Coming this week – my pick of the new fiction titles to 27th September 2020

This week’s pick of what to look out for. A quick reminder this isn’t everything being published, but just the one’s that I quite fancy, so hope you find something that suits.

The River Within by Karen Powell

It is the summer of 1955. Alexander, Tom and his sister Lennie, discover the body of their childhood friend Danny Masters in the river that runs through Starome, a village on the Richmond estate in North Yorkshire. His death is a mystery. Did he jump, or was it just an accident?

Lady Venetia Richmond has no time to dwell on the death. Newly widowed, she is busy trying to keep the estate together, while struggling with death duties and crippling taxation. Alexander, her son and sole heir to Richmond Hall, is of little help. Just when she most needs him, he grows elusive, his behaviour becoming increasingly erratic. Lennie Fairweather, ‘child of nature’ and daughter of the late Sir Angus’s private secretary, has other things on her mind too. In love with Alexander, she longs to escape life with her over-protective father and domineering brother. Alexander is unpredictable though, hard to pin down. Can she be sure of his true feelings towards her?

In the weeks that follow the tragic drowning, the river begins to give up its secrets. As the truth about Danny’s death emerges, other stories come to the surface that threaten to destroy everyone’s plans for the future and, ultimately, their very way of life.


What She Saw by Diane Saxon

What She Saw: A gripping new psychological thriller for 2020 by [Diane Saxon]

Why does someone want the Lawrence family dead?

The Lawrence’s were the perfect family; successful, beautiful, and happy until one night their whole world was ripped apart.

Detective Sergeant Jenna Morgan is called to investigate the suspected arson attack and death of the Lawrence family at the charred remains of their stunning home, Kimble Hall.

The case takes a sinister turn as the body count fails to tally.
Suspecting that someone may have survived the inferno, DS Morgan and her team need to discover whether they have a witness, or someone far more dangerous.

Who set the fire? Who wanted this family extinguished beyond recognition?

As the case progresses, DS Morgan realises she has a calculating, cold-blooded killer on her hands, and the race is on to track them down before they kill again…


A Borrowed Life by Kerry Anne King

A Borrowed Life by [Kerry Anne King]

For thirty years Liz has perfectly played the part of Mrs. Thomas Lightsey, exemplary pastor’s wife and mother. But maintaining appearances for the congregation and catering to her demanding husband takes a toll, and she’s lost herself in meeting the expectations of others. When Thomas suddenly dies, Liz feels shock, grief, and, to her surprise, the siren song of freedom. Dare she dream of a life to call her own?

Despite the resistance of her daughter, Abigail, to even the smallest changes, Liz lands a role at the community theater. Inspired by new friends and the character she plays, she explores life’s possibilities, including an unexpected—and steamy—relationship with her leading man.

Just when Liz thinks she might be winning, life hits her with an unthinkable shock. She’s pregnant at forty-nine. Torn between conflicting loyalties to her daughter, her lover, her unborn baby, and herself, can Liz find a way to rebuild her dream life one more time?


The Readers’ Room by Antoine Laurain

The Readers' Room by [Antoine Laurain, Emily Boyce, Jane Aitken, Polly Mackintosh]

When the manuscript of a debut crime novel arrives at a Parisian publishing house, everyone in the readers’ room is convinced it’s something special. And the committee for France’s highest literary honour, the Prix Goncourt, agrees. 

But when the shortlist is announced, there’s a problem for editor Violaine Lepage: she has no idea of the author’s identity. As the police begin to investigate a series of murders strangely reminiscent of those recounted in the book, Violaine is not the only one looking for answers. And, suffering memory blanks following an aeroplane accident, she’s beginning to wonder what role she might play in the story … 


The Dead of Jura by Allan Martin

The Dead of Jura (Inspector Angus Blue Book 2) by [Allan Martin]

Jura: where the rich and the powerful come to play away from the prying eyes of the press.

But when there is an assassination attempt on a Cabinet Minister whiles he’s on his island estate, questions must be asked, and Inspector Angus Blue and his team return to the Hebrides to investigate.

Deemed a matter of ‘National Security’ by London, local protocols are overruled, and Special Branch officers are sent to hunt down the assassin. By the time Inspector Blue and his team arrive the estate staff have been scared into silence, and the crime scene has been disturbed.

His investigation hampered at every turn, Inspector Blue must discover what Special Branch are hiding – and who they are protecting.


Eli’s Promise by Ronald H. Balson

Eli's Promise: A Novel by [Ronald H. Balson]

Eli’s Promise is a masterful work of historical fiction spanning three eras—Nazi-occupied Poland, the American Zone of post-war Germany, and Chicago at the height of the Vietnam War. Award-winning author Ronald H. Balson explores the human cost of war, the mixed blessings of survival, and the enduring strength of family bonds.

