New Books July 2018

Fiction

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
Told in three distinct and uniquely compelling sections, Asymmetry explores the imbalances that spark and sustain many of our most dramatic human relations: inequities in age, power, talent, wealth, fame, geography, and justice.

The first section, “Folly,” tells the story of Alice, a young American editor, and her relationship with the famous and much older writer Ezra Blazer. A tender and exquisite account of an unexpected romance that takes place in New York during the early years of the Iraq War, “Folly” also suggests an aspiring novelist’s coming-of-age.

By contrast, “Madness” is narrated by Amar, an Iraqi-American man who, on his way to visit his brother in Kurdistan, is detained by immigration officers and spends the last weekend of 2008 in a holding room in Heathrow. These two seemingly disparate stories gain resonance as their perspectives interact and overlap, with yet new implications for their relationship revealed in an unexpected coda.

Census: A Novel by Jesse Ball
When a widower receives notice from a doctor that he doesn’t have long left to live, he is struck by the question of who will care for his adult son—a son whom he fiercely loves, a boy with Down syndrome. With no recourse in mind, and with a desire to see the country on one last trip, the man signs up as a census taker for a mysterious governmental bureau and leaves town with his son.

Traveling into the country, through towns named only by ascending letters of the alphabet, the man and his son encounter a wide range of human experience. While some townspeople welcome them into their homes, others who bear the physical brand of past censuses on their ribs are wary of their presence. When they press toward the edges of civilization, the landscape grows wilder, and the towns grow farther apart and more blighted by industrial decay. As they approach “Z,” the man must confront a series of questions: What is the purpose of the census? Is he complicit in its mission? And just how will he learn to say good-bye to his son?

The Devils’ Dance by Hamid Ismailov
The Devils’ Dance – by an author banned in Uzbekistan for twenty-seven years – brings to life the extraordinary culture of 19th century Turkestan.

On New Year’s Eve 1938, the writer Abdulla Qodiriy is taken from his home by the Soviet secret police and thrown into a Tashkent prison. There, to distract himself from the physical and psychological torment of beatings and mindless interrogations, he attempts to mentally reconstruct the novel he was writing at the time of his arrest – based on the tragic life of the Uzbek poet-queen Oyxon, married to three khans in succession, and living as Abdulla now does, with the threat of execution hanging over her. As he gets to know his cellmates, Abdulla discovers that the Great Game of Oyxon’s time, when English and Russian spies infiltrated the courts of Central Asia, has echoes in the 1930s present, but as his identification with his protagonist increases and past and present overlap it seems that Abdulla’s inability to tell fact from fiction will be his undoing.

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi—a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local café—collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial. But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking criminal who, though shot, cannot be killed. Hadi soon realizes he’s created a monster, one that needs human flesh to survive—first from the guilty, and then from anyone in its path.

Winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction
Winner of France’s Grand Prize for Fantasy

The Last of the Greenwoods by Clare Morrall
In a field outside Bromsgrove, two elderly brothers live in adjoining railway carriages. No one visits and they never speak to each other. Until the day Zohra Dasgupta, a young postwoman, delivers an extraordinary letter – from a woman claiming to be the sister they thought had been murdered fifty years earlier.

So begins an intriguing tale: is this woman an impostor? If she’s not, what did happen all those years ago? And why are the brothers such recluses? Then there’s Zohra. Once a bright, outgoing teenager, the only friend she will see from her schooldays is laidback Crispin, who has roped her in to the restoration of an old railway line on his father’s land. For which, as it happens, they need some carriages.

With wry humour and a cast of characters as delightful as they are damaged, Clare Morrall tells an engrossing story of past misdeeds and present reckoning, which shows that for all the wrong turnings we might take, sometimes it is possible to retrace our steps.

 

Mystery / Thriller

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
A beautiful young teacher has been murdered, her body found in the lake, strewn with red roses. Local policewoman Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock pushes to be assigned to the case, concealing the fact that she knew the murdered woman in high school years before.

But that’s not all Gemma’s trying to hide. As the investigation digs deeper into the victim’s past, other secrets threaten to come to light, secrets that were supposed to remain buried. The lake holds the key to solving the murder, but it also has the power to drag Gemma down into its dark depths.

The Devil’s Dice by Roz Watkins
A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face ribboned with scratches.

Amidst rumours of a local curse, DI Meg Dalton is convinced this is cold-blooded murder. There’s just one catch – chiselled into the cave wall above the body is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century.

As Meg battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, it’s clear someone knows her secrets. The murderer is playing games with Meg – and the dice are loaded.

