, Alafair, along with his old friend, Clete Purcel is right by Robicheaux’s side as he searches for the killer, where a shocking discovery awaits.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI know my name / C.J. Cooke.
“A woman is washed up on a remote Greek island with no recollection of who she is or how she got there. Potter’s Lane, Twickenham, London: Eloise Shelley is officially missing. Lochlan’s wife has vanished into thin air, leaving their toddler and twelve-week-old baby alone. Her money, car and passport are all in the house, with no signs of foul play. Every clue the police turn up means someone has told a lie, does a husband ever truly know his wife or a wife her husband?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe woman in the window / A.J. Finn.
“Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son, the perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble and its shocking secrets are laid bare. What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArarat / Christopher Golden.
“When an earthquake reveals a secret cave hidden inside Mount Ararat in Turkey, a daring, newly-engaged couple are determined to be the first ones inside and what they discover will change everything. The cave is actually an ancient, buried ship that many quickly come to believe is really Noah’s Ark. When a team of scholars, archaeologists, and filmmakers make it inside the ark, they discover an elaborate coffin in its recesses. Inside the coffin they find an ugly, misshapen cadaver, not the holy man they expected, but a hideous creature with horns. Shock and fear turn to horror when a massive blizzard arrives; they are all trapped thousands of meters up the side of a remote mountain. All they can do is pray for safety. But something wicked is listening to their prayers and it wants to answer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIf I die before I wake / Emily Koch.
“Everyone believes Alex is in a coma, unlikely to ever wake up. As his family debate withdrawing life support, and his friends talk about how his girlfriend Bea needs to move on, he can only listen. But Alex soon begins to suspect that the accident that put him here wasn’t really an accident. Even worse, the perpetrator is still out there and Alex is not the only one in danger. As he goes over a series of clues from his past, Alex must use his remaining senses to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and try to protect those he loves, before they decide to let him go.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDistrict VIII / Adam LeBor.
“Life’s tough for a Gypsy cop in Budapest. The cops don’t trust you because you’re a Gypsy. Your fellow Gypsies, even your own family, shun you because you’re a cop. The dead, however, don’t care. So when Balthazar Kovacs, a detective in the city’s murder squad, gets a mysterious message on his phone from a blocked number he grabs his police ID and goes to work. Danube Blues reveals an underworld that Budapest visitors never get to see: the gritty back-alleys of District VIII; the endemic corruption that reaches deep into the government as officials and their business allies plunder state coffers at will; a rule of law bent to serve the interests of the rich, well-connected and powerful; the rising power of international organized crime gangs who use the Hungarian capital as a springboard for their European operations; and the ghosts of Communism and Nazism that still haunt Hungary.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)

Syndetics book coverThe house / Simon Lelic.
“Lndoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it. So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake, because someone has just been murdered, right outside their back door. And now the police are watching them.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)

Syndetics book coverThe boy made of snow / Chloë Mayer.
“In a sleepy English village in 1944, Annabel and her son Daniel live in the shadow of war. With her husband away, an increasingly isolated Annabel begins to lose her grip on reality. When mother and son befriend Hans, a German PoW consigned to a nearby farm, their lives are suddenly filled with thrilling secrets. To Annabel, Hans is an awakening from the darkness that has engulfed her since Daniel’s birth. To her son, a solitary boy caught up in the magical world of fairy tales, he is perhaps a prince in disguise. But Hans has plans of his own and will soon set them into motion with devastating consequences.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPoison / Galt Niederhoffer.
“Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat and a yard, a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the Modern Family dream. Their family, including Cass’s two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Portland, a new start for their new lives. Cass and Ryan have stable, successful careers, and they are happy. But trouble begins almost imperceptibly, first with small omissions and white lies that happen daily in any marital bedroom. They seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a series of denials and feints that mushroom and then cyclone in menace. With life-or-death stakes and irreversible consequences, Poison is a chilling and irresistible reminder that the closest bond designed to protect and provide for each other and for children can change in a minute.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

