Close to Home: Fiction Set In and Around Wellington

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of reading a novel and recognising the locations and events in the pages, because they’re set in your home town.  We’re lucky in Wellington, we have a plethora of novels set right here in the windy little capital.  Here are a selection to get you started.


The wives of Henry Oades : a novel / Moran, Johanna
“In 1890, Henry Oades decided to undertake the arduous sea voyage from England to New Zealand in order to further his family’s fortunes. Here they settled on the lush but wild coast – although it wasn’t long before disaster struck in the most unexpected of ways.” (Catalogue)

The nature of Ash / Hager, Mandy
“Ash McCarthy thought he finally had it made: away from home and all its claustrophobic responsibilities, he’s revelling in the freedom of student hostel life. But life is about to take a devastating turn, when two police officers knock on his door. Their life-changing news forces him to return home to his Down Syndrome brother Mikey, and impels him into a shady world of political intrigue, corruption, terrorism and lies . . . so many lies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Auē / Manawatu, Becky
“Taukiri was born into sorrow. Auē can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father’s. It spills out of the gang violence that killed his father and sent his mother into hiding, and the shame he feels about abandoning his eight-year-old brother to another violent home. But Arama is braver than he looks, and he has a friend and his friend has a dog, and the three of them together might just be strong enough to turn back the tide of sorrow.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

She’s a killer / McDougall, Kirsten
“The world’s climate is in crisis and New Zealand is being divided and reshaped by privileged immigrant wealthugees. Thirty-something Alice has a near-genius IQ and lives at home with her mother with whom she communicates by Morse code. When Alice meets a wealthugee named Pablo, she thinks she’s found a way out of her dull existence. But then she meets Pablo’s teenage daughter, Erika – an actual genius full of terrifying ambition.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mysterious mysteries of the Aro Valley / McLauchlan, Danyl
“A returning hero. A desolate valley. A missing mathematician. A glamorous council bureaucrat with a hidden past. A cryptic map leading to an impossible labyrinth. An ancient conspiracy; an ancient evil. A housing development without proper planning permission. All leading to the most mysterious mystery of all. Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley is a dark and forbidding comic farce.” (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. 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. There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

One night out stealing / Duff, Alan
“Boys’ homes, borstal, jail, stealing, then jail again – and again. That’s been life for Jube and Sonny. One Pakeha, the other Maori, only vaguely aware of life beyond pubs and their hopeless cronies . . . Reviewers found it compulsive and unforgettable, one saying: ‘Brutal, foul-mouthed, violent, despairing and real . . . it can’t be ignored’. In this novel Alan Duff confirms his skills as a gripping story-teller and a masterful creator of characters and situations.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A 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” (Catalogue)

Sodden downstream / Gnanalingam, Brannavan
“Thousands flee central Wellington as a far too common ‘once in a century’ storm descends. For their own safety, city workers are told that they must go home early. Sita is a Tamil Sri Lankan refugee living in the Hutt Valley. She’s just had a call from her boss – if she doesn’t get to her cleaning job in the city she’ll lose her contract.” (Catalogue)

Victory Park / Kerr, Rachel
“Kara lives in Victory Park council flats with her young son, just making a living by minding other people’s kids – her nightly smoke on the fire escape the only time she can drop her guard and imagine something better. But the truth is life is threadbare and unpromising until the mysterious Bridget moves in to the flats. The wife of a disgraced Ponzi schemer she brings with her glamour and wild dreams and an unexpected friendship. Drawn in, Kara forgets for a moment who she’s there to protect.” (Catalogue)

Miramar morning / Edwards, Denis
“In 1947 a young woman is found murdered on the slopes of Wellington’s Mt Victoria. The events that follow create a frightening undertow of corruption, menace, lies and violence. In 1972 a woman in Sydney is blown to pieces by a letter bomb. A few days later her sister in Auckland receives a suspicious parcel at work. What is the link between the two crimes?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Nefarious Novels at Newtown: Now available on YouTube

Recently at our Newtown Library we had the  rare opportunity to hear three of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most outstanding  crime writers: Renée, Jennifer Lane, and Anne Harré in conversation with Louise Dowdell.

This fabulous event included the  launch of two new books Renée’s new book Blood Matters and Jennifer Lane’s second novel Miracle and, to round off the trio in style, we had Anne Harré’s highly acclaimed The Leaning man.

