Coming this week – my pick of the new fiction titles to 15th November 2020

Many of you will have spotted that there is a new online bookshop on the block. Bookshop.org went live last Monday with a mission to support independent local bookshops. It’s not a substitute for buying from your own local independent, depending on where you live that can currently be via ‘real’ shopping, click & collect or online. However, for people like me who don’t live near an independent bookshop this looks like a great deal for book buyers wanting to move away from Amazon and a great deal for those independent bookshops that are part of the scheme. You can find more details here.

The reason for mentioning this here is that you will notice there is a new purchasing link on this post. I am now using purchase links for Bookshop, Hive Books and Amazon (Kindle). I now have an affiliate page on the Bookshop website so that going forward you can also go there to find all the books featured in my posts. or click on the Bookshop logo on the righthand panel.

So grab a cuppa, here’s this week’s temptation list!

Three Women and a Boat by Anne Youngson

Meet Eve, who has departed from her thirty-year career to become a Free Spirit; Sally, who has waved goodbye to her indifferent husband and two grown-up children; and Anastasia: defiantly independent narrowboat-dweller, suddenly vulnerable as she awaits a life-saving operation.

Inexperienced and ill-equipped, Sally and Eve embark upon a journey through the canals of England, guided by the remote and unsympathetic Anastasia. As they glide gently – and not so gently – through the countryside, the eccentricities and challenges of canalboat life draw them inexorably together, and a tender and unforgettable story unfolds.

Disarmingly truthful and narrated with a rare, surprising wit, THREE WOMEN AND A BOAT is a journey over the glorious waterways of England and into the unfathomable depths of the human heart.


Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner
Murder On Mustique: from the author of the Sunday Times bestselling memoir Lady in Waiting by [Anne Glenconner]

A storm. A disappearance. A race against time . . .

Mustique is in a state of breathless calm as tropical storm Cristobal edges towards it across the Atlantic. Most villa owners have escaped the island but a few young socialites remain, unwilling to let summer’s partying end. American heiress Amanda Fortini is one such thrill-seeker – until she heads out for a morning swim and doesn’t return.

Detective Sergeant Solomon Nile is just 28 years old and the island’s only fully trained police officer. He quickly realises he needs to contact Lord and Lady Blake, who bought the island decades ago and have invested time, money and love creating a paradise. Jasper is in St Lucia designing a new village of luxury villas but Lady Veronica (Vee to her friends) catches a plane immediately. Her beloved god-daughter, Lily, is on the island and this disappearance has alarming echoes of what happened to Lily’s mother many years ago. Lady Vee would never desert a friend in need, and she can keep a cool head in a crisis.

When Amanda’s body is found, a murder investigation begins. Nile knows the killer must be an islander because flights and ferry crossings have stopped due to the storm warning, but the local community isn’t co-operating. And then the storm hits, and someone else disappears . . .


Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood
Fortune Favours the Dead: The Extremely Entertaining 2020 Radio 2 Book Club Pick (Pentecost and Parker) by [Stephen Spotswood]

New York, 1946. Lillian Pentecost is the most successful private detective in the city, but her health is failing. She hires an assistant to help with the investigative legwork. Willowjean Parker is a circus runaway. Quick-witted and street-smart, she’s a jack-of-all-trades with a unique skill-set. She can pick locks blindfolded, wrestle men twice her size, and throw knives with deadly precision – all of which come in handy working for Ms P.

When wealthy young widow Abigail Collins is murdered and the police are making no progress, Pentecost and Parker are hired by the family to track down the culprit. On Halloween night, there was a costume party at the Collins’ mansion, where a fortune teller performed a séance which greatly disturbed Abigail. Several hours later her body was discovered bludgeoned to death in her late husband’s office. Problem is, the door to the office was locked from the inside. There was no-one else in the room, and the murder weapon was beside the victim; the fortune teller’s crystal ball.

It looks like an impossible crime, but Pentecost and Parker know there is no such thing…


These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
These Violent Delights by [Chloe Gong]

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang-a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love . . . and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns-and grudges-aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.


