Brand-new good reads
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THE SHEPHERD’S HUT
By TIM WINTON Picador When teenager Jaxie Clackton’s physically abusive father dies in a freak accident – shortly after his beloved mother dies of cancer – he flees to see the female cousin he believes is the only person in the world who understands him.
But to get to her he’ll have to cross the unforgiving, searing salt lands of Western Australia – dangerous country where, if the heat doesn’t kill you, the rough characters who inhabit it might.
Jaxie stumbles across a remote hut occupied by an enigmatic elderly priest living in exile for reasons he refuses to divulge, and the boy and man slowly develop a mutual respect borne of their common need to survive. But when the young traveller discovers a secret underground bunker while out hunting he knows their days of relative peace are over . . .
This new masterpiece from one of Down Under’s most brilliant contemporary novelists bristles with feral slang as tough as the area it describes. It’s a brutal comingof-age book about sacrifice and the value of humanity in a savage world. Read it. – JOHN PHILLIPS
THE INCURABLE ROMANTIC
By FRANK TALLIS Little, Brown Psychologist Frank Tallis opens the door to his consulting rooms to give us a glimpse of what really goes on in therapy. If you believe in love at first sight, have ever had a broken heart or done irrational things to fulfil your desires, then this book is the perfect way to debunk the myths about love, emotions and relationships.
Tallis takes it back to the discoveries and theories of the godfathers of psychology, Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud, and shows how diagnoses and treatments have evolved.
While the cases are funny and sometimes downright odd – like that of a married woman who instantly fell in love with her dentist after a procedure and then started stalking him, or the man who loved himself so much he couldn’t be in a relationship with another person – the book is highly informative.
Unlike most psychology books it’s easy to read. You get a broad view of love and why it’s such a complex emotion, and by the end you walk away feeling you could make a diagnosis or two yourself! – NONHLANHLA KHUMALO
TALL ORDER (DAN SHEPHERD #15)
By STEPHEN LEATHER Hodder & Stoughton In New York a plane is blasted out of the sky by a missile fired by terrorists. More than 300 passengers are killed.
Totally by chance the five terrorists stop at a shopping centre where a security guard – who just happens to be an ex-US Navy Seal – notices them and single-handedly kills one and captures two. Two others, including the mastermind, Saladin, get away.
Richard Yokely, a shadowy figure in the American security apparatus, gets the job to kill the remaining terrorists and anyone who helped them.
Ten years later a terrorist blows himself up at a soccer game in England. Dozens are killed. This attack was also orchestrated by Saladin. This time the head of MI5 wants revenge, not justice.
Readers may find the many killings gratuitous and be shocked by the idea of the execution of terrorists without a fair trial.
All the bad guys in this book are Muslims and they get killed with obvious relish by the “good guys”.
If you prefer less bloody reading material and plots that are more nuanced, stay away. – ANDRÉ J BRINK
REAPER AT THE GATES
By SABAA TAHIR Penguin In the highly anticipated third book in Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes series, things are looking dire for Laia, Elias and Helene.
They’ve each found themselves thrust into terrifying new roles – Laia as figurehead of the Scholar resistance, Elias as the immortal Soul Catcher and Helene as the vicious new emperor’s Blood Shrike.
The lines between good and evil start to blur and the three protagonist find themselves at odds with one another.
Helene must deal with the Commandant’s machinations and the emperor’s growing madness, while she tries to stop the Martial empire from crumbling and keep his wife – her sister – safe.
Elias faces a heartbreaking choice. Laia travels to the east, where she meets fascinating new allies, as she seeks a way to bring down the Nightbringer.
Tahir ties up a few loose ends in the third instalment in her quartet and introduces enigmatic new characters, but these unexpected twists and turns cause a lot of headaches for the main protagonists. The result makes for a thrilling – if rather frustrating – read. – KIRSTIN BUICK