Newest General Fiction Reviews

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The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Pleasant Court is a cul-de-sac a few minutes from the beach in Melbourne. Kids play in the street and it's the sort of place people aspire to. Certainly that's how the families who live there feel and there's a good sense of community. Ben and Essie are glad that Essie's mother is living next door as Essie had a mental breakdown three years ago when her first daughter was having difficulty sleeping. Mia's come through that stage, but now there's Poppy, who's been the perfect baby for the first six months of her life, but is just starting to be difficult. Ben, in particular, is pleased that he can rely on Barbara to keep an eye on the situation whilst he's out at work. Full Review

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Ask For Blues by Malcolm Walton

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Autobiography, Entertainment, General Fiction

Malcolm Walton's book is clearly a memoir about his introduction to the Trad Jazz scene of the late 1950's and early 1960's, but he has chosen to write it in the form of a novel, claiming in his prologue that this would give the book a different approach to the music memoir. His protagonist 'Martin' takes on Malcolm's mantle, and begins with his first discovery of the Salvation Army band with his grandfather. This catapults him into a love of music, initially taking piano lessons, and later delving into his true love – the trumpet. Full Review

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The Boat People by Sharon Bala

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Among the 500 Sri Lankans in a rickety boat making its way to Vancouver Island are Mahindan and his six-year-old son Sellian. When the boat arrives the Canadian authorities take all the passengers into custody, placing the women and children in a separate facility from the men. A gruelling series of hearings will decide on the fate of each individual or family: whether they will be allowed to stay in Canada, or deported back to Sri Lanka. The government fears that up to half of these asylum-seekers may have links to the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group, so judges are instructed to have a firm hand. Full Review

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The Hoarder by Jess Kidd

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Cathal Flood is an old, belligerent man, living in a filthy, crowded house that was once a family home. When Maud Drennan – underpaid carer and unintentional psychic is employed to look after the ancient Cathal, she assumes she'll just be the next in a long line of short-term dogsbodies for the old man. Instead, Maud finds herself drawn into the mysteries concealed within Cathal's once great house – and as Maud begins to clean and sort the rooms she uncovers secrets about the old man that awaken long-hidden memories within Maud herself. With the aid of her highly glamourous yet utterly agoraphobic landlady and a troop of holy ghosts, Maud must uncover the secrets at the heart of the house – and exactly why they were buried… Full Review

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Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Kintu opens with unbridled authority and mercilessness. In just a few pages a man has been hunted down by an angry mob in Uganda. He is then brained with a concrete slab; his woman is left in widowhood and has the hard task of dealing with her man's debt. Blood flows easily, and quickly, when your family's steps are haunted by a curse that spans generations. Full Review

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Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Sophie had been married to James for twelve years and two children: to be honest she was more than a little bit in awe of him. James Whitehouse was an MP and junior minister: perhaps most importantly he was a friend of the prime minister, so when he had to admit that he'd been having an affair he was confident that some contrition, a public admission that he'd been wrong, that he was not perfect, would soon have his career back on track. And it seemed as though that was the way it was going, until a friend of the 'other woman', parliamentary researcher Olivia Lytton, persuaded her to go to the police. There was no dispute that the relationship had been consensual, but after James had finished the affair there was an incident in a lift in House of Commons and the police and the Crown Prosecution Service were both of the opinion that this amounted to rape. The prosecuting counsel is Kate Woodcroft and she's very determined that Whitehouse is going to be brought to book. Full Review

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Dark Pines by Will Dean

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

Tuva Moodyson works for a local paper in small town Sweden - there to be near an ailing Mother, but desperate for the big break that will have her moving on to pastures new. Just outside of her town, Gavrik, two bodies lie deep in the forest - brutally murdered and their eyes ripped out. They bring back dark memories for a town that has seen this crime before - and Tuva is desperate to find the killer. At first, she's just out to write a good story - but as the crimes continue she finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the forests outside of Gavrik, filled with stranger characters and dark secrets. Will she find the killer before they find her? Full Review

