Mid-year fiction review – 5 of the best

We've reached the middle of the year and it's time to reflect on some of the amazing books that have impressed, amazed, and delighted me so far.

So what do we have that I would like to share...?

  • There's a long-awaited new book from a legend of sinister thrillers
  • A brilliantly imagined future world depicted hilariously by a master of humorous fiction
  • An early warning about climate change, rising sea levels, and what could become of the displaced millions
  •  A stunning mystery novel debut from the writer of the Scandi Noir television show, 'The Killing'
  • And a thoughtful and challenging science fiction story of corporate space colonisation, AI, and cloning

The first should excite quite a few readers.Cari Mora from the creator of Hannibal Lecter himself, Thomas Harris, and it's a ripper. Layers of tension, creeping dread, and complex web of criminal interests, and a new bad guy that rivals Lecter in the creepy-as stakes!

Word is out that Pablo Escobar secretly hid a fortune in gold under his Miami safe house and now the race is on the locate the stash, disarm the traps, and seize the riches. Cari, an ex-child soldier in the wars in South America, finds herself at the centre of it all and will need to test her will against ruthless gang leaders. But villainous Hans-Peter has other plans for her too, creepy ones. Fast paced, page turning, violence and sinister goodness right here. We've been waiting a long time and it's been worth it.

If you like humorous and inventive science fiction (Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett) then you'll love Jasper Fforde! His newest book Early Riser explores an potential future of Earth that sees vast winters across the globe forcing humanity to hibernate in specially made buildings. That's our setting and it's perfect world building by the author. But what Jasper Fforde does so brilliantly is bringing the administration and societal structures to his new worlds, and this is his best yet! Full of great humour and his casual styled writing, you'll be pulled into the story of our main character and the rest of the cast of misfits and weirdos as they "over-winter" and try to keep humanity in fully working order for the spring.

Rohan Wilson is best known as the award-winning Tasmanian author that writes gritty historical fiction usually set in convict-era Van Diemen's Land. He strays away from these themes for his new book, Daughter of Bad Times. In the very-scarily-too-near future, entire nations are lost to ice melt and subsequent rising sea levels. Amid this environmental catastrophe a privatised system of detaining the now-stateless environmental refugees has arisen, and those with no country to call home are held in detention centres dotted around the world. The refugees are forced to work to earn their right to become citizens of their captors' lands.

Within this book we see themes of climate change, privatised essential services, monopoly control of resources, and the monetisation and dehumanisation governments will force upon their citizens in the name of shareholder interests. This story is told through transcripts from a court case and the internal accounts of two young people, virtual strangers coming together surrounded by chaos This could possibly be the most important book of our current time, a tool to expose the money-making processes that are being constructed right before our eyes. 

The Killing is still an iconic part of our thriller/mystery landscape with the television series being as memorable for the swathe of false leads and heartbreaking conclusions as it was for the magnificent sweaters of lead character Sarah Lund. And if you thought Scandi-Crime was getting stale then stop right there! The Chestnut Man, the debut novel from Søren Sveistrup, will definitely change your mind. It's a fast paced, page turner full of interesting characters and during reading you'll suspect them all, one by one. It's a cold-case-meets-new-killing-spree and our two detectives are up against terrific odds and a killer that always keeps one step ahead.

Full of all of the themes that we love with Scandi-Crime - social commentary, grisly killings, interwoven plots, dark settings - it will get you right back in the zone for more like this. I'll be keenly awaiting his next book, and so will you after reading this one!

And the last of the titles I'll share with you is thoughtful and philosophical science fiction from talented young Canadian Iain Reid. In Foe we are in the very near future. A new type of conscription sees our main character, Junior, enlisted in an enterprise to build a space station and habitat for humanity. This is not a thing he or his wife, Hen, have asked for and the company send a representative to see his readiness for the journey goes to plan. This is a character driven (very internal) narrative of Junior as his relationship becomes strained and he begins to experience life rather more strangely than usual, as does his wife. Brilliant new Sci-Fi from an outstanding author.

If this selection has whet you appetite for good fiction, you can check out my other reads of 2019 and even check out our New Titles, or pick up a copy (out monthly) from your local library, to discover more outstanding adult fiction for yourself.

Happy reading,


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