By Thomas Cobb
At the age of fifty-seven, Bad Blake is on his last legs. His weight, his ticker, his liver, even his pick-up truck are all giving him trouble. A renowned songwriter and "picker" who hasn't recorded in five years, Bad now travels the countryside on gigs that take him mostly to motels and bowling alleys. Enter Ms. Right. Can Bad stop living the life of a country-western song and tie a rope around his crazy heart?
By Jake Adelstein
From the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club: a unique, firsthand, revelatory look at Japanese culture from the underbelly up. At nineteen, Jake Adelstein went to Japan in search of peace and tranquility. What he got was a life of crime . . . crime reporting, that is, at the prestigious Yomiuri Shinbun. For twelve years of eighty-hour workweeks, he covered the seedy side of Japan, where extortion, murder, human trafficking, and corruption are as familiar as ramen noodles and sake. But when his final scoop brought him face to face with Japan's most infamous yakuza boss-and the threat of death for him and his family-Adelstein decided to step down . . . momentarily. Then, he fought back.In Tokyo Vice, Adelstein tells the riveting, often humorous tale of his journey from an inexperienced cub reporter-who made rookie mistakes like getting into a martial-arts battle with a senior editor-to a daring, investigative journalist with a price on his head. With its vivid, visceral descriptions of crime in Japan and an exploration of the world of modern-day yakuza that even few Japanese ever see, Tokyo Vice is a deeply thought-provoking book: equal parts cultural exposé, true crime, and hard-boiled noir.
Pictures of Lily
By Matthew Yorke
"I am going to find my parents... if I don't track them down I'll be one of the unlucky ones."So writes seventeen-year-old Lily Myers, for whom, adopted at birth, there are so many unanswered questions. Who are her biological parents? Does she have brothers and sisters? Where else might she have lived had if she not been given away? Most pressing is the simplest question of all: "Why was I given up?"In Lily's case there is refuge in melody. It's in the dub venues of the north of England, in the fizzing bass lines, the buzz of static. Here is the volume to quell the doubts, the fears, even the truth. Yet these melodies have the power to suggest possibilities of their own - not least when coupled with Ayahuasca, a visionary plant used by Amazonian shamans as a vehicle to commune with the spirit world, a world where there can be no secrets.Hitherto Lily's quest has been confined to this psychic plane, transcending space and time to communicate with spirits so real they are real, gathering from them clues about her past, her people. It has been at perilous cost to her mental health. Now, at eighteen, her birth certificate and adoption file are hers for the taking. But will the journey end there? Indeed can she ever come to understand the true significance of 'finding my parents'?Praise for Matthew Yorke's previous novel The March Fence:This is a novel which throbs with life and wonder at the manifold varieties of experience... The talent for writing novels may be hard to define, yet it is unmistakable when encountered... is the real thing... the best first novel that I have read in a long time. Alan Massie.A most impresseive debut. Elaine Feinstein, The Times.Distinctive, energetic...the narrative takes a real grip. Hilary Mantel. Daily Telegraph.
By C M Taylor
Kev King has the world at his feet.His is the world of top flight football: where brands are all, lifestyle is god, adoration is obligatory and there is nothing - and no one - that money can't buy.And up until last season, Kev had the Premier League status to match his premier lifestyle. Now, relegated to a lowly league, forced to watch injured from the bench, and paranoid about his girlfriend's rising celebrity profile, he feels less in control of his life. And it's making him angry. Fighting his way back to the top, he leaves a trail of destruction. But can his millions and his talent keep him at the top of his game - or are his violent secrets about to rob him of everything he has?C. M. Taylor's Premiership Psycho is a compelling, hilarious and horrible insight into celebrity culture and a brilliant fictional portrayal of contemporary football.