2015 Ngaio Marsh Award

Syndetics book coverThe Ngaio Marsh Award made annually for the best crime, thriller or mystery written by a New Zealand citizen or resident, began in 2010. It show cases some of the best writing in this genre, and this year’s short-list is no exception. Featuring five of the country’s best known writers, the decision of the judging panel will be difficult.
The shortlist is:
Paul Cleave for Five minutes alone
Barbara Ewing for The Petticoat men
Paddy Richardson for Swimming in the dark
Tina Shaw for The Children’s pond
Paul Thomas for Fallout
The winner will be announced on 4th October in Christchurch.

New ‘Other Genre’ fiction for January – This month: Suspense & Thrillers

Suspense/Thriller novels feature in this month’s selection of ‘Other Genre’ fiction. We have also added some psychological thrillers to the mix. The new novel from popular thriller writer Matthew Reilly titled, The great zoo of China, is highly recommended.

Syndetics book coverPrague summer : a novel / Jeffrey Condran.
“Stephanie and Henry are Americans living in Prague; she works for the State Department, he is a rare books dealer. They live the life of a comfortably married couple. Until one day their world is turned upside down by the arrival from the States of Stephanie’s old friend, Selma Al-Khateeb whose husband has been mysteriously arrested and indefinitely imprisoned. At first it appears that Selma has come to escape her problems, but soon her reasons for coming to Prague grow sinister and murky. Stephanie and Henry’s placid existence is turned upside down in ways they couldn’t have imagined.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrooked River / Valerie Geary.
“Sam’s mother has recently died and she’s trying to hold on to some sense of normality after she and her selectively mute younger sister Ollie move to rural Oregon to live with their societal-dropout, tent-dwelling father. Sam is exhausted with trying to care for Ollie, who communicates by pointing at apt sentences in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Then there’s a murder that’s close to home in every sense of the phrase, and Sam fears that all that is familiar to her, shaky though it is, will come asunder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlue warrior / Mike Maden.
“Troy, the CEO of Pearce Systems, a company specializing in drone operations, is more comfortable in the field than behind a desk. His work takes him to a number of hot spots around the globe, in particular to Mali, where the Chinese plan to gain control of important rare earth elements. His trip to Mali at the behest of former U.S. president Margaret Myers, a friend of Troy’s, to rescue a wounded American on a secret mission there, lands him in the middle of a nasty fight between rebel forces led by Mossa Ag Alla, the Tuareg known as the Blue Warrior, and highly trained Chinese soldiers led by the ruthless Guo Jun.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe hunter / Tony Park.
“Safari guide and private investigator Hudson Brand hunts people, not animals. He’s on the trail of Linley Brown who’s been named as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. Linley’s friend, Kate, supposedly died in a fiery car accident in Zimbabwe, but Kate’s sister wants to believe it is an elaborate fraud. South African detective Sannie van Rensburg is also looking for Linley, as well as a serial killer who has been murdering prostitutes on Sannie’s watch. Top of her list of suspects is Hudson Brand. Sannie and Hudson cross paths and swords as they track the elusive Linley from South Africa and Zimbabwe to the wilds of Kenya’s Masai Mara game reserve.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe neighbour / Julie Proudfoot.
“When Luke is implicated in the tragic death of a child, he struggles to assert his innocence to those around him. While the accident invokes haunting memories of Luke’s late brother, who died when they were children, he strives to maintain a grip on reality as his relationships begin to unravel.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe great zoo of China / Matthew Reilly.
“It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years. They have found a species of animal no one believed even existed. It will amaze the world. Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing discovery within the greatest zoo ever constructed. A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see its fabulous creatures for the first time. Among them is Dr Cassandra Jane ‘CJ’ Cameron, a writer for National Geographic and an expert on reptiles. The visitors are assured by their Chinese hosts that they will be struck with wonder at these beasts, that they are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTo the grave : a Jefferson Tayte genealogical mystery / by Steve Robinson.
“Genealogist Jefferson Tayte wants to reunite his client with her birth mother, but uncovers a secret with tragic results.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCloser than you think / Karen Rose.
“Deacon Novak has returned home. The experienced FBI Agent knows that his move to Cincinnati’s Major Crime Enforcement Squad will be challenging, but the greater challenge will be saving his younger brother before he becomes the kind of criminal Deacon is chasing. Faith Corcoran has escaped her identity. Being a therapist to victims of sex crimes was rewarding, but her work with their offenders has jeopardized her life. Her move represents a chance to build a new life in the empty old house her grandmother has left her. What Faith doesn’t know is that a killer has made the house his playground, taking girls into the basement and murdering them. With a murderer focused on her, Faith is going to have to put her trust in Deacon if she’s going to survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNo fortunate son : a Pike Logan thriller / Brad Taylor.
“When veteran operator Pike Logan and partner Jennifer Cahill receive a letter from Blaisdell Consulting, the umbrella cover company for their real employer, a top secret counterterrorist unit called the Taskforce, they expect orders for their next mission-impossible tasking. Instead, they learn that their latest actions have gotten them fired, despite having saved thousands of innocent lives. Pike’s shock and fury is redirected when their commander, Colonel Kurt Hale, asks him and Jennifer for help with a personal matter: His niece Kylie, an exchange student in England, has gone missing. Neither Pike nor Jennifer understands how critical her disappearance will become.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInsatiable appetites / Stuart Woods.
“After celebrating the election of his friend Kate Lee to the U.S. presidency, Stone Barrington is saddened by the death of his elderly mentor, Eduardo Bianchi. Because of Eduardo’s rumored past mob connections, settling the estate is not simple and brings Dolce, Bianchi’s crazy daughter, back from the convent in Italy where she has been confined. Meanwhile, Evan Hills, a “first-term Republican congressman from Pennsylvania,” goes public with a story that will taint his party and even Stone can’t save him from paying a high price for doing so.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

