JAMMY DODGER BY KEVIN SMITH (Sandstone Press £8.99)

Jammy Dodger by Kevin Smith

Jammy Dodger is a deliciously absurd, laugh-out-loud tale of a literary editor’s farcical fall from grace and a glorious satire on the arts world. 

Not that young Artie, editor of ‘Lyre: A Supplement For The Imagination’, a Belfast poetry magazine, ever occupied the higher intellectual ground. But he does, in fairness, love poetry as much as his low-life colleague, Oliver, loves biscuits; both obsessions are observed by Smith with Nick Hornby-esque flourish.

Their cushy Arts Council-funded futures are threatened when a gun-toting ex-con whose submissions they have ignored seeks revenge. A mad-cap literary caper is unleashed which very nearly saves the daring duo, catapulting them to literary stardom. But then Oliver includes his favourite biscuit in an erotic poem and their house of cards comes tumbling down. 

Suffice it to say, a jammy dodger will never offer innocent pleasure again.


Past The Shallows by Favel Parrett

Functioning families support and love you as steadily as lapping waves; the dysfunctional ones can be as deadly as rip tides, especially when there are secrets. In Favel Parrett’s assured debut, Past the Shallows, set on Tasmania’s wild southern coastline, the sea is equally capricious.

In this elegiac story, already a bestseller in Parrett’s native Australia, tender brotherly love is pitched against a father’s brutality. Little Harry hates the sea. His protective big brother Miles hates working the boat with their father, a widowed abalone fisherman. But Miles can negotiate the sea and is an accomplished surfer.

In powerful, visceral prose Parrett conjures the thrill of charging big waves, but also the calculation and skill involved. Elsewhere, her prose is as gentle and  measured as Harry, who finds solace in the ancient landscape and its natural treasures.

These forces meet in a perfect storm when their father drags Harry and Miles out in treacherous weather. Can Miles outwit his father and the waves to save his brother?


On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

Tasty TJ, a 17-year-old cancer survivor, is stranded on a desert island in the Maldives with his babe of a 30-year-old tutor after their plane crashes. Tracey Garvis Graves’s debut, is a romance, so brace positions, please, for a happy ending and bucketfuls of near-misses and implausible plot twists.

For instance, when TJ breaks his arm, Anna uses her thong, washed up along with her toothbrush and skimpy bikini, for a sling. When a shark moves in on TJ for din-dins, dolphins rescue him. When, after waiting til it’s legal, Anna moves in for hot sex but is worried about being preggers on a rat-infested paradise lost, TJ  announces he is infertile. Hooray for that, and for the tsunami too that, well, I won’t say what the tsunami does. That would spoil the (happy) ending.

If you like Lost, Castaway and Fifty Shades of Grey, this initially self-published and now New York Times bestseller will float your boat.