Being the first lady? New general fiction

Every moment wasted looking back, keeps us from moving forward…In this world and the world of tomorrow, we must go forward together or not at all.”  – Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.

What if Hillary Diane Rodham hadn’t married Bill Clinton? Well this big “what if” is at the heart of Rodham a brilliant alternative political history by author Curtis Sittenfeld whose previous novels include American wife: a novel an alternative reality version of the life of another First Lady Laura Bush.

Rodham is just one of the intriguing and enthralling books in this month’s new books list; others include Antkind the fiction Debut of Charlie Kaufman screen writer of Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And two titles from South Korea Almond and Disaster tourist. Finally, we have Sex and vanity the latest romantic comedy novel from bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians Kevin Kwan.

A mixture of new releases that really does have something for everyone. Enjoy!

Rodham : a novel / Sittenfeld, Curtis
“‘Awfully opinionated for a girl’ is what they call Hillary as she grows up in her Chicago suburb. Smart, diligent, and a bit plain, that’s the general consensus. Then Hillary goes to college, and her star rises. At Yale Law School, she continues to be a leader- and catches the eye of driven, handsome and charismatic Bill. But when he asks her to marry him, Hillary gives him a firm No. How might things have turned out for them, for America, for the world itself, if Hillary Rodham had really turned down Bill Clinton?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Antkind : a novel / Kaufman, Charlie
” B. Rosenberger Rosenberg, neurotic and underappreciated film critic (failed academic, filmmaker, paramour, shoe salesman who sleeps in a sock drawer), stumbles upon a hitherto unseen film by an enigmatic outsider – a three-month-long stop-motion masterpiece that took its reclusive auteur ninety years to complete. Convinced that the film will change his career trajectory and rock the world of cinema to its core, that it might possibly be the greatest movie ever made, B. knows that it is his mission to show it to the rest of humanity. The only problem: the film is destroyed, leaving him the sole witness to its inadvertently ephemeral genius.”  (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Almond : a novel / Son, Wŏn-p’yŏng
“Yunjae was born with a brain condition  that makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. He does not have friends–t–but his devoted mother and grandmother provide him with a safe and content life. Then on Christmas Eve–Yunjae’s sixteenth birthday a shocking act of random violence shatters his world, leaving him alone and on his own, until troubled teenager Gon arrives at his school, and they develop a surprising bond. As Yunjae begins to open his life to new people–including a girl at school–something slowly changes inside him. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The disaster tourist : a novel / Yun, Ko-ŭn
“Jungle is a cutting-edge travel agency specializing in tourism to destinations devastated by disaster and climate change. And until she found herself at the mercy of a predatory colleague, Yona was one of their top representatives. Now on the verge of losing her job, she’s given a proposition: take a paid “vacation” to the desert island of Mui and pose as a tourist to assess the company’s least profitable holiday. When she uncovers a plan to fabricate an extravagant catastrophe, she must choose: prioritize the callous company to whom she’s dedicated her life, or embrace a fresh start in a powerful new position? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sex and vanity / Kwan, Kevin
” On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa.  But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiance, she finds herself drawn to him again. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bitter chocolate / Lokko, Lesley Naa Norle
“Three girls in search of a missing piece of their lives; three girls who will change their world to find it. In a story that begins in the relentless heat of a Haitian summer and sweeps through the luxurious homes of America’s elite, from elegant dinner parties in North London, to the colourful chaos of the East End, Bitter Chocolate is a tale of the quest for love, marriage and finding a place to belong.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Small pleasures / Chambers, Clare
“1957, south-east suburbs of London Jean Swinney is a feature writer on a local paper, disappointed in love and – on the brink of forty – living a limited existence with her truculent mother.When a young Swiss woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to Jean to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud. But the more she investigates, the more her life becomes strangely (and not unpleasantly) intertwined with that of the Tilburys: But they are the subject of the story Jean is researching for the newspaper, a story that increasingly seems to be causing dark ripples across all their lives.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Double agent / Bradby, Tom
“Kidnapped in Venice by a Russian defector, Kate knows she’s in trouble. But all is not as it seems. The spy offers her conclusive evidence that the British Prime Minister is a live agent working for Moscow. Kate’s holiday quickly becomes the start of her next mission.With proof of the PM involved in a sordid scandal and a financial paper trail that undeniably links him to the Russians, the evidence seems bulletproof. But the motives of the defector are anything but clear. And, more worryingly, it seems that there are key people at the heart of the British Establishment who refuse to acknowledge the reality in front of them.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

International crime inc. New Mystery fiction

Law and justice are not the same.”
― John Connolly.

The wide range and diversity of genres and writing styles to be found under the umbrella term of mysteries is amply demonstrated in this month’s new acquisitions list. We have a Ngaio Marsh shortlisted title from Renée. A couple of Scandinavian noir inflected tales from the dark north. Some more gentle entertaining crime tales from Rita Mae Brown and Mario Giordano. A new work from the perennially popular John Connolly and to wrap our selection up a sensational new Japanese crime voice Riku Onda whose book has gathered ecstatic reviews from his home country. Enjoy!

