These are the Pulp Fiction bestsellers for the month of May 2019. Other months’ bestsellers may be found on the Catalogues page.
Bestsellers, Science Fiction & Fantasy: May 2019
All Systems Red (Murderbot Diaries 01)
In a corporate-dominated space-faring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern. On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ’droid – a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though, never out loud) as ‘Murderbot’. Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone, long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighbouring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth. This first in the series won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella – and rightly so! So, love this – and its three sequels that make up the quartet. Can’t recommend them highly enough! (Best to reserve your copies, though – they trend to sell out as soon, as stock arrives!)
Science fiction novella | HC | $24.99
The Unbound Empire (Swords & Fire 03)
‘A dashing, compelling and exciting story, blending magic, assassination, conspiracy and diplomacy… I loved this book’ – Blue Book Balloon on The Defiant Heir. We agree! And we love this series – as do so many regulars! Love the Renaissance Venice-ish vibe – love the protags (but feel it’s best not to parrot the plot summary, because most – if not all! – fantasy plot summaries just sound silly. Just read the book!)
Fantasy | PBK | $19.99
Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson 11)
My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic. And a coyote shape-shifter… and the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack. Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens, who live in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae. The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming, and her name is Death. But we are pack, and we have given our word. We will die to keep it. – publisher’s blurb. OTOH, sometimes, fantasy blurbs (especially Urban Fantasy blurbs!) can kick arse and sound utterly compelling! Love Briggs! Mwah!
Paranormal romance | TP | $29.99
Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story. Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math. Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet. Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained. – publisher’s blurb. A very different stand-alone novel from the wonderful McGuire – lots of pre-publication buzz – and great feedback from regulars, so far.
Fantasy | HC | $39.99
Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels 10)
Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be. Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defences again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up. Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try… – publisher’s blurb. The husband and wife urban fantasy team’s latest. We have customers who are truly obsessed with this and their other series (if you haven’t tried them, yet – start with Magic Bites).
Urban fantasy | PBK | $22.95
Exhalation (short fiction collection)
‘The universe began as an enormous breath being held.’ From the acclaimed author of Stories of Your Life and Others – the basis for the Academy Award-nominated film Arrival – comes a ground-breaking new collection of short fiction: nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories. These are tales that tackle some of humanity’s oldest questions along with new quandaries only Ted Chiang could imagine. Including stories being published for the first time as well as some of his rare and classic uncollected work, Exhalation is Ted Chiang at his best: profound, sympathetic – revelatory. A new Ted Chiang collection is a Huge Deal. He really is one of the modern masters of the genre. Highly recommended!
Science fiction | TP | $29.99
A Murder of Mages (Maradaine Constabulary 01)
Marshall Ryan Maresca
The first book of the Maradaine Constabulary series blends high fantasy, murder mystery, and gritty urban magic… Satrine Rainey – former street rat, ex-spy, mother of two, and wife to a Constabulary Inspector who lies on the edge of death, injured in the line of duty – has been forced to fake her way into the post of Constabulary Inspector to support her family. Minox Welling is a brilliant, unorthodox Inspector and an Uncircled mage – almost a crime, in itself. Nicknamed ‘the jinx’ because of the misfortunes that seem to befall anyone around him, Minox has been partnered with Satrine because no one else will work with either of them. Their first case, together – the ritual murder of a Circled mage – sends Satrine back to the streets she grew up on and brings Minox face-to-face with mage politics he’s desperate to avoid. As the body count rises, Satrine and Minox must race to catch the killer before their own secrets are exposed and they, too, become targets. – publisher’s blurb. So – some customers recommended these to Ron – who now recommends them to everyone he can – and the debut novel in this particular trilogy (from 2015!) is on our bestseller lists, again. Sooooo good!