A Life Apart
By Neel Mukherjee
Ritwik Ghosh, twenty-two and recently orphaned, finds the chance to start a new life when he arrives in England from Calcutta. But to do so, he must not only relive his entire past but also make sense of his relationship with his mother - scarred, abusive and all-consuming.But Oxford holds little of the salvation Ritwik is looking for. Instead he moves to London, where he drops out of official existence into a shadowy hinterland of illegal immigrants. However, the story that Ritwik writes to stave off his loneliness - a Miss Gilby who teaches English, music and Western manners to the wife of a liberal zamindar - begins to find ghostly echoes in his life with his aged landlady, Anne Cameron. But then, one night, in the badlands of King's Cross, Ritwik runs into the suave, unfathomable Zafar bin Hashm. As present and past of several lives collide, Ritwik's own goes into free fall.
By Jonathan Dee
Smart, socially gifted, and chronically impatient, Adam and Cynthia Morey are so perfect for each other that united they become a kind of fortress against the world. In their hurry to start a new life, they marry young and have two children before Cynthia reaches the age of twenty-five. Adam is a rising star in the world of private equity and becomes his boss's protégé. With a beautiful home in the upper-class precincts of Manhattan, gorgeous children, and plenty of money, they are, by any reasonable standard, successful.But the Moreys' standard is not the same as other people's. The future in which they have always believed for themselves and their children - a life of almost boundless privilege, in which any desire can be acted upon and any ambition made real - is still out there, but it is not arriving fast enough to suit them. As Cynthia, at home with the kids day after identical day, begins to drift, Adam is confronted with a decision that tests how much he is willing to risk to ensure his family's happiness and to recapture the sense that, for him and his wife, the only acceptable life is oneof infinite possibility.The Privileges is an odyssey of a couple touched by fortune, changed by time, and guided above all else by their epic love for each other. Lyrical, provocative, and brilliantly imagined, it is a timely meditation on wealth, family, and what it means to leave the world richer than you found it.
The Warsaw Anagrams
By Richard Zimler
Autumn 1940. The Nazis seal 400,000 Jews inside a small area of the Polish capital, creating an urban island cut off from the outside world. Erik Cohen, an elderly psychiatrist, is forced to move into a tiny apartment with his niece and his beloved nine-year-old nephew, Adam.One bitterly cold winter's day, Adam goes missing. The next morning, his body is discovered in the barbed wire surrounding the ghetto. The boy's leg has been cut off, and a tiny piece of string has been left in his mouth.Soon, another body turns up - this time a girl's, and one of her hands has been taken. Evidence begins to point to a Jewish traitor luring children to their death...In this profoundly moving and darkly atmospheric historical thriller, the reader is taken into the most forbidden corners of Nazi-occupied Warsaw - as well as into the most heroic places of the heart.Praise for Richard Zimler:'A riveting literary murder mystery, [The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon] is also a harrowing picture of the persecution of 16th-century Jews and, in passing, an atmospheric introduction to the hermetic Jewish tradition of the Kabbalah.' Independent on Sunday 'Zimler [is] a present-day scholar and writer of remarkable erudition and compelling imagination, an American Umberto Eco.' Spectator'Zimler has this spark of genius, which critics can't explain but readers recognise, and which every novelist desires but few achieve.' Independent 'Zimler is an honest, powerful writer.' Guardian
At the Chime of a City Clock
By D.J. Taylor
Summer 1931 in seedy Bayswater and James Ross is on his uppers. An aspiring writer whose stories nobody will buy ('It's the slump'), with a landlady harassing him for unpaid rent and occasional sleepless nights spent in the waiting room at King's Cross Station, he is reduced to selling carpet-cleaning lotion door-to-door. His prospects brighten when he meets the glamorous Suzi ('the red hair and the tight jumper weren't a false card: she really was a looker and no mistake'), but their relationship turns out to be a source of increasing bafflement. Who is her boss, the mysterious Mr Rasmussen - whose face bears a startling resemblance to one of the portraits in Police News - and why he so interested in the abandoned premises above the Cornhill jeweller's shop?Worse, mysterious Mr Haversham from West End Central is starting to take an interest in his affairs. With a brief to keep an eye on Schmiegelow, James finds himself staying incognito at a grand Society weekend at a country house in Sussex, where the truth - about Suzi and her devious employer - comes as an unexpected shock. Set against a backdrop of the 1931 financial crisis and the abandonment of the Gold Standard, acted out in shabby bed-sitters and Lyons tea-shops, At the Chime of a City Clock is an authentic slice of Thirties comedy-noir.Praise for Kept: A Victorian Mystery:'Very entertaining and well done, with a sharp appreciation for the details' The Times'An ingenious tale of madness, murder and deception.' The Guardian'A stylish page-turner ... all done with humour and cunning.' Sunday Telegraph
