Writers have been trying to understand war and violence for as long as literature has existed. Turning war horrors into a narrative is an attempt to make sense of often senseless violence. The rendering of the human experience of war through characters that readers come to care about is an attempt, perhaps delusionary, to exercise influence on human behaviour. If we learn and remember, would we make the same mistakes?

Francesca by Donald Finnaeus Mayo

East Timor, 1975. Indonesian soldiers invade the village of Dili, raping and slaughtering. A young girl named Francesca sees her parents and two brothers shot and her baby sister taken away. She escapes, eventually getting to Indonesia in hope to find her only remaining sibling. Set against a backdrop of endemic political corruption, moral compromise and the pursuit of oil, Francesca is a passionate story of one woman’s struggle against overwhelming odds to shape the country that nearly destroyed her.

“A great story that will provide a powerful insight into a period of history that has only recently started to get the coverage it deserves.” —Readers’ reviews

“Perhaps reading it prior to going to bed is not advisable as one might end up staying up rather later than one intends and arrive at work blurry eyed the next day.”Establishment Post, Singapore

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The Insider’s Guide to Betrayal by Donald Finnaeus Mayo

A research student and a young librarian are making eyes at one another across the floor of a university library in a dull provincial English city. Neither is who they appear to be. Ally has spent the past three years suppressing her fiery nature, leading a spinsterish existence according to her orders. Likewise, Simon’s PhD studies are a sham. So begins their dance, a dance grounded in deceit and betrayal.
Set in the 1980s against the backdrop of the war between the British Government and the IRA, The Insider’s Guide to Betrayal addresses issues that have been placed into sharp focus by recent revelations concerning the police practice of using undercover informants to inveigle their way into the lives of political activists.

“Mayo raises questions about the validity of violence and the justice of the state, questions that are relevant in the light of the IRA’s guerrilla tactics and Margaret Thatcher’s handling of the conflict. These issues are also relevant in more recent history, such as the 9/11 attacks and the War on Terror, and the extremist violence seen in the past years. The Insider’s Guide to Betrayal examines the complexities of violence and love, morality and ethics, while essentially exploring the repercussions of history.” Kelly O’Brien

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La Frontera by Sam Hawken

“Cleverly intertwining three distinct and separate stories, Hawken manages to encompass the essential ills of South American and Mexican life, showing the desperation of those keen to enter America in the search of a better life, those that feed financially on this desperation, and the forces of law and order who seek to thwart their foolhardy attempts at escape.” —Raven Crime Reads

“With exquisite skill, Hawken brings us deep into the life of each of these deeply sympathetic characters. He makes us care about them first. Then, alongside each one, we endure the horror that is commonplace for those living close to la frontera and those trying to break across it into the US. […] It is a scathing exploration of poverty, corruption and the terrible violence so commonplace in this beautiful, desperate part of the world. ” —Sheila Bugler

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They All Fall Down by Kim Hood

It is 1994. Rosie—a 17-year-old Irish girl — has been sent to look after her Rwandan grandmother. Callie—an 18-year-old Canadian girl—is looking forward to volunteering for an aid organisation in Africa. Both are going to Rwanda to escape their lives at home…

Why do we forget so quickly? Why is it so difficult for us to relate to human tragedy that has nothing to do with ‘us’? How does our definition of ‘us’ and ‘them’ influence our capacity to relate to one another, and to have lasting empathy? And for many in the world – immigrants, refugees, expats—are we ‘us’ or ‘they’? These are ideas that award-winning writer Kim Hood explores in her new novel.

“A grim tale, beautifully written. […] I recommend this book as an absorbing and powerful read on a difficult subject and applaud Kim Hood for (once more) not playing it safe.” —Susan Lanigan, author of White Feathers