Did you read Sleepless by Charlie Huston, published a couple of years ago? After reading it, you can understand just how brilliant Huston is at developing an original way of writing that gives us edgy, dark and often humorous books. His new book, Skinner, is great. Huston, in an interview with the LA Times, says “I was so angry at politicians, businesspeople, executives, bankers, 1-percenters. Seeing this constant reinforcement of inequity masked as an effort to keep people free and independent. It would fill me with this very visceral, I-want-to-hit-somebody-or-something anger.” And so we get Skinner, who as a boy was brought up in a Skinner box, and as an adult was seen as perfect assassin by the CIA. Huston takes on the world of inequality and climate change, with the disturbing idea of the manipulation by the rich and big business to ensure climate change benefits them, at the expense of the poor. Read it and you’ll become a Huston fan too.
It’s this friday we are going to welcome Sarah Dunant. I loved Blood and Beauty, her amazing novel of what I hope will be a series of the Borgias. Sarah is able to bring the Italian Renaissance brilliantly to life, a time of extravagance, of manipulation, when children’s lives were used for family advantage. And Rodrigo Borgia, his eldest son Cesare and daughter Lucrezia, are still household names, as are Machiavelli and Savonarola, all players in this Italian game of politics and the church. Sarah has just been a guest at the Melbourne Writers Festival and we’ve heard how fabulous her talks were. If you’d like to hear her talk, call us on 9973 1244.
I thought I’d mention a couple of Australian authors who have just published their first books. Bruce McCabe lives on the northern beaches, and his Skinjob is a technothriller. The FBI are equipped with portable lie detectors, Silicon Valley has turned sex into a virtual experience and then a bomb explodes in San Francisco, killing twelve people. The FBI are on the job. If you like John Birmingham’s thrillers, you’ll love this one. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes is a straight out thriller. Pilgrim used to head up a secret espionge unit for US Intelligence, retired, and wrote a book on how to commit the perfect murder. Now this book has come back to haunt him, as someone is following the book. Hayes has been a screenwriter but this is his first book and it’s a great pageturner. And then for something complete different: Nelika McDonald’s The Vale Girl. Sarah Vale is 15 and lives in a small country town. She goes missing, and no one in the town really cares except for Tommy who loves her, and the town sergeant. This has the feel of Jasper Jones and Mr Wigg. Three very different new books, all three great reading.