Sunday, 17 March 2019

A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos

Read now before the inevitable Netflix series

Imaginative young adult fantasy fiction with more than a nod to Philip Pullman and Studio Ghibli. The world Dabos creates is rich, enticing and completely immersive. Read now before the inevitable Netflix series. 

Originally published in France as 'Les Fiances de L'Hiver', the novel is Book One of the Mirror Visitor Quartet. Expect more from the expert pen of Christelle Dabos 4⭐️
A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos  (translated by Hildegarde Serle) published Europa Editions, 468 pages

Book Two in the series published in English May 2019

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Inspired retelling of the classic legends

"Before the beginning there was nothing"

The great Norse myths and legends continue to inspire modern storytellers but in this collection Neil Gaiman retells the tales of Odin, Thor, Loki and Freya through his own idiosyncratic lens.

Using prose poetry as his source material is no small feat but this anthology reads like modern fantasy fiction. 4⭐️

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman published by Bloomsbury, 304 pages


The Ice Lands by Steinar Bragi

Chilling noir meets B-movie horror

When road trips in Iceland go wrong! Bragi, critically acclaimed poet and writer on his home frozen turf, chucks every noir genre trope at this story about four friends lost in the icy wilderness but the result is over cooked.

With more than a nod to early Stephen King The Ice Lands delivers chilling Nordic Noir in places but depends to B-movie horror in others. Despite some well developed characters this is ultimately over blown 3⭐️

The Ice Lands by Steinar Bragi published by Macmillon, 336 pages

When road trips in Iceland go wrong!
Original Icelandic cover art

Friday, 15 March 2019

The Tatooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Beautifully observed human behaviour

"You’ve taken three years of my life. You will not take one more day”

Takes you to the limits of human endurance to ask the question; to what lengths would you go to survive?

A startling tale of one couples experience in the death camps. Deeply thought provoking and challenging but ultimately rewarding. 4 ⭐️

The Tatooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris published by Zaffre, 228 pages

Sunday, 24 February 2019

A Short Affair edited by Simon Oldfield

Short fiction from Pin Drop

An interesting anthology of short stories with a stand-out contribution from Nikesh Shukla who once again writes with heartfelt authenticity.

Hats off to the Pin Drop Studio team and collaborators from the Royal Academy of arts.

A Short Affair edited by Simon Oldfield published by Scribner, 368 pages

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Beautifully observed human behaviour

“New York was a city where the improbable would be made probable, the implausible plausible, and the impossible possible”

Young George Washington's 'Rules of Civility' transposed to the social climbers of 1930s New York. Beautifully observed human behaviour from characters that literally jump of the page thanks to the elegant pen of Amor Towles

A slow burner 3 ⭐️

The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles published by Sceptre, 352 pages

Saturday, 19 January 2019

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

A nod to Highsmith's Ripley

“You don't know what it's like to have wanted something your entire life and never be good enough”

A bold and psychological literary thriller. Boyne's brilliantly dark creation, Maurice Swift, unashamedly climbs the social ladder.

With a nod to Patricia Highsmith's Ripley, Swift deceives, steals and lies in the name of literary ambition and 'The Prize' 5 ⭐️

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne published by Doubleday, 368 pages

Red Snow by Will Dean

Chills you to the bone

The town of Gavrik is centre stage again but is it the dangerous blanket of snow or the family secrets in the liquorice factory that chills you to the bone?

Tuva Moddyson is back on the case with her unique sixth sense for the truth

Red Snow by Will Dean published by Point Blank Books

Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale

Tender, authentic and moving

Gale's latest protagonist is bookish clarinet student Eustace whose coming of age story is expertly told in flashback from his sick bed.

The isolation of radio-therapy provides space for the music, the memories and the loves of the past to resurface.

Tender, authentic and moving 4⭐️

Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale published by Tinder Press, 352 pages

Sunday, 6 January 2019

In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne

A gritty yet tender debut

“full of absent people stuck between bus stops and bookies”

Gunaratne vividly brings to life the relationship between a group of immigrant men in North London estate. Authentic voices add layers of truth to the back drop of anxiety, unrest and misguided loyalty.

A gritty yet tender debut 4⭐️

In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne published by Tinder Press, 304 pages

Monday, 31 December 2018

The Waiter by Matias Faldbakken

Agatha Christie meets Wes Anderson

‘ of the most important qualities for modern man, if that’s an actual concept, is mastering excess’

Oslo restaurant & grand Dame ‘The Hills’ becomes a microcosm in Faldbakken’s novel told through the eyes of the eponymous waiter. Chaos disturbs order with the arrival of a particularly enigmatic diner. 

Crisp linens & sharp rebuttals as Agatha Christie meets Wes Anderson 3⭐️ 🇳🇴

The Waiter by Matias Faldbakken (translated by Alice Menzies) published by Doubleday, 240 pages