April Indie Reads

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

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.

As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.

Out: 4th April

Publisher: Canongate

Isolated on the moors of northern England, the town of Moonwell has remained faithful to their Druid traditions and kept their old rituals alive. Right-wing evangelist Godwin Mann isn’t about to let that continue, and his intolerant brand of fundamentalism has struck a chord with the residents. But Mann goes too far when he descends into the pit where the ancient being who’s been worshipped by the Druids for centuries is said to dwell. What emerges is a demon in Mann’s shape, and only the town’s outcasts can see that something is horribly wrong. As the evil spreads, Moonwell becomes cut off from the rest of the world…

Out: 11th April

Publisher: Flame Tree Press

Zero is the latest craze. Young, sexy and brilliant, he is a multi-hyphenated (singer-songwriter-rapper-producer) superstar for the digital generation. According to his publicist at least. He’s also a narcissistic, insecure, hyperactive, coke-snorting, pill-popping, loud-mouthed maelstrom of contradictions skating over the thin ice of terminal self-loathing.

He has touched down in New York with his sycophantic entourage for the launch of a new single/album/movie/tour. It is countdown to Year Zero. 

Out: 18th April

Publisher: Unbound

In a world where we present our diverse selves through social media, chatbots and messaging, this dark novel listens in on intimate secrets, desires and adultery.

This novel-within-a-novel charts the writing of a story about Richard and Anna, a middle-aged professional couple, who face the biggest crisis of their twenty-five-year marriage when he admits seeing prostitutes. The text unfolds through a dialogue between Anna, the writer, and her husband, Richard, the reader.

As the story of Richard and Anna progresses, the tension between them increases and, on several occasions, they stop speaking to each other. The writer’s novel compels them to examine their own marriage.

Out: 15th April

Publisher: Salt Publishing

Nobody is a bigger fan of actor Thomas Cassidy than Libby. Nobody. That's why she's totally going to marry him.

She’s going to write a novel, name the main character after Thom, and find a way to get it to him. Intrigued and flattered, he will read it, fall in love with her prose, and ask to turn it into a movie. She will pretend to think about it, then say, ‘Sure, but can I work on it with you?’ Their eyes will meet over the script… and fade to black.

Out: 4th April

Publisher: Unbound

Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with head teacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted.

Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary - and her perfect life fell apart.

Out: 10th April

Publisher: Hera Books

It's April 1939 and, with their lives in Berlin and Vienna under threat, Esther and Kitty – two very different women – are forced to make the same brutal choice. Flee Europe, or face the ghetto, incarceration, death.

Shanghai, they've heard, Shanghai is a haven – and so they secure passage to the other side of the world. What they find is a city of extremes – wealth, poverty, decadence and disease – and of deep political instability. Kitty has been lured there with promises of luxury, love, marriage.

Out: 29th March

Publisher: Black and White Publishing

Inspector Nick Paris is a man of logic and whisky. So staring down at the crucified form of a murder victim who is fifteen centimetres tall leaves the seasoned detective at a loss… and the dead fairy is only the beginning.

Suddenly the inspector is offering political asylum to dwarves, consulting with witches, getting tactical advice from elves and taking orders from a chain-smoking talking crow who, technically, outranks him.

With the fate of both the human and magic worlds in his hands Nick will have to leave logic behind and embrace his inner mystic to solve the crime and stop an army of demons from invading Manchester!

Out: 15th April

Publisher: Canelo

Set entirely on a London bus travelling from Hoxton to Highbury and taking place over just 36 minutes, the events of The 392 unfold through a cast of charismatic characters coming from very different worlds. On the 392 are all the familiar faces you might expect to see on any bus ride through inner-city London in the grips of gentrification: delinquent school kids, the high-flyers, the weird, the wonderful and the homeless. These Londoners share two things: a bus journey and a threat. A threat which is ready to blow apart everything they know. 

Out: 25th April

Publisher: OWN IT!

Lyle Hovde is at the onset of his golden years, living a mostly content life in rural Wisconsin with his wife, Peg, daughter, Shiloh, and five-year-old grandson, Isaac. After a troubled adolescence and subsequent estrangement from her parents, Shiloh has finally come home. But, while away, she became deeply involved with an extremist church, and the devout pastor courting her is convinced Isaac has the spiritual ability to heal the sick.

Out: 4th April

Publisher: Faber Books

South Africa, 1901, the height of the second Boer War. Sarah van der Watt and her son are taken from their farm by force to Bloemfontein Concentration Camp where, the English promise: they will be safe.

Johannesburg, 2010. Sixteen-year-old outsider Willem just wants to be left alone with his books and his dog. Worried he's not turning out right, his ma and her boyfriend send him to New Dawn Safari Training Camp. Here they 'make men out of boys'. Guaranteed.

Out: 4th April

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Kiev 1992. Rachel, a troubled young English mother, joins her journalist husband on his first foreign posting in the city. Terrified of the apartment's balcony, she develops obsessive rituals to keep their baby safe. Her difficulties expose her to a disturbing endgame between the elderly caretaker and a local racketeer who sends a gift that surely comes with a price. Rachel is isolated yet culpable with her secrets and estrangements. As consequences bear down she seeks out Zoya, her husband's fixer, and the boy from upstairs who watches them all.

Home is uncertain, betrayal is everywhere, but in the end there are many ways to be a mother.

Out: 15th April

Publisher: Salt Publishing

When four patients unexpectedly wake after being declared dead, their families are ecstatic and the word “miracle” begins to be whispered throughout the hospital. But the jubilation is short lived when the patients don’t respond to their names and insist they are different people. It is suggested all four are suffering from fugue states until one of the doctors recognizes a name and verifies that he not only knew the girl but was there when she died in 1992. It soon becomes obvious that the bodies of the four patients are now inhabited by the souls of people long dead.

Out: 11th April

Publisher: Flame Tree Press

Phoebe Siegler first meets Charles Heist in a shabby trailer on the eastern edge of Los Angeles. She's looking for her friend's missing daughter, Arabella, and hires Heist - a laconic loner who keeps his pet opossum in a desk drawer - to help. The unlikely pair navigate the enclaves of desert-dwelling vagabonds and find that Arabella is in serious trouble - caught in the middle of a violent standoff that only Heist, mysteriously, can end. Phoebe's trip to the desert was always going to be strange, but it was never supposed to be dangerous... Jonathan Lethem's first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn, The Feral Detective is a singular achievement by one of our greatest writers.

Out: 4th April

Publisher: Atlantic Books

It is Harvard in the early 1960s. Just off campus, Dr Timothy Leary plays host for his PhD students, laying on a spread of cocktails, pizza and LSD. Among the guests is Fitzhugh Loney, a psychology student, and his librarian wife Joanie. Married young, and both diligently and unglamorously toiling to support their son, they are not the sort of people one would expect to be seduced by the nascent drug culture. But their nights on LSD prove so extraordinary - so revelatory, so earth-shattering, so downright seductive - that Fitzhugh and Joanie are soon captive to the whims of the charismatic and subversive Dr Tim.

Out: 9th April

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The sun is bloated, diseased, dying perhaps. Beneath its baneful light, Shadrapar, last of all cities, harbours fewer than 100,000 human souls. Built on the ruins of countless civilisations, Shadrapar is a museum, a midden, an asylum, a prison on a world that is ever more alien to humanity.

Out: 4th April

Publisher: Head of Zeus

 
Sam MissinghamNew, New book