Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: December 2022

Long Shadows (December 2022)

By David Baldacci

December 6, 2022

Memory man FBI agent Amos Decker returns in this action-packed thriller to investigate the mysterious and brutal murder of a federal judge and her bodyguard at her home in an exclusive gated community in Florida.

Things are changing for Decker.  He’s in crisis following the suicide of a close friend and the receipt of a letter concerning a personal issue which could change his life forever.  Together with the prospect of working with a new partner, Frederica White, Amos knows that this case will take all of his special skills to solve.

As darkness falls, evil comes to light…

Judge Julia Cummins seemingly had no enemies, and there was no forced entry to her property.  Close friends and neighbours in the community apparently heard nothing, and Cummins’s distraught ex-husband, Barry, and teenage son, Tyler, both have strong alibis.  Decker must first find the answer to why the judge felt the need for a bodyguard, and the meaning behind the strange calling card left by the killer.

The Pain Tourist (December 2022)

By Paul Cleave

December 6, 2022

This dream doesn’t feel like a dream.  He tries to lift his head.  Can’t do it.  There is a doorway to his left, and beyond it a brightly lit corridor.  Somebody walks past – a nurse…

James Garrett was critically injured when he was shot following his parents’ murder, and no one expected him to waken from a deep, traumatic coma.  When he does, nine years later, Detective Inspector Rebecca Kent is tasked with closing the case.

But between that, and hunting for a murderer on a spree, she’ll need the help of Theodore Tate … especially when they learn that James has lived out another life in his nine-year coma, and there are things he couldn’t possibly know.

Dawnlands (December 2022)

By Philippa Gregory

December 6, 2022

In a divided country, power and loyalty conquer all…

Ned Ferryman, inspired by news of a rebellion against the Stuart kings, returns from America with his Pokanoket servant to join the uprising against Roman Catholic King James.  As Ned swears loyalty to the charismatic Duke of Monmount, he discovers a new and unexpected love.

Meanwhile, Queen Mary summons her friend Livia to a terrified court.  Recklessly, Livia drags her son Matthew and his foster mothers Alinor and Alys into a plot to save the queen form Monmouth’s invasion, and Matthew is rewarded with the manor of Foulmire: on the tidelands where Ned, Alinor and Alys had once scraped a poor living.

Suddenly, Alinor is lady of the manor, as Ned marches into the last battle between the royalists and commoners, hoping for a new dawn for freedom.

Bad Actors (December 2022)

By Mick Herron

December 6, 2022

In MI5 a scandal is brewing and there are bad actors everywhere.

A key member of a Downing Street think tank has disappeared without trace.  Claude Whelan, one-time First Desk of MI5’s Regent Park, is tasked with tracking her down.  But the trail leads straight back to Regent’s Park HQ itself, with its chief, Diana Taverner, as prime suspect.  Meanwhile her Russian counterpart has unexpectedly shown up in London but has slipped under MI5’s radar.

Over at Slough House, the home for demoted and embittered spies, the slow horses are doing what they do best: adding a little bit of chaos to an already unstable situation.

In a world where lying, cheating and back-stabbing are the norm, bad actors are bending the rules for their own gain.  If the slow horses want to change the script, they’ll need to get their own act together before the final curtain.

Act of Oblivion (December 2022)

By Robert Harris

December 6, 2022


Colonel Edward Whalley and his son-in-law, Colonel William Goffe, cross the Atlantic.  They are on the run and wanted for the murder of Charles I.  Under the provisions of the Act of Oblivion, they have been found guilty in absentia of high treason.

In London, Richard Nayler, secretary of the regicide committee of the Privy Council, is tasked with tracking down the fugitives.  He’ll stop at nothing until the two men are brought to justice.  A reward hangs over their heads – for their capture, dead or alive.


The Tilt (December 2022)

By Chris Hammer

December 6, 2022

A man runs for his life in a forest.  A woman plans sabotage.  A body is unearthed.

Newly-minted homicide detective Nell Buchanan returns to her home town, annoyed at being assigned a decades-old murder – a ‘file and forget’.

But this is no ordinary case, as the discovery of more bodies triggers a chain of escalating events in the present day.  As Nell starts to join the pieces together, she begins to question how well she truly knows those closest to her.  Could her own family be implicated in the crimes?

The nearer Nell comes to uncovering the secrets of the past, the more dangerous the present becomes for her, as she battles shadowy assailants and sinister forces.  Can she survive this harrowing investigation and what price will she have to pay for the truth?

A World of Curiosities (December 2022)

By Louise Penny

December 6, 2022

A Chief Inspector Gamache mystery

It’s spring and Three Pines is re-emerging after the harsh winter.  But not everything buried should come alive again.  Not everything lying dormant should return.

But something has.

As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried.  A young man and woman have reappeared in the Surete du Quebec investigators’ lives after many years.  The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered.  Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines.

But to what end?

Gamache and Beauvoir’s memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back.  Did their mother’s murder hurt them beyond repair?  Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered and are now about to erupt?

As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long dead stonemason is discovered.  In it the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village.  Every word of the 150-year-old letter is filled with dread.  When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.

As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir and the villagers discover a world of curiosities.  But the head of homicide soon realizes there’s more in that room than meets the eye.  There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge.

In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world.  Into their lives.  And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home.

Not Dark Yet (December 2022)

By Peter Robinson

December 6, 2022

The gruesome double murder at a property developer’s luxury home, with its clear link to the vicious Albanian mafia, should be an open and shut case for Banks and his detectives.  But when they find a cache of spy-cam videos hidden in the house, the investigation pivots to the assault on a young girl that could cast the murders in an entirely different light.

Banks friend Zelda, increasingly uncertain of her future in Britian’s hostile environment, thinks she will be safer in Moldova hunting the men who abducted, raped and enslaved her than she is in the UK.  Her search takes her back to the orphanage where it all began – stirring up the murky waters of the past, and with them danger for everyone.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (December 2022)

By Taylor Jenkins Reid

December 6, 2022

Reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.  But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself: Why her? Why now?

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story.  From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s, to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship and a great forbidden love.

Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Keeping Up Appearances (December 2022)

By Tricia Stringer

December 6, 2022

As tensions simmer in a small country town, three women are going to need more than CWA sausage rolls and can-do community spirit to put things right.

Privacy is hard to maintain in Badara, the kind of small Australian country town where everyone knows everyone else’s business.  So discovers single mum Paige when she and her three children arrive from the city seeking refuge.  Paige’s only respite from child care and loneliness is the Tuesday gym club, where she had feared the judgement of the town matriarchs, but she is met only with generosity and a plethora of baked goods.  Besides, both the brusque Marion and her polished sister-in-law Briony are too busy dealing with their own drama to examine hers.

Well-to-do farmer’s wife and proud mother Briony is in full denial of her family’s troubles, even with her eldest daughter’s marriage in ruins and her son Blake’s recent bombshell.  Suddenly Briony and husband Vince have a full house again – and the piles of laundry aren’t the only dirty linen that’s about to be aired.

For Marion, the unearthing of a time capsule – its contents to be read at the Celebrate Badara weekend – is a disaster.  She was only a teenager when she wrote down those poisonous words, but that doesn’t mean she won’t lose friends and family if they hear what she really thinks of them – especially as the letter reveals their darkest secrets to the world.

When the truth comes out for Badara, keeping up appearances may no longer be an option for anyone…

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