2013 Ngaio Marsh Award shortlist announced

Recently the shortlist for New Zealand’s own Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel was announced in Christchurch. This award began in 2010 to recognise and proclaim excellence in New Zealand mystery, crime and thriller writing. In association with the Christchurch Writers’ Festival Trust it is presented to the best novel published the preceding year.

Past winners have been in 2012, Neil Cross for his novel, Luther: the calling, in 2011 Paul Cleave for his novel Blood Men, and in 2010 Alix Bosco for his novel Cut & Run.

The four novels shortlisted for 2013 are The Laughterhouse by Paul Cleave, Little Sister by Julian Novitz, Faceless by Vanda Symon and Death on Demand by Paul Thomas.

Syndetics book cover Syndetics book cover Syndetics book cover Syndetics book cover

The winner will be announced on 2nd December 2013.

Popular author Tom Clancy has died

Syndetics book coverThe very popular American thriller author Tom Clancy has died aged 66. Born in Baltimore, where spent his life. After graduating in 1969 and before embarking on a literary career he ran an independent insurance agency. His first novel, The Hunt for the Red October, was published in 1984 and set a new genre of detailed military science and espionage storylines. A prolific writer, he was only one of three authors to have sold 2,000,000 copies of a title on first printing in the 1990’s and that was for his fifth novel, titled Clear and Present Danger. Some of his novels were adapted to film. He was also the co-founder of the video game developer Red Storm Entertainment; over fifty video games were released based on his novels and characters.

New Other Genre for January, this month: Suspense/thriller

This month’s selection of Other Genre fiction features Suspense/Thriller novels, exciting escapism in every read. Especially recommended is the latest novel from Michael Connelly titled The Black Box, another dangerous, but intriguing investigation for the popular character Harry Bosch.