The Life I Was Meant to Live by Julien Sandrel

The uplifting novel of second chances, family secrets and the pursuit of happiness from the bestselling author of The Book of Wonders.

Thirty-nine-year-old Romane is a doctor and hypochondriac.
 Her usually uneventful life changes when one of her patients insists that she saw Romane coming out of a hospital in Marseille, looking very ill. But Romane is perfectly healthy and has never stepped foot in Marseille. So who did her patient see?

Romane sets off for the south of France, determined to uncover the mystery of her lookalike. Her investigation leads her to Juliette, a bookseller in Avignon. When the two women meet it soon becomes clear they are twins. But how is it possible that neither of them knew of each other’s existence? What secrets have their families been keeping? On their search for the truth the two sisters embark on an astonishing journey filled with both pain and joy…


What My Sister Knew by Nina Laurin
What My Sister Knew: A twisty and gripping psychological thriller by [Nina Laurin]

“…currently wanted by the police. If you know anything about the suspect’s whereabouts, please call…”

I look up at the TV screen, and my twin brother’s face is splashed across it, life-size.

It’s a shock that makes my breath catch. This is my brother as an adult, my brother who I last saw fifteen years ago after the fire that killed our parents, covered in soot, clutching a lighter in his hand, his knuckles stark white against the dirt and ash.

Everyone always said he’d grow up to be a heartbreaker. But his face has gone gaunt instead. The stubble on his cheeks and chin is patchy, and his eyes look dull and dark.

My first thought is that it’s not him. Not my beautiful brother, the golden boy who everyone loved. Yet, deep down, I’ve always known this would eventually happen.

What did you do this time, Eli? What the hell did you do?


The Embalmer by Alison Belsham
The Embalmer: A gripping new thriller from the international bestseller (Mullins & Sullivan 3) by [Alison Belsham]

Has the ancient Egyptian cult of immortality resurfaced in Brighton?

When a freshly-mummified body is discovered at the Brighton Museum of Natural History, Detective Francis Sullivan is at a loss to identify the desiccated woman. But as Egyptian burial jars of body parts with cryptic messages attached start appearing, he realises he has a serial killer on his hands. Revenge, obsession and an ancient religion form a potent mix, unleashing a wave of terror throughout the city. Caught in a race against time while battling his own demons, Francis must fight to uncover the true identity of the Embalmer before it’s too late…


Grey Bees by Andrev Kurkov
Grey Bees by [Andrey Kurkov, Boris Dralyuk]

Little Starhorodivka, a village of three streets, lies in Ukraine’s Grey Zone, the no-man’s-land between loyalist and separatist forces. Thanks to the lukewarm war of sporadic violence and constant propaganda that has been dragging on for years, only two residents remain: retired safety inspector turned beekeeper Sergey Sergeyich and Pashka, a “frenemy” from his schooldays.

With little food and no electricity, under ever-present threat of bombardment, Sergeyich’s one remaining pleasure is his bees. As spring approaches, he knows he must take them far from the Grey Zone so they can collect their pollen in peace. This simple mission on their behalf introduces him to combatants and civilians on both sides of the battle lines: loyalists, separatists, Russian occupiers and Crimean Tatars. Wherever he goes, Sergeyich’s childlike simplicity and strong moral compass disarm everyone he meets.

But could these qualities be manipulated to serve an unworthy cause, spelling disaster for him, his bees and his country?


Dog Island by Philipe Claudel

The Dog Islands are a small, isolated cluster of islands in the Mediterranean – so called because together, when viewed from above, they form the shape of a dog, twisting and baring its teeth against a brilliant blue sea. One of the only inhabited islands (the one that takes the place of one of the dog’s teeth) is dominated by a gently smoking volcano, fringed by black volcanic beaches and under the iron rule of the heads of community who are loath to let any outside influence disrupt the quiet way of life on the island.

