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Middle grade horror comedy
Chaos’ latest game is positively epic. Just look at the trailer: the hero Bastion Axestone striding through the city streets, fireballs exploding around him and zombies staggering in his wake. Seb can’t wait to play it. He downloads the works. Explosive effects, 3D upgrade, heavy metal soundtrack and a subliminal quotient—whatever that is.
But the next day, Seb and his friends wake up to an apocalypse. Their teachers are missing in action, coach doesn’t come to practice, and Seb’s dad spends all day in his pyjamas. Even worse, not only has Mum not been in to work, she hasn’t bothered to brush her teeth. It’s beginning to look as if every grown-up in Bridgetown—possibly the entire world—has been zombified. They’re obsessed with their personal electronic devices and it’s all Seb’s fault because he’s the one who downloaded the game in the first place. Now, he has to fix it. But how? It’s not as if he can un-download the game. Along with his best mate, Darren, and Talia, The Prettiest Girl in School, Seb has to figure out how to reverse the effect of the computer virus. But in the meantime, the zombies need feeding, Seb’s little sister, Ava, needs minding, and someone has to walk the dog…
Horror / fantasy
Three-time Bram Stoker Award® nominee Lee Murray delivers her debut collection, and it is monstrous. Inspired by the mythology of Europe, China, and her beloved Aotearoa-New Zealand, Murray twists and subverts ancient themes, stitching new creatures from blood and bone, hiding them in soft forest mists and dark subterranean prisons. In this volume, construction workers uncover a hidden tunnel, soldiers wander, lost after a skirmish, and a dead girl yearns for company. Featuring eleven uncanny tales of automatons, zombies, golems, and dragons, and including the Taine McKenna adventure Into the Clouded Sky, Grotesque: Monster Stories breathes new life into the monster genre.
Blood of the Sun (Nov 2020)
There’s been a gang massacre on Auckland’s Freyberg Wharf. Body parts everywhere. And with the police’s go-to laboratory out of action, it’s up to scientific consult Pandora (Penny) Yee to sort through the mess. It’s a hellish task, made worse by the earthquake swarms, the insufferable heat, and Cerberus’ infernal barking. And what’s got into her brother Matiu? Does it have something to do with the ship’s consignment? Or is Matiu running with the gangs again? Because if he’s involved, Penny will murder him herself…
Matiu can taste the chaos in the air. All they’ve done so far is keep it at bay, but now the streets are shuddering in protest. Things are pushing up against the veil like floodwaters. The coming days promise to be dark, but there’s a bright side. He’s got this flash new car, Penny’s been too busy working to bug him, and Erica keeps scheduling their probation meetings over her lunch hour…
Join Penny and Matiu Yee for the family reunion to end all family reunions, as the struggle between light and dark erupts across Auckland’s volcanic skyline.
ISBN 13 978-1-925840-57-5
No longer content to rumble in anger, the great mountain warriors of New Zealand’s central plateau, the Kāhui Tupua, are preparing again for battle. At least, that’s how the Māori elders tell it. The nation’s leaders scoff at the danger. That is; until the ground opens and all hell breaks loose. The armed forces are hastily deployed; NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna and his section are tasked with evacuating civilians and tourists from Tongariro National Park. It is too little, too late. With earthquakes coming thick and fast and the mountains spewing rock and ash, McKenna and his men are cut off. Their only hope of rescuing the stranded civilians is to find another route out, but a busload of prison evacuees has other ideas. And, deep beneath the earth’s crust, other forces are stirring.
Scientific consultant Penny Yee has barely drawn breath before Detective Inspector Tanner assigns her another suspicious death, with Matiu tagging along for the ride. That's fine as long as he stays outside the crime scene tape, but when one of Matiu's former cronies turns up dead, Penny wonders if her brother might be more than just an innocent bystander. While she's figuring that out, the entire universe conspires against her, with a cadaver going AWOL, her DNA sequencer spitting the dummy, and the rent due any day. Even the weather has it in for her. But that's not the worst of it; Penny's parents have practically announced her nuptials to Craig Tong!
Still spitting the taste of sand from his mouth, Matiu's back on the case with Penny, and wouldn't you know it, his big sister is in over her head again, not that she has a clue. There's a storm brewing dark through the heat-haze on the horizon, and Makere isn't the only one of Matiu's friends from another life dogging his steps. Is this all because of what Mārama was trying to tell him earlier? About his heritage?
Meanwhile, Cerberus is only making things worse by losing his rag every time they cross paths with the elusive killer. Can the dog taste the hot sour reek of something trying to push through the veil and run its tongue and teeth across this world? What's calling them? What has changed? Matiu should probably check that out, if only his probation officer would quit calling...