1939: Eli Rosen lives with his wife Esther and their young son in the Polish town of Lublin, where his family owns a construction company. As a consequence of the Nazi occupation, Eli’s company is Aryanized, appropriated and transferred to Maximilian Poleski—an unprincipled profiteer who peddles favors to Lublin’s subjugated residents. An uneasy alliance is formed; Poleski will keep the Rosen family safe if Eli will manage the business. Will Poleski honor his promise or will their relationship end in betrayal and tragedy?

1946: Eli resides with his son in a displaced persons camp in Allied-occupied Germany hoping for a visa to America. His wife has been missing since the war. One man is sneaking around the camps selling illegal visas; might he know what has happened to her?

1965: Eli rents a room in Albany Park, Chicago. He is on a mission. With patience, cunning, and relentless focus, he navigates unfamiliar streets and dangerous political backrooms, searching for the truth. Powerful and emotional, Ronald H. Balson’s Eli’s Promise is a rich, rewarding novel of World War II and a husband’s quest for justice.


The Faithfuls by Cecilia Lyra

The Faithfuls: An emotional page-turner with a heart-stopping twist (The Sisterhood Series) by [Cecilia Lyra]

Family always comes first.

Alma, New York is the perfect town, right down to the coordinated shopfront decorations on Main Street, and Gina Dewar is the perfect wife, mother, daughter-in-law. She understands the responsibility that comes with marrying into America’s golden family, and she tries not to burden her husband Bobby with drama from her own small-town past.

But a summer house in the Hamptons doesn’t always buy happiness, and the Dewars aren’t quite as apple pie as they seem. When Bobby is publicly accused of having an affair cracks start to appear in the Dewar clan, and when he denies any knowledge, Gina faces an impossible dilemma. Should she stand by her husband, or listen to her sister-in-law, telling her that there is more to this story?

As the town explodes with speculation, Gina tries to keep the gossips out of her marriage. After all, no one knows better than her that secrets should stay in the family. But then she hears the rumor that Bobby’s supposed mistress is pregnant and she is shaken to the core. With the future of her family so uncertain, Gina is about to find out what she’s willing to do to protect those she loves…


Inside Story by Martin Amis

Inside Story by [Martin Amis]

His most intimate and epic work to date, Inside Story is the portrait of Martin Amis’ extraordinary life, as a man and a writer. This novel had its birth in a death – that of the author’s closest friend, Christopher Hitchens. We also encounter the vibrant characters who have helped define Martin Amis, from his father Kingsley, to his hero Saul Bellow, from Philip Larkin to Iris Murdoch and Elizabeth Jane Howard, and to the person who captivated his twenties, the alluringly amoral Phoebe Phelps.

What begins as a thrilling tale of romantic entanglements, family and friendship, evolves into a tender, witty exploration of the hardest questions: how to live, how to grieve, and how to die? In his search for answers, Amis surveys the great horrors of the twentieth century, and the still unfolding impact of the 9/11 attacks on the twenty-first – and shares all he has learned on how to write.

The result is one of Amis’ greatest achievements: a love letter to life that is at once exuberant, meditative, heartbreaking and ebullient, to be savoured and cherished for many years to come.


The Testimony of Alys Twist by Suzannah Dunn

The Testimony of Alys Twist by [Suzannah Dunn]

Arrested by her sister for treason, who in her household can Elizabeth trust?

1553: deeply-divided England rejoices as the rightful heir, Mary Tudor, sweeps to power on a tide of populist goodwill. But the people should have been careful what they wished for: Mary’s mission is to turn back time to an England of old. Within weeks there is widespread rebellion in favour of her heir, her half-sister, princess Elizabeth, who is everything that Mary isn’t. From now on, Elizabeth will have to use her considerable guile just to stay alive.

Orphan Alys Twist has come a long way – further than she ever dared hope – to work as a laundress at the royal Wardrobe. There she meets Bel, daughter of the Queen’s tailor, and seems to have arrived at her own happy ending.

But in a world where appearance is everything, a laundress is in a unique position to see the truth of people’s lives, and Alys is pressed into service as a spy in the errant princess’s household. Alys herself, though, is hardly whiter than white, and when the princess is arrested she must make a dangerous choice.


Mirror by Adam Southward

Mirror (Alex Madison Book 3) by [Adam Southward]

She has a dangerous gift. They’ll stop at nothing to take it.

A young psychiatric patient disappears from her ward in the dead of night. Eva Jansen’s medical records have been wiped, her history buried. Somebody wanted all trace of her extinguished forever—and fast.

When forensic psychologist Alex Madison is tipped off that Eva possesses an extraordinary ability, he knows he must find her before she falls into the wrong hands. Her dangerous gift has eerie echoes of his previous cases, and he’s convinced there’s a connection to the sinister criminal network he’s been hunting for years.

But Alex is being watched; his family is being followed. And as the search for Eva consumes his mind, it becomes clear that dark forces are determined to keep her for themselves—and keep him off the scent at all costs. With his life in dangerous freefall, can Alex expose the truth before he is silenced for good?


