Welcome to part two of my December book haul, if you missed part one, you can find it here. You know the drill, the latest additions to my shelves.
Goldsboro December BOTM:
The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan
The city of Guerdon stands eternal. A refuge from the war that rages beyond its borders. But in the ancient tunnels deep beneath its streets, a malevolent power has begun to stir.
The fate of the city rests in the hands of three thieves. They alone stand against the coming darkness. As conspiracies unfold and secrets are revealed, their friendship will be tested to the limit. If they fail, all will be lost and the streets of Guerdon will run with blood.
Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
A friendship to die for.
A Ripley story for the Instagram age set in contemporary New York; a world at once sophisticated and sordid, irresistible and irresponsible, unforgettable yet unattainable
Louise is struggling to survive in New York; juggling a series of poorly paid jobs, renting a shabby flat, being catcalled by her creepy neighbour, she dreams of being a writer. And then one day she meets Lavinia. Lavinia who has everything – looks, money, clothes, friends, an amazing apartment.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The god touches his finger to the arrow’s fletching. Then he breathes, a puff of air – as if to send dandelions flying, to push toy boats over water. And the arrow flies, straight and silent, in a curving, downward arc towards Achilles’ back.
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, the boys develop a tender friendship, a bond which blossoms into something deeper as they grow into young men.
But when Helen of Sparta is kidnapped, Achilles is dispatched to distant Troy to fulfil his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
The first of the defeated kites whirled out of control. They fell from the sky like shooting stars with brilliant, rippling tails, showering the neighbourhood.
Amir and Hassan grow up together in Kabul. Amir in the beautiful house his father built, filled with marble, gold, tapestries and mosaics; Hassan in the modest mud hut in the servants’ quarters.
The two are inseparable, and when twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament, his loyal friend promises to help him. But neither boy can predict what will happen to Hassan that afternoon – as the kites soar over the city – and how it will change their lives forever.
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
He saw the soft cedars of San Piedro Island, its high, rolling hills, the low mist that lay in long streamers against its beaches, the whitecaps riffling its shoreline. The moon had risen already behind the island – a quarter moon, pale and indefinite, as ethereal and translucent as the wisps of cloud that travelled the skies.
A fisherman is found dead in the net of his boat off the coast of a North American island. When a local Japanese-American man is charged with his murder, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than one man’s guilt. For on San Piedro, memories grow as thickly as cedar trees – memories of a charmed romance between a white boy and a Japanese girl.
Above all, the island is haunted by what happened to its Japanese residents during the Second World War, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbours watched.
The Force by Don Winslow
Everyone can be bought. At the right price…
Detective sergeant Denny Malone leads an elite unit to fight gangs, drugs and guns in New York. For eighteen years he’s been on the front lines, doing whatever it takes to survive in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean.
What only a few know is that Denny Malone himself is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash. Now he’s caught in a trap and being squeezed by the FBI, and he must walk a thin line of betrayal, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.
Don Winslow’s latest novel is a haunting story of greed and violence, inequality and race, and a searing portrait of a city on the edge of an abyss. Full of shocking twists, this is a morally complex and riveting dissection of the controversial issues confronting society today.
Like This, For Ever by Sharon Bolton
Twelve-year-old Barney Roberts is obsessed with a series of murders.
He knows the victims are all boys, just like him.
He knows the bodies were found on river banks.
And he’s sure the killer will strike again soon.
But there’s something else, a secret he’d rather not know, a secret he is too scared to share . . .
And who would believe a twelve-year-old boy anyway?
The Wych Elm by Tana French
One night changes everything for Toby. He’s always led a charmed life – until a brutal attack leaves him damaged and traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at his family’s ancestral home, the Ivy House, filled with memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins.
But not long after Toby’s arrival, a discovery is made: a skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden.
As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past, and himself.
A spellbinding standalone from a literary writer who turns the crime genre inside out, The Wych Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, if we no longer know who we are.
