Some big hitters released this week including Ian Rankin, Graham Norton and Peter James, but there are plenty of other worthy new releases that might not be getting the same media coverage. Hopefully you’ll find something here that floats your boat. Usual rules apply, these are titles which based on a combination of the blurb and cover (yes, I am that shallow) and past reading I’m tempted by. Sadly I don’t have the time or income to acquire them all but I’m sure that at some stage some of them will join the Doyle reading mountain of hope over reality.
(NB purchase links are affiliate links which could earn me a small commission, but this will not be at any extra cost to you).
Stolen Children by Michael Wood
Some cases won’t die.
A young boy walks into a police station in France. He claims to be Carl Meagan – a missing child from Sheffield whose name is still whispered as a warning to kids who stay out after dark.
Some children won’t be found.
On her way home from the supermarket, nine-year-old Keeley Armitage vanishes without trace. Her family is overcome with shock and DCI Matilda Darke can’t help but focus on memories of the Carl Meagan case that almost ruined her career.
Some killers won’t be stopped.
As Matilda investigates, she peels back the layers of grief and sadness that surround Keeley’s family. Until she is left with an unimaginable choice: betray those closest to her or let a violent killer walk free…
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
An impossible murder
A remarkable detective duo
A demon who may or may not exist
It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported from the Dutch East Indies to Amsterdam, where he is facing trial and execution for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent, while also on board are Sara Wessel, a noble woman with a secret, and her husband, the governor general of Batavia.
But no sooner is their ship out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A strange symbol appears on the sail. A dead leper stalks the decks. Livestock are slaughtered in the night.
And then the passengers hear a terrible voice whispering to them in the darkness, promising them three unholy miracles. First: an impossible pursuit. Second: an impossible theft. Third: an impossible murder.
Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?
With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent and Sara can solve a mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board…
The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths
PS: thanks for the murders.
The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka’s account of Peggy Smith’s death.
But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her…
And that Peggy Smith had been a ‘murder consultant’ who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to…
And when clearing out Peggy’s flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure…
Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.
From the sleepy seaside town of Shoreham to the granite streets of Aberdeen, The Postscript Murders is a literary mystery for fans of Anthony Horowitz, Agatha Christie and anyone who’s ever wondered just how authors think up such realistic crimes…
The Silk House by Kayte Nunn
An enchanting mystery kept hidden for hundreds of years…
Rowan Caswell leaves her village to work at the home of an English silk merchant. Very soon, she finds herself thrust into a dangerous world, where her talent for herbs and healing starts to attract unwanted attention.
Mary-LouiseStephenson dreams of becoming a silk designer, a path that has remained largely forbidden to women. A length of fabric she weaves with a pattern of deadly flowers will have shocking consequences for all who dwell at the Silk House.
Thea Rust arrives at an exclusive boarding school in the British countryside to look after the first intake of girls in its history. She is to stay with them in the Silk House, a converted silk factory from the 18th century, where the shadows hide secrets waiting to be discovered…
You and Me by Nicola Rayner
This is not a love story…
Watching sunrises together should have been romantic.
But you were always inside with your wife, and I sat in your garden, in the shadows.
I thought you’d never know how I felt about you.
Until one night, I witnessed a terrible crime.
I wanted it to bring us closer together.
But now the secrets are tumbling out.
And they could tear everything apart…
Home Stretch by Graham Norton
Shame and longing can flow through generations, but the secrets of the heart will not be buried for ever.
It is 1987 and a small Irish community is preparing for a wedding. The day before the ceremony a group of young friends, including bride and groom, drive out to the beach. There is an accident. Three survive, but three are killed.
The lives of the families are shattered and the rifts between them are felt throughout the small town. Connor is one of the survivors. But staying among the angry and the mourning is almost as hard as living with the shame of having been the driver. He leaves the only place he knows for another life, taking his secrets with him. Travelling first to Liverpool, then London, he makes a home – of sorts – for himself in New York. The city provides shelter and possibility for the displaced, somewhere Connor can forget his past and forge a new life.