Then one morning, an old woman comes across three bodies that have washed up with the tide: three young black men, who have apparently drowned in their attempt to cross the sea. The initial reaction of the island community is that this tragedy must be covered up, lest any association with the drownings damages the island’s tourism industry . . .

But the island’s deliberate isolation from the realities of the world cannot last for long, and when a visiting detective arrives on the island and starts asking awkward questions, it becomes clear that the deaths of these three men indicate something far more sinister and deeply rotten lying at the heart of this godforsaken fragment of sea-bound land.


Shallow Ground by Andy Maslen
Shallow Ground (Detective Ford Book 1) by [Andy Maslen]

Detective Ford has a cold-blooded killer to catch. But can he escape his own dark secrets?

Barely a month since his promotion to Inspector, DI Ford is called in to investigate the murder of a young nurse and her son in a small flat in Salisbury. There are few clues, and no apparent motive, but Ford can sense that there’s a serial killer at work. After all, he knows from brutal personal experience how killers cover their tracks…

It’s been six years since Ford lost his wife in a climbing accident—an accident he caused. He is desperate to keep the truth hidden, especially from his son, Sam. But Ford’s new partner, Dr Hannah Fellowes, is a crime scene investigator with a ruthlessly analytical mind, and as they work together to track down the killer, his crippling guilt is compounded by fear of exposure.

When instinct leads him towards a high-profile suspect, his superiors’ warnings just make him more determined to connect impulse and fact. But can Ford hold it all together—the case, his life—long enough to stop the killer?


Fortune and Glory by Janet Evanovich
Fortune and Glory: The new action-packed thriller from New York Times bestseller Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum 27) by [Janet Evanovich]

When Stephanie’s beloved Grandma Mazur’s new husband died on their wedding night, the only thing he left her was a beat-up old easy chair… and the keys to a life-changing fortune.

But as Stephanie and Grandma Mazur search for Jimmy Rosolli’s treasure, they discover that they’re not the only ones on the hunt. Two dangerous enemies from the past stand in their way-along with a new adversary who’s even more formidable: Gabriela Rose, a dark-eyed beauty from Little Havana with a taste for designer clothes. She’s also a soldier of fortune, a gourmet cook, an expert in firearms and mixed martial arts-and someone who’s about to give Stephanie a real run for her money.

Stephanie may be in over her head, but she’s got two things that Gabriela doesn’t: an unbreakable bond with her family and a stubborn streak that will never let her quit.

She’ll need both to survive because this search for “fortune and glory” will turn into a desperate race against time with more on the line than ever before. Because even as she searches for the treasure and fights to protect her Grandma Mazur, her own deepest feelings will be tested-as Stephanie could finally be forced to choose between Joe Morelli and Ranger.


One by One by Ruth Ware
One by One by [Ruth Ware]

Snow is falling in the exclusive alpine ski resort of Saint Antoine, as the shareholders and directors of Snoop, the hottest new music app, gather for a make or break corporate retreat to decide the future of the company. At stake is a billion-dollar dot com buyout that could make them all millionaires, or leave some of them out in the cold.

The clock is ticking on the offer, and with the group irrevocably split, tensions are running high. When an avalanche cuts the chalet off from help, and one board member goes missing in the snow, the group is forced to ask – would someone resort to murder, to get what they want?


Deadly Cry by Angela Marsons
Deadly Cry: An absolutely gripping crime thriller packed with suspense (Detective Kim Stone Crime Thiller Book 13) by [Angela  Marsons]

In a busy shopping centre, a little girl clutches a teddy bear, clinging to it in the absence of her mother, Katrina. Hours later, Katrina’s body is discovered in an abandoned building. For Detective Kim Stone, it looks like a quick, functional kill. But Kim’s instincts tell her there’s more to this senseless murder than meets the eye. What was the motive for killing a young mother out shopping with her child?

Days later, a second victim is found in a local park, her neck broken just like Katrina’s and her six-year-old son missing.

With her colleague, Detective Stacey Wood, working on another unsolved crime and a member of the team grieving the loss of a close relative, Kim is struggling to make inroads on what is fast becoming a complex case. And when a handwritten letter from the killer lands on Kim’s desk addressed to her, and pleading for help, she knows time is running out to bring the little boy home alive.