It was a fabulous night: this very special event has now passed into the annals of the past but with the authors and publishers’ permission we were able to film the proceedings.

The very special guest panel featured:

Renée

Iconic New Zealand author Renée was born in 1929 in Napier and has so far written over twenty highly acclaimed plays — many of them works that humanise and centre working-class people and feature women in leading roles. She has also published (so far) ten fiction works including The Wild Card, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards. Her latest work  is Blood Matters.

Jennifer Lane

Jennifer Lane’s debut novel, All Our Secrets, established her as an author to keep a close eye on; quickly gaining rave reviews, the book went on to win the much-coveted Best First Novel Award at the Ngaio Marsh Awards in 2018. Her second novel Miracle has just been released.

Anne Harré

Anne Harré’s debut novel The Leaning Man is a gripping, suspenseful page-turning thrill ride of a book (you are very likely to stay up very late to see what happens next). It is set in our very own windy Wellington and in some respects is a love letter to the city with its perfectly visualised, vivid, and evocative descriptions of the capital. And to top it all, one of the locations in the book is our very own Te Awe Library, with accompanying fictional librarian. The book gathered glowing reviews from the likes of  The Listener and The Dominion Post, as well as RNZ.

Renée, Jennifer Lane, and Anne Harré were interviewed by Wellington City Libraries’ very own Louise Dowdell.

We wish to extend our most heartfelt thanks to authors Renée, Jennifer Lane, Anne Harré, Mary McCallum  and The Cuba Press for making this very special and totally unmissable event happen .

You can now view the video below, or visit our You Tube channel.

Blood Matters / Renée
“Puti loves to run, but she  doesn’t feel safe anymore – especially when she discovers her grandfather has been murdered with a Judas mask on his face  and another mask has gone missing. She’s also  the guardian of ten-year-old Bella Rose, who wants to be a private investigator when she grows up.  Puti and Bella Rose try to solve the murders and who took the mask.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Miracle / Lane, Jennifer
“Born in the middle of Australia’s biggest-ever earthquake, Miracle is fourteen when her world crumbles. Thanks to her dad’s new job at Compassionate Cremations — which falls under suspicion for Boorunga’s spate of sudden deaths — the entire town turns against their family. She fears for her agoraphobic mother, and for her angelic, quake-damaged brother, Julian. When Oli plays a cruel trick on Miracle, he sets off a chain of devastating events. Then her dad is arrested for a brutal attack. How can she convince the town of her dad’s innocence?” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

The leaning man / Harré, Anne
“Wellington. The land dips and rolls, the wind has a life of its own. It’s Saturday night down on the wharf. Celebrations are in full swing for the Westons’ fortieth wedding anniversary. Their daughter Stella has returned from London to attend. She’s now a private investigator in London, reduced to filming errant husbands for court cases. She doesn’t want to be home. Later that night her best friend Teri is found dead in a lane in the central city. Her phone is missing. It looks like suicide, but Stella won’t believe it. The race is on between those who want the phone, the homeless man who’s pocketed it, and Stella.” (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. As Ruby goes deeper into the mystery of Betty’s death she starts to find answers to questions about herself that she hadn’t dared ask before.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All our secrets / Lane, Jennifer
“A girl called Gracie. A small town called Coongahoola with the dark Bagooli River running through it. The River Children – born in the aftermath of the infamous River Picnic. They begin to go missing, one after another. Gracie Barrett is the naively savvy spokesperson for her chaotic family, for the kids who are taken, for the lurking fear that locks down the town and puts everyone under suspicion. Coongahoola is where hope and fear collide, where tender adolescence is confronted by death, where kindness is a glimmer of light  in the dark.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

These two hands / Renée
“Renee Paule lives in Otaki and teaches her Your Life, Your Story and her Poem a Week workshops there. This is just one version of her life, her story, told in patches, like a quilt.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

 

 

Wednesday to come : trilogy / Renée
“‘Wednesday to come’ (a play for 6 women and 2 men) shows the effect of the Great Depression on four generations of women from the same family. In ‘Pass it on’ (a play for 3 women and 3 men) the teenager Jeannie from ‘Wednesday to come’ is now a young woman in her 30s dealing with the 1951 Waterfront Lockout. The final play in the trilogy goes back in time to life in Victorian Dunedin: ‘Jeannie once’ (a play for 6 women and 3 men) looks at this world through the eyes of Jeannie’s great-grandmother, Granna in ‘Wednesday to come’.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

