Original, fun, literate…and probably NOT available at a bookstore near you

Are you TIRED of trawling through the latest ‘FREE and 99 cents’ collection of utterly banal and appallingly edited indie novels?

So am I. I believe in indie novels. I believe in indie anything, really. Stick it to the big guys. But – how, from this deluge of stuff that (in a sudden guilt-induced rush of politeness) I’ll just say is not for me, do I find an indie novel that captures, stimulates and excites me? A novelistic equivalent, perhaps, of one of the bare-chested billionaires that all too often adorn the covers of these palpitating tomes.

Fellow-author (and, as it happens, brother) Peter Thomson and I were chatting about this very problem and we thought, wouldn’t it be nice to share some of the indie reads that, for us, stood out from the crowd. I thought we might do this on a monthly basis – and we’d very much welcome your input (with the one rule that you don’t recommend your own book).

So here’s a quick list of the indie beauties that caught our eye over the last while…

J. Zachary Pike’s Dark Profit Saga (two books so far: Orconomics and Son of a Liche). Pike takes the usual themes of reckless adventurers, malevolent forces and teeming monsters, marries them to Wall Street and watches the antics of resulting mutant offspring with glee and a certain savage irony. An excellent read for a rainy afternoon. Find out more

L. G. Estrella’s Unconventional Heroes series (three books and a side-story so far) are a great romp, from the pyromaniac elf to the cute teenage necromancer to the cake-loving eldritch thing from other dimensions. Engagingly whimsical. Find out more

Seven at Two Past Five by Tara Basi is a Kafka-esque, witty, weird and fascinating tale of Abi, an elderly button-maker who lives in Bed Bunk Coffin No 7. Laden with symbolism and whimsical irony, it follows Abi’s attempts to negotiate the justice system in order to be restored to her beloved button workshop. It’s amusing, frustrating and ultimately heart-warming – one of those books you’ll either ‘get’ or you won’t. Find out more

And honourable mention goes to…Alternative Theologies, a collection of short stories edited by Phyllis Irene Radford and Bob Brown. Basically, they’re all about God, or thereabouts. While the quality varies, some of the included authors are well worth getting to know. For instance, Heather Truett’s Counting Sunrises was rather lovely (I also like purple), Philip Hall’s Devine Justice made me laugh (after all, who better to argue his way out of Judgement Day than noted barrister Horatio St John Devine?), and Jane Yolen’s poems were well put together and sharply witty. I quote…

“If there is a God, and note

I am not taking a public stance,

He/She/They sure have too much time

On his/her/their hands”

You can find out more here.

Well, that’s August’s gorgeous indies for you – and if you do have any suggestions for September, do let me know in the comments!

18 Comments

  1. Following with interest, because so far I don’t read digital books. I love libraries, bookshops, and paper books too much 🙂 However, I realise that digital books can be convenient sometimes, so gathering a list of halfway decent 99 cent-ers might be useful.

    1. They’re not all 99 cents, sadly (even mine aren’t, mostly). Recently I’ve been looking up promising indie books on Amazon, only to find the ebook priced at 7.99, which is way more than I can afford (or would want to pay) for a relatively unknown author. I get that people want to be paid for their authorial work (so do I) but really, at 7.99, which translates into around $15 AUD, I’d be better off trawling an actual bookshop. Which I love to do.

      1. I’d definitely be reluctant to part with $15 for a book I couldn’t hold and flick through first, regardless of whether or not I could read an excerpt online.

  2. It escapes me now, but somehow through blogging I got onto Lucy Brazier’s ‘Portergirl’ series. Her latest novel is based in post-Brexit, pre-dystopian Britain. It’s a marvellous send-up of Boris, Nigel Farage and others involved in much dirty doings at Number 10. If you want a laugh, read ‘Who Shot Tony Blair?’ by Lucy Brazier.

    1. That sounds great. It’s a very’send-up-able’ situation at the moment in Britain, although also a bit frightening. I almost wish someone had shot Tony Blair… but then perhaps you would have got whatisname messhead sooner

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