With the support of a handwriting analyst and profiler, Kim and the team begin to get inside the mind of the killer and make a shocking discovery.

Some of the victims have scratch marks on their wrists.

But these are no random scratches. The killer is using them to communicate with someone. The question is… with whom?

And if Kim doesn’t find them soon, another innocent soul will die.


The Push by Claire McGowan
The Push by [Claire McGowan]

The party should have been perfect: six couples from the same baby group, six newborns, a luxurious house. But not everything has gone to plan, and while some are here to celebrate, others have sorrows to drown. When someone falls from the balcony of the house, the secrets and conflicts within the group begin to spill out …

DS Alison Hegarty, herself struggling with infertility, is called in to investigate. She’s convinced the fall was not an accident, and finds the new parents have a lot to hide. Wealthy Ed and Monica show off their newborn while their teenage daughter is kept under virtual house arrest. Hazel and Cathy conceived their longed-for baby via an anonymous sperm donor—or so Hazel thinks. Anita and Jeremy planned to adopt from America, but there’s no sign of the child. Kelly, whose violent boyfriend disrupted previous group sessions, came to the party even though she lost her baby. And then there’s Jax, who’s been experiencing strange incidents for months—almost like someone’s out to get her. Is it just a difficult pregnancy? Or could it be payback for something she did in the past?

It’s a nightmare of a case, and as events get even darker it begins to look impossible. Only one thing is clear: they all have something to hide. And for one of them, it’s murder.


Forgive Me by Susan Lewis
Forgive Me: the gripping new emotional novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author by [Susan Lewis]

I can’t forgive myself. Not after what I did.  Could you?

 
This is Claudia Winters’s last chance for a fresh start. Changing her name and leaving her old life behind, she has fled to the small town of Kesterly with her mother and daughter. Here, she hopes they can be safe for the first time in years.

But the past can’t stay hidden forever. And even as Claudia makes new friends and builds a new life, she can’t help feeling it’s all about to catch up with her… Until one disastrous night changes everything forever.


Just Between Friends by Rosie Nixon
Just Between Friends: Page-turning fiction to curl up with in winter 2020 by [Rosie Nixon]

Aisha Moore is eight months pregnant. She’s thrilled, and a little scared. Not least because her husband Jason hasn’t quite wrapped his head around the fact.

Lucy is having her first child too. She has finally got her wish – although the circumstances aren’t quite what she had hoped. Oscar will be a great dad though, won’t he?

When the two women join the same baby group, they quickly become friends and before long they’re confiding in each other.

Only there’s one thing Lucy hasn’t told Aisha. And while a baby may turn your life upside-down, a secret this big will change everything.


Once Upon a Lie by Lisa Ballantyne
Once Upon a Lie: From the No. 1 bestselling author by [Lisa Ballantyne]

The truth can hurt

But a lie can kill . . .

Clare and Lorraine have been friends since college and trust each other with their lives. So when Lorraine, a single mother, needs a much-needed night away without her children, she calls on Clare and her husband Sam to look after them. They’re godparents – what could go wrong?

While Clare and Sam believe the children to be asleep, the unimaginable happens and Clare finds baby Theo lifeless in his room. The police are called. Statements are taken. But the biggest nightmare for any parent is about to spiral out of control. Because a lie has been told. An enormous and terrible one.

Out of Clare, Sam and Lorraine, one of them isn’t telling the truth . . .


Olga by Bernhard Schlink
Olga by [Bernhard Schlink, Charlotte Collins]

Olga is an orphan raised by her grandmother in a Prussian village around the turn of the 20th century. Smart and precocious, she fights against the prejudices of the time to find her place in a world that sees her as second-best.

When she falls in love with Herbert, a local aristocrat obsessed with the era’s dreams of power, glory and greatness, her life is irremediably changed.

