1

The secret history of Twin Peaks: a novelMark Frost

The secret history of Twin Peaks enlarges the world of the original series, placing the unexplained phenomena that unfolded there into a vastly layered, wide-ranging history, beginning with the journals of Lewis and Clark and ending with the shocking events that closed the finale. The perfect way to get in the mood for the upcoming Showtime series.

 

2

Leave meGayle Foreman

For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention – meet Maribeth Klein, a harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack. Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: she packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once she gets to where she’s going, she sees her life from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves, and from herself.

 

3

The nixNathan Hill

This is an epic novel about a son, the mother who left him as a child, and how his search to uncover the secrets of her life leads him to reclaim his own.

 

4

We were on a breakLindsey Kelk

Is it a break? Or is it a blip? ‘You’ve just had a holiday,’ I pointed out, trying not to yawn. ‘Wasn’t that enough of a break?’ ‘I don’t mean that kind of break.’ There’s nothing worse than the last day of holiday. Oh wait, there is. When what should have been a proposal turns into a break, Liv and Adam find themselves on opposite sides of the life they had mapped out. Friends and family all think they’re crazy; Liv throws herself into work – animals are so much simpler than humans – and Adam tries to get himself out of the hole he’s dug. But as the short break becomes a chasm, can they find a way back to each other? Most importantly, do they want to?

 

5

The knivesRichard T. Kelly

‘The knives are out for you, always. But that is the mission you accepted, David. So you have to face the knives, with fortitude. Just as we ask of the great British public…’. As Home Secretary in Her Majesty’s Government, David Blaylock’s daily work involves the control of Britain’s borders, the oversight of her police force, and the struggle against domestic terror threats. Some say the job is impossible; Blaylock insists he is tough enough. But around Westminster the gossip-mongers say his fiery temper is a liability. An ex-soldier from a modest background, Blaylock has a life-story that the public respects. Privately, though, he carries pain and remorse over some grievous things he saw in the army, and his estrangement from an ex-wife and three children for whom he still cares. A solitary figure in a high-pressure world, with no place to call home, Blaylock is never sure whom he can trust or whether his decisions are the right ones. Constantly in his mind is the danger of an attack on Britain’s streets. But over the course of one fraught autumn Blaylock finds that danger moving menacingly closer to his own person.

 

6

DarktownThomas Mullan

Atlanta, 1948. In this city, all crime is black and white. On one side of the tracks are the rich, white neighbourhoods; on the other, Darktown, the African-American area guarded by the city’s first black police force of only eight men. These cops are kept near-powerless by the authorities: they can’t arrest white suspects; they can’t drive a squad car; they must operate out of a dingy basement. When a poor black woman is killed in Darktown having been last seen in a car with a rich white man, no one seems to care except for Boggs and Smith, two black cops from vastly different backgrounds. Pressured from all sides, they will risk their jobs, the trust of their community and even their own lives to investigate her death. Their efforts bring them up against a brutal old-school cop, Dunlow, who has long run Darktown as his own turf – but Dunlow’s idealistic young partner, Rakestraw, is a young progressive who may be willing to make allies across colour lines.

 

7

The gradualChristopher Priest

In the latest novel from one of the UK’s greatest writers we return to the Dream Archipelago, a string of islands that no one can map or explain. Alesandro Sussken is a composer, and we see his life as he grows up in a fascist state constantly at war with another equally faceless opponent. His brother is sent off to fight; his family is destroyed by grief. Occasionally Alesandro catches glimpses of islands in the far distance from the shore, and they feed into his music – music for which he is feted. But all knowledge of the other islands is forbidden by the junta, until he is unexpectedly sent on a cultural tour. And what he discovers on his journey will change his perceptions of his country, his music and the ways of the islands themselves. Playing with the lot of the creative mind, the rigours of living under war and the nature of time itself, this is Christopher Priest at his absolute best.

 

8

I’m thinking of ending thingsIain Reid

Jake and his girlfriend are on a drive to visit his parents at their remote farm. After dinner at the family home, things begin to get worryingly strange. And when he leaves her stranded in a snowstorm at an abandoned high school later that night, what follows is a chilling exploration of psychological frailty and the limitations of reality.

 

9

The rules of backyard cricketJock Serong

It starts in a suburban backyard with Darren Keefe and his older brother, sons of a fierce and gutsy single mother. The endless glow of summer, the bottomless fury of contest. All the love and hatred in two small bodies poured into the rules of a made-up game. Darren has two big talents: cricket and trouble. No surprise that he becomes an Australian sporting star of the bad-boy variety: one of those men who’s always got away with things and just keeps getting. Until the day we meet him, middle aged, in the boot of a car. Gagged, cable-tied, a bullet in his knee. Everything pointing towards a shallow grave. The Rules of Backyard Cricket is a novel of suspense in the tradition of Peter Temple’s Truth. With glorious writing harnessed to a gripping narrative, it observes celebrity, masculinity and humanity with clear-eyed lyricism and exhilarating narrative drive.

 

10

The underground railroadColson Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves, but Cora is an outcast even among her fellow Africans, and she is coming into womanhood; even greater pain awaits. Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, and they plot their escape. Matters do not go as planned – Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her – but they manage to find a station and head north. In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is not a metaphor – a secret network of tracks and tunnels has been built beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, where both find work in a city that at first seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens, and Ridgeway, the relentless slave-catcher sent to find her, arrives in town. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing journey, state-by-state, seeking true freedom. Like Gulliver, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey – Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in states in the pre-Civil War era. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage, and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

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