Wednesday 16 December 2009

Rupture by Simon Lelic

Rupture is a debut novel by a remarkable writer, Simon Lelic. It is a brilliantly plotted detective novel that kept me hooked right until the end. Lelic writes crisp and engaging prose. Set in a north London secondary school, Samuel Szajkowski walks into morning assembly and shoots dead three pupils and a teacher before shooting himself. Detective Inspector Lucia May is expected to report quickly and close this terrible case. However, she gradually discovers that Szajkowski is not the evil psychopath that the media and authorities claim. As Lucia takes the witness statements she uncovers an extraordinary story which is as shocking as it is gripping. A brilliant debut which will appeal to fans of We Need to Talk about Kevin. Don't miss it.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Goldsboro Books' Bestsellers of 2009

1. The Library of Shadows
Hardback published exclusively for Goldsboro Books.

2. The Coroner
The first in a brilliant new series featuring Jenny Cooper.

3. The Compaints
The first novel by Ian Rankin featuring a new protagonist, another Edinburgh copper, Malcom Fox.

4. The Best of Men
English Civil War, ten years in the making, The Best of Men is a thoroughly satisfying historical novel in the vein of C J Sansom.

5. Acts of Violence
A powerful and shocking literary thriller, and without doubt my favourite thriller of 2009.

6. Mr Toppit
Who is Mr Toppit? With pitch-black humour this extraordinary debut is a delight.

7. The Swansong of Wilbur McCrum
The best first line of any book I have read in the last ten years. Love it, love it, love it.

8. Assegai
Perfect for Wilbur Smith fans.

9. Martyr
Clements has a real sense for the Elizabethan period, with a thrilling plot, this is an excellent start to a brand new series.

10. Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks
This includes two short stories never before published, and offers a fascinating insight in to her writing.

11. The Angel's Game
Shadow of the Wind was an exceptional debut, and The Angel's Game picks up years later to deliver an enchanting follow up.

12. Zulu Hart
This is a must for fans of Bernard Cornwell. A fantastic start to a new series and George Hart is a very lovable character.

13. The Owl Killers
Exclusive package for Goldsboro Books. I look forward to Karen Maitland's books like I look forward to my birthday.

14. The Kindly Ones
Signed copies exclusive to Goldsboro Books in the UK. This shocking novel is both challenging and thought-provoking, and well worth reading.

15. Mathilda Savitch
Exclusive slipcase edition. Mathilda is a wonderful creation, surprisingly written by a perceptive male author.

16. Afterlife
What The Secret History did for Donna Tartt, Afterlife will do for Sean O'Brien.

17. Nights of Villjamur
Exclusive numbered edition. Villjamur is a dark and brooding metropolis, which becomes a character in its own right. Perfect for fans of Perdido Street Station.

18. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Flavia de Luce, a precocious 11 year old sleuth, is at the centre of this brilliant first novel.

19. The Case of the Missing Servant
A brilliantly written and humourous tale that captures the sounds, smells and foibles of India.

20. The Age of Orphans
This is a stunning debut, and an emotional read from a very talented writer. Ideal for fans of A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Rising Stars

Macmillan are the publishers of such wonderful series as Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse and C J Sansom's Shardlake. It is wonderful to see that they have two brilliant rising stars in Brian McGilloway and M. R. Hall.

The Disappeared is the second novel from M. R. Hall to feature Jenny Cooper, his first being The Coroner. In this second installment Jenny is settling in to her role as Coroner for the Severn Valley when she is approached by a grief-stricken mother who doesn't believe that her son, who has disappeared, has in fact gone abroad to pursue dangerous new ideals. Jenny soon realises in her inquest into Nazim's disappearance, that it is shrouded in corruption and conspiracy and as the pressure on her increases, Jenny is pushed to breaking point. How could she know that in unravelling the mystery of the disappeared she would begin to unearth some of her own buried secrets? Having been a huge fan of The Coroner, Goldsboro Books' second biggest selling novel of 2009, I wondered if M. R. Hall could in fact better it. The Disappeared is better, the writing more assured and I literally couldn't put it down. It rightly deserves to be our December Book of the Month. (Published January 2010)

Borderlands by Brian McGilloway is my favourite crime novel published in the last 10 years and is the first book in a wonderful series featuring Benedict Devlin, Garda Inspector, in the borderlands of Northern and Southern Ireland. This fourth novel is set around an investigation into a vigilante group who have named themselves, The Rising which is the title of the book. Soon Devlin realises after the death of two drug dealers, this group is more complex than just vigilantism. Meanwhile is ex-colleague's son has gone missing during a camping trip but after searching for him he is relieved to hear that the boy's mother has had a text from him to say he's safe in Dublin. So when a body is washed up on a beach the Inspector is confused.

