The second preview of titles by independent authors covers a pleasingly diverse mix of genres
While this second preview of titles by independent authors majors on those from the Crime & Thriller genre, it reflects a pleasingly diverse range of genres overall, including short stories, play scripts and sport.
As last month, the calibre of the best is not in question: in fact, quality in independent publishing is something we should now take as read. A minority of titles still shocked me with poor editing and even ropier proofreading, however; one main character’s name was spelt differently from chapter to chapter. With the competition intensifying all the time, indie authors owe it to themselves and their work to give as much care and attention to editing and production as they do to the writing. A surprising number of writers are also missing the opportunity to promote themselves within their books, or at least to tell the reader something about themselves.
One of my favourite titles this month was a surprise to me: an anthology of boxing writing. It’s not something I’d go looking for, but Boxiana is a shining example of what independently authored books can contribute to the market. Edited by Luke G Williams, a professional sports journalist and boxing aficionado, it was conceived amid his frustration at the lack of attention given to boxing writing across the media. He invited submissions from anyone with the requisite “cojones” and talent, offering to share 50% of profits with contributors. The result is a pugilistic pleasure.
The Burning Towers: Book 2: The Girls of Troy trilogy
H/B 9781781323236/ E/B 9781781323236
Captured by pirates when a small girl, eirene is taken to the city of Troy, and enslaved. She becomes the personal maid to Cassandra, who is the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, and sister to the valiant Hector and Paris, stealer of Helen. while her life in the palace is relatively comfortable, seer Eirene is disturbed by strange dreams of destruction and a city’s burning towers. with Troy in a state of war and the Greek army—including battle hero Achilles—camped less than a mile away, her dreams soon begin to seem very prescient indeed. Thomas is an award-winning children’s writer, and this is a well-researched and thoroughly engrossing read.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that the last thing a single man in possession of a good fortune wants, is a wife who will inevitably bleed him dry when she divorces him for serial adultery.” Alexander Slade is rich, handsome and smart, living a playboy life until his father issues an ultimatum: get hitched or get disinherited. Enter (ahem) the beautiful, feisty Ella—she’s unavailable and she’s not playing ball. This tongue-in-cheek erotic romance is irresistibly enjoyable and downright hilarious. It’s hard not to be seduced by lines such as: “If a girl doesn’t look like a demon’s being exorcised from her body, you’re doing it wrong”; and a voyeuristic cockatoo which squawks “suck it and see” at crucial coital moments.
Luke G Williams (ed)
Boxiana: Volume 1. An Anthology of New Boxing Writing
Excellent illustrated anthology of new boxing writing. Comic-book legend Trevor Von Eeden examines the incredible career and legacy of Jack Johnson; Ben Williams uncovers his grandfather’s bareknuckle boxing career; Matthew Ogborn considers the issues boxers face upon their retirement; James Hernandez catches up with Jon Thaxton; rising light heavyweight Chris Hobbs recounts his life in the military and in the ring; Rowland Stone recalls a heady night with Lennox Lewis in 1992; while editor Williams (@boxianajournal) examines the meteoric rise of Deontay Wilder and the underrated career of Chris Byrd.
Girl Cop in Trouble
P/B 9781781323038/ E/B 2940150045064
This sequel to Girl Cop (dubbed “Bridget Jones in uniform” by My Weekly) revisits the lives and loves of PC Sally Gentle, who works the beat in bath in the mid-1990s. Now a fully-fledged officer, Sally strives to hone her policing skills, but her relationship with fellow cop Alex is compromised when she is accused of crimes against Alex’s ex. Osborne is a serving police officer, and her first-hand knowledge of everyday life and relationships in the force gives this essentially romantic novel a distinct authenticity and a handful of grit, as her heroine juggles night shifts and tries to keep her emotions in check as she deals with cases of criminal damage, bodies on the line and road-traffic accidents. A percentage of sales will be donated to two police charities.
“Set against the backdrop of a pubic lice infestation and the mundane lives of five characters,” this grim but blackly comic pastiche of everyday underachievement in contemporary Glasgow finds life looking up a bit for anti-hero dempsy. The sequel to Walker’s Bowling Ball, which was longlisted for Amazon’s breakthrough novel Award 2012 and shortlisted for a Brit Writers Award. Colourful, with vernacular in the fine tradition of James Kelvin and Irvine Welsh.
Crime & Thriller
Eye Snatcher: A Brian McDone Mystery
In the fourth twisty, dark crime novel featuring Preston Detective Inspector Brian McDone, a highly skilled and immensely vicious killer is on the loose, one who enjoys brutalising his teenage murder victims, before eviscerating them and gouging out their eyeballs. McDone—a cop with issues —investigates, and soon learns that “nothing is ever as meets the eye . . .” nasty, graphic and gripping. Casey is the author of more than 10 dark suspense novels in various genres.
M A Comley
P/B 9781503163553/E-book 2940150222786
Former Midlands police officers Ellen Brazil and Brian Lynx have joined forces to start a missing persons investigation firm in Worcester. Contracted to find Donna—the missing wife of bodybuilder Will Endersbe—they discover that an alarming number of other women with similar features have vanished in the area. Suspecting a serial kidnapper, they dig for clues in a bid to find the women alive. This is the first novel in the Intention series: Comley’s previous novels have been bestsellers on Amazon and iTunes as well as through Barnes & Noble.
