“Sitting up in the dark, he took a deep breath and scented a familiar, beguiling trace in the air…”

Deep Green Leaves, Alex Clark

New Ghost Stories IV

June’s round-up didn’t even come close to listing all the new books coming out from The Fiction Desk’s authors this year. So here are some more:

Matthew Licht: Justine, Joe, and the Zen Garbageman

Matthew Licht: Justine, Joe, and the Zen Garbageman

Over the years Matthew Licht has become one of The Fiction Desk’s regulars, with stories appearing in Various Authors, Crying Just Like Anybody, and New Ghost Stories. His new book is out now from Salt, who have this to say:

Justine’s a famous poet. Joe’s a self-styled Private Investigator without a clue. The Garbageman has cleaned his mind through immersion in filth. What he has to offer his clients, and even his enemies, is serenity. Three characters in search of a reader: you.

Jon Wallace: Barricade

Barricade by Jon Wallace

Jon Wallace‘s story ‘Rex’ appeared in our first anthology, Various Authors, back in 2011. His debut novel, a road thriller set in a post-apocalyptic future, was released this summer by Golancz. Here’s what they have to say:

Kenstibec was genetically engineered to build a new world, but the apocalypse forced a career change. These days he drives a taxi instead.

A fast-paced, droll and disturbing novel, BARRICADE is a savage road trip across the dystopian landscape of post-apocalypse Britain; narrated by the cold-blooded yet magnetic antihero, Kenstibec.

Kenstibec is a member of the ‘Ficial’ race, a breed of merciless super-humans. Their war on humanity has left Britain a wasteland, where Ficials hide in barricaded cities, besieged by tribes of human survivors. Originally optimised for construction, Kenstibec earns his keep as a taxi driver, running any Ficial who will pay from one surrounded city to another.

The trips are always eventful, but this will be his toughest yet. His fare is a narcissistic journalist who’s touchy about her luggage. His human guide is constantly plotting to kill him. And that’s just the start of his troubles.

On his journey he encounters ten-foot killer rats, a mutant king with a TV fixation, a drug-crazed army, and even the creator of the Ficial race. He also finds time to uncover a terrible plot to destroy his species for good – and humanity too.

Danny Rhodes: Fan

Fan by Danny Rhodes

Danny Rhodes is another author who helped launch our anthology series with his story ‘A Covering of Leaves’ in Various Authors. His third novel, Fan, is out now from Arcadia Books. Here’s the blurb:

In 1989, eighteen-year-old John Finch spends his Saturdays following Nottingham Forest up and down the country and the rest of the week trudging the streets of his hometown as a postal worker. 2004 sees Finch spending his days teaching in a southern secondary school, delaying the inevitable onslaught of parenthood. Leading inexorably towards the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough, the worst sporting disaster in British history, Fan glides between 1989 and 2004 when the true impact of this tragic day becomes evident. A book of personal and collective tragedy; it s about growing up and not growing up, about manhood and about what makes a man, and above all about football s role in reflecting a society that is never more than a stone s throw away from shattering point.

Jonathan Pinnock: Take it Cool

Take it Cool by Jonathan Pinnock

Jonathan Pinnock is a relative newcomer to The Fiction Desk: his story ‘A Whole Bloody Century’ appeared in New Ghost Stories. His new book, Take it Cool, is out now from Two Ravens Press, who have this to say about it:

If you’re born with the name Pinnock, you are just two consonants away from disaster, and that proximity pretty much wipes out any chance you have of being cool. Jonathan Pinnock knows this. He has never been cool. The word “Pinnock” is printed through his every bone like Brighton rock.

But then one day he finds out about Dennis Pinnock. That’s Dennis Pinnock, the reggae singer. The reggae singer who recorded over twenty singles on a dozen different labels but never made it to a full-length album, despite working with some of the biggest names in black British music.

So who is this Dennis Pinnock guy? Is he still alive? Is he a big star somewhere? What is a black man of West Indian origin doing with that daft surname? And what in God’s name is a white, middle-class, middle-aged bloke doing on a quest like this anyway?

In the course of the search for Dennis Pinnock, Jonathan digs up some long-forgotten cuts of reggae music, tries to re-inter one or two others, marvels at some unfeasibly shiny suits and encounters some unpalatable truths about how his surname might have crossed the race boundary.

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