ISBN 13 978 1925840 124
On leave, and out of his head with boredom, NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna joins biologist Jules Asher on a Conservation Department deer culling expedition to New Zealand’s southernmost national park, where soaring peaks give way to valleys gouged from clay and rock, and icy rivers bleed into watery canyons too deep to fathom. Despite covering an area the size of the Serengeti, only eighteen people live in the isolated region, so it’s a surprise when the hunters stumble on the nation’s Tūrehu tribe, becoming some of only a handful to ever encounter the elusive ghost people. But a band of mercenaries saw them first, and, hell-bent on exploiting the tribes’ survivors, they’re prepared to kill anyone who gets in their way. A soldier, McKenna is duty-bound to protect all New Zealanders, but after centuries of persecution will the Tūrehu allow him to help them? Besides, there is something else lurking in the sounds, and it has its own agenda. When the waters clear, will anyone be allowed to leave?
On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. And with seventeen murder cases on the go, the surly inspector is happy to leave her to it. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving. But something about the case spooks Matiu, something other than the lack of a body in the congealing pool of blood in the locked room or that odd little bowl.
When New Zealand Defense Force Sergeant Taine McKenna and his squad are tasked with escorting a bunch of civilian contractors into Te Urewera National Park, it seems a strange job for the army. Militant Tahoe separatists are active in the area, and with its cloying mist and steep ravines, the forest is a treacherous place in winter. Yet nothing has prepared Taine for the true danger that awaits them. They backtrack toward civilization, stalked by a prehistoric creature intent on picking them off one by one. With their weapons ineffective, the babysitting job has become a race for survival. Taine draws on ancient tribal wisdom as he becomes desperate to bring his charges out alive. Will it be enough to stop the nightmare? And when the mist clears, will anyone be left?
Young adult, loss
Dream cars have no registration plate.
One evening, just before tea, Adam’s mum pops out for the milk and doesn’t come back, launching a frantic nationwide search. After weeks with no leads, the television crews drift away, the police start asking hairy questions, and Adam’s dad starts seeing someone else. Adam’s life is falling apart. But perhaps it was already unravelling and Adam just hadn’t seen the signs? He’s spending so much time in the counsellor’s office, he’s beginning to think he’s a head-case. Then he meets Skye, who it seems has misplaced a parent too, and things start to look up. That is, until a body is found…
Young adult, retelling of the Wizard of Oz
Mika Tāura arrives in New York in the middle of a storm, where she accidentally kills a motorist and lands herself with an injured child. What’s more, she’s missed her rendezvous.
Stan has problems of his own. Several of them just broke into his apartment and tried to kill him, which may explain why he hitching a ride in Mika’s armoured waka seems like a good idea. Besides, her business is taking her across to the West Coast, and so – conveniently – is his.
On the run, Mika, Stan and the girl flee across the country to Stan’s reservation home, where they encounter a couple who may be the key to Mika’s mission. But time is running out, for the travelers and for those they leave behind them.
Young adult, science fiction adventure
Rowan knew nothing about the secret in his DNA until he found himself on the Terrean team bound for Conclave Seven, the universal Games held every millennia. But on the eve of the Games, knowing he’s a direct descendant of the warrior Spartacus is looking less like a gift and more like a death sentence…
Whitney is a thief. A good one. Like a mosquito she comes in quietly, first anaesthetising, then feeding, and finally leaving before her prey know any better. It’s a strategy which has worked for her 22 times in the past. But when she lands in Refuge, a discovery at an estate sale opens the door to other possibilities.
Cover art by Will Jacques (C) 2015
Middle Grade, time travel adventure
Newly moved to Wisconsin, 11 year‐old Annie faces a long, boring summer. Imagine her shock when the eagle-shaped hill she’s lying on breaks free from the earth and flies her home. But it’s not a New Zealand Annie is familiar with and when she almost walks smack into a giant moa, she realises why. The eagle has flown her back to New Zealand, but she’s arrived a thousand years too early, and right in the midst of a battle between the birds. But Annie's visit isn’t entirely unexpected...part of an ancient prophecy, she can speak the language of the birds. Now she must mediate in a battle between the great bird chieftains: the violent and vengeful Te Hokioi and the thoughtful philosopher, Moa. Suddenly, Annie’s summer doesn’t look so boring after all!
Romance, running and reality TV combine in this hilarious romantic comedy novel from award-winning writer Lee Murray. Her career on the skids, Mel Short has hatched a plan to be the next big thing, landing a spot on the hit TV show Running Feat. And all she has to do is run a teeny tiny marathon. Except, even with a training plan, a nutritional plan, and her boyfriend Jack's support, running a marathon is way harder than it looks, and when the paparazzi photograph her in flagrante with her steamy reality show co-star, Rico Black, things start to get complicated...