Published this week – my fiction picks to 23rd May

A nice quiet week this week, so your bank balances can breathe a sigh of relief, if only until next week!!

The index is a guide as to what format the title is being released in. In some cases the title might already have been published in a different format. For those readers interested in new audio editions I’ve indicated availability with the addition of a red button after the purchasing links – this makes it a bit easier to scan through and pick them up. The categories are intended to give you an indication of price and/or suitability depending on your preferred reading format. I have not complicated matters further by attempting to throw genres into the mix.

Where I’ve read the book, and would recommend it, I’ve added a new ‘Recommended’ button

(NB As an Amazon Associate, Bookshop and Hive Affiliate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases)

Index

Hardback releases

Hardback and eBook releases

Paperback releases

Paperback and eBook releases

eBook releases

Hardback & eBook releases

The Widower: He promised, until death do us part

The Widower by Christobel Kent

He promised, until death do us part.

When bossy, loving, sensible Kate dies suddenly, her little sister Rose dutifully returns from a carefree life abroad to help Kate’s widower and the two children Rose has never met. But she is unsettled to see no trace of her warm-hearted sister in the remote, dilapidated house, nor in Kate’s cold, distant partner, Evan.

After stumbling across a message that only her sister could have left for her, Rose’s unease around the circumstances of Kate’s death turns to open suspicion, but she knows better than to ask the grieving widower for answers.

Determined to discover the truth of her sister’s terrible last days, Rose has no choice but to keep looking. Eventually, she senses, the dark house will give up its secrets. But she is not prepared to admit that whoever threatened Kate’s life might now be coming after her…


The Hunting Wives

The Hunting Wives by May Cobb

The Hunting Wives share more than target practice, martinis, and bad behavior in this novel of obsession, seduction, and murder.

Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless.

Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.

When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.


Last Days in Cleaver Square Audible Audiobook

Last Days in Cleaver Square by Patrick McGrath

‘Let there be no more of this clucking and wheedling. Oh Pa, are you sure? Or: Oh Francis, is this really a good idea? Let me be clear. I am always sure, and it is always a good idea.’

An old man is sleeping fitfully. It’s too hot. The air is thick with Spanish Jasmine floating in from his overgrown garden. And he’s not sure whether he’ll be woken by General Franco sitting on the end of his bed.

It’s 1975 and Francis McNulty is nearing the end of his life but feeling far from peaceful. A veteran of the Spanish Civil War, he is tormented by grief and guilt about a brief, terrible act of betrayal from that time; and he’s started seeing his old nemesis on the street, in the garden and now in his bedroom. Neither he nor his daughter Gillian, who lives with him in Cleaver square, know what to do.

When Gillian announces her impending marriage to a senior civil servant, Francis realises that he must adapt to new circumstances – and that the time has come to confront his past once and for all.


A Bookshop in Algiers

A Bookshop in Algiers by Kaouther Adimi

‘If you’re in a bookshop browsing, then A Bookshop In Algiers is for you, by definition. A beautiful little novel about books, history, ambition and the importance of literature to everyone, especially people who are trying to find a voice.’ Nick Hornby

In 1936, a young dreamer named Edmond Charlot opened a modest bookshop in Algiers. Once the heart of Algerian cultural life, where Camus launched his first book and the Free French printed propaganda during the war, Charlot’s beloved bookshop has been closed for decades, living on as a government lending library. Now it is to be shuttered forever. But as a young man named Ryad empties it of its books, he begins to understand that a bookshop can be much more than just a shop that sells books.

A Bookshop in Algiers charts the changing fortunes of Charlot’s bookshop through the political drama of Algeria’s turbulent twentieth century of war, revolution and independence. It is a moving celebration of books, bookshops and of those who dare to dream.


Three Weddings and a Proposal: One summer, three weddings, and the shocking phone call that changes everything . . . by [Sheila O'Flanagan]

Three Weddings and a Proposal by Sheila O’Flanagan

At the first wedding, there‘s a shock

The second wedding is unexpected

By the third, Delphie thinks nothing could surprise her. But she’s wrong . . .