After The Witcher – More Dark Fantasy to Enjoy

Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia from Netflix’s The Witcher

We’re all gutted to hear the news that Henry Cavill is leaving The Witcher; for many of us there will be no other Geralt of Rivia.  We’ve turned to reading the original books (again) by Andrzej Sapkowski to keep the fantasy alive (you can find them here), but what happens when they run out? Rest assured, there are plenty of other wonderful dark fantasy titles that you can enjoy, and we’ve put together a list for you here.  Quite a few of them would be perfect future roles for Henry if he decides he wants to go back to making fantasy film or television!

Prince of Thorns / Lawrence, Mark
“When he was nine, he watched his mother and brother killed before him. By the time he was thirteen, he was the leader of a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king… It’s time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what’s rightfully his.  Life and death are no more than a game to him-and he has nothing left to lose. But treachery awaits him in his father’s castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce, can the will of one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?” (Adapted from catalogue)

The blade itself / Abercrombie, Joe
“Infamous Logen Ninefingers has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian. He is caught in murderous conspiracies and old scores, along with Captain Jezal dan Luthar, Inquisitor Glokta and the wizard Bayaz, who all must try to survive the coming war.” (Catalogue)

Goblin : a novel in six novellas / Malerman, Josh
“These six novellas tell the story of a place where the rain is always falling, nighttime is always near, and your darkest fears and desires await. Welcome to Goblin… ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Master of poisons : a novel / Hairston, Andrea
“Award-winning author Andrea Hairston weaves together African folktales and postcolonial literature into unforgettable fantasy in Master of Poisons. There is magic in the world, but good conjure is hard to find. Awash in the rhythms of folklore and storytelling and rich with Hairston’s characteristic lush prose, Master of Poisons is epic fantasy that will bleed your mind with its turns of phrase and leave you aching for the world it burns into being.”  (Adapted from catalogue)

Assassin’s apprentice / Hobb, Robin
“Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill–and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family. As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rage of dragons / Winter, Evan
“The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. 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.” (Catalogue)

Witches be crazy : a tale that happened once upon a time in the middle of nowhere / Hunder, Logan J
“Real heroes never die. But they do get grouchy in middle age. The beloved King Ik is dead, and there was barely time to check his pulse before the royal throne was supporting the suspiciously shapely backside of an impostor pretending to be Ik’s beautiful long-lost daughter. With the land’s heroic hunks busy drooling all over themselves, there’s only one man left who can save the kingdom of Jenair. Together with an eccentric and arguably insane hobo named Jimminy, he journeys out into the world he’s so pointedly tried to avoid as the only hope of defeating the most powerful person in it. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Red Knight / Cameron, Miles
“Twenty eight florins a month is a huge price to pay, for a man to stand between you and the Wild. Twenty eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern’s jaws snap shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to rip the head from your shoulders. But if standing and fighting is hard, leading a company of men – or worse, a company of mercenaries – against the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder. It takes all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it. The Red Knight has all three, he has youth on his side, and he’s determined to turn a profit.” (Adapted from catalogue)

City of lies / Hawke, Sam
“Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellors charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he’s a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellors family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state. But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising … and angry” (Catalogue)

Markswoman / Mehrotra, Rati
“Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, a highly trained sisterhood of elite warriors armed with telepathic blades. Guided by a strict code of conduct, Kyra and the other Orders are sworn to protect the people of Asiana. But to be a Markswoman, an acolyte must repudiate her former life completely. Kyra has pledged to do so, yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her dead family. When Kyra’s beloved mentor dies in mysterious circumstances, and Tamsyn, the powerful, dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Keep it Short – Short Story Anthologies to Dip Into

We all know what it’s like to have our attention pulled in a dozen different directions.  Between work, study, family, friends, social media, the television, the internet in general, sometimes our attention spans get a bit short and we need something we can dip in and out of easily when we read.  This is where short story anthologies come in handy!  You can pick one up, read one story, two or the whole book if you get the momentum to.  Here I’ve selected some recent ones for you to try.

