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Looking to try something new? Check out our Debuts of the Month selection. You never know, one might become your favourite new author and a special discovery!
Maxim Jakubowski's Book of the Month. Heralded as a mix of Philip K. Dick, William Burroughs and Raymond Chandler, this splendid slice of future noir hits all the right buttons and demonstrates that cyberpunk is not dead. Following the nuclear destruction of Pittsburgh from a terrorist atrocity, a grieving poet sustained by drugs and augmented by implants which connect him to the web is recruited to find a shady politician's daughter. Enter more femmes fatales than you can juggle, virtual reality pirates and a touching love story that shares the spoils with non stop, dizzy imaginative action. At times exquisitely written and both explosively paced and surprisingly melancholy, this a stunning debut which combines the best of crime and science fiction writing in one full swoop.
Do you remember Dynasty and Lace, great big eventful, passionate blockbusters? Well, this is one such. An area under-published at the moment but a book for all who love Desperate Housewives or Footballers’ Wives. It’s wonderful stuff. Rich, spoilt people, a rebellious daughter who knows she can do it on her own, and a nasty evil world to confront. It’s a cracking read, glamorous, sexy and totally compulsive.Comparison: Jilly Cooper, Jackie Collins, Louise Bagshawe.Similar this month: None but try Annabel Dilke, Sara MacDonald.
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2016. April 2015 NewGen Debut of the Month. Quite simply breathtaking, it’s all too easy to become consumed by this beautifully written, vibrantly different and darkly rich fantasy. Spend 1935 with Delphine who is 12, as she hides in history, in war and battles, seeks out Mr Garforth the Head Gamekeeper and spends her time in hidden tunnels, woods and fields… away from Mother, Daddy and the confusion and mystery of the Society at Alderberen Hall. The author has the wonderful ability to paint a vividly full picture, it almost feels as though you’ve already seen the places he is describing and you’re welcoming them back into your minds eye. There are whispers and hints of what is to come, the writing pops and crackles in your head and heart, is this truth or is it imagination? Being unexpectedly invited into the inner thoughts of some of the characters pushes your thinking to scramble one way and then the other. As you reach the foothills of the ending, take a deep breath and look out, up and beyond; with the ability to keep you teetering on the edge of understanding, this is a stunning and beautifully moving debut novel. ~ Liz Robinson
April 2015 Debut of the Month. The Islington Labour Party set and a bunch of Oxbridge graduates in a delicious, slightly old-fashioned novel of “love, politics, art, money” but without much story. Gently satirical, clever and very well-written, this paints a fascinating portrait of a particular London set of people who probably believe themselves to be a little elite. They are certainly all on the make and most have a tale to tell. No real drama, no real plot but a lovely read; it would make excellent TV.
April 2013 Debut of the Month. A romantic comedy with a grisly background, very suitable for both genders. We are in Kabul in 2000 and for the first fifty pages or so the scene setting is brilliant, pointing up the incongruity of the cricket against the background of Islamic fanaticism. In the next fifty odd pages the tension is ratcheted up when a creepy Minister declares, through his minions, that he wants to marry our heroine. How she copes with this completes the book. Through disguise, cricket, deception and pure guts, she inevitably wins. Starting off pretty dark, strong and grim, this finishes light, compulsive and highly satisfactory. I loved it.