Engrossing story of obsession, revenge and justice in which James Hamilton falls in love with Lynne, whose ex-husband Nick is a violent, drug-dealing control freak. After Nick abducts their son Georgie, however, he is arrested and sentenced to seven years. Two years of wedded bliss follow for James and Lynne, until an arson attack on the family’s holiday cottage kills Lynne, Georgie and the couple’s young daughter. James becomes obsessed with getting justice when he discovers that Lynne has been concealing secrets about her past. Together with a private eye and Lynne’s best friend, he plans the perfect retribution against the perpetrators.
The Body in the Bicycle Shed: Peggy Pinch Investigates
November 1926 finds policeman’s wife Peggy Pinch embarking on her third murder investigation. The retired village schoolmistress reports that the accounts of the Church Kneelers Embroidering Circle are “wonky”, valuable books have been stolen from different cottages and no one knows what to do with the tearaway Becker children. Surely these three nuggets of gossip can’t be connected with the gruesome sight that confronts PC Pinch in his bicycle shed? Noble, a former Hampshire policeman, now runs a second-hand bookshop in Leicestershire.
Drug (the Kassidy Bell trilogy, BooK 1)
Cash-strapped and down on her luck, 19-year-old Kassidy Bell signs up to take part in the clinical trial of a drug named VA20, developed by pharmaceutical company Cruor Pharma. Instead of pocketing £2,000 and paying off her debts, however, she finds herself imprisoned in a living nightmare as the veins of her fellow guinea pigs turn black and they acquire an insatiable taste for human flesh. Shades of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde in this début paranormal zombie thriller.
The Desert Keeps its Dead
P/B 9781845839079/E-book 2940150223400
Ex-FBI agent turned private investigator Matt Barrett arrives in Sunset City, Arizona, to search for Tammy, a teenage runaway from Oklahoma City, only to find her dead and buried in the Sonara desert. Focusing his murder investigation on the seedy KitKat Club, he soon discovers that other young girls have gone missing and fears there may be a serial killer on the loose. But he finds his enquiries resisted at every turn, and soon his own life is in danger. An atmospheric first detective thriller from Richards, the author of a dozen novels, chiefly in the supernatural horror genre.
The Girl on the Pier
Classy psychological thriller, set across several decades, in which Patrick —a forensic sculptor with a tragic past— finds himself in thrall to beautiful but elusive photography student Black after he encounters her on Brighton Beach. When she leaves to go travelling, yet another person vanishes from his life. We sympathise, but actually, can we believe anything he tells us? The atmospheric setting—on, and around Brighton’s ruined West Pier—is part of the appeal.
Whither Thou Goest
P/B 9781781322413/E-book 2940150470125
This timeslip novel—the seventh in The Graham Saga, in which Alexandra lind is catapulted back in time from 2002 to 1658— finds Alex and her husband Matthew en route from colony Maryland to the west Indies to find Matthew’s nephew; a young man neither of them knows but who faces imminent death on a sugar plantation, after being condemned to slavery for committing treason. During their perilous journey Alex comes face to face with a disturbing ghost from her previous life, a man she would have preferred never to have met. Well-crafted historical fiction, and an admirably ambitious series.
The Black Maria
Richard travels to Moscow to visit Maria, the Russian grandmother he has never met. She tells him the epic story of her life, and so unfolds this dramatic and absorbing novel set in Stalin’s Russia where people live in constant fear, and ordinary citizens exist behind a mask of conformity. The married Maria falls in love with Dmitry, and soon her yearning for a new life forces them to risk everything in the name of love and freedom. “A novel about truth: the distortion of it, and the fear of it.” Colley, a former librarian, is the founder, editor and writer of the History in an Hour series of e-books and audiobooks, published by HarperCollins. This is his third historical novel.
The Ghost of Blackstoke Manor
In this engaging black comedy in two acts, will drags his wife, brother-in- law and his wife to look around derelict Blackstoke Manor, the former home of “creepy, old man” Ebenezer Blackstoke, whose portrait still hangs above the mantelpiece. Avoided by the locals, the house is reputed to be haunted by its former resident; rumours which our foursome scoff at—until they find their car tyres have been slashed, marooning them inside. Then, a lot of things start to go bump in the night.
Chasing Dreams: A Short Story Collection
A disgraced priest seeks salvation among the remains of a drowned village. A strange and fragile young boy grasps for true love. A condemned criminal faces death in his own domain. Twenty pieces of short fiction (five of them award-winning) from a prolific Scottish writer, ranging across horror, crime, folklore, steampunk, flash fiction and psychological, and blurring the lines between our world and the next, examining “the darkness which hides in the shadows—and in the hearts of others”.
Playing Smart: Transform your Golf without Changing your Swing
Richards, a committed amateur golfer, compiled this improvement manual in 30 short chapters after years of observing all manner of problems, and “smart golf in its many forms”. From On the Tee to On the Green, he helps you analyse the accuracy and consistency of your game, along with your decision- making skills. Includes a foreword by senior golf professional Barney Puttick.