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 Jinny Alexander. Her latest novel, Dear Isobel, was published on 14 March 2022.

She suggested The Fear Talking: The True Story of a Young Man and Anxiety by Chris Westoby, published by Barbican Press on 4 December 2020.

The Fear Talking tells the true story of Chris Westoby, who as a teenager has a life-long anxiety condition, but he doesn’t know it – no one does as he’s undiagnosed. He wants to be alone, all day, forever, and swallows every aspiration that he has to complete his education, be a good boyfriend and live a life without perpetual fear. Deeply ashamed of his own thoughts, he juggles lies to friends and family to keep his anxiety secret. He seeks out secluded places in his hometown of Barton to avoid the world and find a way to get better. He begins investigating the patterns of causes and effect in his anxieties, the meanings and effects of the places that he goes to, the objects that he touches, the music that he hears and the words that he speaks. A sense of control might just be in reach, but it comes at a price that he doesn’t know he’s paying.

Here’s what she had to say:

” [It’s] a true account of Chris’s college years (age 16-18) and his crippling anxiety. It’s very ‘warts and all’ but immensely readable, very enjoyable, and very eye-opening. It has a similar rawness to Dear Isobel, I think. It’s currently my ‘everyone should read this’ book.”

The second book is suggested by Nell Pattison. Her latest novel, Hide, was published by Avon on 9 December 2021.

She suggested City of Vengeance by D. V. Bishop, published by Pan Macmillan in paperback on 6 January 2022.

Florence. Winter, 1536. A prominent Jewish moneylender is murdered in his home, a death with wide implications in a city powered by immense wealth.

Cesare Aldo, a former soldier and now an officer of the Renaissance city’s most feared criminal court, is given four days to solve the murder: catch the killer before the feast of Epiphany – or suffer the consequences.

During his investigations Aldo uncovers a plot to overthrow the volatile ruler of Florence, Alessandro de’ Medici. If the Duke falls, it will endanger the whole city. But a rival officer of the court is determined to expose details about Aldo’s private life that could lead to his ruin. Can Aldo stop the conspiracy before anyone else dies, or will his own secrets destroy him first?

Here’s what she had to say:

“I read a lot of crime but I don’t tend to read much historical fiction, because it’s usually not for me, but I absolutely loved this book. Set in 16th Century Florence, it follows an officer called Cesare Aldo in his attempts to work against the corruption that’s rife in the city, in order to solve a murder. It’s tightly plotted with some brilliantly-penned characters, some of whom you’ll love to hate, and the second one in the series came out in March 2022.”

So there we have it, two more books that may have passed you by, though this time I can say I have one of them as I have a copy of City of Vengence sitting on my TBR pile.

Have you read either book? Do you have a quiet book you’d like to shout about? Do let me know.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    And very colour-matched, the two books!

    Like

  2. Thanks Janet. There are so many books which come out that we can never keep up so your series is so useful!

    Like

  3. Kath says:

    Love this series. It always brings up something new to consider reading. Although this time I already have one on my TBR. I snaffled a copy of City of Vengeance recently because books set in Florence are my bookish equivalent of cat nip.

    Like

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