The Best and Bitey-ist Vampire Novels Ever!

Anno Dracula book cover

Over 120 years after the release of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the author’s great-grandnephew has written a prequel to the Victorian vampire classic! Dacre Stoker’s novel, Dracul, is based on the original typescript of Dracula as well as associated notes and journals, and “speculates on what Bram Stoker’s early life might have been like had the creatures he later created been real.”

But Dacre Stoker isn’t the first to build upon Dracula’s story: below you’ll find a list of nine unnerving titles that have been influenced by the Transylvanian Count, from Nordic noir to alternative history to a sci-fi classic (as well as one work that pre-dates Dracula by 26 years!).

The historian: a novel / Kostova, Elizabeth
“Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.” (Catalogue)

Let the right one in / Ajvide Lindqvist, John
“John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel, a huge bestseller in his native Sweden, is a unique and brilliant fusion of social novel and vampire legend, as well as a deeply moving fable about rejection, friendship and loyalty.” (Catalogue)

Interview with the vampire / Rice, Anne
“Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force–a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.” (Catalogue)

The passage / Cronin, Justin
“A security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment that only six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte can stop.” (Catalogue)

Anno Dracula / Newman, Kim
“It is 1888 and Dracula has married Queen Victoria and turned a large percentage of the English population into the undead. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction (Dr Jekyll, Oscar Wilde, Swinburne, John Jago), the novel tells the story of vampire Genevieve Dieudonne and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders.” (Catalogue)

Dracula: the un-dead / Stoker, Dacre
“The official sequel to Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, written by his direct descendant and endorsed by the Stoker family, Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew joins with Dracula documentarian Holt to create a sequel based on notes the author left behind. A quarter-century has passed, and Bram Stoker is directing a play about Dracula–who seems to be making a comeback…” (Catalogue)

Dracula’s guest [electronic resource] / Stoker, Bram
“Published in 1914, several years after Bram Stoker’s death by his widow, Dracula”s Guest is one of several stories that Stoker had wished to publish as a supplement to his most famous novel. Join him as he drags the reader out into the hills beyond Munich on one of the most terrifying nights of the year–Walpurgisnacht, or The Witches Night.” (Catalogue)

I am legend / Matheson, Richard
“Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood. By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn. How long can one man survive?” (Catalogue)

Carmilla / Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan
“Predating Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Carmilla is the ultimate Gothic vampire tale. When a mysterious carriage crashes outside their castle home in Styria, Laura and her father agree to take in its injured passenger, a young woman named Carmilla. It’s not until Laura’s father, increasingly concerned for his daughter’s well-being, sets out on a trip to discover more about the mysterious Carmilla that the terrifying truth reveals itself.” (Catalogue)

Readers Choice fiction selections

Reviews from library patrons are a great way to find out what people have loved reading from the new additions to the fiction collection. These selections are highlighted with Reader’s Choice stickers so that others can find great reading material.  You can find slips for Reader’s Choice reviews in new books, or ask staff for one if you have a review or recommendation to embellish the library collection.

Here are some recent reviews featuring an interesting mix of subjects and genres: mysteries, historical novels, science fiction, humour, psychological fiction, thrillers and New Zealand environmental activism.

The changeling : a novel / LaValle, Victor D.Book Jacket for: The changeling : a novel
“This captivating retelling of a classic fairy tale imaginatively explores parental obsession, spousal love, and the secrets that make strangers out of the people we love the most. It’s a thrilling and emotionally devastating journey through the gruesome legacies that threaten to devour us and the homely, messy magic that saves us, if we’re lucky.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Excellent. An unusual voice, but marvellous blend of modernity and fairy-tale, with powerful themes and insight.  Very Satisfying.” (5/5 stars)

Book Jacket for: Stranded

Stranded / MacLeod, Bracken
“Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was suspenseful, gripping and well researched. Doesn’t lean on the numerous clichés of the horror genre which makes it so engaging.  A great read!” (4/5 stars)

Book Jacket for: Hanna who fell from the skyHanna who fell from the sky / Meades, Christopher
“With lush, evocative prose, award-winning author Christopher Meades takes readers on an emotional journey into a fascinating, unknown world–and, along the way, brilliantly illuminates complexities of faith, identity and how our origins shape who we are.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “What a well written novel, thoroughly enjoyed it, well worth reading. Never read any of Meades novels before would love to read more of his material.” (5/5 stars)

Book Jacket for: The last hoursThe last hours / Walters, Minette
“When the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Well written, engaging, couldn’t put down – read all night. Can’t wait for the sequel this year.” (5/5 stars)

Book Jacket for: EurekaEureka / Quinn, Anthony
“Summer, 1967. As London shimmers in a heat haze and swoons to the sound of Sergeant Pepper, a mystery film – Eureka – is being shot by German wunderkind Reiner Kloss. The screenwriter, Nat Fane, would do anything for a hit but can’t see straight for all the acid he’s dropping.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “Was an enjoyable read, especially in it’s evocation of London in the ‘swinging sixties’.” (4/5 stars)

