New Science fiction and fantasy: Epic conclusions and curious creations

New tales in science fiction and fantasy and delving into the vaults.  Wheel of time fans have a pre Wheel of time Robert Jordan, a.k.a. James Oliver Rigney, Jr. title to revel in. Becky Chamber’s new novella explores the potential for space exploration, boundaries expand as humans are adapted to their new environments before they arrive, but what is the fate of the homeworld they leave behind?

The confines of linear time and lifespan are challenged in Joe Abercrombie’s A little hatred and Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the ninth. The Lightbringer series concludes with Brent Weeks’ The burning white. Nine years from start to finish this epic saga of magic, lies and betrayals has seen it’s characters transform as the world they know evolves around them. So who is the Lightbringer?

To be taught if fortunate / Chambers, Becky
“In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the galaxy transform themselves.  Ariadne and her fellow crewmates sleep while in transit, and wake each time with different features. But as they shift through both form and time, life back on Earth has also changed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the wonders and dangers of her journey, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Warrior of the Altaii / Jordan, Robert (print), (eBook)
“Draw near and listen, or else time is at an end. The watering holes of the Plain are drying up, the fearsome fanghorn grow more numerous, and bad omens abound. Wulfgar, a leader of the Altaii people, must contend with twin queens, warlords, prophets, and magic in hopes of protecting his people and securing their future. This is Robert Jordan’s never-before-published first novel, which he wrote before his well-known Wheel of Time series.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A little hatred / Abercrombie, Joe
“The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the Long Eye glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another. Old scores run deep as ever. On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield. Savine dan Glokta plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary and the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Gideon the ninth / Muir, Tamsyn (print), (eBook)
“Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse.  But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House, has been summoned into action. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die. Of course, some things are better left dead.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The burning white / Weeks, Brent
“In the stunning conclusion to the epic, Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks, kingdoms clash as Kip must finally escape his family’s shadow in order to protect the land and people he loves. As the White King springs his great trap, and the Chromeria itself is threatened by treason and siege, Kip Guile and his companions will scramble to return for one impossible final stand. In the darkest hour, will the Lightbringer come? (Adapted from catalogue)

The cruel stars / Birmingham, John
“Centuries after their defeat, the Sturm have returned with an overwhelming attack on the fringes of human space.  Everybody thought the Sturm were dead, engulfed by the Dark. They were wrong. On the brink of annihilation, humankind’s only hope is a few brave souls who survived the initial onslaught. Five flawed, reluctant heroes must band together to prevail against a relentless enemy and near-impossible odds. For if they fail, the future itself is doomed.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Season of storms / Sapkowski, Andrzej
Translated from original Polish by David French
“Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, one of the few capable of hunting the monsters that prey on humanity. A mutant who is tasked with killing unnatural beings. He uses magical signs, potions, and the pride of every Witcher – two swords, steel and silver. But a contract has gone wrong, and Geralt finds himself without his signature weapons. Now he needs them back, because sorcerers are scheming, and across the world the  season of storms is coming…” (Adapted from catalogue)

Knight / Zahn, Timothy (print, (eBook)
“Nicole Hammond was just trying to survive on the streets of Philidelphia, then she and her partner Bungie were abducted by a race of mysterious moth-like aliens and taken to a strange ship. Now she is a Sibyl, a special human that has the ability to communicate with the aliens and their ship. Competing factions control different parts of the ship with the humans and other sentient aliens caught in the middle. But Nicole has a plan to take control of the ship. She just has to outsmart war profiteers and slavers to do it.” (Adapted from catalogue)

New general fiction: forging fanciful new trails

Our selection this month includes the thirteenth novel by celebrated New Zealand Aotearoa author Elizabeth Knox. The absolute book is described by the author as an ‘arcane thriller’, a quest and a personal journey about revenge. This far ranging creation is rich in detail, born from the author’s knowledge of myth and folklore, the intricacies of the tale balancing between two worlds is a pleasure to be immersed in.

In The giver of stars, Jojo Moyes looks at the life of rural horseback librarians in Kentucky in the Depression era. A crew of five women from very different backgrounds will find their lives changed and influenced by choice and chance as they deliver books to people who had never had any, expanding horizons and arming them with facts that will change their lives. Gun island weaves together a contemporary and traditional tale as characters roam, migrating like seasonal animals whose patterns no longer conform to previous paths.

Other titles range from gripping thrillers to historical tales, reprising favourite love stories and gritty gangster tales. A great variety from talented writers, something for all readers to enjoy.

The absolute book / Knox, Elizabeth
“Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister’s death by violence, and her own ill-conceived revenge. A book about beautiful societies founded on theft and treachery, and one in which dead sisters are a living force. It is a book of journeys and returns, set in London, Norfolk, and the Wye Valley; in Auckland, New Zealand; in the Island of Apples and Summer Road of the Sidhe; at Hell’s Gate; in the Tacit with its tombs; and in the hospitals and train stations of Purgatory.” (Catalogue)

The Dutch house / Patchett, Ann (print), (eBook)
“Danny Conroy grows up in the Dutch House, a lavish mansion. Though his father is distant and his mother is absent, Danny has his beloved sister Maeve: Maeve, with her wall of black hair, her wit, her brilliance. Life is coherent, played out under the watchful eyes of the house’s former owners in the frames of their oil paintings. Then one day their father brings Andrea home. Though they cannot know it, her arrival to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny and Maeve’s lives. The siblings are drawn back time and again to the place they can never enter, knocking in vain on the locked door of the past. For behind the mystery of their own exile is that of their mother’s: an absence more powerful than any presence they have known. ” (Catalogue)

Postscript / Ahern, Cecelia (print), (eBook)
“‘We desperately need your help Holly. We’re running out of ideas and…’ She takes a breath in as if summoning the energy, ‘all of us are running out of time.’ When Holly Kennedy is approached by a group calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, her safe existence is turned on its head. Inspired by her late husband Gerry’s letters, the club wants Holly to help them with their own parting messages for their loved ones to discover after they’re gone. Holly is sure of one thing – no way is she being dragged back to the grief she has left behind. It’s taken seven years to reinvent herself, and she’s ready to move on with her life. But Holly comes to realize that when you love someone, there’s always one more thing to say…” (Catalogue)

Tin badges : a novel / Carcaterra, Lorenzo (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“As one of the NYPD’s most trusted “tin badges”–retired detectives brought in to solve cases that are beyond the reach of the everyday force–Tank Rizzo has faced off against some of the city’s toughest criminals without breaking a sweat. To tackle a case involving a dangerous kingpin known as Gonzo, Tank turns to his best friend and ex-partner, Pearl; a former mobster living out a seemingly quiet retirement as the owner of Tank’s favorite Italian restaurant; and a team of expert misfits he would trust with his life. But Gonzo will stop at nothing to defend the empire he’s built, and won’t hesitate to make it personal.” (Catalogue)

The giver of stars / Moyes, Jojo
“When a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Mrs. Roosevelt’s new traveling WPA library, Alice signs on enthusiastically. The leader, Margery, the smart-talking, self-sufficient daughter of a notorious local criminal, a woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. Alice finds Margery as bracing and courageous as anyone she’s ever met–and comes to rely on her, especially as her marriage starts to fail. They will be joined by three other women–two white, one black–and become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. Funny, heartbreaking, and rewarding, it is a rich novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.” (Catalogue)

Gun island : a novel / Ghosh, Amitav
“Bundook. Gun. A common word, but one which turns Deen Datta’s world upside down. A dealer of rare books, Deen is used to a quiet life spent indoors, but as his once-solid beliefs begin to shift, he is forced to set out on an extraordinary journey; one that takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice via a tangled route through the memories and experiences of those he meets along the way. Gun Island is a beautifully realised novel which effortlessly spans space and time. It is the story of a world on the brink, of increasing displacement and unstoppable transition. But it is also a story of hope, of a man whose faith in the world and the future is restored by two remarkable women.” (Catalogue)

Pursuit : a novel of suspense / Oates, Joyce Carol
“As a child, Abby had the same recurring nightmare night after night. Now an adult, Abby thinks she’s outgrown her demons, until, the evening before her wedding, the terrible dream returns and forces her to confront the dark secrets from her past she has kept from her new husband, Willem. The following day Abby steps out into traffic. As his wife lies in her hospital bed, sleeping in fits and starts, Willem tries to determine whether this was an absentminded accident or a premeditated plunge. Slowly, Abby begins to open up to her husband, revealing to him what she has never shared with anyone before, the story of a terrified mother; a jealous, drug addled father; and a daughter’s terrifying captivity.” (Catalogue)

Bloody genius / Sandford, John
“At the local state university, two feuding departments have faced off on the battleground of PC culture. Each carries their views to extremes that may seem absurd, but highly educated people of sound mind and good intentions can reasonably disagree, right? Then someone winds up dead, and Virgil Flowers is brought in to investigate . . . and he soon comes to realize he’s dealing with people who, on this one particular issue, are functionally crazy. Among this group of wildly impassioned, diametrically opposed zealots lurks a killer, and it will be up to Virgil to sort the murderer from the mere maniacs.” (Catalogue)

A thousand ships / Haynes, Natalie (print), (eBook)
“In the early hours of the morning, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and Troy has fallen. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash…The devastating consequences of the fall of Troy stretch from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across the oceans and sky in between. Arising from this are the individual tales of the women embroiled in the lead-up to and the aftermath of that legendary war, as well as the feud and the fatal decisions that started it all…Powerfully told from an all-female perspective, A Thousand Ships gives voices to the women, girls, and goddesses who, for so long, were kept silent.” (Catalogue)

New Mysteries: Danse macabre

This month the holiday titles are already rolling in, so if you want to start on your holiday reading list we have some great new crime titles for you. James Patterson’s The Women’s Murder club’s 19th edition is focused on the Christmas holidays where a lull in crime is a misleading start to season, a roller coaster ride is about to begin as a formidable criminal sets a plan into action that will culminate on Christmas day! David Rosenfelt brings levity to the season with a fun cozy mystery where canine companions are the way into solving human problems. Daschshund through the snow brings out the skills of Andy and Laurie as the reticent and enthusiastic try to bring hope and resolution to those around them despite the odds.

Susanna Gregory and Paul Doherty conjour up the social and political realities British history for the medieval and Stuart eras where church and royalty governed the pattern of people’s lives. Gregory writes as the aftermath of the plague has hollowed out 1666 London and Thomas Chalinor feels the city is in a precarious situation. Facing social unrest and political intrigue he attempts to unravel three seemingly unrelated crimes. Paul Doherty has richly illustrated the medieval era in this novel of dark suspense. The tensions in the Welsh Holyrood Abbey run high where Edward I’s body guards are conducting themselves as monks. Murderous events begin to play out and Sir Hugh Corbett, Keeper of the Secret Seal is detailed to seek out answers.

Other crime titles lead readers through unlawful acts as personal tensions and past grievances are played out in the countryside and inside city limits.  From scrapbook murder sleuths to experienced police investigators this selection of crime novels has something for all readers to enjoy.