The city of mist : stories / Ruiz Zafón, Carlos
“Presents a complete collection of the author’s short stories, some of which were not previously published. A boy decides to become a writer when he discovers that his creative gifts capture the attentions of an aloof young beauty who has stolen his heart. A strange gentleman tempts Cervantes to write a book like no other, each page of which could prolong the life of the woman he loves. And a brilliant Catalan architect named Antoni Gaudí reluctantly agrees to cross the ocean to New York, a voyage that will determine the fate of an unfinished masterpiece.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Daddy : stories / Cline, Emma
“In ten remarkable stories, Emma Cline portrays moments when the ordinary is disturbed, when daily life buckles, revealing the perversity and violence pulsing under the surface. She explores characters navigating the edge, the limits of themselves and those around them: power dynamics in families, in relationships, the distance between their true and false selves. They want connection, but what they provoke is often closer to self-sabotage. What are the costs of one’s choices? Of the moments when we act, or fail to act?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dead-end memories : stories / Yoshimoto, Banana
“First published in Japan in 2003, Dead-End Memories collects the stories of five women who, following sudden and painful events, quietly discover their ways back to recovery. In “House of Ghosts,” the daughter of a yoshoku restaurant owner encounters the ghosts of a sweet elderly couple who haven’t yet realized that they’ve been dead for years. In “Tomo-chan’s Happiness,” an office worker who is a victim of sexual assault finally catches sight of the hope of romance. Yoshimoto’s gentle, effortless prose reminds us that one true miracle can be as simple as having someone to share a meal with, and that happiness is always within us if only we take a moment to pause and reflect.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Filthy animals / Taylor, Brandon
“‘Lionel had been out of the hospital for only a few days when the potluck invitation came.’ In the linked stories at the heart of Filthy Animals, a young man tentatively re-engages with the world. Recently discharged from hospital, Lionel meets two dance students at a party. Charles and Sophie’s relationship is difficult to read but Lionel is drawn to them both. As he navigates their sexually fraught encounters he is forced to weigh his vulnerabilities against his loneliness – and to consider his return to life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

First person singular : stories / Murakami, Haruki
“A riveting new collection of short stories from the beloved, internationally acclaimed, Haruki Murakami. The eight masterful stories in this new collection are all told in the first person by a classic Murakami narrator: a lonely man. Is it memoir or fiction? The reader decides. The stories all touch beautifully on love and loss, childhood and death . . . all with a signature Murakami twist” (Adapted from catalogue)

Five Tuesdays in winter : stories / King, Lily
“Told in the intimate voices of unique and endearing characters of all ages, these tales explore desire and heartache, loss and discovery, moments of jolting violence and the inexorable tug toward love at all costs. A bookseller’s unspoken love for his employee rises to the surface, a neglected teenage boy finds much-needed nurturing from an unlikely pair of college students hired to housesit, a girl’s loss of innocence at the hands of her employer’s son becomes a catalyst for strength and confidence, and a proud nonagenarian rages helplessly in his granddaughter’s hospital room.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ghost Lover : stories / Taddeo, Lisa
“Behind anonymous screens, an army of cool and beautiful girls manage the dating service Ghost Lover, a forwarding system for text messages that promises to spare you the anguish of trying to stay composed while communicating with your crush. At a star-studded political fundraiser in a Los Angeles mansion, a trio of women compete to win the heart of the slick guest of honor. In these twelve riveting stories, two of which have been awarded the Pushcart Prize, Lisa Taddeo brings to life the fever of obsession, the blindness of love, and the mania of grief.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The haunting of Hajji Hotak : and other stories / Kochai, Jamil Jan
“A luminous meditation on sons and fathers, ghosts of war, and living history that moves between modern-day Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora. In playing “Metal Gear Solid V,” a young man’s video game experience turns into a surreal exploration on his own father’s memories of war and occupation. A college student in “Hungry Ricky Daddy” starves himself in protest of Israeli violence against Palestine. And in the title story, “The Haunting of Hajji Hotak,” we learn the story of a man codenamed Hajji, from the perspective of a government surveillance worker, who becomes entrenched in the immigrant family’s life” (Adapted from catalogue)

The memory librarian : and other stories of dirty computer / Monáe, Janelle
“Whoever controls our memories controls the future. Janelle Monáe and an incredible array of talented collaborating creators have written a collection of tales comprising the bold vision and powerful themes that have made Monáe such a compelling and celebrated storyteller. The Memory Librarian serves readers tales grounded in the human trials of identity expression, technology, and love, but also reaching through to the worlds of memory and time within, and the stakes and power that exists there.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Natural history : stories / Barrett, Andrea
“A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award-winning author. The six exquisite stories in Natural History are set largely in a small community in central New York state and portray some of her most beloved characters, spanning the decades between the Civil War to the present day.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For more short story suggestions, check out this list on the catalogue.