This is just a highlighted selection of our new acquisitions, to see this month’s the full list, and previous months, click here.

The dirty south / Connolly, John
“It is 1997, and someone is slaughtering young black women in Burdon County, Arkansas.But no one wants to admit it, not in the Dirty South. In an Arkansas jail cell sits a former NYPD detective, stricken by grief. He is mourning the death of his wife and child, and searching in vain for their killer. He cares only for his own lost family.But that is about to change . . . Witness the becoming of Charlie Parker.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Furmidable foes / Brown, Rita Mae
” Harry, Susan Tucker, and their friends are busy planting flowers and trimming hedges to get the church grounds in shape for the big day. But a note of a menace mars the beautiful spring: The brewery owned by Janice Childs and Mags Nielsen,  gets robbed, is this the work of a random thief? Or is something more sinister afoot? When Jeannie Cordle drops dead at a charity auction, poisoned by a fatal weed, Harry’s worst suspicions are confirmed: a killer lurks in their midst. Although she can’t yet prove it. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Auntie Poldi and the handsome Antonio / Giordano, Mario
All the beloved, irascible Auntie Poldi wanted from her Sicilian retirement was time to enjoy the sunshine, a free-flowing supply of wine, and a sultry romance with Chief Inspector Vito Montana. But then her idyll is rudely disrupted by the last person she wants to see on her doorstep: John Owenya, detective inspector with the Tanzanian Ministry of Home Affairs, who is also her estranged lying cheat of a husband. Not only is John’s sudden reappearance putting a kink in Poldi’s dreamy love affair with Montana, but his presence also comes with a plea for help–and unwanted clashes with the Mafia.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Death deserved / Horst, Jørn Lier
“Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrom never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrom’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation.Traces of Nordstrom soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing… (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Aosawa murders / Onda, Riku
“On a stormy summer day in the 1970s the Aosawas, owners of a prominent local hospital, host a large birthday party in their villa on the Sea of Japan. The occasion turns into tragedy when 17 people die from cyanide in their drinks. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer’s, and the physician’s bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only family member spared death. The youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October, effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The wild card / Renée
“Ruby Palmer has been dealt a rough hand. She was left in a kete at the back door of the Porohiwi Home for Children when she was a baby, and then at seven she discovered that Betty who stopped the bad stuff happening to Ruby at the Home has drowned. Now in her thirties, Ruby suspects her friend was murdered,  her only lead is a notebook that uses the symbols on playing cards to tell a story she can’t understand, but there are other clues too: the man in the balaclava who attacks her when she starts to investigate, and break-ins at the local theatre where Ruby is playing  in The Importance of Being Earnest. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Gallows Rock / Yrsa Sigurdardottir
On a jagged, bleak lava field just outside Reykjavik stands the Gallows Rock. Once a place of execution, it is now a tourist attraction. Until this morning, when a man was found hanging from it…The nail embedded in his chest proves it wasn’t suicide. But when the police go to his flat, a further puzzle awaits: a four-year-old boy has been left there. He doesn’t seem to have any link with the victim, his parents cannot be found, and his drawings show he witnessed something terrible.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A private cathedral / Burke, James Lee
“After finding himself caught up in one of Louisiana’s oldest and bloodiest family rivalries, Detective Dave Robicheaux must battle the most terrifying adversary he has ever encountered: a time-traveling superhuman assassin.  In order to defeat him and rescue Johnny and Isolde, Robicheaux will have to overcome the demons that have tormented him throughout his adult life–alcoholism, specters from combat in Vietnam, and painful memories of women to whom he opened his heart only to see killed. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mistry Law and More: New Mystery Fiction

This month’s new mystery titles include the latest novel from author Sujata Massey, best known for her Agatha Award-winning Rei Shimura series. Massey’s most recent work is A Murder at Malabar Hill, described by The Spinoff as “a sumptuous crime story starring a rule-breaking badass in a sari”.

We’ve also got great new work from Berlin and London-based writer Jessica Moor. Moor’s debut novel The Keeper centres on a women’s refuge, and is based on Moor’s own experiences. For more on her time writing The Keeper, have a read of this interview at Crimespree Magazine.

