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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

New On The Shelf At Fiction Books This Week

Picture of an English red post boxMailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week.

Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday, is currently ‘on tour’ and being hosted by a different blogger each month.

Your host for December 2013, is Gilion over at ‘Rose City Reader’

So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for Gilion, after all, we all like to receive them!

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

This week, I am featuring another great find, recommended by the folks over at NetGalley.

Although this story sounds right up my street, I so hope that I am not going to be too disappointed that I haven’t read this series of books in sequence. The lead character, DC Fiona Griffiths, sounds as though she has a complex and intriguing  personality, suffering with the rare psychiatric disorder, Cotard’s Syndrome, which I am guessing would have been explained to the reader in the opening book of the series.

Also, interestingly, the books are written by a male author, writing in the first person, as a woman.

There is enough intrigue and allure there, without even opening the cover of this book, so I can’t wait to dive into the story!

‘LOVE STORY, WITH MURDERS’  

The second novel featuring recovering psychotic DC Fiona Griffiths opens with as intriguing a pair of murders as you could imagine. Firstly, part of a human leg is discovered in a woman’s freezer, bagged up like a joint of pork. Other similarly gruesome discoveries follow throughout a cosy Cardiff suburb, with body parts turning up in kitchens, garages and potting sheds. And while the police are still literally putting the pieces together, concluding that they all belong to a teenage girl killed some ten years earlier, parts of another body suddenly start appearing, but this time discarded carelessly around the countryside clearly very shortly after the victim – a man – was killed.

Mysteries don’t come much more macabre or puzzling than this. Who were the two victims, and what connection could they have shared that would result in this bizarre double-discovery?

But that’s only half the story. The most gruesome moments are much more about Fiona and her curious mental state. There is a complex and very clever double mystery here, and what makes the story unique is the parallel unraveling of Fiona’s own mystery, and it’s her voice, established precisely in the first book but given even freer rein here, that makes it so compelling.

HARRY BINGHAM

Image Of Author Harry BinghamHarry Bingham is a forty-something British author, married and living in Oxfordshire.

He started out as an investment banker, then turned to writing full time when he was 30, so now finds time to enjoy his hobbies of rock-climbing, walking and swimming.

Harry also runs ‘The Writers’ Workshop’, which offers practical help and advice to budding writers.

He has written in a few different genres, both fiction and non-fiction, but these days feels most at home writing in the genre of crime.

I like the structure of the crime story, but most of all I like the ecosystem in which the genre flourishes: the festivals, the websites, the fans, the fact that you have your own special section of the bookshop. And crime is cool, too. It’s dark and edgy and funny and intelligent. I love it.

It took Harry some time to develop the character of  DC Fiona Griffiths, but the thing that locked everything in place was her Cotard’s Syndrome, an illness where sufferers believe themselves to be dead. It seemed to him that the condition was perfect for a crime story. It’s a mystery in itself. It walks a dark edge between life and dark. And it places the detective herself as the ultimate outsider.

I came to the idea from two directions. One, I was reading a lot of material about confabulation in mental illness – occasions when the brain simply makes up wild stories to get over some specific type of injury. Cotard’s is obviously one of the more colourful examples of this. And two, my wife, who works with the mentally ill, had a patient who suffered with the condition. When I hit the idea, I knew I’d arrived.

I can’t wait to discover all your own great new finds this week … so please stop by and share your link, so that I can visit your post.

 …

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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22 comments
  • This looks intriguing, but I do think I’d want to start with the first in the series (because of my own tendencies towards OCD…). Thanks for the suggestions and Happy New Year!

    • Hi Kathryn,

      Oh! believe me, according to just about everyone I know (and privately I also know it myself, but perhaps am a little loathe to admit it), I generally have quite strong OCD tendencies in much of my everyday life.

      It’s just that so many books come in series these days, that it is so difficult to keep up with them all and I have just about given up all hope of ever being able to.

      When they are author review requests it is even more difficult, as it would cost me an absolute fortune to buy all the previous books in a series, before the one I was actually being asked to read and review.

      I am just hoping for the best with ‘Love Story, With Murders’.

      Have a fantastic New Year, all the Biel family and see you in 2014!

  • I hope you love it, Yvonne. I’ve found that even though some series books can stand alone the reader misses out on the nuances of complex characters. Sometimes it makes a difference and other times it doesn’t. I hope the latter turns out to be your experience.
    Happy New Year!

    • Hi Mary,

      Cotard’s Syndrome is a new illness to me, so I have researched it a little, just so that I can perhaps understand some of the ‘gaps’ which might be apparent when I start reading the book.

      I think that the only really vital piece of missing information might be exactly how Fiona managed to get a career in the police force in the first place. I would have thought that an illness such as hers wouldn’t be conducive to discovering dead bodies all over the place!