Delphie is enjoying her brother’s wedding. Her surprise last-minute Plus One has stunned her family – and it’s also stopped any of them asking again why she’s still single. But when she sees all the missed calls that evening, she knows it can’t be good news. And she’s right.

Delphie has been living her best life, loving her job, her friends, her no-strings relationships and her dream house by the sea. Now she has to question everything she believed about who she is and what she wants. Is her mum right – is it time to settle down? Or does she want to keep on trying to have it all?

Each wedding of a glorious summer brings a new surprise. And as everything Delphie thought she had is threatened, she has the chance to reshape her future . . .

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Paperback releases

Sponsored Ad – The Assistant

The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl

Oslo, 1938. War is in the air and Europe is in turmoil. Hitler’s Germany has occupied Austria and is threatening Czechoslovakia; there’s a civil war in Spain and Mussolini reigns in Italy.

When a woman turns up at the office of police-turned-private investigator Ludvig Paaske, he and his assistant – his one-time nemesis and former drug-smuggler Jack Rivers – begin a seemingly straightforward investigation into marital infidelity.

But all is not what it seems, and when Jack is accused of murder, the trail leads back to the 1920s, to prohibition-era Norway, to the smugglers, sex workers and hoodlums of his criminal past … and an extraordinary secret.

Both a fascinating portrait of Oslo’s interwar years, with Nazis operating secretly on Norwegian soil and militant socialists readying workers for war, The Assistant is also a stunningly sophisticated, tension-packed thriller – the darkest of hard-boiled Nordic Noir – from one of Norway’s most acclaimed crime writers.


Black River: 'A must read' Observer Thriller of the Month

Black River by Will Dean

FEAR

Tuva’s been living clean in southern Sweden for four months when she receives horrifying news. Her best friend Tammy Yamnim is missing.

SECRETS

Racing back to Gavrik at the height of Midsommar, Tuva fears for Tammy’s life. Who has taken her, and why? And who is sabotaging the small-town search efforts?

LIES

Surrounded by dark pine forest, the sinister residents of Snake River are suspicious of outsiders. Unfortunately, they also hold all the answers. On the shortest night of the year, Tuva must fight to save her friend. The only question is who will be there to save Tuva?


The Savage Instinct

The Savage Instinct by M M Deluca

readers riveted until the very last page. Booklist

Perfect for fans of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace and Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites, this taut psychological thriller offers a delicious take on deviant and defiant Victorian women in a time when marriage itself was its own prison.

England, 1873. Clara Blackstone has just been released after one year in a private asylum for the insane. Clara has two goals: to reunite with her husband, Henry, and to never–ever–return to the asylum. As she enters Durham, Clara finds her carriage surrounded by a mob gathered to witness the imprisonment of Mary Ann Cotton–England’s first female serial killer–accused of poisoning nearly twenty people, including her husbands and children.

Clara soon finds the oppressive confinement of her marriage no less terrifying than the white-tiled walls of Hoxton. And as she grows increasingly suspicious of Henry’s intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. Soon, Cotton is not just a notorious figure from the headlines, but an unlikely confidante, mentor–and perhaps accomplice–in Clara’s struggle to protect her money, her freedom and her life.


The Guardian of Amsterdam Street

The Guardian of Amsterdam Street by Sergio Schmucler

violence split his family apart. His hermitage is made easier by the peculiar design of the street. It is shaped like an ellipse — if you walk it, you will find yourself returning to the same place again and again.

Playing host to Jewish refugees, Spanish exiles, and Latin American revolutionaries, Amsterdam Street becomes the school at which Galo learns about a world he never sees, and the ideals and terrors that shape history. And from his chair in the garden of the home he will not leave, he begins to realize that Amsterdam Street, the site of endless returns, may be the true centre of the world. Appointing himself the street’s guardian, Galo witnesses the decades pass, knowing that everyone who walks away must one day come back.