Book Jacket for: KrusoKruso / Seiler, Lutz
“It is 1989, and a young literature student named Ed, fleeing unspeakable tragedy, travels to the Baltic island of Hiddensee. Long shrouded in myth, the island is a notorious destination for hippies, idealists, and those at odds with the East German state.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was compelling.  Via fantasy and fact Seiler deftly weaves a story about East German idealists, refugees and escapists told through the perspective of a challenged young man” (5/5 stars)

Eye of the songbird / Munro, Michael
“What happens when a New Zealand team of scientists find one of the world’s largest flawless diamonds on the last piece of sovereign-less land, Antarctica?” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “A highly relevant New Zealand thriller with it’s plot centred on one of the big issues of the day; climate change.  Highly recommended” (4/5 stars)

The miranda : a novel / Nicholson, G. J.
“The Miranda is at turns a biting satire about the secrets we keep from our neighbors, and about the invisible and unceasing state of war in which most Westerners unconsciously live.” (Catalogue)

Reader’s review: “I thought this book was like a Coen Brothers movie: darkly satirical. The detachment of the protagonist is key to this novel – he was a psychologist turned government agent training operatives to withstand torture. He is not disaffected, quite the reverse, but he is clinical , perceptive and interesting. A good dark read.” (4/5 stars)

The best of the best: must reads from recent fiction selections

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverYuki Chan in Bronte country / Mick Jackson.
A delightful, witty story, with dark overtones, set during winter in bleak West Yorkshire.

Syndetics book coverThe Kitchen / Ollie Masters, writer ; Ming Doyle, artist.
New York’s area known as The Kitchen, where the Irish gangs rule the neighbourhood, bringing terror to the streets and doing the dirty work for the Italian Mafia. The first volume, of this brilliantly illustrated graphic novel.

Syndetics book coverFatal catch : a DI Andy Horton mystery / Pauline Rowson.
An absorbing murder mystery, with plenty of red herrings, and a surprising conclusion.

Syndetics book coverThe trees / Ali Shaw.
A brilliantly realized dystopian fantasy. You may never look at trees the same way again.

Syndetics book coverBlackbirds / Chuck Wendig.Blackbirds
A paranormal hard-boiled thriller, guaranteed for spine tingling reading.

Fiction Newsletter for June

Welcome to the June Fiction Newsletter. With pleasure we have selected the best most recent new fiction received into our collection. With the shorter winter days ahead, we are sure our selections will provide many reading hours of reading enjoyment.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

Our selection of new Contemporary fiction highlights the most exciting new work from international authors. Offering a wonderful variation of styles, plots locations and eras, there will be hours of reading pleasure for all fiction readers.

Syndetics book cover Hide : a novel / Matthew Griffin.
“Set in a declining textile town in North Carolina, Hide is the love story of Wendell Wilson, a taxidermist, and Frank Clifton, a veteran of World War II. They meet after the war, in a time when such love holds real danger. But, severing nearly all ties with the rest of the world, they carve out a home for themselves on the outskirts of town for decades of self-reliant domesticity. But when Wendell finds Frank lying motionless outside at the age of eighty-three, their carefully crafted life together begins to unravel. Wendell struggles in vain to keep Frank healthy. Faced with giving care beyond his capacity, he must come to terms with the consequences of half a century in seclusion, the sacrifices they made for each other, and the different lives they might have lived.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The little red chairs : a novel / Edna O’Brien.
“One night, in the dead of winter, a mysterious stranger arrives in the small Irish town of Cloonoila. Charismatic Dr. Vladimir Dragan is a poet, a self-proclaimed holistic healer, and a welcome disruption to the monotony of village life. Before long, the beautiful Fidelma McBride falls under his spell and, defying the shackles of wedlock and convention, turns to him to cure her of her deepest pains. Then, one morning Dr. Vlad is arrested and revealed to be a notorious war criminal and mass murderer. The Cloonoila community is devastated by this revelation, and no one more than Fidelma, who is made to pay for her deviance and desire. In disgrace and utterly alone, she embarks on a journey that will bring both profound hardship and, ultimately, the prospect of redemption.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The nest / Cynthia D’Apriz Sweeney.
“Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

The Graphic novels collection is an area where all fiction genres are represented, from historical to horror, Manga to murder, contemporary life to crime and beyond. An added bonus of course is always the brilliant art work.