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W by John Banks

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

On the slopes of Mt Hood in Oregon, an 1000-year old Viking is discovered frozen - three thousand miles further west than any previously known Viking exploration. Josh Kinninger is inspired by the Viking discovery - three personal catastrophes having left him angry, unmoored and with his world in turmoil. Beginning a journey westward, he's filled with a desire to wreak vengeance on the individuals he finds morally corrupt. Full Review

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Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction

The Greek Myths are, arguably, the greatest stories ever told. So old and influential they cast a shadow over western tales and traditions, yet remain relatable and readable millennia later. Here comedian, actor, television presenter, actor and author Stephen Fry brings his considerable talent to these special stories and recreates them with a wit, warmth and humanity that brings them into the modern age whilst still giving the honour and respect that such ancient and influential stories deserve. Full Review

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Water & Glass by Abi Curtis

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, Science Fiction

Something has happened, something very nasty and on a submarine a pregnant elephant is one of only a handful of animals living below the waves. We follow Nerissa Crane, a vet, as she remembers recent events, looks after the animals and falls into a world of intrigue.

It is difficult to properly review this book without giving too much away. There will be mild spoilers throughout this right from the start but I will try to avoid the main ones. Full Review

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Strange Weather by Joe Hill

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Horror, Fantasy, General Fiction

Strange Weather is a collection of four short novels all linked by, unsurprisingly, strange and cataclysmic weather. Each novel is distinct and showcases Hill's restrained yet vivid style which takes everyday events and makes them bitingly, acerbically macabre or blindingly beautiful, often switching from one sentence to the next. As Hill himself says the beauty of the world and the horror of the world were twined together, never is this truer than in Strange Weather where moments of abject horror are coupled with raw beauty. Full Review

The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser

3star.jpg General Fiction

The Life to Come tells the story of several interesting characters who are all linked by one person: Pippa. The novel is split into five chapters with each one focusing on a different person, from Cassie and her bizarre relationship with Ash to George who has finished his thesis and is in the process of writing his first novel. Pippa, who is also a writer, appears in each of these chapters, in some cases just as a background character. However, what I found most fascinating about this novel was that de Kretser tells the story of Pippa's life through all these various appearances and leaves the reader with a real sense of who she is as a person and having watched her development as a character. Full review...

Servants of the Underground by David Ssembajjo

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Having experienced a terrible famine in his own country, Kalamchi leaves to travel and learn. He returns with a burning desire to feed his people - but not only to feed their stomachs but to feed their minds, too. Kalamchi wants to raise his people's consciousness so that they can fight against the dictator Bamutu - chillingly known as president for life and after death. Full review...

Rotten to the Core by Rob Murphy

4star.jpg Thrillers

It's 2009, and Russia look like being awarded the football World Cup hosting rights for the oh-so-distant 2018 tournament - that is, until England stick their oar in. They have solved their hooligan problem, and improved their transport system, and so at last are valid final holders. Watching this is France, who have to reciprocate with the Russians who helped them get France '98, and they have a plan. At this stage the UEFA European championship of 2016 has not been awarded, and while France remain favourites to get the job, again some upstart idea has poked its head above the parapet - a joint offering from Wales and Scotland. Yes, these two tiny countries, separated by 200 miles and without a brilliant connection from one to the other, and without some vital posh hotels here and there, and with no serious claim to soccer fame when it comes to winning things, are unlikely hosts. But what if France could persuade the world it was a good idea - and let Russian espionage prove it not to be so, with all the while the French around to pick up the pieces? All of the UK would be damaged, meaning England '18 would be dead in the water, and Russia would win out. And who's to say the Brits, with their devolution habits, and their first coalition government in a long time, could not get through without damaging themselves? Full review...

