Our first independent author preview takes a look at some of the top titles on offer
It’s a huge pleasure to introduce the first ever Bookseller preview of books by independent and self-published authors.
Here’s how it works. Nook supplies us with a range of recent Nook Press titles and I then preview the ones I like. The process is identical to the way in which traditional publishers supply us with books for our monthly New Titles previews. Nook as a distribution platform, has a range that is far greater than any publisher, but acts as funnel so that we are not overwhelmed.
These regular independent author previews are the solution we have devised to a changing market. I’m confident that the titles selected here represent some of the best of those available. They are well edited, professionally presented and written with a flair equal to anything you might find on the list of a traditional publishing house. I also saw some that were poorly presented, riddled with typos and in want of a thorough edit. And some authors published their books without a copyright acknowledgement.
Nevertheless, seeing so many good writers grasping new opportunities, and navigating the new routes to their readers is cause for celebration. And I say that as a writer myself.
We believe the previews will be useful for publishers and agents who might spot something interesting, booksellers who may see a title that would work for their local audience (not all are e-book only titles), and of course to the authors themselves who can use our endorsement in their marketing and PR. Many writers are finding satisfaction, and more, by doing it for themselves—we hope to reflect this each month.
J J Marsh
p/b 9783952425824/e-book 2940150662070
Santorini: turquoise seas, ancient ruins and glorious sunsets—and a woman “thrown” from a cliff. Willingly leaving behind a difficult domestic dilemma, DI Beatrice Stubbs flies to the Aegean to assist an investigation into the suspicious deaths of several cruise ship passengers. Revenge, we discover, is a dish that’s best served cold. This is J J Marsh’s fourth, snappily written crime mystery featuring the feisty but vulnerable Stubbs, a most appealing character. It’s all highly diverting, and an ideal read for those who like their crime with a lighter, less gruesome touch. Marsh is the Swiss representative for the Alliance of Independent Authors.
Dispatches From the Kabul Café
“We bought them this dream of freedom, and then we kept them out. We abandoned them to their fate while we partied on.” Riveting reportage from a Canadian foreign correspondent who lived in Afghanistan off and on from 2007–2011. It’s episodic certainly, but also highly evocative. Most compelling of all is its cast of characters: all-American guy Jenner, trying to get his hands on 913 Kalashnikovs; Dunia, the cleaning woman who hates cleaning but has eight siblings; and Hasina, the revolutionary girl in the Gucci sunglasses. Forget all you think you know about Afghanistan, read this, and then think again.
p/b 9781781322185/e-book 2940149637508
Carina Mitela is the heir within a leading family, but has chosen the life of an officer in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces. When a blackmailing letter arrives from a woman claiming to be her husband’s lost daughter, a youthful indiscretion turns into a nightmare which threatens to attack the core of the imperial family itself. I thoroughly enjoyed this classy thriller, the third in Morton’s epic series set in Roma Nova, a breakaway Roman colony established in AD395, which has survived to the present day. The series came about because the author—a self-confessed “Ancient Roman nut”—wondered what a modern Roman society run by women would look like.
Romantic & Erotic Fiction
Enchanted and Desired
Living the Manhattan high life, Jess appears to have it all: looks, brains and sex appeal. But behind the party girl façade is a broken, scared young woman. She hides it well, loving and leaving a string of lovers, until she spends the night with Italian stallion Simon Mantovani. He doesn’t do relationships either, but is captivated by Jess and the “broken soul behind her beautiful eyes” . . . If you like novels where normal life doesn’t intrude much on abundant, hot sex, then this is for you. The second novel in Houston-based Simone’s Enchanted series.
A Combat of Devils
Dramatically different First World War combat novel, set not in the trenches but amid the cruel war at sea, where the Royal Navy’s secret fleet of Mystery Ships fought back against marauding German U-Boats. After heroic action at sea, Julian La Salle is rewarded with the command of mysterious ship “Freya”, and is sent to hunt down a submarine prowling the sea lanes off Ushant. With him is a young American, Merrick Granger, a survivor from the “Lusitania” who volunteers to escape a painful past. Gripping stuff.
p/b 9781781322291/ e-book 2940150716186
Annie and her friends leave Ireland in 1926, hoping for a better life in Liverpool. Annie falls in love and starts a family of her own, but with the onset of the Second World War comes tragedy and loss. Little does Annie realise that the salvation of her loved ones lies with a German woman named Hilde, whose life and situation mirrors her own. This authentic novel is the second in a trilogy, based on the writer’s own family history.
Crime & Thrillers
The Bergamese Sect
“Governments have a drawer of secrets they’ll stop at nothing to protect. Even murdering their own citizens.” A mysterious figure hiding among the seven billion inhabitants of Earth is threatening to reveal a damaging conspiracy that could destroy the very fabric of human culture. Larry Walsh of the National Security Agency fights with subversives, saboteurs and religious fanatics to prevent a global iconoclasm. A pacy and well-crafted contemporary conspiracy thriller, which has its roots in a radical Spanish religious sect from the time of Torquemada. Gunn is a writer, broadcaster and professional astrophysicist.
