Newest General Fiction Reviews

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The Bear by Claire Cameron

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Canadian Claire Cameron was working as a counsellor at Algonquin Park in the early 90's, when a bear attacked and killed two campers. Here, Cameron revisits and re imagines the attack, but gives the campers two children, and tells the story from the perspective of the daughter, Anna. Full review...

Night after Night by Phil Rickman

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It's no surprise that when it comes to reality television, broadcasters are fighting amongst themselves for the next big thing, no matter how tasteless, base, or exploitative it may be. That's the starting point for Phil Rickman's creepy new thriller, as tv producer Leo Defford decides to launch a reality show in a mansion formerly owned by tragically deceased movie star Trinity Ansell, and perhaps haunted by Henry VIII's last wife, Katherine Parr. Full review...

The Green Door by Christopher Bowden

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Clare Mallory is a promising junior barrister working from a prestigious chambers. Life is pretty good. She's not the type to be taken in by psychics but when cards advertising the services of one Madame Pavonia start arriving in the post, her interest is piqued, first by the rainbow spectrum pattern and then by... well, something else. Tempted to visit the fortune-teller at a local fair, Clare is taken aback at Madame Pavonia's reaction to her and rushes out of the tent. Full review...

Twist by Tom Grass

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Twist doesn't know his family. Homeless and on the run from the police, he is swiftly caught up in the world of Dodge, Fagin, Sikes, and Red. As they involve Twist in the dangerous world of Art theft, his skills are pushed to the limits, and his morals are tested by both the murky underworld and the beauty of Red. Full review...

Ashes In The Wind by Christopher Bland

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John Burke and Tomas Sullivan may go to the same primary school in Kerry but even in 1908 they're on two sides of a great divide. John is Anglo Irish protestant and comfortably off, being the heir to Derriquin Castle whereas Tomas is Irish Catholic, living in poverty and raised to feel the resentment of the oppressed. The fact that John has been brought up to believe in Home Rule tragically makes no difference as John, Tomas and their future generations live with the consequences of a centuries old struggle. Full review...

Return to Fourwinds by Elisabeth Gifford

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Two families gather at Fourwinds for the wedding of Nicky and Sarah. Alice and Ralph are as proud of their son as Patricia and Peter are of their daughter. However there are secrets festering behind the celebratory facades and there's nothing like pre-wedding jitters to bring such things bubbling to the surface. Full review...

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy - The Nearly Definitive Edition by Douglas Adams

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There are few series that have garnered such a cult following as 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy'. Whether the fans have come from the radio series, the (impossibly hard) computer game, or the (well intentioned but not particularly good) film, they are everywhere. Ask a room of people what the meaning of life is, and you can be pretty sure a good few will pipe up with '42' as the answer. Full review...

Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk

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The central character, Madison, is a strangely unlikeable narrator who has been murdered. She finds herself in hell but is able to return to Earth to observe the dramatic goings-on of her celebrity parents, who fit the stereotype of the Brangelina couple - socially responsible, universally famous and obscenely rich. Without giving too much away, Madison is a pawn in Satan’s plan to destroy the earth and ensure everyone goes to hell. This being Palahniuk, the focus is on the comedic possibilities of this scenario rather than the moralistic. Full review...

The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop

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Savvas has everything he needs here in Cyprus: money, a beautiful wife from a rich Greek Cypriot family and a hotel to develop into beacon accommodation for the well-heeled. It's not everything he wants though. There's always another hotel to buy and deals to be done while Aphroditi, his intelligent wife, becomes more aware of her position as an ornament rather than a partner. On the other hand, the Turkish Ozkans and Greek Georgious have less materially but are, on the whole, happy. Traditionally they should be enemies but Famagusta is a tolerant town and a good place to live. All this changes in 1974: Turkish soldiers land on the island and slowly move down through the north, an underground resistance emerges and life becomes dangerously cheap. The citizens of Famagusta flee to the south, but two families can’t get out in time: the Ozkans and the Georgious. Full review...