But the secrets, the unspoken longings and regrets that have come to haunt those left behind will not be silenced. And before long, Connor will have to confront his past.
Graham Norton’s powerful and timely novel of emigration and return demonstrates his keen understanding of the power of stigma and secrecy – with devastating results.
The Italian Girl by Debbie Rix
The sun hung low in the sky, casting pink light all over the city. A faint breeze blew over the rooftops, as flocks of starlings swirled above her, swooping and diving in unison. It seemed unimaginable that, even now, German soldiers were marching along the streets below. It was time, she decided, for direct action. It was time to fight back.
Each morning Livia Moretti makes her way from an apartment overlooking Florence’s famous Duomo to a nearby café, where she drinks espresso and reads the newspaper. To the crowds of tourists who pass by, snapping selfies, nothing about Livia will be memorable. She is simply an old lady. They walk on without knowing the part she played in ensuring the future of this beautiful city. And to Livia now, those dark days feel very far away too.
But today, when she opens the paper, she sees a name she has not heard for a long time. A name that will bring memories flooding back of Nazi troops marching through the city and the dangers she faced as a young woman, carrying out secret missions for the resistance.
A siren of the silver screen, Isabella cultivated all the right connections to ensure her rise to stardom. But when Rome falls to the Nazis, Isabella is suddenly faced with the choice between protecting herself, and all she has worked for, or sacrificing everything to save the man she loves.
As the war rages across Europe, a terrible misunderstanding causes the fates of Isabella and Livia to become forever intertwined. And each woman must decide what they’re willing to risk, to protect the ones they hold dear from a brutal enemy.
Inspired by the incredible true stories of two women in wartime Italy, this is a heart-wrenching and unforgettable tale of love, resistance, betrayal and hope.
Soldier Boy by Cassandra Parkin
Under the shadow of trauma, Liam has been discharged from the army. As night terrors torment him and he struggles to keep his anger intact, he finds himself in his car, his daughter Alannah asleep in the back, while his wife Emma has gone AWOL. With no idea where to go for shelter, his only goal is to hold onto his daughter at all costs. But Alannah is on a journey of her own.
As the consequences of Alannah’s choices unfold, nothing will ever be the same again.
Soldier Boy is gripping story about secrets, fear, longing, lies and the power of being true to yourself, even when the price is higher than you could have imagined.
The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen
Sisterhood binds them. Trauma defines them. Will secrets tear them apart?
Leah’s perfect marriage isn’t what it seems but the biggest lie of all is that she’s learned to live with what happened all those years ago.Marie drinks a bit too much to help her forget. And Carly has never forgiven herself for not keeping them safe.
Twenty years ago The Sinclair Sisters were taken. But what came after their return was far worse. Can a family ever recover, especially when not everyone is telling the truth…?
Limelight by Graham Hurley
Life is dangerous. No one survives it. Enora Andressen makes a series of mind-blowing discoveries when her friend disappears in this compelling thriller set in an idyllic Devon town.
Actress Enora Andressen is catching up with her ex-neighbour, Evelyn Warlock, who’s recently retired to the comely East Devon seaside town of Budleigh Salterton. The peace, the friendship of strangers and the town’s prestigious literary festival . . . Evelyn loves them all.
Until the September evening when her French neighbour, Christianne Beaucarne, disappears. Enora has met this woman. The two of them have bonded. But what Enora discovers over the anguished months to come will put sleepy Budleigh Salterton on the front page of every newspaper in the land . . .
Suspicious Minds by David Mark
Liz Zahavi is desperate. Desperate for her controlling partner, Jay, to stay with her, to actually love her. Desperate to be well again, after a recent diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Desperate to be understood.
Private therapy seems like the answer to her prayers, but Liz doesn’t even make it to her first appointment. Lost in a maze of country roads, she crashes her car, only to be rescued by a brooding local farmer . . . who just keeps on rescuing her. Attractive and intense, Jude is a dream, and Liz doesn’t want to wake up.
