Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Paperback: The stakes are high, but passions and deceptions run deep.
Above the crystal-blue waters of North Queensland, Captain Morgan Pentland patrols the vast Australian coastline. When Customs Agent Rafe Daniels joins her crew, she is immediately suspicious. Why is he boarding her plane when she isn't there? And why is he asking so many questions?
What Morgan doesn't know is that Rafe has her under surveillance. Critical information about their Border Watch operations is being leaked and she is the main suspect, but when Morgan and Rafe are shot down in a tragic midair attack, they realise they have to start working together - and quickly. One of Australia's most loved icons is the next target and they have only nine days to stop it.
Will they uncover details of the plot in time, or will the tension that is growing between them jeopardise everything?
About the author: Helene Young lives in Trinity Beach, on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef in North Queensland, Australia. Her work as a senior captain with a major regional airline takes her all over the east coast of Australia.
Helene is passionate about aviation as she is about writing. "I've been flying for twenty years, which gives me an "office" with the most spectacular views in Australia and I never get tired of looking down at the wonderful landscape."
The idea for Border Watch started early one morning when Helene discovered a body washed up on the beach. While there was nothing sinister in that discovery it planted the seed of an idea.
Border Watch (2010) is Helene's first published novel, and it was voted the Favourite Romantic Suspense in 2010, the winner of Romantic Book of the Year in 2011 and longlisted for the Davitt Award in 2011.
Border Watch aka Wings of Fear is the first of a loosely linked three-book series. The second book, Shattered Sky, was published in 2011 and the third book, Burning Lies, came out in July 2012.
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Life O'Reilly (2009) has been such an inspiring read. It explores the flaws of being human and the importance of controlling one's own destiny. It reminds us of how precious life is and how quickly and tragically it can change.
Written with great empathy, The Life O'Reilly is an emotional and unforgettable tale that will challenge one's expectations of the modern love story and introduces a poignant and sensitive new voice in fiction.
P/S Just wondering when Cohen would come out with his second novel?
Paperback: On the outside, Nick O'Reilly has it all: a high-flying legal career, as a partner of an elite Wall Street law firm, and financial security, with an apartment overlooking Central Park. Having grown up in a working-class family, as far back as Nick can remember, this was his dream.
But at the age of thirty-six, after several years of sacrificing his personal life for professional gain, Nick has started to ponder his future and consider the mark he wants to leave on society both professionally and personally - his legacy.
After being chastised in the press for turning a cold shoulder to the community, the firm calls upon ick to help rehabilitate its image by handling its first pro bono case.
Nick is asked to represent Dawn Nelson, a domestic violence victim who is fighting for custody of her young son, Jordan.
A far cry from Nick's specialty of defending the misdeeds of Corporate America, it is up to Nick to set Dawn and Jordan on a path to a better life.
But Nick gets much more than he signed on for, as Dawn forces him to reassess his life choices and, ultimately, be true to himself.
Only when Nick finally realizes what is truly important in life does he face his toughest - and possibly final - challenge: a battle for his own survival.
About the author: Brian Cohen earned his Bachelor or Accountancy from George Washington University and his Juris Doctor from St John's University School of Law. He has been practising law for fifteen years, specializing in complex litigation and is the principal of his own firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut. Brian lives with his wife and their daughters in the suburbs of New York City. He is at work on his second novel.
Life O'Reilly won First Place Honors in the 2009 Reader Views Literary Awards, the winner in the Best First Novel category of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2010 Bronte Prize, the winner in the General Fiction category of the 2010 Readers Favourite Book Awards and the winner in the Cross-Genre Fiction of the 2011 International Book Awards.
Visit the author's website for more information.
Saturday, 27 October 2012
The Darlings is a financial thriller just as much as it is about a New York family who has money and social status and, as is to be expected, lots of complications behind the smiles and designer clothes. I thought Alger captured the old charm of New York City and New York's glitterati amidst the backdrop of the global economic meltdown perfectly. The story is cleverly written and told and I have nothing but the highest praise for it. It shows clearly how people's actions or decisions have consequences, often to the detriment of themselves or those around them.