The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr

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It’s the winter of 1941 and we are in the Ukraine. A fourteen year old girl is hiding in a wood on the vast and bitter-cold steppe. Her name is Katinka, a name from folk song and fairy tale, and she has been befriended by two of the wild Przelowski’s horses. Full review...

Where Love Lies by Julie Cohen

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Let's start with the basics. Felicity, a children's book author and illustrator, has been married to the lovely Quinn for just a short time. They live in a sweet cottage, in a wonderful village, with Quinn's family nearby. Quinn is the perfect husband, in every way, and surely Felicity's life can't get any better than this? You might well guess that anyone starting out in a book in this way is heading for trouble. Felicity's trouble comes in rather an unusual form however. She begins to experience intense emotions, seemingly preceded by smelling a scent that she recognises from a long time ago in her life. But are the emotions real, or is her imagination playing tricks on her? And are these episodes worthy of a trip to the doctor, or will he dismiss her olfactory experiences as the random ramblings of a confused woman? Full review...

Rooms by Lauren Oliver

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Alice and Sandra are dead. Ghosts trapped in the house they lived and died in, they have bickered and squabbled for years. Distraction for them comes in the form of a real, live family - Caroline, her daughter Minna, son Trenton, and Minna's daughter Amy. Arriving to mourn and sort affairs following the death of Minna and Trenton's father, arguments and old wounds soon open up. Full review...

Burnt Tongues: An Anthology of Transgressive Short Stories by Chuck Palahniuk, Dennis Widmyer and Richard Thomas

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Saying certain things out loud just don’t sound right. Some things are so disturbing or politically incorrect that you are best off leaving them inside your head, or better yet not thinking of them at all. When these words are spoken they could lead to the sensation of Burnt Tongue; an aftereffect of knowing what you said was wrong. Are you prepared to enter the world of Transgressive Fiction that aims to disturb, alienate, disgust and question? Full review...

Us by David Nicholls

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Douglas Petersen is a mild-mannered, middle-aged biochemist. He and Connie have been married for about two decades. Their son, Albie, is your average sullen teenager with a messy room and bohemian affectations. He and Douglas argue about everything, but especially about Albie's chosen career path: he hopes to be a photographer, taking after his artist mother, but Douglas wants him to study something more practical and rigorous at uni. Still, Douglas thinks things are going pretty well for his family – until one night Connie sits up in bed and tells him she thinks she wants to leave him. Full review...

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

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Billie is interning at a foodie magazine with a long history. It’s been based in the same building for many decades, so you can imagine the secrets hidden within the walls. Every recipe they've ever published, for example, is archived, so if you want the special brioche bread and butter pudding you first tasted in winter 1991, you can contact them and ask for the details. That’s part of Billie’s job, and she quite enjoys it, but then something even better comes out of the archives. A series of letters written during the war that send Billie on a mad mystery tour throughout the building and beyond. With a dash of ingenuity, a pinch of spunk and a big ol’ dollop of enthusiasm, will she be able to get to the bottom of the story? Full review...

Mambo In Chinatown by Jean Kwok

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The daughter of an immigrant noodle maker, who lives with her father and younger sister in a one room apartment in Chinatown, is not the sort of person you might imagine as a skilled and elegant dancer. And, indeed, Charlie isn’t any of those things as we meet her. By day she washes pots in her father’s restaurant, by night she encourages her sister Lisa to succeed in school and succeed in a way that Charlie herself wasn’t able to. But she dreams of more, and when an entry level job at a dance school is advertised, she suddenly wants it more than anything she’s ever wanted, ever. Full review...

Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann

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New York City - 1926.

A world not quite as we know it. America is locked into a cold war with the British Empire, cars are coal powered and prohibition is still in place across New York. A series of horrific murders are committed throughout the city, and the overworked police force are already overworked dealing with the gangsters and criminals that fill the city.

What is needed, is a hero. And that hero is...The Ghost Full review...