Syndetics book cover Southern bastards. Book one / Jason Aaron, writer ; Jason Latour, art & color ; created by Jason Aaron & Jason Latour.
“Earl Tubb is an angry old man with a big ol’ stick. Coach Euless Boss has buried more bodies under his bleachers than there are championship rings on his fingers. And they’re just two of the kind of bastards that have always seemed to flourish in Craw County, Alabama. When Earl comes home after 40 years, he finds some family business that still needs settling and Coach Boss is at the center of it all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Ei8ht [1] : outcast / story and art, Rafael Albuquerque ; script, Mike Johnson.
“Welcome to the Meld, an inhospitable dimension in time where Joshua, a chrononaut, finds himself trapped. With no memory or feedback from the team of scientists that sent him, he can’t count on anything but his heart and a stranger’s voice to guide him to his destiny.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Shigeru Mizuki’s Hitler / translation by Zack Davisson.
“A master cartoonist and veteran tells the life story of the man who started the Second World War Seventy years after his death, Adolf Hitler remains a mystery. Historians, military tacticians, and psychologists have tried in vain to unravel his complex motivations for leading Germany into the Holocaust and World War II.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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There is another great selection of new Mystery novels this month. Highly recommended is the latest novel from Lynda La Plante, titled Tennison, which gives the back ground story of the iconic DCI Jane Tennison.

Syndetics book cover Death sits down to dinner / Tessa Arlen.
“Lady Montford and her pragmatic housekeeper Mrs. Jackson once again become entangled in a clandestine murder investigation, this time in glittering world of society London. Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Tennison / Lynda La Plante.
“The back story of the iconic DCI Jane Tennison. In 1973 Jane Tennison, aged 22, leaves the Metropolitan Police Training Academy to be placed on probationary exercise in Hackney where criminality thrives. She struggles to cope in a male-dominated, chauvinistic environment, and learns quickkly how to deal with shocking situations without the help or sympathy from her superiors. Then she becomes involved in her first murder case.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Fatal catch : a DI Andy Horton mystery / Pauline Rowson.
“DI Andy Horton is called out to examine a gruesome catch by two fishermen: a human hand. Is it that of missing violent criminal, Alfie Wright – or is he the killer? And where is the rest of the corpse? Soon Horton finds himself immersed in a complex case where everyone has a reason to lie and no one is who they seem. Assailed by doubts both in his personal and professional life, Horton desperately tries to keep his emotional feelings under control and his focus on his work. His instincts tell him to trust no one and believe nothing; he’s not sure, though, whether this time he’ll succeed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

The selection for this month’s Science Fiction and Fantasy novels covers an amazing range of topics. For this newsletter we have chosen three novels, as examples of this diversity.

Syndetics book cover The deep sea diver’s syndrome : a novel / Serge Brussolo ; translated by Edward Gauvin.
“In The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome, lucid dreamers called mediums dive into their dreams to retrieve ectoplasm, sticky blobs with curiously soothing properties that are the only form of art in the world. David Sarella is a medium whose dream identity is a professional thief. Only the dives require an extraordinary amount of physical effort, and as David ages, they become more difficult. David decides to go down one final time, in the deepest, most extravagant dive ever attempted.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Graft / Matt Hill.
“Manchester, 2025. Local mechanic Sol steals old vehicles to meet the demand for spares. But when Sol’s partner impulsively jacks a luxury model, Sol finds himself caught up in a nightmarish trans-dimensional human trafficking conspiracy. Hidden in the stolen car is a voiceless, three-armed woman called Y. She’s had her memory removed and undertaken a harrowing journey into a world she only vaguely recognizes. And someone waiting in the UK expects her delivery at all costs. With the help of a dangerous triggerman and Sol’s ex, they must uncover the true, terrifying extent of the trafficking operation, or it’s all over.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The trees / Ali Shaw.
“There came an elastic aftershock of creaks and groans and then, softly softly, a chinking shower of rubbled cement. Leaves calmed and trunks stood serene. Where, not a minute before, there had been a suburb, there was now only woodland standing amid ruins. There is no warning. No chance to prepare. They arrive in the night: thundering up through the ground, transforming streets and towns into shadowy forest. Buildings are destroyed. Broken bodies, still wrapped in tattered bed linen, hang among the twitching leaves. Adrien Thomas has never been much of a hero. But when he realises that no help is coming, he ventures out into this unrecognizable world, where he meets green-fingered Hannah and her teenage son Seb. Together, they set out to find Hannah’s forester brother and to discover just how deep the forest goes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

With horror, ghosts and vampires being the chosen genre for new “Other Genre” fiction selected this month, reading will not be for the faint-hearted. But with the ever increasing popularity of this genre, we are sure this month’s selection will be welcomed by dedicated fans.