But four years ago, Jude’s perfect, pretty wife died alone in the woods near their house. And as Jude’s past boils into the present, threatening to destroy their new happiness, Liz begins to wonder what exactly her new man is capable of . . . and how far he’s willing to go.
Purple Lotus by Veena Rao
Tara moves to the American South three years after her arranged marriage to tech executive Sanjay. Ignored and lonely, Tara finds herself regressing back to childhood memories that have scarred her for life. When she was eight, her parents had left her behind with her aging grandparents and a schizophrenic uncle in Mangalore, while taking her baby brother with them to make a new life for the family in Dubai.
Tara’s memories of abandonment and isolation mirror her present life of loneliness and escalating abuse at the hands of her husband. She accepts the help of kind-hearted American strangers to fight Sanjay, only to be pressured by her patriarchal family to make peace with her circumstances. Then, in a moment of truth, she discovers the importance of self-worth—a revelation that gives her the courage to break free, gently rebuild her life, and even risk being shunned by her community when she marries her childhood love, Cyrus Saldanha.
Life with Cyrus is beautiful, until old fears come knocking. Ultimately, Tara must face these fears to save her relationship with Cyrus—and to confront the victim-shaming society she was raised within.
House of Lies by D S Butler
A dark secret. A haunted past. And a house full of lies.
When two teenage girls vanish without a trace from an educational retreat at Chidlow House in Lincolnshire, the students and teachers are put on high alert.
Called in to investigate, Detective Karen Hart questions everyone who came into contact with the two girls, Cressida and Natasha, in the days leading up to their disappearance.
Stories of Chidlow House being haunted abound, but Hart—still coming to terms with the suspicious circumstances surrounding the tragic loss of her own family—knows that while the house might be otherworldly, the crime is grimly real.
But nothing is quite as it seems at Chidlow House. When it becomes clear that someone at the estate must know more than they’re letting on, Hart faces a race against time to find the culprit and save the girls.
While there is no shortage of suspects, Hart comes up against one dead end after another. And when she too begins hearing eerie whispers in the walls, she is forced to wonder: was she too quick to dismiss Chidlow’s supernatural reputation?
Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish by Tori Whitaker
Three generations of women—and the love, loss, sacrifice, and secrets that can bind them forever or tear them apart.
Millicent Glenn is self-sufficient and contentedly alone in the Cincinnati suburbs. As she nears her ninety-first birthday, her daughter Jane, with whom she’s weathered a shaky relationship, suddenly moves back home. Then Millie’s granddaughter shares the thrilling surprise that she’s pregnant. But for Millie, the news stirs heartbreaking memories of a past she’s kept hidden for too long. Maybe it’s time she shared something, too. Millie’s last wish? For Jane to forgive her.
Sixty years ago Millie was living a dream. She had a husband she adored, a job of her own, a precious baby girl, and another child on the way. They were the perfect family. All it took was one irreversible moment to shatter everything, reshaping Millie’s life and the lives of generations to come.
As Millie’s old wounds are exposed, so are the secrets she’s kept for so long. Finally revealing them to her daughter might be the greatest risk a mother could take in the name of love.
The Skylark’s Secret by Fiona Valpy
Loch Ewe, 1940. When gamekeeper’s daughter Flora’s remote highland village finds itself the base for the Royal Navy’s Arctic convoys, life in her close-knit community changes forever. In defiance of his disapproving father, the laird’s son falls in love with Flora, and as tensions build in their disrupted home, any chance of their happiness seems doomed.
Decades later, Flora’s daughter, singer Lexie Gordon, is forced to return to the village and to the tiny cottage where she grew up. Having long ago escaped to the bright lights of the West End, London still never truly felt like home. Now back, with a daughter of her own, Lexie learns that her mother—and the hostile-seeming village itself—have long been hiding secrets that make her question everything she thought she knew.
As she pieces together the fragments of her parents’ story, Lexie discovers the courageous, devastating sacrifices made in her name. It’s too late to rekindle her relationship with her mother, but can Lexie find it in her heart to forgive the past, to grieve for all that’s lost, and finally find her place in the world?
