We love winter. Roaring fire, snugly sofa, huge great big stack of brilliant new books. Here’s some we’ve stumbled across in the last month, including crime-thrillers, murder-mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy and crossover titles from new writers, indie authors and small publishers…
Manners Cost Everything by Paul Chambers. This ‘gripping and edgy’ explicit thriller is the first in a trilogy spanning the mid-1990s through to 2015. It’s a ‘deliciously gruesome tale of the horrific consequences of bad manners’, in which an everyday fella develops an alter ego with a violent agenda. Mr Manners wreaks revenge on those arrogant, ignorant and just plain rude people who cross his path… and live (or not) to regret it. ‘Manners’ rampages a visceral course through the history, music, culture, sexual exploits and technological advances of our times, written in shockingly graphic detail with dark humour and an adult erotic tinge. Available as an ebook or paperback.
Shiver, an anthology by Accent Press. Just in time for Halloween, this is a selection of spooky, scintillating, and scary short stories which includes gruesome crime, a frighteningly modern fairy tale, ghostly goings-on, a twisted take on a national pastime and the supernatural side of reality TV. Some stories are just plain fun, others genuinely spine-tingling. Ideal if you’re hankering for a haunting, could murder a mystery or are prepared to be scared… Available as an ebook
Rightful Owner by Hemmie Martin. On sale in November, this is the second book to feature DI Eva Wednesday, following on from ‘In The Light of Madness’. This new case sees Eva and DS Lennox immersed in a murky world of sex and secrets. The first book introduced ‘brilliantly complex characters who perform an intricate gavotte around one another, only touching here and there, sliding away, and then snapping back together beautifully.’ It was ‘a gripping read, brilliantly written, all the way to the haunting end, with some unusual intriguing twists’ so we’re looking forward to the sequel… Check Hemmie Martin’s author page for more info
A Last Act Of Charity by Frank Westworth. Published last month, the opening episode of the Killing Sisters series sees investigator JJ Stoner unwillingly embroiled in a series of gruesomely bloody and seemingly random murders. ‘Rich and ambitious, this violent tale plays out with memorable scenes interspersed with writing to savour. A feast of poetic prose wrapped in noir.’ Veering from the philosophical to the violent, ‘we are led deeper and deeper through an often blood soaked, twisting (and twisted) maze of intrigue, betrayal and bloody murder.’ The writing is ‘clever and inventive, paying few dues to existing genres or styles… There is a hint of Derek Raymond in the more visceral physical descriptions and the sense that we are looking at a dark and dystopian oil painting.’ Available as an ebook or in paperback
Once Upon a Time in the Future by A K Kulshreshth. This is a collection of speculative short stories based on the ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharat. The original is a vast, magical and timeless literary creation which the author has used as a springboard for his imagination to tell new tales. The stories alternate between mystery and fantasy, and move in time between the epic age, the present and the future. If you have an interest in eastern philosophy or Indian culture, then this collection should intrigue and inform, using new situations to illustrate age-old understandings. Available in paperback
Influence by Chris Parker. In this dark, psychological thriller, influence is the greatest force on earth. Influence equals power, the power to affect people and events. The most powerful people alive have the greatest influence. And they can use it for good or bad: influence can kill. Marcus Kline is the world’s leading authority on communication and influence. He can tell what you are thinking. He can see inside you. He can step inside your mind – if you’ve seen Hannibal and Will Graham then you’ll know all about these subtle manipulations of the psyche. So when a series of murder victims bear the horrific hallmarks of an intelligent and remorseless serial killer, the police turn to Marcus for help – and that has significant consequences for everyone. Available as an ebook and in paperback
Good Girl, Bad Girl, Dead Girl by Andrew Derham. The ebook version of this second Harry Hart book is FREE on Amazon from 24 October 2014 to 28 October, so be poised to grab a copy. When a young woman is found stabbed to death, few people in the force are too bothered – after all, getting murdered is a hazard of a tart’s job. But when she turns out to be the daughter of someone important, the top brass suddenly become desperate to catch her killer. So desperate that Chief Inspector Hart gets lumbered with the sort of help he could do without, the vain and arrogant disciple of the Chief Constable. Hart frantically delves into a bungled murder investigation from decades before, and reveals a hatred that had simmered for a quarter of a century until it boiled over into the killing not of a tart, but a treasured daughter and friend. Available as an ebook and paperback.