Syndetics book cover The acolyte / Nick Cutter.
“Jonah Murtag is an Acolyte on the New Bethlehem police force. His job: eradicate all heretical religious faiths, their practitioners, and artefacts. Murtag has problems, one of his partners is a zealot, and he’s in love with the other one. Murtag realizes that you can rob a citizenry of almost anything, but you can’t take away its faith. When a string of bombings paralyzes the city, religious fanatics are initially suspected, but startling clues point to a far more ominous perpetrator. If Murtag doesn’t get things sorted out, the Divine Council will dispatch The Quints, aka: Heaven’s Own Bagmen. The clock is ticking towards doomsday for the Chosen of New Bethlehem.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Avery / Charlotte McConaghy.
“The people of Kaya die in pairs. When one lover dies, the other does, too. So it has been for thousands of years, until Ava. For although her bondmate, Avery, has been murdered and Ava’s soul has been torn in two, she is the only one who has ever been strong enough to cling to life. Vowing revenge upon the barbarian queen of Pirenti, Ava’s plan is interrupted when she is captured by the deadly prince of her enemies. Prince Ambrose has been brought up to kill and hate. But when he takes charge of a strangely captivating Kayan prisoner and is forced to survive with her on a dangerous island, he must reconsider all he holds true.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Blackbirds / Chuck Wendig.
“Miriam Black knows how you’re going to die. This makes her daily life a living hell, especially when you can’t do anything about it, or stop trying to. She merely needs to touch you, and she knows how and when your final moments will occur. Miriam has given up trying to save people; it only makes their deaths happen. But then she hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, and she sees in thirty days that Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and Miriam will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Wooooh… Scary stories for Halloween

Ten bone-chilling movies, television shows and books to get you in the Halloween mood. Take a walk on the scary side and then go soundly to sleep knowing that none of these stories could ever come true… Right?


28 days later28 days later.
“A powerful blood-transmitted virus is unleashed – those infected are locked into a permanent state of murderous rage. After 28 days the country is overwhelmed and survivors must attempt to salvage a future; however, the virus is not the only thing that threatens them.” (Container)

Evil deadThe Evil dead.
“Five college students holidaying in a remote cabin are possessed by an ancient ‘Book of the Dead’, or Necronomicon. One by one they become evil zombies.” (Container)

“In a world that has become overrun with zombies, two men must figure out how to survive. Wimpy Columbus is afraid of his own shadow, while Tallahassee is the biggest, baddest, gun-toting zombie-slayer who ever lived. When they meet two sisters, Wichita and Little Rock, the four strike out for an amusement park that is said to be zombie-free. This mismatched group will have to rely on each other to survive, which could be worse than surrendering to the zombies.” (Container)

Cabin in the woodsThe cabin in the woods.
“A rambunctious group of five college friends steal away for a weekend of debauchery in an isolated country cabin, only to be attacked by horrific supernatural creatures in a night of endless terror and bloodshed. Sound familiar? Just wait. With their efforts continually thwarted by an all-powerful ‘eye in the sky,’ do they have any chance of escape?” (Adapted from Container)

American horror storyAmerican horror story. The complete first season.
“The Harmons’ fresh start in a new home deviously twists to reveal discoveries of love, sex and murderous revenge.” (Container)

“Take a journey into the unique and mysterious world of the supernatural with 13 short dramas. Mataku is the internationally award-winning collection of contemporary tales of the unexpected in which ordinary characters encounter mysterious phenomena from Māori mythology.” (Container)


Syndetics book coverThe strain / Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan.
“A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe best horror of the year. Volume seven / edited by Ellen Datlow.
“A sin-eater plies the tools of her dangerous trade; a jealous husband takes his rival on a hunting trip; a student torments one of his teachers; a cheap grafter is selling artifacts form hell; something is haunting the departure lounge of an airport . . . The Best Horror of the Year showcases the previous year’s best offerings in short fiction horror. This edition includes award-winning and critically acclaimed authors Laird Barron, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Nathan Ballingrud, Genevieve Valentine, and more.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWorld War Z : an oral history of the Zombie War / Max Brooks.
“The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMark Z. Danielewski’s House of leaves / by Zampano ; with introduction and notes by Johnny Truant.
“A young family moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Tanith Lee, horror and fantasy writer dies

Syndetics book coverThe British science fiction, fantasy and horror writer Tanith Lee has died aged 67. She began writing when very young, and had her first publication in 1968, at the age of 21. It was not until 1971, with the publication of her fantasy epic titled The Birthgrave that enabled her to become a full-time writer. During her career she published over 90 novels, 300 short stories, poems and works for children. She was the first woman to receive the British Fantasy Best Novel Award for her novel Death’s Master in 1980, this was followed over the years by numerous World Fantasy and British Fantasy Awards. Her last publication was titled Space is just a Starry Night, a collection of short stories published in 2013.

March Fiction Newsletter

Welcome to the March Fiction Newsletter. We have selected three of the best new novels from each or our genre categories to tempt your reading. This month our Other Genre selection features Horror, Ghosts, and Vampire fiction, gripping reading, but not for the faint hearted. What ever reading preferences you have, there is bound to be something to satisfy.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

Highly recommended in this month’s selection of Contemporary Novels is the new novel by Adam Foulds, titled In the Wolf’s Mouth. This novel gives a very different perspective on World War II.