The 19th Christmas / Patterson, James
“As the holidays approach, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends in the Women’s Murder Club have much to celebrate. Even the courts are showing some Christmas spirit. Then a fearsome criminal known only as “Loman” seizes control of the headlines. He is planning a deadly surprise for Christmas morning. Solving crimes never happens on schedule, but as this criminal mastermind unleashes credible threats by the hour, the month of December is upended for the Women’s Murder Club. Avoiding tragedy is the only holiday miracle they seek.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Intrigue in Covent Garden / Gregory, Susanna
“By January 1666, the plague has almost disappeared from London, leaving its surviving population diminished and in poverty. Thomas Chalinor is investigating several unrelated crimes at he behest of his employer. Common threads in all the cases, which seem linked to those planning to set a match to the powder keg of rebellion in the city. Chalinor is in a race against time to prevent the weakened city from utter destruction.”  (Adapted from catalogue)

Dachshund through the snow / Rosenfelt, David (print), (eAudiobook)
“Lawyer Andy Carpenter and his wife, Laurie, generously give back year-round, but they always try to do a little something extra around the holidays. Andy’s local pet store has a Christmas tree, where instead of ornaments there are wishes from those in need. This leads Andy to six-year-old Adam, whose selfless plea strikes a chord with Andy and Laurie. With his trademark humor and larger-than-life characters, Rosenfelt never fails to deliver as Andy and his eccentric crew dash to reunite a family in time for Christmas.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Syndetics book coverMumbo gumbo murder / Laura Childs, with Terrie Farley Moran.
“It’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and giant puppets are parading through the French Quarter. As the parade proceeds, Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava, follow behind, down Royal Street. Suddenly, they hear a terrible crash from Devon Dowling’s antiques shop. After the police examine Devon’s body, they tell Carmela and Ava that their friend was murdered with an icepick. Carmela and Ava are determined to catch the murderer, but how long do they have before they find themselves on the killer’s list?” (Adapted from catalogue)

Death’s dark valley / Doherty, P. C
“At Holyrood Abbey, the old king’s former bodyguards watch over a mysterious prisoner who is kept in the abbey’s dungeon. But their peaceful existence is shattered when Abbot Henry is poisoned. Summoned to Holyrood, Sir Hugh Corbett finds the fortress in chaos. As more mysterious deaths occur, and a violent snow storm sweeps through the valley, Corbett must act quickly to identify the malevolent demon who has risen from hell to turn the abbey into a house of murder.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A bitter feast : a novel / Crombie, Deborah
“Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James and their children are guests at the country estate belonging to the family of Melody Talbot. A centerpiece of this getaway is a charity luncheon catered by up-and-coming chef Viv Holland. But a tragic car accident followed by a series of mysterious deaths could ruin her ascent. Each piece of information that surfaces makes it clear that the killer had a connection with Viv’s pub, and perhaps with Beck House itself.  With so much at stake both personally and professionally, especially for Melody Talbot, finding the killer becomes one of the team’s most crucial cases.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Murder in the corn maze / McKevett, G. A
“After joining the other townspeople for trick-or-treating and the annual parade, Granny Reid and the kids head to Judge Patterson’s mansion, where a corn maze awaits. Most of the youngsters are too terrified to make it all the way to the middle. When Savannah and Granny get there, it proves to be even scarier than they expected–half buried in the mud at the center of the maze lies a human skull. It’ll be up to Granny to dig into this Southern town’s history and a mess of old family secrets.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Stone cold heart : a novel / Frear, Caz (print), (eBook)
“A young Australian woman turns up dead after a party thrown by her new boss. The initial investigation points to Joseph Madden, the owner of a coffee shop around the corner from police headquarters. Madden insists he’s innocent, that he was home with his wife Rachel at the time of the murder. But Rachel contradicts his alibi, swearing that she was home alone. As she tries to balance the demands of the investigation with a budding romance and unresolved family drama, Cat has to decide how far she’ll go to keep her own past mistakes buried.” (Adapted from catalogue)

New Translated Fiction: a Way with Words

This latest selection of works translated into English features French writers exploring the joys and depths of fiction, from comedic farce to the thought-provoking. Danish writer Ane Riel spins a dark, suspenseful tale of family possession and obsession centered around Liv, the young daughter of a reclusive household. Recently adapted into film by Daniel Borgman, Resin premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Another young girl is the pivot for a European boundary-straddling novel, The Soul of the Border. The Soul of the Border is the first in Matteo Righetto’s Mountain Trilogy featuring the area between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian empire in the late 19th century. Rodrigo Rey Rosa negotiates a catalogue of Guatemalan crime as his protagonist searches through the arrest records of the police archive. This work appears to flicker between the real and the embellished as details of Guatemala’s political history and current instability permeate the novel.

The girl who lived twice / Lagercrantz, David
“Lisbeth Salander has disappeared… And no one is aware that at long last she’s got her prime enemy, her twin sister, Camilla, squarely in her sights. Mikael Blomkvist is trying to reach Lisbeth. He needs her help unraveling the identity of a man who lived and died on the streets of Stockholm. He does not exist in any official records and whose garbled last words hinted at possible damaging knowledge of people in the highest echelons of government and industry.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The book of dreams : a novel / George, Nina
“When Henri ends up in a coma after rescuing a young girl from the Thames, his ex-girlfriend, Eddie, discovers that she is listed as Henri’s next-of-kin in his living will. Sam, Henri’s teenage son, has never seen his father alive, other than the video of him heroically saving a girl from drowning. Sam and Eddie, each previously unaware of the other, slowly begin to carve out an unexpected and powerful friendship. Full of rich, captivating characters, and in placing the serious questions of life and death alongside a wonderful and engrossing story, The Book of Dreams asks with grace and gravitas what we will truly find meaningful in our lives after we are gone.” (Catalogue)

Serotonin / Houellebecq, Michel
“Dissatisfied and discontent, Florent-Claude Labrouste decides to abandon his life in Paris and return to the Normandy countryside of his youth. There he contemplates lost loves and past happiness as he struggles to embed himself in a world that no longer holds any joy for him. His only relief, Captorix, which works by altering the brain’s release of serotonin. With social unrest intensifying around him, and his own depression deepening, Florent-Claude turns to this new medication in the hope that he will find something to live for. Serotonin is at once a devastating story of solitude, longing and individual suffering, and a powerful criticism of modern life.” (Catalogue)

Human matter : a fiction / Rey Rosa, Rodrigo
“Human Matter is both a tour de force of fiction and a sobering meditation on the realities of collective memory, raising timely questions about how our history is recorded and retold. The Archive Recovery Project inspired Rey Rosa to craft a meta-novel that weaves the language of arrest records and surveillance reports with the contemporary journal entries of a novelist (named Rodrigo) who is attempting to synthesize the stories of political activists, indigenous people, and other women and men who became ensnared in a deadly web of state-sponsored terrorism.” (Catalogue)

Soul of the border : a novel / Righetto, Matteo
“In this exhilarating coming-of-age tale, a daring young woman braves the wilds of the Austrian-Italian border. Jole de Boer is just fifteen years old the first time she accompanies her father–a tobacco grower named Augusto–as he smuggles his product across the Italian border into Austria.  But when Augusto mysteriously disappears during one of his trips, Jole must retrace the route he took to both find a buyer for her family’s tobacco–and the truth behind her father’s disappearance. An epic tale of revenge, corruption, and salvation, The Soul of the Border is an unforgettable journey into the wild.” (Catalogue)

Vintage 1954 / Laurain, Antoine
“When Hubert Larnaudie invites some fellow residents of his Parisian apartment building to drink an exceptional bottle of 1954 Beaujolais, he has no idea of its special properties. The following morning, Hubert finds himself waking up in 1950s Paris, as do antique restorer Magalie, mixologist Julien, and Airbnb tenant Bob from Milwaukee, who’s on his first trip to Europe. After their initial shock, the city of Edith Piaf and An American in Paris begins to work its charm on them. The four delight in getting to know the French capital during this iconic period, whilst also playing with the possibilities that time travel allows.” (Catalogue)

Resin / Riel, Ane (print), (eBook)
“Suspenseful and heart-breaking, Resin is the story of what can happen when you love someone too much. Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think. Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing. But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents. This way, Liv would be safe.” (Catalogue)

The truth behind the lie / Lövestam, Sara
“Need help, but can’t contact the police?” That’s the ad placed by low-flying private eye Kouplan, an undocumented refugee in Stockholm forced to flee Iran owing to his work on a radical newspaper. Here he’s helping a client find her missing daughter, but something about her story is amiss. Pernilla’s daughter has vanished without a trace, and Kouplan is an expert at living and working off the grid. He’s the perfect PI to help… but something in Pernilla’s story doesn’t add up. She might need help that he can’t offer… and a little girl’s life hangs in the balance.” (Catalogue)

 

Bromance : fiction gotcha back bro

via GIPHY

The support and connection that comes from your best mate is a special kind of relationship, one celebrated and explored in a variety of fiction genres. This selection features legendary rugby pairings, bonds formed in the fires of conflict and trust built over years of friendship. These titles have some great pairings, and group dynamics to explore.

Machete and the Ghost is fiction, but these tales are steeped in admiration and complete bafflement as to the exploits of this authentic duo on and off the rugby pitch. At every twist and turn in their careers their friendship saw them through. The unlikely pairing of Joe Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard show that when the chemistry is right two people can just click.  This swamp noir twosome is facing some partnership issues in their latest adventure, The elephant of surpriseThe bromance book club offers support to Gavin Scott’s ailing relationship, the elegant solution of using fiction as way to solve real life conundrums is one we can all empathise with. Enjoy!

Machete and the Ghost / Griffin, James
“Machete and The Ghost is the book that charts the careers of the two greatest All Blacks who never existed. It chronicles their mythical on-field achievements; tells invented stories about the behind-the-scenes goings on of professional rugby; and also makes up their troubles and triumphs off the field, in their tabloid-worthy private lives. This is the book that takes all the tropes you’ve read in every other rugby biography and twists and turns them for shameless comedic benefit. Machete and The Ghost — totally made up, but by people who know and love the game of rugby enough to make all the bullshit sound entirely plausible.” (Catalogue)

The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, 1) [paperback] / Adams, Lyssa Kay
“Welcome to the Bromance Book Club. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.” (Catalogue)

The elephant of surprise / Lansdale, Joe R.
“Hap and Leonard are an unlikely pair–Hap, a self-proclaimed white trash rebel, and Leonard–a tough-as-nails Black, gay, Vietnam vet and Republican–but they’re the closest friend either of them has in the world.
On a chase that blows even the East Texas swampgrass back, Hap and Leonard must save the girl, and vanquish her foes, before the foes get them first. With a new case to solve, and a brand-new challenge to their relationship, will Hap and Leonard’s friendship survive? Will Hap and Leonard survive?” (Catalogue)

Hope never dies : a novel / Shaffer, Andrew
Part noir thriller and part bromance novel, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fiction–and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.” (Catalogue)

The grace of kings / Liu, Ken
“A wily, charismatic bandit, and the vengeance-sworn son of a deposed duke cross paths as they each lead their own rebellion against the Emperor’s brutal regime. Their unlikely friendship will drastically change the balance of power in Dara… but at what price? Emperor Mapidere was the first to unite the island kingdoms of Dara under a single banner. But now the emperor is on his deathbed, his people are exhausted by his vast, conscriptive engineering projects and his counsellors conspire only for their own gain. Even the gods themselves are restless.” (Catalogue)