A murder at Malabar Hill / Massey, Sujata
“1920s Bombay: Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? Perveen is suspicious…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Temple House vanishing / Donohue, Rachel
“In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school, the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere, two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, who encourages their flirtation. Then, he and Louisa vanish. Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The guest list / Foley, Lucy
“On a remote island, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater. The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped. All have a secret. All have a motive. One guest won’t leave this wedding alive…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The keeper / Moor, Jessica
“When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police are ready to write it off as a standard-issue suicide. But the residents of the domestic violence shelter where Katie worked disagree. These women have spent weeks or even years waiting for the men they’re running from to catch up with them. They know immediately: this was murder. Still, Detective Dan Whitworth expects an open-and-shut case–until they discover evidence that suggests Katie wasn’t who she appeared.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The recovery of Rose Gold / Wrobel, Stephanie
“For the first 18 years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold. Turns out her mom, Patty, was just a really good liar. After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We begin at the end / Whitaker, Chris
“30 years ago, Vincent King became a killer. Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed. Duchess Radley, Star’s 13-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The lizard / Bruce-Lockhart, Dugald
“Obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Alistair Haston heads off to Greece, where she is on holiday, to try and rekindle their relationship. On the ferry from Athens he is offered a lucrative job, recruiting tourists to pose for and, he later discovers, to sleep with, Heinrich a wealthy and charismatic, German artist. Swept away on a tide of wild parties, wild sex, fine food and drugs Haston sheds his reserve and throws himself headlong into the pursuit of pleasure. Until, a body is found and the finger of blame points to Haston.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Little disasters / Vaughan, Sarah
When Jess arrives at hospital with a story that doesn’t add up, Liz is the doctor on call. Jess has devoted her life to family and home. But she is holding so many secrets. As the truth begins to emerge, Liz is forced to question everything she thought she knew: about Jess, and about herself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The clutter corpse / Brett, Simon
“Ellen Curtis runs her own business as a declutterer, helping people who are running out of space. When Ellen stumbles across the body of a woman in an over-cluttered flat, suspicion immediately falls on the deceased homeowner’s son, who has recently absconded from prison. No doubt Nate Ogden is guilty of many things – but is he really the killer?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The City We Became: New Sci-Fi and Fantasy

What do you do when your past three books have all won the Hugo Award for Best Novel? In N.K. Jemisin’s case, you write The City We Became–a speculative fiction love letter to New York. Jemisin’s ninth novel has been described as “a celebration and an expression of hope and belief that a city and its people can and will stand up to darkness, will stand up to fear, and will, when called to, stand up for each other.” Perfect reading right now! (For more, check out this review in Vox.)

The city we became / Jemisin, N. K
“Every great city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got six. But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs in the halls of power, threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ghost species / Bradley, James
“When scientist Kate Larkin joins a secretive project to re-engineer the climate by resurrecting extinct species she becomes enmeshed in another, even more clandestine program to recreate our long-lost relatives, the Neanderthals. But when the first of the children, a girl called Eve, is born, Kate cannot bear the thought her growing up in a laboratory, and so elects to abduct her, and raise her alone.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

To be taught if fortunate / Chambers, Becky
“Adriane is one such explorer. As an astronaut on an extrasolar research vessel, she and her fellow crewmates sleep between worlds, and wake up each time with different features. Her experience is one of fluid body and stable mind, and of a unique perspective on the passage of time. Back on Earth, society changes dramatically from decade to decade, as it always does. But the moods of Earth have little bearing on their mission: to explore, to study, and to send their learnings home.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Across the void / Vaughn, S. K.
“It’s Christmas Day, 2067. Silent Night drifts across the ruins of a wrecked spaceship, listing helplessly in the black. A sole woman, May, stirs within–the last person left alive. There is only one person who can help her–her ex-husband Stephen, a NASA scientist. As May fights for life, Stephen finds his own life is under threat, putting both of them at risk. In this gasp-inducing thriller, their relationship is the difference between life and death.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The ice house / Clare, Tim
“War doesn’t end. It sleeps. Delphine Venner is an old woman now. She is old, but she remembers everything. She remembers what it is to be a child of war, she remembers fighting for her life and she remembers what the terrifying creatures from another world took from her all those years ago. She remembers the gateway, and those she lost. And in that other world, beast-filled and brutal, someone waits for her.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Sisters Grimm / Praag, Menna van
“This is the story of four sisters Grimm – daughters born to different mothers on the same day, each born out of bright-white wishing and black-edged desire. They found each other at eight years-old, were separated at thirteen and now, at nearly eighteen, it is imperative that they find each other once again. In thirty-three days they will meet their father in Everwhere. Only then will they discover who they truly are, and what they can truly do.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Firewalkers / Tchaikovsky, Adrian
“The Earth is burning. Nothing can survive at the Anchor; not without water and power. But the ultra-rich, waiting for their ride off the dying Earth? They can buy water. And thanks to their investment, the sun can provide power. But someone has to repair the solar panels when they fail, down in the deserts below. Kids like Mao, and Lupe, and Hotep; kids with brains and guts but no hope.” (Catalogue)

Seaward Stories: New Fiction

The ocean looms large in this month’s new general fiction selection. Lemuel Gulliver seemingly lost at sea in Gulliver’s Wife; Captain Cook’s Endevour wrecked on a coral reef in On a Barbarous Coast; wisdom from octopuses in The Octopus and I; a deadly sea crossing in We are Made of Earth.

