Kerry’s Fiction Picks

Some serious reading for you this time. These picks offer social commentary and tackle grim, dark subjects. (There are some good old scares thrown in too, just to keep it slightly low-brow.)

Syndetics book coverWoman of the dead
This book is a smash hit form Austria and is the first in a trilogy (and yes it could be your new Girl with the dragon tattoo).  It’s a thriller and has been likened to Jo Nesbo and Jussi Adler-Olsen. The female protagonist, Blum, is a mortician and married with a small family.  One day her husband is killed in front of her in a hit and run.  But what seems to be tragic accident is actually a whole lot more, and Blum discovers that somebody wanted her husband dead.  She vows to hunt down her husband’s killers and have her revenge.  Apparently the author trained as a mortician just to add the extra air of authenticity – yikes!

Syndetics book coverThe Valley / John Renehan.
This is a new war novel about Afghanistan. War is considered the new hot genre, mainly because of all the really good novels coming out on the subject lately. (The author, John Renehan, was a soldier himself having served in Iraq).  This book has been compared to the acclaimed Fives and twenty fives of last year and has been really well reviewed – high praise from Amazon “The Valley is a riveting tour de force that changes our understanding of the men who fight our wars and announces John Renehan as one of the great American storytellers of our time.”  It’s a thriller about Lieutenant Black, a junior officer, who’s mainly desk-bound but is sent to investigate possible wrongdoings (shooting livestock) at an American outpost in the mountains of Afghanistan.  It soons becomes apparent that something more has been going on.  The story has been likened to Apocalypse Now.

Syndetics book coverAll Involved : A Novel of the 1992 L.A. Riots
Now this book has been likened to The Wire (best TV show EVER!) and called “a literary tour de force that catapults this edgy writer into the ranks of such legendary talents as George Pelacanos, Dennis Lehane, and Hubert Selby, Jr.” (Amazon)  The title itself tells you the basis of what this book’s about, but it’s much more complex than that, touching on the subjects of class, race and crime in modern America.  It covers multiple stories from diverse characters (nurses, gang members, business owners) and tries to tell what happened during the riots from different perspectives than we would have heard in the news.  The author lived in LA at the time and draws on his own experiences.

Syndetics book coverThe Wolf Border
This book is about Rachel Caine a zoologist working in a wildlife recovery program in Idaho.  It’s a solitary life and she’s mostly estranged from her family in England.  However, Rachel’s called back to England by the Earl of Annadale who wants her to reintroduce the grey wolf to the British countryside, in particular the his country estate.  This takes Rachel close to where she grew up and close to her elderly mother.  The story tackles the politics, if you will, of Rachel’s task and the complex emotions sparked by her return to her home, and to society in general.  Author Sarah Hall was Man Booker short listed for her earlier novel The electric Michelangelo.