Many of the books this week seem quite murderous, but that’s largely because many of the ‘lighter’ books are Christmas books that have been covered off in the Christmas post. But it’s not gloom and doom so see what you fancy.
The Last Sailor by Sarah Anne Johnson
Cape Cod, 1898: All that Nathaniel Boyd wants is to be left alone. His hopes of marriage died years ago, not long after the storms and the seas and the sails took away his youngest brother. He’d rather be in the marshes of Cape Cod, with their predictable rhythms and no emotion. The Cape doesn’t blame him for the accident.
The other Boyd brother, Finn, dives headlong into his fish trading company, trying to prove something to himself. When their father asks the brothers to sail a schooner down from Boston to their harbor village, he didn’t expect them to bring back a young girl fleeing her home, much less a girl who slips off the boat and nearly drowns. The Boyd men take Rachel to the nearest home to the harbor—that of Nathaniel’s first love, Meredith.
As Rachel’s recovery brings Nathaniel back into Meredith’s world, nothing will be the same. And when their father dies and upends the world as they know it, Finn spins into a violent rage. Nathaniel will be forced to sail his own ship, taking command of his family and of his future.
Fallen Angel by Jenny O’Brien
She looked like she’d drifted off to sleep, curled up in her white dress, blonde hair floating in the breeze. They called it the Angel Murder.
Eighteen-year-old Angelica Brock is found dead at a local beauty spot, dressed in a pure white nightgown, her white-blonde hair arranged around her. For years her death is a mystery, her killer the one who got away for a whole generation of police.
For DS Gaby Darin, it’s not just any cold case – the victim is intimately linked to someone close to her, and emotions are high. But just as the team finds a breakthrough clue on Angelica’s nightdress, another case crashes into the station. Could they be linked? After all this time, can Gaby finally discover what really happened to Angelica?
The Lost Village by Daniela Sacerdoti
1945, Italy. Two sisters give birth to two little girls on the same night, huddled under blankets, deep in the black woods that surround the village of Bosconero. They hold their babies close as footsteps approach. If they make even the slightest sound, the German soldiers will find them…
1996. Luce Nardini searches the cobbled streets of a remote Italian village for a house with a faded blue door. Since her only child left home, and with her estranged husband more distant than ever, she’s been completely untethered. Discovering why her mother cut all contact with her family and the village she loved feels like Luce’s last hope at understanding who she is.
Inside the house, she’s relieved to find the grandmother she never knew living out her final days. With a longing look at an ornate wooden box on her nightstand, her grandmother is just beginning to tell the heart-wrenching story of a little village ravaged by war, and why Luce’s mother swore never to return, when then the unthinkable happens: an earth-shattering disaster that shakes the little village of Bosconero to its core.
Feeling more lost than ever before, Luce fears that the secrets of her past have been buried forever. Her only hope is to win back the trust of the small community and find her grandmother’s little wooden box amongst the rubble of the village.
But will the surprise arrival of the husband she thought she’d lost help sew Luce’s family back together, or tear it apart for good? And will anything have prepared her for the devastating betrayal she finds hidden inside the box…?
The Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood
Based on the unforgettable true story of Alma Rosé, The Violinist of Auschwitz brings to life one of history’s most fearless, inspiring and courageous heroines. Alma’s bravery saved countless lives, bringing hope to those who had forgotten its meaning…
In Auschwitz, every day is a fight for survival. Alma is inmate 50381, the number tattooed on her skin in pale blue ink. She is cooped up with thousands of others, torn from loved ones, trapped in a maze of barbed wire. Every day people disappear, never to be seen again.
This tragic reality couldn’t be further from Alma’s previous life. An esteemed violinist, her performances left her audiences spellbound. But when the Nazis descend on Europe, none of that can save her…
When the head of the women’s camp appoints Alma as the conductor of the orchestra, performing for prisoners trudging to work as well as the highest-ranking Nazis, Alma refuses: “they can kill me but they won’t make me play”. Yet she soon realizes the power this position offers: she can provide starving girls with extra rations and save many from the clutches of death.
This is how Alma meets Miklos, a talented pianist. Surrounded by despair, they find happiness in joint rehearsals, secret notes, and concerts they give side by side––all the while praying that this will one day end. But in Auschwitz, the very air is tainted with loss, and tragedy is the only certainty… In such a hopeless place, can their love survive?