Also this month: the French literary sensation All About Sarah by Pauline Delabroy-Allard and Love by Roddy Doyle. Love has been compared to James Joyce’s Dubliners, and has received great reviews from the New York Times, Boston Globe and more. Enjoy!

Gulliver’s Wife / Chater, Lauren
“London, 1702. When her husband is lost at sea, Mary Burton Gulliver is forced to rebuild her life without him. But three years later when Lemuel Gulliver is brought home, fevered and communicating only in riddles, her ordered world is turned upside down. In a climate of suspicion, Mary is caught in a crossfire of superstition and fear driven by her husband’s outlandish claims of the wonders he has seen, and it is up to her to navigate a passage to safety for herself, her daughter and the vulnerable women in her care.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

On a Barbarous Coast / Cormick, Craig and Ludwick, Harold
“On a night of raging winds and rain, Captain Cook’s Endeavour lies splintered on a coral reef off the coast of far north Australia. A disparate band of survivors huddle on the shore. Watching these mysterious white beings, the Guugu Yimidhirr people cannot decide if they are ancestor spirits to be welcomed–or hostile spirits to be speared. One headstrong young boy, Garrgiil, determines to find out what exactly they are. On a Barbarous Coast is the story of a past and future that might have been.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All About Sarah / Delabroy-Allard, Pauline
“A thirty-something teacher drifts through her life in Paris, lonely in spite of a new boyfriend. And then one night at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party, Sarah enters the scene like a tornado–a talented young violinist, she is loud, vivacious, appealingly unkempt. Thus begins an intense relationship, tender and violent, that will upend both women’s lives. Delabroy-Allard perfectly captures the pull of a desire so strong that it blinds us to everything else.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Love / Doyle, Roddy
“One summer’s evening, two men meet up in a Dublin restaurant. Old friends, now married and with grown-up children, their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he has to tell Davy, and Davy, a grief he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be. Neither Davy nor Joe know what the night has in store, but as two pints turns to three, then five, and the men set out to revisit the haunts of their youth, the ghosts of Dublin entwine around them.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rest and be thankful / Glass, Emma
“Laura is a nurse in a pediatric unit. On long, quiet shifts, she and her colleagues care for sick babies, handling their exquisitely fragile bodies, calibrating the machines that keep them alive. Laura may be burnt out. Her hands have been raw from washing as long as she can remember. When she sleeps, she dreams of water; when she wakes, she finds herself lying next to a man who doesn’t love her any more. And there is a strange figure dancing in the corner of her vision, always just beyond her reach.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Eighth Life (for Brilka) / Haratischwili, Nino
“On the edge of the Russian empire, a family prospers. It owes its success to a delicious chocolate recipe, passed down the generations with great solemnity and caution. Stasia learns it from her Georgian father and takes it north, following her new husband, Simon, to his posting at the center of the Russian Revolution in St Petersburg. Stasia’s is only the first in a symphony of grand but all too often doomed romances that swirl from sweet to sour in this epic tale of the red century.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Octopus and I / Hortle, Erin
“Lucy and Jem live on the Tasman Peninsula, where Lucy is recovering from surgery. As she tries to navigate her new body, she develops a deep fascination with the local octopuses, and in doing so finds herself drawn towards the friendship of an old woman and her son. As the story unfolds, the octopuses come to shape Lucy’s body and her sense of self in ways even she can’t quite understand. The Octopus and I is a stunning debut novel that explores the wild, beating heart at the intersection of human and animal.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Little Gods: a Novel / Jin, Meng
“Liya, who grew up in America, takes her mother Su Lan’s ashes to China. In a territory inhabited by the ghosts of the living and the dead, Liya’s memories are joined by those of two others: Zhu Wen, the woman last to know Liya’s mother before she left China, and Yongzong, the father Liya has never known. In this way a portrait of Su Lan emerges: an ambitious scientist, an ambivalent mother, and a woman whose relationship to her own past shapes and unmakes Liya’s own sense of displacement.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We are Made of Earth / Karnezis, Panos
“When an overcrowded dinghy capsizes at sea, a doctor is among those refugees thrown overboard. The doctor and a boy he has saved eventually reach a tiny Greek island where they are offered shelter by the owner of a travelling circus. Debt-ridden, the circus owner knows that his most valuable asset is an Asian elephant, lovingly tended by the owner’s wife even as she mourns their 10-year old daughter. The doctor is drawn to his host’s wife, all the while keeping his young companion at arm’s length.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Body Tourists: New Sci-Fi and Fantasy

‘We only do one per day,’ says Dr Butler, ‘so we can monitor everything very carefully.’ That made me feel better about it, which–looking back–was bloody stupid. — Body Tourists by Jane Rogers

It’s hard to know where to start with this month’s new sci-fi and fantasy titles: there’s work from big hitters including William Gibson and Terry Goodkind, the debut novel of The Who’s Pete Townshend and Highfire by Eoin Colfer of Artemis Fowl fame.

