Last week I featured a tester post to see how well received a selection of forthcoming fiction titles would be. Well it seems the answer was – very! So going forward I hope to make it a regular feature, with a few tweaks. I decided (if I can) to make it a weekly feature, largely because of the number of titles involved. Plus I know if I see something I fancy I want it to be available imminently, so barring unforeseen changes in publication date, you shouldn’t have to wait longer than a week to see the featured titles hitting the bookshelves, be they real or virtual.
So here we go with this week’s compact selection (this is obviously not a popular week for publishers). The titles will be a mix of eBooks, paperbacks and hardbacks.
(NB I am a member of the affiliate schemes run by Amazon and, Hive Books which means that any qualifying sales made via the links below will earn me a small commission)
The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig
When Hannah is invited into the First-Class carriage of the London to Penzance train by Jinni, she walks into a spider’s web. Now a poor young single mother, Hannah once escaped Cornwall to go to university. But once she married Jake and had his child, her dreams were crushed into bitter disillusion. Her husband has left her for Eve, rich and childless, and Hannah has been surviving by becoming a cleaner in London. Jinni is equally angry and bitter, and in the course of their journey the two women agree to murder each other’s husbands. After all, they are strangers on a train – who could possibly connect them?
But when Hannah goes to Jinni’s husband’s home the next night, she finds Stan, a huge, hairy, ugly drunk who has his own problems – not least the care of a half-ruined house and garden. He claims Jinni is a very different person to the one who has persuaded Hannah to commit a terrible crime. Who is telling the truth – and who is the real victim?
Betrayal by Lilja Sigurðardóttir
Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Úrsula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.
But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And why has the death of her father in police custody so many years earlier reared its head again?
As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witch-like cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones, and the stakes are raised ever higher…
Exploring the harsh worlds of politics, police corruption and misogyny, Betrayal is a relevant, powerful, fast-paced thriller that feels just a little bit too real…
Brixton Hill by Lottie Moggach
As Rob reaches the end of a seven year stretch inside, he winds up in an open prison in Brixton. Each morning, he exits the prison gates and begins the short walk to a local charity shop, where he spends the day in the backroom sorting through other people’s discarded belongings. All he needs to do is keep his nose out of trouble and in just a few months’ time, he’ll be out for good.
One morning in the bustle of commuters on Brixton Hill, Rob notices a well-dressed woman trip over. He helps her up and they exchange a few words before parting ways, but she’s made a lasting impression on him. From that day on, Rob keeps an eye out for her – and always seems to get lucky with a sighting. Despite coming from very different worlds, the pair slowly become acquainted and Rob gets increasingly desperate to hide his current residence from her.
But who exactly is this woman who seems to have a growing interest in him? Rob must be very careful – one false step and it could set him back years . . .
Brixton Hill is a teasing study of desperate lives delivered in a series of charged encounters on the streets of south London. Nail-biting in its execution, award-winning author Lottie Moggach ratchets up the tension, taking us behind the prison walls and into a world in which no one is quite who they seem.
The Geometry of Holding Hands by Alexander McCall Smith
THE THIRTEENTH INSTALLMENT OF THE MUCH-LOVED ISABEL DALHOUSIE SERIES
When Isabel Dalhousie and her husband Jamie book a table at an expensive Edinburgh restaurant, she finds herself battling with her conscience. Lately, there has been a lull in work for the Review of Applied Ethics, and the care of their young sons, Charlie and Magnus, is often undertaken by their housekeeper Grace. Is Isabel deserving of such a luxurious dinner?
But Isabel holds herself to impossible moral standards. Not so, the parents of one of Jamie’s students, who have no qualms about ensuring their son’s place in the school orchestra, despite his mediocre talent. In the restaurant, Isabel witnesses a row between local businessmen; another reminder that thoughtless ambition is too often second nature to others.
Compelled to intervene in the aftermath, Isabel’s sense of integrity is observed by a fellow diner, Iain Melrose, who seeks out her help. He must decide which of his remaining relatives should one day inherit his estate. Isabel, he believes, would make a just executor of his will.
While she deliberates, another troubling situation arises with her niece, Cat, whose relationship with the unlikeable Leo is causing her to behave recklessly, putting Isabel in a very difficult position.
Faced with such weighty decisions, can Isabel balance compassion and integrity to make the right choice for all, and to protect those she holds dear to her heart?
The City under Siege by Michael Russell
1941, and Detective Inspector Stefan Gillespie is ferrying documents between Dublin and war-torn London. When Ireland’s greatest actor is arrested in Soho, after the brutal murder of a gay man, Stefan extricates him from an embarrassing situation. But suddenly he is looking at a series of murders, stretching across Britain and Ireland. The deaths were never investigated deeply as they were not considered a priority. And there are reasons to look away now. It’s not only that the killer may be a British soldier, Scotland Yard is also hiding the truth about the victim. But an identical murder in Malta makes investigation essential.
