Staff Picks

Road to Jonestown - Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

Road to Jonestown - Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

In the 1950s, a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a curious blend of the gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially mixed, and he was a leader in the early civil rights movement. Eventually, Jones moved his church, Peoples Temple, to northern California, where he got involved in electoral politics and became a prominent Bay Area leader. But underneath the surface lurked a terrible darkness.

In this riveting narrative, Jeff Guinn examines Jones’s life, from his early days as an idealistic minister to a secret life of extramarital affairs, drug use, and fraudulent faith healing, before the fateful decision to move almost a thousand of his followers to a settlement in the jungles of Guyana in South America. Guinn provides stunning new details of the events leading to the fatal day in November, 1978 when more than nine hundred people died—including almost three hundred infants and children—after being ordered to swallow a cyanide-laced drink.

Guinn examined thousands of pages of FBI files on the case, including material released during the course of his research. He traveled to Jones’s Indiana hometown, where he spoke to people never previously interviewed, and uncovered fresh information from Jonestown survivors. He even visited the Jonestown site with the same pilot who flew there the day that Congressman Leo Ryan was murdered on Jones’s orders. The Road to Jonestown is “the most complete picture to date of this tragic saga, and of the man who engineered it…The result is a disturbing portrait of evil—and a compassionate memorial to those taken in by Jones’s malign charisma” (San Francisco Chronicle). 
 

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The Glass Room

The Glass Room

DI Vera Stanhope is not one to make friends easily, but her hippy neighbours keep her well-supplied in homebrew and conversation. But when one of them goes missing, her path leads her to more than a missing friend... 

Vera tracks the young woman down to the Writer's House, a country retreat where aspiring authors work on their stories. Things get complicated when a body is discovered and Vera's neighbour is found with a knife in her hand. 

Calling in the team, Vera knows that she should hand the case over. She's too close to the main suspect. But the investigation is too tempting and she's never been one to follow the rules. 

There seems to be no motive. When another body is found, Vera suspects that someone is playing games with her. Somewhere there is a killer who has taken murder off the page and is making it real...

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Tales from the Inner City

Tales from the Inner City

Where can we live if not in each other's shadow?

World-renowned artist Shaun Tan applies his unique imagination to a reflection on the nature of humans and animals, and our urban coexistence. From crocodile to frog, tiger to bee, this is a dark and surreal exploration of the perennial love and destruction we feel and inflict - of how animals can save us, and how our lives are forever entwined, for better or for worse.

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The Feather Thief

The Feather Thief

Who Is Edwin Rist?

Genius? Narcissist? Felon? Mastermind? Pawn? Liar?

One summer evening in 2009, twenty-year-old musical prodigy Edwin Rist broke into the British Museum of Natural History. Hours later, he slipped away with a suitcase full of rare bird specimens collected over the centuries from across the world, all featuring a dazzling array of priceless feathers.

Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist-deep in a river in New Mexico when he first heard about the heist, from his fly-fishing guide. When he discovered that the thief evaded prison, and that half the birds were never recovered, Johnson embarked upon a years-long worldwide investigation which led him deep into the fiercely secretive underground community obsessed with the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying.

A page-turning story of a bizarre and shocking crime, The Feather Thief shines a light on our fraught relationship with the natural world’s most beautiful and valuable wonders, and one man’s relentless quest for justice. 
 

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From the Ashes

From the Ashes

In 1950s Auckland things are changing - and fast. Women are joining the workforce in numbers, whitegoods are readily available and the age of rock'n' roll has arrived.

Allie Manaia works the Elizabeth Arden counter at Smith and Caughey's. It's been two years since the Dunbar and Jones fire, where some of her friends perished, but she still has nightmares.

Kathleen Lawson - rich, lonely and bored - is one of Allie's customers. Kathleen takes a shine to Allie, but when Kathleen discovers Allie's husband is Maori, her attitude changes. Is she trying to make friends or poison the relationship between Sonny and Allie?

Meanwhile, Sonny's beautiful younger sister, Polly, is embracing the more relaxed moral standards of the era, living a vibrant but wayward life as a waitress-model-goodtime girl while leaving her young daughter to be raised by her mother.

As each woman navigates the shifting social and cultural landscape of the 1950s, she is faced with new possibilities and decisions - with freedom comes joy, but also fear and, occasionally, mistakes. 

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Too Much Lip

Too Much Lip

Too much lip, her old problem from way back. And the older she got, the harder it seemed to get to swallow her opinions. The avalanche of bullshit in the world would drown her if she let it; the least she could do was raise her voice in anger.

Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things – her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she’s an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley.

Kerry plans to spend twenty-four hours, tops, over the border. She quickly discovers, though, that Bundjalung country has a funny way of grabbing on to people. Old family wounds open as the Salters fight to stop the development of their beloved river. And the unexpected arrival on the scene of a good-looking dugai fella intent on loving her up only adds more trouble – but then trouble is Kerry’s middle name.
 

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The Spare Room

The Spare Room

Helen lovingly prepares her spare room for her friend Nicola. She is coming to visit for three weeks, to receive treatment she believes will cure her cancer.

From the moment Nicola staggers off the plane, gaunt and hoarse but still somehow grand, Helen becomes her nurse, her guardian angel and her stony judge.

The Spare Room tells a story of compassion, humour and rage. The two women—one sceptical, one stubbornly serene—negotiate an unmapped path through Nicola’s bizarre therapy, stumbling towards the novel’s terrible and transcendent finale.

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The Trauma Cleaner

The Trauma Cleaner

I call my dad from the car and ask him about his morning, tell him about mine. 

‘What kind of hoarder was she?’ he asks. 

‘Books and cats, mainly,’ I tell the man who loves his cats and who I know is now actively considering his extensive book collection. 

‘What’s the difference between a private library and a book hoarder?’ he wonders. 

We are both silent before we laugh and answer in unison: ‘Faeces.’ 

But the difference is this phone call. And the others like it I could make—and how strong we are when we are loved. 

Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things- husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife...

But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.

A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his loungeroom. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose.

Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead - and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.

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Welcome to the Puppet Show

Welcome to the Puppet Show

A serial killer is mutilating and burning people alive. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. The media nickname him the Immolation Man.When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective, Washington Poe, is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of. Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he's ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive ... 
 

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A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches

It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches.

Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew in the stunning first volume of the No.1 internationally bestselling All Souls trilogy.

A world of witches, daemons and vampires.

A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future.

Diana and Matthew - the forbidden love at the heart of it.

When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it's an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she's kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires.

Sensing the significance of Diana's discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels...

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