I reckon Alger is one of the gifted storytellers to emerge in 2012 and I hope the Darlings would come back in a sequel in future because there is a really good story bursting to come out with more scandals and more intrigue. I was hooked from the cover and very much look forward to Alger's next book!
Hardback: Now that he's married to Merrill Darling, daughter of billionaire financier Carter Darling, attorney Paul Ross has grown accustomed to New York society and all of its luxuries: a Park Avenue apartment, weekends in the Hamptons, bespoke suits.
When Paul loses his job, Carter offers him the chance to head the legal team at his hedge fund. Thrilled with his good fortune in the midst of the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression, Paul accepts the position.
But Paul's luck is about to change: a tragic event catapults the Darling family into the middle of a regulatory investigation and a red-hot scandal with enormous implications for everyone involved.
Suddenly, Paul must decide where his loyalties lie. Will he save himself while betraying his wife and in-laws or protect the family business at all costs?
The Darling interweaves the narratives of the Darling family, two eager SEC attorneys, and a team of journalists all racing to uncover, or cover up, the truth.
It is an irresistible glimpse into the highest echelons of New York society - a world seldom seen by outsiders - and a fast-paced thriller of epic proportions.
About the author: Cristina Alger graduated from Harvard College in 2002 and from New York University School of Law in 2007. She has worked as an analyst at Goldman, Sachs, & Co, and as an attorney at Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale, & Dorr. She lives in New York City, where she was born and raised. The Darlings (2012) is her first novel.
Friday, 26 October 2012
This book will outrage you, disgust you, disturb you, make you fearful and sad. The writing is raw and the emotions are so real. On the one hand, there is sibling rivalry that leads to a heinous crime and ruination. On the other, there is knowing that people do terrible things to people they love and having to come to terms and make sense of it all. But, underlying all that despair is hope that things are going to work out and hope that there are a few who would never give up the ones they love.
For a book which is not normally in my radar, I must admit it is an excellent piece of writing, more so in the second half of the book when the investigation gets going and the mystery unravels. It is definitely a brilliant and yet, very sad read, if the story were ever true.
Hardback: On the day she was abducted, Annie O'Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old Realtor, had three goals: Sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend.
The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.
Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive in remote mountain cabin - which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist - is a second narrative recounting the nightmare that follows her escape: her struggle to piece her shattered life back together, the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor, and the disturbing sense that things are far from over.
The truth doesn't always set you free.
Still Missing is a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted debut novel about surviving the unsurvivable - and living to bear witness.
About the author: Chevy Stevens grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still calls the island home. She enjoys writing thrillers that allow her to blend her interest in family dynamics with her love of the west coast lifestyle. When she's not working on her next book, she's hiking with her husband and dog in the local mountains. Still Missing (2010) is her first novel and won the 2011 International Thriller of the Year Award in the Best First Novel category. Her other novel is Never Knowing (2011) and her third novel, Always Watching, will be out in 2013.
Visit her website for more information. Below, Chevy Stevens tells us about her book and reads a passage from it:
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
This is one Norwegian crime thriller which is outstandingly good and highly recommendable. I hope to see more of Horst's books in English in the near future.
Paperback: In Stavern around midsummer a severed left foot in a training shoe is washed up on the shore.
Then another, and yet another.
Altogether four left feet in the course of one week.
Police Inspector William Wisting has many years of murder experience behind him, but he has never examined evidence like this. Four feet...from four different victims?
The case will have unexpected ramifications, reaching into different circles of the small town, and its solution will involve greed, wasted lives and a reckless demand for vengeance.
William Wisting puts everything on the line to find the answer to the riddle. Little does he suspect when he does so that he will place himself and his journalist daughter Lise in the utmost danger.