A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin
When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.
Rebus fears the worst – and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.
He wasn’t the best father – the job always came first – but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective?
As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast – and a small town with big secrets – he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn’t want to find…
Mother Mother by Jessica O’Dwyer
A married couple in California grapples with power and race, deception and love when their son comes home from a Guatemalan orphanage.
Contemporary art museum curator Julie Cowan achieves her dream of motherhood through adoption, but her life is far from perfect. Her pathologist husband, Mark, is distracted at work, while her hotshot new museum director boss doubts Julie’s curatorial chops. And Julie’s six-year-old son, Juan, may never recover from trauma inflicted by early life spent in a Guatemalan orphanage.
At the same time, Juan’s birth mother, an indigenous Ixil Maya, navigates her own tumultuous path, beginning with surviving a horrific massacre.
In this gripping tale told from alternating perspectives, both mothers must draw on fierce inner strength to reckon with their life circumstances, and life choices.
Odd Bird by Lee Farnsworth
Simon Selwood is an academic expert on the monogamous sexual behaviour of birds, but hopeless at finding human love. Then he meets Kim, and at last something is more important to him than ornithology.
Kim doesn’t give a hoot about birds. And at first she isn’t very interested in Simon either. Relying on what he has gleaned from observing the opportunistic pied flycatcher and other species, plus the unorthodox advice of old friend Phil, Simon sets out on a mission to discover love for himself.
But will he make the right choice?
Odd Bird takes a light-hearted look at the battle of the sexes, drawing on the surprising parallels between the courtship behaviours of humans and birds.
What We Leave Behind by Anna Mansell
I watch for a moment, my heart explodes. This little girl, dressed in white, her face bright as she swirls and twirls, dancing in the sunshine. ‘Mummy!’ she says, running towards me. I catch her, no question. ‘Mummy, you’re here,’ she says.’ And I hold her tight.
Imagine you get home one day… and waiting for you on your doorstep is a gift.
It is wrapped beautifully, and inside is a notebook, its pages empty. There is no message.
But its sender has a story to tell.
About a secret. About the little girl you once were. About everything you know about your family.
The gifts keep arriving. But when tragedy strikes – leaving your beloved only daughter fighting for her life – the person who has been sending the gifts will have no choice but to come forward. And to finally tell the truth.
Even if it’s the very thing that will tear your family apart…
I Follow You by Peter James
To the outside world, suave, charming and confident doctor Marcus Valentine has it all. A loving wife, three kids, a great job. But there’s something missing, there always has been. . . . or rather, someone . . .
Driving to work one morning, his mind elsewhere and not on the road, he almost mows down a female jogger on a crossing. As she runs on, Marcus is transfixed. Infatuated. She is the spitting image of a girl he was crazy about in his teens. A girl he has never been able to get out of his mind.
Lynette had dumped him harshly. For years he has fantasized about seeing her again and rekindling their flame. Might that jogger possibly be her all these years later? Could this be the most incredible coincidence?
Despite all his attempts to resist, he is consumed by cravings for this woman. And when events take a tragically unexpected turn, his obsession threatens to destroy both their worlds. But still he won’t stop. Can’t stop.
The Talented Miss Farwell by Emily Gray Tedrowe
At the end of the 1990s, with the art market finally recovered from its disastrous collapse, Miss Rebecca Farwell has made a killing at Christie’s in New York City, selling a portion of her extraordinary art collection for a rumored 900 percent profit. Dressed in couture YSL, drinking the finest champagne at trendy Balthazar, Reba, as she’s known, is the picture of a wealthy art collector. To some, the elusive Miss Farwell is a shark with outstanding business acumen. To others, she’s a heartless capitalist whose only interest in art is how much she can make.
But a thousand miles from the Big Apple, in the small town of Pierson, Illinois, Miss Farwell is someone else entirely—a quiet single woman known as Becky who still lives in her family’s farmhouse, wears sensible shoes, and works tirelessly as the town’s treasurer and controller.
