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Pile by the Bed reviews Better the Blood the debut fiction novel by screenwriter and true crime author Michael Bennett dealing directlt with the ongoing impacts of New Zealand's violent colonial past.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Paper Cage by Tom Baragwanath, debut New Zealand crime fiction that deals with the legacy of colonialism through the eyes of a unique protagonist.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Drunk on All Your Strange New Worlds by Eddie Robson, a crime novel set in a post-alien contact future New York.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz, a heartfelt and engaging novel full of likeably unlikeable characters that explores and comments on a range of aspects of modern life.

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Pile by the Bed reviews and recommends Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra, a multilayered character and incident filled historical novel set around a small American film studio in World War 2.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Haven by Emma Donoghue set in seventh century Ireland it is a story of faith, manipulation and survival.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Maror by Lavie Tidhar an underbelly look at the history of Israel bewteen the mid 1970s and the early 2000s in the vein of James Elroy. Recommended

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Pile by the Bed reviews Criminals by James O'Loghlin, drawing on his life as a legal aid lawyer to tell the story of three very different characters in the aftermath of an armed robbery.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Settlement by Jock Serong, the third of his trilogy of historical novels set around the Furneaux Island group in Australian Bass Strait.

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Pile by the Bed reviews No Country for Girls by Emma Styles a propulsive debut road trip thriller feturing two young women on the run in northern Western Australia.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Dark Music by David Lagercrantz, the start of a new series featuring a Sherlock Holmes style detective duo and exploring the dark consequences of 9/11 and the US invasion of Afghanistan.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Immortal King Rao by Vauhini Vara an ambitious and skilful debut novel that charts the rise of a computer mogul from humble beginnings in the coconut industry through to a dystopian future,

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Pile by the Bed reviews Stay Awake by Megan Goldin a high concept amnesia thriller set in New York.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Night Ship by Jess Kidd - a story which connects the 17th Century voyage and wreck of the Batavia on the Abrolhos Islands and the crayfishing industry on those islands in the late 1980s through the lives of two children.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Ion Curtain by Anya Ow - enjoyable first entry in a new Australian space opera series.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Jesustown by Paul Daley which tries to grapple with the ongoing impacts of Australian history.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis - a page turning rural Australian crime fiction debut that deals with very real issues around responses to sexual assualt.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Carnival is Over by Greg Woodland follow up to his debut The Night Whistler - Australian rural crime fiction set in the 1970s.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Partisan by Patrick Worrall - a debut Cold War thriller with chess at its centre and roots back to World War 2.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Half Life of Valery K by Natasha Pulley, historical fiction set in the 1960s and based on the true story of a Soviet radiation research facility.

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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...