New and Classic Manga on Overdrive!

We’ve recently added a slew of new and classic manga to our eLibrary catalogue on Overdrive, and it’s available for you to download and read on any device! Included are such fan-favourites as Tokyo Ghoul and Attack on Titan, and the original best-selling science-fiction manga Astro Boy by Japan’s own ‘God of Manga‘ Osamu Tezuka.

Due to the closure of the Central Library reserves are now free, and you may request to pick up an item from any Wellington City Libraries branch. So now is the perfect chance to check out our wide selection of Japanese comics, including Shigeru Mizuki’s Showa: A History of Japan and the latest manga from the creator of Tenkonkinkreet. Just ask at any enquiry desk or click the Place Reserve button when you search the item in our catalogue.

AVAILABLE on OVERDRIVE

Overdrive cover Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1, Sui Ishida (ebook)
Volumes 1 to 5 now available to borrow on Overdrive
“Shy Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with the beautiful Rize. But it turns out that she’s only interested in his body—eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls, which exists alongside our own. Rated: T+” (Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Attack on Titan, Volume 1, Hajime Isayama (ebook)
Volumes 1 to 16 now available to borrow on Overdrive
“In this post-apocalyptic sci-fi story, humanity has been devastated by the bizarre, giant humanoids known as the Titans. Little is known about where they came from or why they are bent on consuming mankind. Seemingly unintelligent, they have roamed the world for years, killing everyone they see. For the past century, what’s left of man has hidden in a giant, three-walled city. People believe their 100-meter-high walls will protect them from the Titans, but the sudden appearance of an immense Titan is about to change everything. Winner of the 2011 Kodansha Manga Award (Shonen) and nominated for the prestigious Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize for 2012.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Astro Boy, Volumes 1 & 2, Osamu Tezuka (ebook)
Volumes 1 to 8 now available to borrow on Overdrive
“Dark Horse proudly presents one of the crown jewels of manga-Astro Boy! Created by the late Osamu Tezuka, a revered animator and cartoonist (who created over 150,000 pages of comics in his career!) considered the Walt Disney of Japan, Astro Boy was the first manga series to be adapted to animation and became a worldwide phenomenon, making Astro Boy the Mickey Mouse of anime-a jet-powered, super-strong, evil-robot-bashing, alien-invasion-smashing Mickey Mouse, that is! Exciting, whimsical, and touching, Astro Boy hearkens back to the classic era of comics and animation, featuring stories that readers young and old will enjoy. This special edition combines the first two volumes of the collected Astro Boy, in one value-priced collection!” (Overdrive description)

AVAILABLE for FREE RESERVE

Showa, 1953-1989 : a history of Japan / Mizuki, Shigeru
“The final volume in the Eisner-nominated history of Japan; one of NPR’s Best Books of 2014 . Showa 1953-1989: A History of Japan” concludes Shigeru Mizuki’s dazzling autobiographical and historical account of Showa-period Japan, a portrait both intimate and ranging of a defining epoch. The final volume picks up in the wake of Japan’s utter defeat in World War II, as a country reduced to rubble struggles to rise again. The Korean War brings new opportunities to a nation searching for an identity. A former enemy becomes their greatest ally as the United States funnels money, jobs, and opportunity into Japan, hoping to establish the country as a bulwark against Soviet Communist expansion. Japan reinvents itself, emerging as an economic powerhouse. Events like the Tokyo Olympiad and the World’s Fair introduce a friendlier Japan to the world, but this period of peace and plenty conceals a populace still struggling to come to terms with the devastation of World War II.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Red snow / Katsumata, Susumu
“Continuing D+Q’s groundbreaking exploration of the fascinating world of Gekiga, this collection of short stories is drawn with great delicacy and told with subtle nuance by the legendary Japanese artist Susumu Katsumata. The setting is the premodern Japanese countryside of the author’s youth, a slightly magical world where ancestral traditions hold sway over a people in the full vigor of life, struggling to survive the harsh seasons and the difficult life of manual laborers and farmers. While the world they inhabit has faded into memory and myth, the universal fundamental emotions of the human heart prevail at the center of these tender stories.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Sunny. 1 / Matsumoto, Taiyō
“The latest manga masterpiece from the Eisner Award-winning creator of Tekkonkinkreet. What is Sunny? Sunny is a car. Sunny is a car you take on a drive with your mind. It takes you to the place of your dreams. Sunny is the story of beating the odds, in the ways that count. It’s the brand-new masterwork from Eisner Award-winner Taiyo Matsumoto, one of Japan’s most innovative and acclaimed manga artists. Translated by Tekkonkinkreet film director Michael Arias!” (Adapted from catalogue)

ComicFest 2019 – 5 minutes with Ross Murray

ComicFest is back for 2019! On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2 to 4 of May at the National Library there will be panels, talks and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on May the 4th and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! For full programme click here and follow our updates on our Facebook event.