Syndetics book coverThe empty glass / J.I. Baker.
“This debut novel re-creates the circumstances surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s mysterious death, using a mixture of fact and fiction. L.A. County Deputy Coroner Ben Fitzgerald is called to Monroe’s modest house in Brentwood during the early morning hours of August 5, 1962. He immediately notices several things amiss at the scene. Gossip columnist Jo Carnahan, claiming to work for the coroner’s office, is attempting to steal Monroe’s diary, and the position of the star’s dead body means she couldn’t have died of an overdose. It soon becomes apparent that a number of powerful people are invested in covering up the actual cause of Monroe’s death, among them, the Kennedy brothers, the Mafia, and the LAPD. As Ben comes under the sway of the sultry Jo, who is obsessed with deciphering and publishing the secrets contained in Monroe’s diary, the two find themselves in increasing danger.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Venice conspiracy / Sam Christer.
“When ex-priest Tom Shaman, jaded from years in the Los Angeles ghetto, decides on a last-minute trip to Venice, he gets much more than he expected. A brutal killer is on the loose and Tom finds himself in the midst of a series of ritualistic killings unlike anything Venice has ever seen. Enlisted by the Italian police, Tom teams up with young investigator Valentina Morassi to dig deep into the city’s darkest history, stretching from an ancient civilization to the sexual decadence of eighteenth-century Italy to the gritty underworld of modern-day Venice. As Valentina and Tom trace the killings through the centuries, they uncover a deadly secret that generations have killed to protect: a priceless mosaic known as the Gates of Hell.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThreat vector / Tom Clancy with Mark Greaney.
“Jack Ryan has only just moved back into the Oval Office when he is faced with a new international threat. An aborted coup in the People’s Republic of China has left President Wei Zhen Lin with no choice but to agree with the expansionist policies of General Su Ke Qiang. They have declared the South China Sea a protectorate and are planning an invasion of Taiwan. The Ryan administration is determined to thwart China’s ambitions, but the stakes are dangerously high as a new breed of powerful Chinese anti-ship missile endangers the US Navy’s plans to protect the island. Meanwhile, Chinese cyberwarfare experts have launched a devastating attack on American infrastructure. It’s a new combat arena, but it’s every bit as deadly as any that has gone before.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe black box : a novel / Michael Connelly.
“In a case that spans 20 years, Harry Bosch links the bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a young female photographer during the L.A. riots. Harry originally investigated the murder, but it was then handed off to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved. Now Bosch’s ballistics match indicates that her death was not random violence, but something more personal, and connected to a deeper intrigue. Like an investigator combing through the wreckage after a plane crash, Bosch searches for the “black box,” the one piece of evidence that will pull the case together.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverHarry Lipkin, private eye / Barry Fantoni.Harry Lipkin, Private Eye
“Harry Lipkin is an 87-year-old Jewish private eye, plying his trade in Miami, but he’s neither cute nor abrasive. He’s just a shamus plugging away at his job, with an occasional stop for blintzes. Years ago his wife dumped him, and he tells tales of what the bad city does to innocents, but, really, he brings up all these hard-boiled staples mainly to show his lack of interest in them. A wealthy widow’s heirlooms are vanishing from her house, and Harry interrogates the staff and investigates their lives, looking for a motive.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShadow Creek : a novel / Joy Fielding.