Silence of the Bones by Adam J Wright
An unsolved case from DCI Battle’s past returns to haunt him when it seems that a killer from over a decade ago has struck again.
Daisy Riddle went missing 15 years ago and Battle failed to keep his promise to bring her home. Now, her dead, body has been discovered.
What happened to her, and where has she been all this time?
Battle must overcome his guilt in order to catch Daisy’s killer, a task that becomes desperate when another girl is taken.
Haunted Magpie by Anna Nicholas
Eccentric, headstrong and engaging, Isabel Flores Montserrat is a cross between a highly charged Precious Ramotswe (The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) & Phyrne Fisher (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries).
When 33-year-old Isabel Flores Montserrat quits a promising career with the Spanish police to run her mother’s holiday rentals agency in rural Mallorca, it seems that her crime-fighting days are far behind. Basking in the Mediterranean sunshine with pet ferret, Furo, she indulges her passion for local cuisine, swimming in the sea and raising her pampered hens. However, when a young florist goes missing, Isabel is once again seconded by the National Police to help solve the mystery. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing in her own village with a sinister spate of animal disappearances. When another islander vanishes, Isabel and the local police chief, Tolo Cabot, must hunt a potential serial killer using their unorthodox investigative skills. With the clock ticking, they urgently need to find answers and restore harmony to the island once more.
Madrid Again by Soledad Maura
A modern-day bildungsroman,featuring a young woman on a quest to discover her family history as she is torn between the US and Spain, the old world and the new.
Told with humor, candor, and grit, Madrid Again is a highly original novel, and an homage to the haunting power of history, and how it shapes the identity of two generations of women.
Madrid, 1960s. Odilia is a brilliant young student who seems to have it all until she is unexpectedly spirited away on an exciting journey across the Atlantic to the United States by a magnetic professor. But the professor disappears from Odilia’s life as mysteriously as he appeared. Left alone in a new country with a baby girl, Lola, Odilia must decide whether to strike out and raise her daughter alone, or return to her strict, upper-class Catholic family in Spain. Mother and daughter travel to Madrid as often as possible, but Odilia ultimately chooses a life of self-reliance in New England.
As Lola grows up, she feels torn between two countries, two cultures, and two languages. She becomes a historian and embarks on a quest to seek out the history of her origins. She wrestles with family secrets, as she struggles to answer questions about her own identity and future. How does she fit in to the United States, Spain, or anywhere else?
Out in the Cold by Stuart Johnstone
When you work in the police force, intuition is everything, and police sergeant Don Colyear has it in spades. It’s a gift that gets him into as much trouble as it gets him out of. After an incident makes remaining in Glasgow impossible, Don is sent to work in a remote Highlands town. He doesn’t want to be there and the feeling is mutual. His new Inspector wants him gone and the locals wonder why he’s even there. Still, Don makes a go of things, striking up a good working relationship with rookie officer Rowan Forbes.
As Don starts to investigate petty crimes, it soon becomes clear that there is something off about the town. A string of teenage disappearances have not been given due attention. Then there’s the gruesome murder of the groundsman of the local sporting estate. Why is the Inspector reluctant to properly investigate? Could the incidents be linked? As Don delves further into the town’s secrets, it’s not long until his own life is at risk.
Midnight Train to Prague by Carol Windley
The acclaimed author of Home Schooling returns with Midnight Train to Prague, a timeless tale of friendship, romance, betrayal, and survival that spans the turbulent decades of the twentieth century, through two world wars and between countries and continents. In 1927, as Natalia Faber travels from Berlin to Prague with her mother, their train is delayed in Saxon Switzerland. In the brief time the train is idle, Natalia learns the truth about her father–who she believed died during her infancy–and meets a remarkable woman named Dr. Magdalena Schaeffer, whose family will become a significant part of her future. Shaken by these events, Natalia arrives at a spa on the shore of Lake Heviz in Hungary. Here, she meets Count Miklos Andorjan, a journalist and adventurer. The following year, they will marry. Years later, Germany has invaded Russia. When Miklos fails to return from the eastern front, Natalia goes to Prague to wait for him. With a pack of tarot cards, she sets up shop as a fortune teller, and she meets Anna Schaeffer, the daughter of the woman she met decades earlier on that stalled train. The Nazis accuse Natalia of spying, and she is sent to a concentration camp. Though they are separated, her friendship with Anna grows as they fight to survive and to be reunited with their families.