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
Dr Ruth Galloway is called in when a child’s bones are discovered near the site of a pre-historic henge on the north Norfolk salt marshes. Are they the remains of a local girl who disappeared ten years earlier – or are the bones much older?
DCI Harry Nelson refuses to give up the hunt for the missing girl. Since she vanished, someone has been sending him bizarre anonymous notes about ritual sacrifice, quoting Shakespeare and the Bible. He knows that Ruth’s expertise and experience could help him finally to put this case to rest.
But when a second child goes missing, Ruth finds herself in danger from a killer who knows she’s getting ever closer to the truth…
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
New York City, 1896. Hypocrisy in high places is rife, police corruption commonplace, and a brutal killer is terrorising young male prostitutes.
Forensics and psychological profiling are still in their infancy, but as the body count rises, Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt calls on eminent psychologist or ‘alienist’, Dr Laszlo Kreizler and crime reporter John Schuyler Moore to trial these new methods.
Kreizler, Moore and their team must venture to the darkest corners of New York – and the human mind – to catch the sadistic killer before they strike again.
Day Four by Sarah Lotz
Four days into a five day singles cruise on the Gulf of Mexico, the ageing ship Beautiful Dreamer stops dead in the water. With no electricity and no cellular signals, the passengers and crew have no way to call for help. But everyone is certain that rescue teams will come looking for them soon. All they have to do is wait.
That is, until the toilets stop working and the food begins to run out. When the body of a woman is discovered in her cabin the passengers start to panic. There’s a murderer on board the Beautiful Dreamer… and maybe something worse.
The Au Pair by Emma Rous
Seraphine Mayes and her brother Danny are known as the summer-born Summerbournes: the first set of summer twins to be born at Summerbourne House. But on the day they were born their mother threw herself to her death, their au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark-cloaked figures and a stolen baby.
Now twenty-five, and mourning the recent death of her father, Seraphine uncovers a family photograph taken on the day the twins were born featuring both parents posing with just one baby. Seraphine soon becomes fixated with the notion that she and Danny might not be twins after all, that she wasn’t the baby born that day and that there was more to her mother’s death than she has ever been told…
Why did their beloved au pair flee that day?
Where is she now?
Does she hold the key to what really happened?
The Faber Book of Christmas edited by Simon Rae
If the most wonderful time of year is enough to plunge you into a gloom, look no further. This collection of spirited stories and vibrant poetry will brighten your mood as it brings together Charles Dickens and Philip Larkin, W.H.Auden and Wendy Cope, Jilly Cooper and Dylan Thomas. From tales of carolling and snatched mistletoe kisses to ‘The Worst Christmas Dinner, Ever’, there’s something here to amuse and interest Christmas lovers, grinches, and everyone in between.
The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon
Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn’t tell anyone she blames herself for her mother’s recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe.
Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is increasingly drawn into a religious group–a secretive extremist cult–founded by a charismatic former student, John Leal. He has an enigmatic past that involves North Korea and Phoebe’s Korean American family. Meanwhile, Will struggles to confront the fundamentalism he’s tried to escape, and the obsession consuming the one he loves. When the group bombs several buildings in the name of faith, killing five people, Phoebe disappears. Will devotes himself to finding her, tilting into obsession himself, seeking answers to what happened to Phoebe and if she could have been responsible for this violent act.
The Incendiaries is a fractured love story and a brilliant examination of the minds of extreme terrorists, and of what can happen to people who lose what they love most.
A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley
June, 1957. One afternoon, in the backwater town of Sutton, a young black farmer by the name of Tucker Caliban matter-of-factly throws salt on his field, shoots his horse and livestock, sets fire to his house and departs the southern state. And thereafter, the entire African-American population leave with him.
The reaction that follows is told across a dozen chapters, each from the perspective of a different white townsperson. These are boys, girls, men and women; either liberal or conservative, bigoted or sympathetic – yet all of whom are grappling with this spontaneous, collective rejection of subordination.