How I Became a Famous Novelist
By Steve Hely
In this blistering evisceration of celebrity culture and literary fame, a roguish loser sets out to write the best-sellingest best seller of all time. When he actually pulls it off, he winds up tearing like a tornado across America's cultural landscape.What Pete Tarslaw wants is simple enough:FAME-Realistic amount. Enough to open new avenues of sexual opportunity. Personal assistant to read mail, grocery shop, etc.FINANCIAL COMFORT-Never have a job again. Retire. Spend rest of life lying around, pursuing hobbies (boating? skeet shooting?)STATELY HOME BY THE OCEAN (OR SCENIC LAKE)-Spacious library, bay windows, wet bar. HD TV, discreetly placed. Comfortable couch.HUMILIATE EX-GIRLFRIEND AT HER WEDDINGThis is the story of how he succeeds in getting it all, and what it costs him in the end.Narrated by an unlikely literary legend, How I Became a Famous Novelist pinballs from the postcollege slums of Boston to the fear-drenched halls of Manhattan's publishing houses, from the gloomy purity of Montana's foremost writing workshop to the hedonistic hotel bars of the Sunset Strip. This is the horrifying, hilarious tale of how Pete Tarslaw's "pile of garbage," called The Tornado Ashes Club, became the most talked about, blogged about, read, admired, and reviled novel in America. It will change everything you think you know-about literature, appearance, truth, beauty, and those people who still care about books.It is the winner of the 2010 Thurber Prize for American Humor.
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
By Seth Grahame-Smith
Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness"."My baby boy..." she whispers before dying. Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an axe, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of America's greatest president for the first time - all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of the nation.
A Visit From the Goon Squad
By Jennifer Egan
Jennifer Egan's spellbinding novel circles the lives of Bennie Salazar, an ageing former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa.We first meet Sasha in her mid-thirties, on her therapist's couch in New York City, confronting her long-standing compulsion to steal. Later, we learn the genesis of her turmoil when we see her as the child of a violent marriage, then a runaway living in Naples, then as a college student trying to avert the suicidal impulses of her best friend. We meet Bennie Salazar at the melancholy nadir of his adult life-divorced, struggling to connect with his nine-year-old son, listening to a washed up band in the basement of a suburban house-and then revisit him in 1979, at the height of his youth, shy and tender, revelling in San Francisco's punk scene as he discovers his ardour for rock and roll and his gift for spotting talent. We learn what became of his high school gang-who thrived and who faltered-and we encounter Lou Kline, Bennie's catastrophically careless mentor, along with the lovers and children left behind in the wake of Lou's far flung sexual conquests and meteoric rise and fall.A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about the interplay of time and music, about survival, about the stirrings and transformations set inexorably in motion by even the most passing conjunction of our fates. In a breathtaking array of styles and tones ranging from tragedy to satire to Powerpoint, Egan captures the undertow of self-destruction that we all must either master or succumb to; the basic human hunger for redemption; and the universal tendency to reach for both-and escape the merciless progress of time-in the transporting realms of art and music. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.
A Kiss Before Dying
By Ira Levin
Dorothy meets a handsome young man with an eye for her inheritance while she is in her sophomore year. They are to be married and her life will be blissful; but Dorothy is pregnant and her fiancé's plans are ruined, for Dorothy would be disinherited if her father discovered the truth.So the young man provides his bride to be with some pills that will solve the problem. Soon there will be no baby - and perhaps no Dorothy either... A Kiss before Dying, Levin's first novel, earned him the 1954 Edgar Award for Best First Novel and is regarded as a modern classic.
By Ira Levin
Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor-husband, Guy, move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them; despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare.As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets' circle is not what it seems.