Bodies of men / Featherstone, Nigel
“Egypt, 1941. Only hours after disembarking in Alexandria, William Marsh, an Australian corporal at twenty-one, is face down in the sand, caught in a stoush with the Italian enemy. He is saved by James Kelly, a childhood friend from Sydney and the last person he expected to see. But where William escapes unharmed, not all are so fortunate. When the two are reunited, James is recovering from an accident, hidden away in the home of an unusual family – a family with secrets. Together they will risk it all to find answers. Soon William and James are thrust headlong into territory more dangerous than either could have imagined.” (Catalogue)

Chances are… / Russo, Richard
One beautiful September day, three sixty-seven-year old men convene on Martha’s Vineyard, friends ever since meeting in college circa the sixties. They couldn’t have been more different then, or even today–Lincoln’s a commercial real estate broker, Teddy a tiny-press publisher, and Mickey a musician beyond his rockin’ age. But each man holds his own secrets, in addition to the monumental mystery that none of them has ever stopped puzzling over since a Memorial Day weekend right here on the Vineyard in 1971. Now, forty-five years later, as this new long weekend unfolds, the distant past confounds the present like a relentless squall of surprise and discovery.” (Catalogue)

Restless souls / Sheehan, Dan
“After three years embedded in the Siege of Sarajevo, war correspondent Tom returns to Dublin a haunted shell of his former self. His childhood friends Karl and Baz know they’re laughably unqualified to help him, but are determined to see him through the darkness. Together, they embark on a journey for an unlikely cure, to an experimental Californian clinic called Restless Souls. But as they try to save Tom from his memories, they must confront their own. And in doing so, they must ask how their raucously funny teenage souls became weighed down – and why life got so damn complicated and sad.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverBreath / Tim Winton.
“When paramedic Bruce Pike is called out to deal with another teenage adventure gone wrong, he knows better than his colleague, better than the kid’s parents, what happened and how. Thirty years before, that dead boy could have been him.
A relentlessly gripping and deeply moving novel about the damage you do to yourself when you’re young and think you’re immortal.” (Syndetics summary)

Unravel this… new mysteries October 2019

This month features a range of Mysteries for all types of readers.  From the wisecracking Terns of endearment by Donna Andrews, to the slick writing of Simone Buchholz in Beton Rouge, this German noir translated by Rachel Ward has dry humour and razor sharp lyrical prose. There’s a  new detective series launched by Ann Cleeves, set in the south of Britain where she fearlessly examines small communities and individuals affected by crime.  

Colin Cotterill forages through the past of the former national coroner of Laos. Dr. Siri is looking for the source of the threat to himself and his loved ones in The second biggest nothing. Elizabethan times are put on show in The Angel’s mark.  First time author S.W. Perry, who’s previous careers in broadcasting and aviation have been transmuted into historical fiction, delves into Elizabethan medicine in this richly detailed mystery set in Tudor London.

Beton Rouge / Buchholz, Simone, translated by Rachel Ward (print), (eBook)
On a warm September morning, an unconscious, tortured man is found in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of Germany’s biggest magazines. Three days later, another appears. Chastity Riley and her new colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks. A smart, dark, probing thriller, full of all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the very best noir, Beton Rouge is both a classic whodunit and a scintillating expose of society, by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.” (Adapted from catalogue)

How the dead speak / McDermid, Val
“After an explosive case that forced Tony Hill and Carol Jordan to reassess everything they thought they knew about right and wrong, both are dealing with the fallout in their own separate ways. While Tony must pay the price for his actions, Carol is conducting investigations into suspected miscarriages of justice. But when a shocking discovery is made on a construction site, and skeletal remains are found to belong to a killer who is supposedly alive and in prison, suddenly, Tony and Carol are brought into each other’s orbit once again.” (Catalogue)

Terns of endearment / Andrews, Donna (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
Meg’s grandfather has been booked to give lectures on a cruise as part of the education/entertainment itinerary, and he’s arranged for a passel of family members to join him. The passengers’ vacation quickly becomes a nightmare when they wake up to find themselves broken down and in need of repairs. Things get even worse when a crew member announces to all that a woman has jumped overboard, leaving behind her shoes, shawl, and a note.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The long call / Cleeves, Ann (print), (eBook)
North Devon – where the rivers Taw and Torridge run to the sea – is an idyllic holiday spot for so many. Ice-cream, sun, surf, it’s all there for the taking. But when the holiday makers leave, what is left? One man knows all of its secrets. He grew up there, a member of the Devon Brethren until he was cast out by his family for something he could, and never would, change; the right to love who he chose. Now he has a husband and a life he loves. Together they live on the water towards Lundy Island and he is a detective, with a team and a mission to keep Devon safe. Meet Matthew Venn.” (Catalogue)

The second biggest nothing / Cotterill, Colin (print), (eBook)
“Vientiane, 1980: For a man of his age and in his corner of the world, Dr. Siri, the 76-year-old former national coroner of Laos, is doing remarkably well–especially considering the fact that he is possessed by a thousand-year-old Hmong shaman. That is, until he finds a mysterious note tied to his dog, Ugly’s, tail. The death threat is not just aimed at him, but at everyone he holds dear. The note claims the job will be executed in two weeks. Thus, at the urging of his wife and his motley crew of faithful friends, Dr. Siri must figure out who wants him dead.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The chosen : a novel / Ohlsson, Kristina (print), (eBook)
On a cold winter’s day, a pre-school teacher is shot to death in front of parents and children at the Jewish Congregation in Stockholm. Just a few hours later, two Jewish boys go missing on their way to tennis practice, and an unexpected blizzard destroys any trace of the perpetrator. Investigative analyst Fredrika Bergman and police superintendent Alex Recht face their toughest challenge ever on the hunt for a killer as merciless as he is effective. It is up to Fredrika to track down the elusive murderer before he claims his next victim.delivers a tense, atmospheric mystery featuring an enigmatic killer rooted in folklore. ” (Catalogue)

The angel’s mark / Perry, S. W (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
LONDON, 1590. Amidst a tumultuous backdrop of Spanish plotters, Catholic heretics and foreign wars, Queen Elizabeth I’s control over her kingdom is wavering. And a killer is at work, preying on the weak and destitute of London… Idealistic physician Nicholas Shelby becomes determined to end these terrible murders. Joined in his investigations by Bianca, a beautiful but mysterious tavern keeper, the pair find themselves caught in the middle of a sinister plot. With the killer still at large, Bianca finds herself in terrible danger. Nicholas’s choice seems impossible – to save Bianca, or save himself.” (Catalogue)

Finales and first issues – new comics

After 25 years of Hellboy, The B.P.R.D. finale has arrived. Mike Mignola crafts an image rich apocalypse, a pivotal point in the mythos of this world this issue reveals massive twists in what we have come to understand as B.P.R.D. lore. Recently reprised in the Hellboy movie, with Stranger things’ David Harbour this issue, Ragna rok, is definitely worth catching.

George Takei teams up with Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for his graphic memoir, They called us enemy. Forced from their home into an uncertain future, Takei and his entire family were incarcerated in American concentration camps. The futuristic designs of Eileen Gray are detailed in a graphic novel bearing her name, a statement in it’s self coming from an era where the work of women architects was often eclipsed by their male counterparts. And a new series, Prodigy, from the creator of the Walking Dead has polymath Edison Crane fixing global problems.

Eclectic styles and commentaries on the fantastic to the historic and how they impact our lives today these comics are bursting with tales to tell. Enjoy!

They called us enemy / Takei, George
“In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to “relocation centers”. A stunning graphic memoir, They called us enemy, is George Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future. What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do?” (Adapted from catalogue)

B.P.R.D. : the devil you know [3] : Ragna rok / Mignola, Michael (print ), (eBook)
“The finale to B.P.R.D., Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and the rest of the bureau face off against one of their oldest enemies in the last battle to save the world. One enemy leads to another as the B.P.R.D. finds themselves up against something–and someone–even more sinister than they believed, and Christopher Mitten draws the origin story of one of the B.P.R.D.’s most mysterious foes.
Collects B.P.R.D.- The Devil You Know #11-15.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Eileen Gray : a house under the sun / Malterre-Barthes, Charlotte
“Meet Eileen Gray, the queer, Irish architect behind the world-renowned E-1027 house and a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture. In 1924. Nearly a century later, this structure is a design milestone. Dzierżawska’s exquisite visuals illuminate the previously overlooked struggles and triumphs of a young queer Irish designer whose work and life came to bloom during the ‘Ann es Folles’ of early 20th century Paris.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Prodigy : the evil earth / Millar, Mark
“Edison Crane’s not content being the world’s smartest man and most successful businessman — his brilliant mind needs constantly challenged. He’s a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, genius composer, Olympic athlete and an expert in the occult, and now international governments are calling on him to fix problems they just can’t handle. Collects Prodigy 1-6.” (Adapted from catalogue)

House of whispers. Volume one, The power divided / Gaiman, Neil
“One of four books expanding Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed Sandman Universe. Welcome to the House of Dahomey, the houseboat of Erzulie Fréda, where the souls of Voodoo followers go when they sleep but even the fearsome Erzulie is powerless when her dream river turns sour, tossing her house from one realm and into another.. the Dreaming! Collects House of Whispers #1-6 and Sandman Universe Special #1″ (Adapted from catalogue)

Stay / Trondheim, Lewis
A moving and mesmerizing look at life, death, written by celebrated author Lewis Trondheim and illustrated by Hubert Chevillard. Roland has the perfect vacation planned for Fabienne, with the entire itinerary recorded in a notebook. But, Roland is decapitated in a freak accident. And Fabienne, stunned and alone, has no idea how to process it. Ghost-like, she wanders the tourist-filled streets, a passive spectator. Along the way she meets Paco a local vendor with some eccentric views on life and death...” (Catalogue)

Die!Die!Die! [1] / Kirkman, Robert
“We don’t like to admit it, but this is an evil world where evil people do evil stuff all the time. Thankfully, there is a secret cabal with the United States government that works outside our normal system to influence world matters through targeted assassination. The world around us is manipulated right under our noses. So if you’re hurting people, somehow making the world worse than it already is,  someone could right now be giving the order for you to… DIE DIE DIE. Collects DIE DIE DIE #1-8.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Woman world / Dhaliwal, Aminder
“When a birth defect wipes out the planet’s entire population of men, Woman World rises out of society’s ashes. Dhaliwal’s infectiously funny instagram comic follows the rebuilding process, tracking a group of women who have rallied together under the flag of “Beyonce’s Thighs.” Only Grandma remembers the distant past, a civilization of segway-riding mall cops and “That’s What She Said” jokes. For the most part, Woman World‘s residents are focused on their struggles with unrequited love and anxiety, not to mention that whole “survival of humanity” thing.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Death to the tsar / Nury, Fabien
“Moscow. September 17th. 1904. In front of the palace of the Governor General of Moscow, the assembled masses protest against widespread poverty. Governor Sergei Alexandrovich is stood on the balcony when he drops his hankerchief – inadvertently giving the signal for the soldiers to open fire… The repercussions of his deadly mistake resound throughout the whole of Russia… and the assassins close in. Told in two parts, this is the true story of the assassination of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and a nation on the brink of revolution.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Halloween horror a librarians’ fiction selection

For the spooky readers out there, or those willing to dip their toes in the genre for Halloween, we bring a librarians’ selection of hair raising, blood curdling, page turning reads.  From the mysterious brain of Edgar Allen Poe to the unnerving skills of Stephen King here are some of the best tales, classic and contemporary that our library collection has to offer.

