Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: June 2016

Did You Ever Have A Family

By Bill Clegg

June 1, 2016

Reviewed Wireless Books Otago Access Radio

This book of dark secrets opens with a blaze.  On the morning of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid’s house goes up in flames, destroying her entire family – her present, her past and her future.  Fleeing from the carnage, stricken and alone, June finds herself in a motel room by the ocean, hundreds of miles from her Connecticut home, held captive by memories and the mistakes she has made with her only child, Lolly, and her partner, Luke.

In the turbulence of grief and gossip left in June’s wake we slowly make sense of the unimaginable.  The novel is a gathering of voices, and each testimony has a new revelation about what led to the catastrophe – Luke’s alienated mother Lydia, the watchful motel owners, their cleaner Cissy, the teenage pothead who lives nearby – everyone touched by the tragedy finds themselves caught in the undertow, as their secret histories finally come to light.

Lit by the clarity of understanding that true sadness brings, Did You Ever Have A Family is an elegant, unforgettable story that reveals humanity at its worst and best, through loss and love, fracture and forgiveness.  At the book’s heart is the idea of family – the ones we are born with and the ones we create – and the desire, in the face of everything, to go on living.

Spartan Gold

By Clive Cussler

June 1, 2016

Thousands of years ago, the mighty Persian King Xerxes the Great was said to have raided the Treasury at Delphi, carrying away two solid gold pillars as a tribute to his glory.

In 1800, while crossing the Pennine Alps, Napoleon Bonaparte and his army stumble across the pillars.  Unable to transport them, Napoleon creates an inscrutable map on the labels of twelve bottles of rare wine.  When Napoleon dies, the bottles disappear – and the gold pillars are lost once again.

Treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo are exploring the Great Pocomoke Swamp in Delaware when they are shocked to discover a Second World War German U-boat.  Inside, they find a bottle taken from Napoleon’s ‘lost cellar’.  Fascinated, the Fargos set out to find the rest of the collection.  But another connoisseur of sorts has been looking for the bottle they’ve just found.  Not for the wine.  He wants what the bottle may lead to.

For he is Hadeon Bondaruk – a half-Russian, half-Persian millionaire – and he claims descent from King Xerxes himself.

And the treasure will be his, no matter what…

Two Brothers

By Ben Elton

June 1, 2016

Reviewed Wireless Books Otago Access Radio

Berlin, 1920

Two babies are born.
Two brothers.
United and indivisible,
sharing everything.
Twins in all but blood.

As Germany marches towards its Nazi Armageddon, the ties of family, friendship and love are tested to the very limits of endurance.  And the brothers are faced wtih an unimaginable choice…

Which one of them will survive?

Ben Elton’s most personal novel to date, Two Brothers transports the reader to history’s darkest hour.

Between Sisters

By Cathy Kelly

June 1, 2016

Meet the women of Delaney Square…

Cassie has spent her married life doing everything right – making sure her children have the perfect life, being a devoted wife and a dutiful daughter-in-law.  Although it has left her so exhausted that ‘wine o’clock’ comes a little earlier each afternoon…

Her sister Coco runs a vintage dress shop and has shied away from commitment over the years.  Coco believes that men complicate things, until a face from her past returns…

Tucked away in her little house in Delaney Square is grandmother Pearl.  But something is keeping her awake at night.  Was she right to do what she did all those years ago?


By Stephen Leather

June 1, 2016

In Jack Nightingale’s world – where reality and the occult collide – sometimes the only way to fight evil is with evil.

A farmer walks into a school and shoots eight children dead before turning the gun on himself.  It’s a harrowing but straightforward case – until police search the man’s farm and unearth evidence of dark Satanic practices.  When the perpetrator’s brother approaches Nightingale, adamant that his brother was set up, it’s clear that something even more sinister lurks at the heart of the case.

And there are dark forces elsewhere.  A young girl miraculously returns to life, claiming she’s spoken to those from beyond the grave.  Those in contact with her are dying hideous deaths… forcing Jack Nightingale to make the hardest decision he’s ever faced.


By Stephen Leather

June 1, 2016

What goes around, comes around.  Jack Nightingale learned that as a cop and discovered that it was just as true in the world of the supernatural.

His life changed forever on the day he failed to stop a young girl throwing herself to her death.  Ever since, he’s been haunted by thoughts that he could have done more to save her.

Now her cries for help are louder than ever.  Is she trapped in eternal torment?  Can Nightingale put things right?  Or are the forces of darkness torturing and deceiving him in order to regain the ultimate prize – his soul?

Nightingale will have to face down the powers of the police, south London gangs, and Hell itself to find out.  And evil is closer than he thinks…


By Stephen Leather

June 1, 2016

Jack Nightingale found it hard enough to save lives when he was a cop.  Now he needs to save a soul – his sisters.

But to save her he has to find her and they’ve been separated since birth.

When everyone Jack talks to about his sister dies horribly, he realises that someone, or something, is determined to keep them apart.

If he’s going to save his sister, he’s going to have to do what he does best – negotiate.

But any negotiation with the forces of darkness comes at a terrible price.

And first Jack must ask himself the question: is every soul worth saving?

The Life I Left Behind

By Colette McBeth

June 1, 2016

Everyone tells her she’s a survivor… no-one knows she’s dead inside.

I’m the only one who knows the secrets her friends have hidden, the mistakes the police have made.

I’m the only one who can warn her she’s still in danger.

I know exactly who attacked her.

He’s the same man who killed me.

The Bomber

By Liza Marklund

June 1, 2016

Seven days.  Three killings.  One woman who knows too much…

Crime reporter Annika Bengtzon is woken by a phonecall in the early hours of a wintry December morning.  An explosion has ripped apart the Olympic Stadium.  And a victim has been blown to pieces.

As Annika delves into the details of the bombing and the background of the victim, there is a second explosion.

When her polce source reveals they are hot on the heels of the bomber, Annika is guaranteed an exclusive with her name on it.  But it soon becomes clear that she has uncovered too much, as she finds herself the target of a deranged serial killer…

The Girl You Left Behind

By Jojo Moyes

June 1, 2016

Reviewed Wireless Books Otago Access Radio

Whatever happened to the girl you left behind?

In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie and goes to fight at the Front.  When her town falls into German hands, Edouard’s portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant.  And as his obsession deepens, she will risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing Edouard again.

Nearly a century later, Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death.  Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, the first spark of new love Liv has felt is threatened…

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most – whatever the cost.

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