Theirs is a love against all odds, entwined with the twisting paths of German history, leading us from the late 19th to the early 21st century, from Germany to Africa and the Arctic, from the Baltic Sea to the German south-west.

This is the story of that love, of Olga’s devotion to a restless man – told in thought, letters and in a fateful moment of great rebellion.


The Game by Luca Veste
The Game by [Luca Veste]

An edge-of-your-seat thriller that merges the twists of a psychological-mystery with the investigative layers of a procedural . . .

THEY KNOW WHAT YOU DID
You receive a call, an email, a text – someone knows your secret and they want to ruin you.

AND THEY’RE OUT FOR BLOOD
If you don’t do what they say, they’ll tell everyone what you’ve been hiding.
They will come after you, destroy you, and they aren’t afraid to kill.

IT’S TIME TO PLAY THE GAME


The Forgotten Gift by Kathleen McGurl
The Forgotten Gift: Gripping and unputdownable historical fiction with a mystery to uncover by [Kathleen McGurl]

What would you do to protect the ones you love?

1861. George’s life changes forever the day he meets Lucy. She’s beautiful and charming, and he sees a future with her that his position as the second son in a wealthy family has never offered him. But when Lucy dies in a suspected poisoning days after rejecting George, he finds himself swept up into a murder investigation. George loved Lucy; he would never have harmed her. So who did?

Now. On the surface Cassie is happy with her life: a secure job, good friends, and a loving family. When a mysterious gift in a long-forgotten will leads her to a dark secret in her family’s history she’s desperate to learn more. But the secrets in Cassie’s family aren’t all hidden in the past, and her research will soon lead her to a revelation much closer to home – and which will turn everything she knows on its head…


The Silent Daughter by Kirsty Ferguson
The Silent Daughter: An unforgettable, heart-stopping page-turner that you won't be able to put down in 2020 by [Kirsty Ferguson]

Secrets can kill and Danni Brooks knows that better than anyone.

When her husband and two of her three children perish in a devastating house fire, Danni is sure it is arson. She’s even more sure that her and her eldest daughter Mia were meant to die in the fire too. But they are just a normal family. Who would want them dead? 

Mia doesn’t talk. She can’t. She is locked in her own world where no one, not even her mother can reach her. 

Desperate for answers, and convinced the truth might help her to reach her daughter, Danni tries to piece together the events leading up to that murderous night and uncover the arsonist. But with so many lies to untangle, what is the truth?


The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly
The Law of Innocence: The Brand New Lincoln Lawyer Thriller (Mickey Haller Series Book 23) by [Michael Connelly]

THE MOST IMPORTANT CASE OF HIS LIFE.
ONLY THIS TIME THE DEFENDANT IS HIMSELF.

The law of innocence is unwritten. It will not be found in a leather-bound code book. It will never be argued in a courtroom. In nature, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the law of innocence, for every man not guilty of a crime there is a man out there who is. And to prove true innocence the guilty man must be found and exposed to the world.

Heading home after winning his latest case, defense attorney Mickey Haller – The Lincoln Lawyer – is pulled over by the police. They open the trunk of his car to find the body of a former client.

Haller knows the law inside out. He will be charged with murder. He will have to build his case from behind bars. And the trial will be the trial of his life.

Because Mickey Haller will defend himself in court.

With watertight evidence stacked against him, Haller will need every trick in the book to prove he was framed.

But a not-guilty verdict isn’t enough. In order to truly walk free, Haller knows he must find the real killer – that is the law of innocence…


Little Threats by Emily Schultz
Little Threats by [Emily Schultz]

Both a taut whodunit and a haunting snapshot of the effects of a violent crime, Little Threats tells the story of a woman who served fifteen years in prison for murder…and now it’s time to find out if she’s guilty.

In the summer of 1993, twin sisters Kennedy and Carter Wynn are embracing the grunge era and testing every limit in their privileged Richmond suburb. But Kennedy’s teenage rebellion goes too far when, after a night of partying in the woods, her best friend, Haley, is murdered, and suspicion quickly falls upon Kennedy. She can’t remember anything about the night in question, and this, along with the damning testimony from a college boy who both Kennedy and Haley loved, is enough to force Kennedy to enter a guilty plea.