First up on the blog we have an interview with Ross Murray, an illustrator and comics maker from the Bay of Plenty. His comics ‘Strange Tales From Summer Bay’ and ’Star Wars 90210’ have appeared in VICE and his first graphic novel, ‘Rufus Marigold’, was published in 2019. See more of his work at www.rossmurray.com
Ross Murray appears at ComicFest with the support of the New Zealand Cartoon Archive

 

Q: What first got you interested in comics?
A: Growing up in rural New Zealand in the 1980s, the number of comics that were widely available was very small. Of those, Asterix made the biggest impression. There was something simple and utopian about that small Gaulish village that I still dream of today. I was also an avid reader of the Woman’s Weekly and for awhile they excerpted Star Wars comics within. They had a pink border and I still remember the crushing disappointment I felt when they stopped printing them.

Q: What is your average day like?
A: I arrive at my studio at about 9am after dropping my kids at school. Usually I’ll start with any emailing I need to do, then waste some time on the internet before I start work. To ensure the aforementioned children don’t starve, this will usually involve some form of commercial project – stuff for advertising, publishing, packaging, whatever. In between these jobs or during them when I’m waiting to hear back from clients is when I make comics and personal work. I usually work until 4:30-5pmish but I often end up doing a little more after everyone else has gone to bed, squinting at my laptop until late in the evening and making valuable ground on my path to complete blindness.

Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on?
A: This year saw the launch of the collected and extended edition of ‘Rufus Marigold’, published by Earth’s End. ‘Rufus’ was originally a webcomic I made in 2016 but I received a grant from Creative New Zealand last year to expand it into a book. The launch in February doubled as an opening for an exhibition of book-related artwork so I spent time over summer working on material for that which included drawings, paintings and screenprints. It was a lot of work but a really fun experience. I even came close to breaking even which feels like an epic victory.

Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work?
A: I usually start with choosing something to listen to while I work. Depending on the task at hand, it’ll either be some kind of music or a podcast. I’m helplessly addicted to American political podcasts. The age of Trump is so distressing and I find some comfort in listening to reports on the resistance and to the sound of the gears of justice grinding ever closer to everyone responsible for that big orange stain. But often it just makes me feel even more depressed. I make myself a plunger of coffee at 10:30am on the dot. I’ll take some kind of break at about 1pm and either walk up Mauao (Mount Maunganui) or go for a swim. Sometimes both. But never at once.

Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration?
A: Other artists telling deeply personal stories. Those who use their art to share something vital about themselves. David Foster Wallace, David Bowie, David Lynch. Basically, people named David.

Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators?
A: There are way too many to name but here are a few: Karl Wills, Dylan Horrocks, Sarah Laing, Ant Sang, Mat Tait, Alex Cara, Zoë Colling, Theo McDonald, the late great Barry Linton, Anthony Ellison, Toby Morris, Rachel Smythe, Jem Yoshioka, Ned Wenlock, Ralphi, the awesome Team 3000 Press. Aotearoa has so many wonderful creators.

Q: What is your dream comic project?
A: Perhaps a one-man anthology? Something with extremely wide parameters and space for experimentation across different genres and different types of storytelling. Artistically I like to work across a range of styles too so something like this seems like it would be fun.

Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster!
A: I guess I’m excited about sharing ‘Rufus Marigold’. In the book, Rufus feels conflicting impulses about sharing his own art and I do too! But every creator knows the thrill of showing something you’ve made to others so I’m hoping that thrill will prevail over wanting to hide in a corner!

Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as?
A: Rusty Brown.