      Here’s hoping that the book works well as a stand alone story.

      Thanks for stopping by and I wish you and your family all the very best for 2014.

    • Hi Gautami,

      If you enjoy a good crime thriller, then this synopsis just sounds too intriguing to ignore, doesn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by and all my very best wishes to you and your family for a Happy New Year!

    • Hi Laurel-Rain,

      Most of the bookshops here in the UK, now give equal shelf space to both UK and US authors. UK authors have received a much better press of late and are definitely beginning to assert their presence in the marketplace, although there is and I guess will always be, a distinct difference in the style of writing, language and plot building methodology, between the two.

      I have noticed an increase in the number of British authors now seeking review requests, which was almost exclusively the domain of US authors, when I first began blogging.

      The rise of the more ‘gutsy’ British mystery / thriller is also noticeable, although the stereotypical British slow and methodical style of policing is still well portrayed in the titles available.

      Harry is definitely part of the new regime by the sounds of things and I am looking forward to reading this story.

      Thanks for stopping by and I wish you a very happy and healthy New Year.

    • Hi Kathy,

      I know exactly what you mean, when you say ‘disturbing in a good way’.

      Of course, the idea of body parts turning up scattered randomly over the countryside, is disturbing in itself.

      I am however hoping that DC Fiona Griffiths’s state, of being in recovery from such a severe condition as described for someone suffering from Cotard’s Syndrome, is dealt with sympathetically, yet can be reconciled with her having a career such as that of a police detective, where she is dealing with ‘real’ death on a regular basis.

      It will be interesting to see just how the author handles this scenario.

      Thanks so much for taking an interest in today’s post and I would like to wish you and your family a very happy and healthy New Year.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Harry is a new author to me also, although when I researched is name a little more, I came across a whole raft of titles he has under his belt.

      The DC Fiona Griffiths series, is however, his first foray into the world of police procedural / crime fiction and I see that he has already started work on the third and what would appear to be the final case for this character.

      http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/harry-bingham/

      Thanks for stopping by and I would like to wish you and your family all best wishes for 2014 …. ‘Happy New Year’

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      The concept of a detective with such a huge personal disadvantage, is so unique and compelling, that I really couldn’t resist this story.

      Thanks for stopping by and very best wishes for the New Year!

  • Love Story, With Murders sounds quite good! Not so keep on the book title, for some reason, but the actual story sounds quite good, I look forward to reading your thoughts on it. I hope you enjoy it!

    All the best for 2014!!!

    • Hi Nikki,

      I have to say that the title doesn’t appear that alluring at first glance, however the phrase at the top of the cover ‘Death Will Bring Them Together’, seems to indicate that there might be more to the story, than the synopsis suggests. I am really hoping that this isn’t going to be the point at which I wish that I had read the first book in the series, before this one!

      The concept of random body parts appearing all over the place, is really quite intriguing though and perhaps more than a little chilling.

      Wishing you and your family every good wish for 2014 … ‘Happy New Year’!

  • Loving the sound of the recovering psychotic DC Fiona Griffiths, I’m hoping our library will have a copy of both this and the first book in the series.

    Happy new year to you and yours Yvonne and happy reading.

    • Hi Tracy,

      This is certainly a unique storyline and definitely an intriguing main protagonist.

      I am really looking forward to finding out about the ‘love story’ aspect mentioned in the book’s title. I am assuming that this in some way relates to the “parallel unraveling of Fiona’s own mystery” which the author quotes.

      I hope that the library is able to get hold of the books for you.

      Have a good weekend (well as good as you can in this terrible weather!)

  • This does sound good and I like the whole double mystery aspect of it. I also find it impressive when male authors pull of female protagonists. And how bizarre is that Cotard’s syndrome! Very strange. I hope you enjoy the book.

    • Hi Naida,

      There are certainly enough unique aspects to this storyline to make it a strong sure-fire winner, although it would take quite a lot of convincing to assure me that having a detective who has Cotard’s Syndrome, is a realistic and viable proposition, as it doesn’t sound as though it is a disease which can be easily controlled, only with strong medication, which is even more worrying for a person with any kind of authority and life changing decision making powers!

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope that all is well with you, despite the various extreme weather conditions we seem to be experiencing on both sides of the Atlantic right now!

    • Hi Peggy,

      Is it just me, or does it seems as though fictional detectives are becoming more and more dysfunctional in their efforts to portray unique and compelling characters?

      The concept of a male author, writing in the first person, as a female protagonist, is also strangely appealing and the connection between two murders more than ten years apart, has the makings of a real page turner!

      Thanks for taking the time to check this one out, I hope that you are well and wish you a very belated ‘Happy New Year’.

Written by Yvonne

NetGalley

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