No one understands the ins and outs of Pierson’s accounts better than Becky; she’s the last one in the office every night, crunching the numbers. Somehow, her neighbors marvel, she always finds a way to get the struggling town just a little more money. What Pierson doesn’t see—and can never discover—is that much of that money is shifted into a separate account that she controls, “borrowed” funds used to finance her art habit. Though she quietly repays Pierson when she can, the business of art is cutthroat and unpredictable.
But as Reba Farwell’s deals get bigger and bigger, Becky Farwell’s debt to Pierson spirals out of control. How long can the talented Miss Farwell continue to pull off her double life?
The End of the Day by Bill Clegg
Following his acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Did You Ever Have a Family, Bill Clegg returns with a profoundly moving, emotionally resonant second novel about the complicated bonds and breaking points of family and friendship. The End of the Day is an exploration of class and power, the corrosive force of secrets, the heartbeat of longing, and the redemption found in forgiveness.
A retired widow in rural Connecticut wakes to an unexpected visit from her childhood best friend whom she hasn’t seen in forty-nine years.
A man arrives at a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania hotel to introduce his estranged father to his newborn daughter and finds him collapsed on the floor of the lobby.
A sixty-seven-year-old taxi driver in Kauai receives a phone call from the mainland that jars her back to a traumatic past.
These seemingly disconnected lives come together as half-century-old secrets begin to surface.
A Single Swallow by Zhang Ling
On the day of the historic 1945 Jewel Voice Broadcast—in which Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender to the Allied forces, bringing an end to World War II—three men, flush with jubilation, made a pact. After their deaths, each year on the anniversary of the broadcast, their souls would return to the Chinese village of their younger days. It’s where they had fought—and survived—a war that shook the world and changed their own lives in unimaginable ways. Now, seventy years later, the pledge is being fulfilled by American missionary Pastor Billy, brash gunner’s mate Ian Ferguson, and local soldier Liu Zhaohu.
All that’s missing is Ah Yan—also known as Swallow—the girl each man loved, each in his own profound way.
As they unravel their personal stories of the war, and of the woman who touched them so deeply during that unforgiving time, the story of Ah Yan’s life begins to take shape, woven into view by their memories. A woman who had suffered unspeakable atrocities, and yet found the grace and dignity to survive, she’d been the one to bring them together. And it is her spark of humanity, still burning brightly, that gives these ghosts of the past the courage to look back on everything they endured and remember the woman they lost.
Snow by John Banville
‘The body is in the library,’ Colonel Osborne said. ‘Come this way.’
Following the discovery of the corpse of a highly respected parish priest at Ballyglass House – the Co. Wexford family seat of the aristocratic, secretive Osborne family – Detective Inspector St John Strafford is called in from Dublin to investigate.
Strafford faces obstruction from all angles, but carries on determinedly in his pursuit of the murderer. However, as the snow continues to fall over this ever-expanding mystery, the people of Ballyglass are equally determined to keep their secrets.
All Stirred Up by Brianne Moore
Susan Napier’s family once lived on the success of the high-end restaurants founded by her late grandfather. But bad luck and worse management has brought the business to the edge of financial ruin. Now it’s up to Susan to save the last remaining restaurant: Elliot’s, the flagship in Edinburgh.But what awaits Susan in the charming city of Auld Reekie is more than she bargained for. Chris Baker, her grandfather’s former protege – and her ex-boyfriend – is also heading to the Scottish capital. After finding fame in New York as a chef and judge of a popular TV cooking competition, Chris is returning to his native Scotland to open his own restaurant. Although the storms have cleared after their intense and rocky breakup, Susan and Chris are re-drawn into each other’s orbit – and their simmering attraction inevitably boils over. As Chris’s restaurant opens to great acclaim and Susan tries to haul Elliot’s back from the brink, the future brims with new promise. But darkness looms as they find themselves in the crosshairs of a gossip blogger eager for a juicy story – and willing to do anything to get it. Can Susan and Chris reclaim their lost love, or will the tangled past ruin their last hope for happiness?
