Sunday 15 February 2009

Sunday Selection - Tyler, Nunn, Van Der Vlugt

An interesting crop of new and forthcoming books this week – they all seem rather tempting to me.

No sooner have I lavished (very well deserved) praise on L.C. Tyler’s debut novel, than I receive a copy of his second book, A Very Persistent Illusion, again published by Macmillan New Writing. This novel does not feature the luckless crime noveliste Ethelred Tressider (although we are promised Ethelred will return before long) but is instead ‘a darkly comic novel about family, madness and the nature of reality’. The main character is Chris Sorensen, a middle manager and closet poet.

Over the years, quite a number of crime writers have made a splash with their first book and never been able to repeat the success (Richard Hull and Kyril Bonfiglioli spring to mind, but the list is quite a long one.) However, my bet is that Tyler’s talent is such that he is no one-hit wonder, and I look forward to reading A Very Persistent Illusion.

Malla Nunn, author of A Beautiful Place to Die (Picador) has garnered praise for her first book from the estimable Minette Walters (‘A terrific page-turning debut’) I tend to discount blurbs written by authors who share a publisher as the blurbed writer, but I must say that this book does look very interesting indeed. The story is set in 1950s South Africa, when ‘the colour of a killer’s skin matters more than justice’ and a glance at the opening pages suggests that DS Emmanuel Cooper is an interesting character, and Nunn a writer to watch.

Simone Van Der Vlugt is the author of The Reunion (tag-line ‘Never. Go. Back.) , published by Harper Collins. Simone is described as ‘Holland’s top-selling crime writer’ and the book is said to be reminiscent of Minette Walters and Nicci French. Again, I’m not sure how helpful such comparisons really are, but there must be a reason why publishers are so fond of them – perhaps many readers find them helpful, though I don’t, as I prefer to judge an author on his or her own merits. Again, this story sounds full of promise: ‘Sabine was fifteen when Isabel disappeared…Nine years later, unwanted memories are returning.’.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to read that we can expect to see Ethelred again some day. Agree with you about blurbs, though I would prefer to read an attributed recommendation than an anonymous "the next James Patterson" type of thing. (Though how Val McD, Stephen K, Mark B and co actually "read" all the books they recommend on covers beats me ;-) ). I have heard good things about The Reunion and, as I enjoy most translated fiction I've read, I'm looking forward to reading it. The "translation barrier" for publishers' economics acts as a pretty good quality indicator, I suppose.

David Cranmer said...

Thanks for the tips. A Very Persistent Illusion sounds interesting.

Martin Edwards said...

Interesting point, Maxine. I'm not sure how expensive translations are, but they must add to overhead.

crimeficreader said...

Len's second book in the series, Ten Little Herrings comes out in HB in August.

Re Simone van der Vlugt's The Reunion, I suspect that the comparison to Nicci French originated with her original Dutch publisher (they share the same). Nicci French is a really big seller in the NL and as both write psychological thrillers and The Reunion was van der Vlugt's first adult novel (following an established nearly 20 year career in the children's and young adult arena), I'd guess the connection was made to improve marketing.

I am reading The Reunion at the moment. It has a wonderfully refreshing simple style of writing. A big surprise for me thus far is that it's had me laughing out loud on times. Luckily I hadn't overfilled the bath, so the water was contained...

Martin Edwards said...

You've sold The Reunion to me, Rhian! I'll push it up the tbr list.