May 2023 books

What’s new and good to read this month? Dan Coombes has a look at what’s on offer and chooses Yellowface by R.F. Kuang, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks, and the latest Jo Nesbo thriller Killing Moon.

Yellowface – R.F. Kuang

R.F. Kuang goes from strength to strength, with the critically acclaimed Poppy War trilogy and Babel, a best-selling fusion of magic and enthralling historical fiction (both well worth your time) already under her belt, and now her latest standalone novel, the savagely funny and satirical literary thriller Yellowface.

Athena Liu is a literary darling, and June Hayward is literally nobody. When Athena dies in a freak accident, June steals her unpublished manuscript and publishes it as her own under the ambiguous name Juniper Song. But as evidence threatens June’s stolen success, she will discover exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

What happens next is entirely everyone else’s fault.

R.F. Kuang image – byronv2

The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece – Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks (yes, that one) doesn’t really need an introduction, and the fact that after an absolutely lovely short story collection a few years ago he has written an absolutely lovely full-length novel that captures the foibles of humanity with warmth, affection and humour will probably come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever seen Tom Hanks.

The book is the wildly ambitious story of the making of a colossal, star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film and the humble comic book that inspired it all, spanning 80 years of a changing America and culminating in the opening of the film. The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece offers an insider’s take on the momentous efforts it takes to make a film. At once a reflection on America’s past and present, on the world of show business and the real world we all live in.

Killing Moon – Jo Nesbo

Not many authors can make the thirteenth novel in a series every bit as gripping, gruesome and brilliant as the last twelve, but Jo Nesbo certainly can. His latest Harry Hole thriller is a masterclass in dark and brooding Scandinavian crime fiction. If there’s a formula to cynical detectives with messy personal lives hunting serial killers in chilly locations, no one has mastered it quite like he has.

Two young women are missing, strangers to each other, but last seen at the same party. When the body of one is found with fresh stitches along her hairline the hunt is on to find a murderer with very particular tastes. Catching this criminal calls for a detective with a very particular mind. Only Harry Hole can stop this ingenious psychopath.

But Harry is gone: struck off the force, down and out in LA. It seems like nothing can entice him back to Oslo. Until someone close to him comes under threat. But there is more to this case than meets the eye and the clock is ticking down to find the other missing girl. This killer has got inside Harry’s head. And now he’s coming for YOU.

Dan Coombes is a bookseller at Bookcase, an independent bookshop open in Chiswick since 1993. A specialist in science fiction, Dan has been a bookseller for 15 years.

Bookcase is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme – see their current discounts for Chiswick Calendar readers here: Bookcase Club Card offer.

See all The Chiswick Calendar’s previous monthly book reviews here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: The Good Person of Szechwan – Lyric Hammersmith review

See also: Aimee Fuller and Katya Jones share their experience of Celebrity Hunted

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.