But the novel that’s really caught our attention is Jane Rogers’ Body Tourists, the story of a clinic in London that specialises in bringing the dead back to life for two weeks. The catch? The process requires a robust conduit body, sourced from poor teenagers from the local Estate. Check out the Readings review here!

Body tourists / Rogers, Jane
“In this version of London, there is a small, private clinic. Behind its layers of security, procedures are taking place on poor, robust teenagers from northern Estates in exchange for thousands of pounds – procedures that will bring the wealthy dead back to life in these young supple bodies for fourteen days. It’s an opportunity for wrongs to be righted, for fathers to meet grandsons, for scientists to see their work completed. Old wine in new bottles. But at what cost?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Agency / Gibson, William
“Verity Jane, gifted app whisperer, takes a job as the beta tester for a new product: a digital assistant, accessed through a pair of ordinary-looking glasses. Eunice, the disarmingly human AI in the glasses, manifests a face, a fragmentary past, and a canny grasp of combat strategy. Realizing that her cryptic new employers don’t yet know how powerful and valuable Eunice is, Verity instinctively decides that it’s best they don’t…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Highfire / Colfer, Eoin
Squib Moreau’s intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way–like when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him. An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way out. But Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou–and neither of them have taken into account the dragon…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The vanished birds / Jimenez, Simon
“Nia Imani is a woman out of place. Traveling through the stars condenses decades into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her. She lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky. But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Heart of black ice / Goodkind, Terry
“As emissaries to the Old World, Nicci and her companions have travelled far into uncharted territories. Now in the wake of a brutal war unleashed around the city of Ildakar, they must face a terrible new threat posed by an old foe. The Norukai, barbarian raiders and slavers, have been gathering an immense fleet among the inhospitably rocky islands that make up their home. With numbers greater than anyone could have imagined, the Norukai are poised to launch their final and most deadly war.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The age of anxiety / Townshend, Pete
“A former rock star disappears on the Cumberland moors. An art dealer has drug-induced visions of demonic faces swirling in a bedstead. A beautiful Irish girl who has stabbed her father to death is determined to seduce her best friend’s husband. A young composer begins to experience aural hallucinations, expressions of the fear and anxiety of the people of London. Hallucinations and soundscapes haunt this novel, which on one level is an extended meditation on manic genius and the dark art of creativity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Zed : a novel / Kavenna, Joanna
“Lionel Bigman is dead. Murdered by a robot. Guy Matthias, the philandering founder and CEO of the mega-corporation Beetle, insists it was human error. But was it? Either the predictive algorithms of Beetle’s supposedly omniscient ‘lifechain’ don’t work, or, they’ve been hacked. Both scenarios are impossible to imagine and signal the end of Beetle’s technotopia and life as we know it. Zed asks profound questions about who we are, what we owe to one another, and what makes us human.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The poison song / Williams, Jen
Ebora was once a glorious city, celebrated in song. Now refugees from every corner of Sarn seek shelter within its crumbling walls, and the enemy that has poisoned their land won’t lie dormant for long. The deep-rooted connection that Tormalin, Noon and the scholar Vintage share with their Eboran war-beasts has kept them alive so far. But with Tor distracted, and his sister Hestillion hell-bent on bringing ruthless order to the next Jure’lia attack, the people of Sarn need all the help they can get.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Legacy of ash / Ward, Mat
“A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic. Ruling families – once protectors of justice and democracy – now plot against one another. Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise. Viktor Akadra is the Republic’s champion. Josiri Trelan is Viktor’s sworn enemy. And Calenne, Josiri’s sister, seeks only to break free of their tarnished legacy. As war spreads across the Republic, these three must set aside their differences in order to save their homeland.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The menace from farside / McDonald, Ian
“Remember: Lady Luna knows a thousand ways to kill you, but family is what you know. Family is what works. Cariad Corcoran has a new sister who is everything she is not: tall, beautiful, confident. They’re unlikely allies and even unlikelier sisters, but they’re determined to find the moon’s first footprint, even if the lunar frontier is doing its best to kill them before they get there.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Poet’s Ship: New General Fiction

With family like mine, you don’t need to invent anything. — Isabel Allende

This month’s new fiction includes Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea, the story of the ship chartered by poet Pablo Neruda to save Spanish Republicans from Franco’s retribution after the Spanish Civil War. As Allende reveals in her interview with Time, one of the people who welcomed the ship to Chile was none other than her stepfather Ramón Huidobro.

Also new this month are two exciting works of New Zealand fiction: Paul Cleave’s Whatever it Takes and A.C. Buchanan’s From a Shallow Grave. From a Shallow Grave tells the story/ies of Phyllis Symons, whose body was found at the construction site of the Mount Victoria Tunnel in 1931. Listen to a reading from it here!

