Novels in print

My novels were written here in New Zealand and about Auckland mostly and they have taken me all over the world in a way I didn't appreciate fully at the time. Although I didn't start writing fiction with one genre in mind my tastes skew heavily to noir and critics have labelled these books as such. It's a fair categorisation: they're set in the city, they're dark, they're fated and they subscribe to the coarse definition of noir that 'everything is fucked'. Sometimes there's a little more light in them than that.

My new novel was finished some time ago and I've finished it a few more times since. In between there have been several others that didn't make it. This site and my social media presence will be updated meaningfully when the new one comes out but don't hold your breath. The internet demands updates by the second but a writer has real news only every few years and sometimes not even then. – CT

The Church of John Coltrane

A decade after the events of Heaven, Robert Marling has finally blown it all. Numbed by loss, he ducks his creditors and retreats into the apartment that belonged to his late father. Alone with the dead man's jazz collection, Robert seems to have finally achieved nothingness. But the silence of the maze-like building is interrupted by the music from a cool, forgotten world. The Church of John Coltrane is a mystery about art, graffiti, endings, repetition, jazz, punk, west coast surfing and Shanghai lounge divas.

"Ballade langoureuse [à nouveau situé dans la ville d'Auckland] qui s'interroge au passage sur les nouvelles mïurs musicales, le nouvel opus de Chad Taylor dégage une atmosphère assez unique. Pas de doute, le Néo-Zélandais possède un son bien à lui." (Livres Hebdo).

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Departure Lounge

Departure Lounge is the story of a young woman who vanishes and is never found. In the days and years that follow, her friends strive to locate her in the physical and the immaterial world. The petty thief obsessed with the loss projects that she died in the 1979 plane crash at Mount Erebus, Antarctica.

"New Zealand writer Chad Taylor plays with the crime/noir genre for his own philosophical purposes in an open-ended way that subverts reassuring convention… Taylor in effect has taken the not-knowing at the mystery genre's core and enshrined it, occupied its amorphous territory and made of it, as in this book's emotional peak, a luminous art." (Houston Chronicle)

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Sam Usher is a data technician working in a blacked-out city defined by drugs and dreams. He has come close to death once and would like to try it again. When he meets Candy Strange, he finally gets his chance.

"First and foremost it is an accomplished noir thriller. Taylor has a fine feel for detail, a strong sense of how to build tension and his prose is clear and uncluttered, with mesmeric undertones. Noteworthy contemporary fiction." (Time Out)

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Ellerslie Penrose is a futures broker who stumbles on to the strange story of a Victorian escape artist named Palmer and a lost life that echoes his own.

"Imagine Raymond Chandler filing from New Zealand with a little help from Anne Rice and Jean-Paul Sartre, and you're still not close to imagining the oddity of this weird, wonderful novel. Taylor's structural instincts are so unerring and his tersely elegant language so seductive that the story never once falters - even as it morphs from a murder mystery into an exploration of passion and mortality." (Entertainment Weekly)

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"You gamble, you believe in luck. Like if you're swimming, you believe in water. Right?"

Robert Marling is on a losing streak. He's a struggling architect with a gambling problem, and a wife who is suing him for divorce. When he meets Heaven, a streetwalker who glimpses the future in her dreams, his luck begins to change – for better, and for worse. A tale of chance and weirdness on Auckland's K Road, HEAVEN was made into a feature film by Miramax in 1998.

"An adroit stylist with a penchant for the eccentric and the grotesque. He relishes turning over literary stones and observing the creatures which scuttle out from under them." (North & South)

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Pack of Lies (Lügenspiele)

Catrina was attacked; Catrina fell. Catrina knows who did it; Catrina can't remember. Catrina has a best friend; Catrina is in love. Catrina is helping the police; Catrina is in hiding. Catrina is in crisis; Catrina is fine. This is Catrina's story. This is not what happened.

"Wonderfully urban… A formidable skill with words." (Evening Post)

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