Malta, at the heart of the Mediterranean war, is under siege by German and Italian bombers. Rumours that a British soldier murdered a Maltese teenager can’t go unchallenged without damaging loyalty to Britain. Now Britain will cooperate with Ireland to find the killer and Stefan is sent to Malta. The British believe the killer is an Irishman; that’s the result they want. And they’d like Stefan to give it to them. But in the dark streets of Valletta there are threats deadlier than German bombs…
Quiet Acts of Violence by Cath Staincliffe
A dead baby. A missing mother. A cradle of secrets.
From the author of the Scott and Bailey TV series, Quiet Acts of Violence is a novel about family and betrayal, injustice and poverty, the ties that bind and those that break us.
Has the woman killed her child? Is she at risk to herself? Someone in the neighbourhood of old terraced streets has the answers. But detectives Donna Bell and Jade Bradshaw find lies and obstruction at every turn, in a community living on the edge, ground down by austerity and no hope. A place of broken dreams. Of desperation. And murder.
When a stranger crashes into Jade’s life, her past comes hurtling back, threatening to destroy her and the world she has carved out for herself.
Donna struggles to juggle everything: work, marriage, kids. It’s a precarious balancing act, and the rug is about to be pulled from under her.
The Blackbird by Claire Allen
Hope nurses a husband with Alzheimers, a retired civic sculptor. A secret he has kept for her threatens the fragile peace she has made with her parents memory: the truth of what happened to her mother while her obsessive father built Liverpool Cathedral as the bombs still fell. Hope brings in Louise to be home-carer. A young mother struggling alone on the Blackbird Estate with an abusive ex-partner. Together, can they build a place where the past can’t hurt them?
Allen resists glorification of the Blitz with the sights, sounds and smells that surround helpless citizens. Hope’s story weaves together two little-known histories: The Liverpool Blitz (WW2) and a contemporary community living in the post-War architecture of Allens London ‘Blackbird Estate’.
Buy via Unbound.com
Someone Else’s Secret by Julia Spiro
Here’s the thing about secrets: they change shape over time, become blurry with memory, until the truth is nearly lost.
2009. Lindsey and Georgie have high hopes for their summer on Martha’s Vineyard. In the wake of the recession, ambitious college graduate Lindsey accepts a job as a nanny for an influential family who may help her land a position in Boston’s exclusive art world. Georgie, the eldest child in that family, is nearly fifteen and eager to find herself, dreaming of independence and yearning for first love.
Over the course of that formative summer, the two young women develop a close bond. Then, one night by the lighthouse, a shocking act occurs that ensnares them both in the throes of a terrible secret. Their budding friendship is shattered, and neither one can speak of what happened that night for ten long years.
Until now. Lindsey and Georgie must confront the past after all this time. Their quest for justice will require costly sacrifices, but it also might give them the closure they need to move on. All they know for sure is that when the truth is revealed, their lives will be forever changed once again.
From a fresh voice in fiction, this poignant and timely novel explores the strength and nuance of female friendship, the cost of ambition, and the courage it takes to speak the truth.
Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams
In 1947, photographer and war correspondent Janey Everett arrives at a remote surfing village on the Hawaiian island of Kauai to research a planned biography of forgotten aviation pioneer Sam Mallory, who joined the loyalist forces in the Spanish Civil War and never returned. Obsessed with Sam’s fate, Janey has tracked down Irene Lindquist, the owner of a local island-hopping airline, whom she believes might actually be the legendary Irene Foster, Mallory’s onetime student and flying partner. Foster’s disappearance during a round-the-world flight in 1937 remains one of the world’s greatest unsolved mysteries.
At first, the flinty Mrs. Lindquist denies any connection to Foster. But Janey informs her that the wreck of Sam Mallory’s airplane has recently been discovered in a Spanish desert, and piece by piece, the details of Foster’s extraordinary life emerge: from the beginnings of her flying career in Southern California, to her complicated, passionate relationship with Mallory, to the collapse of her marriage to her aggressive career manager, the publishing scion George Morrow.
As Irene spins her tale to its searing conclusion, Janey’s past gathers its own power. The duel between the two women takes a heartstopping turn. To whom does Mallory rightfully belong? Can we ever come to terms with the loss of those we love, and the lives we might have lived?
The Life She left Behind by Nicole Trope
When I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s not a sound that disturbs me. It’s a feeling. Silently, I creep to my daughter’s room, breathing a sigh of relief when I see her sleeping, her night-light twirling, butterfly shapes moving their pink wings. Quickly, I lock the door. I won’t let anything happen to my little girl.
You tell him everything. The husband you adore, the father of your child, your best friend.
He knows, just by looking at your sage-green eyes, when something is wrong. The two of you can communicate with a glance, or a touch of the hand.
Except what if you can’t?
What if your happy marriage has plastered over one huge lie? A lie you have even started to believe yourself, in order to survive?
What if you have a secret, something you have hidden from your beloved husband and your strawberry-scented baby girl, to keep them safe? What if the guilt has kept you up, night after night, for as long as you can remember?
What happens when suddenly, after twenty-eight years, that secret refuses to stay buried? What will you do now everyone you love, everything you cherish, is in harm’s way?
So fewer titles this week, but hopefully something to tempt you?