A long petal of the sea / Allende, Isabel
“Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War. Together with his sister-in-law he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile. When opportunity to seek refuge arises, they board a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda to Chile, the promised ‘long petal of sea and wine and snow’. There, they find themselves enmeshed in a rich web of characters, destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

From a shadow grave / Buchanan, A. C.
“Wellington, 1931. Seventeen-year-old Phyllis Symons’ body is discovered in the Mt Victoria tunnel construction site. Eighty years later, Aroha Brooke is determined to save her life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Whatever it takes / Cleave, Paul
“When seven-year-old Alyssa is kidnapped, Deputy Noah Harper decides he will do what it takes to find her–but that means crossing lines he can never come back from. Finding the girl safe isn’t enough to stop Noah from losing his job, his wife, and from being kicked out of Acacia Pines. Now, 12 years later, comes a phone call. Alyssa is missing again and her father wants him to honor the promise he made to her all those years earlier–that he would never let anything bad happen to her again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Strangers and cousins / Cohen, Leah Hager
“In the idyllic town of Rundle Junction, Bennie and Walter are preparing to host the wedding of their daughter Clem. A ceremony at their beloved, rambling home should be the happiest of occasions, but Walter and Bennie have a secret. A new community has moved to Rundle Junction, threatening the social order…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hitting a straight lick with a crooked stick : stories from the Harlem Renaissance / Hurston, Zora Neale
“In 1925, Barnard student Zora Neale Hurston–the sole black student at the college–was living in New York, desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world. During this period, she began writing short works that captured the zeitgeist of African American life. Nearly a century later, this singular talent is recognized as one of the most influential and revered American artists of the modern period.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The forest of enchantments / Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee
The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version. The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Twenty One Truths About Love / Green, Matthew
“1. Dan wants to do something special. 2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary. 3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure. 4. He doesn’t want to live in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband. Dan is also an obsessive list maker; his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with his hilarious sense of humour, unique world-view and thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to do anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Haven’t they grown / Hannah, Sophie
“All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match. Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches as Flora and her children step out of the car. Except there’s something terribly wrong. It’s the children. Twelve years ago they were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They haven’t changed at all…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Say say say / Savage, Lila
“Ella is not yet living the life she imagined. Her artistic ambitions have given way to an unintended career as a care worker. One spring, Bryn hires her to help him care for Jill, his wife of many years. A car accident caused a brain injury that has left Jill verbally diminished. As Ella is drawn into the couple’s household, she is profoundly moved by the tenderness Bryn shows toward the wife he still fiercely loves. Ella is startled by the yearning this awakens in her, one that causes her to look at relationships of all kinds in new ways…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The hungry and the fat / Vermes, Timur
“Europe’s borders are closed. Beyond the Sahara, huge camps have been built for millions of people who have no choice but to wait. They have been waiting so long that they could have walked to Europe by now… if it didn’t spell certain death. When German model and TV star Nadeche Hackenbusch visits the largest of the camps with a camera crew, young refugee Lionel recognizes a unique opportunity: use the media attention to organize 150,000 refugees to set off on a march to Europe…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sisters of the Vast Black: New Sci-Fi & Fantasy

There are some big names among this month’s new sci-fi and fantasy titles, including Nora Roberts with the third book in her Chronicles of the One series and Jeff VanderMeer with Dead Astronauts. However the book we’re probably most excited about is by debut author Lina Rather: it’s the fantastic Sisters of the Vast Black.

Sisters of the Vast Black tells the story of a group of space-travelling nuns who must answer a mysterious distress call from a recently-established colony. However this isn’t your usual space opera: Rather’s work investigates everything from theology and faith to governance and bio-engineering–and more!

For more sci-fi and fantasy suggestions, check out Novelist Plus in our eLibrary!

Sisters of the vast black / Rather, Lina
“Years ago, Old Earth sent forth sisters and brothers into the vast dark of the prodigal colonies armed only with crucifixes and iron faith. Now, the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita are on an interstellar mission of mercy aboard Our Lady of Impossible Constellations. When the order receives a distress call from a newly-formed colony, the sisters discover that the bodies and souls in their care are in danger. And not from void beyond, but from the nascent Central Governance and the Church itself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rise of magicks / Roberts, Nora
“After the sickness known as the Doom destroyed civilization, magick has become commonplace, and Fallon Swift has spent her young years learning its ways. Fallon cannot live in peace until she frees those who have been preyed upon by the government or the fanatical Purity Warriors, endlessly hunted or locked up in laboratories, brutalized for years on end. She is determined to save even those who have been complicit with this evil out of fear or weakness–if, indeed, they can be saved.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dead astronauts / VanderMeer, Jeff
“Under the watchful eye of The Company, three characters – Grayson, Morse and Chen – shapeshifters, amorphous, part human, part extensions of the landscape, make their way through forces that would consume them. A messianic blue fox who slips through warrens of time and space on a mysterious mission. A homeless woman haunted by a demon who finds the key to all things in a strange journal. A giant leviathan of a fish, centuries old, who hides a secret, remembering a past that may not be its own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

