Welcome to the Fiction newsletter for May. We have collected the best new fiction from all genres from our monthly selection of recently received material. This month the ‘other genre’ chosen was the popular horror/ghost/vampires fiction. We hope you will find some great fiction and/or a new author to enjoy.
Highly recommend in this month’s new contemporary fiction is Ten White Geese the second novel by Gerbrand Bakker, who has recently been awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction prize for 2013. He won the Dublin I.M.P.A.C Award in 2009 for his first novel.
Ten white geese : a novel / Gerbrand Bakker ; translated from the Dutch by David Colmer.
“A Dutch woman rents a remote farm in rural Wales. She says her name is Emilie. She has left her husband, having confessed to an affair. In Amsterdam, her stunned husband forms a strange partnership with a detective who agrees to help him trace her. They board the ferry to Hull on Christmas Eve. On the Welsh farm, a young man out walking with his dog injures himself and stays the night, then ends up staying longer with Emilie. Yet something is deeply wrong. Does he know what he is getting himself into? And what will happen when her husband and the detective arrive?” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
The town that drowned / Riel Nason.
“Living with a weird brother in a small town can be tough enough. Having a spectacular fall through the ice at a skating party and nearly drowning are grounds for embarrassment. But having a vision and narrating it to the assembled crowd solidifies your status as an outcast. What Ruby Carson saw during that fateful day was her entire town, buildings and people floating under water. The residents of Haverton soon discover that a massive dam is being constructed and that most of their homes will be swallowed by the rising water. Suspicions mount, tempers flare, and secrets are revealed. As the town prepares for its own demise, 14-year-old Ruby Carson sees it all from a front-row seat. Set in the 1960s, The Town That Drowned evokes the awkwardness of childhood, the thrill of first love, and the importance of having a place to call home.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
Life form / Amélie Nothomb ; translated from the French by Alison Anderson.
“Belgian author Amelie Nothomb receives a letter from 400 pound US Army private Melvin Mapple in December 2008. Normally she would ignore it, but something makes her respond. Amelie hates long letters and hides from fan requests, but agrees to help Melvin commit weight-gaining “body art” as a protest to the war America is fighting. Over two years the two grow to depend on each other’s letters to create a shared reality. All is well until Melvin disappears. Amelie worriedly searches and what she finds is a despairing man who has nothing “left to live for.”(adapted from Syndetics summary)
This month’s selection from the new Graphic Novels includes Dicks by Garth Ennis and Denise Mina’s adaptation of the popular novel and movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.
Dicks. Volume 1 / story, Garth Ennis ; art & covers, John McCrea.
“Two unlucky, crude private detectives in hilarious and at times oh-so-offensive misadventures against crime lords, ghosts, and bar brawlers.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
The girl with the dragon tattoo. Book 1 / adapted by Denise Mina ; art by Leonardo Manc and Andrea Mutti ; based on the novel by Stieg Larsson.
“The late Stieg Larsson’s slick potboiler is wildly popular in both movie and novel form; its tale-disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist and his unorthodox ally hacker/investigator, Lisbeth Salander, struggle to discover the truth behind the disappearance of Harriet Vanger decades before-is familiar to people around the world. Now it has been transformed into a graphic novel, this installment covering the events of the first half of the novel.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Days of the bagnold summer / Joff Winterhart.
“Sue, 52, works in a library. Daniel, 15, is still at school. This was the summer holidays Daniel was due to spend with his father and his father’s pregnant new wife in Florida. When they cancel his trip, Sue and Daniel face six long weeks together. Joff Winterhart perfectly captures the ennui, the tension, the pathos and even the affection of this mother-son relationship.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
In this month’s selection from the new mysteries we have chosen two new novels by the very popular Scandinavian crime writers, Hakan Nesser and Liza Marlund.
Ratlines / Stuart Neville.Ratlines
“At the end of World War II, several denazified Germans found sanctuary in Ireland, among them notorious SS officer Otto Skorzeny. Best known as the commando who rescued deposed dictator Mussolini from his mountain prison in Italy, Skorzeny set up some of the “ratlines” that served as escape routes for Nazis fleeing Allied justice. Drawing on these historical tidbits, Irish author Neville (Stolen Souls) crafts an engaging crime story set in 1963, just weeks before President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland. Several murders have upset the Minister of Justice in Dublin, a man known to be friendly with Skorzeny. The victims are all ex-Nazis formerly granted asylum by the government. Intelligence agent Albert Ryan is tasked with solving the crimes before they embarrass the country and sabotage Kennedy’s visit. VERDICT Neville, whose debut, The Ghosts of Belfast, won the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller, concocts a believable plot with an intriguing protagonist torn between duty to country and his distaste for Nazi criminals…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The weeping girl : an Inspector Van Veeteren mystery / Håkan Nesser ; translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson.
