Lian Hearn returns to her best-selling faux-Japanese fantasy world in a new four book series being published in Australia in two volumes. Set three hundred years before her Tales of the Otori, The Tale of Shikanoko is pure sword and sorcery fantasy with a Japanese twist. As with her Otori series, the setting is not Japan, or even a Japanese version of ancient Japan, but it is a Japan-like world heavily based on the myths, legends and...
Pile by the Bed reviews Perihelion Summer, a climate-driven disaster novella by Australian science fiction author Greg Egan.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Electric Hotel by Dominic Smith, engaging historical fiction that deals with the birth of the movies.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Silent Death by Volker Kutscher, the second of the 1930s Berlin set Gereon Rath books in translation
Pile by the Bed reviews Recursion the new mind-bending science fiction thriller by Blake Crouch
Pile by the Bed reviews Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey - a post Harry Potter magic academy / noir crime fiction mash up.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Ice House by Tim Clare, follow up to his 2015 fantasy debut The Honours.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Porpoise by Mark Haddon and finds it a vital retelling of classic Greek stories.
Pile by the Bed reviews a new post-apocalyptic journey across an empty Britain in A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by CA Fletcher
Pile by the Bed reviews No Way, the Mars-based survival sequel to SJ Morden's One Way.
Pile by the Bed reviews the second collection of science fiction stories by Ted Chiang.
Pile by the Bed reviews and recommends the new short story collection by Chris Womersley and finds it like a cross between Raymond Carver and Stephen King.
Pile by the Bed reviews Daughter of Bad Times by Rohan Wilson - a cautionary tale that tackles climate change and corporatisation
Pile by the Bed reviews Boxed by Richard Anderson and finds it original, atmospheric, idiosyncratic and satisfying
Pile by the Bed reviews The Farm by Joanne Ramos, a day-after-tomorrow look a the gap between rich and poor.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Devil Aspect - the new stand alone gothic serial killer thriller by Craig Russell
Pile by the Bed reviews Last Ones Left Alive, a debut zombie tale set in the emerald hills of Irelance, by Sarah Davis-Groff
Pile by the Bed reviews Outside Looking In by TC Boyle - an exploration of the 60s and the followers of Timothy Leary.
Pile by the Bed reviews Bodies of Men by Nigel Featherstone and finds it "resonant and thematically rich".
Pile by the Bed reviews Death is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa, a novel that takes readers into the heart of the Syrian civil war.
Many crime novels straddle the line between crime and horror. Serial killers, on the whole, are the stuff of nightmares and crime writers have been falling over themselves for some time to up the gore factor. While horror novels usually rely on some form of supernatural agency and do not necessarily have the neat resolution of the crime genre, the bloody results are often the same. And so it is with The Poison Artist – a crime novel ...
It is easy to compare any novel narrated by a disaffected American teenager with the seminal Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield has become the archetypical American teen – intelligent, insightful and with plenty of promise but constantly fighting against a system which seeks to pigeon hole and repress. Lucia, the eighteen year-old narrator of How to Set a Fire and Why, fits into this mould but this is a very different tale and a ve...
Doorways into magical lands are a venerable fantasy tradition going back centuries in English fiction. Think Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan. In the Twentieth Century we had the seminal Narnia series and plenty of imitators followed. More recently we’ve even seen a modern deconstruction of that mythology in books like Lev Grossman’s Magician’s series. In this context, Simon Morden’s Down Station seems a little staid. The central ide...
The sinking of the Titanic, now over one hundred years ago, is still one of the most famous disasters in history. So it is no wonder that it has been the subject of countless books and films. Given this, the question has to be whether there is the appetite for yet another novel exploring this incident. The answer, strongly given by David Dyer in his debut The Midnight Watch, is an unqualified yes. The Midnight Watch is not primarily ...
Eden Archer, Australia’s answer to Dexter Morgan, and her damaged partner Frank Bennett are back at work in Fall, investigating a series of murders of women joggers. Underlying this investigation is another one by Frank’s lover (and former psychologist) Imogen, who solves cold cases in her spare time and is closing in on Eden’s true identity. There is plenty else going on in Fall, with Eden’s ex-crimelord father Hades having a...
Patrick deWitt has gone into fractured fairytale territory in his latest novel. Undermajordomo Minor, set somewhere in Europe, sometime in the nineteenth century comes complete with castles, dukes, battles, pickpockets, chambermaids and the titular majordomo. Lucien “Lucy” Minor needs to leave home. He lands himself a job as assistant to Olderclough, the majordomo of the Castle von Aux. On arrival, Lucy finds that Olderclough’s prev...