Fresh Talent Winter 2016

Fresh Talent Winter 2016

Mobile Library – David Whitehouse

Twelve-year-old Bobby Nusku is an archivist of his mother. He catalogues traces of her life and waits for her to return home.

Bobby thinks that he’s been left to face the world alone until he meets lonely single mother Val and her daughter Rosa. They spend a magical summer together, discovering the books in the mobile library where Val works as a cleaner. But as the summer draws to a close, Bobby finds himself in trouble and Val is in danger of losing her job. There’s only one thing to do — and so they take to the road in the mobile library…

“Master storytelling . . . Whitehouse’s tragicomic book is absorbing to its end”

Sunday Times

Read if you loved: The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night Time – Mark Haddon

Nobody is Ever Missing – Catherine Lacey

Without telling her family, Elyria takes a one-way flight to New Zealand, abruptly leaving her stable life in Manhattan, her home, her career and her loving husband. As the people she has left behind scramble to figure out what has happened to her, Elyria embarks on a hitchhiker’s odyssey, testing fate by travelling in the cars of overly kind women and deeply strange men, tacitly being swept into the lives of strangers, and sleeping in fields, forests, and public parks. As she journeys from Wellington to Picton, Takaka, Kaikoura and onwards she asks herself, what is it that I am missing? How can a person be missing? Full of mordant humour and uncanny insights, Nobody Is Ever Missing is a startling tale of love, loss, and the dangers encountered in the search for self-knowledge. It is a novel which goes far beyond the story of a physical journey and asks what it means to be human, to be a woman, and to be at the mercy of forces beyond one’s own control.

“I doubt I’ll read a finer novel this year *****”

Daily Telegraph

Read if you loved: Wild – Cheryl Strayed

Try Not to Breathe – Holly Seddon

Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she’s cut herself off from everything but her one true love drink. Until she’s forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy. Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park not far from her house. Her attacker was never found. Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place. She’s as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands. Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma…

“A razor-sharp, fast-paced plot and wonderfully complex characters. Not since The Girl on the Train have I been so captivated by a work of suspense”

Tess Gerritsen

Read if you loved: The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

The Ecliptic – Benjamin Wood

The mesmerising new novel from the acclaimed author of The Bellwether Revivals: a rich and immersive story of love, obsession, creativity and disintegration. On a forested island off the coast of Istanbul stands Port mantle, a gated refuge for beleaguered artists. There, a curious assembly of painters, architects, writers and musicians strive to restore their faded talents. Elspeth ‘Knell’ Conroy is a celebrated painter who has lost faith in her ability and fled the dizzying art scene of 1960s London. On the island, she spends her nights locked in her blacked-out studio, testing a strange new pigment for her elusive masterpiece. But when a disaffected teenager named Fullerton arrives at the refuge, he disrupts its established routines. He is plagued by a recurring nightmare that steers him into danger, and Knell is left to pick apart the chilling mystery. Where did the boy come from, what is ‘The Ecliptic’, and how does it relate to their abandoned lives in England?

“A curious, bewitching and beguiling book that manages to be both profoundly moving and as gripping and unputdownable as a thriller. Outstanding”

SJ Watson

Read if you loved: Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged – Ayisha Malik

‘Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.’ Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. ‘Are your parents quite disappointed?’ Unlucky in love once again after her sort-of-boyfriend/possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene. As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she seeks stories for her book. But in amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and polygamy-inclined friends, could there be a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love …?

“Fun, fresh and funny”

Mhairi McFarlane

Read if you loved: You Had Me at Hello – Mhairi McFarlane

Glass – Alex Christofi

Meet Gunter Glass: ex-milkman and aspiring window-cleaner, struggling to find his way in the modern world. Ever since a childhood visit to a glass-blower’s workshop, Gunter has had an unusual fixation with glass. When a minor adventure up the spire of Salisbury cathedral turns him into a local celebrity – and gives him a taste for extreme heights – Gunter is called to his dream job: cleaning Europe’s tallest skyscraper, London’s Shard. Enchantingly under-prepared for the bright lights of the city – and philosophically under-equipped for sharing a flat with an eccentric German intellectual called the Steppenwolf – Gunter must navigate his own way through life, armed only with his mother’s homespun wisdom and knowledge gleaned from haphazard wanderings through Wikipedia. But will his innocence put him on a collision course with the baffling modern world? 