A novel of rare humanity and grace, The Guardian of Amsterdam Street is a stunning portrait of a neighbourhood where the whole of the twentieth century comes alive and a moving inquiry into how we shape the world, and how it transforms us in turn.

Paperback & eBook releases

Emmet and Me

Emmet and Me by Sara Gethin

Summer 1966: When her father comes home with lipstick on his collar, ten-year-old Claire’s life is turned upside down. Her furious mother leaves the family and heads to London, and Claire and her brothers are packed off to Ireland, to their reclusive grandmother at her tiny cottage on the beautifully bleak coast of Connemara. A misfit among her new classmates, Claire finds it hard to make friends until she happens across a boy her own age from the school next door. He lives at the local orphanage, a notoriously harsh place. Amidst half-truths, lies and haunting family secrets, Claire forms a forbidden friendship with Emmet – a bond that will change both their lives forever.


Her Family Secret: An absolutely unputdownable emotional women’s fiction novel

Her Family Secret by Melissa Wiesner

The father you never knew, has left behind a heartbreaking secret…

June Westwood is devastated by the news the father she never met has died. Now the truth about why Jasper abandoned her as a child will be buried forever. Escaping to the secluded beach house she’s inherited, June hopes to spend time bonding with her two little daughters, away from her hectic job and failing marriage.

On the wild shores of the Pacific Northwest, her father’s hideaway leaves June breathless. But it’s his oil paintings decorating every wall that surprise her most. How could someone paint other people so beautifully, but reject those closest to him? And why is every drawer in her father’s workshop locked? June hopes her new neighbor—her father’s apprentice Caleb—will provide the answers. But Caleb won’t talk about the past.

Then, hidden in her father’s workshop, June discovers a box of newspaper clippings that reveal the shocking reason why her father left years ago—and uncovers Caleb’s own devastating secret…

When her old life comes calling, June has an impossible decision to make. Unsure what’s best for her girls, and if she can trust Caleb, will digging deeper into her father’s dark past heal or destroy her precious family?


Sponsored Ad – Syn (The Merseyside Crime Series Book 2)

Syn by Malcolm Hollingdrake

Retribution and Time

An everyday Friday night out. A few too many drinks.

A few harsh words said. No one was hurt.

All easily forgotten.

Both can heal

Except he didn’t forget. Their threats. How they made him feel

They must pay – with their lives.

But one will always leave a scar…

A young woman goes missing. She’s done it before, but Detective Inspector April Decent senses this time it’s serious. Can she convince her colleagues she’s right before it’s too late?


The Marriage: An absolutely jaw-dropping psychological thriller by [K.L. Slater]

The Marriage by K L Slater

Ten years ago he killed my son. Today I married him.

Ten years ago my darling son Jesse was murdered and our perfect family was destroyed. My strong, handsome boy, so full of life, became a memory, a photo I carried with me everywhere.

But today I’m finally close to finding happiness again. My ash-blonde hair has been curled into ringlets. Carefully placed white flowers frame my delicate features. The small, drab chapel has been prettied up with white satin, and there are tiny red hearts scattered on the small table where I will soon sign the register with my new husband.

The man who killed my son.

My friends and family can’t understand it. My neighbours whisper in the street whenever I walk past. How can I love a man like Tom?

They don’t really know me at all…


Sponsored Ad – The Nurse: A gripping psychological thriller with a shocking twist

The Nurse by J A Corrigan

When you hear her story, will you believe her?

Rose Marlowe is a hard-working nurse, a loving wife, and a merciless killer. Or so she says. Despite her confession, it is hard to believe that this beautiful, kind woman could have killed her vulnerable patient in cold blood.

Down-on-his-luck true crime author, Theo Hazel, is convinced that there’s more to what happened than Rose is telling, and so decides to visit her behind bars to write her story. His first surprise comes when Rose reveals that the victim was not a stranger to her.