A turbulent sea: New science fiction & fantasy

clash of the titans 80s GIF

Clockwork owl from Clash of the Titans  Image Via Giphy. 

The human being is a self-propelled automaton entirely under the control of external influences. Wilful and predetermined though they appear, his actions are governed not from within, but from without. He is like a float tossed about by the waves of a turbulent sea. — Nikola Tesla

One of the books in this month’s selection of newly acquired Science Fiction and Fantasy titles is The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola. Set in Paris in 1750, the novel’s plot revolves in part around a mysterious automaton-maker.

Automata have been a recurring idea in many science fiction and fantasy books throughout the years. Automata have been around for many thousands of years long before robots. Moving statues were used in ancient Egyptian ceremonies, ancient Chinese artisans created automata and Ktesibios, the first head of the Great Library of Alexandria, is reported to have built many, including a water powered owl.

Automata are machines that replicate some aspect of a living creature. The full flowering of automata wasn’t till the renaissance period, when the idea that humans and animals are no more than organic machines, put forward by René Descartes, took hold and inspired creators . It became a fad for rich and powerful individuals to commission ever more intricate and elaborate devices from artists, engineers, and clockmakers.

Some of the most famous automata include a lion constructed by Leonardo da Vinci (which sadly no longer exists) that could rear up on its hind legs and open its mouth. The Emperor Charles V commissioned mechanical birds who could reputedly fly and the Smithsonian has a clockwork monk which dates back to the 16th century. Some of the most celebrated automata that still exist were created in the late 18th century by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, a Swiss clockmaker whose elaborate creations include a clockwork figure of a writer who dips its pen in ink and can write up to forty letters.

Automata of course continue to be made even today, for example NASA are considering constructing an automaton to explore Venus – whose environment is so harsh that it destroys electronics and thus rules out the use of robots.

Other titles in our selection include two fabulous and very different new titles from Aotearoa. These are The collections by Patricia Donovan and How to get a girlfriend when you’re a terrifying monster by Marie Cardno, both of which demonstrate just how strong, rich and varied New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy titles are at the moment.

How to get a girlfriend when you’re a terrifying monster / Cardno, Marie
“Trillin is a tiny breakaway piece of consciousness from the all-devouring Endless, doomed to eventually rejoin it. But when a human witch stumbles into her world, Trillin suddenly has a new reason to figure out individuality-one shape-shifting tentacle at a time. Sian is sure important magical discoveries are just around the corner, if she can just get her portals to work reliably. Reaching the dimension of the Endless without being eaten on sight is a dream come true, and Sian is determined to explore every bit of it. For science, of course, not for the strangely adorable life-form who keeps popping up and trying to… flirt? But Trillin’s world can be a dangerous place, and keeping Sian safe might risk drawing the attention of the Endless itself… Together, can this unlikely duo escape the Endless, figure out the optimum number of appendages, and maybe even find love?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The collections / Donovan, Patricia
“The population bomb has exploded. Only extreme measures will save our species. Your Gift is our Future. Claris Millar accepts this ideology because she’s a law-abiding citizen and because she understands completely the urgent, global need for sacrifice. And yet … at the same time, having worked in one of the government’s Collection Depots, Claris knows that once you go inside a Depot, you never come out.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Babel : or the necessity of violence : an arcane history of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution / Kuang, R. F.
” Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years , all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation–also known as Babel. Babel is the world’s center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver working–the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars–has made the British unparalleled in power, as its knowledge serves the Empire’s quest for colonization.  When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide … Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The art of prophecy : a novel / Chu, Wesley
” It has been foretold: A child will rise to defeat the Eternal Khan, a cruel immortal god-king, and save the kingdom. Jian has been raised since birth in luxury and splendour, celebrated before he has won a single battle. When Taishi, the greatest war artist of her generation, arrives to evaluate the prophesied hero, she finds a spoiled brat unprepared to face his destiny. Possessed of an iron will, a sharp tongue Taishi– and a band of unlikely allies– will find a way to forge Jian into the weapon and leader he needs to be in order to fulfill his legend. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The Wood Bee Queen / Cox, Edward
“Somewhere in England, in a small town called Strange Ground by the Skea, Ebbie Wren is the last librarian and he’s about to lose his job. Estranged from his parents, unable to make connections with anyone, Ebbie isn’t quite sure what he’s supposed to do next. His only escape is his deep interest in local folklore, but reality is far stranger than Ebbie can dream. On the other side of the sky and the sea, the Queen of House Wood Bee has been murdered. Her sister has made the first move in a long game which will risk destruction of the Realm. She needs two magical stones to complete her power, but no one knows where they are…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The book eaters / Dean, Sunyi
” Out on the Yorkshire Moors lives a secret line of people for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book’s content after eating it. To them, spy novels are a peppery snack; romance novels are sweet and delicious. Eating a map can help them remember destinations, and children, when they misbehave, are forced to eat dry, musty pages from dictionaries. Devon is part of The Family, an old and reclusive clan of book eaters. Her brothers grow up feasting on stories of valor and adventure, and Devon–like all other book eater women–is raised on a carefully curated diet of fairytales and cautionary stories. But real life doesn’t always come with happy endings, as Devon learns when her son is born with a rare and darker kind of hunger-not for books, but for human minds.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

