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.

The first suggestion this time comes from Rod Reynolds. His latest book, Cold Desert Sky, was published in paperback by Faber and Faber on 6 June 2019.

He suggested City Without Stars by Tim Baker, published by Faber and Faber.

Mexico – Ciudad Real is in crisis: the economy is in meltdown, a new war between rival cartels is erupting, and a serial killer is murdering hundreds of female workers.

Fuentes, the detective in charge of the investigation, suspects that most of his colleagues are on the payroll of his chief suspect, narco kingpin, El Santo. If he’s going to stop the killings, he has to convince fiery union activist, Pilar, to ignore all her instincts and work with him. But in a city eclipsed by murder, madness and magic, can she really afford to trust him?

Here’s what he had to say:

“There are a hundred or more books I could list here as there are so many authors deserving of more attention – to list a few, in no particular order: Oscar de Muriel, Steph Broadribb, David Young, Neil Broadfoot, Susi Holliday, Vaseem Khan – I could honestly list loads more, but check out books by any of them if you’re stuck for inspiration.

If I had to pick one book that stood out to me recently though, it would be City Without Stars by Tim Baker – a beautifully written, haunting and gripping look at a Mexico in the grip of the cartels. Right up there with Don Winslow’s books about the War on Drugs.”

The second quiet book suggestion is from Rachael Featherstone. Her novel, Puzzle Girl, was published by Dome Press on 10 January  2019.

She suggested Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival, published by Bloomsbury.

Ruby loves being Ruby. Until, one day, she finds a worry. At first it’s not such a big worry, and that’s all right, but then it starts to grow. It gets bigger and bigger every day and it makes Ruby sad. How can Ruby get rid of it and feel like herself again?

Here’s what she had to say:

“There is a big push in the children’s market to encourage adults to encourage children to read. Indeed Orion will be including an advert in their adult fiction titles to do just that. Therefore, I wondered if I could suggest that you showcase a picture book, Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival (while the book itself isn’t under the radar, the industry is). This book in particular champions diversity (1% of picture books featured a BAME lead character last year) and mental health. I actually think this is a very good picture book for people of all ages! “

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.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Yes, here’s a quiet book I’d like to shout about 🙂
    Crooked Grow the Trees by Carmel Hanes
    – a wonderful dual narrative about a woman working with troubled adolescents, helping them see past their automatic responses to events that land them in a detention centre and at the same time coming to terms with her own past, when her estranged father asks to see her as he lies on his deathbed. Wonderful insights and brilliantly portrays opposite perspectives on issues, entertaining and thought provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      Brilliant, thank you. I’ll add it to a future post 🙂


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