Fantasy | PBK | $21.95
Though Hell Should Bar the Way (RCN 12)
Roy Olfetrie planned to be an officer in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy; but when his father was unmasked as a white-collar criminal, he had to take whatever he was offered. What is offered turns out to be a chance to accompany Captain Daniel Leary and Lady Adele Mundy – as they go off to start a war that will put Roy at the sharp end. Pirates, politics, and spies – and waiting for Roy, if he survives all the rest, a powerful warship. The action doesn’t slow – nor can Roy, for if he does the only question is which of the many threats will be the one to catch and kill him. But Captain Leary himself has given Roy a chance; and Roy is determined make the most of it – though hell should bar the way. Now in paperback – lotsa military space opera shenanigans!
Military SF | PBK | $21.95
The Gordian Protocol
David Weber & Jacob Holo
A Man of Two Worlds… Doctor Benjamin Schroder was far from a man of action. In fact, he was a history teacher – chairman of the Castle Rock University history department – and if his life wasn’t perfect, it was close. Until, that is, the discussion of a student’s dissertation on Operation Oz, the Pacific Allies’ invasion of Vladivostok, staged through occupied Japan to meet their Imperial German allies, was brutally interrupted. The psychotic episode that turned his entire world upside down struck with absolutely no warning, and it was more terrifying than anything he should have been able to imagine, leaving him with a complete, incredibly detailed set of false nightmare memories. The knowledge that those false memories had come from somewhere inside his own psyche was terrible, but with help, he’s learned to deal with the nightmares, to recognise that they are only nightmares that can’t – and won’t – be permitted to rule his life. Until, that is, a lunatic named Raibert Kaminski knocks on his door one afternoon with an impossible and horrifying story about alternate realities, time travel, temporal knots, and more than a dozen universes that must inevitably die if the temporal storm front rushing toward the distant future isn’t stopped. He must be lying, of course. Or completely insane. But what if he’s not a madman after all? What if he’s, actually, telling the truth? That possibility is the most terrifying thing of all. Because if he is, the false memories aren’t false after all, and that other world is just as real as the one Schroder has always known. And if that’s true, Benjamin Schroderis about to become the greatest mass murderer in human history, because he must choose. Whether he acts – or refuses to act – Benjamin Schroder is the one man who will decide which universe lives and which dies, along with every star system, every galaxy – and every single human being – in it…
Science fiction | HC | $49.95
Exit Strategy (Murderbot Diaries 04)
This is the fourth Murderbot book – and the only reason the middle two aren’t here is because we haven’t been able to get them to sell ’em! (the publishers’ Oz distributor brings them in for us at a much better price than we could get them as an import – but they tend to sell out and takes a little while to get more. We always have extra copies on back order, tho – so reserve ’em!)
Science fiction novella | HC | $24.99
Toucan Keep a Secret (Meg Langslow 23)
Meg Langslow is at Trinity Episcopal locking up after an event and checking on the toucan that Rev Robyn Smith is fostering in her office. After hearing a hammering in the crypt, Meg finds an elderly parishioner lying dead on the floor. Several niches have been chiselled open, several urns knocked out, and amid the spilled ashes is a gold ring with a huge red stone. The curmudgeonly victim had become disgruntled with the church and ranted all over town about taking back his wife’s ashes. Did someone who had it in for him follow him? Or was the motive grave robbery? Or did he see someone breaking in and investigate? Why was the ruby left behind? Really fun cosy mystery series that’s long been a favourite with regulars!
Mystery | PBK | $21.95
Death in Captivity: A Second World War Mystery (British Library Crime Classics series)
Latest in the fabulous reissues from the British Library. Death in Captivity is a classic account of murder in an Italian prisoner of war camp during World War II. Michael Francis Gilbert (1912–2006) is recognised as one of the most versatile British mystery writers. He was a lawyer in London for many years and, at one point, had Raymond Chandler as his client. He wrote almost every sort of mystery and thriller. He wrote police procedurals, spy novels and short stories, courtroom dramas, classical mysteries, crime novels, and almost every possible combination of these; all with the same competence and dry, detached wit. Gilbert was a founding member of the British Crime Writers Association; was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America; and was named Number 24 on The Telegraph’s ‘50 crime writers to read before you die’ (!).