When Devlin thinks he is beginning to understand the vigilante case, a personal crisis strikes at the heart of his family forcing him to confront the compromises his career has forced upon him. This is McGilloway's most touching novel yet and confirms him as one of the most exciting crime writers around. If you haven't read him you are in for a treat. (Published April 2010)

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Guardian First Books

The shortlist for the Guardian First Book Award includes two titles Goldsboro Books stock. This is our take on them.

The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larson

If these are only the selected works of T. S. Spivet then I am very keen to read the entire collection. This book is a delight.
We follow twelve-year-old, mapping genius, T. S. Spivet across country, from Montana to DC, to claim his place as the adult winner of prestigious museum the Smithsonian's Baird Award. But being twelve, and keeping the journey a secret from his family, at the same time as keeping his age a secret from the Smithsonian, makes this journey an adventure, and a perilous one at that.

The story would be enjoyable if you only had the text in a word document, however, you can not separate this narrative from the beautiful production and illustration of the book. I was totally transported to T. S's world, a world of mapping, loss, adventure and bravery. Through his mature, yet naive, twelve-year-old eyes I became a more considerate reader, absorbing every piece of information even hinted at, studying every diagram, and then getting carried away with the plot so turning back to read any asides I might have missed.

This book was not just a purchase but a gift from me to me. And, just to let you know, you have no idea what a map really is until you read this book!

The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey

This is a truly unique novel. For the first time, that I know of, Samantha Harvey has written a novel from the point of view of an Alzheimer's sufferer. And she pulls it off with incredible skill and style.

As Jake, her protagonist, slowly succumbs to the disease, so his memories fracture and his fact becomes fiction and his memories bleed into each other. But this novel is not a depressing one. It is a life affirming novel.

This wonderful and outstanding novel is one of the most thought-provoking novels of 2009.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

November book of the month

A Kurdish boy, Reza, is orphaned at the age of ten after a battle between the Kurds and the Shah of Iran's military forces in the early 1900's. The policy at this time is to conscript the male orphans in to the Shah's army, so Reza trades his old life and becomes Iranian, after witnessing the brutal death of all of this male relatives, including his father who is kicked to death in front of him. Though Reza is the main character, his life unfolds through a series of storytellers, each with their own view point. The Age of Orphans unleashes a tapestry of untold horrors and pleasures, of blood and smoke, hopes and dreams. This is a profoundly moving story of a land sewn together under the ambitious imagining of a nation, and of the life of a boy whose identity does not and can not unite with this vision. This is the first of a trilogy and the debut by a skillful writer.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

The CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award 2009

Congratulations to Philip Kerr for winning this years CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award for his novel If The Dead Rise Not.

This sophisticated thriller is set in Berlin 1934, a city on the brink of cataclysmic change, Bernie Gunther is now a house detective at the famous Adlon Hotel having been forced to resign as a homicide detective. The discovery of two bodies - a Jewish boxer and a Jewish businessman - involves Bernie in the lives of two hotel guests. One is a beautiful journalist intent on persuading America to avoid the upcoming 1936 Olympics in Berlin and the other is a German-Jewish gangster who plans to use the Olympics as a way to make money for him and the Chicago mob. Bernie uncovers a vast labour and construction racket designed to take advantage of the huge amounts the Nazi's are willing to spend showcasing the new Germany to the world. The conclusion is found 20 years later in pre-revolution Cuba to where Bernie finds himself twenty years later. Kerr's skill is in the believable detail of both changing countries; Of war and it's aftermath and of a man who is changed and who also stays the same over twenty years. A brilliant novel that deserved the Ellis Peters award.

We've been very clever here at Goldsboro Books and have stocked all 6 of the wonderful novels on the shortlist. And we've been lucky too; they are all signed by the authors.

Thursday 20 August 2009

New Agatha Christie Stories

I am one of the lucky few to have already read two previously unpublished stories by Agatha Christie which will be published for the first time, along with notes and exceptional other material which was lain undiscovered for decades, on the 2nd September this year.

John Curran came across the notebooks after being invited to examine Dame Agatha's papers at Greenway, her holiday retreat in Devon. When the notebooks were found and analysed by him, the draft of an unknown and unpublished Hercule Poirot story emerged. As a lifelong Christie fan, for many years he edited the official Agatha Christie Newsletter and he acted as a consultant to the National Trust during the restoration of Greenway House, Dame Agatha’s Devon home, he said this was 'like dying and going to heaven'.