Help for the Haunted by John Searles

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Rose and Sylvester Mason make their living from helping the haunted, performing exorcisms and running seminars across America on the subject of the paranormal. When they are murdered in a church, their daughters, Rose and Sylvi, are left negotiating the complex legacy their work has left behind. Full review...

A Replacement Life by Boris Fishman

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On the day that Slava's Russian Jewish grandmother is buried in their new homeland of the US, a letter arrives from the German Conference on Material Claims Against Germany offering her financial restitution for her war years spent in a concentration camp. All she would have needed to do would be to write a letter about her whereabouts and experiences during World War II. It's too late for her but Slava's granddad wants Slava to complete the form in his grandfather's name instead. The fact that Slava's granddad was never in a German concentration camp is immaterial; surely Slava could write something? He's a journalist after all and his granddad did suffer during the war; every Jew in Minsk suffered. This put's Slava's filial devotion to the test but little does he know it's only the beginning. Full review...

Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon

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Thomas Pynchon is a major American novelist. Published for 40 years, his books are always surprising and highly original, and the intense privacy of the author mean that they are often still a mystery when released.

Having read Bleeding Edge, I can confirm that it is still somewhat of a mystery to me. Maxine Tarnow is a great main character - a working mother separated from her husband, she is equal parts sassy to funny, and makes for a reliable companion along the way. Some of the other characters encountered along the way are truly bizarre - Conkling Speedwell probably the most prominent! Full review...

The Revolutions by Felix Gilman

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It is Victorian era London and Arthur Shaw loses his job in the great storm, but in amongst the wind and rain he also finds his future fiancee, a writer by the name of Josephine who has been known to skitter about the outskirts of the occult scene so popular at the time. When a mysterious man turns up at one of the meetings and offers Arthur a job, something seems amiss. What are Arthur and Josephine getting themselves into? Full review...

The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith

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When I finished the fourteenth novel in this series I felt very warm and happy. Things were going so well for all the characters, and it seemed that Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi had reached a wonderful high in their friendship. Of course, these things cannot last and, surprisingly, I found that I was rather glad of the return of some of Mma Makuti's more outspoken nature! Just what is she getting up to this time? Full review...

The Life of a Banana by P P Wong

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It has all the makings of a Victorian melodrama. A young girl’s mother dies on her 13th birthday. She and her brother are packed off to live with evil grandmother, strange uncle and flighty aunt. But this is very much a 21st century tale for the protagonist, Xing Li, is a British born Chinese girl. Full review...

Ghost Child by Caroline Overington

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1980s Melbourne. A triple zero (=999) call has been received from a house on a notorious estate. A child is unresponsive. The story of how it happened is sketchy to say the least. And pretty soon, as it turns into a murder enquiry, people want answers. Need answers. Full review...

The Maggie by James Dillon White

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Once upon a time, a Puffer in Scotland was not someone with too many deep-fried Mars bars and too much Bucky under his belt, but instead a small steamer, running errant cargo routes in and out of the great port of Glasgow, and taking small industrial output from one place to another – especially lesser, shallow-drafted harbours the bigger ships couldn't ply their trade in. McTaggart is Skipper to one Puffer, and a particularly rundown one at that. He and his three crewmates are in need of drinking money, as well, so when the rare chance comes of a job, he leaps at it. The job in hand, taking a special consignment to a remote island for a visiting American magnate, should be easy – but all of them, from Marshall the businessman down to the cabin boy, are surprisingly great at conspiring to make it the most drawn-out voyage The Maggie has yet to face… Full review...

The Quick by Lauren Owen

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The Quick is the debut of author Lauren Owen, and set in the gothic world of Victorian London. Owen guides us through the lives of several characters, but specifically James and Charlotte, siblings living in a Yorkshire mansion. Left to fend for themselves due to a dead mother and an absent father, the two grow up close, playing dark games to pass the time. It is only when James, the younger child, moves to London, that the games become very real indeed, and both brother and sister must fight to save not just themselves, but their humanity. Full review...