December's New Fiction
This cake is for the party by Sarah Selecky (FICTION) -- Shortlisted for the acclaimed 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award, and the Commonwealth Writer's Prize Best First Book Award, This Cake Is for the Party has received consistent rave reviews praising debut writer Sarah Selecky. In these ten stories, linked frequently by the sharing of food, Sarah Selecky reaffirms the life of everyday situations with startling significance. For upmarket women's fiction readers that love stories which reflect the joys and pitfalls of marriage, fidelity, fertility, and relationship woes, this collection is a conversation starter. This Cake Is for the Party reminds us that the best parts of our lives are often the least flashy. Reminiscent of early Margaret Atwood, with echoes of Lisa Moore and Ali Smith, these absorbing stories are about love and longing, that touch us in a myriad of subtle and affecting ways.
Bronze summer by Stephen Baxter (FICTION) -- The prosperous people of Northland, a linear city hundreds of miles long created by the building of a Wall to hold back both the North Sea and the empires of the Bronze Age, contend with a threat from the East when decades of drought bring instability to the Eastern civilizations.
A death in the small hours by Charles Finch (MYSTERY FICTION) -- Visiting his uncle's estate in Somerset for what he hopes will be a quiet working vacation, politician and new father Charles Lenox investigates a series of seemingly small acts of vandalism only to uncover a sinister plot by an adversary who may be targeting someone Lenox loves.
Red country by Joe Abercrombie (FANTASY FICTION) -- A New York Times Bestseller! They burned her home. They stole her brother and sister. But vengeance is following. Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she'll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she's not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old step father Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb's buried a bloody past of his own. Their journey will take them across the barren plains to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feud, duel and massacre, high into the unmapped mountains to a reckoning with the Ghosts. Even worse, it will force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, and his feckless lawyer Temple, two men no one should ever have to trust...
Eight girls taking pictures by Whitney Otto (FICTION) -- This captivating novel opens in 1917 as Cymbeline Kelley surveys the charred remains of her photography studio, destroyed in a fire started by a woman hired to help take care of the house while Cymbeline pursued her photography career. This tension— between wanting and needing to be two places at once; between domestic duty and ambition; between public and private life; between what’s seen and what’s hidden from view—echoes in the stories of the other seven women in the book. Crisscrossing the world and a century, Eight Girls Taking Pictures is an affecting meditation on the conflicts women face and the choices they make. These memorable characters seek extraordinary lives through their work, yet they also find meaning and reward in the ordinary tasks of motherhood, marriage, and domesticity. Most of all, this novel is a vivid portrait of women in love—in love with men, other women, children, their careers, beauty, and freedom.
Cassandra project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick (SCIENCE FICTION) -- Early in his career, Jerry Culpepper could never have been accused of being idealistic. Doing public relations—even for politicians—was strictly business... until he was hired as NASA’s public affairs director and discovered a client he could believe in. Now, a half century after the first moon landing, Jerry feels like the only one with stars—and unexplored planets and solar systems—in his eyes. Still, Jerry does his job, trying to drum up interest in the legacy of the agency. Then a fifty-year-old secret about the Apollo XI mission is revealed, and he finds himself embroiled in the biggest controversy of the twenty-first century, one that will test his ability—and his willingness—to spin the truth about a conspiracy of reality-altering proportions...
City of dark magic by Magnus Flyte (FICTION) -- Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings?
The valley of unknowing by Philip Sington (FICTION) -- In the twilight years of Communist East Germany, Bruno Krug, author of a single world-famous novel written twenty years earlier, falls for Theresa Aden, a music student from the West. But Theresa has also caught the eye of a cocky young scriptwriter who delights in satirizing Krug’s work. Asked to appraise a mysterious manuscript, Bruno is disturbed to find that the author is none other than his rival. Disconcertingly, the book is good—very good. But there is hope for the older man: the unwelcome masterpiece is dangerously political. Krug decides that if his affair with Theresa is to prove more than a fling, he must employ a small deception. But in the Workers’ and Peasants’ State, knowing the deceiver from the deceived, the betrayer from the betrayed, isn’t just difficult: it is a matter of life and death. Now the celebrated author and secret Stasi informer is ready to confess…
Mandarin gate by Eliot Pattison (MYSTERY FICTION) -- Shan Tao Yun was an Inspector stationed in Beijing, but lost his position, his family and his freedom when he ran afoul of a powerful figure high in the Chinese government. Without status, official identity, or the freedom to return to his former home in Beijing, Shan has just begun to settle into his menial job as an inspector of irrigation and sewer ditches in a remote Tibetan township when he encounters a wrenching crime scene. Strewn across the grounds of an old Buddhist temple undergoing restoration are the bodies of two unidentified men and a Tibetan nun. Shan quickly realizes that the murders pose a riddle the Chinese police might in fact be trying to cover up. To find justice for the victims and to protect an American woman who witnessed the murders, Shan must navigate through the treacherous worlds of the internment camp, the local criminal gang, and the government's rabid pacification teams, while coping with his growing doubts about his own identity and role in Tibet.
The fractal prince by Hannu Rajaniemi (SCIENCE FICTION) -- “The good thing is, no one will ever die again. The bad thing is, everyone will want to.”A physicist receives a mysterious paper. The ideas in it are far, far ahead of current thinking and quite, quite terrifying. In a city of “fast ones,” shadow players, and jinni, two sisters contemplate a revolution. And on the edges of reality a thief, helped by a sardonic ship, is trying to break into a Schrödinger box for his patron. In the box is his freedom. Or not. In Hannu Rajaniemi’s sparkling follow-up to the critically acclaimed international sensation The Quantum Thief, he returns to his awe-inspiring vision of the universe…and we discover what the future held for Earth.
The care and feeding of exotic pets by Diana Wagman (FICTION) -- Winnie Parker, mother to an angst-ridden teenage daughter and ex-wife to a successful game show host who left her for a twenty-something contestant, begins a normal day in her hum-drum existence by dropping her car off at the repair shop. After accepting what she believes is a ride to pick up her rental car, Winnie realizes too late that she's been kidnapped. What follows is a riveting psychological game of cat and mouse set in the kidnapper's tropically heated house—kept that way for Cookie, a menacing seven-foot long Iguana headquartered in the kitchen. While desperately seeking to escape—which leads to several violent clashes with her increasingly unstable kidnapper—Winnie also tries to understand why she was taken captive. Is her kidnapper merely seeking a ransom or does he have something more sinister in mind? Does he know that Winnie's mother is an Oscar-winning actress? Or did he connect her with Jonathan, her famous ex-husband? When the truth reveals itself, Winnie is not only forced to fight for her life, but must also protect the lives of those she loves from the kidnapper's deranged master plan.
The inexplicables by Cherie Priest (FANTASY FICTION) -- In this fifth installment in the Clockwork Century steampunk adventure series, Rector "Wreck 'em" Sherman, a drug dealer haunted by the ghost of a kid he used to know, sneaks over the wall into the wasteland of Seattle where he makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.
A door in the river by Inger Ash Wolfe (MYSTERY FICTION) -- Stinging deaths aren't uncommon in the summertime, but when Henry Wiest turns up stung to death at an Indian reservation, Detective Hazel Micallef senses not all is as it seems. And when it turns out the "bee" was a diabolical teenaged girl on a murder spree with a strange weapon, a dark and twisted crime begins to slowly emerge. The questions, contradictions, and bodies begin to mount, as two separate police forces struggle to work together to save the soul of Westmuir County.