Syndetics book coverIn the wolf’s mouth / Adam Foulds. “Set in North Africa and Sicily at the end of the last war, this novel follows the Allies’ botched ‘liberation’ attempts as they chase the Germans north towards the Italian mainland. Focussing on the campaigns of two young soldiers, Will Walker, an English Field Security Officer, ambitious to master and shape events, and Ray Marfione, a wide-eyed Italian-American infantryman.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTerms & conditions / Robert Glancy.
“Frank Shaw wakes in a hospital bed with amnesia, unable to remember his family, his job, or the car accident that landed him there. Frank’s memory does slowly return: he’s a lawyer in a London-based family-owned firm, living with his corporate-career-climbing wife, Alice. But as the story progresses, Frank begins to doubt whether everything is as it seems. There’s a secret new group within his firm that resides behind a door no one else seems to see. Alice made her name by writing a bestselling business book, but the mere sight of it makes Frank furious. And why does he have such a fondness for the children’s figurine with detachable organs that he found in the closet at home?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe free / Willy Vlautin. “Leroy, a young, wounded, Iraq veteran, wakes to a rare moment of clarity, his senses flooded with the beauty of remembering who he is but the pain of realising it won’t last. When his attempt to end his half-life fails, he is taken to the local hospital where he is looked after by a nurse called Pauline, and visited by Freddie, the night-watchman from his group home for disabled men. As the stories of these three wounded characters circle and cross each other, we come to learn more of their lives, as all are still trying to come to terms with the legacy of a forgotten war, populated by those who struggle to pay for basic health care, and how it is the small acts of kindness which can make a difference between life and death, between imprisonment and liberty.” (Adapted from

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Graphic novels

Another wonderfully varied selection of new Graphic novels this month that includes the first volume in Jennie Breeden’s new semi-biographical series, titled The Devil’s Panties.
Syndetics book cover
The devil’s panties. Volume 1 / Jennie Breeden. “Running the register at a comic shop, waiting tables at a restaurant, this wasn’t quite what Jennie had in mind after graduating with a shiny degree in Sequential Art. As life overwhelmed her and her drawing hand withered away, Jennie made a promise to herself to stay in practice by drawing a new comic every single day. This first volume is a compilation of those comics, from dating and clubbing to trying to make it as an artist.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverDamned / [written by Steven Grant ; art by Mike Zeck].
“A hard-hitting crime noir story. When Mick Thorne is paroled and released from prison, the only thing on his mind is keeping a promise. But in keeping that promise to deliver a message to his dead cellmate’s sister, he draws the attention of the local crime boss.” (Adapted from

Syndetics book coverTodd, the ugliest kid on earth. Volume 1 / written by Ken Kristensen ; art & cover by M.K. Perker. “The misadventures of the Belluomo family and their infectiously optimistic, paper-bag-wearing son. Irreverent and politically incorrect, filled with axe murderers, cults, celebrity stalkers, and a neo-Nazi prison gang. This is collection of volumes 1-4. (Adapted from

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Some new mystery novels for March include the rebirth of the iconic character Phillip Marlowe from Benjamin Black, and the final fiction adaptation of the popular Danish TV series The Killing.

Syndetics book coverThe black-eyed blonde : a Philip Marlowe novel / Benjamin Black.
“Despite Robert B. Parker’s lengthy experience in the PI genre, his sequel to The Big Sleep, Perchance to Dream, pales in comparison with Black’s pitch-perfect recreation of the character and his time and place. As for the language, Black nails Chandler’s creative and memorable similes and metaphors. When Marlowe shakes hands with someone, “It was like being given a sleek, cool-skinned animal to hold for a moment or two.” The title character, Clare Cavendish, wanders into Marlowe’s office to ask him to trace her lover, Nico Peterson, who disappeared two months earlier. The case appears to wrap up quickly after Marlowe learns that Peterson was the victim of a hit-and-run, but Cavendish has some major revelations in store. While the mystery is well plotted, Black elevates it beyond mere thoughtful homage with a plausible injection of emotion in his wounded lead.” (Abridged from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverChilled to the bone / Quentin Bates.
“In her third outing, Iceland police sergeant Gunnhildur (Gunna) Gisladottir investigates the murder of a businessman found tied to a bed in an upscale Reykjavik hotel. He’s not the first man to be similarly abandoned midway through a paid-for tryst. To make matters worse, a laptop containing sensitive government data was stolen from one of the rooms. All this would be pressure enough for Gunna, but there’s someone else looking for the disappearing dominatrix Baddo, a thug just returned to Iceland after an eight-year prison stint in Lithuania… A solid police procedural with some genuinely rewarding surprises at the end. When it comes to frosty crime novels, Iceland may just be the new Sweden.” (Abridged from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverThe killing. III / David Hewson.
“Detective Inspector for homicide, Sarah Lund, is contacted by old flame Mathias Borch from National Intelligence. Borch fears that what first appeared to be a random killing at the docks is the beginning of an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Troels Hartmann. The murder draws attention towards the shipping and oil giant, Zeeland, run by billionaire Robert Zeuthen. When Zeuthen’s 9-year-old daughter, Emilie, is kidnapped the investigation takes on a different dimension as it soon becomes clear that her disappearance is linked to the murder of a young girl in Jutland some years earlier. Hartmann is in the middle of an election campaign, made all the more turbulent because of the mounting financial crisis. He needs Zeeland’s backing. Lund needs to make sense of the clues left by Emilie’s perpetrator before it’s too late. And can she finally face the demons that have long haunted her?” (Publishers description from

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Science fiction/fantasy

Steampunk novels are becoming very popular and Cherie Priest’s latest novel, Fiddlehead is one of three new Steampunk novels that Wellington City Libraries received this month.

Syndetics book coverRed rising / Pierce Brown.
“All 16-year-old Darrow knows is mining for helium-3 deep below the surface of Mars, believing, as do all those of the Red clan, that they are the first peoples of Mars who sacrifice their lives to create a habitable planet for the inhabitants of an overpopulated dying Earth. But when his equally young wife is hanged for singing a forbidden song of freedom, Darrow follows her to the gallows only to be saved by members of a higher clan who want to use him to overthrow those in power. Surgically altered to resemble a ‘Gold’, the highest, most powerful clan on Mars, Darrow undergoes a demanding training and education regime in an effort to attain admittance into the Institute from which the future leaders of Mars are chosen. It is only after he is chosen as one of the top 100 most promising students that he and his classmates discover just how vicious the ruling classes are as they are forced to fight one another in war games where only the most intelligent and the most ruthless can survive and rise.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFiddlehead / Cherie Priest.
“The U.S. Civil War has continued for 20 years because an inventor knocked out Seattle with his Boneshaker engine and stirred up a poisonous gas that is still creating zombies. In Washington, DC, Gideon Bardsley’s new Fiddlehead computational engine has just predicted that the zombies will eventually destroy the human race if the North and South don’t make peace and immediately eradicate the threat. But evil profiteers want to continue the war by spreading the zombie plague and forcing Europe to enter the conflict on the side of the otherwise battle-weakened Confederate States of America. It’s a diabolical plan that just might work.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIsaac Asimov’s I, Robot : to obey / Mickey Zucker Reichert.
“2036: Robotic technology has evolved into the realm of self-aware, sentient mechanical entities. But even as humanity contends with the consequences of its most brilliant creation, there are those who have their own designs for the robots: enslavement or annihilation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

Vampires dominate, but ghosts, werewolves, and zombies are also included in this month’s selection of new Other Genre fiction. There is much to satisfy all supernatural and paranormal fiction fans.

Syndetics book coverBy blood we live / Glen Duncan.
“It’s better to kill people at the end of their psychology.” In the near future, a population explosion among werewolves has led to immense changes across the world. There are now Web sites devoted to werewolf porn, and the Catholic Church has accepted the reality of werewolves and revealed the existence of an army trained to destroy them. That shift poses an existential threat to lycanthrope Talulla Demetriou, the mother of twins who are also werewolves and her species’ battle to survive the New Inquisition.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUp from the grave / Jeaniene Frost.
“Vampire spouses Cat and Bones have faced multiple threats in their world of secret government organizations, ghouls, ghosts, and demons. Cat’s special abilities stemming from her half-vampire origin nearly sparked an interspecies war. With four of her former fellow agents have been reported killed in action, Cat and Bones and their team searching for the missing agents, make a stunning discovery: CIA agent James Madigan has betrayed them and is now engaging in genetic experimentation with a terrifying agenda.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWild things / Chloe Neill.
“Since Merit was turned into a vampire and became the protector of Chicago’s Cadogan House, it’s been a wild ride. She and Master vampire Ethan Sullivan have helped make Cadogan’s vampires the strongest in North America, and forged ties with paranormal folk of all breeds and creeds, living or dead or both. But now those alliances are about to be tested.” (Adapted from book cover)

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Fiction Newsletter for May

Welcome to the Fiction newsletter for May. We have collected the best new fiction from all genres from our monthly selection of recently received material. This month the ‘other genre’ chosen was the popular horror/ghost/vampires fiction. We hope you will find some great fiction and/or a new author to enjoy.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

Highly recommend in this month’s new contemporary fiction is Ten White Geese the second novel by Gerbrand Bakker, who has recently been awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction prize for 2013.  He won the Dublin I.M.P.A.C Award in 2009 for his first novel.