One of the Top 10 Lovereading Reader Review Panel Summer Read selections. To say too much about this brilliant, clever, psychological thriller would be to risk giving some of its secrets away. Emily is leaving her husband and family to start a new life. As the story progresses Seskis steadily teases out the details of Emily’s life through short sharp narratives from her, her husband and her twin sister building to the shocking and impossible to guess twist. Riveting, taut and hugely enjoyable. ~ Sarah Broadhurst May 2014 MEGA Debut of the Month. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
Set in Lagos, Nigeria, Tola Rotimi Abraham’s Black Sunday is a rich and accomplished coming-of-age debut that lays bare the hardships, heartaches and hopes of four siblings from 1996-2015. Twin sisters Bibike and Ariyke (“we were never stupid girls. We were bright with borrowed wisdom”) live a pretty contented life until their mother loses her job at the Ministry of Petroleum. With her sacking underpinned by broader political dealings, there’s nothing she can do to keep the family afloat but take-up a teaching post, which she hates. Later, when she leaves the family and the twins’ father loses their family home, they and their brothers are cared for by their Yoruba grandmother. With the narratives split between the four siblings, each of them must deal with abandonment and abuse as Lagos changes, and their lives take separate paths. The siblings’ intimate, affecting stories are wrapped-up in wider issues, such as church corruption and male exploitation of women. As Bibike notes, “Beauty was a gift, but what was I to do with it? It was fortunate to be beautiful and desired… But what is a girl’s beauty, but a man’s promise of reward? If beauty was a gift, it was not a gift to me, I could not eat my own beauty, I could not improve my life by beauty alone.” Meanwhile, Ariyke turns to religion. Universal emotions are also deftly handled, such as when their brother Peter comments “I think families who spend a lot of time arguing about the small stuff do it because they do not have the courage to talk about big things.” Fortunately for readers, Black Sunday is a brilliant book that has the courage to talk about the big things with honesty, humanity and beauty. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.
A terrific debut from a young british talent. Stormcaller is a big, gritty, epic fantasy very much in the mould of David Gemmell, James Barclay and Raymond Feist. If any of these authors are your fantasy fix then try something new today.
One of our Debuts of the Year 2011. April 2011 Debut of the Month. The charming and enthralling story of an idiosyncratic English-language newspaper in Rome and the lives of its staffers as the paper fights for survival in the internet age. The Imperfectionists interweaves the stories of eleven unusual and endearing characters who depend on the paper. Funny and moving, the novel is about endings - the end of life, the end of sexual desire, the end of the era of newspapers - and about what might rise afterward.
Controversially, and in my opinion inappropriately, long-listed for the Man Booker and appropriately short-listed for the Costa 1st Novel award (used to be the Whitbread), the Desmond Elliot prize and winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Ian Fleming award, this is a cracking good serial killer tale set in Stalin’s 1950’s Russia. It is certainly one of the best intelligent new thrillers I have read in a long time. Atmospheric, dark, evocative of the period and era, the gradual change in our hero is beautifully handled, as is the slow build in an intriguing plot. You must read it. We also have an exclusive pre-publication extract from his new book The Secret Speech, so be one of the first to read a chapter before it's published. February 2009 Book of the Month. Longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2010. Winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2008. Winner of the Galaxy New Writer of the Year 2009. Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2008.Costa Book Awards 2008 Judges' comment: "This gripping, unputdownable thriller is an exciting new addition to the genre." Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 5 March 2009. Comparison: Martin Cruz Smith, Robert Harris, John Le Carré.
March 2008 Debut of the Month. Winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2008. Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2008.Costa Book Awards 2008 Judges' comment: "This gripping, unputdownable thriller is an exciting new addition to the genre." This is a brilliant first novel from an exceptional writer. Set in Stalinist Russia, it is a tight and gripping tale of an MGB officer who starts to question his superiors and sees through the doctrine of Communist propaganda. Not only is it a compelling murder mystery it is also the story of a man’s journey from childhood to manhood, with surprising twists and turns. The narrative evokes the grimness of a Russian winter in all its bleakness - Doctor Zhivago it is not. The final 100 pages kept me up until the small hours.
A tightly spun, atmospheric and powerful psychological suspense. Living in a remote Devon farmhouse, Anna and her family have always been close to nature, surrounded by the haunting beauty of the moor. But when a convict escapes from nearby Dartmoor prison, their isolation suddenly begins to feel more claustrophobic than free. Fearing for her children's safety, Anna's behaviour becomes increasingly irrational. But why is she so distant from her kind husband Robert, and why does she suspect something sinister of her son Paul? All teenagers have their difficult phases...Meanwhile, a young idealistic teacher has just started her first job, determined to 'make a difference'. But when she is brutally attacked by one of her students, her version of events is doubted by even those closest to her. Struggling to deal with the terrible consequences, she does what she can to move on and start afresh. As the two narratives converge, the tension builds to a devastating denouement, shattering everything you thought you believed about nature, nurture and the true meaning of family.
Fabulous First-time Fiction
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