The Suspect by Fiona Barton
‘The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.’
When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.
Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.
And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . .
Target by Ricky Black
You can have the world, and still desire freedom.
Lamont Jones is Teflon. An intelligent modern-day criminal, he has carved an empire on the streets of Leeds alongside his childhood friends.
The street life is ever-changing however, and more money leads to mounting problems. After over a decade of dirt, Lamont is depressed and desperate for a way out.
When a new romance accelerates Lamont’s desire to walk away from the crime game, he is forced to confront friends and enemies alike as the agendas of those around Lamont clash with his own, leading to devastation the likes of which Leeds has never seen. Join Lamont on his journey to survive as his past and present collide…
Set within cold Leeds streets where love, betrayal, friendship and murder are all linked, you’ll enjoy this harrowing and bittersweet piece of work if you’re a fan of gritty, character-driven crime dramas.
Oneness With All Life by Eckhart Tolle (Michael Joseph)
Oneness with All Life is a portable collection of the very best inspiring passages from Eckhart Tolle’s bestselling A NEW EARTH.
It is for dipping into and reflecting upon, wherever you are.
For turning to when you are in need of wisdom, solace or motivation.
It will help everyone on their path towards inner transformation as they try to live in the moment.
It is your pocket guide to inner peace and wisdom.
Take Oneness with All Life with you everywhere.
Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian by Yusra Mardini
“Being a refugee is not a choice. Our choice is to die at home or risk death trying to escape.” – Yusra Mardini
Yusra Mardini fled her native Syria to the Turkish coast in 2015 and boarded a small dinghy full of refugees bound for Greece. When the small and overcrowded boat’s engine cut out, it began to sink. Yusra, her sister and two others took to the water, pushing the boat for three and a half hours in open water until they eventually landed on Lesbos, saving the lives of the passengers aboard.
Butterfly is the story of that remarkable woman, whose journey started in a war-torn suburb of Damascus and took her through Europe to Berlin and from there to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Yusra Mardini is an athlete, one of People magazine’s twenty-five women changing the world, a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and one of Time Magazine’s thirty most influential teens of 2016.
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
It’s 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby – and she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her.
The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death by John Bateson
An “entertaining” (Booklist) account of the mysterious, hair-raising, and heartbreaking cases handled by the coroner of Marin County, California throughout his four decades on the job–from high-profile deaths and serial killers to inmate murders and Golden Gate Bridge suicides.
Marin County, California is a study in contradictions. Its natural beauty attracts celebrity residents and thousands of visitors every year, yet the county also is home to San Quentin Prison, one of the oldest and largest penitentiaries in the United States. Marin ranks in the top one percent of counties nationwide in terms of affluence and overall health, yet it is far above the norm in drug overdoses and alcoholism, not to mention the large percentage of suicides that occur on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Ken Holmes worked in the Marin County Coroner’s Office for thirty-six years, starting as a death investigator and ending as the three-term, elected coroner. As he grew into the job–one that is far different from the forensics we see on television–Holmes learned a variety of skills, from finding hidden clues at death scenes, interviewing witnesses effectively, managing bystanders and reporters, and preparing testimony for court to how to notify families of a death with sensitivity and compassion. He also learned about different kinds of firearms, all types of drugs–prescription and illegal–and about certain unexpected and potentially fatal phenomena, such as autoeroticism.
Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama
Before Barack Obama became a politician, he was, among other things, a writer. Dreams from My Father is a masterpiece: a refreshing, revealing portrait of a young man asking the big questions about identity and belonging.
The son of a black African father and a white American mother, Obama recounts an emotional odyssey. He retraces the migration of his mother’s family from Kansas to Hawaii, then to his childhood home in Indonesia. Finally he travels to Kenya, where he confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.
Did you see any books that take your fancy?
Did we haul any of the same books?