You can find Ross online in the following places:
Instagram: @rossmurrayillustration
Blog/Website: www.rossmurray.com

Divertingly different November’s Graphic Novel selection

November brings an influx of series and some unusual comics that bring words to life. Poets and musicians from Rimbaud to the Smiths have inspired creators to produce a rich experience in a diverse range of styles. Nick Hayes uses Rimbaud’s own words to wash through the entire graphic novel, The Drunken Sailor taking the reader on a journey through the poet’s life. The Tales of the Smiths was a daily strip now bound in a single volume documenting the early years of Morrissey and forming the band The Smiths. Con Chrisoulis has illustrated the lives of David Bowie and is now focusing on Jack ‘King’ Kirby, an architect of Marvel and DC comics who’s iconic graphic style formed the way we see superheroes.

All of these and more are available from your library. Lucky ain’t we?

Syndetics book coverThe drunken sailor : the life of the poet Arthur Rimbaud in his own words / by Nick Hayes.
The Drunken Sailor traces the life of Arthur Rimbaud- poet, surrealist, libertine and gun runner. In dazzling artwork, Nick Hayes follows Rimbaud from his youth in Ardennes to the poetry salons of Paris, from the absinthe-glazed passion of his relationship with Verlaine to his flight into the jungles of Indonesia and the deserts of Yemen and Egypt. Told entirely in Rimbaud’s own words, The Drunken Sailor confirms Nick Hayes’ place as one of the most talented graphic novelists at work today.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTales of The Smiths : a graphic biography / Con Chrisoulis.
Tales of The Smiths is a comic book retelling of the band members’ teenage years, before the group was famous, and includes fascinating digressions about their influences (the New York Dolls, Nico, Sex Pistols, NY punk, Patti Smith, etc) and the times in which they were growing up. The story reaches its climax with the meeting of Morrissey and Marr, the formation of the band in 1982 and their first gig as The Smiths.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Hchom book / by Marian Churchland.
“If you were a goblin, what would your treasure hoard contain? Gems and minerals, biscuits and pastries, fine-tailored jackets, or perhaps all of the above. This mischievous collection of particular delights gathers posts from Churchland’s sketch blog, Hchom, wherein she envisions herself as a wry-eyed goblin and counts her possessions, real and desired, as her “hoard”. The volume is divided into four chapters on larder, closet, hoard, and house, each representing a key element of her cozy, nerdy, bookish lifestyle.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPassing for human : a graphic memoir / Liana Finck.
Part magical odyssey, part feminist creation myth, Passing for Human is most of all an extraordinary, moving meditation on what it means to be an artist and a woman. On a quest for self-understanding and self-acceptance, along the way, she seeks to answer some eternal questions- What makes us whole? What parts of ourselves do we hide or ignore or chase away – because they’re embarrassing, or inconvenient – and at what cost?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMysteries of the quantum universe / by Thibault Damour & Mathieu Burniat ; translated by Sarah-Louise Raillard.
“Famous explorer Bob and his dog Rick have been around the world and even to the Moon, but their travels through the quantum universe show them the greatest wonders they’ve ever seen. As they follow their tour guide, the giddy letter h (also known as the Planck constant), Bob and Rick have crepes with Max Planck, talk to Einstein about atoms, visit Louis de Broglie in his castle, and hang out with Heisenberg on Heligoland. On the way, we find out that a dog – much like a cat – can be both dead and alive, the gaze of a mouse can change the universe, and a comic book can actually make quantum physics fun, easy to understand and downright enchanting.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTokyo Ghoul : re. Volume 1 / story and art by Sui Ishida ; translation, Joe Yamazaki.
“The Commission of Counter Ghoul is the only organization fighting the Ghoul menace, and they will use every tool at their disposal to protect humanity from its ultimate predator. Their newest weapon in this hidden war is an experimental procedure that implants human investigators with a Ghoul’s Kagune, giving them Ghoul powers and abilities. But both the procedure and the newly formed Qs Squad are untested. Will they become heroes…or monsters?!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInvincible : ultimate collection, Volume 1 / Robert Kirkman, writer ; Cory Walker, penciler, inker ; Ryan Ottley, penciler, inker ; created by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker.
“Get in on the ground floor! This massive hardcover collects the first 13 issues of Robert Kirkman’s Eisner-Nominated super-hero, along with all the extras from the first three trade paperback volumes and even more on top of that! Invincible: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 1 is a can’t-miss for anyone who’s wanted to start reading Invincible , but needed an easier way to start from the beginning.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOur story : a memoir of love and life in China / Rao Pingru ; translated from the Chinese by Nicky Harman.Our Story: A Memoir of Love and Life in China
“A graphic memoir like no other- the true story of a marriage in China that spanned the twentieth century, told in vibrant, original paintings and prose. Rao Pingru was a twenty-six-year-old soldier when he first saw the beautiful Mao Meitang. One glimpse of her through a window as she put on lipstick was enough to capture Pingru’s heart. It was a moment that sparked a union that would last almost sixty years. But when Meitang passed away in 2008, Pingru realised that their marriage and all the small moments and memories of a life together, would be lost to history. And so at the age of eighty-eight, in an outpouring of love and grief, Pingru began to paint.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMonstress. Volume three, Haven / Marjorie Liu, writer ; Sana Takeda, artist.
“Maika Halfwolf has begun to unlock the mysteries of her past – but the challenges of the present are only growing. Maika’s journey takes her to the neutral city of Pontus, where she hopes to find temporary refuge from her pursuers. Unfortunately, Pontus may not be as safe as Maika and her allies had hoped. As the impending war between humans and Arcanics creeps ever closer, and powerful players fight for the chance to control her future, Maika finds she must work with Zinn, the Monstrum that lives inside her, in order to ensure their mutual survival. But even that alliance might not be enough to prepare Maika for the horrors to come.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKick-Ass : the new girl. Book one / Mark Millar, writer ; John Romita Jr., pencils.
“Kick-Ass is back–ready to wipe out the city’s criminal low lives, destroy its gangs, and save its communities from decay. But there’s a new face beneath the old mask, a new figure wearing that famous green and yellow spandex. Who is this new vigilante superhero? Who can fill Dave Lizewski’s shoes? Who is the new Kick-Ass? Find out in the first collection of Kick-Ass: the new girl.” (Syndetics summary)