Trust Me by Sheryl Browne
Emily and Jake are the perfect couple. Or so everyone says. But Emily just read a letter that has shattered her perfect world. Now she only has one thing on her mind… which one of her friends is sleeping with her husband?
Emily watches Jake as he makes small talk with their children, still the perfect man she married years ago. But when the phone rings and he answers before quickly putting it down again, she sees the look on her husband’s face – guilt. She knows the signs – after all, she’s been lying to him for years.
Working with Jake at the local doctor’s surgery, Emily starts to listen at closed doors and read things she shouldn’t, hoping to find the truth about her husband. Soon she learns that hers isn’t the only family telling lies to each other. Is there anyone Emily can trust? And who is behind the letter to Jake?
When a second letter, revealing a wife’s hidden pregnancy, is sent to the woman’s husband, it has disastrous consequences. And as more angry letters revealing people’s biggest secrets begin to appear, fingers point at Emily. After all, she’s the one with access to everyone’s private history, and she’s the one with a score to settle. Emily says she didn’t do it. But this isn’t the first time Emily has lied. What happens next will have you questioning everything…
You might have already decided that Emily is guilty, but as each twist is revealed, you’ll begin to doubt everyone in this quiet little town. This is a psychological thriller that will keep you up all night!
On the Wings of Hope by Ella Zeiss
As World War II draws to a close, can two young people find love, hope—and freedom?
February 1942: Terrifying reports of the Wehrmacht’s advance across the Soviet Union spread like wildfire, striking new fear into the already oppressed German families living there.
Harri Pfeiffer, now sixteen, is summoned to the forced labour camp in Chelyabinsk. With men around him dying by the hundreds, every day is a fight for survival in a world plagued with despair.
Three years later, with the war finally over, Yvo Scholz arrives in Chelyabinsk, desperate for news of her brother, who was also last seen being dispatched to the labour camp. Still uncertain of the fate of her father, it takes all Yvo’s unshakeable courage to build a new life for herself while she waits for hope to return.
When their paths intersect, Harri and Yvo find a connection they never thought possible. But faced with hostility and discrimination, do they dare to dream they will one day be free—together?
Cruelty Has a Human Heart by JE Mayhew
When a three-year-old girl goes missing in the sprawling Birkenhead Park, Blake has a puzzle on his hands. The child seemed to vanish into thin air and nobody saw anything, not even her nanny. A known paedophile is spotted in the area and the clock begins ticking as Blake tries to find the lost girl. The team uncover secret after secret as they investigate but Blake has got problems closer to home as his girlfriend’s past comes back to haunt her in a brutal and devastating way. When a key witness dies, Blake realises that a killer is on the loose. Can he find the child before another innocent life is taken?
Out for Blood by Deborah Masson
A young man, the son of an influential businessman, is discovered dead in his central Aberdeen apartment.
Hours later, a teenaged girl with no identification is found hanged in a suspected suicide.
As DI Eve Hunter and her team investigate the two cases, they find themselves in a tug-of-war between privilege and poverty; between the elite and those on the fringes of society.
Then an unexpected breakthrough leads them to the shocking conclusion: that those in power have been at the top for too long – and now, someone is going to desperate lengths to bring them down…
Can they stop someone who is dead set on revenge, no matter the cost?
Dark Highway by Lisa Gray
An isolated highway in the middle of the desert—the perfect place to hide a secret.
LA-based artist Laurie Simmonds disappeared two months ago, her campervan abandoned on the isolated Twentynine Palms Highway, miles from anything—or anyone. With the police investigation stalled, her parents put all their faith in private investigator Jessica Shaw to find out the truth of what happened.
Jessica and her partner Matt Connor discover that two other women are missing, their disappearances connected to the same highway. When a link emerges between these women and a group of former college friends, Jessica feels certain they’re closing in on their target.
But no sooner do they follow this up than Laurie’s parents get spooked and drop the case. Jessica is blindsided but determined not to give up: three women are missing, and many more may be at risk. She can’t turn her back on them. But the more she pulls at the threads of the truth, the closer she comes to danger. Can she find out who’s behind these crimes before they come for her?
Truth Games by Caroline England
She tries hard to be the perfect mother, the perfect partner, the perfect daughter – but Ellie never seems to get it right.