The Ex Boyfriend by Rona Halsall
He promised to love her until her dying day…
When Becca’s first love shows up on her social media feed, she can’t help but smile fondly. Once upon a time Connor was the love of her life, and though it was over ten years ago, he’s always held a place in her heart.
Then he sends her a message. He sounds happy – still kind and funny, still living across the world in Australia. But he wants to know everything about her life now. How can Becca tell him the truth? About her workaholic husband, her stressful job, and the challenges of caring for her elderly father and her longed-for, adorable but exhausting three-year-old daughter Mia?
Becca hesitates, knowing she shouldn’t even reply. But Connor lives on the other side of the world. Just how dangerous can becoming friends again be?
It feels harmless. Until Mia gets sick – in a way that no one can explain. And it starts to become clear – someone will do absolutely anything to make sure Becca never escapes her past…
The Three Mrs. Wrights by Linda Keir
Mr. Wright has everything. All that’s left to give him is what he deserves.
Lark has good things coming: a career as a board-game designer and a whirlwind romance with a handsome investor. Trip is so compassionate and supportive, he’s almost too good to be true.
Jessica has always been cautious, but she can’t resist Jonathan. The brilliant TED-talking visionary has big plans for his inspiring medical start-up. Now Jessica is invited to be part of the team—and to partner with the founder outside the office.
Holly has settled into a comfortable life with Jack, her husband of nearly twenty years. They’ve raised three children, they own a beautiful home, and they’ve founded a worthy charity. She’s proud of building a marriage that has endured—she just doesn’t want to look too closely at the cracks.
Lark, Jessica, and Holly are three strangers with so much in common it hurts. Their one and only is one and the same.
The charming Mr. Wright’s serial lies are about to catch up with him…
Toward That Which is Beautiful by Marian O’Shea Wernicke
On an ordinary day in June of 1964 in a small town in the Altiplano of Peru, Sister Mary Katherine (formerly known as Kate), a young American nun recently arrived in this very foreign place, walks away from her convent with no money and no destination. Desperate and afraid of her feelings for an Irish priest with whom she has been working, she spends eight days on the run, encountering a variety of characters along the way: a cynical Englishman who helps her out; a suspicious Peruvian police officer who takes her in for questioning; and two American Peace Corps workers who befriend her. As Kate traverses this dangerous physical journey through Peru, she also embarks upon an interior journey of self-discovery—one that leads her somewhere she never could have expected.
Seven by Farzana Doctor
When Sharifa accompanies her husband on a marriage-saving trip to India in 2016, she thinks that she’s going to research her great-great-grandfather, a wealthy business leader and philanthropist. What captures her imagination is not his rags-to-riches story, but the mystery of his four wives, missing from the family lore. She ends up excavating much more than she had imagined.
Sharifa’s trip coincides with a time of unrest within her insular and conservative religious community, and there is no escaping its politics. A group of feminists is speaking out against khatna, an age-old ritual they insist is female genital cutting. Sharifa’s two favourite cousins are on opposite sides of the debate and she seeks a middle ground. As the issue heats up, Sharifa discovers an unexpected truth and is forced to take a position.
Every Missing Thing by Martyn Ford
One family. Two missing children. A lifetime of secrets.
Ten-year-old Ethan Clarke’s disappearance gripped the nation. Just as his parents are starting to piece together a life ‘after Ethan’, their world is ripped apart once more when their daughter, Robin, disappears in almost identical circumstances. They’ve lost two children within a decade … and now doubts about their innocence are setting in.
Detective Sam Maguire’s obsession with the first case cost him his own family, but he has unfinished business with the Clarkes. He is convinced that discovering what happened to Ethan holds the key to finding Robin. But what if the Clarkes know more than they’re letting on?
With the world watching eagerly, the clock is ticking for Sam as he embarks on an investigation that forces him to confront his own demons. To uncover the truth, he must follow a trail of devastating deception—but the truth always comes at a cost …
So that’s it for another week, I suspect there’ll inevitably be several that fall through the net, but never mind, there’s still plenty to choose from.