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.

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.

First up is Caroline Mitchell, who’s latest novel, Truth and Lies was published by Thomas and Mercer on 30 August 2018.

She has chosen She Be Damned by. M.J. Tija, published by Legend Press.

London, 1863: prostitutes in the Waterloo area are turning up dead, their sexual organs mutilated and removed. When another girl goes missing, fears grow that the killer may have claimed their latest victim.

The police are at a loss and so it falls to courtesan and professional detective, Heloise Chancey, to investigate.

With the assistance of her trusty Chinese maid, Amah Li Leen, Heloise inches closer to the truth. But when Amah is implicated in the brutal plot, Heloise must reconsider who she can trust, before the killer strikes again.

Here’s what she had to say:

“I loved the book ‘She Be Damned’ by M.J. Tjia. It’s a mystery novel set in Victorian times. So different to what I normally read but I fell in love with the book from page one…A beautifully written book with such authenticity, that each page whisked me back in time. The story galloped along as I followed the characters that were all too real. I could not put it down and recommend to anyone in need of an immersive read.”

The second suggestion is from Caroline Hulse, whose novel, The Adults, was published by Orion on 29 November 20198.

She has chosen Quicksand by Steve Toltz, published by Sceptre.

Aldo Benjamin may be the unluckiest soul in human history, but that isn’t going to stop his friend Liam writing about him. For what more could an aspiring novelist want from his muse than a thousand get-rich-quick schemes, a life-long love affair, an eloquently named brothel, the most sexually confusing evening imaginable and a brief conversation with God?

Here’s what she had to say:

“I love this book. It’s long, it’s meandering, with some crazy stuff in there, and I’ve bought it for two friends who never mentioned it again. BUT. The outlook. The mix of tragedy and humour in this book about failure and self-destructiveness. It’s so so funny, while so dark.”

So there we have it, two books that had completely passed me by. Have you read either of them? Do you have a quiet book you’d like to shout about? Let me know.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. I love this feature Janet.


    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks Linda, I’m rather fond of it too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved Quicksand! It was different to what I was expecting but one of those books that once I got into it I couldn’t put it down. I recommend it. 🙂


    1. janetemson says:

      I’ve not read either, I think I might have to though now!


  3. I love this feature Janet. I was going to ask you if you have any more planned.



    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks Caryl, I’ve still got one or two suggestions to come, though I may have to see if anyone has any more!


  4. I have Quicksand to read. I loved A Fraction of the Whole so much.


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