Police Inspector William Wisting usually meets new cases with some anticipation of how the investigation will go. This one will place question marks beside the most fundamental aspects and values of his work in the Norwegian police.
About the author: Jørn Lier Horst was born in 1970, in Bamble, Telemark, Norway. He has worked as a policeman in Larvik since 1995. His debut novel in 2004, Key Witness, was based on a true murder story.
The William Wisting novel series - Key Witness (2004), Goodbye, Felicia (2005), When The Sea Calms (2006), The Only One (2007), and The Night Man (2009) - has been extremely successful in his native Norway as well as Germany and the Netherlands.
In addition to the William Wisting novels Horst has begun the Hunter series with Codename Hunter (2008). He has also written a book for children about police investigation procedures, and has been actively involved in giving talks in schools to raise awareness and improve community involvement.
Dregs (2010) is his first book published in English and his sixth crime novel.
His career as a police chief makes him able to fulfil the most important element for a crime novel: credibility.
About the translator: Located on the Isle of Arran in Scotland, Anne Bruce formerly worked in education and has a longstanding love of Scandinavia and Norway in particular. She studied Norwegian and English at Glasgow University, covering both nynorsk and bokmal language and literature, as well as Old Norse, Icelandic, Swedish and Danish. She has travelled extensively in Scandinavia and undertaken translation and interpretation work, recently translating two contemporary novels.
Last, but not least, the trailer for Dregs:
Monday, 15 October 2012
"She is my rock - the one person who keeps it real" - Barack
"Barack and I complete each other as partners, as friends and as lovers" - Michelle
They exploded onto the national political scene in 2004 and within four years captured the ultimate prize. In so doing, they became a First Couple like no other: he the biracial son of a free-spirited Midwesterner and her brilliant but troubled Kenyan husband, raised in Hawaii and Indonesia; she brought up on Chicago's hardscrabble South Side by working class African American parents who sacrificed so she could achieve her dreams of an Ivy League education and a job at one of America's top law firms.
By the time they claimed the White House in one of the most hotly contested presidential races in modern history, Barack and Michelle Obama were seen by millions around the world as the new Jack and Jackie Kennedy - brilliant, attractive, elegant, youthful and exciting.
Given the historic significance of what they accomplished together, the marriage of Barack and Michelle stands as one of the great personal and political partnerships.
Seemingly overnight, they managed to obliterate barriers that had stood for centuries and to accomplish this phenomenal feat with humour, grace and dignity.
By the time he was sworn in using Abraham Lincoln's Bible, Barack and Michelle Obama were indisputably the First Couple not only of America but of the world.
Yet, incredibly, the true nature of that relationship has remained a mystery.
Christopher Andersen draws on those who know the Obamas best to examine in detail the unique partnership and the grace, courage and humour that defines it. An inspiring, sympathetic and compelling look at two remarkable individuals, Barack and Michelle (2009) is, above all else, a revealing and stirring love story.
The above is taken from the paperback edition.
About the author: Christopher Andersen is an American journalist and an acclaimed author. He is the former contributing editor of Time and senior editor of People. He is best known for his controversial biographies, among others his most recent work, Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger (10 July 2012), which quickly became one of his New York Times bestsellers. He is married and has two daughters. He lives in Connecticut.
Sunday, 14 October 2012
Rough Country (2009) is the third book in the Virgil Flowers novel series. Virgil is a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator. Brilliant plot, funny and an enjoyable page-turner.
Gist of the book: While competing in a fishing tournament in a remote area of northern Minnesota, Virgil Flowers receives a call from Lucas Davenport to investigate a brutal murder at a nearby resort for women only.
As Virgil begins investigating, he finds a web of connections between the people at the resort, the victim, and some local women, notably a talented and popular country singer. The more Virgil digs, the more he discovers the arrows of suspicion point in many directions, encompassing a multitude of motivations: jealousy, blackmail, greed, anger, and fear.