CTRL + S / Briggs, Andy
“Life in the near future’s not all bad. We’ve reversed global warming, and fixed the collapsing bee population. We even created SPACE, a virtual-sensory universe where average guys like Theo Wilson can do almost anything they desire. But almost anything isn’t enough for some. Every day, normal people are being taken, their emotions harvested–and lives traded–to create death-defying thrills for the rich and twisted. Now Theo’s mother has disappeared . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The true bastards / French, Jonathan
“French debuted in a big way last year with The Grey Bastards. Here, Fetching now leads her own band of half-orcs, the True Bastards, and she faces famine and desertion from within and contempt from other half-orc leaders from without. Then real problems come from beyond the grave. The sequel to The Grey Bastards, this irresistibly swashbuckling, swaggering, foul-mouthed fantasy is rollicking, cunningly clever swords ‘n’ sorcery storytelling that’s a shot of pure fun for fantasy fans.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The warrior moon / Rivera, K Arsenault
“Barsalayaa Shefali, famed Qorin adventurer, and the spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, have survived fights with demon armies, garnered infamy, and ruled an empire. Raised together since birth, then forced into exile after their wedding, and reunited amidst a poisonous invasion–these bold warrior women have faced monumental adventures and catastrophic battles. As they come closest to fulfilling the prophecy of generations–Shefali and Shizuka will face their greatest test yet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The beast’s heart / Shallcross, Leife
“I am neither monster nor man – yet I am both. I am the Beast. I know why I was cursed; I know the legacy of evil I carry in my tainted blood. So how could she ever love me? My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart when I was struggling just to be human. And now I might lose her forever. Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast’s heart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Best of Intentions: New Fiction

As a reader, I love when something hooks me in. And I like an inciting event that joins characters that won’t go away. — Kiley Reid, author of Such a Fun Age

February sees a great selection of new fiction: our favourites include Royals by Emma Forrest, Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout and Kiley Reid’s debut novel Such a Fun Age. Such a Fun Age has been called a “thrilling millennial spin on the 19th-century novel of manners” and is well worth checking out.

And if it’s spies you prefer, never fear–Robert J. Harris is here to resurrect Richard Hannay in The Thirty One Kings. So head to your nearest branch (or visit the eLibrary) and grab your copy!

Such a fun age / Reid, Kiley
“When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Olive, again / Strout, Elizabeth
New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is a compelling life force. The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force, and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The secret of Cold Hill / James, Peter
“Cold Hill House has been razed to the ground by fire, replaced with a development of ultra-modern homes. Gone with the flames are the violent memories of the house’s history. For Jason and Emily Danes, this is their forever home, and for Maurice and Claudette Penze-Weedell, it’s the perfect place to live out retirement. But it’s only a matter of days before both couples start to feel they are not alone in their new homes . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Show them a good time / Flattery, Nicole
“A young, broke Irish woman narrates her relationship with a successful comedian in New York. Angela makes her way through a series of meaningless dates in a basement restaurant. Two university students collaborate on a play – but the unemployment offices lurks around the corner. Show Them a Good Time is a collection that subverts types – men and women, their assigned roles and meanings – in modern society. Exuberant and irreverent, accomplished and unexpected, it marks the arrival of a thrilling new voice.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Royals / Forrest, Emma
“July, 1981. London. Shy, working-class Steven finds solace in beauty. Eighteen years old, he dreams of being a fashion designer. He’s also gay, maybe – he hasn’t decided yet. When he ends up in hospital after being brutally attacked by his father, he meets Jasmine, an heiress. Intoxicating, anarchic, fabulous Jasmine. Fuelled by their shared love of fashion, a friendship blossoms and soon, Steven finds himself swept into her hedonistic world, wholly beguiled. However, underneath the glitter and the frivolity, darkness lies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dora : a headcase / Yuknavitch, Lidia
“Ida has a secret: she is in love with her best friend. But any time she gets close to intimacy, Ida faints or loses her voice. She needs a shrink. Or so her philandering father thinks. Immediately wise to the head games of her new shrink, Siggy, Ida – and alter-ego Dora – hatch a plan to secretly film him. But when the film goes viral, Ida finds herself targeted by unethical hackers. Dora: A Headcase is a contemporary coming-of-age story based on Freud’s famous case study, retold and revamped through Dora’s point-of-view.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Catholic school / Albinati, Edoardo
“In 1975, three young well-off men, former students at Rome’s prestigious all-boys Catholic high school San Leone Magno, brutally torture, rape, and murder two young women. The event shocks and captivates all of Italy, exposing the violence and dark underbelly of the upper middle class at a moment when the traditional structures of family and religion are under threat. Albinati’s novel reflects on the legacy of abuse, the Italian bourgeoisie, and the relationship between sex, violence, and masculinity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All this could be yours / Attenberg, Jami
“If I know why they are the way they are, then maybe I can learn why I am the way I am,” says Alex Tuchman of her parents. Now that her father is on his deathbed, Alex–a strong-headed lawyer, devoted mother, and loving sister–feels she can finally unearth the secrets of who Victor is. She travels to New Orleans to be with her family, but mostly to interrogate her tightlipped mother, Barbra. As Barbra fends off Alex’s unrelenting questions, she reflects on her tumultuous life.” (Adapted from Catalogue.)