Literature as inspiration for graphic novels

There are many great original characters and stories and worlds built in the medium of graphic novels, and there are also some great adaptions that give literary explorers another dimension to classic works.  Inspired by the recent graphic novel Sabrina being longlisted for the Man Booker, we have a list of some ‘literary’ titles for you.

Beginning with The Graphic Canon 1 and 2:

The graphic canon. Volume 1, From the epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to Dangerous liaisons 

The graphic canon. Volume 2, From “Kubla Khan” to the Brontë Sisters to The picture of Dorian Gray

These volumes have a wealth of content and contributors.  From folk tales to classic novels; contemporary artists to historical visionaries. Volume 2 includes William Blake with his own images and words. Such an incredible overview!

Don Quixote. Volume1 / Davis, Rob
“A mixture of reality and illusion, this is the story of the besotted Don Quixote and his down-to-earth companion, the faithful Sancho Panza, who set out to right the world’s wrongs in knightly combat. The narrative moves from philosophical speculation to broad comedy.” (Catalogue)

Herman Melville’s Moby Dick / Chabouté
“In striking black-and-white illustrations, Chaboute retells the story of the Great American Novel. Captain Ahab strikes out on a voyage, obsessively seeking revenge on the great white whale that took his leg.” (Catalogue)

The rime of the modern mariner / Hayes, Nick
“This graphic novel recasts the shimmering horror of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous story into a contemporary context. A mariner appears on a park bench and begins his tale. Cursed by an albatross he slew whilst hunting whales, the mariner and his crew find themselves stranded within the North Pacific Garbage Patch: a vast, hypoxic, slow-whirling maelstrom of plastic waste; a hidden repository for the world’s litter. Along the way, he meets various characters of our current environmental tragedy: a lady made of oil, a deserted ghost-ship drilling barge, a 2-inch salp (the human race’s oceanic ancestor), a blue whale and a hermit. (Catalogue)

The Canterbury tales / Chwast, Seymour
“Accompany a band of merry medieval pilgrims as they make their way-on motorcycles, of course-to Canterbury. Meeting at the Tabard Inn, the travelers, including a battle-worn knight, a sweetly pretentious prioress, the bawdy Wife of Bath, and an emaciated scholar-clerk, come up with a plan to pass time on the journey to Thomas a Becket’s shrine by telling stories.  Chwast’s illustrations relate tales of trust and treachery, of piety and bawdiness, in an engaging style that will appeal to those who have enjoyed The Canterbury Tales for years, and those for whom this is a first, delectable introduction.” (Catalogue)

The life and opinions of Tristram Shandy, gentleman / Rowson, Martin
“A novel about writing a novel is the subject of this complex classic which has been described as the greatest shaggy dog story in the English language.” (Catalogue)

Howl : a graphic novel / Ginsberg, Allen
The original by Allen Ginsberg caused such a ruckus, there were arrests, an obscenity trial, censorship trials and seizure of material.  Now you can decide for yourself, in colour!

Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and loathing in Las Vegas : a savage journey to the heart of the American dream / Little, Troy
“Records the experiences of a free-lance writer who embarked on a zany journey into the drug culture.” (Catalogue)

…and we finish up with an author from Aotearoa New Zealand: Sarah Laing’s memoir Mansfield and Me looks at the way literature can affect and influence our lives

Mansfield and me : a graphic memoir / Laing, Sarah
“Katherine Mansfield is a literary giant in New Zealand-but she had to leave the country to become one… She was as famous for her letters and diaries as for her short stories. Sarah Laing wanted to be a real writer, too. A writer as famous as Katherine Mansfield, but not as tortured. Mansfield and Me charts her journey towards publication and parenthood against Mansfield’s dramatic story, set in London, Paris, New York and New Zealand. Part memoir, part biography, part fantasy, it examines how our lives connect to those of our personal heroes. Sarah Laing’s gorgeous, playful drawings and self-deprecating humour lightly mask a complex meditation on writing, celebrity and the conscious construction of self. A very New Zealand coming-of-age story.” (adapted from catalogue)

A ComicFest recommendation: NZ Book Council

This year’s ComicFest has once again been lucky enough to have the backing of the NZ book Council. They’ve kindly sponsored cartoonist and novelist Sarah Laing for Free comic book day involvement on the 2nd of May. Here’s a NZ book council recommendation with some help in drafting from the Book council’s very own Lynette.

The fall of light“If you are looking to swot up before ComicFest hits Wellington City Library delve to the bottom of this article to discover Graphic Novelist, Rachel Fenton’s recommended reading list. Beneath the barrage of Hairy MacLary and Maurice Gee, Rachel has gone in to bat for the fantastic comic book and graphic novel creators of Aotearoa.

Included in her top reads is Sarah Laing’s, The Fall of Light and upcoming anthology Three Words; an Anthology of New Zealand Women Comics and Cartoonists, edited by Indira Neville, Sarah Laing and Rae Joyce.

Check out the books, then check in at the City Library on Saturday 2 May from 1.00pm to meet the editors and creators of these truly awesome works.”

Fiction newsletter for May

Welcome to the Fiction Newsletter for May. We have selected the best and the most highly recommend fiction from the new additions to our collection rev to our received this month. In our ‘Other Genre’ category we feature New Zealand writers. This month there are many first novels from some exciting talented new authors. We hope you will enjoy many hours of pleasurable reading.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

So many great new novels in this month’s selection of new Contemporary Fiction, that deciding on just three to tempt was difficult. But Jo Nesbo fans will be pleased to see his new novel, titled, The son has been included.

Syndetics book coverEvery day is for the thief : fiction / Teju Cole with photos by the author.
“Set in contemporary Lagos, Nigeria, the novel follows a nameless narrator’s visit to his homeland after a lengthy stay in the United States. Estranged from his mother and unemotional about his father’s death, the protagonist seeks his humanity and redemption in art. Lagos, the home of numerous Internet scams and frequent power cuts-possesses a violence that both disgusts his protagonist and fascinates him. The narrator details a Nigeria that is violent and corrupt, but also multi-cultural and alive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe truth about the Harry Quebert affair / Joël Dicker ; translated from the French by Sam Taylor.
“Marcus Goldman, a successful young novelist, visits Somerset to see his mentor, Harry Quebert, one of the country’s most respected writers, and to find a cure for his writer’s block as his publisher’s deadline looms. But Marcus’s plans are violently upended when Harry is suddenly and sensationally implicated in the cold-case murder of Nola Kellergan.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe son / Jo Nesbø ; translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund.
“As a teenager, Sonny Lofthus learns of his father’s death, the circumstances of which disgrace his family and catapult Sonny into despair. To cope with his loss, Sonny seeks escape through heroin and at age 18 admits to crimes he did not commit. As payment for his confession, corrupt Oslo prison staff, lawyers, and a priest supply Sonny with a steady stream of heroin. Then, 12 years later, the same faction threatens to cut off Sonny’s heroin supply unless he confesses to a murder. At the same time, a fellow inmate provides Sonny with new information about his father’s death. Sonny breaks out of prison to make the people responsible pay for their treachery. While Oslo police search for Sonny, he untangles a web of corruption throughout the city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Read more

Graphic novels

Very casual, the title of the first collection of work by Canadian Michael DeForge, is highly recommended and is included as one of the best Graphic Novels from this month’s selection of new material.

