New Books April 2016

Fiction

The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre
October 1918: the war on the Western Front is all but over.  Desperate for one last chance of promotion, the ambitious Lieutenant Henri d’Aulnay Pradelle sends two scouts over the top, and secretly shoots them in the back to incite his men to heroic action once more.  This event sets in motion a series of devastating events that will inextricably bind together the fates and fortunes of Pradelle and the two soldiers who witness his crime.  After the war the two soldiers conspire to enact an audacious form of revenge against the country that abandoned them to penury and despair, with a scheme to swindle the whole of France on an epic scale.

All for Nothing by Walter Kempowski
Winter, January 1945. It is cold and dark, and the German army is retreating from the Russian advance.  Germans are fleeing the occupied territories in their thousands, in cars and carts and on foot.  But in a rural East Prussian manor house, the wealthy von Globig family tries to seal itself off from the world.  Protected by their privileged lifestyle from the deprivation and chaos around them, and caught in the grip of indecision, they make no preparations to leave, until a decision to harbour a stranger for the night begins their undoing.  All for Nothing is a devastating portrait of the self-delusions, complicities and denials of the German people as the Third Reich comes to an end.

 

Mystery / Thriller

The Killing of Bobbi Lomax by Cal Moriarty
Bobbi Lomax was the first to die, the bomb killed the prom queen on her own front lawn.  Just moments later one of the nails from the city’s second bomb forced its way into the brain of property investor Peter Gudsen, killing him almost instantly.  The third bomb didn’t quite kill Clark Houseman.  Hovering on the brink, the rare books dealer turns out to be Detectives Sinclair and Alvarez’s best hope of finding out what linked these unlikely victims, and who wanted them dead and why.  But can they find the bomber before he kills again?

After the Fire by Jane Casey
After a fire rips through a North London tower block, two bodies are found locked in an 11th floor flat.  But it is the third victim that ensures the presence of detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad.  It appears that controversial MP Geoff Armstrong, trapped by the fire, chose to jump to his death rather than wait for rescue.  But what was such a right wing politician doing in the deprived, culturally diverse Maudling Estate?  As Maeve and her senior colleague, Derwent, pick through the wreckage, they uncover the secret world of the 11th floor, where everyone seems to have something to hide.

Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham
A mother and her teenage daughter are found murdered in a remote farmhouse, one defiled by multiple stab wounds and the other left lying like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her Prince. Reluctantly, clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin is drawn into the investigation when a former student, calling himself ‘the Mindhunter’, jeopardises the police inquiry by leaking details to the media and stirring up public anger.  With no shortage of suspects and tempers beginning to fray, Joe discover links between these murders and a series of brutal attacks where his victims have been choked unconscious and had the letter ‘A’ carved into their foreheads.

The Reflection by Hugo Wilcken
Disturbed by a troubling phone call, Dr Manne isn’t himself when he’s called out by the police to evaluate a man suspected of psychosis.  But the man is perfectly calm, and insists he’s not who the police says he is.  Before he knows it, Manne is helping his patient escape from an unfamiliar psychiatric hospital that reminds him of a story he heard during the war, about a secret government medical testing programme…  After a careless slip on the subway leads to a horrific accident,  Manne wakes up in a hospital bed, and realizes his own identity is not as certain as he’d always believed. What kind of a hospital is he in, why can’t he leave, and who is the pretty young woman on the balcony, who he watches from his window?

A Cold Death in Amsterdam by Anja de Jager
Set in Amsterdam, the novel introduces Lotte Meerman, a Cold Case detective still recovering from the emotional devastation of her previous investigation.  A tip-off leads Lotte to an unresolved ten-year-old murder case in which her father was the lead detective.  When she discovers irregularities surrounding the original investigation that make him a suspect, she decides to cover for him.  She doesn’t tell her boss about the family connection and jeopardises her career by hiding evidence.  Now she has to find the real murderer before her acts are discovered, otherwise her father will go to jail and she will lose her job, the one thing in life she still takes pride in . . .

Tenacity: A Thriller by J. S. Law
A sailor hangs himself on board a naval submarine.  Although ruled a suicide Lieutenant Danielle Lewis, the Navy’s finest Special Branch investigator, knows the sailor’s wife was found brutally murdered only days before.  Now Dan must enter the cramped confines of HMS Tenacity to interrogate the tight-knit, male crew and determine if there’s a link.  Standing alone in the face of extreme hostility and with a possible killer on board, Dan soon realises that she may have to choose between the truth and her own survival.

The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill
Simon Serrailler faces his most dangerous challenge yet.  Going undercover, he must leave town immediately, change his identity and sever all contact with friends and family.  More importantly though, he must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal.  But can he do so without losing everything?