The thirty-one kings / Harris, Robert J.
“June 1940. As German troops pour across France, the veteran soldier and adventurer Richard Hannay is called back into service. In Paris an individual code named ‘Roland’ has disappeared and is assumed to be in the hands of Nazi agents. Only he knows the secret of the Thirty-One Kings, one upon which the future of Europe depends.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Small Island, Big Mystery: New Crime Fiction

How do you find a murderer on an island of just 80 people when everyone’s a potential suspect? That’s the challenge for Deputy Chief of Police Ben Kitto in Burnt Island, the latest work from the award-winning writer Kate Rhodes.

Also new to the shelves: the supernatural detective novel Night Train to Murder by Simon R. Green. With its alien secret agent and Psychic Weapons Division, Night Train to Murder is perfect for those who like their mystery-sci-fi crossovers. Enjoy!

Burnt Island / Rhodes, Kate
“As the sun sets on a cold November evening, the tiny community of St Agnes prepares for their annual Fifth-of-November festivities. Moments before the fireworks are scheduled to commence, an islander discovers a charred body, and quickly it becomes clear that a killer is at large. Ben Kitto is the Deputy Chief of Police for the Scilly Isles, and with a killer on the loose, he has no choice but to forbid all residents from leaving the island. With a population of just eighty people, everyone is a suspect and no one is safe.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The girl in Kellers Way / Goldin, Megan
“When a body is found buried near Kellers Way, Detective Melanie Carter must identify the victim if she is to have any chance of finding the killer. That’s no easy task with fragmentary evidence from a crime committed years earlier and a conspiracy of silence. The one person who may be able to help is Julie West. In a troubled marriage, Julie often jogs along Kellers Way to clear her mind and escape the confines of her suffocating suburban life. Until one day, something happens there that shakes Julie to the core.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Perish / Black, Lisa
“The scene of the crime is lavish but gruesome. In a luxurious mansion on the outskirts of Cleveland, a woman’s body lies gutted in a pool of blood on the marble floor. The victim is Joanna Moorehouse, founder of Sterling Financial. The killer could be any one of her associates. Maggie knows that to crack the case, she and Jack will have to infiltrate the cutthroat world of high-stakes finance. But the offices of Sterling Financial seethe with potential suspects, every employee hellbent on making a killing.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sorry for the dead / Upson, Nicola
“In the summer of 1915, the sudden death of a young girl brings grief and notoriety to Charleston Farmhouse on the Sussex Downs. Years later, Josephine Tey returns to the same house–now much changed–and remembers the two women with whom she once lodged as a young teacher during the Great War. As past and present collide, with murders decades apart, Josephine is forced to face the possibility that the scandal which threatened to destroy those women’s lives hid a much darker secret.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Night train to murder / Green, Simon R.
“When Ishmael Jones is asked to escort a VIP on the late-night train to Bath, it would appear to be a routine case. Ishmael’s mission is to ensure that he arrives safely. But when a body is discovered in a locked toilet cubicle, Ishmael Jones has just 56 minutes to solve a seemingly impossible crime before the train reaches its destination. How could anyone orchestrate a murder in a crowded railway carriage without being noticed–and with no obvious means of escape?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The man that got away / Truss, Lynne
“1957: In the beach town of Brighton, music is playing and guests are sunning themselves, when a young man is found dead, dripping blood, in a deck chair. Constable Twitten has a hunch that the fiendish murder may be connected to a notorious nightspot, but his colleagues are-as ever-busy with other more important issues. As the case twists and turns, Constable Twitten must find the murderer and convince his colleagues that there’s an evil mastermind behind Brighton’s climbing crime rate.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A death at the Hotel Mondrian / Jager, Anja de
“When Lotte Meerman is faced with the choice of interviewing the latest victim in a string of assaults or talking to a man who claims he really isn’t dead, she picks the interview. After all, the man cannot possibly be who he claims he is: Andre Nieuwkamp was murdered as a teenager over thirty years ago. Yet concerned about this encounter, Lotte goes to the Hotel Mondrian the next day to talk to the man, but what she finds instead is his corpse . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)