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Tuesday, 13 March 2018
I read over 30 books in 2017, but sadly I can only admit to really enjoying around half of them. Due to disappointing endings, predictable twists or irritating protagonists, I felt incredibly underwhelmed with my choices. I finished last year on a high, however, with Amy Poehler’s wonderful Yes Please - which helped me to fall back in love with reading and encouraged me to do some serious research for my 2018 book list...
Last May, I attended Rooftop Book Club’s event hosted with Emerald Street, featuring Sarah Winman – author of When God Was a Rabbit and the stunning Tin Man – and Sarah Schmidt who introduced us to her chilling debut novel See What I Have Done. It was a brilliant evening and after finishing both books shortly after, I completely understood what all of the fuss had been about. So when I saw the advertisement for Rooftop Book Club’s first event of 2018, I immediately bought myself a ticket.
The evening was chaired by BBC Radio 2 producer and Book Off podcast presenter, Joe Haddow. Featured were Headline’s hottest new authors of 2018: Guy Gunarante, Phoebe Locke, Karen Hamilton and Nick Clark Windo. Joe interviewed each author, quizzing them on everything from original plot ideas, to character building and writing techniques.
First up was Nick Clark Windo, who introduced us to his addictive, unsettling new book, The Feed: a post-apocalyptic thriller that explores the frightening idea of human minds being controlled by technology. Nick cleverly manages to home in on our fear of the uncomfortably advanced technology that threatens to control our lives. For those who are already fretting about the negative aspects of the internet and social media, this book will most certainly have you logging out and shutting down. (The Feed is available for sale now in hardback and Kindle edition)
Next, we heard from former teen-fiction author, Phoebe Locke. Phoebe recently turned her attention to adult psychological thrillers, producing her latest book The Tall Man: tales of the tall man have traumatised and intrigued children for years, and Sadie is no stranger to these legendary, terrifying stories.
The book is told over three eras – Sadie as a child, as an adult and new mum, and finally we switch to Amber, Sadie’s now grown-up daughter. We learn that Amber is on trial for murder, but we don’t know who her victim is or why she committed this crime. She’s followed around constantly by a documentary filming crew who have become obsessed with the young girl.
Locke said that she has always been fascinated by reality TV and how we view people who are constantly in the media, such as Amanda Knox. This might not be for Kardashian fans, but it’ll certainly tick the boxes for those who are looking for a creepy, suspensive read. (The Tall Man will be available in hardback and on Kindle from 14th June 2018)
Karen Hamilton was then grilled on her latest novel, The Perfect Girlfriend: Juliette is in love with Nate. So much so that she becomes an airhostess for Nate’s airline and follows him across the world so that she can monitor his every move. Creepy? Yes. Obsessive? Yes. When questioned about the motives and reasoning of her protagonist, Hamilton explained to us how Juliette rationalises even the most disturbing of thoughts. You’ll be left on the edge of your seat as Juliette pursues her toxic journey for love. (The Perfect Girlfriend will be available in hardback and on Kindle from 8th March 2018)
Last but by no means least, we heard from Guy Gunaratne about his debut novel, In Our Mad and Furious City: a deep exploration of the nature and nurture argument, and how extremism has become so widely accepted in certain communities and cultures. Gunaratne delves into the lives of Selvon, Ardan and Yusuf as they grow up on the Stones Estate in London. After the murder of a British solider, the country finds itself in turmoil, and once close neighbours and friends turn against one another. An incredibly current and vital issue told in a brutal yet poetic way. Set for ‘big things’ (Metro), Gunaratne’s story of love and loss will not let you down. (In Our Mad and Furious City will be available in hardback and on Kindle from 3rd May 2018)
From left: Joe Haddow, Nick Clark Windo, Phoebe Locke, Karen Hamilton and Guy Gunaratne
For more information on Rooftop Book Club’s events follow their Twitter page