Oh I do love it when I see the postman walking up the path with a parcel as it heralds the arrival of books, when it’s a large parcel I know it’s from the Urbane Book Club. The accompanying letter from Matthew (the boss) introducing this month’s selection was headed up Fabulous February and when you see the selection you’d have to say he wasn’t exaggerating.
The Gift Maker by Mark Mayes
Late one night, Thomas Ruder receives a strange package: a small blue box. Another such item is delivered to his friend Liselotte Hauptmann. These ‘gifts’ will change their lives forever. In the far-off border town of Grenze, a play is to be performed at the Sheol Theatre. Reynard the impresario expects a very special audience. Thomas and Liselotte, together with their friend Johann, are drawn into Reynard’s seductive web, as Daumen, the gift maker, must decide who his master really is.
All the Places I’ve Ever Lived by David Gaffney
All the Places I’ve ever Lived is part ghost story, part murder ballad, part crime thriller and explores the themes of outsiders and difference, with a dark edge. People say it has a Twin Peaks feel.
It is set in West Cumbria, a semi-industrial, remote and unloved part of northern England on the edge of the Lake District and on the edge of just about everything else. the town is mainly populated by irish immigrants coming over to work in the iron ore mines and later Sellafield.
The action begins in 1976, when fifteen-year-old Barry wakes up one day to find that his body is covered in strange, metallic lumps. Living next to a thermometer factory and nine miles from Sellafield nuclear plant could be an explanation for this, but, actually, something more uncanny is going on. The evening before, a girl from Barry’s school, Philomena May, was brutally attacked and left in a ditch to die. Philomena’s ghost visits Barry and uses the metallic lumps to guide them both into the future, where Barry and the ghost girl’s purpose is to prevent a multiple shooting.
The book flicks between 1976 and 2010, and explores the effect of horrendous crimes on small communities and the way the gradual accretion of small grudges can drive a person to mass murder. It’s a thrilling mash up of Edward Scissorhands, In Cold Blood, and Back To The Future.
The Single Soldier by George Costigan
It is said that home is where the heart is, but when war rips a young man from everything he knows and loves, will he be able to find his way back to everything that matters?
In war torn rural France, amongst the devastation, physical and emotional, of German occupation, a man decides to move his house, using only a cow and a cart, six kilometres to the other side of his village. Where he painstakingly begins to re-build his home. By hand. Why would anyone do such a thing? The war was being won but would he ever find peace?
Deadly Prospects from Clio Gray
1869, Sutherland, Scotland. For years the people of this remote area of the Highlands have lived a hard life. Now a local Gold Rush has attracted the Pan-European Mining Company to the area, and Solveig McCleery is determined to re-open the Brora mines and give the population the riches they deserve. But when work starts on re-opening the mines, the body of a prospector is discovered, and odd inscriptions found on stones near the corpse.
Before the meaning of these strange marks can be deciphered another body is discovered. Are these attacks connected to the re-opening of the mines? Will Solveig’s plan succeed in bringing peace and prosperity back to the area? Or has she put in motion something far more sinister?
Last but not least, this gem will actually arrive separately next week as it’s already reprinting!
Marching on Together by P J Whiteley
It is August 2014. Six Leeds United supporters set off for a short break in Bruges. Two brothers Allan and Johnny Collins – the former a successful businessman, the latter just out of prison – are visiting great-grandad’s grave on the Western Front, at the time of the centenary of the start of the Great War. They’re joined by Johnny’s mates, Craig and Terry; the tomboy Petra; and the out-of-sorts Yvonne, who failed to persuade estranged husband Tony to accompany her. For all the political events, historic and current, that surround them, they find it difficult to avoid discussion of the wildly eccentric new owner of their beloved football club as it languishes in the second tier of English football. He has sold the best striker and banned the Number 17 shirt as being ‘unlucky’. Meanwhile other obsessions, secrets and ambitions lie within their hearts. Can Johnny find love again, or a job? Will Terry make it as a photographer? Is Allan’s business as successful as it appears to be? What is the family secret behind the antique silver locket that Yvonne keeps in her handbag? And can she finally accept the result of the 1975 European Cup Final, and begin to move on with her life?
March – So what to look forward to next month (reprints and publication dates permitting
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