Classic mystery | TP | $28.95
Metropolis (Bernie Gunther 14)
Summer, 1928. Berlin, a city where nothing is verboten… In the night streets, political gangs wander, looking for fights. Daylight reveals a beleaguered populace barely recovering from the post-war inflation, often jobless, reeling from the reparations imposed by the victors. At central police HQ, the Murder Commission has its hands full. A killer is on the loose, and though he scatters many clues, each is a dead end. It’s almost as if he is taunting the cops. Meanwhile, the press is having a field day. This is what Bernie Gunther finds, on his first day with the Murder Commission. He’s been taken on because the people at the top have noticed him – they think he has the makings of a first-rate detective. But not just yet. Right now, he must listen and learn. Metropolis is also a tour of a city in chaos: of its seedy sideshows and sex clubs, of the underground gangs that run its rackets, and its bewildered citizens – the lost, the homeless, the abandoned. It is Berlin as it edges toward the new world order, Hitler will soon usher in. And Bernie? He’s a quick study, and he’s learning a lot. Including, to his chagrin, that when push comes to shove, he isn’t much better than the gangsters… in doing whatever he must to get what he wants. Metropolis, completed just before Philip Kerr’s untimely death, is the capstone of a 14-book journey through the life of Kerr’s signature character, Bernhard Gunther, a sardonic and wisecracking homicide detective, caught up in an increasingly Nazified Berlin police department. In many ways, it is Bernie’s origin story; and, as Kerr’s last novel, it is also, alas, his end. Sob. Bye, Bernie. Thanks, Philip. We will miss you – both.
Noir | TP | $32.99
Brisbane 1999. It’s hot. Stormy. Dangerous. The waters of the Brisbane River are rising. The rains won’t stop. People’s nerves are on edge. And then… A body is found. And then another. And another. A string of seemingly ritualised but gruesome murders. All the victims are men. Affluent. Guys with nice houses, wives and kids at private schools. All have had their throats cut. Tabloid headlines shout, The Vampire Killer Strikes Again! Detective Sergeant Lara Ocean knows the look. The ‘my-life-will-never-be-the-same-again look’. She’s seen it too many times, on too many faces. Telling a wife her husband won’t be coming home. Ever again. Telling her the brutal way he was murdered. That’s a look you never get used to. Telling a mother, you need her daughter to come to the station for questioning. That’s another look she doesn’t want to see again. And looking into the eyes of a killer, yet doubting you’ve got it right. That’s the worst look of all – the one you see in the mirror. Get it right, you’re a hero, and the city is a safer place. Get it wrong, and you destroy a life. And a killer remains free. Twenty years down the track, Lara Ocean will know the truth. Certainly, some local colour here! Nice to see Brisbane can hold its own, when it comes to grisly – fictional! – murders. :)
Brisbane-based thriller | TP | $32.95
Murder in the Reading Room (Book Retreat mysteries 05)
Latest in the cosy series. Jane’s boyfriend is missing, and she thinks she may find him at North Carolina’s historic Biltmore Estate. Officially, she’s there to learn about luxury hotel management; but she’s also prowling around the breathtaking buildings and grounds, looking for secret passageways and clues. One of the staff gardeners promises to be helpful… that is, until his body turns up in the reading room of his cottage, a book on his lap. When she finally locates the kidnapped Edwin, his captor insists that she lead him back to Storyton Hall – convinced that it houses Ernest Hemingway’s lost suitcase, stolen from a Paris train station in 1922. But before they can turn up the treasure, the bell may toll for another victim…
Mystery | PBK | $21.95
Buried in Books (Bibliophile mysteries 12)
Latest in a superior (ie, very amusing!) American cosy series – Brooklyn has done everything she can to prepare for her nuptials with Derek and simply can’t wait to start her new life with him. But things don’t go as planned, when Brooklyn’s college frenemies, Heather and Sara, surprise her with a last-minute bridal shower. However, Brooklyn is touched when the women gift her rare copies of The Three Musketeers and The Red Fairy Book. When one frenemy is found murdered and one of the rare books is deemed a forgery, Brooklyn can’t help but wonder if the victim played a part in this fraud… or if a murderer is still out there, scamming and killing. Wedding jitters, counterfeit books, and a killer on the loose could ruin Brooklyn and Derek’s big day. Can they make it down the aisle – before more bodies start stacking up?