Forests in the Sahara by Paul Stidolph

4star.jpg Thrillers

Everyone I speak to thinks you are going to come to some sort of sticky end. Those are not the most promising words a man can hear from his new partner, but she doesn't lie in this instance. He is Jeffrey Harvey, a young Cambridge professor, who has been dabbling with some extra-curricular work, creating GM trees that can keep vast quantities of water purified. Get an iceberg or three worth of H2O near Africa, where clean water is still a scarce resource, and the trees can do their bit and the water will advance the place and make Jeffrey a well-respected global entrepreneur. If, that is, he can get round all the problems in his life - fractions in the start-up involved in the project, a finance officer embezzling the funds for gambling - oh, and a man ready to accuse Jeffrey of murder and theft of research data on a case reaching back several years. It seems the lovely girlfriend was right to see no shortage of possible sticky ends... Full review...

The Invisible Crowd by Ellen Wiles

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This novel follows the plight of Eritrean Yonas Kelati as he tries to make a life for himself in England. He and a good friend, Gebre, escape from prison only to be thrown into captivity again: trafficked in a shellfish factory where they have to earn their ‘payment’ to the malicious Aziz for entering the UK illegally. When Yonas escapes, the story really starts. Full review...

North Facing by Tony Peake

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At school in Pretoria in 1962, Paul Harvey struggles to fit in - desperate to join the popular group no matter what it may take. His focus on surviving the perils of school so intense, that he fails to see the turbulence in both South Africa and the larger world - with the arrest of Nelson Mandela and the Cuban Missile Crisis affecting the actions of the adults around him. A new and charismatic teacher decides to educate the boys in the unstable situation in the world outside - and a growing awareness of both that and his sexuality pushes Paul Harvey into decisions that he later comes to regret - and their weight pushes him to return to South Africa in the present day - a man in his sixties keen to make sense of a troubled and utterly fascinating past. Full review...

The Maid's Room by Fiona Mitchell

5star.jpg General Fiction

In some apartments in Singapore you'll find a bomb shelter - airless and without a window. It will probably house the washing machine and the other domestic paraphernalia that's got nowhere else to go. There'll be a mattress on the floor of this stifling room, with the heat increased by the tumble dryer. This is the maid's room. It's possibly better than sleeping under the dining room table, but not by much. Back in 2009 there were 201,000 female domestic workers in Singapore, many not earning any money for a year until they've repaid 'training' and other fees to the agency, many living in 'the maid's room'. Full review...

Scoop of the Year by Tom Claver

4star.jpg Thrillers

Martin is an ambitious journalist working on the Financial Review. Martin is good at his job - accurate, dedicated, hardworking and with a good nose for a scoop. But Martin is also uninterested in the culture that comes with reporting. He has a wife and two daughters at home and he doesn't want to waste time and money in the pub, talking macho nonsense with the other hacks. He is a far cry from his colleague Tom de Lacy, a charismatic, silver-spooned charmer with piercing blue eyes. Tom doesn't just grab the limelight though - he also grabs the promotion to industrial correspondent. And that is the job Martin not only wanted, but needed. Full review...

The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse by Alexander McCall Smith

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If you've never read an Alexander McCall Smith novel, but have always thought you might like to try, one day then this might be the book to start with. Rather than face the daunting task of leaping into one of his now very long-running series, this is a standalone novel, and it gives a good flavour of AMS's style, the way he can write to evoke a feeling of time and place, and the warm optimism underlying his words that is so very reassuring and comforting to read. It calls itself 'a wartime romance', which it is, and yet it is much more than that besides. Focussing mainly on Val, a young woman working as a Land Girl, we see her falling in love with an American pilot, Mike Rogers. Thanks to a sheepdog on Val's farm (the Peter Woodhouse from the title) their lives become entwined with that of a German soldier, and the book shows us a variety of friendships as they grow and develop over the years. Full review...

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town's most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens' biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends--just before Kaycee disappeared for good.Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as she tries desperately to find out what really happened to Kaycee, troubling memories begin to resurface and she begins to doubt her own observations. And when she unearths an even more disturbing secret--a ritual called The Game, it will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her. Full review...