As time goes on, it seems that Rose is letting Theo see behind her perfect mask. With each new visit, he learns terrible new things about her heart-breaking past. With each new visit, he becomes more and more convinced that she can’t be a killer. But is he trying to free an innocent woman, or falling prey to a calculating murderer?


The Bonds of Blood (DI Dani Stephens Book 4) by [Rob Sinclair]

The Bonds of Blood by Rob Sinclair

One perfect family. One deadly secret. One killer on the loose.

Annie and Terry Eccles seemed to have it all, until one night they are brutally murdered in their bed.

Called in to head up the case, DI Dani Stephens delves into the couple’s past, quickly realising that beneath the comfortable veneer of this apparently golden family, lies uncomfortable truths.

But when Dani finds her own safety threatened, it becomes clear that someone wants those truths to remain hidden – whatever it takes…


The Playdate: An absolutely gripping and unputdownable psychological thriller

The Playdate by Victoria Jenkins

Arranging the playdate was easy. Child’s play. Preparing the house was more difficult. It was only now she realised how many photographs there were: the picture-perfect unit. Wife, husband, child. All of it a lie.

I made a new friend at playgroup today. She’s different from the other mothers. She feels like someone I can trust. Someone I can confide in.

But there are some things I can’t tell her. Things I can’t tell anyone.

Because I have a secret that no one else knows. One that still haunts my dreams, wakes me up in a cold sweat at night.

Even another mother would never understand. Unless, of course, she’s hiding something too…


This Other Island: A heartbreaking and powerful book club read about race, identity and family

This Other Island by Steffanie Edward

Things between me and Papa are so different to what me and Mum have. It’s been that way since the first day. An invisible bond. Papa was the one who never stopped encouraging me to strive for my goals. ‘Take every opportunity dis country give you, ich mwen,’ he’d always said…

When Yvette receives a call to say her estranged father Joe has been attacked in a seemingly random act of violence, she rushes to his side. She’d stayed with her mother after her parents separated, but never forgot her father’s kind and caring ways. Memories of his wide smile and loving embraces – so different to her mother Doli – have always sustained her.

But when she arrives, ready to make peace and help him in any way she can, she finds a man different to the larger-than-life father she remembers. Joe is fighting for his life, but is also haunted by memories of his past. He begs Yvette to help him find out the truth…

About the journey that brought him and a beautiful young woman called Doli together, as they both travelled – as part of the Windrush Generation, to start new lives in Britain. About the lives they left behind in St Lucia. And about a dark secret – one that he has carried with him since stepping off the ship that wet and chilly August day. That threatened his and Doli’s marriage from the very beginning…

Only Yvette can find out what really happened on that crossing. Because, for forty years, Joe has believed that he killed a man. A man who had had feelings for Doli too. And who – as Joe knows – might hold the key to Yvette’s own story…

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eBook releases

The Poison Keeper: An enthralling historical novel of Renaissance Italy

The Poison Keeper by Deborah Swift

Naples 1633

Aqua Tofana – One drop to heal. Three drops to kill.

Giulia Tofana longs for more responsibility in her mother’s apothecary business, but Mamma has always been secretive and refuses to tell her the hidden keys to her success. But the day Mamma is arrested for the poisoning of the powerful Duke de Verdi, Giulia is shocked to uncover the darker side of her trade.

Giulia must run for her life, and escapes to Naples, under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, to the home of her Aunt Isabetta, a famous courtesan. But when Giulia hears that her mother has been executed, and the cruel manner of her death, she swears she will wreak revenge on the Duke de Verdi.

The trouble is, Naples is in the grip of Domenico, the Duke’s brother, who controls the city with the ‘Camorra’, the mafia. Worse, her Aunt Isabetta, under his thrall, insists that she should be consort to him.

Based on the legendary life of Giulia Tofana, this is a story of hidden family secrets, and how courage and love can overcome vengeance.


