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Pile by the Bed reviews The Question of Love by Hugh Mackay - a novel built on the musical approach of variations on a theme.

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Pile by the Bed reviews and recommends the long awaited new fantasy novel by Susanna Clarke, Piranesi and finds it to be a gem of modern fantasy that was well worth the wait.

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Pile by the Bed reviews V2 by Robert Harris, a novel which looks at the development and use of the V2 rocket in World War 2 and the attempts to prevent V2 attacks on London.

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Pile by the Bed reviews the very British crime debut The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, featuring a group of unstoppable retiree amateur detectives.

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Pile by the Bed reviews the debut thriller The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle, a thriller featuring almost identical twins and plenty of twists and turns.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Seven Years of Darkness, by Korean crime writer You-Jeong Jeong, her second to be be translated into English.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea (Moore and Phillips #2).

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Pile by the Bed reviews Either Side of Midnight by Benjamin Stevenson, once again featuring Jack Quick, this time trying to solve a seemingly impossible crime.

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Pile by the Bed reviews If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha, a book which explores the lives of a group of young women in present day Seoul and the influence of the celebrity industry on their choices. Recommended

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Pile by the Bed reviews Summerwater by Sarah Moss - a series of incisive linked stories set on a single, rainy day at a Scottish holiday camp.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Chaos Vector by Megan O'Keefe (The Protectorate #2) - intricate, action filled space opera peopled by flawed characters and centred around an arse-kicking, wise criacking heroine.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Mother Code by Carole Stivers, a book that uses a global pandemic to explore a range of issues relating to parenthood and artificial intelligence.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The First Sister by Linden Lewis, the start of a new space opera series with echoes of The Handmaid's Tale.

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Pile by the Bed reviews A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville - her fourth exploration of the early days of the colony of Sydney, this one through the eyes of Elizabeth Macarthur.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Kokomo by Victoria Hannan, the blistering and often raw debut that won the 2019 Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson, debut science fiction that breathes new life into multiple world tropes.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell a joyful look at the late 1960s music scene which can stand alone but has plenty of connections to other Mitchell works.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Night Whistler by Greg Woodland another strong Australian rural crime debut set in the 1960s.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Night Swim by Megan Goldin - a crime novel that explores issues of sexual abuse through a current trial and a twenty five year old cold case.

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Pile by the Bed reviews If I Can't Have You by Charlotte Levin, a debut thriller involving obsession and stalking.

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Illuminae by Kaufman and Kristoff

Illuminae states its intention right from the cover, which is covered in scraps of partially redacted documents. The book itself is told through a series of recovered documents of varying types, many flagged with introductory comments. The form of narrative has been done before and it is worth saying at the outset that Kaufman and Kristoff do it very well. Despite lots of goriness and evil goings on, all swear words are redacted to k...

Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald

A long line of science fiction classics, including Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Arthur C Clark’s Moondust, through to more modern writers like Ben Bova (Moonrise and Moonwar) have focussed on life on a settled or developed Moon.  In Luna: New Moon, Ian McDonald brings his hardscrabble, developing-world sci-fi sensibility to the Moon to dazzling effect. As could be expected after books like River of Gods and Brasyl, McD...

Welcome to Night Vale by Fink and Cranor

The extremely strange town of Night Vale will be familiar to listeners to the popular podcast which has been going since 2012. For those who have never heard about the town of Night Vale – which is ruled over by a glow cloud (all hail the mighty glow cloud), where the most dangerous place is the library, it is subversive to believe in mountains, the most popular dish at the diner is invisible pie and where the police have been ...

Steeple by Jon Wallace

Jon Wallace’s debut novel, Barricade was a blistering, visceral ride through a post-robopocalyptic Britain. It dropped readers into a nuclear blasted landscape and an ongoing war between the ravaged, disease-ridden survivors of humanity (the Reals) and their implacable, seemingly indestructible android foes (the Ficials). Barricade’s protagonist, a Ficial called Kenstibec, emotionless and virtually indestructible, was the perfect gui...

The Silent Inheritance by Joy Dettman
Crime , Review / 14/03/2016

Joy Dettman delves into a world of crime in her latest novel. Over a wide cast of characters she manages to fit in a whole spectrum of crime and general meanness into a small space: from a serial killer through to a hit and run, perjury and drug dealing. The Silent Inheritance ranges across a large group of characters so it takes a while to get going. Sarah Carter, deaf since birth, is trying to get a promotion but is passed over for...

Fever City by Tim Baker
Crime , Historical , Review / 10/03/2016

There is nothing more certain than death, taxes and books about the assassination of JFK. This event had everything – sex, drugs, mafia, movie stars, the FBI, the CIA, communists. And to top it all off, as Tim Baker does not hesitate to point out in Fever City, it was an event that changed the course of America and world history. The shooting of JFK  has always been the motherload for conspiracy theorists but also for crime writers. ...

Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn
Fantasy , Review / 06/03/2016

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...

The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore
Crime , Recommended , Review , Thriller / 06/03/2016

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 ...

How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball
Literature , Recommended , Review / 06/03/2016

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...

Down Station by Simon Morden
Fantasy , Review / 06/03/2016

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 Midnight Watch by David Dyer

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 ...

Fall by Candice Fox
Crime , Recommended / 23/01/2016

  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...

Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick DeWitt
Fantasy , Literature , Review / 05/01/2016

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...