We have eerie novels for a full immersion experience and collections of short stories for those who like their samples of mystery and fright in measured doses. Whether a remote location or an overpopulated mind, these authors have distilled the mysterious responses people have to places and things to startle our senses. So if you are prepared for the creeping dread of an unexpected draft or the pulse raising effect of a far off noise, turn the page dear reader…

Little star : a novel / Ajvide Lindqvist, John
A man finds a baby in the woods, left for dead. He brings the baby home, and he and his wife raise the girl in their basement. When a shocking and catastrophic incident occurs, the couple’s son Jerry whisks the girl away to Stockholm to start a new life. There, he enters her in a nationwide singing competition. Another young girl who’s never fit in sees the performance on TV, and a spark is struck that will ignite the most terrifying duo in modern fiction. Chilling, unnerving, and petrifying, “Little Star “is Lindqvist’s most disturbing book to date.” (Catalogue)

I am legend / Matheson, Richard (print), (eAudiobook)
“In Matheson’s vampire classic I Am Legend, a plague has decimated the world, and transformed the unfortunate survivors into bloodthirsty creatures of the night. Robert Neville is the last living man on earth. Every other man, woman, and child has become a vampire, hungry for Neville’s blood. By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive in a world of vampires?” (Catalogue)

The shining / King, Stephen
“One of the true classics of horror fiction, The shining is regarded as one of Stephen King’s masterpieces. This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son is a a searing study of a family torn apart. As the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote… and more sinister. Secrets from the Overlook Hotel’s past are revealed, and the hotel itself attempts to claim the very souls of the Torrance family…” (Catalogue)

Inspection : a novel / Malerman, Josh
“J is a student at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics. But J is beginning to suspect that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he’s beginning to ask questions.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.” (Catalogue)

Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of leaves / Danielewski, Mark Z
“A blind old man, a young apprentice working in a tattoo shop, and a mad woman haunting an Ohio institute narrate this story of a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.” (Catalogue)

The raven and other short stories / Poe, Edgar Allan
“Celebrated American author Edgar Allan Poe’s most cherished works are re-presented in this handsome volume from IDW Publishing. Featuring “The Raven,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Masque of the Red Death” as well as additional poems and short stories from the author’s library, all accompanied by the haunting art of Ben Templesmith.” (Catalogue)

 

The murders of Molly Southbourne / Thompson, Tade (print), (eBook)
The rule is simple: don’t bleed. For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she’s been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction. Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she’ll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?” (Catalogue)

The doll-master and other tales of terror / Oates, Joyce Carol (print), (eBook)
Six terrifying tales to chill the blood from the unique imagination of Joyce Carol Oates. A young boy plays with dolls instead of action figures. But as he grows older, his passion takes on a darker edge… A teenage girl is thrilled when her favorite teacher asks her to house-sit, even on short notice. But when an intruder forces his way into the house while the girl is there, the fate of more than one life is changed forever… A nervous woman tries to escape her husband. He says he loves her, but she’s convinced he wants to kill her… These quietly lethal stories reveal the horrors that dwell within us all.” (Catalogue)

The haunting of Hill House / Jackson, Shirley (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“Four seekers have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of psychic phenomena; Theodora, his lovely assistant; Luke, the future inheritor of the estate; and Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past. As they begin to cope with horrifying occurrences beyond their control or understanding, they cannot possibly know what lies ahead. For Hill House is gathering its powers – and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.” (Catalogue)

Night music : Nocturnes ; / Connolly, John
“‘Spookier than mere pastiche, meatier than pure pulp, Nocturnes hits exactly the right note in reinventing the golden age of ghost stories.’ From stories of the monstrous for dark winter nights to fables of fantastic libraries and haunted books, from a tender narrative of love after death to a frank, personal and revealing account of the author’s affection for myths of ghosts and demons, this is a collection that will surprise, delight – and terrify.  Night music: Nocturnes 2 is a masterly collection to be read with the lights on – menace has never been so seductive.” (Catalogue)

Creating a Martian colony

Mars has become a kind of mythic arena onto which we have projected our Earthly hopes and fears.”
– Carl Sagan

Fiction writers since the days of Edgar Rice Burroughs have speculated on what or who might live on Mars, and how humans might fare together or alone in a new environment. Current space-faring aspirations have inspired various nations to investigate the ‘red planet’, from the NASA Mars rover — your name could make the interplanetary voyage — to the UAE Hope probe due to launch next year. Chinese students can experience life on a Martian base in the Gobi desert as China prepares an orbiter and rover for the 2020 launch window.

For the rest of us, interplanetary exploration is only a page turn away, with a heady mix of nostalgia, fast-paced action, intrigue and Martian terrain that is envisioned from the lush to the inhospitably harsh. Simon Morden’s sequel to One Way continues a thrilling science fiction series that places convicts on the red planet’s surface. The Arabella of Mars series by David D. Levine is a space opera nostalgia package bedecked with regency props, political intrigue and a swashbuckling heroine. And Richard K Morgan’s Thin Air dives into corruption and kidnapping in a vividly rendered Martian outpost. Something for all tastes in these voyages of the imagination. Enjoy!


Lost Mars : stories from the golden age of the red planet
“Since the 1880s, after an astronomer first described “channels” on the surface of Mars, writers have been fascinated with the planet, endlessly speculating on what life on Mars might look like and what might happen should we make contact with the planet’s inhabitants. This wonderful collection offers ten wildly imaginative short stories from the golden age of science fiction by such classic sci-fi writers as H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, and J. G. Ballard, as well as hard-to-find stories by unjustly forgotten writers from the genre.” (Catalogue)

No way / Morden, Simon
“In this sequel to the unnerving One Way, Frank Kitteridge, who’s been abandoned on Mars by the unscrupulous builders of the first base there, learns that survivors at another base are itching to exploit him for all he’s worth. To get back home, he must fight back now.” (Catalogue)

Arabella the traitor of Mars / Levine, David D.
“At last husband and wife, Arabella and Captain Singh seem to have earned the attention of great men, ones who have new uses in mind for the Mars Company captain and his young wife. Both Company and Crown have decided that it is time to bring Mars into the folds of Empire, and they think Singh is the perfect man to do it. Now, Arabella must decide between staying loyal to the man she loves and the country of her father or betraying all that she has known to fight alongside the Martians in a hopeless resistance against the Galaxy’s last remaining superpower.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive coverA Princess of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs (ebook)
This science fiction planetary romance, packed full of dangerous feats and swordplay, is set on a dying Mars. Civil War veteran John Carter is unexpectedly transported to Barsoom, the planet we call Mars, and finds with the weaker gravity that he has super-human strength. In combat he finds respect and belonging with the Tharks, an aggressive race of green four-armed nomads. But when the Tharks capture the human-like Dejah Thoris, Carter feels the need to help this beautiful princess of Mars.” (Overdrive description)

Thin air / Morgan, Richard K.
“An ex-corporate enforcer, Hakan Veil, is forced to bodyguard Madison Madekwe, part of a colonial audit team investigating a disappeared lottery winner on Mars. But when Madekwe is abducted, and Hakan nearly killed, the investigation takes him farther and deeper than he had ever expected. And soon Hakan discovers the heavy price he may have to pay to learn the truth.” (Catalogue)

Retrograde / Cawdron, Peter
“Mankind has long dreamed of reaching out to live on other planets, and with the establishment of the Mars Endeavour colony, that dream has become reality. The fledgling colony consists of 120 scientists, astronauts, medical staff, and engineers. Buried deep underground, they’re protected from the harsh radiation that sterilizes the surface of the planet. The colony is prepared for every eventuality except one–what happens when disaster strikes Earth?” (Catalogue)

Red rising / Brown, Pierce
“Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. He works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. But they have been betrayed. Darrow discovers that vast cities and sprawling parks cover the planet, and Reds are nothing more than slaves to the decadent Gold ruling caste. Now he will sacrifice everything and stop at nothing to bring down his enemies.” (Catalogue)

Top 10 for Spring: most borrowed fiction

Wellington readers love a good thriller! Topping our most popular reads Good Girl, Bad Girl launches a new series for Michael Robotham, introducing criminal psychologist Cyrus Haven in this compulsive page turner. There’s thrilling writing from Kate Atkinson, she features twice in our popularity list, with Transcription, where truth and invention catch up with an intelligence retiree, and Big Sky, with Jackson Brodie settling in to a new home, juggling parenting dog and humans as complex mysteries unfold. Character development drives Jo Nesbo’s Knife, this intricate procedural crime novel is driven through a set of grueling investigations, but as the plot twists, feints and reveals readers will be propelled through this gritty piece of writing.

The Rosie Result is still a clear favourite, so popular we’ve given you three different ways to access it! So if you’re downloading it to listen or read, or picking up a paper copy, the final installation of this quirky trilogy will warm your heart. Inspired by her Italian heritage Pellegrino addresses rural-urban drift with a life changing opportunity for her characters and a town in need of new people. Delicious food and delightful setting has clearly charmed Wellington library users.

Is your favourite in the list?


1. Good girl bad girl / Robotham, Michael
“A girl is found hiding in a secret room in a house being renovated after a terrible crime. Six years later, the same girl is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. She initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult and psychologist Cyrus Haven is sent to interview Evie. She’s damaged and destructive, yet possessed of a gift, or a curse, that makes her both fascinating and dangerous to be with, the ability to tell when someone is lying. Soon he is embroiled in her unique and dangerous world, his life in utmost peril.” (Catalogue)

2. Syndetics book coverA dream of Italy / Nicky Pellegrino.
“Here is your chance to buy your own home in southern Italy for less than the price of a cup of coffee. The picturesque mountain town of Montenello is selling off some of its historic buildings for just one euro each. Elise is in her twenties and desperate to get on the property ladder. Edward wants to escape a life he finds stifling. Mimi is divorced and starting afresh. And there is one person whose true motivation won’t be clear for some time. These four people all have a dream of Italy. And it’s going to change their lives.” (Syndetics summary)

3. Syndetics book coverBig sky / Kate Atkinson.
“Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village in North Yorkshire. It’s a picturesque setting, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes. Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, seems straightforward, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network. Old secrets and new lies intersect in this breathtaking new novel, both sharply funny and achingly sad, by one of the most dazzling and surprising writers at work today.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

4. Machines like me and people like you / McEwan, Ian (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever – a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma.” (Catalogue)

5. Knife / Nesbø, Jo
“A man like Harry had better watch his back…Following the dramatic conclusion of number one bestseller The Thirst, Knife sees Harry Hole waking up with a ferocious hangover, his hands and clothes covered in blood. Not only is Harry about to come face to face with an old, deadly foe, but with his darkest personal challenge yet. The twelfth instalment in Jo Nesbo’s internationally bestselling crime fiction series.” (Catalogue)