Then Virgil discovers something that sends his investigation reeling. This is not the first murder connected to the Eagle Nest Lodge.
Nor will it be the last.
About the author: John Sandford is the pseudonym of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling novelist John Roswell Camp. He is the author of the Prey novel series, the Kidd novel series, and other fiction/non-fiction books. He lives in Minnesota.
Thursday, 11 October 2012
Hedge Fund Wives reminds me a little of the reality series The Real Housewives... The author said she wanted to write a novel about women whose lives revolved around money and the consumption of material goods against the backdrop of a recessionary US economy.
How would an economic downturn affect the privilege lives of the rich?
What would happen if, for example, one woman's husband lost everything while another woman's husband made a fortune?
How would having lots of disposable income or the lack of it change the dynamics of the women's marriages and personal lives?
Can material possessions make up for one's emotional and financial insecurities?
Read Hedge Fund Wives - it is flashy, sassy, juicy and exhilarating all at once!
Paperback: The fall from the top can be a long one.
Eager to play the part of dutiful wife, down-to-earth Marcy Emerson agrees to relocate from Chicago to New York City when her husband is offered a big-time job managing a hedge fund. Leaving behind her own dreams, Marcy forgoes finding a new job in favour of trying to start a family. Besides, as she soon discovers, hedge fund wives don't work, they play. Hard.
Although at first it's fun to shop and party, Marcy quickly realizes that to find her feet in this new world of excess she needs true friends. Only problem is behind every smile lurks a stab in the back.
But it's not until her social climbing husband leaves her for his thinner, blonder mistress, that Marcy decides it's time to stand on her own two feet and fight for the things that are far more important than money.
In the throes of the credit crunch, this tantalising tale is perfect for fans of Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada who still want a bit of bling for their buck.
About the author: Tatiana Boncompagni is a New York City based writer. Her articles on beauty, fashion, shopping and social trends have appeared in the New York Times, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, InStyle, Cookie and Vogue.
Before becoming a freelance journalist in 2003, she worked for American Lawyer magazine in New York, the Legal Times in Washington DC and The Wall Street Journal Europe in Brussels.
She is married and has two children. She enjoys cooking, running, reading and yoga. Her debut book, Gilding Lily (2008), is about a group of New York socialites who are driven by their desire for fame and status. Hedge Fund Wives (2009) is her second book.
Here is Tatiana and her take on the different types of hedge fund wives:
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
"Every word in The Broken Shore contains meaning..." - Courier-Mail.
Gist of this book: A wounded cop recovering from life-threatening injuries in Australia's coastal countryside gets drawn in to the investigation of a murder.
About the author: South-African born Peter Temple's bestselling novels are published in more than twenty countries. He has won the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Fiction five time, and in 2010, Truth (2008) won the Miles Franklin Literary Award.
Truth is the companion to The Broken Shore (2006), winner of the world's most prestigious prize for crime writing, the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger. Peter Temple lives in Victoria.
His other novels are
Bad Debts (1996)
An Iron Rose (1998)
Shooting Star (1999)
Black Tide (1999)
Dead Point (2000)
In the Evil Day (2002) aka Identity Theory
White Dog (2003)
Ithaca In My Mind (2012) - novella (Kindle)
Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Bad Debts (1996) is the celebrated novel introducing Peter Temple's Jack Irish, a book-carrying ex-criminal lawyer who now works as a serious debt collector in Melbourne, Australia.
Paperback: Melbourne in winter. Rain. Wind. Pubs. Beer. Sex. Corruption. Murder.
A phone message from ex-client Danny McKillop doesn't ring any bells for Jack Irish. Life is hard enough without having to dredge up old problems: his beloved football team continues to lose, the odds on his latest plunge at the track seem far too long and he's still cooking for one.
But then Danny turns up dead and Jack has to take a walk back into the dark and dangerous past.