When an old friend from university re-enters their lives, dark memories from Ellie’s past begin to resurface.
As Ellie starts to unravel some shocking and sinister realities, she realises that she must choose between keeping the family she loves – and facing the truth.
The Night of the Fire by Kjell Eriksson
Police inspector Ann Lindell has left the Uppsala police and is living a quiet life, producing local cheese in a small town in Uppland. But life in the country is not as idyllic as it seems. On New Year’s Eve someone sets fire to the former village school which is now a home for asylum seekers, and three people are killed. Ann Lindell’s investigative instincts come back to life and soon she takes on the case. She is contacted by a person who has been involved in a previous investigation and who wants to warn her. His message is short and clear: Many will die. A few weeks later a bomb explodes in a suburb of Stockholm.
The German Nurse by MJ Hollows
A secret past. A forbidden love. A terrifying choice.
Her past could kill you.
Guernsey, 1940. As war storms through Europe, Churchill orders the evacuation of all military personnel from the island. Boats ferry soldiers and vulnerable young children to England, leaving their parents and loved ones behind to face the invading German army on their own.
Her love could save you.
One of the few remaining policemen on the island, Jack must protect not only his friends and family, but also the woman he loves: Johanna, a Jewish nurse from Germany, whose secret faith could prove fatal to them both.
Her fate is in your hands.
When the Nazis arrive, everything changes. Jack is forced to come to terms with the pain and loss of a world re-making itself around him. And then a list of Jews on the island is drawn up, and he must make an awful choice: write down Johanna’s name and condemn her, or resist and put his family in immediate danger…
A Million Aunties by Alecia McKenzie
After a personal tragedy upends his world, American-born artist Chris travels to his mother’s homeland in the Caribbean hoping to find some peace and tranquility. He plans to spend his time painting in solitude and coming to terms with his recent loss and his fractured relationship with his father. Instead, he discovers a new extended and complicated “family,” with their own startling stories, including a love triangle. The people he meets help him to heal, even as he supports them in unexpected ways, through his art.
Told from different points of view, this is a compelling novel about unlikely love, friendship, and community, with several surprises along the way. The story takes place against the backdrop of rural Jamaica, New York City, and Paris, France.
The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser
Set in a charming little Scottish town, The Bookshop of Second Chances is the most uplifting story you’ll read this Winter, by a hugely talented debut author.
Thea’s having a bad month. Not only has she been made redundant, she’s also discovered her husband of nearly twenty years is sleeping with one of her friends. And he’s not sorry – he’s leaving.
Bewildered and lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But, when she learns the great-uncle she barely knew has died and left her his huge collection of second-hand books and a house in the Scottish Lowlands, she seems to have been offered a second chance.
Running away to a little town where no one knows her seems like exactly what Thea needs. But when she meets the aristocratic Maltravers brothers – grumpy bookshop owner Edward and his estranged brother Charles, Lord Hollinshaw – her new life quickly becomes just as complicated as the life she was running from…
What My Husband Did by Kerry Wilkinson
A little girl has been left for dead. And now my husband is missing.
‘I can give you a lift home,’ the man says. Little Alice tightens the zip of her big red coat. She’s unsure, but the walk will be cold and dark. ‘I’m not supposed to get in a stranger’s car.’ He forces a smile. ‘I’m not a proper stranger, am I?’
I return home to our beautiful house on a chilly winter evening expecting to find my handsome husband Richard waiting for me by the fire. We’re still so in love, and he always takes care of me: buying us this home in the little village where he grew up, making sure I settled in and made friends, and treating my teenage daughter like his own. There’s a bit of gossip about our age gap, but the death of his first wife years ago was so tragic that he still gets sympathetic looks. Everyone loves Richard.
He usually comes straight back from work. But tonight, our antique clock ticks on through the dark evening, with no sign of him. Then a knock at the door shatters my perfect life. A 12-year-old-girl, Alice from the village, has been found unconscious in the field behind our house. They say she was last seen getting into Richard’s car.
Now rumours are flying. As Alice fights for her life in hospital, nobody will speak to me: and when they do it’s to ask if he didn’t hurt Alice, why hasn’t Richard come home?
I know that revealing my own darkest secret about Richard’s first wife could prove his innocence… but even if I do, he’s still missing. Is everyone right, and is my husband on the run? And will telling the truth about my past turn my own daughter against me, and tear our lives apart for good?