6. The Rosie result / Simsion, Graeme C (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“Don and Rosie are back in Melbourne after a decade in New York, and they’re about to face their most important project. Their son, Hudson, is having trouble at school. Rosie is battling Judas at work, and Don is in hot water after the Genetics Lecture Outrage. The life-contentment graph, recently at its highest point, is curving downwards. For Don Tillman, geneticist and World’s Best Problem-Solver, learning to be a good parent as well as a good partner will require the help of friends old and new. It will mean letting Hudson make his way in the world, and grappling with awkward truths about his own identity.” (Catalogue)

7. Past tense / Child, Lee (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“Jack Reacher has extended his thumb and hit the pavement. His plan is to follow the autumn sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. On a country road in rural New Hampshire, he sees a sign to a place he has never been: the town where his father was born. He thinks, ‘What’s one extra day?’ and takes the detour. As Reacher explores his father’s life, and strands of different stories begin to merge, he makes a shocking discovery: the present can be tough, but the past can be tense… and deadly.” (Catalogue)

8. Milkman / Burns, Anna (print), (eBook)
Written in a perfectly-rendered Irish vernacular… Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. Middle sister is our protagonist. She is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her nearly-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with milkman. But when first brother-in-law, who of course had sniffed it out, told his wife, her first sister, to tell her mother to come and have a talk with her, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous…” (Catalogue)

9. Transcription / Atkinson, Kate (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever. Ten years later, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.” (Catalogue)

10. Normal people : a novel / Rooney, Sally (print), (eBook)
“At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s the star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.” (Catalogue)

Vivid imaginings: new science fiction and fantasy

This new collection of science fiction and fantasy writing has a diverse range of debut novelists. New Wellington talent H. G. Parry writes about fiction characters becoming all too real, while Ada Hoffman of The Outside has written many short works of speculative fiction and now takes to novel form. Hoffman creates neurodiverse characters from a place of personal knowledge, her own pitch for the novel being, “It’s a suspenseful space opera with some totally wild surreal cosmic horror mixed in, a whole bunch of strong female/queer/disabled characters, genuinely difficult moral quandaries, and empathy winning.”

Set in the universe of the Three-Body Problem Trilogy, The Redemption of Time continues Cixin Liu’s multi-award-winning science fiction saga. This original story by Baoshu, published with Liu’s support, envisions the aftermath of the conflict between humanity and the extraterrestrial Trisolarans.

In Longer, Michael Blumlein explores dauntingly epic topics including love, the expanse of the human lifespan and mortality. Finally, in a nod to the recent Hugo Awards hosted in Dublin (and foreshadowing Wellington’s WorldCon), Brilliant Void showcases vintage imaginings–Irish science fiction from way back!

Brilliant void : a selection of classic Irish science fiction
“An astronomer challenges an emperor. A hunter pursues the last dinosaur. A young Kerryman emigrates to the Moon to seek his fortune. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the winds of change came rushing in Ireland’s direction. Science would transform everything: life, love, death, crime, war, and even history itself. Edited and introduced by Jack Fennell, this collection of lesser-known works of classic Irish science fiction includes stories by Frances Power Cobbe, Fitz-James O’Brien and Charlotte McManus.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The unlikely escape of Uriah Heep / Parry, H. G.
“For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob a young lawyer with an utterly normal life hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The redemption of time / Baoshu
“In the midst of an interstellar war, Yun Tianming found himself tortured beyond endurance for decades. Yun eventually succumbed to helping the aliens subjugate humanity in order to save Earth from complete destruction. Yun has spent his very long life in exile as a traitor to the human race. Nearing the end of his existence at last, a consciousness calling itself The Spirit has recruited him to wage battle against an entity that threatens the existence of the entire universe. But Yun refuses to be a pawn again.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The October man / Aaronovitch, Ben
“When a man is found dead with his body impossibly covered in a fungal rot, the local authorities know they are out of their depth. Trier: famous for wine, Romans and being Germany’s oldest city. But fortunately this is Germany, where there are procedures for everything. Enter Tobias Winter, an investigator for the Abteilung KDA, the branch of the German Federal Criminal Police which handles the supernatural.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The outside / Hoffmann, Ada (print, (eBook)
“Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality warps, destroying the space station and everyone aboard. The AI Gods who rule the galaxy declare her work heretical, and Yasira is abducted by their agents. Instead of simply executing her, they offer mercy if she’ll help them hunt down a bigger target: her own mysterious, vanished mentor.” (Catalogue)

Longer / Blumlein, Michael (print), (eBook)
“Gunjita and Cav are in orbit. R&D scientists for pharmaceutical giant Gleem Galactic, they are wealthy enough to participate in rejuvenation: rebooting themselves from old age to jump their bodies back to their twenties. You get two chances. There can never be a third. After Gunjita has juved for the second and final time and Cav has not, questions of life, death and morality arise to test their relationship. Up among the stars, the research possibilities are infinite and first contact is possible, but their marriage may not survive the challenge.” (Catalogue)

The record keeper / Gomillion, Agnes
“After World War III, Earth is in ruins, the final armies have come to a reluctant truce. Everyone must obey the law or risk shattering the fragile peace. Although Arika Cobane is a member of the race whose backbreaking labor provides food for the remnants of humanity. After ten grueling years of training, she is on the threshold of taking her place of privilege far from the fields. But everything changes when a new student arrives.” (Adapted from catalogue)

If, then : a novel / Day, Kate Hope (print), (eBook)
“In the quiet mountain haven of Clearing, Oregon, four neighbors find their lives upended when they begin to see themselves in a parallel reality… At first the visions are relatively benign, but they grow increasingly troubling–and in some cases, frightening. Startling, deeply imagined, and compulsively readable, Kate Hope Day’s debut novel is about the choices we make that shape our lives and determine our destinies, the moments that alter us so profoundly that it feels as if we’ve entered another reality.” (Catalogue)

The iron dragon’s mother / Swanwick, Michael
“Caitlin of House Sans Merci is the young half-human pilot of a sentient mechanical dragon. Returning from her first soul-stealing raid, she discovers an unwanted hitchhiker. When Caitlin is framed for the murder of her brother, to save herself she must disappear into Industrialized Faerie, looking for the one person who can clear her. Unfortunately, the stakes are higher than she knows. Her deeds will change her world forever.” (Catalogue)

Novel pursuits : new translated fiction

This month the selection of translated fiction has talent applauded in places of origin. From the best selling sensory immersion of the Japanese The Forest of Steel and Wool to the Eastern European reckoning of regime change. The Acts of My Mother shows the extent that political authority can preside over private lives. And Wioletta Grzegorzewska chronicles the voices and impressions of a 1990’s Polish city as a young student moves there from the countryside.

Through a humourous tale and a deftly plotted thriller Italian writers explore the divine and corruption in the seat of the Vatican. God, as imagined by Giacomo Sartori, who develops a bit of crush on a comely geneticist. A novelist and a journalist join forces to weave a tale that reveals the underbelly of the holy city. A version of history is presented in Marilyn and Me when during the Korean war a local translator and the seductive songstress find friendship in a precarious environment.

From historical to contemporary this range of styles has something for everyone to discover.

The night of Rome / Bonini, Carlo and De Cataldo, Giancarlo
“Things are changing in Rome. The new Pope, determined to bring radical reform to the Vatican, proclaims an extraordinary Jubilee year, one “of Mercy.” A new center-left government replaces its disgraced predecessor. And with crime lynchpin Samurai in jail, his protégé Sebastiano Laurenti attempts to establish himself as the designated successor. Betrayals, ambushes and infighting will inevitably alter the fragile political balance in the Eternal City.” (Catalogue)

The acts of my mother/ Forgách, András
“A son investigates his mother’s past in this moving novel of family, lies, betrayal and forgiveness. Thirty years after the fall of communism in Hungary, as Andras Forgach investigated his family’s past he uncovered a horrifying truth. His mother, whom he deeply loved, had been an informant for the Kadar regime. She had informed not only on acquaintances but on family, friends and even her children.” (Catalogue)

I am God / Sartori, Giacomo
“Diabolically funny and subversively philosophical, Italian novelist Giacomo Sartori’s I am God is the diary of the Almighty’s existential crisis that ensues when he falls in love with a human… A geneticist and fanatical atheist who’s certain she can improve upon creation. So he watches as the handsome climatologist who has his sights set on her keeps having strange accidents. A sly critique of the hypocrisy and hubris that underlie faith in religion, science, and macho careerism.” (Catalogue)

The convert / Hertmans, Stefan
“Set at the time of the Crusades and based on historical events, The Convert is the story of a strong-willed young woman who sacrifices everything in the name of love. Originally known as Vigdis, the young woman changed her name to Hamoutal upon converting to Judaism. Hertmans retraces Hamoutal’s footsteps as she makes her way south, fleeing her family, and then on to Sicily and ultimately to Cairo, where she sought asylum. It is a dizzying, often terrifying journey, full of hardships, that unfolds against the backdrop of the death and destruction of the Crusades.” (Catalogue)

Accommodations / Grzegorzewska, Wioletta
Accommodations follows Wiola after she leaves her childhood village, a close-knit agricultural community in Poland where the Catholic calendar and local gossip punctuate daily life. Her new independence in the nearby city of Czestochowa is far from a fresh start, as she moves between a hostel and a nuns’ convent brimming with secrets, taking in the stories of those around her. In the same striking prose that drew readers to her critically acclaimed debut, Accommodations navigates Wiola’s winding path to self-discovery.” (Catalogue)

Marilyn and me / Lee, Ji-min (print), (eBook)
“It is the winter of 1954 and in the rubble-strewn aftermath of the Korean war Marilyn Monroe has come to Seoul to perform to the US soldiers stationed there. Alice, the woman chosen to be Marilyn’s translator, was once Kim Ae-sun, before her name was stolen from her – along with so much else – by the war. Over the four days of Marilyn’s tour, the two women begin to form an unlikely friendship. A gripping and heartwrenching novel of damage and survival, grief and unexpected solace, Marilyn and Me is a fascinating – and timely – insight into an extraordinary time and place.” (Catalogue)

Village of the lost girls / Martínez, Agustín
“Five years after their disappearance, the village of Monteperdido still mourns the loss of Ana and Lucia, two eleven-year-old friends who left school one afternoon and were never seen again. Now, Ana reappears unexpectedly inside a crashed car, wounded but alive. The case reopens and a race against time begins to discover who was behind the girls’ kidnapping. Most importantly, where is Lucia and is she still alive? Five years ago fatal mistakes were made in the investigation conducted after the girls first vanished, and this mustn’t happen again.” (Catalogue)

The forest of wool and steel / Miyashita, Natsu (print), (eBook)
“Tomura is startled by the hypnotic sound of a piano being tuned in his school. It seeps into his soul and transports him to the forests, dark and gleaming, that surround his beloved mountain village. From that moment, he is determined to discover more. Tomura embarks on his training, never straying too far from a single, unfathomable question: do I have what it takes? Set in small-town Japan, this warm and mystical story is for the lucky few who have found their calling – and for the rest of us who are still searching.” (Catalogue)

That new (book about) love in your life

Love romance fiction? These new titles have something for everyone.  A nostalgic glimpse into war-time Manhattan theatre land, City of Girls will transport you into a whirl of charismatic characters. A danger laced placement sees Special Agent Macy Crow rekindling an old flame while her deductive skills provoke a menacing response. Shakespeare and the supernatural round out our selection taking lovers on unfamiliar journeys, despite eons of practice!

