Pile by the Bed reviews Warrior of the Altaii, the previously unreleased debut novel from Wheel of Time author Robert Jordan
Pile by the Bed reviews The Burning Land, the debut novel by BBC journalist George Alagiah set in South Africa and finds it timely and engaging.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Truants a campus-based coming of age debut by Kate Weinberg
Pile by the Bed reviews The Ten Thousand Doors of January, the debut fantasy novel by Alix E Harrow
Pile by the Bed reviews The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott, a debut novel about the creation and distribution of Doctor Zhivago during the Cold War.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Warehouse by Rob Hart – a new dystopian thriller that takes on Amazon and the American dream.
Pile by the Bed reviews Lapse by Sarah Thornton, an enjoyable debut that adds to the growing catalogue of Australian rural crime fiction.
Pile by the Bed reviews Shadows of the Short Days by Alexander Dan Vilhjalmsson – grimdark, urban fantasy based in Icelandic mythology.
Pile by the Bed reviews Crossings by Alex Landragin, a body hopping romp across the centuries.
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 Last Ones Left Alive, a debut zombie tale set in the emerald hills of Irelance, by Sarah Davis-Groff
Pile by the Bed reviews Eight Lives by Susan Hurley – a medical thriller that looks at the dangerous interface between business and science.
Pile by the Bed reviews Flowers Over the Inferno by Ilaria Tuti, an Italian procedural set in a small skiiing village in the Italian alps.
Pile by the Bed reviews A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine – a strong modern space opera debut.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts
Pile by the Bed reviews The Silent Patient, the debut psychological thriller from Alex Michalides
Rosewater is a first contact story, an alien encounter story, but it takes a while to get there, a story about humans with mutant-style powers, at times a zombie story. Tade Thompson takes his time, delivering a multi-dimensional mosaic that reveals as much as it hides. But he makes the journey worthwhile and the pay-off sticks hard. Kaaro lives in the town of Rosewater, a donut shaped metropolis, only a few years from being a shanty town, that has grown up surrounding a giant alien dome. Rosewater sits in the middle of Nigeria, a few hours drive from the capital Lagos. The dome was not the first arrival of aliens, but appears to be the most permanent. The first contact occurred back in 2012 in London and brought with it a seeding of the atmosphere with a fungus that has led to a range of powers in certain individuals. Since that time America has “gone dark” – nothing and nobody comes in or out and no one knows is this is because aliens have taken over or whether America has quarantined itself against invasion or infection. No one goes in or out of the dome but once a year the…
A man commits suicide on film by drinking a flammable liquid and setting his insides alight. This is the stunning, disturbing setup for Rachel Heng’s Black Mirror-style debut Suicide Club. What if technology progressed so that people could live for considerably longer, potentially forever? Given the number of people now living longer due to pacemakers, hip and knee replacements this is not an impossible idea. In Suicide Club, this potential for immortality is known as Phase 3 and is the deepest wish of those in Phase 2 whose lifespans have already been extended well into their second century. Lea has just celebrated her hundredth birthday. Lea is a Phase 2, living an ascetic life to try and ensure that she is chosen for Phase 3. But her life is thrown into disarray when she spots her criminal father, missing since she was a child, and due to an accident is placed under surveillance and into counselling where events from her childhood come back to haunt her. At the same time she meets Anja, who is deeply involved in the Suicide Club, a group dedicated to challenging the orthodoxy of the long lived. However, it is never clear which side Lea…
The rise of the popularity of true crime podcasts and tv shows has not gone unnoticed in the fictional world. The fact that journalists or entertainers are reviewing settled court decisions and, through their interpretation of the evidence, putting pressure on lawmakers to reconsider these cases is a situation ripe for drama. This year already we have had Charlie Donlea’s Don’t Believe It and now we have Benjamin Stevenson’s debut Greenlight. In both cases, a documentary maker exploring a cold case becomes a little too close to their subject. Greenlight opens with an intriguing cold open, cheekily headed “Cold Open” (in fact the chapter structure and names are taken from the fictional series, including a final, twisty “Mid-Credits Sequence”). A woman called Eliza has been held in a cellar of some kind for an indeterminate length of time when something strange starts to happen and walls of her cell appear to start bleeding. Cut to the present where producer Jack Quick is wrapping up the last episode of his TV series which casts doubt on the conviction of Curtis Wade, accused of murdering Eliza whose body was found on his vineyard. When Curtis is released and his defence laywer dies…
Rural seems to be the new black in Australian crime fiction. Far from the gritty Melbourne backstreets or white collar crime of Sydney. And rural crime is definitely getting some recognition. From books like Jane Harper’s multi-award winning The Dry and Garry Disher’s Bitterwash Road through to two of this year’s Ned Kelly Award Best First Crime shortlist nominees – Wimmera and The Dark Lake. Into the fray comes Chris Hammer’s first fiction outing Scrublands, much like The Dry, a book that announces itself by its title as reflecting a part of Australia that most Australians have never seen but would like to feel a connection to. And Hammer has the chops – a long time journalist, he has set his debut fiction outing during a lengthy drought in southeastern Australia, a milieu that he investigated in his non-fiction first book The River. Scrublands opens with a shocking crime. One Sunday morning, out of the blue, the local priest in the small Riverina town of Riversend opens up with a rifle and kills five of his parishioners before himself being killed by the local policeman. Rumours of child sexual abuse lead to the crime being written off by the world as “perverted…