“Due to a last-minute change in plans, a group of unlikely travelling companions finds themselves on a camping trip in the Adirondacks. They include the soon-to-be-divorced Valerie; her oddball friends, Melissa and James; her moody teenage daughter, Brianne; and Val’s estranged husband’s fiancée, Jennifer. Val is dealing with unresolved feelings toward her ex husband and is grappling with jealousy and resentment toward his younger, prettier new flame, a woman with some serious issues of her own. Brianne is sixteen and openly rebellious, caught up in a web of secrets and lies. What Val and her companions don’t know is that a pair of crazed killers is wreaking havoc in the very same woods. When an elderly couple is found slaughtered and Brianne goes missing, Val finds herself in a nightmare much worse than anything she could have anticipated.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe right hand / Derek Haas.
“Theft, kidnapping and assassination. There are some acts no government can sanction. There are some things all politicians must deny. Sometimes the left hand cannot know what the right hand is doing. Austin Clay is that right hand. His latest task: to track down a fellow CIA operative who has gone missing near Moscow. But nothing is what it seems, and he soon finds himself protecting a desperate woman with a deadly secret. Clay has always preferred to work on his own. But this time he has no choice and no idea who to trust.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe cutting season / Attica Locke.
“Caren Gray manages Belle Vie, a sprawling antebellum plantation that sits between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where the past and the present coexist uneasily. The estate’s owners have turned the place into an eerie tourist attraction, complete with full-dress re-enactments and carefully restored slave quarters. Outside the gates, a corporation with ambitious plans has been busy snapping up land from struggling families who have been growing sugar cane for generations, and now replacing local employees with illegal labourers. Tensions mount when the body of a female migrant worker is found in a shallow grave on the edge of the property, her throat cut clean. As the investigation gets under way, the list of suspects grows. But when fresh evidence comes to light and the sheriff’s department zeros in on a person of interest, Caren has a bad feeling that the police are chasing the wrong leads. Putting herself at risk, she ventures into dangerous territory as she unearths startling new facts about a very old mystery, the long-ago disappearance of a former slave, that has unsettling ties to the current murder.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverDid you miss me? / Karen Rose.
“The last thing Ford Elkhart remembers is walking his girlfriend back to her car. Now he’s lying tied and gagged on a cold, dark floor, with only one chance to escape before he ends up like the bones surrounding him. Assistant State’s Attorney Daphne Montgomery is devastated by her son’s disappearance and is immediately convinced that his kidnapping is connected to the white supremacist she’s just had jailed for murder. FBI Special Agent Joseph Carter isn’t so sure, especially when he learns that Ford’s girlfriend is also missing. Is Ford’s abduction payback for Daphne’s courtroom victory, or is he a pawn in an even more dangerous game?” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fallen angel / Daniel Silva.
“Bruised and war-weary following his secret war to bring down a terrorist mastermind, Gabriel Allon returns to his beloved Rome to restore a Caravaggio masterpiece. But early one morning Gabriel is summoned by his friend and occasional ally Monsignor Luigi Donati, the all-powerful private secretary to the Pope. The broken body of a beautiful woman lies beneath Michelangelo’s magnificent dome. Donati fears a public inquiry will inflict more wounds on an already-damaged Church so he calls upon Gabriel to use his matchless talents and experience to quietly pursue the truth – was it suicide, or something more sinister? Gabriel discovers that the woman revealed a dangerous secret that threatens powers beyond the Vatican and an old enemy plots revenge in the shadows, an unthinkable act of sabotage that will plunge the world into a conflict of apocalyptic proportions. Once again Gabriel must return to the ranks of his old intelligence service and place himself, and those he holds dear, on the razor’s edge of danger.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