And readers rejoice as your page turning is celebrated in While You Were Reading and The Bookshop on the Shore. These novels delight in the place that reading can hold in your life. Enjoy!

While you were reading / Berg, Ali
“Meet Beatrix Babbage – 29-year-old dog-earer of books and accidental destroyer of weddings. After ruining her best friend’s nuptials, Bea relocates to the other side of the country in search of a fresh start. Bea’s job is dead-end. Her romantic life? Non-existent. Then Bea stumbles across a second-hand novel, inscribed with notes. Besotted with the poetic inscriptions, Bea is determined to find the author … and along the way, she finds herself entangled in one hell of a love quadrangle.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hide and seek / Burton, Mary
“Special Agent Macy Crow is gunning for a spot on the FBI’s elite profiling team. As an audition, she offers to investigate the recently discovered bones of Tobi Turner, a high school girl who disappeared fifteen years ago. While investigating with local sheriff Mike Nevada, a former colleague and onetime lover, Macy discovers a link between Tobi’s case and several others that occurred around her disappearance. But the murderer’s had years to hone his skills, and soon Macy herself becomes a target.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Flights of fancy / Turano, Jen
“To escape an unwanted marriage, heiress Isadora Delafield runs away and disguises herself as a housekeeper. She finds a position at the home of self-made man Ian MacKenzie’s parents. Ian is unexpectedly charmed by Isadora and her unconventional ways, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.” (Catalogue)

A desperate hope / Camden, Elizabeth
“Eloise Drake’s prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she’s finally put behind her–or so she thinks. Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town–but he needs Eloise’s help to succeed.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The bookshop on the shore / Colgan, Jenny
“Desperate to escape from London, single mother Lottie wants to build a new life for herself and her son Raffie. On a whim, she answers an ad for a nanny job in the Scottish Highlands. The children’s widowed father is a wreck, and the kids run wild in a huge tumbledown castle on the banks of Loch Ness. With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Lottie begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family–and her own…?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A view to a kilt / Holden, Wendy
“Laura Lake, editor of glamorous glossy magazine Society, is in trouble. Advertising revenues are down, and her job will be in jeopardy if she can’t pick them up. According to those in the know, Scotland is having a moment. With a view to getting a slice of this ultra-high-end market, Laura’s been sent to a baronial estate. It’s supposed to be gorgeous, glitzy, and glamorous. But intrigue follows Laura like night follows day. And at Glenravish Castle Laura finds herself hunting for a scoop that won’t just save her job, it could save her life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Window on the bay : a novel / Macomber, Debbie
“Jenna Boltz’s life is at a crossroads. When her kids and her dear friend push her to begin dating again, Jenna is skeptical. Enter Dr. Rowan Lancaster, who saves the day when Jenna’s elderly mother suffers an accident in her home. Still fearing a romantic relationship, she insists they remain friends–until she realizes that he may be more worthy of a Paris experience than she thought. Learning to put herself first again, Jenna realizes that believing in love can take us beyond our wildest dreams.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

City of girls / Gilbert, Elizabeth
“In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.” (Catalogue)

The trouble with vampires / Sands, Lynsay
“For close to three thousand years Santo Notte has fought in armies across the world and battled his own, more personal enemies. Of all the places he might expect to encounter his life mate, a quiet corner of upstate New York doesn’t seem likely. But as soon as he makes contact with history professor Petronella Stone he knows that she will be the greatest adventure of his eternal life. But as Pet struggles to protect her nephew from a danger lurking too close to home, Santo realizes there’s another threat to her safety-him.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ngaio Marsh Award winners 2019

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Ngaio Marsh awards! Dame Fiona Kidman has won this year’s award for Best Crime Novel with This Mortal Boy. Best First Novel was awarded to J. P. Pomare for Call Me Evie. The Non Fiction award went to Kelly Dennett for her followup on the disappearance of an Auckland teenager, The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Jane Furlong.

The Ngaio Marsh Awards originated in 2010 for excellence in New Zealand crime, mystery, and thriller writing. In 2016 the award for best First Novel was added and in 2017 another category was also added for the Best Non Fiction.


This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona (print) (eBook) (eAudiobook)
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand.But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders? This is his story.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverCall me Evie / J.P. Pomare.
“Meet Evie, a young woman held captive by a man named Jim in the isolated New Zealand beach town of Maketu. Jim says he’s hiding Evie to protect her, that she did something terrible back home in Melbourne. In a house that creaks against the wind, Evie begins to piece together her fractured memories of the events that led her here. Jim says he’s keeping her safe. Evie’s not sure she can trust Jim, but can she trust her own memories?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The short life and mysterious death of Jane Furlong / Dennett, Kelly
“The abduction and murder of teenager Jane Furlong is one of New Zealand’s most enduring mysteries. Jane was 17 when she disappeared from Auckland’s Karangahape Road in 1993.  Her body was found in 2012, 20 years later. Court reporter Kelly Dennett became interested after noticing Jane Furlong’s mother, Judith Furlong, sitting alone in a courtroom during a murder trial.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Household affairs: new domestic thrillers

Home is supposed to be our safe space, our refuge. Modern thrillers take this idea and run with it in an unsettling direction. These titles will confront our notions of family as the storylines twist convention on it’s head.

Christopher Brookmyre’s sophisticated family thriller Fallen Angel reveals the flawed characters behind a perfect family, each with secrets that will shift the readers’ perspective as the novel unravels.  Family secrets drive the plot of The Half sister, Catherine Chanter. Psychologically intense, this gothic drama has depths to reveal. And in Those people the entire neighborhood gets in on the act. Louise Candlish pivots her book around ‘property pride’, and the resentment that builds over new residents that play their music too loud, park cars on lawns and generally lower the tone.

The half sister / Chanter, Catherine (print) (eBook)
“When Diana’s mother dies, she impulsively invites estranged half-sister Valerie and her nine-year-old son to stay at her grand country home. On the night of the funeral, fueled by wine and years of resentment, the sisters argue and a terrible accident occurs.The foundations of a well-ordered life begin to crack and the lies begin to surface, one dangerous secret after another.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe whisper man / North, Alex
“Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start. But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’. Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely. He says he hears a whispering at his window.” (adapted from Catalogue)

A family of strangers / Richards, Emilie
“All her life Ryan Gracey watched her perfect older sister from afar. Knowing she could never top Wendy’s achievements, she didn’t even try. Now Wendy shares two little girls with her perfect husband while Ryan mourns the man she lost after a nearly fatal mistake in judgment. Ryan is stunned when Wendy calls, begging for her help. There’s been a murder and Wendy believes she’ll be wrongfully accused. While Wendy lays low, Ryan moves back to their hometown to care for the nieces she hardly knows. The sleuthing skills she’s refined as a true-crime podcaster quickly rise to the surface as she digs for answers with the help of an unexpected ally.  Is Wendy, who always seemed so perfect, just a perfect liar or worse?” (adapted from Catalogue)

One night at the lake : a novel / Chase, Bethany (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“A tragedy on a hot summer night at a lake house forever alters the lives of two best friends, and the man they both love. But the truth isn’t as simple as it appears in this intricate novel of love, friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness. Alternating between the two women’s vibrant voices, One Night at the Lake is an emotional novel that explores a complex tangle of friendship, loyalty, and betrayal, all driving toward one question: Can love overcome what happened on that hot summer night?” (adapted from Catalogue)

Fallen angel / Brookmyre, Christopher
“To new nanny Amanda, the Temple family seem to have it all: the former actress; the famous professor; their three successful grown-up children. But like any family, beneath the smiles and hugs there lurks far darker emotions. Sixteen years earlier, little Niamh Temple died while they were on holiday in Portugal. Now, as Amanda joins the family for a reunion at their seaside villa, she begins to suspect one of them might be hiding something terrible… And suspicion is a dangerous thing.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Gone Too Long, Lori Roy (ebook), (print)
Imogene Coulter is burying her father a Klan leader she has spent her life distancing herself from. But Imogene is forced to confront secrets long held by Simmonsville and her own family when, while clearing out her father’s apparent hideout on the day of his funeral, she finds a child. Young and alive, in an abandoned basement, and behind a door that only locks from the outside.  Driven by a love that extends beyond the ties of blood, Imogene struggles to save a girl she never knew but will now be bound to forever, and to save herself and those dearest to her. Tightly coiled and chilling, Gone Too Long ensnares, twists, and exposes the high price we are willing to pay for the ones we love. (adapted from Overdrive description)

Those people / Candlish, Louise (print), (eBook)
“Until Darren Booth moves in at number 1, Lowland Way, the neighbourhood is a suburban paradise. But soon after his arrival, disputes over issues like loud music and parking rights escalate all too quickly to public rows and threats of violence.
Then, early one Saturday, a horrific crime shocks the street. As the police go house-to-house, the residents close ranks and everyone’s story is the same: Booth did it. But there’s a problem. The police don’t agree with them. ” (adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverDarling / Rachel Edwards.
“I knew she was trouble from the moment I saw her. I felt it as she stood in the doorway that day: disaster. Not just because she was so different, that skin and that hair, as different from me as it’s possible to be. There was something wrong about her. Wrong for us. It was never going to work. Now she is dead and only I am left to love him. She is dead, and it’s all my fault.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Hideaway / Lundrigan, Nicole
“Gloria Janes appears to be a doting suburban mother and loving wife. But beyond her canary-yellow door, Gloria controls her husband, Telly, as well as seven-year-old Maisy and her older brother Rowan, through a disorienting cycle of adoration and banishment. When Telly leaves, Gloria turns on Rowan. He runs away… Gloria is publicly desperate for the safe return of her son. Her behaviour grows more erratic and her manipulation of Maisy begins to seem dedicated toward an outcome that only she can see. Suspenseful, unsettling, and masterful, Hideaway explores the secrets of a troubled family and illuminates an unlikely hero and a source of unexpected strength.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Villains we love to hate

I’m not a monster – I’m just ahead of the curve.

-The Joker

That uncomfortable sensation when you find yourself enjoying everything your fictional villain does. Well maybe not everything.  Fiction abounds with a wealth of antiheroes, all the way back to Beowulf where you might find yourself sympathising with a monster. A recent treatment of that story in The mere wife does provoke thoughts of who we think of as monstrous. Obsession is not always an undoing, Moriarty’s mind games elevate both Sherlock Holmes and the readers’ experience. The glamour of the high life, with it’s ego stroking attributes is the aim for many, but what if no obstacle, moral or otherwise would deter you, enter Tom Ripley, designed by Patricia Highsmith. Or Dexter, a sociopath with a mission, tempering his murderous endgame with rules. 

Those who transgress for personal gain abound in the selection of titles below, chilling to think that these are librarian’s favourites! Classic characters are reprised in graphic novel form and delving into our electronic vault will locate the original inspiration. Recent additions to our catalogue will entertain while making you cringe and maybe provide a wry smile of recognition.  Enjoy!