“For Ewa Moreno, Chief Inspector Van Veeteren’s protege, this is her most perplexing case yet…Winnie Maas died because she changed her mind…A community is left reeling after a teacher – Arnold Maager – is convicted of murdering his female pupil Winnie Maas. It seems the girl had been pregnant with Maager’s child. Years later, on her eighteenth birthday, Maager’s daughter Mikaela finally learns the terrible truth about her father. Desperate for answers, Mikaela travels to the institution at Lejnice, where Maager has been held since his trial. But soon afterwards she inexplicably vanishes. Detective Inspector Ewa Moreno from the Maardam Police is on holiday in the area when she finds herself drawn into Mikaela’s disappearance. But before she can make any headway in the case, Maager himself disappears – and then a body is found. It will soon become clear to Ewa that only unravelling the events of the past will unlock this dark mystery…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Lifetime : a novel / Liza Marklund ; [English language translation by Neil Smith].
“Things aren’t going so well for Annika Bengtzon in Marklund’s superlative seventh novel featuring the tenacious Stockholm crime reporter (after 2012’s Last Will). For starters, Annika’s house burns down, and her husband leaves her for another woman. Meanwhile, she has to investigate the brutal murder of Supt. David Lindholm, “Sweden’s most well-known and respected detective.” David’s traumatized wife, Julia, is the primary suspect in his death and the possible kidnapping of their young son. Annika discovers that David, the model policeman, hid a darker side and may have been involved in illegal activities that led to his murder. Annika’s race against time to uncover the truth and exonerate Julia is intensified by multiple roadblocks, including governmental red tape and the ever-changing infrastructure at her newspaper, the Evening Post. Marklund has created a complex page-turner, complete with gritty realism, a flawed but likable protagonist, and nonstop suspense…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
As always the new Science Fiction and Fantasy selection covers many themes and many new volumes in series. Highly recommended is the fourth volume, titled Blood of Dragons in Robin Hobb’s series, Rain Wilds Chronicles.
The city of silk and steel / Mike Carey, Linda Carey and Louise Carey.
“Once, in a city known as Bessa, there was a sultan named Bokhari Al-Bokhari, who was thrown down by the zealots of the ascetic Hakkim Mehdad. The sultan, his wives and children were put to the sword, while his 365 concubines were sent to a neighboring caliph as tribute, Hakkim having no use for the pleasures of the flesh. But a day after the caravan had departed from Bessa, Hakkim discovered the terrible secret that the concubines had hidden from him. His reaction was swift and cruel. Kill the women of the harem forthwith, along with their children and maidservants. Let not one survive. This, then, is the tale, or tales, of how a remarkable group of women fight together to survive both the fury of Hakkim and the rigors of the desert.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Forge of darkness / Steven Erikson.
“It’s a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, the realm of Darkness, where Mother Dark reigns. But this ancient land was once home to many a power, and even death is not quite eternal. The commoners’ great hero, Vatha Urusander, is being promoted by his followers to take Mother Dark’s hand in marriage, but her Consort, Lord Draconus, stands in the way of such ambitions. The impending clash sends fissures throughout the realm, and as the rumors of civil war burn through the masses, an ancient power emerges from the long dead seas. Caught in the middle of it all are the First Sons of Darkness, Anomander, Andarist, and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Blood of dragons / Robin Hobb.
“The fourth book of the Rain Wilds Chronicles. Tintaglia, the legendary dragon, has returned, but wounded by the Chalcedeans. These people are still seeking dragon body parts, but especially dragon blood, in an effort to save their despotic duke. To heal the dragon, the new Elderlings must find the elusive silver wells. The younger dragons have matured further, and their dedicated keepers, the new Elderlings, are beginning to gain deeper understanding of their roles.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The selection for this month’s ‘Other Genre’ fiction is horror/ghosts/vampires and covers all aspects of this popular genre. Included is the latest novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward titled Lover at Last.
Dark predator : a Carpathian novel / Christine Feehan.
“As brutal as the undead he hunted, Zacarias De La Cruz was a master executioner. Now his stark and savage journey is over. After a thousand years in a grey world, he has accomplished everything he set out to do, his brothers are safeguarded, and each has found a woman. Zacarias has walked the edge of madness. But without a hunt to define him, Zacarias wonders, for the first time in his life, who he really is. The answer awaits him back home in Peru, in the betrayal of a woman who is readying her trap, in the vengeance of an old enemy, in the inevitable consequences of a bloody family legacy, and in the deliverance of a life mate he never could have imagined” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
Last days / Adam Nevill.
“British filmmaker Kyle Freeman is on his last financial legs when he’s offered a deal that sounds too good to be true: 100,000 dollars to help Max Solomon, publisher of the hot self-help book of the moment, make a documentary about a cult. In 1975, nine people were found dead at the headquarters of the Temple of the Last Days in an abandoned mine in Arizona. Among the corpses was Sister Katherine, the founder of the temple, beheaded at her own request. Freeman, who’s given a tight schedule to complete the project, soon gets the feeling that supernatural forces are at work and that his producer has been less than forthcoming.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Lover at last : a novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood / J.R. Ward.
“Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another. Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn and has found his perfect match in a Chosen female. Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions, but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)