Syndetics book coverGod hates astronauts. Volume 1, The head that wouldn’t die! / written and illustrated by Ryan Browne.
“Conceived during a 24-hour comic creating exercise before evolving into a Webcomic, which then spurred a successful Kickstarter campaign to produce a hardcover collection, this comic has now been repackaged with many bonuses. The heroic team-known as The Power Persons Five-is hired by NASA for a mission, but often are anything but heroic as they confront all manner of strange enemies, from voodoo space bears to decapitated ghost cow heads.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVery casual / Michael DeForge.
“Prolific young Canadian-born avant-garde artist DeForge has become one of his generation’s most admired cartoonists, and this is his first sizable collection. Most of the work here has appeared in a barrage of mini-comics, small-press publications and Web comics. Many of DeForge’s comics center on body horror: in “Sweet Tat,” a popular band is made up of ugly lumps of flesh who infect their fans with a terrible disease, and some of the wordless comics deal with bodies that morph in more or less disturbing ways.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHip hop family tree [1] : 1970s-1981 / Ed Piskor.
“Originating as a webcomic serialized at Boing Boing, this oversize volume is an epic, exhaustive chronicle of the most culturally impactful popular music movement of the past four decades. With its roots embedded in the streets of 1970s New York City, hip-hop and rap slowly germinated as a DIY urban party phenomenon, weaving a powerful funky spell among the Big Apple’s people of color. Local deejays and rappers were catapulted into the scene’s spotlight overnight, and the battles for performance supremacy honed the skills of the form’s progenitors at parties and clubs, which soon led the sounds they created to be recorded and distributed on bootleg vinyl. As the movement grew, so too did its visibility, and the rest is international pop-culture history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Read more

Mysteries

The new mysteries for May include fiction from many popular authors, including Donna Leon and John Lescroart

Syndetics book coverThe keeper : a novel / by John Lescroart.
“In the latest Dismas Hardy legal thriller, a missing-persons case gets very complicated, very fast. Hal Chase is a guard at the San Francisco County Jail; one night, while he’s out at the airport picking up a relative, his wife, Katie, disappears from their home. Hal is soon picked up by police as the prime suspect. Because Katie was a client of Hardy’s marriage-counselor wife, Hal wants Dismas to take his case. Hardy asks his old pal, former homicide cop Abe Glitsky, to pitch in with the investigative legwork. Glitsky soon uncovers some serious holes in Hal Chase’s story his alibi, for instance, is very shaky and when Katie’s body is found, and her husband is arrested for the murder, Dismas wonders if he could possibly be defending a guilty man, while Glitsky wonders if he’ll come out of this case alive. Lescroart has occupied a chair at the head table of the legal-thriller society for quite awhile, and this smartly plotted, sharply written novel will do nothing to dislodge him from that lofty perch.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWolf / by Mo Hayder.
“In Hayder’s best Jack Caffery thriller yet, a worn-out Jack is feeling all the years he has put into police service and his never-ending quest to find out what happened to his long-lost brother. The novel opens with a young girl finding a stray dog with a ripped note tucked into its collar that states, “Help us.” A vagrant known as the Walking Man witnesses this and promises the young girl that he will help the dog. Never one to give out information willingly, the Walking Man surprisingly contacts Jack-offering up a trade: find out who needs help and, in return, the Walking Man will give Jack some closure about his brother. This deal with the devil sets off a home invasion novel unlike no other. The Anchor-Ferrers, a wealthy family with secrets and issues of their own, are being held hostage in their estate. Will Jack find them in time? And why was this family chosen in the first place? VERDICT Dark and twisty, this gripping crime novel by an Edgar Award winner is an outstanding read, whether Jack is a new character to the reader or an old friend.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBy its cover / Donna Leon.“Donna Leon’s critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti series has attracted readers the world over with the beauty of its setting, the humanity of its characters, and its fearlessness in exploring politics, morality, and contemporary Italian culture. In the pages of Leon’s novels, the beloved conversations of the Brunetti family have drawn on topics of art and literature, but books are at the heart of this novel in a way they never have been before. One afternoon, Commissario Guido Brunetti gets a frantic call from the director of a prestigious Venetian library. Someone has stolen pages out of several rare books. After a round of questioning, the case seems clear: the culprit must be the man who requested the volumes, an American professor from a Kansas university. The only problem—the man fled the library earlier that day, and after checking his credentials, the American professor doesn’t exist. As the investigation proceeds, the suspects multiply. And when a seemingly harmless theologian, who had spent years reading at the library turns up brutally murdered, Brunetti must question his expectations about what makes a man innocent, or guilty.” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)