The Stars We Share: A Novel

The Stars We Share by Rafe Posey

Set against the backdrop of World War II, a sweeping, atmospheric novel of sacrifice, ambition, and commitment, and the secrets we keep from the ones we love

It’s 1927 when Alec and June meet as children in a tranquil English village. Alec, an orphan, anchors himself in the night sky and longs for adventures. June memorizes maps and railway timetables, imagining a future bright with possibilities. 

As the years pass, their loves feels inevitable, but soon the Second World War separates them. Alec enlists as a Royal Air Force pilot flying daredevil fighter sorties at night; June finds her calling as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park, covert work that will mean keeping her contribution to the war effort a secret from Alec forever. Each is following a dream—but those dreams force them apart for years at a time.

Their postwar reunion is bittersweet: Alec, shot down and imprisoned in a series of POW camps, grapples with his injuries and the loss of his RAF career. June, on the other hand, has found her vocation and struggles to follow the expected path to domesticity, as much as she loves Alec. But Alec wants nothing more than to make a life and a family together.

With the war behind them, their scars—both visible and unseen—make them strangers to each other. Now each must decide how much to reveal to the other, which dreams can be sacrificed, and which secrets are too big to bear alone.

Spanning forty years and shifting from bustling Indian ports to vibrant gardens in Edinburgh to a horse farm in Kenya, The Stars We Share is a poignant, heart-wrenching novel about the decisions and concessions that make a life and a love worth having.


The First Day of Spring

The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker

‘So that was all it took,’ I thought. ‘That was all it took for me to feel like I had all the power in the world. One morning, one moment, one yellow-haired boy. It wasn’t so much after all.’

Chrissie knows how to steal sweets from the shop without getting caught, the best hiding place for hide-and-seek, the perfect wall for handstands.

Now she has a new secret. It gives her a fizzing, sherbet feeling in her belly. She doesn’t get to feel power like this at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer.

Fifteen years later, Julia is trying to mother her five-year-old daughter, Molly. She is always worried – about affording food and school shoes, about what the other mothers think of her. Most of all she worries that the social services are about to take Molly away.

That’s when the phone calls begin, which Julia is too afraid to answer, because it’s clear the caller knows the truth about what happened all those years ago.

And it’s time to face the truth: is forgiveness and redemption ever possible for someone who has killed?


The Old Ducks' Club: A laugh-out-loud, feel-good read for 2021

The Old Ducks’ Club by Maddie Please

Sophia Gregory has lost her sparkle…

Recently single and about to turn sixty, Sophia doesn’t recognise the old woman staring back at her in the mirror. How has life passed her by? A quiet holiday in beautiful Rhodes is the perfect chance for her to find herself.

Until she meets the Old Ducks!

Juliette, Kim and Anita are three friends who are determined not to grow old gracefully! Bold and brash, they are Sophia’s worse nightmare, until they make her an honorary member of The Old Ducks’ Club! Now dancing and drinking till dawn Sophia starts to shake off her stuffy old life and start living again!

And when she meets her gorgeous Greek neighbour, Theo, she thinks that maybe, if she’s just a little braver, she can learn to love again too…

It’s never too late to teach an Old Duck new tricks!


The Frozen Girl by Roberta Gately

The young woman’s mouth is slightly parted, as if waiting to speak. Her body is frozen in ice and her blue eyes stare at the sky, perhaps wanting to look at the stars one last time…

When the body of a woman is found in the frozen Neponset River, just where it meets the sea, Jessie Novak and her partner Detective Sam Dallas rush to the scene. When Jessie sees a flash of a familiar silk scarf, she’s shocked to realize the woman in the ice is Sheila Logan, who she worked closely with for years at Boston City Hospital. Jessie desperately wants to find out how this young and talented nurse ended up an innocent victim.

But who would want to kill her? As she digs into Sheila’s past, Jessie realizes she was having an affair with a colleague and may even have been pregnant. Was her lover unwilling to be a father to her child? The pain of Sheila’s death threatens to tear open Jessie’s old wounds—Jessie’s own mother walked out on her when she was just a baby and never looked back. She can’t change her own past, but she’s determined to get justice for Sheila.