Mystery | PBK | $21.95
The Mad Hatter Mystery (American Mystery Classics series)
John Dickson Carr
Latest in the Otto Penzler American Mystery Classic reissues… A murdered man in a top hat leads Dr Gideon Fell to a killer with a sick sense of humour. At the hand of an outrageous prankster, top hats are going missing all over London, snatched from the heads of some of the city’s most powerful people—but is the hat thief the same as the person responsible for stealing a lost story by Edgar Allan Poe, the manuscript of which has just disappeared from the collection of Sir William Bitton? Unlike the manuscript, the hats don’t stay stolen for long, each one reappearing in unexpected and conspicuous places shortly after being taken: on the top of a Trafalgar Square statue, hanging from a Scotland Yard lamppost, and now, in the foggy depths of the Tower of London, on the head of a corpse with a crossbow bolt through the heart. Amateur detective and lexicographer Dr Gideon Fell is on the case, and when the dead man is identified as the nephew of the collector, he discovers that the connections underlying the bizarre and puzzling crimes may be more intimate than initially expected. Reprinted for the first time in thirty years, the second novel in the Dr Gideon Fell series – which need not be read in any order – finds the iconic character investigating one of the most extraordinary murders of his career. A baffling whodunnit with menace at every turn, The Mad Hatter Mystery proves that Carr is the ‘unexcelled master of creepy erudition, swift-moving excitement and suspense through atmosphere’ (New York Times). ‘Every sentence gives a thrill of positive pleasure. [The Mad Hatter Mystery] is the most attractive mystery I have read for a long time.’ – Dorothy Sayers. ‘Very few detective stories baffle me nowadays, but Mr Carr’s always do.’ – Agatha Christie.
Classic mystery | TP | $31.95
The Sign of Nine (Warlock Holmes 04)
G S Denning
Warlock Holmes may have demons in his head, but now Dr John Watson has a mummy in his bloodstream. Specifically, that of the sorcerer Xantharaxes, who when shredded and dissolved in an eight per cent solution, results in some extremely odd but useful prophetic dreams. There’s also the small matter of Watson falling for yet another damsel-du-jour, and Warlock deciding that his companion needs some domestic bliss… (A Study in Brimstone is first in the series.) ‘If you ever wondered how much better Sherlock would be if people could hurl hellfire at each other… well, this one is for you.’ – Starburst Magazine on A Study in Brimstone.
Sherlockiana | TP | $29.95
Why Kill the Innocent (Sebastian St Cyr 13)
C S Harris
London, 1814. As a cruel winter holds the city in its icy grip, the bloody body of a beautiful young musician is found, half-buried in a snowdrift. Jane Ambrose’s ties to Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent and heir presumptive to the throne, panic the palace; which moves quickly to shut down any investigation into the death of the talented pianist. But Sebastian St Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero refuse to allow Jane’s murderer to escape justice. Untangling the secrets of Jane’s world leads Sebastian into a maze of dangerous treachery: where each player has his or her own unsavoury agenda, and no one can be trusted. As the Thames freezes over and the people of London pour onto the ice for a Frost Fair, Sebastian and Hero find their investigation circling back to the palace and building to a chilling crescendo of deceit and death… Latest in the long-running historical series.
Historical mystery | TP | $26.99
My Sister, the Serial Killer
A short, darkly-funny, hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends… ‘Femi makes three, you know. Three, and they label you a serial killer.’ Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favourite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And, now, Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body; and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her ‘missing’ boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit. Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realise that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become… and how far she’s willing to go to protect her. ‘Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening’ – publisher’s blurb. Ron LOVES this – Recommended!
Noir | TP | $27.99