Under the Reader’s Radar – celebrating the quiet novel

There are thousands upon thousands of books published each year. Only a small percentage of those make it to the best-seller list. That doesn’t mean that the rest aren’t worthy of reading. It may be that they are written by self-published authors who don’t have the marketing knowledge or a small independent publisher who doesn’t have the marketing budget to spread the word. Even the larger publishing houses have a limited marketing and publicity budget so can’t promote all the novels they publish to an equal degree.

I’m part of a wonderful online community called Book Connectors where bloggers, reviewers and authors can discuss all things book related. During one of the threads there was mention of ‘quiet’ books, the ones that miss out on the big publicity push. It was agreed that it was such a shame that certain books weren’t as widely read, as the reading public were missing out on hidden gems. So that sparked a germ of an idea and I decided to do a series of posts highlight titles that myself and other bloggers and authors feel may have gone under the reader’s radar. (That was the working title for this series of posts and as inspiration hasn’t struck me with anything better, its the one I’m going with for now).

So in each post I’ll aim to highlight a couple of titles that may have been missed from your reading awareness. Hopefully you’ll discover a treat or two. And please do let me know if you have any books you’d like to suggest.

The first suggestion this week comes from author Tara Lyons. She has suggested Beyond Reasonable Doubt by Linda Prather, which was self published via Amazon.


“Assistant DA, Jenna James took an oath to uphold the law, administer justice, deter crime and ensure the safety of the community. Her job isn’t easy, but it has always been black and white—criminals versus victims. Now she is the victim, and the very system she’s fought to uphold is suddenly corrupt, the lines between good and bad are blurred and her world has turned upside down. She’s always known that world existed—a world of power so immense that a single phone call can result in people disappearing or political offices being vacated, a world where doctors are available at a moment’s notice. She’s never been part of that world—never wanted to be. The body count is rising, and unless she finds proof beyond a reasonable doubt against a corrupt former federal judge, and a notorious criminal defense attorney, it will continue.”

Here’s what Tara had to say about it:

“I loved the short, sharp chapters and devoured this book. It kept my interest, and I thoroughly enjoyed the main character being a DA and finding out about crimes from her point of view. The author obviously knows her stuff!”

Tara’s novel, In the Shadows was published on 17 March 2016

The second suggestion is from author Lyn G Farrell. Lyn has suggested We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, (the edition shown is published by Penguin).


“A seminal work of dystopian fiction that foreshadowed the worst excesses of Soviet Russia, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We is a powerfully inventive vision that has influenced writers from George Orwell to Ayn Rand. This Penguin Classics edition is translated from the Russian with an introduction by Clarence Brown.

In a glass-enclosed city of absolute straight lines, ruled over by the all-powerful ‘Benefactor’, the citizens of the totalitarian society of OneState live out lives devoid of passion and creativity – until D-503, a mathematician who dreams in numbers, makes a discovery: he has an individual soul. Set in the twenty-sixth century AD, We is the classic dystopian novel and was the forerunner of works such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. It was suppressed for many years in Russia and remains a resounding cry for individual freedom, yet is also a powerful, exciting and vivid work of science fiction.

Clarence Brown’s brilliant translation is based on the corrected text of the novel, first published in Russia in 1988 after more than sixty years’ suppression.

Yevgeny Zamyatin (1884-1937) was a naval engineer by profession and writer by vocation, who made himself an enemy of the Tsarist government by being a Bolshevik, and an enemy of the Soviet government by insisting that human beings have absolute creative freedom. He wrote short stories, plays and essays, but his masterpiece is We, written in 1920-21 and soon thereafter translated into most of the languages of the world. It first appeared in Russia only in 1988.”
Read more on the Penguin website.

Here’s what she has to say:

“I’m choosing this book because it slipped under my radar for years….The astonishing book that gave both Orwell and Huxley inspiration for their own dystopian novels. Well written, well plotted, keeps you rapt from start to finish. What gives it, for me, the status of ‘one of the best books I’ve read’ is that it could have been written today, so well imagined is the world that the author creates. I can still, to this day, see the buildings and the way people interacted with each other, in my mind. A book that can transcend the decades and seem contemporary is a work of genius.
A terrifying tale of utter powerlessness and submission to a brutal ruling class. One of my favourite ever novels.”  

Lyn won the Luke Bitmead bursary for her novel The Wacky Man, which was published by Legend Press on 2 May 2016 and was recently long-listed for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize.

So there we have it, two more novels that have passed me by but have now made it onto my radar. Have you read either of these? What are you thoughts on today’s suggestions? Do let me know if you have a book to shout about.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. bookbii says:

    Orwell wasn’t just inspired by We, he practically copied it. The similarities are incredible. It throws a completely different light on 1984. Great selection of books as always.


    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks. I wasn’t even aware of this, but find it fascinating 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do love this series Janet!


    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks Cathy, I have to say I love it too 🙂


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