New fiction buzz – Our selectors share cool stuff

According to our Fiction Selector, there are lots of interesting new fiction coming up (and lots of bog standard ones from all the usual suspects).

James Salter is a veteran American author whose new one –  All that is –  about a WWII veteran who works later as a book editor and loves the whole excitement of the publishing world even as his non-work life runs aground.

Charlotte Roche, the German author whose Wetlands was a success de scandale in Europe and is soon to be a film (maybe the first movie to bring haemorrhoids to centre stage) has a new one coming called Wrecked.

Meg Wolitzer, an underrated American author, has one called The Interestings which follows a group of early high fliers from their time in summer camp to the world of art and money later.

Publishing buzz rides high for The shining girls by Lauren Beukes which mixes genres by having a time travelling serial killer.

In the world of literary novels, big things are expected of Taiye Selasi’s first novel, Ghana must go, which follows the lives of a family over four decades from life in West Africa to London and New England.

Another interesting debut is Elliott Holt’s You are one of them which is set in 1980s Washington and 1990s Moscow.

Amity Gaige’s novel Schroder is touted as one of the best tales of father and child for a while: it’s about a father who gets a rare weekend visitation with his young daughter and decides to hit the road with the girl. There’s lot more good stuff on the way but it might be worthwhile giving some of these a go.

Charlie Parker is back

A detective novel with a supernatural twist, what more could you ask for!  This is exactly how I would describe John Connolly’s books about Maine PI Charlie Parker.  Parker’s first appearance was in Connolly’s first novel, Every Dead Thing, in which Charlie Parker’s wife and child are killed and he becomes consumed with hatred and a desire for revenge.  He quits the NYPD and gains his private eye license in order to track down his wife and daughter’s killer.  This career change sets him on a path that sees him come up against some pretty disturbing people and all sorts of evil. 

In Connolly’s latest Charlie Parker thriller, The Lovers, Parker has to delve into his past and dredge up some memories that he would have sooner forgotten, and we also learn alot about his parents and the decisions that they had to make to protect him.  I’ve only read a few of Connolly’s books about Parker but I now want to go back and read some of the earlier ones to fill in some gaps.  However, you don’t have to have read any of his previous books to understand what’s going on. 

I’m not really into crime books that are told from the perspective of police detectives or forensic experts as I find them a little too bogged down in jargon.  This is one of the reasons I enjoy Connolly’s books so much as Parker is a PI working on his own and following his own rules, with some help from his acquaintances Angel and Louis.  I also find that the feel of his books is similar to Dean Koontz as they’ve got a dark nature to them.

Dean Koontz – master of our darkest fears

I’ve been a fan of Dean Koontz since reading Velocity a few years ago.  Since then I’ve made my way through his older books and eagerly awaited his new ones.  I like to think of him as the poor man’s Stephen King.  His stories are quite similar in nature to Stephen King and I often find myself seriously creeped-out reading some of them.  If you like a good thriller with a touch of the supernatural thrown in, Dean Koontz is your man.  I think the reason I like his books so much is that most of his characters are ordinary people (a landscape gardener, a fry cook, and an author just to name a few) who find themselves in life or death situations with psychotic individuals who are bent on tearing their world apart for a seemingly unknown reason.  One of my favourite Dean Koontz books is Life Expectancy about a guy called Jimmy Tock who is born at the same moment his grandfather dies.  On his death bed his grandfather predicts five future dates that will be terrible for Jimmy.  The novel follows Jimmy on these five days in his life, including his run-ins with a psychotic clown.

I’m currently reading Koontz’ lastest book Relentless and it’s another fantastic, disturbing thriller.  I can’t wait to get back to it to find out how the characters are going to get out of their horrific situation.  It’s definitely worth a read and so are his other books that we have in the library.