Money in the Morgue: The New Inspector Alleyn Mystery by Stella Duffy and Ngaio Marsh
It’s business as usual for Mr Glossop as he does his regular round delivering wages to government buildings scattered across New Zealand’s lonely Canterbury plains. But when his car breaks down he is stranded for the night at the isolated Mount Seager Hospital, with the telephone lines down, a storm on its way and the nearby river about to burst its banks.

Trapped with him at Mount Seager are a group of quarantined soldiers with a serious case of cabin fever, three young employees embroiled in a tense love triangle, a dying elderly man, an elusive patient whose origins remain a mystery … and a potential killer.

When the payroll disappears from a locked safe and the hospital’s death toll starts to rise faster than normal, can the appearance of an English detective working in counterespionage be just a lucky coincidence – or is something more sinister afoot?

Only the Dead Can Tell by Alex Gray
When Dorothy Guildford is found stabbed to death in her home, all signs point to her husband, Peter. The forensic psychologist is convinced there’s more to the case that meets the eye but Police Scotland are certain they have their man.

While DC Kirsty Wilson searches for evidence that will put Peter away for good, she is shocked to discover a link with a vast human-trafficking operation that Detective Superintendent William Lorimer has been investigating for months. But before they can interrogate him, Peter is brutally attacked.

With one person dead and another barely hanging on, the clock is ticking for DC Wilson and DSI Lorimer. And the stakes grow higher still when one of their own is kidnapped.

Panic Room by Robert Goddard
High on a Cornish cliff sits a vast uninhabited mansion. Uninhabited except for Blake, a young woman of dubious background, secretive and alone, currently acting as house sitter.

The house has a panic room. Cunningly concealed, steel lined, impregnable – and apparently closed from within. Even Blake doesn’t know it’s there. She’s too busy being on the run from life, from a story she thinks she’s escaped.

But her remote existence is going to be invaded when people come looking for the house’s owner, missing rogue pharma entrepreneur, Jack Harkness. Suddenly the whole world wants to know where his money has gone. Soon people are going to come knocking on the door, people with motives and secrets of their own, who will be asking Blake the sort of questions she can’t – or won’t – want to answer. And will the panic room ever give up its secrets?

South Atlantic Requiem by Edward Wilson
Set during the Falklands Conflict, this thrilling spy novel sees the return of Wilson’s spy hero Catesby, sent to Peru amidst Downing Street defence cuts and pressure from Reagan’s Whitehouse in order negotiate a last minute Falklands deal with the Argentine Junta. When, just twelve hours after new peace terms are agreed, the ship Belgrano is torpedoed, Catesby is left shocked and disillusioned and is forced to uncover the governmental and political lies that sit at the heart of the conflict.

 

Children’s Picture Books

Erik the Lone Wolf by Sarah Finan
Everybody knows that wolves live in packs. But one little wolf cub, Erik, dreams of escaping the rough and tumble to become a lone wolf. Heading for the great outdoors with nothing but a backpack, he excitedly sniffs the mountain air, feeling free! But when he gets into trouble out on the mountainside, will the pack be there to protect him?

Once Upon a Star: A Poetic Journey Through Space by James Carter
Discover the origins of the universe and how our solar system was formed. The narrative verse takes the reader on an immersive journey through space and time, illuminated by striking, dynamic illustrations. The worlds of poetry and non-fiction collide to create a beautiful, unique picture book about our Sun.

The Red Dread by Tom Morgan-Jones
THUMP THUMP. The Red Dread is on the loose and Shrew and the other animals are afraid. From stolen nuts to missing rabbits, they whisper of the terrible actions of the Red Dread. As panic increases, logic and team spirit evaporate and soon it’s every creature for itself.

Told entirely in dialogue, this quirky read-aloud tale plays out in sly illustrations brimming with visual humour. The core theme of fear of the other is delivered with winks aplenty for the reader who will be thrilled to be in on the joke.

The Story of Tantrum O’Furrily by Cressida Cowell
Tantrum O’Furrily’s kittens are hungry and doubt that a story can ease a stray cat’s rumbling stomach. However, they soon learn that stories are powerful, and that if you’re courageous you might find a saucer of milk at the end of that story.

The Strongest Mum by Nicola Kent
Little Bear is sure that no-one is as strong as his mum. She can carry anything: his bike, Zebra’s shopping, Elephant’s carpet and even . . . Flamingo’s piano! And of course, there’s ALWAYS room in her handbag for Little Bear’s treasures. But even mums can get tired and need a helping hand sometimes, as Little Bear learns when Mum takes on one thing too many, with hilarious and heart-warming consequences.