How high we go in the dark : a novel / Nagamatsu, Sequoia
“Beginning in 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus. Once unleashed, the Arctic Plague will reshape life on earth for generations to come, quickly traversing the globe, forcing humanity to devise a myriad of moving and inventive ways to embrace possibility in the face of tragedy…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Luda : a novel / Morrison, Grant
“Luci LaBang is a star: for decades this drag artist has cast a spell over screen and stage. Now she’s the leading lady in a smash hit musical. But as time takes its toll, Luci fears her star is beginning to dim. When Luci’s co-star meets with a mysterious accident, a new ingenue shimmers onto the scene: Luda, whose fantastical beauty and sinister charm infatuate Luci immediately… and who bears a striking resemblance to herself at a much younger age. Luda asks Luci to share the secrets of her stardom, which is more than charisma. Because Luci is a master of the The Glamour, a mysterious magical discipline that draws on sex, drugs, and the occult for its trancelike effects…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

The clockwork girl / Mazzola, Anna
“Paris, 1750. Madeleine, a young maid with a scarred face and a hidden past, goes to work for an automaton-maker, Dr Reinhart, and his clever daughter, Veronique. Only Madeleine knows the real reason she is there: there are rumors that Reinhart’s mechanical creations are the devil’s work, and she is in the employ of the police as a mouche, to spy on him and report back on his every move. Meanwhile, in the streets outside, children are quietly disappearing – and Madeleine fears for her young nephew. No one knows who can be responsible, but rumours abound around the clockmaker, whose creations seem to defy death itself – perhaps at the expense of the living… ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

DCI Vera Stanhope: New crime & thriller titles

 

British Tv Police GIF by Acorn TV

Image via Giphy

One of the books in our recently acquired crime and thriller novels selection is The Rising Tide by the hugely popular and talented Ann Cleeves. So, we thought it was long overdue that we take a peek into the writer’s life of Ann Cleeves so far, and her creation Inspector Vera Stanhope.

Ann Cleeves is known as the doyen of village noir, an author whose much loved crime books often show a keen interest in, or are rooted in, community. Brought up in north Devon, as a writer Ann initially struggled to find publishers interested in her work. Out of necessity she did various jobs: such as being a cook at the Fair Isle bird observatory, an auxiliary coastguard and as a library outreach worker, all jobs that have informed her writing in one way or another.

Ann and her family moved to Northumberland 1987, and the northeast provided fertile inspiration for many of her books. Ann is a writer who famously doesn’t plot in advance, instead starting with a scene and seeing where the events lead her. Since becoming a full-time writer her books have become international bestsellers: especially in the UK, USA, Scandinavia and Germany. Her literary creations include: Vera Stanhope, Jimmy Perez and Matthew Venn, all of whom have made it into highly popular TV shows. In 2017 she won the highest award in the crime writing world, the Crime Writers’ Association’s Cartier Diamond Dagger for “sustained excellence” in crime fiction. A huge and vocal supporter of libraries, she was awarded an OBE in the 2022 New Year Honours List “for services to Reading and Libraries”.