The Glass Shore by Stefan Jackson. The future world of Glass Shore incorporates fierce vehicles, cruel weapons and serious body augmentation into a reality where mind-control and nuclear cataclysm are matter of fact. Manhattan is a miracle city, and Nikki and Apollo are on the run in it. Betrayed by friends, set upon by bounty hunters, law enforcement and civil protection, they flee into the old subway system, now an adult playground that overwhelms the senses. ‘Government hit squads, illegal weaponry, hackers, cyborgs, twists, turns, sex, drugs, and a surprising lack of rock’n’roll – Glass Shore takes its readers on an express journey through the highs and lows of life in a dystopian future. The story is superbly balanced between government conspiracies, criminals and corporations and how they inevitably intertwine. Available as an ebook
The Haunting Within by Michelle Burley. This just-published psychological horror novel will ‘keep you gripped until the end with a brilliant and shocking conclusion.’ The heroine lived in constant fear as a child, growing up. Fear of her cruel father and fear of the unseen entities she knew silently walked the rooms of her childhood home. Now an adult with two children of her own to protect she believes she has put the past behind her. When she receives a phone call that forces her to return to the place she fears most, an unstoppable evil is unleashed; with devastating effects… Available as an ebook
The Specials by AA Prideaux. This gritty thriller tackles a particularly tricky subject: when a seemingly harmless elderly man is murdered his hidden past as a paedophile is rapidly revealed. Soon the police investigators are overwhelmed with possible suspects as his crimes from decades earlier and victims are revealed. But the killing doesn’t stop with him, and the tangled tale spreads across a tight-knit community in North Wales leading to a final showdown on Mount Snowdon. But the story doesn’t end there… Available as an ebook
Brotherhood by David Beckler. This crime-thriller follows the story of Philip Mason, suspected of murdering his friend, Liam. When Liam’s terrifying uncle, the police and his former friends come gunning for him, Philip needs help from unlikely places. Set in Manchester in the 1990s, Brotherhood is a dark portrayal of the effects of violence on young minds. It examines the loyalty and trust which should be found in families, often discovered among friends. ‘What raises the book above the ordinary thriller is the dark, sinister presence of the central antagonist, Mugisa. A former child soldier, brutalised and terrifyingly let loose on an unsuspecting and woefully unprepared population. In the hands of another author Mugisa might just have been a blunt instrument of retribution, incapable of empathy. Beckler’s skill, however, is to make the reader sympathise with Mugisa, rather than demonise him.’ Available in paperback and ebook formats.
Spirits Of Vengeance: The Stone Of Spirits by Andrew John Rainnie. Ready for some all-out elf action? This new fantasy novel has been inspired by Tolkien, Philip Pullman and Terry Pratchett. The questing begins in November when the religious zealot Lord Malenek marches across the continent of Amaros, cleansing the world with his army of Vengeance Spirits. An unlikely adversary stands against the evil, a young tree elf who becomes unwittingly embroiled in Malenek’s plans. She embarks on a quest with her ghostly brother and a mysterious ranger to find an ancient artefact, which may be the key to stopping Malenek’s destructive schemes. Facing her fears, Kamina travels over oceans and deserts, fighting through swamps and jungles to unearth the power hidden within the Stone of Spirits. Available to pre-order now as an ebook
Comes The Dark by David Stuart Davies. We thoroughly enjoyed the first Johnny Hawke detective story, set in the war-torn streets of London in 1941. In this second episode, the capital endures the blitz while a desperate murderer uses the blackout to his advantage, leaving a string of strangled prostitutes littered around London’s streets. The one-eyed detective Hawke is drawn into a complex web of darkness, drama and death as he infiltrates an underground fascist organisation hell-bent on a Nazi invasion of Britain. In the previous episode, ‘author David Stuart Davies has invented a likeable protagonist, someone obviously flawed but a man of grit and character – and also someone with a gently self-deprecatory attitude and a drily witty turn of phrase.’ The second instalment sounds somewhat darker, as Hawke faces an ugly accusation and must accept that the murderer may be closer than he had ever imagined. Available only as an ebook
Until You Get Caught by Ian Cassidy. Timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the infamous Birmingham pub bombings, this intriguing fact-to-fiction novel offers ‘insider info’ from the viewpoint of a young woman who stumbles upon the terrorists’ preparations. She then finds herself caught up in the fallout from her mother’s illicit affair with the leader of the bombers. An ambitious book which tells an intense, personal story of a fracturing family and the effects of this situation on the young heroine, set against the backdrop of IRA terrorism and the hunger strikes of the time. Available as an ebook at Amazon or see the author’s website.
Dave On Earth by S Rob. Author S Rob is, among other things, a spell-caster and occult consultant. Here he turns his gifts to a lighter side, a collection of comedy sci-fi fantasy short stories about Dave, a 423 stone flabby but incredibly fit advanced alien. Together with his friends, Bob a transvestite grey alien and Mad Malk the world’s most powerful mage, Dave must save the world time and time again. Don’t expect this to be anything other than odd – but hopefully it’ll be odd in an entirely enjoyable way. Available in paperback and ebook formats
If you have a new or interesting book which you’d like to see featured in next month’s round-up, the best bet is to hop over to our Facebook page and post the details with a pic of the cover. We’re always happy to share that info and the books we simply can’t resist go into our own ‘to be read’ folder and will be reviewed (eventually). Please ‘like’ and share our FB page, too. Thank you!