Time to highlight some of my favourite ‘new to me’ authors that I’ve discovered this year. I’ll start off with a trio who have a good back catalogue, authors I’m amazed not to have read before, and then mention a few debut novelists I loved. Again, all links in this post will take you to my original posts:
I’ve been meaning to read some books by Louise for ages – I’ve had several on the shelves for a good while. I finally read one of her novels though when her publisher sent me the first volume of her planned trilogy known as The Plague Times Trilogy: dystopian thrillers set in a world beset by pandemic flu known as the ‘Sweats’.
A Lovely Way to Burn, the first volume has a sparky heroine who is a presenter on a TV shopping channel and starts right at the beginning of the pandemic. It has a gripping medical thriller side-plot too which made for a really taut and suspenseful read. The second volume Death is a Welcome Guest (review coming soon) follows what happens to a Scottish comedian who manages to get out of London and encounters gangs and fledgling new communities as he tries to get home to Orkney. This all sounds very like Survivors (the wonderful 1970s TV series), but Welsh has injected a great twist which adds significantly to the story.
I can’t wait for volume three, but meanwhile I have those others on the shelves for my TBR reading.
* * * * *
I read all of Vandermeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy earlier this year. The three volumes, Annihilation, Authority and Acceptance combined into a SF/Horror/Eco-thriller mash-up that raised as many questions as they answered. Unevenly written, yet full of such brilliant ideas and imagery. I gave the books high, but not the highest scores, yet this trilogy has truly stayed with me, so for that reason alone I want to explore more of his writing.
I’m really keen to read more of Vandermeer’s work now to see if it’s equally bizarre. I have Finch, his detective novel set in the ruined city of Ambergris on my shelves, plus Wonderbook, which is a gloriously illustrated Creative Writing handbook for fantasy fiction. I’d love to get my hands on The Steampunk Bible too.
* * * * *
Over the years, I’ve bought all of Jake Arnott’s novels, but they stayed on the TBR shelves until I finally got The Long Firm down – and was totally wowed by it. I did have the advantage of having seen the TV adaptation some years ago of this book, but the novel itself was marvelous – its 1960s Soho setting was just so detailed – I loved it, and can’t wait to read more. (I note he has a new novel due in 2016 too!)
* * * * *
Aside from established authors with a back catalogue to explore, I’ve also encountered some great debut authors this year including:
- Claire Fuller – Our Endless Numbered Days
- Emma Hooper – Etta and Otto and Russell and James
- Ben Byrne – Fire Flowers
- Amy Lukavics – Daughters Unto Devils
- Benjamin Johncock – The Last Pilot
- Natasha Pulley – The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
Will any of these make my year-end Best of list? Some certainly… but you’ll have to wait for it!