The Strange Girl: A Sam Dyke Investigation
p/b 9781502399434/ e-book 2940150490413
In this diverting crime novel, Sam Dyke, Crewe’s answer to Philip Marlowe, is asked to investigate the disappearance of a policeman—who was recently released from prison after serving time for buying and selling steroids—by his daughter, the enigmatic Anjelica Strange. Far from merely a missing person case however, it soon embroils Dyke with the owner of a high-profile casino and the brutal representatives of an Asian gambling syndicate.
The Indelible Stain
p/b 9781781322819/ e-book 2940150716155
Esme Quentin’s arrival in north Devon is marred by the gruesome discovery of a fatally injured woman at the foot of a cliff. Our heroine is troubled by the woman’s final words, and the significance of the old photograph clutched in her hand. An intricate family tree of a plot takes us back to the transportation of convicts from Britain to Australia, and the brutal penal history of the 19th century. This is Devon-based Percival’s second novel featuring genealogist and amateur sleuth Quentin, and it was inspired partly by a reading of Robert Hughes’ The Fatal Shore.
p/b 9781845838980/ e-book 2940150456068
When a pro-Scottish independence terrorist group deliberately contaminates blood packs with deadly bacteria, undercover agent Tom Jones is recalled from holiday to assist with police enquiries. The trail leads him to the West Highland Transfusion Centre, where he discovers that his ex-girlfriend is now in a relationship with one of the chief suspects. Puckett specialises in medical and scientific crime novels, which draw on his time working as a microbiologist at the Blood Transfusion Centre.
Fantasy & SF
Fight or Flight: Book II of the Out of Orbit series
p/b 9781500431808/ e-book 2940150465428
In a dystopian world ruled by brutal conquerors, Georgianna Lennox’s biggest fear has become reality: she has been sold as a slave. Caught up in the brewing war between the Adveni oppressors and Belsa rebels, she is recruited to be the rebels’ eyes behind enemy lines. As the Belsa boldly attack the cruel Adveni, Georgianna finds that the lies she must tell her owner are nothing compared to the secrets she must keep from her friends. Absorbing dark fantasy.
Hughes writes in a genre he has invented and dubbed “steamprog”, as he brings us the adventures of the Faraway Brothers. Born in Gascony in the 1880s, all three of them birthed at the same time from the same womb, the brothers go their separate ways aboard ships, in the air and on land. Sometimes their paths cross, and the consequences are always stupendous. A feat of imagination, which has left SFF author Michael Moorcock impressed.
Dave Higgins and Simon Cantan
Greenstar: Complete Season 1
Engineer Josephine Stein —an inhabitant of the Nordic Co-operative Pact (NCP)—wakes up in the deep freeze, 1,414 years in the future, aboard the “UFS Greenstar”, a recycled spaceship on a mission to stop the self-destructive aliens of the galaxy from wiping themselves out. Then she is elected captain. But how can Josie deal with aliens when she doesn’t even understand her own species anymore? Inventive and “wacky” SF novel from two “Star Trek” devotees.
p/b 9781845838850/ e-book 2940150537019
In post-Ceausescu Romania, psychiatrist Dr Marcu investigates the high incidence of mental illness among the women of Arva village, while police inspector Valentin uncovers a horrific history of ritual child rape and murder. Meanwhile, in Sunny Mead, New Hampshire, Diane Durrant hires Diep Koppelberg as a therapist for her disabled 13-year-old son. While the rest of the family are captivated by Koppelberg’s charms, only Pip sees his true malice. What unspeakable evil links events in these two locations? Atmospheric first book in The Piper Trilogy by a prolific author from Worcester.
p/b 9781501057687/ e-book 2940150745476
“New Year. New Me. Wine.” At the start of the year, Banks resolves not to end up as a “modern-day homosexual Bridget Jones”. Helen Fielding’s heroine is, however, very definitely the model for this diarised account of the trials, tribulations and diets of our wine-drinking gay hero, an aspiring children’s writer.
Growing Up Under the Mango Tree
p/b 9781781322277/ e-book 2940150716162
Evocative account of a childhood spent in a poor suburb of Kuala Lumpar, Malaya and then later in Pondicherry, India. Raised as one of nine children, Forbes’ life in the multicultural, multireligious melting pot of Malaya was full of incident. She later came to England at the end of the 1960s to train as a nurse, and has lived here ever since. Forbes describes writing her book as a “labour of love”.
Getting A Life: An Autobiography
p/b 9781781322772/ e-book 2940150659759
Born in London’s East End in 1932, the author became an internationally renowned architect, having set up a practice from his back bedroom. He gave it all up at the age of 50 to dabble in property development, lost everything in the crash but found the love of his life. Along the way in this episodic, action-packed memoir, Saunders—“ a master of reinvention”—travels up the Amazon, attempts to learn French, goes sailing, writes poetry and studies both Kabbalah and the Tarot.
History & Current Affairs
Attack on At Tiri: Force Met With Force
The vivid, untold story of the attack on Irish UN peacekeepers in South Lebanon in April 1980, when an Israeli-backed militia attempted to take over the village of At Tiri. Harvey, an officer with 30 years’ service in the Irish Defence Forces, captures the mental and emotional strain of the “strange soldiering” that is peacekeeping, and explains why a whole generation of Irish soldiers have been influenced by their service in Lebanon.