Her latest book features the indomitable Inspector Vera Stanhope. Vera is a wonderful creation, not your usual detective. Instead, Vera is a dishevelled, near retirement, member of the fictitious ‘Northumberland & City Police’ who, despite her irritable character, cares deeply about what she does and indeed her work colleagues. An inspector who uses her superior sleuthing skills to unpick knotty cases, in The Rising Tide she is asked to solve a mystery on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, off the northeast coast of England.

The rising tide / Cleeves, Ann
“Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island, forging a bond that has lasted a lifetime. Now, they still return every five years to celebrate their friendship, and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion. Now, when one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct allegations, Vera knows she must discover what the friends are hiding, and whether the events of many years before could have led to murder then, and now . . . But with the tide rising, secrets long-hidden are finding their way to the surface, and Vera and the team may find themselves in more danger than they could have believed possible . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The whole truth / Hunter, Cara
“She has everything at stake; he has everything to lose. But one of them is lying, all the same. When an Oxford student accuses one of the university’s professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley’s team think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong. Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department, and the student a six-foot male rugby player. Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don’t realise is that someone is watching. And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The cliff house / Brookmyre, Christopher
“Jen’s hen party is going to be out of control. She’s rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won’t be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone… They think. As well as Jen, there’s the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law. It’s a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed. Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Echo of the dead / Gray, Alex
“After a stressful winter, DSI William Lorimer is enjoying some time away from Glasgow. He and his new friend, Daniel Kohi, have retreated to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands to unwind. But what awaits them is far from a holiday. Despite its troubled history, the mountain village of Glencoe is now a popular resort, famed for its close-knit community, its breath-taking scenery and the warm welcome it offers weary travellers. So it’s particularly shocking when two bodies are discovered in quick succession on the nearby peaks. With a potential serial killer on the loose, Lorimer’s Major Incidents Team are drafted in from Glasgow. It’s clear that a dark secret lurks beneath the wild beauty of this place. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The trees : a novel / Everett, Percival
“After a series of brutal murders in a rural Mississippi town, investigators arrive and discover a large number of similar cases that all have roots in the past. When a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive to investigate a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, they meet expected resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a string of racist White townsfolk. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till. The detectives suspect that these are killings of retribution, but discover that eerily similar murders are taking place all over the country. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

1989 / McDermid, Val
“There’s nothing like a killer story… 1989. The world is changing, and Allie Burns is still on the front line, overing the stories that count. Although Allie is no longer an investigative journalist, her instincts are sharper than ever. When she discovers a lead about the exploitation of society’s most vulnerable, Allie is determined to give a voice to those who have been silenced. As Allie edges closer to exposing the truth, she travels behind the Iron Curtain to East Berlin on the brink of the revolution. The dark heart of the story is more shocking than she ever imagined. And to tell it, Allie must risk her freedom and her life…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The three Dahlias / Watson, Katy
“Three rival actresses team up to solve a murder at the stately home of Lettice Davenport, the author whose sleuthing creation of the 1930s, Dahlia Lively, had made each of them famous to a new generation. In attendance at Aldermere: the VIP fans, staying at house; the fan club president turned convention organiser; the team behind the newest movie adaptation of Davenport’s books; the Davenport family themselves; and the three actresses famous for portraying Dahlia Lively through the decade. Each actress has her own interpretation of the character and her own secrets to hide – but this English summer weekend they will have to put aside their differences as the crimes at Aldermere turn anything but cosy. When fictional death turns into real bodies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The deathwatch beetle : a mystery / Eriksson, Kjell
“Four years have passed since Cecilia Karlsson disappeared from the island of Gräsö in Roslagen. When Ann Lindell receives a tip that she has been seen alive she cannot help getting involved, even though she is no longer with the police. The black sheep of the island, Nils Lindberg, has never forgotten Cecilia Karlsson, with whom he was in love as a teenager. And he carries a secret. He may not be completely sober all the time, but he has no doubt of what he saw out on the bay just before Cecilia disappeared. Cecilia’s parents are desperate, not knowing what happened to their daughter. Yet their silent house contains many things that have been left unsaid…” (Adapted from Catalogue)