I’ve made no secret of the fact the I really enjoy the books that Salt publish. I don’t think I’ve met with any duds so far. The Weaning by Hannah Vincent appeared on my Best Reads Of 2018 post, you all know I adored The Book Collector by Alice Thompson, I’ve also read and enjoyed My Shitty Twenties by Emily Morris, The Squeeze by Lesley Glaister and The Clocks In This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks. I’m also partway through The Rental Heart, a short story collection by Kirsty Logan.
So, in the new year I found myself with some Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket. I don’t often get bought books for Christmas as people are never quite sure if I have a book or have read it previously. Play it safe with cold hard cash!
I got onto the salt website and had myself a little shopping spree, so I thought I would show you my purchases!
I have been lazy and done a copy and paste job on the blurbs because…..well I haven’t read them yet!
Here we go!
Burnt Island – Alice Thompson
For disillusioned author Max Long, the offer of a writing-fellowship on the mysterious-sounding ‘Burnt Island’ is a godsend. Max is determined that, inspired by his tenure on this windswept outpost, he will produce every writer’s dream — the bestseller. And this time, he plans to subvert his usual genre and write a horror story.
But upon arrival, Max’s fantasies of hermetic island life are overturned when he encounters a potential rival living in close proximity – the famously reclusive James Fairfax, author of the internationally-lauded novel, Lifeblood.
Fairfax’s critical and financial success with Lifeblood, coupled with his refusal to court the limelight, has long been the talk of the literary circles. However, as the lives of the two men become intertwined, Max cannot marry the myth of the publicity-shy Fairfax with the apparently urbane and confident reality. He begins to suspect that Fairfax is not the true author of his exceptional debut. Moreover, Max cannot escape the disturbing knowledge that Fairfax’s wife has disappeared.
Recently-divorced and struggling to keep a grip on his fragile mental state, the vulnerable Max finds himself sliding into Fairfax’s world. And he starts to witness alarming visions that take the form of the horror he is attempting to write. Who or what is the sinister, darting figure who appears between the trees of Fairfax’s garden at night? Who is the tiny, forlorn little girl who seems to need help? And what has happened to Fairfax’s missing wife?
Isolated island life? Tick. A sinister darting figure? Tick. A missing wife? Tick. Fragile mental state? Tick. Alice Thompson? Tick tick tick.
Melissa – Jonathan Taylor
Melissa is set in 1999-2000. At roughly 2pm on 9th June 1999, on a small street in Hanford, Stoke-on-Trent, a young girl dies of leukaemia; at almost the same moment, everyone on the street experiences the same musical hallucination. The novel is about this death and accompanying phenomenon – and about their after-effects, as the girl’s family gradually disintegrates over the following year.
I think this one sounds absolutely fascinating and I love the idea of a mass hallucination. I think it could be potentially quite an emotional read though.
Sky Hooks – Neil Campbell
A young warehouseman, his promising football career cut short by injury, counts flanges, valves and couplings for a living. He longs for the warmth and women of the office, but the prostitutes who hang around the high-rise are easier to deal with. Drink provides relief, if not escape, and probably the last thing he should dream of becoming is a writer, but then he buys himself a note pad and pen.
I enjoy any book that involves prostitution (don’t ask me why!), hard drinking and working class struggles so this one sounds right up my street.
The Birth Machine – Elizabeth Baines
Tucked up on the ward and secure in the latest technology, Zelda is about to give birth to her baby. But things don’t go to plan, and as her labour progresses and the drugs take over, Zelda enters a surreal world. Here, past and present become confused and blend with fairytale and myth. Old secrets surface and finally give birth to disturbing revelations in the present.
The fairytale and myth element attracted me to this one. Plus the cover is intriguing too.
The Habit – Stephen McGeagh
Manchester, the present. Michael divides his time between the job centre and the pub. A chance meeting with Lee, an introduction to her ‘Uncle’ Ian, and a heavy night on the lash lead to a job working the door at a Northern Quarter massage parlour.
After witnessing the violent death of one of the ‘punts’, Michael experiences blood-drenched flashbacks and feels himself being sucked into a twilight world that he doesn’t understand but that is irresistibly attractive. When he eventually finds out what goes on in the room below 7th Heaven, Michael’s life will never be the same again.
I love just outside of Manchester. I know the Northern Quarter and thought it might be interesting to read a book set in my home city. Plus…..massage parlour and violent death? Tick.
Too Many Magpies – Elizabeth
Can we believe in magic and spells? Can we put our faith in science?
A young mother married to a scientist fears for her children’s safety as the natural world around her becomes ever more uncertain. Until, that is, she meets a charismatic stranger who seems to offer a different kind of power… But is he a saviour or a frightening danger? And, as her life is overturned, what is happening to her children whom she vowed to keep safe? Why is her son Danny now acting so strangely?
This one sounds like it could be an interesting read. I like books surrounding struggling mothers and the ‘charismatic stranger’ element drew me in.
So there are my purchases. Have you read any? Have any caught your eye?
There is a great sale over on the Salt website at the moment and when I was over there grabbing the blurbs for these books a couple of others caught my eye. It’s lethal.
Roll on payday!
See you all soon.
Amanda @bookishchat xxx