Curran has painstakingly threaded together the secret handwritten notes. The jottings were scattered with other notes throughout some of 73 exercise copybooks.
Mr Curran's four-year labour of love means that from beyond the grave, one of the nation's best-loved and all time best-selling authors has effectively rekindled the wily Belgian sleuth's career.

Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks is published on the 2nd September by HarperCollins.

Read more about this book at

Thursday 13 August 2009

Booker Promotion - Well done him!

Graham Fudger, a book lover, has used his time on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth to celebrate the longlist for the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
Mr Fudger, is one of the 2,400 people chosen to participate in Anthony Gormley's One & Other Project which allows them to stand on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London for one hour.

Mr Fudger said his favourite of the longlisted books was James Lever's Me Cheeta - the purported autobiography of the chimpanzee Cheeta, who gained Hollywood stardom in the Tarzan movies.
Other books on the long-list include The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, Brooklyn by Colm Tobin, Summertime by JM Coetzee and The Children's Book by AS Byatt.

Apparently, Mr Fudger decided how to spend his hour on the plinth after meeting three of the Booker judges. Good for him, I say. Any way to promote books is good in my opinion. I just wish that I had the idea!

The shortlist for the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on 8 September.
The winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced on Tuesday 6 October at London's Guildhall.

Monday 10 August 2009

And This Is True by Emily Mackie

Hardcover: 320 Pages

Publisher: Sceptre (4 March 2010)

'Everything must start with a BANG' so begins this remarkable and brilliant debut by Emily Mackie. Nevis Gow loves his Dad. No. He is in love with his Dad. Nevis is 15 years old and for the last 11 years he has lived in a van with his dad travelling around the country. Until one day Marshall, his Dad, crashes the van and everything changes. Stranded on a remote Highland farm amid a family overshadowed by grief, Marshall tries to steer them back to normality while Nevis fights to keep things the way they were. Soon, though, he comes to realise that nothing about his lost life in the van was quite as it seemed. Nevis meticulously details his 'true' record of events for the last 11 years living with his Dad, but lines blur between love and obsession, reality and wish-fulfilment, dreams and memory. The plot is raw and shocking, the writing funny, poignant, and strikingly accomplished. This is a debut novel by a young writer of remarkable talent.

Goldsboro Books Rating:

Acts of Violence by Ryan David Jahn

Hardcover: 250 pages
Publisher: Macmillan New Writing (6 Nov 2009)


This is one of the best crime novels I have read this year and possibly 2009’s most unnerving literary thriller, based on 1964’s most notorious real-life murder, this is the debut novel from an L. A. Screenwriter, Ryan David Jahn. Katrina Marino is about to become America's most infamous murder victim. This novel is about her, and the story of her murderer. It is also the story of Katrina's neighbours, those who witnessed her murder and did nothing: the terrified Vietnam draftee; the woman who thinks she's killed a child, and her husband who will risk everything for the truth; the former soldier planning suicide and the man who saves him. And others whose lives are touched by the crime: the elderly teacher whose past is catching up with him; the amateur blackmailer who's about to find out just what sort of people he's been threatening; the corrupt cop who believes he is God's 'red right hand'. From the very first page this is a shocking and gripping novel and a cinematic tour-de-force, a terrifying crime novel unlike any other. More please!

Goldsboro Books Rating:

Friday 7 August 2009

Book of the Month - August 2009

This month we have chosen Afterlife by a debut author and published poet, Sean O'Brien.

'Compelling and hypnotic' - Helen Dunmore. 'A convincing, darkly comic and painful take on the astonishingly poisonous world of poetry and literary aspiration' - Andrew Greig
Martin and Alex meet at university and - although Martin can never quite work out why - become friends. When they finish their undergraduate studies, and with the summer ahead of them before they have to think about the future, they and their respective girlfriends - Susie and Jane - rent a house in the middle of nowhere. While Jane writes and Susie finds a job at the local art college, the two boys spend their days doing little other than sleeping, drinking, smoking and trying to keep cool in scorching temperatures. As the heat builds, however so does the tension between the four; then, when a glamorous, hedonistic American student arrives in their midst, events and emotions escalate still further. A novel about power, rivalry, jealousy and - in the end - murder, "Afterlife" is a gripping exploration of how some outcomes are decided long before we're even aware of the options.

This is a novel about four literary types won’t always set hearts racing, but the reader’s faith is rewarded by the consummate skills on show. Fans of the outraged humour and tough passion of O’Brien’s poetry will find plenty in evidence here. Afterlife is a richly rewarding portrait of friendships under siege, full of vibrant characters and atmospheres that linger in the mind and the heart long after you finish it.
Signed & Dated First Editions are available from