A Question of Identity by Susan Hill
One snowy night in the cathedral city of Lafferton, an old woman is dragged from her bed and strangled with a length of flex.  DCS Simon Serrailler and his team search desperately for clues to her murderer.  All they know is that the killer will strike again, and will once more leave the same tell-tale signature.  Then they track down a name: Alan Keyes. But Alan Keyes has no birth certificate, no address, no job, no family, no passport, no dental records.  Nothing.  Their killer does not exist.

 

Non-Fiction

Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble by Antony Beevor
On 16 December 1944, Hitler launched his ‘last gamble’ in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes on the Belgian/German border.  Although Hitler’s generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east.  The Ardennes offensive became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe.  In January 1945, when the Red Army launched its onslaught towards Berlin, the once-feared German war machine was revealed to be broken beyond repair and the Ardennes was the battle which finally broke the Wehrmacht.

Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World by Kevin Bales
A powerful and captivating examination of two entwined global crises: environmental destruction and human trafficking and an inspiring, bold plan for how we can solve them.
A leading expert on modern-day slavery, Kevin Bales has traveled to some of the world’s most dangerous places documenting and battling human trafficking.  In the course of his reporting, Bales began to notice that where slavery existed, so did massive, unchecked environmental destruction.  But why?  Bales set off to find the answer in a fascinating and moving journey that took him into the lives of modern-day slaves and along a supply chain that leads directly to the cellphones in our pockets.

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl
My Kitchen Year follows the change of seasons as Ruth Reichl heals through the simple pleasures of cooking after the abrupt closing of Gourmet magazine.  Each dish Reichl prepares for herself and for her family and friends represents a life’s passion for food: a blistering ma po tofu that shakes Reichl out of the blues; slow-cooked beef, wine and onion stew that fills the kitchen with rich aromas; a rhubarb sundae to signal the arrival of spring.  Part cookbook, part personal narrative, part paean to the household gods, My Kitchen Year reveals Reichl’s most treasured recipes, to be shared over and over again with those we love.

The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore
The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world’s surface. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world’s greatest empire? And how did they lose it all?  This is the intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Montefiore’s gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence and wild extravagance, and peopled by a cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries and poets, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy, from Queen Victoria to Lenin.

Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka by John Gimlette
Sri Lanka is a small island with a long, violent and enthralling history. Home to thousands of wild elephants, this is a place where natural beauty has endured, indifferent to human tragedy.  Journeying through its many regions – some haunted by war, many rarely seen by our eyes – award-winning travel writer John Gimlette interviews ex-presidents and cricketers, tea planters and terrorists, negotiating the complex relationships of Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities and the more sinister forms of tourism.  As he walks in the steps of old conquerors, follows the secret paths of elephants and marches alongside pilgrims, Gimlette seeks the soul of a country that is struggling to free itself from trauma and embody an identity to match its vitality, its power and its people.

 

Children’s Picture Books

Elmer and the Flood by David McKee
Rain or no rain, Elmer is going for a walk. After being cooped up in a cave with his herd, he longs for a bit of fresh air and some peace and quiet. But peace and quiet is going to have to wait because when Elmer goes outside, he discovers the rain has caused a flood. Can brave Elmer work out a way to save a stranded young elephant?

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes
There was once a little gardener and his garden meant everything to him. He worked hard, very hard, but he was just too little (or at least he felt he was). In this beautifully gentle tale Emily Hughes, the celebrated author of Wild, departs from the larger than life Wild-girl of her debut to pursue a little-r than life Gardener, in a tale that teaches us just how important it is to persist and try, no matter what the odds. With ever delicately woven tapestries of illustrated magic, Hughes once again transports us to a world not unlike our own, but still brimming with fantasy and wonder.

Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow
Elephant wants to play hide and seek. See if you can help the others find him?he’s very good!

What the Ladybird Heard Next by Julia Donaldson
Those crafty robbers Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len are out of jail, and they’re heading back to the farm with another cunning plan to cause trouble. They’ve been stealing eggs from the fat red hen, but now they’re setting their sights higher and are planning to steal the fat red hen herself! Fortunately the quiet, clever ladybird is on their trail, and she and her farm animal friends have a plan of their own.

 

Children’s Fiction

Katy by Jacqueline Wilson
When Katy falls off her swing and breaks her spine, her whole life is turned topsy-turvy.  Before her accident, Katy and her step-mother, Izzie, weren’t exactly the best of friends, but the accident means that Izzie has to give up her job, and both of them being at home all day helps each of them to be more friendly towards the other. When Katy goes back to school, it isn’t very nice in the beginning as she has to use a wheel chair because her legs are paralysed.  Then, in a PE lesson, she gets a chance to do sports in her wheel chair, and she realises that everything isn’t so bad after all…

 

Teens

The Lie Tree by ​Frances Hardinge
Faith’s father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.  Faith realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter . . .