Will Dean (Point Blank)
The fourth book in the Tuva Moodyson series is for those who want their crime fiction to be at its darkest. Deaf journalist Tuva returns to take a job as deputy editor for the local paper, when in the nearby town of Visberg a decapitated body is found. It’s October – Halloween; elk hunting season, too, with its constant gunfire – and while Tuva and the police are searching for answers, other weird things are going on.
Battering through the foggy forests, following the ghostly sounds of a screaming woman, Tuva wants to find out the killer’s identity but finds it hard to get the villagers to open up to her. In this closed community, where everyone knows (or is related to) everyone, strict divisions exit between the wealthy Edlands and the rest of the locals. Still, Tuva endeavours to get to know the people, hoping to be privy to secrets and gossip; shadowy, below-the-radar adult celebrations, with an air of ancient, cult-like darkness. She acquires a mask to infiltrate Visberg’s pagan celebrations, where people are let off the leash for one night, uninhibited and glorying in becoming savages.
If you enjoyed Midsommar, Bad Apples is a tale you’ll be intrigued by.
Price: £14.99/£6.99 Ebook. Info: here
words BILLIE INGRAM SOFOKLEOUS
DECADES: JOY DIVISION + NEW ORDER
John Aizlewood (Palazzo)
The story of Joy Division’s brief but significant success in post-industrial Britain and evolution into New Order is one of the cementing narratives within the late 20th century British popular music scene. Now, John Aizlewood (Classic Rock, Mojo) embarks on detailing this journey, its complexities and tragedies – the sudden loss of Ian Curtis, the more recent departure of Peter Hook, and the demise of Factory Records with the closure of Manchester’s Haçienda – as well as its enduring triumphs in this magnificent and fully illustrated new volume.
Fittingly, the book cover is a tribute to the abstract vinyl artwork of Peter Saville, whose design for Blue Monday and others are woven into the New Order tapestry. With two hundred photos, album profiles, and quotes from the musicians themselves, Aizlewood’s work is the product of a knowledgeable and rich wealth of research over a number of years.
Appearances from the group’s numerous collaborators, from Pet Shop Boys and La Roux to the 1990 England World Cup squad, feature in tandem to the biographies of the band members themselves. Decades’ afterword brings the reader to the present day, with the group still touring and vocalist Bernard Sumner having overcome Covid-19. It also muses, briefly, on what Curtis might have gone onto achieve, in what is a poignant cyclical gesture to end on. Justly priced, Decades is both required reading for (and gifting to) any admirer of either band.
Price: £25. Info: here
words CHLOË EDWARDS
Kelefa Sanneh (Canongate)
American critic Kelefa Sanneh was appointed as the New York Times’ head music writer in 2002, while he was only in his mid-twenties and his given vocation was either blossoming or beginning its death spiral depending on where you looked (Pitchfork or NME, say). Major Labels, his first book, is a thoughtful examination of genre – as a means of musical categorisation, or sociological cudgel – with some added memoir content, and arrives at a time where voices such as his have largely been sidelined by hot takes, clickbait and so forth.
Candid about looking through an American lens, Sanneh breaks 50 years of popular music into seven chapters: rock, R&B, country, punk, hip-hop, dance and pop. His 90s-era tenure as an idealistic punk doubtless influences his choice to put it on such a pedestal (whereas metal is deemed a subcategory of rock), and his personal experience here and after, certainly as a music fan of colour, provides much of Major Labels’ strongest content.
The nature of Sanneh’s job requiring a certain everyman versatility, even while he acknowledges his biases and blind spots, his genre overviews are essentially potted histories, if skilfully outlined. Most potential readers will probably feel patronised at one point and be educated at others, depending on where their tastes lie. I did occasionally wonder as to the intended purpose of this book, yet the fact of someone like Kelefa Sanneh being able to write it is – in a bleak music writing landscape – its own justification.
Price: £20/£15.99 Ebook/£30 audiobook. Info: here
words NOEL GARDNER
Bernardine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton)
Bernardine Evaristo’s popularity blossomed following her 2019 Booker win for Girl, Woman, Other, a vibrant yet intricate narrative weaving together the lives of a dozen (mostly Black) British womxn across several generations. Following her increased prominence, this new autobiographical release is the story of how she got there, drawing together rich personal anecdotes and observations on race, class, gender and sexuality in post-war Britain to the modern day.
Those who adored Girl, Woman, Other, and for whom it has since stayed with will observe parallels in the women of the novel and Evaristo’s own narrative. Her ability to depict the complexities of Britain’s character and challenges and combine it with personal perspective makes for a compelling read, structured into sections that each contributed to Evaristo’s path and success in life, such as housing – childhood home, family, and ancestry – to romantic relationships, which each consider their impact in making the writer who she is.
Manifesto serves as not only a beautifully written, measured companion piece to the fictionalised lives of Girl, Woman, Other, but as a testament to Evaristo’s own trailblazing commitment to creativity, education, and activism.
Price: £14.99. Info: here
words CHLOË EDWARDS
Rowan Jacobsen (Bloomsbury)
This delicious book will turn you into a truffle hound after reading, or at the very least, inspire you to buy a truffle product and/or venture to a restaurant and order a dish infused with the treasure. The problem is, if you get hooked and need your fungi fix there’s lots of lucre involved.
For ounce for ounce, the best of this edible gold is the most expensive culinary piece de resistance, outpricing even caviar and Wagyu beef. Rowan Jacobsen not only is extremely informative but also very funny and is a man on a mission. He wants to know everything he can about truffles and goes on a journey that’s almost like searching for the Holy Grail or the Fountain of Youth. He’s addicted, and the book reads partly like The French Connection – phone calls in the night, drives to secret places that he can’t divulge, even a Mr. Big.
The search includes visits to truffledom’s kingdom, Europe: sniffing around forests and festivals alike, meeting characters who share his enthusiasm and their trusty dogs. We learn that eastern Europe is a hotspot now, and the UK and North America aren’t far behind. Jacobsen even includes a crib sheet with the Dirty Dozen of truffles and delectable recipes. You don’t have to be a foodie, a forester or a mycologist to enjoy Truffle Hound, it’s that yummy.
Price: £20/£14 Ebook. Info: here
words RHONDA LEE REALI
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