Overdrive cover Parker: The Outfit, Donald E. Westlake (ebook)… Villain: Parker
Cooke is back and following up the New York Times best-selling Hunter with a heart-pounding sequel: The Outfit. After evening the score with those who betrayed him, and recovering the money he was cheated out of from the syndicate, Parker is riding high, living in swank hotels and enjoying the finer things in life again. Until, that is, he’s fingered by a squealer who rats him out to the Outfit for the price they put on his head… and they find out too late that if you push Parker, it better be all the way into the grave! (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Dirty Money, Richard Stark (Audiobook) Villain: Parker (so professional he gets 2 titles)
Master criminal Parker takes another turn for the worse as he tries to recover loot from a heist gone terribly wrong. Parker and two cohorts stole the assets of a bank in transit, but the police heat was so great they could only escape if they left the money behind. Now Parker and his associates plot to reclaim the loot, which they hid in the choir loft of an unused country church. As they implement the plan, people on both sides of the law use the forces at their command to stop Parker and grab the goods for themselves.Parker will do whatever it takes to redeem his prize, no matter who gets hurt in the process. (Overdrive description)

Gone girl / Flynn, Gillian (print), (DVD) Villain: … not giving it away
“On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors… the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior.  Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Codename Villanelle / Jennings, Luke  Villain… toss a coin
She is the perfect assassin. A Russian orphan, saved from the death penalty for the brutal revenge she took on her gangster father’s killers. Ruthlessly trained. Given a new life. New names, new faces – whichever fits. Her paymasters call themselves The Twelve. But she knows nothing of them. Konstantin is the man who saved her, and the one she answers to. She is Villanelle. Without conscience. Without guilt. Without weakness. Eve Polastri is the woman who hunts her. MI5, until one error of judgment costs her everything. Then stopping a ruthless assassin becomes more than her job. It becomes personal. ” (Catalogue)

Use of weapons / Banks, Iain Villain: Elethiomel
“The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances’ foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks and military action. The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought. The drone known as Skaffen-Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman’s life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a lost cause. But not even its machine could see the horrors in his past…” (Catalogue)

Charcoal Joe : an Easy Rawlins mystery / Mosley, Walter Villain: Mouse
“Picking up where his last adventures in Rose Gold left off in L.A. in the late 1960s, Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins has started a new detective agency. Easy’s friend Mouse introduces him to Rufus Tyler, a very old man everyone calls Charcoal Joe. Joe’s friend’s son, Seymour (young, bright, top of his class in physics at Stanford), has been arrested and charged with the murder of a white man from Redondo Beach. Joe tells Easy he will pay and pay well to see this young man exonerated, but seeing as how Seymour literally was found standing over the man’s dead body at his cabin home, and considering the racially charged motives seemingly behind the murder, that might prove to be a tall order.” (Catalogue)

Ripley’s game / Highsmith, Patricia Villain: Ripley
“With its sinister humor and genius plotting, Ripley’s Game is an enduring portrait of a compulsive, sociopathic American antihero. Tom Ripley detested murder, unless it was absolutely necessary. If possible, he preferred someone else to do the dirty work. In this case, a victim of a fatal disease, who will murder for a reward in order to provide for his young widow and child.” (Catalogue)

 

The doll factory / Macneal, Elizabeth Villain: Silas
“London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning. When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love. But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier (Audiobook) Villain: Mrs Danvers
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives—presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

First published in 1938, this classic gothic novel is such a compelling read that it won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century. “(Overdrive description)

Keeping August company, this month’s Reader’s Choice

When you turn the last page of a book and close the cover your reading experience isn’t over. Books infect your thinking and affect the way you see the world. Would you like to share a book that’s affected you recently?

This selection includes all manner of tales spun by talented writers. Readers have resonated with tales featuring other cultures, exploring relationships and the intricacies of political powerplay.

The Fiction 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.


Syndetics book coverA mistake / Shuker, R. Carl
“Elizabeth Taylor is a surgeon at a city hospital, a gifted, driven and rare woman excelling in a male-dominated culture. One day, while operating on a young woman in a critical condition, something goes gravely wrong.  A Mistake is a compelling story of human fallibility, and the dangerous hunger for black and white answers in a world of exponential complication and nuance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “A ripping yarn – a tight juicy read. Strong protagonist, clear stories sitting side by side, medicine and space – big topics, high stakes, tiny human errors with tragic outcomes. Very well executed story. Outstanding writing, LOVED the setting and tension of theatre.” 

Syndetics book coverEllie and the harpmaker / Prior, Hazel
“Dan Hollis lives alone, in a remote barn hidden in the woods on Exmoor, where for the past twenty-three years he has been making harps. Then, one day, housewife Ellie Jacobs stumbles across the barn by chance. She’s utterly stunned by the discovery of the enchanting workshop, and Dan gives her the gift of a beautiful cherry wood harp. But Ellie’s controlling husband Clive refuses to let her keep it – and so she begins to take lessons in secret – and so begins a story of innocent deception, unintended complications and life-changing consequences for them all.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “A quirky tale told in a beautifully poetic writing style. A different take on autism with it being seen as a gift for seeing beauty in nature and the simple things of life” 

The wife : a novel / Wolitzer, Meg (print) (eBook) (eAudiobook)
“Meg Wolitzer brings her characteristic wit and intelligence to a provocative story about the evolution of a marriage, and the place for an ambitious woman in a man’s world. The moment Joan Castleman decides to leave her husband, they are thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean on a flight to Helsinki. Joan’s husband Joseph is one of America’s preeminent novelists, about to receive a prestigious international award, and Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, has finally decided to stop.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reader’s review: Good, well crafted story.  Good images clear narrator. Nice twist in the story. Humour sneaks in. Picture of the times portrayed. Bit of a ‘safe’ read.” 

99 nights in Logar / Kochai, Jamil Jan (print) (eBook)
“It is 2005 in Logar, Afghanistan, and twelve-year-old Marwand has returned from America with his family for the summer. He loses the tip of his finger to the village dog, Budabash, who then escapes. Marwand’s quest to find Budabash, over 99 nights, begins. Deeply humorous and surprisingly tender, 99 Nights in Logar is a vibrant exploration of the power of stories – the ones we tell each other, and the ones we find ourselves in.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “In 2005 twelve year old Afghan-American Marwand returns to his parents town to spend the summer with the extended family. His adventures range from hilarious to tragic, while the narrative is enlarged by stories within stories, plus a touch of magic realism. While the names and relationships can be confusing Kochai gives us a lively and engaging picture of life in Afghanistan.”

Syndetics book coverThe huntress / Kate Quinn. (print) (eBook)
“Nina Markova joins the infamous Night Witches, an all-female bomber regiment. When she is downed behind enemy lines, Nina must use all her wits to survive a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress. British war correspondent Ian Graham becomes a Nazi hunter, yet one target eludes him: the Huntress. Ian joins forces with Nina, the only witness to escape the Huntress alive. In post-war Boston, seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride is delighted when her long-widowed father brings home a fiancee. But delving into her new stepmother’s past, Jordan slowly realises that a Nazi killer may be hiding in plain sight.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Reader’s review: “What a great book!! Drama suspense, information (but not preachy), romance, life, war. This book lived up to it’s radio review and more. Enjoy” 

The Brighton mermaid /Dorothy Koomson. (print) (eBook)
“Brighton Beach, 1993. Teenagers Nell and Jude find the body of a young woman and when no one comes to claim her, she becomes known as the Brighton Mermaid. Nell is still struggling to move on when, three weeks later, Jude disappears. Twenty-five years on, Nell is forced to quit her job to find out who the Brighton Mermaid really was – and what happened to her best friend that summer. But as Nell edges closer to the truth, dangerous things start to happen.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Couldn’t put this book down. Kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. Many twists and turns involving the characters. Brilliant, gripping, thriller. A great read.

Queen of the north / O’Brien, Anne
“1399: England’s crown is under threat. For Elizabeth Mortimer, there is only one rightful King – her eight-year-old nephew, Edmund. Only he can guarantee her fortunes, and protect her family’s rule over the precious Northern lands bordering Scotland. But many, including Elizabeth’s husband, do not want another child-King. Elizabeth must hide her true ambitions in Court, and go against her husband’s wishes to help build a rebel army.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Well researched and well written historical story set in Britain on the eve of the War of the Roses. 1399 A moving love story of powerful and ambitious would be rulers. Intricate family alliances are pursued with often tragic but soul-searching consequences. Great reading if anyone is interested in history.”

King of Kings / Smith, Wilbur A (print) (eBook)
“Searching for purpose, Amber travels to Abyssinia with her twin sister, Saffron, and her adventurer husband, Ryder Courtney. Seeking their fortune, they undertake the dangerous journey to Addis Ababa, but they soon find they may have risked losing everything to a powerful new ruler – Menelik II, the King of Kings. Back in Cairo, a devastated Penrod seeks oblivion in the city’s opium dens. He is rescued by an old friend, who is a member of the Italian army, and offered the chance to join the military effort.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “First class. The best of him”

Afrofuturism – the future won’t write itself

There are many definitions of Afrofuturism; the one I gravitate towards refers to media that explores futures for black individuals and the black community. This is where it intersects with science fiction and fantasy—writers and artists often use technology and the fantastical as elements in these explorations.

(From Book Riot)

Afrofuturism has expression in other mediums – a small nod here to musical artists ranging from Sun Ra to Janelle Monae and Missy Elliott, not just for their musical talents, but for their visual representation of Afrofuturism, using music videos or personal style to tell of celebrated identity reaching beyond the present. This year the Hugo awards has Monae’s Dirty Computer in the lineup for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. The movie Black Panther pulled in accolades and attention beyond the usual Marvel film viewers. Nnedi Okorafor of Binti fame is the voice behind the Blank Panther Shuri series.

Our selection below showcases a few key library titles in a variety of formats (print, eBooks etc.).  Enjoy!


The Rosewater insurrection / Thompson, Tade
“All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret.
The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover The City Born Great, N. K. Jemisin (eBook)
“In this standalone short story by N. K. Jemisin, author of The Fifth Season, the winner of this year’s Hugo Award for Best Novel, New York City is about to go through a few changes. Like all great metropolises before it, when a city gets big enough, old enough, it must be born; but there are ancient enemies who cannot tolerate new life. Thus New York will live or die by the efforts of a reluctant midwife…and how well he can learn to sing the city’s mighty song.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Prey of Gods, Nicky Drayden (eAudiobook)
“A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country. An emerging AI uprising. And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat of every human she encounters. It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about.” (Overdrive description)

BTTM FDRS / Daniels, Ezra Claytan
“Once a thriving working-class Chicago neighbourhood, the ‘Bottomyards’ is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer named Darla and her image-obsessed friend, Cynthia, descend upon the neighbourhood in search of cheap rent, they soon discover something far more seductive and sinister lurking behind the walls of their new home. At turns funny, scary, and thought provoking, BTTM FDRS unflinchingly confronts the monsters – both metaphorical and real – that are displacing cultures in urban neighbourhoods today.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe rage of dragons / Evan Winter.
“The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable war for almost two hundred years. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine. Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. Only, he doesn’t get the chance.” (Syndetics summary)

Overdrive cover An Unkindness of Ghosts, Rivers Solomon (ebook), (eAudiobook)
“Welcome to the Tarlands aboard the space vessel HSS Matilda. The Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human. When the autopsy of Matilda‘s sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother’s suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother’s footsteps.” (Overdrive description)

Do you dream of Terra-Two? / Oh, Temi (print) (eBook)
“A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years spent in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.” (Catalogue)

Home / Okorafor, Nnedi
“It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she found friendship in the unlikeliest of places. And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders. But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace. After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?” (Catalogue)

Parable of the sower / Butler, Octavia E
“The time is 2025. The place is California, where small walled communities must protect themselves from hordes of desperate scavengers and roaming bands of people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape, and murder. When one small community is overrun, Lauren Olamina, an 18 year old black woman with the hereditary train of “hyperempathy” which causes her to feel others’ pain as her own–sets off on foot along the dangerous coastal highways, moving north into the unknown.” (Catalogue)

The nicest things come in small packages – new short stories

While there is still a month or so wait for the 2019 Pikihua Awards, the final results of the 2018/19 takahē short story competition are out! Take a look at the new lineup of talent. Our library collection has short stories from individual authors and anthologies of new and experienced writers.