When Jessie uncovers a cold case, another dedicated nurse strangled with a scarf and thrown into a river, Jessie sees a lethal pattern forming. Next, someone tries to steal Jessie’s bag at gunpoint, and she knows she’s being warned off the case. But with the killer in her sights, will she take the deadliest risk of her life? Can Jessie catch him, before he catches up to her?


Local Woman Missing: A gripping thriller with a jaw-dropping twist from the New York Times bestselling author

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

You’ll never find her. Don’t even try.

When a local mother and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, suddenly vanish, their close-knit suburban community is rocked by fear and suspicion. How could such a terrible thing have happened in their small town?

Then, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly reappears. Everyone wants to know what really happened to her. But there are secrets hidden deep in the past – and when the truth about those missing years begins to surface, no one is prepared for what they’re about to find out.


No Going Back (The Kent Fisher Murder Mysteries Book 7)

No Going Back by Robert Crouch

When journalist Harry Lawson is pulled from a private swimming pool, his drowning looks like a tragic accident, but for one small detail – he knew someone was going to kill him.

The three text messages he fired off to an old flame the night before confirm he’s a troubled man. But former friend and sleuth, Kent Fisher, believes the messages hint at something deeper and more sinister – an investigation that cost Harry his life.

When a second reporter dies, it’s clear there’s a killer with unfinished business. As Kent inches towards a breakthrough he clashes with close friend Detective Inspector Ashley Goodman. She instructs him to stop investigating, knowing full well he won’t.

For Kent there’s no going back. He has to finish what he started, even though he risks losing a friend, and maybe his own life.


Lost Souls: An utterly gripping 2021 crime thriller full of twists and turns! (Detective Gaby Darin, Book 4)

Lost Souls by Jenny O’Brien

A MISSING GIRL. A RACE AGAINST TIME.

Ten-year-old Elodie Fry vanishes overnight, along with a rucksack filled with her meagre belongings. Acting DI Gaby Darin and her team are fighting the clock to reunite Elodie with her distraught mother – but was Elodie kidnapped or did she run?

Later that day, a local undertaker uncovers a nasty surprise: the remains of an unidentified second adult among a late pensioner’s ashes. Torn between the two investigations, Gaby decides the gruesome discovery at the crematorium must wait – the team are desperate to find Elodie before they lose her trail.

But as she follows the evidence, Gaby realises the two cases have a sinister connection… and there’s a killer on the loose.

Can Gaby find the missing girl alive… or is she already too late?


A Secret Scottish Escape: The most heartwarming and feel good read for women of 2021!

A Secret Scottish Escape by Julie Shackman

When Scotland’s sleepiest hamlet becomes the centre of hot gossip, Layla Devlin finds herself caught in a mystery…

When Layla’s fiancée has an unexpected heart attack and dies – in another woman’s arms, no less – Layla is determined to pack up and leave Loch Harris, the village she’s always called home. But an unexpected inheritance and love for her quiet corner of Scotland send her down a new path.

Now Layla finds herself facing a whole new kind of drama. Rumours swirl that a celebrity has moved into Coorie Cottage and Layla is determined to have him headline her opening night at local music venue The Conch Club. But the reclusive star is equally determined to thwart Layla’s efforts. Rafe Buchanan is in hiding for a reason, and soon his past comes to Loch Harris to haunt him…


Sponsored Ad – Girls Who Lie (Volume 2) (Forbidden Iceland)

Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir

When single mother Maríanna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, everyone assumes that she’s taken her own life … until her body is found on the Grábrók lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?
 
Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to a shocking tragedy.
 
Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the number of suspects grows and new light is shed on Maríanna’s past – and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others…

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OK folks, that’s it for another week, anything take your fancy?

See you – same time, same place next week.

Happy Reading!!

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