It’s 2019! 2019?!? The New Year means only one thing… NEW BOOKS. And what books! Start as you mean to go on with our top fiction picks for January.
Among the Ruins by Ausma Zehanat Khan
(No Exit, 9780857301956, p/b, £8.99)
The third instalment of the Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty series explores the interplay between politics and religion, and the intensely personal ripple effects of one woman’s murder.
Esa Khattak’s supposed break from work in Iran is cut short when he’s approached by a Canadian government agent in Iran, asking him to look into the death of renowned Canadian-Iranian filmmaker Zahra Sobhani. Khattak quickly finds himself embroiled in Iran’s tumultuous politics and under surveillance by the regime, but when the trail leads back to Zahra’s family in Canada, Khattak calls on his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, for help. Rachel uncovers a conspiracy linked to the Shah of Iran and the decades-old murders of a group of Iran’s most famous dissidents.
Amsterdam Noir edited by Rene Appel & Josh Pachter
(Akashic, 9781617756146, p/b, £11.99)
The latest in a long line of brilliant crime anthologies set in atmospheric locales finally touches down in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is a very welcome, if long overdue, instalment in the Akashic Noir Series. Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighbourhood or location within the respective city. Brand-new stories by Michael Berg, Anneloes Timmerije, Murat Isik, Rene Appel, Josh Pachter, Simon de Waal, Hanna Bervoets, Karin Amatmoekrim, Christine Otten, Mensje van Keulen, Max van Olden, Theo Capel, Loes den Hollander, Herman Koch, Abdelkader Benali, and Walter van den Berg.
Bindlestiff by Wayne Holloway
(Influx Press, 9781910312292, p/b, £9.99)
Set in the year 2036 in a broken America and weaving together screenplay and prose, Bindlestiff explores the power of storytelling and how we use narratives to make sense of the world.
In a broken down post-Federal America, Ex-Marine Frank Dubois journeys from LA to Detroit on a mission to find redemption from his past actions. In present-day Hollywood, a British film director hustles to get his movie made in a cutthroat and sycophantic business. Somehow, these two worlds collide. Bindlestiff begins with a simple image of a man mending the hole in his shoe with some glue and a cut off piece of rubber. And from there explodes into a broiling satire on race, identity, family, friendship, war, peace, sex, drugs but precious little rock and roll.
Evil Things by Katja Ivar
(Bitter Lemon, 9781912242092, p/b, £8.99)
A Nordic Noir of the first order set in the deepest and darkest Finnish Lapland and starring a wonderful new heroine in crime fiction
Northern Finland, 1952. At the height of the Cold War with its neighbour the Soviet Union, a misunderstood, flawed, whip-smart Finnish woman police detective, while fighting against prejudice and political interference, investigates a murder on the Finno-Russian border. But that is just the beginning of her involvement. In fact, the locals have been the victims of a crime so evil it is beyond anything any of them could have ever imagined.
Little Culinary Triumphs by Pascale Pujol
(Europa, 9781609454906, p/b, £12.99)
An employment office worker dreams of opening her own restaurant, but her plans are scuppered by some shady neighbours.
Sandrine Cordier works in an office, but her daily routine is in no way as dull. Sandrine is a volcanic woman, full of ideas and energy, and a world-class cook who wants to open her own restaurant. An opportunity arises when she meets Antoine Lacuenta, an unemployed professor looking for new life goals. With a master plan that one could only call Machiavellian, Sandrine includes Antoine in her venture. Things proceed smoothly until Sandrine accidentally discovers a shady newspaper operation that will lead her to flush out the news magnate Marcel Lacarriere and his many scandals.
Monkey Grip by Helen Garner
(Text, 9781925773156, h/b, £14.99)
An elegant hardback edition of the extraordinary,
gritty lyrical first novel that launched Helen Garner’s career.
Monkey Grip, the quintessential Melbourne novel, is the story of Nora, a young woman pulled into a tumultuous relationship with the unpredictable Javo, whose drug addiction pushes Nora beyond her limits. A classic of its times, the novel continues to resonate with readers of all generations.
Passage by Khary Lazarre-White
(Seven Stories, 9781609808815, p/b, £11.99)
A staggering debut novel of racism and survival in 1990s New York, by The Brotherhood/Sister Sol co-founder, Khary Lazarre-White.
A short, stark and eerily beautiful novel, set in 1993 New York, Passage tells the story of 17-year-old Warrior. Devoted to, and loved by, his family but haunted by the memories of friends he has lost, he traverses a New York that hums with violence and fear. Warrior isn’t even safe in his own mind. He’s haunted by the spirits of ancestors and of the demons of the system of oppression. Every memory in the novel is the memory of thousands of black families. Every conversation is a message both to those still in their youth and those who left their youth behind long ago.
Puzzle Girl by Rachael Featherstone
(Dome Press, 9781912534074,p/b, £8.99)
A smart romantic comedy debut which sees career girl (and crossword enthusiast) Cassie go through a riotously funny set of mishaps to meet her dream man.
Clued-up career-girl Cassy Brookes has life under control until one disastrous morning changes everything. When she finds herself stuck in a doctor’s surgery, a cryptic message left in a crossword magazine sends her on a search to find the mysterious puzzle-man behind it. Cassy is soon torn between tracking down her elusive dream guy, and outwitting her nightmare workmate – the devious Martin. Facing a puzzling love-life, will she ever be able to fit the pieces together and discover the truth behind this enigmatic man?
Southern Nights: Three Novels by Barry Gifford
(Seven Stories, 9781609808587, p/b, £14.99)
A collection of three of Gifford’s wildest and weirdest Southern gothic novels – Night People, Arise & Walk, and Baby Cat Face.
Barry Gifford’s three Southern Gothic novels may be among the weirdest and best of Gifford’s novels for their sheer velocity – the copious, raw violence; the invented religions and gods that make people do things; and how the horrors somehow cohabit – affably – with the genuine pathos and loveliness of the unforgettable characters that live in these books and the things they say so easily that we’ve never heard anyone say before.
Wanderer by Sarah Leon
(Other Press, 9781590519257, p/b, £13.99)
An exceptional debut novel that explores the stifled, unspoken feelings of a music teacher and his former student, and the damage done by their years of silence.
Hermin, a composer and instructor, leads a secluded life near the Bourbonnais Mountains in France, composing a homage to Schubert. On a bitter January night, this studious peace is broken when his former pupil, Lenny, a piano prodigy, mysteriously knocks at his door. The two men must confront the ghosts of their past, somewhere between musical harmony, erotic tension, and revelation. Wanderer, echoing Schubert’s recurring theme, is a novel of rare delicacy, a twilight adagio, a Winterreise, and a subtle ode to German Romanticism.
- Post by Rachel
Want to know about even MORE fantastic books coming out in 2019? Head this way for the all the stuff we’re looking forward to.