In 2008, Kennedy is released into a world that has moved on without her. Carter has grown distant as she questions Kennedy’s innocence, and begins a relationship with someone who could drive the sisters apart forever. The twins’ father, Gerry, is eager to protect the family’s secrets and fragile bonds. But Kennedy’s return brings the tragedy back to the surface, along with a whole new wave of media. When a crime show host comes to town asking questions, believing the murder wasn’t as simple as it seemed, murky memories of Haley’s death come to light. As new suspects emerge and the suburban woods finally give up their secrets, two families may be destroyed again.


The First Time We Met by Jo Lovett
The First Time We Met: An utterly heart-warming and unforgettable love story by [Jo Lovett]

What if you met The One on his wedding day?

Izzy doesn’t believe in love at first sight, but when Sam walks into the cafe where she works one winter’s morning, she knows without a doubt that he’s The One. Too bad Sam’s getting married. Today.

Nearly a year later, Izzy still can’t stop thinking about Sam, the one that got away, but she knows it’s time to move on: he’s a married man and probably wouldn’t recognise her if he passed her on the street.

But Sam has never forgotten Izzy, the funny, gorgeous woman who asked him out on his wedding day. If the timing had only been better, he knows they could have had something wonderful.

When Izzy and Sam’s paths finally cross again, everything has changed. But with the Atlantic Ocean and decades of baggage between them, they are about to find out whether some obstacles are too big for even true love to overcome.


The Snow Song by Sally Gardner
The Snow Song: The spellbinding fable and magical love story, perfect for Christmas 2020! by [Sally Gardner]

Women imprisoned by superstition, chained by guilt.
 
Perched on a mountain in a land of ancient forests is a village, rife with secrets. Cut off from the outside world it is run by the elders, men to whom tradition is all.

Edith lives alone with her alcoholic father who is forcing her to marry the village butcher. But she is in love with a shepherd who promised to return to her.

As the village becomes isolated in a sea of snow, Edith loses her power of speech. And it is this enchantment that will have far-reaching consequences, not only for Edith but for the whole village.


Silent Night by Nell Pattison
Silent Night: A gripping, chilling murder mystery set in the deaf community (Paige Northwood Book 2) by [Nell Pattison]

What happened while they were sleeping?

A school for the deaf takes an overnight trip to the snowy woods. Five teenagers go to sleep, but only four wake up. Leon is missing, and a teacher’s body is found in the forest…

Sign language interpreter Paige Northwood is brought in to help with interrogations. Everyone at the school has a motive for murder – but they all have an alibi.  

As Paige becomes increasingly involved, she suspects there’s something sinister going on. With the clock ticking to find Leon, only one thing is certain: the killer is among them, and ready to strike again…


Cobble Hill by Cecily Ziegesar
Cobble Hill: A fresh, funny page-turning autumn read from the bestselling author of Gossip Girl by [Cecily von Ziegesar]

In the eclectic Brooklyn neighbourhood of Cobble Hill, the lives of four married couples and their children are about to flip from complicated to combustible…

Mandy is so underwhelmed by motherhood that she’s faking a debilitating disease to get the attention of her ex-boyband celebrity husband Stuart. There’s the unconventional new school nurse, Peaches, who Stuart secretly has a crush on, and her disappointing husband Greg, who wears noise-cancelling headphones – everywhere.

A few streets away, Roy, a well-known British novelist, has lost his way with his next novel – and his marriage to Wendy, who knows exactly where she’s going. Around the corner, Tupper struggles to salvage his career and to pin down his elusive artist wife Elizabeth. She remains…elusive.

Throw in two hormonal teenagers, a ten-year-old pyromaniac and a lot of hidden cameras, and Cobble Hill becomes an explosive mix of egos, desires and secrets.

Let the neighbours gossip… What’s the worst that can happen?


I think that’s enough for this week.

Happy Reading!!

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