New Suspense/Thriller novels for February

Nothing beats a gripping suspense novel and this month’s selection showcases the best in this genre, with the latest novels from James Grippando, Tami Hoag and Faye Kellerman. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverCovert warriors / W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV.
“Mexican federals stop two U.S. Special Forces officers and two DEA agents at a roadblock near Acapulco, order them out of their SUV despite their diplomatic license plates, and shoot three of them dead, taking Lt. Col. James Ferris prisoner. It appears the drug cartels have Ferris, but agent Lt. Col. Charley Castillo figures out that his arch enemy, Vladimir Putin, is behind the attack. Charley’s other enemy, U.S. president Zeke Clendennen, decides to rescue Ferris in an operation that’s sure to get the man killed. Charley must snatch Ferris before the president can screw everything up.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNeed you now : a novel / James Grippando.
“ Abe Cushman, the evil genius behind a $60 billion Ponzi scheme, has killed himself and taken his secrets to the grave. For Patrick Lloyd, a young Wall Street advisor at the world’s largest Swiss bank, Cushman’s fall has unexpected and deadly repercussions. Lloyd’s girlfriend, Lilly, is directly tied to billions of dollars in losses suffered by Cushman’s most dangerous victims, a group of powerful investors whose identities and dirty finances are well hidden. What Lilly knows can get her and Patrick killed, and now the pair are in a run for their lives that leads to the heart of a clandestine operation, and to a cabal of powerful officials determined to keep their agenda hidden from the public.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverA devil is waiting / Jack Higgins.
“The President is coming to London, but not to an entirely warm welcome. A fanatical mullah is offering a blessing to anyone who will assassinate the President, and though most London Muslims think the mullah has crossed the line, a few think otherwise. Urgently, Sean Dillon, General Charles Ferguson, and the rest of the small band known as the “Prime Minister’s private army” are called in, augmented by an extraordinary new recruit, an intelligence captain and Afghan war hero named Sara Gideon. She has her own deep contacts, but the more she investigates, the more she discovers herself in a very dark place indeed. For the assassination plan is only the beginning.” (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverDown the darkest road / Tami Hoag.
” Four years after the unsolved disappearance of her sixteen-year-old daughter, Lauren Lawton is the only one still chasing the ghosts of her perfect Santa Barbara life. The world has given her daughter up for dead. Her husband ended his own life in the aftermath. Even Lauren’s younger daughter is desperate to find what’s left of the childhood she hasn’t been allowed to have. Lauren knows exactly who took her oldest child, but there is not a shred of evidence against the man. Even as he stalks her family, Lauren is powerless to stop him. The Santa Barbara police are handcuffed by the very laws they are sworn to uphold. Looking for a fresh start in a town with no memories, Lauren and her younger daughter Leah move to idyllic Oak Knoll. But when Lauren’s suspect turns up in the same city, it feels to all that history is about to repeat itself. Leah Lawton will soon turn sixteen, and Oak Knoll has a cunning predator on the hunt.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe orphan master’s son : a novel / Adam Johnson.
” Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother, and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labour. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return. Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like”.(adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverGun games / Faye Kellerman.
” LAPD lieutenant detective Decker and his wife, Rina, have willingly welcomed fifteen-year-old Gabriel Whitman, the son of a troubled former friend, into their home. While the enigmatic teen seems to be adapting easily, Decker knows only too well the secrets adolescents keep, witnessed by the tragic suicide of another teen, Gregory Hesse, a student at Bell and Wakefield, one of the city’s most exclusive prep schools. Gregory’s mother, Wendy, refuses to believe her son shot himself and convinces Decker to look deeper. What he finds disturbs him. The gun used in the tragedy was stolen, evidence that propels him to launch a full investigation with his trusted team, Sergeant Marge Dunn and Detective Scott Oliver. But the case becomes darkly complicated by the suicide of another Bell and Wakefield student, a death that leads them to uncover an especially nasty group of rich and privileged students with a predilection for guns and violence.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe Cypress House / Michael Koryta.
“Arlen Wagner has seen it in men before-a trace of smoke in their eyes that promises imminent death. He is never wrong. So when he awakens on a train one hot Florida night and sees death’s telltale sign in the eyes of his fellow passengers, he abandons the train with 19-year-old Paul Brickhill. Soon, they stranded at the Cypress House-directly in the path of a hurricane. There are much deadlier threats than the storm in this place, and Arlen’s eerie gift warns that they’ll never leave. (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverTemple of the gods / by Andy McDermott. “Archaeologist Nina Wilde’s life has fallen apart. Her husband, ex-SAS soldier Eddie Chase is on the run, falsely accused of murder, and her only distraction has been investigating the origin of three strange statues stolen from her just before Eddie’s disappearance. When Nina discovers they may be relics from the lost civilisation of Atlantis, it’s clear that she has to get her head back in the game, and fast. Eddie, meanwhile, tries to stay ahead of the authorities as he hunts the man responsible for his fugitive status across the globe. A mysterious benefactor offers the information he needs, but the price will put him in direct conflict with his wife. When Nina learns that a Japanese industrialist has obtained the statues on the black market she immediately heads to Tokyo meet him, unaware that Eddie is already on his way. Their arrival unleashes a chain of events that could have devastating consequences for the world.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverGideon’s corpse / Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child.
“A top nuclear scientist turns homicidal, taking an innocent family hostage at gunpoint. Gideon Crew, a colleague of the scientist at Los Alamos, is called in to talk the man down. But the standoff ends in an explosion of violence. When the authorities discover the scientist’s body is intensely radioactive, and that he had recently embraced Islamic extremism, all hell breaks loose.” (adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe killer is dying : a novel / James Sallis.
” A hired killer on his final job, a burned out detective whose wife is dying slowly, a young boy abandoned by his parents and living alone by his wits. Three people who are solitary and disconnected from society. The detective is looking for the killer, Christian, though he doesn’t know that. Christian is trying to find the man who stepped in and took down his target. And the boy, Jimmie, is having the killer’s dreams. While they never meet, they are inextricably linked and as their stories unfold, all find the solace of community.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Need a new tattoo? : Life after the Millenium Trilogy

