Kerry’s Fiction Picks

This week’s picks are a selection of debut novels, including one that’s from an acclaimed Chinese writer making their English debut and another that’s actually by two popular writers who’ve combined skills to make one new ‘author’.

Syndetics book coverFrench Concession
This is by an acclaimed Chinese novelist and though this book didn’t sell exceptionally well in China it’s success is that it has a Western publishing deal.  It’s pitched as a literary noir and is very fitting with the current taste for espionage.  The story is set in 1930s Shanghai and involves “an electrifying, decadent world of love, violence, and betrayal filled with femme fatales, criminals, revolutionaries, and spies.” (Amazon).  It’s about Hseuh a Franco-Chinese photographer, his fascination with the beautiful, but missing Leng , his relationship with his lover Therese and a very complicated plot.  But then what do you expect from a spy novel?!

Syndetics book coverThe hand that feeds you : first and All Subsequent : a novel / A.J. Rich.
This one is by authors Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment.  They have combined forces to produce an exciting psychological thriller, which isn’t anything too different plot-wise.  Morgan is completing her thesis at a college of criminal justice and engaged to Bennett.  One day she returns home to find Bennett dead and slowly she uncovers that he wasn’t who he said he was.  She is not his only finance and he begins to looks more and more like a sociopath.  Then his other girlfriends start to be murdered and Morgan has to put her skills and knowledge to the test to solve the mystery of Bennett and save her own life.  Says Amazon “Unsettling and highly suspenseful, this is a brilliant collaboration between two outstanding writers”.

Syndetics book coverThe Swede / Robert Karjel ; translation from the Swedish by Nancy Pick and Robert Karjel.
This book caused a sensation at the Frankfurt book fair and the TV rights have already been sold.  Pretty good for a debut novel!  It’s by a Swedish author Robert Karjel, who’s a former member of the Swedish air force.  The book is described as a literary thriller.  It’s about a Swedish secret service agent who goes to an American military base in the Atalantic Ocean to interview a detainee, at the request of a CIA agent.  From there his investigation takes him from the Thailand tsunami to terrorist attacks to Kansas, along the way he learns that things aren’t as he seems.  “The Swede fuses the psychological tension of Jo Nesbø’s thrillers with the gripping international intrigue of I Am Pilgrim and Red Sparrow.” (Amazon)

Syndetics book coverThe Watchmaker of Filigree Street
This novel is set in the nineteenth century, in Victorian London and Japan.  It’s the debut work for Natasha Pulley, who’s only 24.  The story is about Thaniel who finds a tiny watch on his bed after he returns home on evening.  How it got there and who put it there is a mystery.  But even more mysterious are the events that are put into action after he discovers the watch.  He meets up with it’s maker Keita Mori, a Japanese man, who takes Thaniel on a journey through different times and destinies.  “Electrifying . . . a triumph of speculative fiction. It captures the frenetic energy of a world undergoing extraordinary changes” (Publisher’s Weekly)