About the author: Peter Temple is a South-African born Australian crime and thriller writer, and has worked as a journalist, magazine editor and lecturer. He is the winner of the Duncan Lawrie Dagger for crime fiction for The Broken Shore (2006) as well as the winner of the Ned Kelly Award for crime fiction, Colin Roderick Award for best Australian book and lastly, the Australian Book Publishers' Award for best general fiction. He is the first Australian to win a Gold Dagger.
His other novels are (the Jack Irish novels are marked with an asterisk)
An Iron Rose (1998)
Shooting Star (1999)
Black Tide (1999) *
Dead Point (2000) *
In the Evil Day (2002) aka Identity Theory
White Dog (2003) *
The Broken Shore (2006)
Ithaca In My Mind (2012) - novella (Kindle)
Sunday, 7 October 2012
This is a novel by Australia's "First Lady of Crime". Feeling The Demons (1999) introduces us to PI Gemma Lincoln and "explores the nastier side of human nature." Lord writes with authority and refinement and the narrative is superb. I highly recommend this unputdownable book (and the others in the series) because they deserve to be read and devoured.
Paperback: Gemma and Kit's childhoods were overshadowed by their father's conviction for murdering their mother. Thirty years later he is released from prison, sparking conflict between the sisters, who have never agreed about his guilt.
At the same time a series of gruesome incidents involving slashed women's clothing escalates into serial murder.
Both Gemma and Kit become caught up in a terror linked to dark secrets. In a gripping climax that threatens their lives, demons from the past come back to haunt the present.
About the author: Gabrielle Lord is widely acknowledged as one of Australia's foremost writers. Her psychological thrillers are informed by a detailed knowledge of forensic procedures, combined with an unrivalled gift for story-telling.
Her first novel, Fortress, was published in 1980 and has been translated into six languages, as well as being made into a successful film starring Rachel Ward. Since Fortress, Gabrielle has published many other best-selling novels, including The Sharp End (1998), Tooth and Claw (1983), Jumbo (1986), Salt (1990) and Whipping Boy (1992). Her stories and articles have appeared widely in the national press and been published in anthologies. She has written for film and TV.
Other books in the PI Gemma Lincoln series are Baby Did A Bad Thing (2002), Spiking The Girl (2004), Shattered (2007) and Death By Beauty (2012).
Saturday, 6 October 2012
The Exception is another fiction gem I discovered in 2012. It is truly a powerful and terrific story. I hope everyone will read it. I hope to see more works from the author in future.
"The Exception is an interesting novel with quite unexpected pace and a great deal to tell us about the psychological games we play with other people and with ourselves" - Times Literary Supplement
Paperback: Office politics can be deadly.
Four women work at the Danish Centre of Genocide Information. When two of them start receiving death threats, they suspect they are being stalked by a Serbian torturer and war criminal. But perhaps he is not the person behind the threats - it could be someone in their very midst.
As the tension amongst the women builds, they begin to turn on each other and discover that none of them is exactly the person they seem to be.
An obsession with tracking down the killer turns into a witchhunt as the women resort to bullying and victimisation. And the brutality which the women have described from a safe distance is now revealed in their own world.
About the author: Christian Jungersen's first novel, Krat (The Thicket) (1999) - not published in English yet -, won the Danish Best First Novel of the Year Award. The Exception (2006), his second novel, won the Danish Golden Laurels prize, and has been a huge bestseller across Europe as well as an international bestseller. He lives in Dublin, Ireland and New York and is currently at work on his third novel.
Check out Christian Jungersen's website here.
The Exception is translated from the Danish into the English by Anna Paterson.
Friday, 5 October 2012
The Library of Shadows is an engrossing literary thriller of intrigue, conspiracy and the extraordinary power of reading.
Paperback: Imagine that some people have the power to affect your thoughts and feelings through reading.
They can seduce you with amazing stories, conjure up vividly imagined worlds, but also manipulate you into thinking exactly what they want you to.