David Fincher’s remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has spawned a second wave of enthusiasts seeking out Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy in print. Starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the Millenium Trilogy follows journalist Mikael Blomkvist and hacker Lisbeth Salander through a series of conspiracies, murders and dark familial secrets. If you’ve seen the films but have yet to read the books, it’s well worth diving in. Though you’ll anticipate some twists and turns, you’ll also be rewarded with greater plot detail and a more thorough joining of the dots than is possible within the space of a film.

If you’ve already read the series, you might be wondering where to go next. Featured below is a list of titles that in some way echo the themes, characters and feel of the Millenium Trilogy. Cosy mystery fans and other delicate souls avert your eyes! Several of the authors are quite prolific, so if you find one you like there’ll be more to explore.

Syndetics book coverNemesis / Jo Nesbø ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
“In Nemesis, a Norwegian bestseller translated to English, Harry Hole is an alcoholic detective heading straight for trouble. While his girlfriend is away, he reunites with a former lover, Anna, in a one-night stand. The next day, he wakes up alone, and Anna is found dead. The case is ruled a suicide, but Hole doesn’t believe it. While he quietly investigates her death, another case is building that must be solved. A string of bank robberies have left the city ravaged and several people dead, ruthlessly gunned down. The bank robbers are professional, leaving no trace of evidence behind. Hole begins to receive cryptic anonymous e-mails from someone who knows everything, including where he was last night.” (Gale Books & Authors)
Jo Nesbo will be visiting Wellington for the Writers and Readers Week in March 2011.

Syndetics book coverMiss Smilla’s feeling for snow / Peter Hoeg ; translated from the Danish by F. David.
“Smilla Jasperson is an outsider, an exile from the vast white wastes of her birth, an icy, bitter, and intellectual woman. She loves or needs no one, but is touched when a small Greenlander boy in her building, Isaiah, needs her help. When Isaiah dies mysteriously, Smilla is determined to understand why. Despite the official attitude that Isaiah’s death was accidental, she digs for answers–and runs headlong into a vast and frightening conspiracy of which Isaiah was only one casualty.” (Gale Books and Authors)

Syndetics book coverBox 21 / Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström.
“Another best-selling Swedish crime thriller translated for American audiences, this book is the work of TV personality Roslund and former criminal and current youth worker Hellstrom. Their dark and gritty tale revolves around Lithuanian sex slaves Lydia and Alena, vicious and rarely convicted mob enforcer Jochum Lang, and Hilding Oldeus, a desperate heroin junkie. Their stories converge when cranky, old-fashioned police inspector Ewert Grens is assigned to the investigation of Lydia’s horrific murder by her pimp, Lang and Oldeus get out of jail, and Grens resumes his crusade to put Lang away permanently.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverHypothermia / Arnaldur Indridason ; translated by Victoria Cribb.
“Against the backdrop of Reykjavik, Iceland, police detective Erlendur is investigating the apparent suicide of a troubled young woman named Maria. The more Erlendur learns about Maria, however, the more he suspects that she did not take her own life. Rather, Erlendur believes Maria was murdered as the result of an unusually evil scheme. As more details about Maria’s case are revealed, Erlendur examines his own life, the choices he has made, and the misdeeds of his past that remain unresolved. Hypothermia is the sixth book in Arnaldur Indridason’s Reykjavik Thriller series, which also includes Arctic Chill and The Draining Lake.” (Gale Books & Authors)