“An impressive, tightly paced coming-of-age story …  Günter is part James Bond, part Everyman. Christofi delivers a multi-layered story that follows one man’s refracted path through life’s prism”

Financial Times

Read if you loved: The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

Freedom’s Child – Jax Miller

A heart-stopping debut thriller about a woman named Freedom, who will stop at nothing to save the daughter she only knew for two minutes and seventeen seconds. Call me what you will: a murderer, a cop killer, a fugitive, a drunk… There’s a lot people don’t know about Freedom Oliver. They know she works at the local bar. They know she likes a drink or two.

What they don’t know is that Freedom is not her real name. That she has spent the last eighteen years living under Witness Protection, after being arrested for her husband’s murder. They don’t know that she put her two children up for adoption, a decision that haunts her every day.

Then Freedom’s daughter goes missing, and everything changes. Determined to find her, Freedom slips her handlers and heads to Kentucky where her kids were raised. No longer protected by the government, she is tracked by her husband’s sadistic family, who are thirsty for revenge. But as she gets closer to the truth, Freedom faces an even more dangerous threat. She just doesn’t know it yet.

“A terrific read from a powerful new voice”

Karin Slaughter

Read if you loved: Karin Slaughter

Dead Man’s Hand – Mark Lock

Detective Inspector Hal Luchewski’s life is complicated. The stress of his job is getting to him – usually in the form of hard liquor. He’s still living in his dead father’s shadow, his relationship with his daughter is strained, and his love life is complex to say the least…although nearly 40, Hal’s still reconciling himself to the fact he’s gay. When teenager Danny Wiseman’s butchered body is found in a squalid bedsit in South London, Hal and his team think they have a psychopath on the loose. When a second body is found – that of an ex-guard at Granton Young Offender Institution – Hal fears the worst. Is it a coincidence that Wiseman recently spent time at Granton, a place which has become a byword for corruption and scandal? Is Hal up against a former inmate’s wrath, or something even more sinister? Soon enough, the case gets personal – and in more ways than one…

“A cracking debut, cleverly plotted and filled with compelling characters, ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ marks the arrival of an exciting new crime-writing talent.”

Paul Burston

Read if you loved: Peter James

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers

* When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past. But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants.

Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years… if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.

But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

“A novel which is thoughtful and imaginative but above all else will lift your spirits”

Daily Express

Read if you loved: The Book of Strange New Things – Michel Faber

The Glorious Heresies – Lisa McInerey

One messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father Tony, whose obsession with his unhinged next-door neighbour threatens to ruin him and his family. Georgie is a prostitute whose willingness to feign a religious conversion has dangerous repercussions, while Maureen, the accidental murderer, has returned to Cork after forty years in exile to discover that Jimmy, the son she was forced to give up years before, has grown into the most fearsome gangster in the city. In seeking atonement for the murder and a multitude of other perceived sins, Maureen threatens to destroy everything her son has worked so hard for, while her actions risk bringing the intertwined lives of the Irish underworld into the spotlight . . .

“A punchy, edgy, sexy, fizzing feast of a debut novel from an immensely skilled storyteller with a glorious passion for words. I loved it”

Joseph O’Connor, author of Star of the Sea

Read if you loved: City Of Bohane – Kevin Barry

Rain – Barney Campbell

Tom Chamberlain was destined to be a soldier from the moment he discovered a faded picture of his father patrolling the streets of Belfast.

With the war in Afghanistan at its savage peak, Tom is despatched from home in the dead of an anonymous September night, a blood tribute leaving without fanfare. Full of eagerness, but wracked by self-doubt, he must discover who he is and what he is capable of.

But as the bonds with his comrades grow, home – and the loved ones left behind – seem ever more remote from the surreal violence and exhilaration of war.

“No better on-the-ground description of Britain’s war in Afghanistan will ever be written. Rain is what Chickenhawk or, more recently, Matterhorn was to Vietnam. It’s unputdownable, except for when the reader needs to draw breath or battle a lump in the throat”

Evening Standard

Read if you loved: Andy McNab

Things we Have in Common – Tasha Kavanagh

Yasmin would give anything to have a friend . . . And do anything to keep one. The first time I saw you, you were standing at the far end of the playing field. You were looking down at your brown straggly dog, but then you looked up, your mouth going slack as your eyes clocked her. Alice Taylor. I was no different. I used to catch myself gazing at the back of her head in class, at her silky fair hair swaying between her shoulder blades.

If you’d glanced just once across the field you’d have seen me standing in the middle on my own, looking straight at you, and you’d have gone back through the trees to the path quick, tugging your dog after you. You’d have known you’d given yourself away, even if only to me. But you didn’t. You only had eyes for Alice.

“Unsettling, deeply moving and very, very readable. I loved it”

Nathan Filer

Read if you loved: The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold