Owl Song at Dawn by Emma Claire Sweeney. Review copy via NetGalley, published 1st July
Maeve Maloney is a force to be reckoned with. Despite nearing eighty, she keeps Sea View Lodge just as her parents did during Morecambe’s 1950s heyday. But now only her employees and regular guests recognise the tenderness and heartbreak hidden beneath her spikiness.
Until, that is, Vincent shows up. Vincent is the last person Maeve wants to see. He is the only man alive to have known her twin sister, Edie. The nightingale to Maeve’s crow, the dawn to Maeve’s dusk, Edie would have set her sights on the stage all things being equal. But, from birth, things never were.
If only Maeve could confront the secret past she shares with Vincent, she might finally see what it means to love and be loved a lesson that her exuberant yet inexplicable twin may have been trying to teach her all along.
Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas. ARC via NerGalley, due for publication ebook 18th July and paperback 11th August
Twenty years ago
21-year-old Sophie Collier vanishes one night.
She leaves nothing behind but a trainer on the old pier –
and a hole in the heart of her best friend Francesca.
A body’s been found.
And Francesca’s drawn back to the seaside town she’s tried to forget.
Perhaps the truth of what happened to Sophie will finally come out.
Yet Francesca is beginning to wish she hadn’t returned.
Everywhere she turns are ghosts from her past.
The same old faces and familiar haunts of her youth.
But if someone knows what really happened to Sophie that night then now’s the time to find out – isn’t it?
Except sometimes discovering the truth can cost you everything you hold dear – your family, your sanity and even your life . . .
Travelling to Faro, Portugal, journalist Joanna Millard hopes to escape an unsatisfying relationship and a stalled career. Faro is an enchanting town, and the seaside views are enhanced by the company of Nathan Emberlin, a charismatic younger man. But behind the crumbling facades of Moorish buildings, Joanna soon realizes, Faro has a seedy underbelly, its economy compromised by corruption and wartime spoils. And Nathan has an ulterior motive for seeking her company: he is determined to discover the truth involving a child’s kidnapping that may have taken place on this dramatic coastline over two decades ago.
Joanna’s subsequent search leads her to Ian Rylands, an English expat who cryptically insists she will find answers in The Alliance, a novel written by American Esta Hartford. The book recounts an American couple’s experience in Portugal during World War II, and their entanglements both personal and professional with their German enemies. Only Rylands insists the book isn’t fiction, and as Joanna reads deeper into it, she begins to suspect that Esta Hartford’s story and Nathan Emberlin’s may indeed converge in Faro—where the past not only casts a long shadow but still exerts a very present danger.
Cold Kill by PJ Tracy. ARC from NetGalley, I love the Monkeewrench series. This is due for publication 11 Aug.
Two dead bodies.
On a cold winter’s night in Minneapolis, two friends are brutally murdered on opposite sides of the city. It’s clear to homicide detectives Gino and Magozzi that the men were targets – but why?
A decades-old conspiracy.
As Gino and Magozzi begin to uncover evidence, the clues rapidly start to disappear. Lost websites and missing CCTV footage lead them once more to Grace MacBride and her eccentric team of computer analysts – the only ones who can help.
A deadly attack that could bring a city to its knees.
But as more bodies appear, the team begin to realize that this isn’t fresh blood – this is a case that stretches back sixty years. And something that has been lying dormant is now awakening.
As Gino and Magozzi race to find answers, they slowly uncover an unimaginable horror: one that they must stop if any of them are to get out alive . . .
The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J Walker. Lucky win through TBC
When the world ends and you find yourself stranded on the wrong side of the country, every second counts.
No one knows this more than Edgar Hill. 550 miles away from his family, he must push himself to the very limit to get back to them, or risk losing them forever…
His best option is to run.
But what if your best isn’t good enough?
In my defence I blame the Kindle Summer Sale
The Critic by Peter May, only 99p
GAILLAC, SOUTH-WEST FRANCE.
An unsolved case.
Gil Petty, America’s most celebrated wine critic, is found strung up in a vineyard, dressed in the ceremonial robes of the Order of the Divine Bottle and pickled in wine.
An un-cracked code.
For forensic expert Enzo Macleod, the key to this unsolved murder lies in decoding Petty’s mysterious reviews – which could make or break a vineyard’s reputation.
An uncorked criminal.
Enzo finds that beneath the tranquil façade of French viticulture lurks a back-stabbing community riddled with rivalry – and someone who is ready to stop him even if they have to kill again.
The Secret by Kathryn Hughes, only 99p
Mary has been nursing a secret. Forty years ago, she made a choice that would change her world for ever, and alter the path of someone she holds dear.
Beth is searching for answers. She has never known the truth about her parentage, but finding out could be the lifeline her sick child so desperately needs. When Beth finds a faded newspaper cutting amongst her mother’s things, she realises the key to her son’s future lies in her own past. She must go back to where it all began to unlock…The Secret.
Dead and Buried by Helen H Durrant, only 99p
40 years ago something terrible happened in Annie’s new house . . .
Annie Naden and her husband buy a remote country cottage at auction. It’s the home of their own that they always wanted, but as they begin renovations, Annie discovers a satchel in a dusty old hidden cupboard. Inside are the usual schoolbooks, now over 40 years old, and a girl’s diary. Among the record of day-to-day crushes and pop concerts, is a secret whose terrible consequences are still resonating to this day.
Detective Tom Calladine has problems of his own. A notorious villain, Vinny Costello, seems to be back in town, and the bodies soon stack up. With Calladine’s loyal DS Ruth Bayliss on maternity leave, he gets in hot water with one of Costello’s assistants, and must also cope with an abrasive new member of the team as they seek to untangle a complex series of murders.
What happened to that girl forty years ago? And what’s it got to do with the current crime wave?
Holy Island by L J Ross, only 99p
Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby Priory.
When former local girl Dr Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight, while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation.
Murder and mystery are peppered with a sprinkling of romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set on the spectacular Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne, cut off from the English mainland by a tidal causeway.
The Foodies Guide to Falling in Love by Stella Newman, only 99p (NB previously published as The Dish)
Love is on the menu. With a side order of lies.
When Laura Parker first crosses forks with Adam Bayley, she’s only after one thing: his custard doughnut. But when she takes a closer look she sees a talented, handsome man who outshines the string of jokers she’s been dating.
There’s just one problem. Adam’s job means Laura has to keep her job as restaurant critic a secret. Tricky for someone who prides herself on honesty.
Can the truth be put on ice long enough for love to flourish?
And how can you expect your boyfriend to be honest if you’re not quite telling the truth yourself?
The House with no Rooms by Lesley Thomson, only 99p (4th in The Detective’s Daughter series)
The crimes of the past echo in the present in a chilling new case for the Detective’s Daughter.
The summer of 1976 was the hottest in living memory. In the Botanical Gardens at Kew, a lost little girl, dizzied by the heat, thought she saw a woman lying dead on the ground. But when she opened her eyes, the woman had gone.
Forty years later, Stella Darnell, the detective’s daughter, is investigating a chilling new case. What she uncovers will draw her into the obsessive world of botany, and towards an unsolved murder that has lain dormant for decades…
Ten Days by Gillian Slovo only 99p
It’s 4 a.m. and Cathy Mason is watching dawn break over the Lovelace estate. By the end of the day, her community will be a crime scene. By the end of the week, her city will be on fire.
In this gripping thriller, a death at police hands has repercussions far beyond one family plunged into grief . . . As violence erupts in the middle of a stifling heatwave, the dead man becomes a useful tactic (or an urgent threat) in political games at the highest level. So while lives are at risk in Cathy Mason’s estate, across London in Westminster, careers are being made, or ruined.
From a Home Secretary’s attempts to unseat a Prime Minister, to a new Met Police Commissioner fighting for his job, to families torn apart: in Ten Days, Orange Prize-shortlisted author Gillian Slovo shows what happens when politics, policing and the hard realities of living in London explosively collide.
Dear Dad by Giselle Green only 99p
Handsome, 27-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast.
9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he?
Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.
The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?
Things Can Only Get Feta by Marjory McGinn, Greek travel memoir for 99p
After an Arctic winter, a British recession, and a downturn in the newspaper industry, two journalists and their dog embark on an adventure in the wild and beautiful southern Peloponnese in 2010. A perfect plan, except for one thing – Greece is deep in economic crisis. And if fiscal failure can’t overturn the couple’s escapade in rural Greece, perhaps macabre local customs, a scorpion invasion, zero dog-tolerance, and eccentric expats will. This is a humorous and insightful journey through one of the last unspoilt regions of Greece. It is full of encounters with warm-hearted Greeks who show that this troubled country still has heroes, if not euros.
The story of Marjory, Jim, and their dog Wallace’s adventures in southern Greece continue in the next two books: Homer’s Where The Heart Is and A Scorpion In The Lemon Tree.
Once upon a time in a crumbling London bookshop, Posy Morland spent her life lost in the pages of her favourite romantic novels.
So when Bookend’s eccentric owner, Lavinia, dies and leaves the shop to Posy, she must put down her books and join the real world. Because Posy hasn’t just inherited an ailing business, but also the unwelcome attentions of Lavinia’s grandson, Sebastian, AKA The Rudest Man In London™.
Posy has a cunning plan and six months to transform Bookends into the bookshop of her dreams – if only Sebastian would leave her alone to get on with it. As Posy and her friends fight to save their beloved bookshop, Posy’s drawn into a battle of wills with Sebastian, about whom she’s started to have some rather feverish fantasies…
Like her favourite romantic heroines, will she get her happy ever after too?
The ladies of The Chocolate Lovers’ Club should be gearing up for the wedding of the year but life keeps getting in the way . . .
Lucy is worried about her financial situation and it keeps distracting her. Should she accept an offer of help from an untrustworthy source?
Nadia may have a real chance at finding love but other areas of her life aren’t so rosy. Something needs to change – but what?
Autumn can’t wait to meet someone she hasn’t seen in a very long time. She’s full of hope for the future but then things don’t exactly go to plan . . .
Chantal has been through so much and she’s finally starting to feel settled. The last thing she needs is the kind of bad news that could change her life all over again.
And yet, despite all the ups and downs, the Chocolate Lovers’ ladies know they can get through it all as long as they have each other. They’re not going to let anything get in the way of their happy-ever-afters in . . . The Chocolate Lovers’ Wedding.
600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster, only 99p
A thirty-nine-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Edward Stanton lives alone on a rigid schedule in the Montana town where he grew up. His carefully constructed routine includes tracking his most common waking time (7:38 a.m.), refusing to start his therapy sessions even a minute before the appointed hour (10:00 a.m.), and watching one episode of the 1960s cop show Dragnet each night (10:00 p.m.).
But when a single mother and her nine-year-old son move in across the street, Edward’s timetable comes undone. Over the course of a momentous 600 hours, he opens up to his new neighbors and confronts old grievances with his estranged parents. Exposed to both the joys and heartaches of friendship, Edward must ultimately decide whether to embrace the world outside his door or retreat to his solitary ways.
Heartfelt and hilarious, this moving novel will appeal to fans of Daniel Keyes’s classic Flowers for Algernon and to any reader who loves an underdog.
Love and friendship bloom at the Sunflower Café…
When Connie discovers that Jimmy Diamond, her husband of more than twenty years, is planning to leave her for his office junior, her world is turned upside down.
Determined to salvage her pride, she resolves to get her own back. Along with Della, Jimmy’s right-hand woman at his cleaning firm, Diamond Shine, and the cleaners who meet at the Sunflower Café, she’ll make him wish he had never underestimated her.
Then Connie meets the charming Brandon Locke, a master chocolatier, whose kindness starts to melt her soul. Could he be her second chance at happiness?
Can the ladies of the Sunflower Cafe help Connie scrub away the hurt? And can Brandon make her trust again?
The Fan Tan Players by Julian Lees, only 99p
THE FAN TAN PLAYERS opens in 1928 in Macao on a cyclone-drenched Quasimodo Sunday. Nadia Shashkova, now in her late twenties, but originally a child refugee from pre-revolutionary Russia, is contemplating her diminishing marital prospects. None of the Portuguese suitors who pay their respects appeal to her in the slightest. Independent, astute, an outsider, Nadia is haunted by secrets from her childhood, memories of violence and rupture, and one terrible secret above all others will not let her go. Enter Iain Sutherland, an enigmatic Scot who is, officially, a British Consular representative, and who is very interested in Nadia for a number of reasons. As Nadia and Iain learn about each others’ histories, neither of them can anticipate what the future holds for each of them “€“ a journey into Russia to find something that has been lost, internment in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, a courageous rescue. THE FAN TAN PLAYERS is an opulent family saga, set in Macao, Russia, the Scottish Highlands and Hong Kong in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Exotic and beautifully written, it is a story of love, history, adversity and adventure.