I don't think I've ever written a list for a blogpost but there's a first time for everything so here is my list (in no particular order) of
5 Authors I've discovered in 2015 and enjoyed reading.
1. CHRIS JANE The Year of Dan PalaceThis is a story about complex relationships between the main character, Dan Palace, and three women: Nina, Dan's current partner; April his ex-wife; and Jenny, a young women he meets as the story evolves. But it's also the story of a mid-life crisis triggered by the impending end-of-the-world (as Dan sees it) and a belated young adult road trip.
Dan is prompted out of the predictability of his mundanely successful life by the idea that a comet is going to end the world. Consequently he decides to leave Nina to try and make amends with April. In the process he hooks up with Jenny and her boyfriend, Andy, which results in a sequence of unexpected consequences.
The storyline moves rapidly from one eventful day to the next and the reader is soon immersed in the everyday trivia of Dan's existence and his attempts to change his life. At times the plot is surreal and bizarre creating for the reader a sense of the mental turmoil Dan is experiencing.
One of the great strengths of the book is the attention to detail. This is not a book for a quick read despite the ever changing plot. It's a book to savour and enjoy the beautiful clarity of the writing. The book's other strength is the excellent characterisation. These people are so real even though their behaviour is, at times, very peculiar.
Book Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Dan-Palace-Chris-Jane-ebook/dp/B00OFC8HAO
2. JUNE KEARNS An Englishwoman's Guide to the CowboyI really enjoyed reading An Englishwoman's Guide to the Cowboy and I recommend it highly not only to readers who enjoy romance but also to those who enjoy well written fiction whatever the genre.
The setting is the American West in 1867. An unexpected stage coach wreck causes well-bred, bookish, Englishwoman-abroad, Annie Haddon to meet English-hating, rule-breaking, Colt McCall. Was there ever such a hero? Heathcliff meets Rhett Butler! Colt is a wonderful romantic lead although the development of his and Annie's relationship is far from conventional.
The supporting characters are many and varied reflecting the different aspects of society of the era and the complexity of the plot. The writing is so good that every character comes alive and makes a strong contribution to the overall story. The dialogue is excellent providing authenticity to the setting and ensuring the vivid development of the characters.
The plot has more than enough complications to keep the story moving forwards at a good pace and, of course, there's a very satisfactory ending in true romance style albeit with an unexpected twist. One of the best examples of romantic fiction I've ever read.
June Kearns is also the author of The 20's Girl, the ghost, and all that jazz.
3. KEN MAGEE Dark Tidings
Dark Tidings is an easy to read, light hearted novel which has a wonderful tongue-in-cheek sense of the author's presence with wry, humorous asides.
From the start this novel moves along with a good pace and the pages almost turn themselves. The dialogue is snappy even when it's between the characters from ancient times which contributes to the energy of the narrative.
The two fantasy characters are very endearing particularly as they struggle to cope with the modern world they've joined. Michael heads up the contemporary cast and is a beacon of morality in a corrupted world of high finance.
There are hints throughout of the author's take on global financial institutions not unrelated to recent events. Some of the scenes in the ancient world are heavy with threats of torture and overladen with gore and putrid smells; how this is then continued into the contemporary world is imaginative and colourful.
Dark Tidings is a very enjoyable fantasy novel and its transition into reality makes it unusual and highly entertaining.
4. JAMIE GREENING The Little Girl Waits
The unlikely hero of The Little Girl Waits is a Baptist Church minister whose congregation is located on the north west Pacific coast. Pastor Butch Gregory is distressed when Tamara, a young girl who attends his church, disappears, apparently without trace. Pastor Butch thinks he is called by God to search for the girl and rescue her. In his quest he is assisted by a disillusioned war veteran and a woman who is straight-talking and street-wise. Inspired by a prophetic poem, the determined trio are confronted with a series of obstacles as they race against time to save the girl.
The novel is well written in a direct style which is easy to read and moves with good pace from page to page. Although the underlying theme of child sex trafficking is unpleasant, I enjoyed reading the book and there were several aspects which I found interesting.
In the final pages, the author explains the circumstances which lead him to write the book. This provides the rationale for him looking at the issue of child sex trafficking in a novel. The novel succeeds in raising awareness of the subject without the use of gratuitous detail for which the author should be commended.
The novel is an overtly Christian book which explores the positive power of prayer and demonstrates the integration of bible study into the challenges of everyday life even in the difficult circumstances explored in the plot.
The two supporting characters, Wyoming Wallace and Amber Smith, are both very interesting. They are essential to the success of the venture and to the fulfilment of the prophecy. They are also vital to the Christian sub-text particularly in relation to the themes of retribution and redemption which criss-cross the text.
There are elements of the supernatural in the book which with a different focus would place the novel in the fantasy genre. This mixes with the thriller aspects of the novel to produce a highly readable hybrid which, for something a bit different, is well worth a look.
5. MIKE GULLICKSON The Northern Star Trilogy
Book 1: The Beginning
Author Mike Gullickson has created a totally authentic other-world into which the reader is skilfully transported. The pages fly by as the plot unfolds. It's difficult to write about this novel without giving the plot away, suffice to say I loved it.
It's an imaginative yet completely plausible advanced cyber-world mixed with a chaotic real-world which creates an exciting read. This is the first book in a trilogy and having finished reading The Beginning I downloaded the second book and continued reading immediately.
Book 2: Civil War
Civil War is another can't-put-it-down book and I enjoyed reading it immensely. Although stretching credulity to the limit this is excellent science fiction. The writing is so vivid it makes the story completely believable.
The terrifying future world imagined by the author contrasts starkly with the easily recognisable emotions of the main characters.
Civil War continues to tell the story of John Rainey, the Tank Major, introduced in The Beginning who despite his extraordinary physical changes retains a profound and moving humanity.
At times this book reads like fantasy with almost spiritual overtones. The cyber world created by the author is on an epic scale and it is greatly to his credit that he manages to sustain the vision and develop it coherently through both books. I'm looking forward to reading the third book in the trilogy in 2016.
I borrowed the books with my Kindle Unlimited subscription but if I was buying I would definitely go for the omnibus edition with all three books in one volume.
Book Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Northern-Star-Trilogy-Omnibus-ebook/dp/B00VR3HZEI/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Thanks for reading my blog today and best wishes for 2016.
I'm running a Kindle Countdown price discount for A Single To Filey, the best selling detective novel by Michael Murray, between New Year's Eve and Twelth Night in the Amazon UK Kindle Store.