January Indie Reads

All of my January picks have been published by small presses and independent publishers, all brilliant books. Check them out.

Mouthful of Birds is the award-winning collection by Samanta Schweblin, critically acclaimed author of Fever Dream. Unearthly and unexpected, these stories burrow their way into your psyche with the feel of a sleepless night, where every shadow and bump in the dark takes on huge implications, leaving your pulse racing and blurring the line between the real and the strange.

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

Out: 22nd January


Kavanagh begins his life patrolling the Wall. If he's lucky, if nothing goes wrong, he only has two years of this, 729 more nights.

The best thing that can happen is that he survives and gets off the Wall and never has to spend another day of his life anywhere near it. He longs for this to be over; longs to be somewhere else. He will soon find out what Defenders do and who the Others are. Along with the rest of his squad, he will endure cold and fear day after day, night after night.

Publisher: Faber Books

Out: 15th January

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose `Six Stories' podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. 

Publisher: Orenda Books

Out: 24th January

A man moves from a capital city to a remote town in the border country, where he intends to spend the last years of his life. It is time, he thinks, to review the spoils of a lifetime of seeing, a lifetime of reading. Which sights, people, books, fictional characters, turns of phrase and lines of verse will survive into the twilight? Feeling an increasing urgency to put his mental landscape in order, the man sets to work cataloguing his memories, little knowing what secrets they will yield and where his `report' will lead.

Out: 31st January

Publisher: And Other Stories

When Korede's dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what's expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This'll be the third boyfriend Ayoola's dispatched in "self-defence" and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. 

Out: 3rd January

Publisher: Atlantic Books

English teacher Dexter feels like he's being taunted by the universe. Everywhere he turns he's accosted by wedding invitations, housewarming parties and tables for two. After another wedding ends in a drunken disaster, Dexter is musing on the situation and wondering what he's going to screw up next, when he gets the shocking reminder that he's not the centre of the universe. An alien spaceship has landed on the continent and when first contact is made, it's anything but friendly.

Out: 17th January

Publisher: Unbound

Hella Mauzer was the first ever woman Inspector in the Helsinki Homicide Unit. But her superiors deemed her too `emotional' for the job and had her reassigned. Now, two years later, she is working in Lapland for the Ivalo police department under Chief Inspector Jarvi, a man more interested in criminal statistics and his social life than police work. They receive a letter from Irja Waltari, a priest's wife from the village of Kaarmela on the Soviet border, informing them of the disappearance of Erno Jokinen, a local.

Out: 3rd January

Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press

When Japanese nature show host Daisuke Matsumori finds himself on an alien world, he hopes to rekindle his passion for his work. Traveling through a newly-discovered wormhole in the Papuan highlands, he joins biologist Anne Houlihan on Junction, a patchwork planet of competing alien ecosystems. When their exploratory party crashes in the alien wilderness, Daisuke and Anne try to lead bickering soldiers and civilians back to civilization alive.

Out: 10th January

Publisher: Flame Tree Press

Dionysus, god of wine and divine ecstasy, is reborn in modern Rome. He doesn't understand how or why he's come to be here - a pagan god in a city where he has no believers. But when he meets fifteen-year-old Grace during a chance encounter in the Ghetto, he realises he has found his first new follower.

This is the beginning of Grace's secret life.

Out: 24th January

Publisher: Unbound

Dan Matlock is out of jail. He's got a choice. Stay or leave. Go back to where it all went wrong, or just get out of the county. Disappear. Start again as someone else. But it's not as simple as that.

There's the matter of the man he killed. It wasn't murder, but even so. You tell that to the family. Especially when that family is the Mintons, who own half of what's profitable and two-thirds of what's crooked between the Wolds and the coast. Who could have got to Matlock as easy as you like in prison, but who haven't touched him. Not yet.

Like Matlock found out in prison, there's no getting away from yourself. So what's the point in not facing up to other people?

It's time to go home.

Out: 24th January

Publisher: Unbound

Two bodies. 

One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who's really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

Two coins.

Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man's eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

Two weeks.

Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. 

Out: 10th January

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

 
 
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