Syndetics book coverTen white geese : a novel / Gerbrand Bakker ; translated from the Dutch by David Colmer.
“A Dutch woman rents a remote farm in rural Wales. She says her name is Emilie. She has left her husband, having confessed to an affair. In Amsterdam, her stunned husband forms a strange partnership with a detective who agrees to help him trace her. They board the ferry to Hull on Christmas Eve. On the Welsh farm, a young man out walking with his dog injures himself and stays the night, then ends up staying longer with Emilie. Yet something is deeply wrong. Does he know what he is getting himself into? And what will happen when her husband and the detective arrive?” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverThe town that drowned / Riel Nason.
“Living with a weird brother in a small town can be tough enough. Having a spectacular fall through the ice at a skating party and nearly drowning are grounds for embarrassment. But having a vision and narrating it to the assembled crowd solidifies your status as an outcast. What Ruby Carson saw during that fateful day was her entire town, buildings and people floating under water. The residents of Haverton soon discover that a massive dam is being constructed and that most of their homes will be swallowed by the rising water. Suspicions mount, tempers flare, and secrets are revealed. As the town prepares for its own demise, 14-year-old Ruby Carson sees it all from a front-row seat. Set in the 1960s, The Town That Drowned evokes the awkwardness of childhood, the thrill of first love, and the importance of having a place to call home.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverLife form / Amélie Nothomb ; translated from the French by Alison Anderson.
“Belgian author Amelie Nothomb receives a letter from 400 pound US Army private Melvin Mapple in December 2008. Normally she would ignore it, but something makes her respond. Amelie hates long letters and hides from fan requests, but agrees to help Melvin commit weight-gaining “body art” as a protest to the war America is fighting. Over two years the two grow to depend on each other’s letters to create a shared reality. All is well until Melvin disappears. Amelie worriedly searches and what she finds is a despairing man who has nothing “left to live for.”(adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

This month’s selection from the new Graphic Novels includes Dicks by Garth Ennis and Denise Mina’s adaptation of the popular novel and movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

Syndetics book coverDicks. Volume 1 / story, Garth Ennis ; art & covers, John McCrea.
“Two unlucky, crude private detectives in hilarious and at times oh-so-offensive misadventures against crime lords, ghosts, and bar brawlers.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverThe girl with the dragon tattoo. Book 1 / adapted by Denise Mina ; art by Leonardo Manc and Andrea Mutti ; based on the novel by Stieg Larsson.
“The late Stieg Larsson’s slick potboiler is wildly popular in both movie and novel form; its tale-disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist and his unorthodox ally hacker/investigator, Lisbeth Salander, struggle to discover the truth behind the disappearance of Harriet Vanger decades before-is familiar to people around the world. Now it has been transformed into a graphic novel, this installment covering the events of the first half of the novel.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDays of the bagnold summer / Joff Winterhart.
“Sue, 52, works in a library. Daniel, 15, is still at school. This was the summer holidays Daniel was due to spend with his father and his father’s pregnant new wife in Florida. When they cancel his trip, Sue and Daniel face six long weeks together. Joff Winterhart perfectly captures the ennui, the tension, the pathos and even the affection of this mother-son relationship.” (adapted from

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In this month’s selection from the new mysteries we have chosen two new novels by the very popular Scandinavian crime writers, Hakan Nesser and Liza Marlund.

Syndetics book coverRatlines / Stuart Neville.Ratlines
“At the end of World War II, several denazified Germans found sanctuary in Ireland, among them notorious SS officer Otto Skorzeny. Best known as the commando who rescued deposed dictator Mussolini from his mountain prison in Italy, Skorzeny set up some of the “ratlines” that served as escape routes for Nazis fleeing Allied justice. Drawing on these historical tidbits, Irish author Neville (Stolen Souls) crafts an engaging crime story set in 1963, just weeks before President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland. Several murders have upset the Minister of Justice in Dublin, a man known to be friendly with Skorzeny. The victims are all ex-Nazis formerly granted asylum by the government. Intelligence agent Albert Ryan is tasked with solving the crimes before they embarrass the country and sabotage Kennedy’s visit. VERDICT Neville, whose debut, The Ghosts of Belfast, won the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller, concocts a believable plot with an intriguing protagonist torn between duty to country and his distaste for Nazi criminals…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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The weeping girl : an Inspector Van Veeteren mystery / Håkan Nesser ; translated from the Swedish by Laurie Thompson.
“For Ewa Moreno, Chief Inspector Van Veeteren’s protege, this is her most perplexing case yet…Winnie Maas died because she changed her mind…A community is left reeling after a teacher – Arnold Maager – is convicted of murdering his female pupil Winnie Maas. It seems the girl had been pregnant with Maager’s child. Years later, on her eighteenth birthday, Maager’s daughter Mikaela finally learns the terrible truth about her father. Desperate for answers, Mikaela travels to the institution at Lejnice, where Maager has been held since his trial. But soon afterwards she inexplicably vanishes. Detective Inspector Ewa Moreno from the Maardam Police is on holiday in the area when she finds herself drawn into Mikaela’s disappearance. But before she can make any headway in the case, Maager himself disappears – and then a body is found. It will soon become clear to Ewa that only unravelling the events of the past will unlock this dark mystery…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLifetime : a novel / Liza Marklund ; [English language translation by Neil Smith].
“Things aren’t going so well for Annika Bengtzon in Marklund’s superlative seventh novel featuring the tenacious Stockholm crime reporter (after 2012’s Last Will). For starters, Annika’s house burns down, and her husband leaves her for another woman. Meanwhile, she has to investigate the brutal murder of Supt. David Lindholm, “Sweden’s most well-known and respected detective.” David’s traumatized wife, Julia, is the primary suspect in his death and the possible kidnapping of their young son. Annika discovers that David, the model policeman, hid a darker side and may have been involved in illegal activities that led to his murder. Annika’s race against time to uncover the truth and exonerate Julia is intensified by multiple roadblocks, including governmental red tape and the ever-changing infrastructure at her newspaper, the Evening Post. Marklund has created a complex page-turner, complete with gritty realism, a flawed but likable protagonist, and nonstop suspense…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

