Here we are, together again. Make yourselves comfortable. As the nights draw in and we head into another season of life indoors, we’re all on the hunt for things to keep us occupied and, hopefully, transport our minds someplace else for a while. Right? Well, that’s what we’re here for. Let’s see what we’ve got in our bags this month…
Miami Noir: The Classics edited by Les Standiford
(Akashic Books, 9781617758065, p/b, £11.99)
The bestselling original Miami Noir, published in 2006, featured brand-new stories from some of the city’s best living writers. Now, in Miami Noir: The Classics, editor Les Standiford turns his eye toward the outstanding noir fiction of yesteryear. Featuring classic noir fiction from: Elmore Leonard, Lester Dent, Zora Neale Hurston, Brett Halliday, Damon Runyon, Edna Buchanan, James Carlos Blake, Douglas Fairbairn and many more.
The Seal Club by Alan Warner, Irvine Welsh and John King
(London Books, 9780995721760, p/b, £9.99)
In this three-novella collection, the authors Alan Warner, Irvine Welsh and John King grapple with pubs and politics, secrets and lies. In Warner’s Those Darker Sayings, a gang of Glaswegian nerds ride the mainline trains of northern England on a mission to feed the quiz-machine habit of their leader Slorach. In Welsh’s The Providers, the Begbie family gather in Edinburgh for their terminally ill mother’s last Christmas, but everyone needs to be on their best behaviour, including Trainspotting’s recently paroled Frank. Finally, King’s The Beasts Of Brussels sees thousands of Englishmen assemble in the Belgian capital ahead of a football match, their behaviour monitored by two media professionals who spout different politics but share the same interests.
Night in Tehran by Philip Kaplan
(Melville House, 9781612198507, h/b, £20)
Tehran, 1978. With a collapsing economy and street demonstrations growing in size, number, and violence, the ailing Shah of Iran responds with increasing brutality. CIA operative David Weiseman, posing as a representative of the US State Department, is sent into the heart of the tumult to convince the Shah to step down, and find a strong, democratically minded replacement – before far-right religious extremists win the day. Weiseman finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into a shadowy world of unscrupulous operatives from other governments, covert back alley meetings with scheming ayatollahs, military officers, politicians, and even officers from the Shah’s vicious secret police.
Cesare by Jerome Charyn
(No Exit Press, 9780857304377, p/b, £9.99)
On a windy night in 1937, a seventeen-year-old German naval sub-cadet is wandering along the seawall when he stumbles upon a gang of ruffians beating up a tramp, whose life he saves. The man is none other than spymaster Wilhelm Canaris, chief of the Abwehr, German military intelligence. Canaris adopts the young man and dubs him ‘Cesare’. Canaris is a man of contradictions who, while serving the regime, seeks to undermine the Nazis and helps Cesare hide Berlin’s Jews from the Gestapo. But the Nazis will lure many to Theresienstadt, a cruel ghetto and way station to Auschwitz. When the woman Cesare loves is captured and sent there, Cesare must find a way to rescue her.
Turncoat by Anthony J Quinn
(No Exit Press, 9781843447214, p/b, £9.99)
The sole survivor of a murderous ambush, a Belfast police detective is forced into a desperate search for a mysterious informer that takes him to a holy island on Lough Derg, a place shrouded in strange mists and hazy rain, where nothing is as it first appears to be. A keeper of secrets and a purveyor of lies, the detective finds himself surrounded by enemies disguised as pilgrims, and is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the purgatorial island, where he is forced to confront a series of disturbing secrets and ghosts in his own life.
You Ruin It When You Talk by Sarah Manvel
(Open Pen, 9781916413689, p/b, £5.99)
Forget finding lasting happiness in a quick-swipe dating world. How do we find just a few moments of it? The quest for love – or a pleasant evening – is captured here in a series of flickering anecdotes that are sometimes darkly humorous, often deftly poignant. Manvel’s debut is as disarming as it is funny and insightful. This brutal account of modern manners skewers the chicken fillets of romantic literature with stiletto-sharp heels.
Severance by Ling Ma
(Text Publishing Company, 9781922330642, p/b, £8.99)
Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine: her work, watching movies with her boyfriend, avoiding thoughts of her recently deceased Chinese immigrant parents. So she barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps the world. Candace joins a small group of survivors, led by the power-hungry Bob, on their way to the Facility, where, Bob promises, they will have everything they need to start society anew. But Candace is carrying a secret she knows Bob will exploit. Should she escape from her rescuers?
It Rose Up: A Selection of Lost Irish Fantasy Stories edited by Jack Fennell
(Tramp Press, 9781916291409, p/b, £12)
A mystical battle between foreign gods and local saints is unleashed as idols are mistaken for garden ornaments; an ambiguous wizard spies on his neighbours from an invisible tower; a cursed duelling pistol influences its owners to commit suicide. With strange combinations of occultism, electricity, magic and playfully Biblical archetypes, the fifteen darkly funny stories in this book illuminate a side of Irish literary history that is often overlooked. Edited and introduced by Jack Fennell, this collection of lesser-known works of classic Irish fantasy includes stories by Moira O’Neill, Dora Sigerson Shorter, Charles Stuart Villiers, Charlotte McManus and George Egerton.
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If anything you’ve read about on our blog catches your eye, consider ordering from your local bookshop. Find yours here. Alternatively, you can browse your favourite indies on Bookshop.org.