Home Fires Burn by Lisa Hartley

Home Fires Burn: A page-turning crime thriller (Detective Catherine Bishop Book 4) by [Lisa Hartley]

A single spark can start a blaze…

DS Catherine Bishop’s life was thrown into turmoil by one of the most brutal cases of her career, and she is still dealing with the aftermath. But her own trauma must be put aside when she is called to a horrific scene of domestic violence – and murder.

The investigation brings intense scrutiny for a police department already overwhelmed by the crimes of an arsonist hellbent on destruction. And as Catherine learns about the victims, it leads to more questions than answers.

By the time the puzzle pieces fall into place, Catherine will once more have come dangerously close to risking everything. Does she still have what it takes to bring a killer to justice – or will her demons prove the ruin of Catherine after all?


The Stolen Letter by Clara Benson

The Stolen Letter: A completely gripping and emotional World War 2 historical novel by [Clara Benson]

The longer her imprisonment went on, the more she cast her mind back to the stolen hours they had spent together. His love had blown in like an unexpected breath of warm summer air, giving her the promise of life and joy. But now they had been torn apart and she was tormented by the thought that they might never be reunited.

Italy, 1938: When Stella arrives in Florence, it’s love at first sight. She is wowed by the rolling hills dotted with olive trees, the buttermilk villas with shuttered windows and terracotta roofs that glow gloriously in the sunlight. Even the breeze holds the scent of freedom – freedom from England, where the shadow of her past haunted her.

Then there is Ted, an American journalist who is wild and mischievous, with an arrogance bordering on rude. Stella is infuriated by him – but she cannot deny the lure of the danger and excitement he promises.

But there is something dark under the bright surface of this beautiful country, with unspeakable tragedies just around the corner. When the Nazis take control of Italy, Stella and Ted – and whatever dreams the future held for them – are ripped apart. As bombs descend, destroying everything in their wake, there is nothing to do but sit in darkness, praying to see tomorrow.

And it seems that even in Italy, Stella’s past has found her. Somewhere in the winding streets of Florence there is a letter that could change the course of her fate. Unknown to her, it holds a secret with the power to rewrite her past, and everything she has been running away from. But will she live to find it? And with the odds stacked against her, will she ever see Ted again?


Into the Burning Dawn by Natalie Meg Evans

Into the Burning Dawn: Heartbreaking and gripping World War 2 historical fiction set in Italy by [Natalie Meg Evans]

In the terrace courtyard of the palazzo overlooking a sparkling bay, the scent of ripening lemons filled the air. His deep brown eyes gazed into hers with determination and longing. ‘Will you do it? Risk everything and join us?’

Twenty-one-year-old Imogen Fitzgerald was raised in an English orphanage and never knew her parents. So when World War Two breaks out, she refuses to leave the life she’s worked so hard to build for herself, teaching English to little Marco and Eloisa in the beautiful Italian city of Naples. With their father Giancarlo away fighting for the fascists, there’s no one else to care for these lost children. Imogen’s dark hair and perfect Italian will protect her for now, but if anyone discovers her secret identity as an enemy of Italy, Marco and Eloisa will be left with no one.

As the shadows of bomber planes darken the azure-blue waters of the bay, the one person Imogen can depend on is Fabrizio, the children’s uncle. He’s never seen eye-to-eye with their father, and Imogen is forbidden to speak to him… but whenever they secretly meet in the lemon groves Imogen instantly feels safe. Fabrizio talks passionately of the resistenza, the underground group fighting the regime, and soon Imogen herself is involved – smuggling food along the rocky coast, and even supplying information on Giancarlo to help fight the Nazis and end this awful war.

But when Giancarlo suddenly returns, injured from the fighting, Imogen is shocked to find him much changed. Rather than the fascist sympathiser she knew and resented, she sees in Giancarlo a man who would do anything to protect his children and his beloved Italy. Was she wrong to expose him as a traitor?

Torn between two sides, Imogen’s own life is thrown into terrible danger when a child goes missing and her secret identity is exposed… did she put her trust in the wrong man? And is it too late to save herself, and the children from the horrors of war?


When the Past Kills by M J Lee

When the Past Kills (DI Ridpath Crime Thriller Book 5) by [M J Lee]

The past is never over. It’s just waiting for an opportunity to return…

When the notorious serial killer the Beast of Manchester was captured, the streets should have been safe. Except the police got the wrong man. An innocent person was convicted, and only later was the culprit put away.

Now, those connected to the case are being targeted. Someone wants revenge. DI Thomas Ridpath has to relive the horrors all over again. As the bodies stack up once more, Ridpath knows the answers lie in the mistakes made the first time round.

But as he is searching for clues from years ago, fresh terror awaits. While Ridpath seeks to save lives, he risks overlooking the greatest danger of all – and losing more than he can stand.


The Survivors by Jane Harper

The Survivors by [Jane Harper]

Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on a single day when a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that haunts him still resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal town he once called home.

Kieran’s parents are struggling in a community which is bound, for better or worse, to the sea that is both a lifeline and a threat. Between them all is his absent brother Finn.

When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge in the murder investigation that follows. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…


Happy Reading!!

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