Syndetics book coverThe man from Beijing / Henning Mankell ; translated by Laurie Thompson.
“When 19 people are brutally murdered in Hesjovallen, Sweden, a judge named Birgitta Roslin becomes interested in the case. Birgitta realizes that she is distantly related to a number of the victims, so she travels to the small town to look for answers. Although the local police are unhappy about her investigations, Birgitta finds a diary that gives clues about possible motives for the crime. It seems that the murder victims were descendants of a man who oversaw Chinese workers who helped build the first American transcontinental railroad. The overseer was a cruel man who mistreated the Chinese workers. After Birgitta learns that other people related to the overseer were murdered in the United States, she suspects that the murders were motivated by violence that occurred more than a century earlier.” (Gale Books & Authors)

Syndetics book coverThe black path / Åsa Larsson ; translated by Marlaine Delargy.
“On an early spring night in northern Sweden, the body of a woman is discovered by a fisherman. Police inspector Anna-Maria Mella and her colleague Sven-Erik Stalnacke are called to Tornetrask to investigate. Identifying the body as Inna Wattrang, the head of information for Kallis Mining, Mella soon learns that Wattrang was severely tortured before she was murdered. Wanting to learn more about Kallis Mining before she meets with its owner Mauri Kallis, Mella turns to attorney Rebecka Martinsson for help in sifting through information about the company. Although Martinsson is happy to help Mella with the investigation, she is still recovering herself from a previous case. Investigating both Kallis and Wattrang’s brother, Diddi, Mella soon learns that Kallis Mining’s business dealings may be the cause of Wattrang’s death.” (Gale Books & Authors)
Also available as an eBook

Syndetics book coverThe informationist / Taylor Stevens.
“In The Informationist by Taylor Stevens, a missing-persons case draws Vanessa Michael Munroe back to the treacherous region of Africa she escaped as a teenager. While living with her missionary parents in Cameroon, Vanessa ran off with a shady gun-runner before giving up her risky lifestyle for a job in the States. Working as an informationist in Texas, Vanessa gathers intelligence for prominent clients. When a wealthy businessman, Richard Burbank, needs help locating his missing daughter in Africa, Vanessa agrees to return. Back in Africa, Vanessa meets up with her ex, Francisco Beyard, and confronts the dangers she left behind.” (Gale Books & Authors)

Syndetics book coverThe reversal / by Michael Connelly.
“The Reversal is a mystery novel by Michael Connelly, author of the Harry Bosch series. When convicted child killer Jason Jessup is set free after new DNA evidence clears his name, lawyer Mickey Haller is determined to prove that Jessup is indeed guilty. He enlists the help of LAPD Detective Harry Bosch to prove once and for all that Jessup is a cold-blooded killer. Unfortunately, time and evidence are stacked against Bosch and Haller–if they aren’t quick enough, Jessup may claim another victim. Connelly is the bestselling author of The Scarecrow and The Lincoln Lawyer.” (Gale Books and Authors)
Also available as an eBook or downloadable audiobook

For more read-alike suggestions, try Books & Authors, a book recommendation tool the library subscribes to. Just type in the name of a book you’ve enjoyed and it will (in many cases) provide you with a list of similar or related reads. They also have recommended title lists for a variety of genres; award winners; book reviews and a search tool where you can choose plot elements and other features you might enjoy in a novel.

See also our previous post on Stieg Larsson read-alikes