William Trevor’s final work, multi-award-winning master of the form, published on what would have been his 90th birthday, Last Stories is a collection of ten stories, six previously unpublished. Trevor navigates the rough seas of human relations with a new angle, fresh language, deep sympathy, and uncanny insight.  Also hailing from Ireland, Being Various collects the works of Irish writers, revealing the talents of the previously unpublished and the more recognisable.  Two-thirds female, one-third Northern. Two-thirds born in Ireland, two-thirds currently resident, this collection captures the numerous realities of contemporary Ireland.

The origin of detective fiction, Chinese science fiction, Gulag reportage, Italian dreamworld and debut writing from the ash line of Australian bushfires; this selection of short stories is a great place to start exploring the variety on offer in this form. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverLast stories / William Trevor. (print) (eBook)
“In this final collection of ten perceptive and profound stories, William Trevor probes into the depths of the human spirit. Here we encounter a tutor and his pupil, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when they meet again years later; a young girl who discovers the mother she believed dead is alive and well; and a piano-teacher who accepts her pupil’s theft in exchange for his beautiful music. These gorgeous stories – the last that Trevor wrote before his death – affirm his place as one of the world’s greatest storytellers.” (Syndetics summary)

Kolyma stories. Volume one / Shalamov, Varlam
Kolyma Stories is a masterpiece of twentieth-century literature, composed of short fictional tales based on Russian writer Varlam Shalamov’s fifteen years in the Gulag.  These collected stories form the biography of a rare survivor, a historical record of the Gulag, and, because the stories have more than documentary value, a literary work of creative power and conviction. This new complete translation of Kolyma Stories will fill a significant gap in the English-language library of Russian literature.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rivals of Sherlock Holmes : the greatest detective stories: 1837-1914
“Davis makes a welcome addition to early English detective fiction anthologies. Unlike scholars who date the birth of the genre to Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Davis starts with an earlier short story, “The Secret Cell” by Poe’s nemesis, William Evans Burton. That tale remains enjoyable today, with its dramatic account of the search for a missing 17-year-old servant, who stood to inherit a fortune from her employer.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLucky girls : stories / Nell Freudenberger.
“In the title story, a young woman who has been involved in a five-year affair with a married Indian man feels bound to both her memories and her adopted country after his death. The protagonist of Outside the Eastern Gate returns to her childhood home in Delhi, to find a house still inhabited by the impulsive, desperate spirit of her mother. Highly anticipated in the literary community and beyond, Lucky Girls marks the debut of a very special talent that places her among today’s most gifted young writers.” (Syndetics summary)

A constant hum / Bishop, Alice (print) (eBook)
“A young and exciting new literary voice, emerging from one of Australia’s worst natural disasters. Before the bushfires–before the front of flames comes roaring over the hills–the ridges are thick with gums. After the fires, the birds have gone. And the lost people: on the TV news in borrowed clothes, or remembered in flyers on a cafe wall. A Constant Hum grapples with the aftermath of disaster with an eye for telling detail. Some of these stories cut to the bone; others are empathetic stories of survival, even hope.” (Catalogue)

The best of R.A. Lafferty / Lafferty, R. A.
“Acclaimed as one of the most original voices in modern literature, Raphael Aloysius Lafferty has been awarded and nominated for a multitude of accolades over the span of his career, including the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. This collection contains 22 unique tall tales, including Hugo Award and Nebula award winning entries. Stories introduced by other modern masters of SF who acknowledge R.A. Lafferty as a major influence and force in the field.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Being various : new Irish short stories (print) (eBook)
“Edited by prize-winning author and playwright Lucy Caldwell, Being Various brings together original stories from Ireland’s current golden age of writing with some exciting new voices, never before published. Following her own brilliant short story collection Multitudes, Lucy Caldwell guest edits the sixth volume of Faber’s long running series of new Irish short stories, continuing the great work started by the late David Marcus and subsequent guest editors Kevin Barry, Deirdre Madden and Joseph O’Connor.” (Catalogue)

Broken stars : contemporary Chinese science fiction in translation
“In Hugo award-winner Liu Cixin’s ‘Moonlight’, a man is contacted by three future versions of himself, each trying to save their world from destruction. Hao Jingfang’s ‘The New Year Train’ sees 1,500 passengers go missing on a train that vanishes into space. In addition, three essays explore the history and rise of Chinese SFF publishing, contemporary Chinese fandom, and how the growing interest in Chinese SFF has impacted writers who had long laboured in obscurity.” (Catalogue)

We love Anderson Cooper : short stories / Maizes, R. L.
“In We Love Anderson Cooper, characters are treated as outsiders because of their sexual orientation, racial or religious identity, or simply because they look different. A young man courts the publicity that comes from outing himself at his bar mitzvah. When a painter is shunned because of his appearance, he learns to ink tattoos that come to life. A paranoid Jewish actuary suspects his cat of cheating on him with his Protestant girlfriend. In this debut collection, humor complements pathos.” (Catalogue)

Elsewhere, home / Aboulela, Leila
“Aboulela again plumbs the immigrant and particularly West-Middle East experience, as characters painfully recall the old and adapt to the new. Shuttling between the dusty, sun-baked streets of Khartoum and the university halls and cramped apartments of Aberdeen and London, Elsewhere, Home explores, with subtlety and restraint, the profound feelings of yearning, loss, and alienation that come with leaving one’s homeland in pursuit of a different life.” (Catalogue)

Crimes, calamities and capers: a caboodle of contemporary comics

The expressive world of ink on paper expands into vision with the latest comics to be found on our library shelves.  From espionage to architecture and filmmaking this month’s crop of new comics is loaded with talent both in storytelling and artistry.

Fior Manuele, the artist who created the Interview, connects to his training in architecture as he spins a mythic tale of a young man in the thrall of seeking perfection. Red Ultramarine, originally published in 2006, has been recently translated by Jamie Richardis. Michael Bendis and David Mack take the touring artist route into counterintelligence. Global travel and a storytelling cover leads to recruitment and an introduction to several comic artists as the con tour continues in Cover. The watercolour illustration bends in style, referencing the introduction of different artists.

The opposite to perfection sees Penny Nichols helping to create glorious schlock horror movie with a disreputable crew. And politics and family don’t mix in an ode to concrete, The Structure is Rotten, Comrade shows the difference between vision for building and the reality of social needs. Viken Berberian and Yann Kebbi have created a vivid comic with a dynamic style with figures sketched over the architecture that is the centre of the story.

It was tricky to select just a few from this month’s collection of comics, below are some of the great assortment of talent and styles. Enjoy!

Red ultramarine / Fior, Manuele
“The Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus is woven into this psychologically complex graphic novel, for the first time in English! Fausto, a young architect, is a prisoner of his own obsession: the search for perfection. Only the love of Silvia, his girlfriend, can save him. To help him, she goes to a strange doctor, who will guide her on a journey between reality and myth. This is an early work of the internationally acclaimed cartoonist Mauele Fior, rendered in a striking red and black two-color palette.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cover. Volume one / Bendis, Brian Michael
“Based on a true story, the intelligence community figures out that the traveling band of social misfits who make comic books are an exact match to the profiles of candidates recruited for intelligence and counterintelligence gathering.  A very well-known comics creator is recruited by the agency to live a double life as a spy…And convention season is upon us. With a nod to films like Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and The In-Laws, this comic celebrates comics, comic creators, readers and of course, spies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The structure is rotten, comrade / Berberian, Viken
“More in love with the alluring properties of cement than he is with his girlfriend, Frunz’s overriding ambition is to become the next legendary architect. His father, known as Mr. Cement, is a builder in bed with the autocrats who run Yerevan, the capital of post-Soviet Armenia. As father and son team up to transform the city into a post-modern mecca of Trumpian high-rises, outraged citizens rise up in Revolution against them and Yerevan’s corrupt regime.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Little girls / Aflleje, Nicholas
“Sam and Lielet are two new friends living in Ethiopia who are dealing with the kind of problems that all kids have: judgmental social cliques, condescending adults, alienation, and a legendary brain-eating monster of folklore. Sure, it’s not going to be easy, but all they have to do is live through it.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hot comb / Flowers, Ebony
Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into black women’s lives and coming-of-age stories. Ebony Flowers re-creates classic magazine ads idealizing women’s need for hair relaxers and products. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfections of identity swirl through these stories and ads, which are by turns sweet, insightful, and heartbreaking.  From her black-and-white drawings to her color construction-paper collages, Hot Comb is a propitious display of talent from a new cartoonist who has already made her mark.” (Catalogue)

Penny Nichols / Reed, M. K
“Stuck working mind-numbing temp jobs, Penny Nichols yearns to break free from the rut she’s found herself in. When, by chance, she falls in with a group of misfits making a no-budget horror movie called “Blood Wedding,” everything goes sideways. Soon her days are overrun with gory props, a horny cameraman, and a disappearing director. This hilarious original graphic novel is a loving tribute to the chaos and camaraderie of DIY filmmaking, and the ways we find our future and our family in the unlikeliest of places.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The dreaming. Volume one, Pathways and emanations / Spurrier, Simon
“Twenty-three years after he was anointed as its master, the lord of dreams has inexplicably abandoned his domain. Lord Daniel’s absence triggers a series of crimes and calamities that consume the lives of those already tangled in his fate. The most senior storytellers are tormented by invasive secrets, the warden Lucien is doubting his own mind, and beyond the gates, something horrific awaits with tooth and talon.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Outer darkness [1] : each other’s throats / Layman, John
“Sci-fi and horror collide in this new series from the creator of Chew. Mankind has colonized the galaxy, but during our interstellar travels, we’ve discovered a terrifying secret out in the Outer Darkness of space. Join Captain Joshua Rigg and the crew of the starship Charon as they encounter demonic possessions, hauntings, cosmic horror and more. Collects Outer darkness #1-6.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Grace : the Jeff Buckley story / DeBartolo, Tiffanie
“California, 1991. All his life, people have told Jeff Buckley how much he looks like his father, the famous ’60s folksinger he barely knew. But Jeff believes he has gifts of his own: a rare, octave-spanning voice and a songwriting genius that has only started to show itself. What follows are six turbulent years of music, heartbreak, hope, and daring. This graphic novel biography uses archival material provided by Jeff’s mother, Mary Guibert, to reveal the young songwriter in the process of becoming a legend.” (Adapted from Catalogue)