Brienne Dougray was attacked and left for dead. During her recovery, she suffers from the trauma of that incident, debilitating migraines, and plenty of uncertainty in her memory both before and after her assault. Something obviously happened, her friends have stopped talking to her and she has no one in her life other than the doctor Niall Emberlin who is the new tenant in her house and the only person there for her. But when she notices someone else in the area with the same everything, including name, between her fear of being disbelieved and her need for some sort of justice, she goes to solve this problem herself. Who is pretending to be her?
As a thriller, there are lots of spoilers and I will do my best to tag them all.
Keiichiro Hirano’s A Man follows the story of the deceased Taniguchi Daisuke – who was never Taniguchi Daisuke. His wife, Rie, discovers after his death that the man she married is not the man he claimed to be. She asks the help of an attorney, Kido Akira, in discovering who her husband actually was. Kido goes on an investigation to discover who Rie’s husband was, what happened to the real Taniguchi, and why a man would pretend to be another.
In a time of major political change in North Africa, the beekeeper Sidi encounters a tragedy. One of his hives is torn apart, the bees there slaughtered. What follows is his attempts at saving his girls, his bees, by discovering what has happened and countering it. Alongside this comes the changes to the Nawa people, who are courted by a new political party for their new democratic vote.
Josephine Tey’s story is about a man in the hospital. Except no, it isn’t really about that. It is about his fight against boredom. His solving the mystery of the Princes in the Tower, about learning who Richard the Third actually was and why he has become synonymous with “monster”.
William H. Coles’ McDowell follows the titular man himself, Hiram McDowell. He is very successful in his career, but less so in his personal life. Yet this doesn’t appear to bother him at all, as his callous and lack of understanding in his personal relationships causes people to question his success. Did he truly know what was going on, or were the crimes done under his name an oversight? Then comes the one crime he cannot slip and the rest of the novel follows him as he attempts to make his side of the story known.
For those who are unaware, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment (my copy translated to English by Constance Garnett) is a story about Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. He has a theory that some people are greater than others and therefore they can commit crimes for their greater purpose. He therefore kills and is either proving his own theory incorrect, or has to accept he is not one of those great people. In the middle of this, his landlady wants rent, his sister is getting married (perhaps for money to help support him and their mother), and he comes to know the family of an alcoholic. How all of this plays out on his deteriorating psyche, and of those deteriorating around him, is the palette for this canvas.
Fia lives in London, where everything is going wrong for her. Her sister has died, her boyfriend has cheated on her, and she has no one left in the world except someone at her kickboxing gym. At this low point, she follows this angel she keeps seeing at the edge of her vision into a different world. To get home, she needs to be taken to a witches coven, but finding one without being stopped by the insanity going on Ohinyan – not least of which is that their sun is dying and no one knows how long they will have to wait for the third sun.
“Yes, this entire book is a prologue.” I kept that in mind whilst reading Wizard’s Ruse. I love prologues, I like reading introductions into worlds. And this gave me all of that.
In a fantasy world, most of the book takes place (both in the present and twenty years prior) at the Academy of Sayzr Magic. A school that teaches (a dwindling number of students as time goes on) not just magic, but in searching for those who can become master Sayzrs. Learning about psychetropes, fractal patterns, and the like – not the generic topics found in most magical schools. Yet the school is not the focus, it is simply around where other more important things happen.
The Lost Identity Casualties begins with the stirring of an unidentified man. He is in the hospital, face and hands wrapped in bandages, unable to remember himself and what happened to him. As his recollections return, both of his life, Matthias Callaghan, and the events which have maimed him, we read a man’s cold fury turn to plotting revenge.
It is difficult to review specifics in this book without spoiling anything, but I shall do my best.
The Lost Love Song starts with Diana and Arie’s love story. Before leaving for a tour, Diana begins to write a love song for her fiancé, to explain things in a way she couldn’t with mere words. Diana never returns from her tour and Arie has lost her forever. From there, we follow several strands: Arie, figuring out what his life is without Diana living in it; Evie, a poet who overhears two teenagers playing a love song on the street and is looking for her own love to share; and the flashes of people who transport Diana’s love song from where she finished composing it abroad on its journey around the world.