Read more

Science fiction/fantasy

The highly recommended, Descent by Ken MacLeod is included in the best of the best Science Fiction and Fantasy selection.

Syndetics book coverThe long tomorrow / Leigh Brackett. “One of the original novels of post-nuclear holocaust America, published in 1955, The Long Tomorrow is considered by many to be one of the finest science fiction novels ever written on the subject. Len and Esau are young cousins living decades after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization as we know. The rulers of the post-war community have forbidden the existence of large towns and consider technology evil. ** However Len and Esau long for more than their simple agrarian existence. Rumors of mythical Bartorstown, perhaps the last city in existence, encourage the boys to embark on a journey of discovery and adventure that will call into question not only firmly held beliefs, but the boys’ own personal convictions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe chemickal marriage / G.W. Dahlquist. “The follow up to The Glass Book of Dream Eaters and The Dark Volume. Miss Temple, young, wealthy and far away from home, never wanted to be a heroine. Yet her fiancé is dead (admittedly, by her own hand), her companions slain and her nemesis, the terrifyingly wicked Contessa Lacquer-Sforza, escaped. It falls on her tiny shoulders to destroy a deadly cabal whose alchemy threatens to enslave the world. Miss Temple plots her revenge. But Dr Svenson and Cardinal Chang are alive, barely, their bodies corrupted by the poisonous blue glass. Wounded and outnumbered, Miss Temple, Dr Svenson and Cardinal Chang pursue their enemies through city slums and glittering palaces as they fight to prevent the cabal’s crushing dominion and unholy marriage between man and machine.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverDescent / Ken MacLeod.
“How far would you go for the truth? Ball lightning, weather balloons, secret military aircraft, Ryan knows all the justifications for UFO sightings. But when something falls out of the sky on the hills near his small Scottish town, he finds his cynicism can’t identify or explain the phenomenon. And in a future where nothing is a secret, where everything is recorded on CCTV or reported online, why can he find no evidence of the UFO, nor anything to shed light on what occurred? Is it the political revolutionaries, is it the government or is it aliens themselves who are creating the cover-up? Or does the very idea of a cover-up hide the biggest secret of all?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

An amazing selection of New Zealand fiction features in this month’s ‘Other Genre’ category that includes some great new talented writers.

Syndetics book coverGlacier murder : a Philippa Barnes mystery / Trish McCormack.
“Glacier guide sleuth Philippa Barnes investigates a murder in New Zealand’s Westland National Park. What do you do when you need to escape from your life? Vivien Revell didn’t intend to die. She was conflicted and scared but she was also creative and clever. She should have been able to get away but years later Philippa discovers her mangled body in a crevasse on the Franz Josef Glacier. It looks like an accident but Vivien’s friend Julia is convinced she was murdered and persuades Philippa to investigate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe road from midnight / Wendyl Nissen.
“Magazine editor Jane Lyndhurst has it all: a gorgeous . younger celebrity husband, a glamorous, fulfilling career and a beautiful, healthy daughter. But on the overnight train from Paris to Venice her five-year-old daughter Charlotte goes missing. As her life crumbles about her Jane refuses to leave Venice, clinging to a seemingly irrational belief that her daughter is alive somewhere out there.” (Adapted from book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe bright side of my condition / Charlotte Randall.
“Based on the true story of four convicts who spent nearly a decade on the Snares Islands in the early nineteenth century” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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