In this wonderful selection of New Contemporary fiction this month you will find psychological thrillers, futuristic and suspense, humour and debut novels. Highly recommended is the suspense/thriller by Paula Hawkins titled The Girl on the Train.
Holy cow / David Duchovny ; illustrations by Natalya Balnova.
“When a cow named Elsie Bovary inadvertently learns about something awful called an industrial meat farm, she instantly organizes an escape with a Torah-spouting pig named Shalom, newly converted to Judaism, and iPhone-proficient turkey Tom.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The book of strange new things / Michel Faber.
“After an emotional leave-taking from his wife, Bea, protagonist Peter is strapped into a hyperspace vehicle bound for a distant planet. Under the auspices of USIC, a corporation secretly colonizing the planet Oasis, Peter is tasked with serving the planet’s indigenous population. A group of these cloaked humanoid beings has a hunger for the teachings of Jesus and the Bible, which they call “The Book of Strange New Things,” and cultivating them is a priority because USIC needs the food they provide for a barren Oasis. Peter rapidly goes native and bonds with the aliens, though at the expense of his long-distance relationship with Bea, who is struggling for survival.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Don’t ever look back / Daniel Friedman.
“In 1965, a master thief known as Elijah, a Jew who survived the Holocaust by doing whatever he needed to, invited Buck Schatz, then an officer with the Memphis, Tenn., police department, to join a plot to rob a bank, hoping that their shared religion would make him agreeable. Schatz declined, but despite his best efforts to foil the robbery, and despite a seemingly impregnable bank vault, Elijah pulled off the heist. In 2009, Elijah resurfaces and tells the 88-year-old Schatz, who now resides in an assisted-living facility, “I need you to keep me safe as long as you’re able, and if I am killed, I want you to rain vengeance upon my enemies.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Twist / Tom Grass.
“Eighteen-year-old Twist, one of the most daring street artists in London, doesn’t have much. When he finds himself on the run from the police, Twist knows he’s about to lose the one thing he has left, his freedom. That’s when he’s saved by the mysterious Dodge who introduces him to charismatic art ‘collector’ Cornelius Fagin and the beautiful but dangerous Red. Twist is soon drawn deeper into the group and thinks he finally has the chance to be part of something. But as his feelings for Red grow, he discovers she has a secret – one that binds her to the bullying Bill Sikes and means that, unbeknownst to Fagin and the crew, they are no longer playing for money. They’re playing for their lives.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary
The girl on the train / Paula Hawkins.
“Rachel Watson is obsessed with her ex-husband, Tom. She’s having a hard time putting the past behind her, especially since she confronts it daily, during the hour long commute to London, when her train passes the Victorian house she once shared with Tom. She also frequently spies an attractive couple, four doors down from her former home, who she imagines to be enjoying the happily-ever-after that eluded her. Then, suddenly, the woman turns up on the front page of the tabloids as missing. The police want to question Rachel, after Anna, Tom’s new wife, tells them that Rachel was in the area drunkenly out of control around the time of Megan’s disappearance.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)
Cold Cold Heart.
“TV reporter Dana Nolan, for days raped, tortured, and disfigured, is on the floor of a van driven by a serial killer. In one last, desperate attempt to survive, Dana buries a screwdriver in her tormentor’s head, killing him. Now the beautiful, confident “Before Dana” is gone, replaced by a new Dana, suffering from post-traumatic stress and memory gaps. The media frenzy turns the spotlight on the disappearance of Dana’s best friend from high school, Casey, who vanished without a trace the summer after their graduation. Are the two incidents related? What happened to Casey? Dana is determined to find out, but the truth may lead her down a path of no return.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The crooked house / Christobel Kent.
“Alison is as close to anonymous as she can get: with no ties, no home, a backroom job, hers is a life lived under the radar. But once Alison was someone else: once she was Esme Grace, a teenager whose bedroom sat at the top of a remote and dilapidated house on the edge of a bleak estuary. A girl whose family was no unhappier than anyone else’s, or so she thought. Then one night a terrible thing happened in the crooked house, a nightmare of violence out of which Alison emerged the only witness and sole survivor and from which she has been running ever since. Only when she meets academic Paul Bartlett does Alison realise that if she’s to have any chance of happiness, she has to confront her past. As she seeks to uncover the truth of what happened that terrible night, Alison begins to question everything she thought she knew. Is there anyone she can trust?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The sacrifice / Joyce Carol Oates.
“A teenage black girl named Sybilla Frye is raped and left for dead in the basement of an abandoned New Jersey factory. Sybilla accuses white police officers of the crime. Her mother, Ednetta Frye, refuses to cooperate with police as outrage boils over in their community of Red Rock, N.J. After the spotlight-seeking Rev. Marus Mudrick starts the “Crusade for Justice for Sybilla Frye,” the crime devolves into a nationwide spectacle. The town begins to splinter, and once-certain facts turn to doubts and intrigue until the true reason for the attack becomes clear.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Sometimes the wolf / Urban Waite.
“Sheriff Patrick Drake tried to lead an upstanding life and maintain some financial stability until his wife passed away. He did okay for a while, singlehandedly raising his family in a small mountain town. Then he was hit with money troubles, fell in with some unsavory men, and ended up convicted of one of the biggest crimes in local history. Twelve years later Patrick is on parole under the watchful eye of his son Bobby, who just happens to be a deputy sheriff in his father’s old department.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Weathering / Lucy Wood.
“Pearl doesn’t know how she’s ended up in the river, the same messy, cacophonous river in the same rain-soaked valley she’d been stuck in for years. Or why, for that matter, she’d been stupid enough to fall down those rickety stairs. Ada, Pearl’s daughter, doesn’t know how she’s ended up back in the house she left thirteen years ago, with no heating apart from a fire she can’t light and no company apart from echoing footsteps on the damp floorboards. With her daughter Pepper, she starts to sort through Pearl’s things, clearing the house so she can leave and not look back. Fascinated by the scattering of people she meets, by the river that unfurls through the valley, and by the strange old woman who sits on the bank with her feet in the cold, coppery water, Pepper doesn’t know why anyone would ever want to leave.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)