As always the new Science Fiction and Fantasy selection covers many themes and many new volumes in series. Highly recommended is the fourth volume, titled Blood of Dragons in Robin Hobb’s series, Rain Wilds Chronicles.

Syndetics book coverThe city of silk and steel / Mike Carey, Linda Carey and Louise Carey.
“Once, in a city known as Bessa, there was a sultan named Bokhari Al-Bokhari, who was thrown down by the zealots of the ascetic Hakkim Mehdad. The sultan, his wives and children were put to the sword, while his 365 concubines were sent to a neighboring caliph as tribute, Hakkim having no use for the pleasures of the flesh. But a day after the caravan had departed from Bessa, Hakkim discovered the terrible secret that the concubines had hidden from him. His reaction was swift and cruel. Kill the women of the harem forthwith, along with their children and maidservants. Let not one survive. This, then, is the tale, or tales, of how a remarkable group of women fight together to survive both the fury of Hakkim and the rigors of the desert.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverForge of darkness / Steven Erikson.
“It’s a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, the realm of Darkness, where Mother Dark reigns. But this ancient land was once home to many a power, and even death is not quite eternal. The commoners’ great hero, Vatha Urusander, is being promoted by his followers to take Mother Dark’s hand in marriage, but her Consort, Lord Draconus, stands in the way of such ambitions. The impending clash sends fissures throughout the realm, and as the rumors of civil war burn through the masses, an ancient power emerges from the long dead seas. Caught in the middle of it all are the First Sons of Darkness, Anomander, Andarist, and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlood of dragons / Robin Hobb.
“The fourth book of the Rain Wilds Chronicles. Tintaglia, the legendary dragon, has returned, but wounded by the Chalcedeans. These people are still seeking dragon body parts, but especially dragon blood, in an effort to save their despotic duke. To heal the dragon, the new Elderlings must find the elusive silver wells. The younger dragons have matured further, and their dedicated keepers, the new Elderlings, are beginning to gain deeper understanding of their roles.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

The selection for this month’s ‘Other Genre’ fiction is horror/ghosts/vampires and covers all aspects of this popular genre. Included is the latest novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward titled Lover at Last.

Syndetics book coverDark predator : a Carpathian novel / Christine Feehan.
“As brutal as the undead he hunted, Zacarias De La Cruz was a master executioner. Now his stark and savage journey is over. After a thousand years in a grey world, he has accomplished everything he set out to do, his brothers are safeguarded, and each has found a woman. Zacarias has walked the edge of madness. But without a hunt to define him, Zacarias wonders, for the first time in his life, who he really is. The answer awaits him back home in Peru, in the betrayal of a woman who is readying her trap, in the vengeance of an old enemy, in the inevitable consequences of a bloody family legacy, and in the deliverance of a life mate he never could have imagined” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverLast days / Adam Nevill.
“British filmmaker Kyle Freeman is on his last financial legs when he’s offered a deal that sounds too good to be true: 100,000 dollars to help Max Solomon, publisher of the hot self-help book of the moment, make a documentary about a cult. In 1975, nine people were found dead at the headquarters of the Temple of the Last Days in an abandoned mine in Arizona. Among the corpses was Sister Katherine, the founder of the temple, beheaded at her own request. Freeman, who’s given a tight schedule to complete the project, soon gets the feeling that supernatural forces are at work and that his producer has been less than forthcoming.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLover at last : a novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood / J.R. Ward.
“Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another. Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn and has found his perfect match in a Chosen female. Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions, but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage.” (adapted from

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