When Luca Campelli dies a sudden and violent death, his son Jon inherits his second-hand bookshop, Libri di Luca, in Copenhagen. Joh has not seen his father for twenty years, since the mysterious death of his mother.
After Luca's death is followed by an arson attempt on the shop, Jon is forced to explore his family's plast. Unbeknown to Jon, the bookshop has for years been hiding a remarkable secret. It is the meeting place of a society of booklovers and readers, who have maintained a tradition of immense power passed down from the days of the great library of ancient Alexandria. Now someone is trying to destory them, and Jon finds he must fight to save himself and his new friends.
About the author: Mikkel Birkegaard is an author of fantasy fiction and lives in Copenhagen. The Library of Shadows (2007) is his first novel. It was first published in his native Denmark where it was a national bestseller, and has now gone on to be published in seventeen languages. This book is translated from the Danish into the English by Tiina Nunnally. Over mit lig (My Dead Body) (2009) is his second novel.
Thursday, 4 October 2012
Alex Palmer is an excellent writer and her stories are unputdownable. They are powerful stories told with vigour, purpose and insight. I highly recommend the Harrigan and Grace series of which Blood Redemption is the first in the series followed by The Tattooed Man (2008) and, lastly, The Labyrinth of Drowning (2009). Could there be anymore in the works? I sincerely hope so.
Blood Redemption (2002) is the winner of the 2002 Canberra Critics Circle Award for Literature as well as the winner of the 2003 Davitt Award for Crime.
Paperback: Matthew Liu sees his parents gunned down on a lonely Sydney backstreet. A young woman, the killer, stares him in the face before fleeing the scene. When the police arrive, all they find is the discarded gun.
Detective Inspector Paul Harrigan's unit is pitched into a high-profile investigation with little to go on. Who is the young woman? How can she have vanished into thin air?
When DC Grace Riordan follows up a connection between one of the victims and a termination clinic, the pieces start to fall into place, but Grace is forced to confront some personal demons.
Harrigan has demons of his own to contend with. Burned badly in the past for refusing to turn a blind eye to police corruption, he suspects that his current team and investigation are being subtly sabotaged. Then he discovers that his own son is in email contact with the killer and that the young woman's bloody rampage is far from over. And with a single phone call the killer draws Harrigan and Grace into her trap.
About the author: Alex Palmer was born in London in 1952. Her father abandoned her family when she was very young and they left England when she was five to live variously in South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia, arriving in Sydney in the late 1960s. Here, she studied English literature and language at Macquarie University and later sat for a postgraduate diploma in information management at the University of New South Wales.
Alex has travelled extensively in Australia and in Asia, Europe, Britain and North America. After a working life which has included occupations as diverse as geriatric nursing to automated systems design, she now writes full time. She is married and lives in Canberra.
Monday, 1 October 2012
'A classic detective fiction with lots of underworld contacts and hushed conversations in noodle bars, but underneath, it's an examination of China old and new, and feels absolutely contemporary' - Mark Coles, BBC's The Ticket.
Paperback: Mei is an independent Chinese woman who runs her own business in Beijing, working as a private investigator.
Paperback: Mei is an independent Chinese woman who runs her own business in Beijing, working as a private investigator.
One day, 'Uncle' Chen, no relation but a close friend of her mother, comes to Mei with a case: he asks her to find a Han-dynasty jade that was taken from a museum during the Cultural Revolution, when Red Guards swarmed the streets, destroying many remnants of the past.
But Mei's investigations reveal a story that has far more to do with her own family than she could ever have expected.
On the author: Diane Wei Liang was born in Beijing. She spent part of her childhood with her parents in a labour camp in a remote region of China. While attending Peking University in the 1980s, she took part in the Student Democracy Movement and was in Tiananmen Square. Diane has a PhD in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University and was a professor of management in the US and the UK for over ten years. She lives in London with her husband and their two children.
The Eye of Jade (2008) is her first novel in the PI Mei Wang series.