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Friday April 22, 2011

Seeking Wonderland

Lights Out In Wonderland
Author: DBC Pierre
Publisher: Faber and Faber, 315 pages

GABRIEL Brockwell is a poet, philosopher and disaffected 20-something decadent. His philosophical enquiries all point in the same direction: he needs to head for Wonderland, wherever that is. As he sets out on his global odyssey, he spends some time in rehabilitation, experiences a near-death experience with fugu ovaries and has a sexual encounter with an octopus. But even as he ticks London, Tokyo, Berlin and the Galapagos Islands off his destination list, his spiral towards self-destruction becomes more apparent by the day. He has a feeling that he is on the verge of an epiphany, but will it come too late?

The Sandalwood Tree
Author: Elle Newmark
Publisher: Atria Books, 357 pages

WHEN American historian Martin Mitchell goes to India in 1947 to document the end of the British rule, his wife, Evie, convinces him to take her and their five-year-old son along. He is suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome after his experiences during the war and their marriage is breaking down. Evie hopes that the move will mend their marriage. Unfortunately, when she chances upon a series of letters hidden behind a brick wall in their house in the Himalayas, she also uncovers a dark secret about Martin. Can she really save her marriage? Could the answer lie in the letters, written almost a hundred years earlier by two English women who were living in the same house?

The Priest’s Graveyard
Author: Ted Dekker
Publisher: Center Street, 306 pages

The last thing Renee Gilmore remembers is being rescued and then being locked up again. A frail and helpless victim who has dedicated herself to getting revenge for the murder of the man she loves, she finds a soulmate in Danny Hansen, a priest and avenging angel who believes in punishing people who have skirted justice.

A Bosnian immigrant who came to the United States with hopes of escaping haunted memories of a tragic war that took his mother’s life, he joins the hunt for the powerful man Renee is looking for. Things soon take an unexpected turn and it seems unlikely that they will both make it out alive.

Shatter The Bones
Author: Stuart MacBride
Publisher: Harper Collins, 438 pages

ALISON and Jenny McGregor are a mother-daughter singing sensation on the popular television show Britain’s Next Big Star. Their faces are splashed across the pages of gossip magazines and everyone loves them. But the nightmare begins shortly after they manage to get into the semi-finals. They get hauled to some remote location and a ransom note is sent to the police. To prove that they mean business, the kidnappers send the police a little reminder in the form of Jenny’s dismembered toe. The people of Aberdeen are given two weeks to raise the money. Logan McRae and his colleagues are put on the case, but with no evidence and no leads, it’s a battle against time that they might not win.

The Tiger’s Wife
Author: Téa Obreht
Publisher: Random House, 338 pages

NATALIA is a young doctor on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. Her grandfather has just died mysteriously and she wants to find some answers. A famed physician, he lied to her grandmother about his travel purpose before dying in a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of.

Her hosts are cheerful, friendly people but she suspects that they are holding back on certain things. There is a strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards and she wants to ask them about the mysterious circumstances of her beloved grandfather’s death.

Searching for clues to her grandfather’s final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. It’s in these old tales that she will find the answer she is looking for.

The Sixth Man
Author: David Baldacci
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 416 pages

FORMER Secret Service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell now work as private investigators. An old lawyer friend, Ted Bergin, has asked them to assist him with a case. His latest client, Edgar Roy, has been accused of murder, but there is something about the case that doesn’t add up. But someone brutally murders Ted before he can fill Sean and Michelle in on the details. It is now up to them to continue his work. Roy’s past is filled with conspiracy, dead-ends and false friends. The duo are also up against the highest level of the government. Things could not get much worse.

Mystery
Author: Jonathan Kellerman
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 320 pages

WHEN Milo Sturgis of LAPD homicide asks psychologist Alex Delaware to view the corpse of a young woman, he is shocked to recognise the victim as someone he saw the night before in a Beverly Hills hotel bar. Sipping champagne alone and dressed in elegant attire and dark glasses, everyone had wondered who she was and whether she came with the silent, black-suited bodyguard lingering outside the hotel. It turns out that this woman, who calls herself “mystery”, is as much an enigma in death as in life. When an anonymous tip leads the investigating team to an online service that matches “sugar daddies” with “star-quality sweeties”, Alex realises that closing the case would be more of a challenge than he anticipated,

The Art Of Devotion
Author: Samantha Bruce-Benjamin
Publisher: Gallery Books, 376 pages

YOUNG Sebastian and his sister, Adora, have made the sun-drenched Mediterranean island their playground. They grow very close to each other, almost inappropriately so, and their mother does not question her children’s intense need for one another until it’s too late. When Sebastian dies a sudden death, Adora fills the void with Genevieve, the precocious young daughter of her husband’s business associate and his jealous wife, Miranda.

This tale of love, deceit and betrayal is told from the perspectives of four women whose lives overlap. They find out that many things are nothing more than carefully-crafted illusions. The problem is figuring out what is real and what isn’t.

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