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 today comes from Wendy Holden. Her latest novel, A View to A Kilt, was published by Head of Zeus on 8 August 2019.

She has suggested The Serial by Cyra McFadden.

Are you into Living Together Relationships? Personal Growth? Human Life Styling? Is your desire Creative Control? Sadomasochism? Staying MellowAt All Costs? Then you will relate to Cyra McFadden’s The Serial. Here, in 52 scintillating episodes, are the essential Kate and Harvey Holroyd, desperate fighters in the struggle to stay hip and loose in Marin County, California – a welter of lentil loaves, enzymes, whip fantasies, natural fibres, TM, Zen jogging and vibes both good and bad. Set at the very epicentre of the self-obsessed 1970s, when everyone talks (without ever saying anything) in the psychobabble of faddish self-help manuals, it’s the most sophisticated, liberated, high energy, naturally organic and hilarious adult soap opera ever!

Here’s what she had to say:

“This tale of hipsters in Seventies California had me crying with laughter on the train the first time I read it. Harvey and Kate are having marriage problems, but it’s really all about their self-consciously trendy lifestyle. Nothing escapes McFadden’s gleefully satirical eye, even (especially) whimsical hipster shop names. Written in 1977 but it could be Shoreditch now.”

The second suggestion is from Gunnar Staalesen. His latest novel, Wolves at the Door, was published by Orenda Books on 13 June 2019.

He has suggested How Like an Angel by Margaret Millar.

Private detective Joe Quinn gambles. That’s how he’s lost his job, car, clothes, and girlfriend; it’s why he’s hitchhiking from Reno to California. At The Tower, a back-country compound housing a religious cult, Quinn gambles again, when Sister Blessing asks him to locate one Patrick O’Gorman. It proves to be no easy task: O’Gorman’s dead – and, Quinn wagers, not so accidentally as everyone insists.

Here’s what he had to say:

“I think one of the very best crime novels ever written is Margaret Millar’s How like an Angel. It is a masterpiece that I would hope many new readers will discover, a perfect mixture between a private eye novel, a classical mystery and a psychological thriller.”

So there we have it, two more books and authors that had passed me by. Have you read either of these? Do you have a quiet book you want to shout about? Do let me know.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Wendy Holden has made me want to reread The Serial but I’ve a feeling my copy went off to the charity shop long ago. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for another.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      It does sound interesting. Hope you find another copy!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve come across Millar’s name on my journey through classic crime, but never actually read her. Adding her to the list… ;D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      I have Vanish in an Instance on my TBR, so I really should read her. I hope you like her when you get to read her books 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this series! I’ve always wanted to read Margaret Miller – I must check if I have anything by her lurking in the 746!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      I forgot I had Vanish in an Instance on my TBR until after this post! Hope you find one 🙂


  4. BookerTalk says:

    I’ve seen Holdens name mentioned elsewhere but you’ve now made me want to explore her myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      I hope you enjoy her books when you get to read them. I have a couple on my TBR so I really should get to them!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. JacquiWine says:

    I read and enjoyed Margaret Millar’s Vanish in an Instant at the end of last year. Definitely an author worth exploring for readers interested in classic noir.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      I have that on my TBR. I need to get to it soon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.