Books in the news... 12-13 February


Grand Slam/ Kathryn Ledson
Erica Jewell can't worry about hunky hired gun, Jack Jones, and his commitment-phobic ways. She's flat out managing Dega Oil's sponsorship of the Australian Open tennis, and doing a pretty good job of it. That is until a devastating oil rig explosion sends Dega's reputation and share price plummeting.

Public outrage over the incident upsets Emilio Méndez Рthe tournament's biggest drawcard Рand he wants to cut ties with Dega. When Erica is sent to calm him, Emilio becomes convinced he can't win without her. He demands she stay close and the media misinterprets their relationship, much to Jack's irritation. Meanwhile, danger lurks, threatening Emilio and Erica, and she must race against time to discover: who's trying to kill them and why?

From the elite inner sanctum of the Australian Open to the packed halls of Chadstone Shopping Centre, can Australia's favourite accidental heroine save Emilio, her job and her so-called relationship with Jack Jones?

The noise of time / Julian Barnes
In May 1937 a man in his early thirties waits by the lift of a Leningrad apartment block. He waits all through the night, expecting to be taken away to the Big House. Any celebrity he has known in the previous decade is no use to him now. And few who are taken to the Big House ever return. So begins Julian Barnes's first novel since his Booker-winning The Sense of an Ending. A story about the collision of Art and Power, about human compromise, human cowardice and human courage, it is the work of a true master.


Summer Skin/ Kirsty Eagar
Jess Gordon is out for revenge. Last year the jocks from Knights College tried to shame her best friend. This year she and a hand-picked college girl gang are going to get even.

The lesson: don't mess with Unity girls.

The target: Blondie, a typical Knights stud, arrogant, cold . . . and smart enough to keep up with Jess.

A neo-riot grrl with a penchant for fanning the flames meets a rugby-playing sexist pig - sworn enemies or two people who happen to find each other when they're at their most vulnerable?

It's all Girl meets Boy, Girl steals from Boy, seduces Boy, ties Boy to a chair and burns Boy's stuff. Just your typical love story.

The magnificent life of Miss May Holman/ Lekki Hopkins
Throughout the 1930s May Holman was a household name and an inspiration to the women of her generation. She made history in 1925 when, at age thirty-one, she became Australia's first female Labor parliamentarian, holding the seat of Forrest until her untimely death on the eve of the 1939 elections.

A woman who fought tirelessly for the rights of those in her electorate, her accidental death received national coverage with thousands of Western Australian mourners lining the streets to pay tribute.

May Holman charted new territory for women, but the barriers she encountered and her methods of overcoming them still resonate today.


Gangster Warlords/ Joan Grillo
In a ranch south of Texas, the man known as The Executioner dumps five hundred body parts in metal barrels. In Brazil's biggest city, a mysterious prisoner orders hit-men to gun down forty-one police officers and prison guards in two days. In southern Mexico, a meth maker is venerated as a saint while enforcing Old Testament justice on his enemies.

A new kind of criminal kingpin has arisen: part CEO, part terrorist, and part rock star, unleashing guerrilla attacks, strong-arming governments, and taking over much of the world's trade in narcotics, guns, and humans. What they do affects you now--from the gas in your car, to the gold in your jewelry, to the tens of thousands of Latin Americans calling for refugee status in the U.S. Gangster Warlords is the first definitive account of the crime wars now wracking Central and South America and the Caribbean, regions largely abandoned by the U.S. after the Cold War. Author of the critically acclaimed El Narco, Ioan Grillo has covered Latin America since 2001 and gained access to every level of the cartel chain of command in what he calls the new battlefields of the Americas. Moving between militia-controlled ghettos and the halls of top policy-makers, Grillo provides a disturbing new understanding of a war that has spiraled out of control--one that people across the political spectrum need to confront now.

The Reith Papers/ Peter Reith
Peter Reith was a senior cabinet minister under John Howard from 1996 to 2001. He was the face of the government's tough waterfront reforms and architect of sweeping industrial laws, a major contributor to the Fightback policy, a potential leader of the Liberal Party, a key player in the introduction of the GST, an influential republican in the 1999 referendum and Minister for Defence during the time that it was wrongly claimed that asylum seekers had thrown their children overboard.

A relentless diary keeper, Peter Reith kept extensive records of those tumultuous years in over a hundred notebooks he filled with recollections of conversations with his colleagues, discussions in cabinet and his private views and predictions.