Here’s this week’s curated list of new fiction titles. A lot of crime and thriller titles this week so for those of us not able to make Harrogate this week for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – maybe we could just buy more books instead!
These are titles appearing in hardback/paperback for the first time. In some cases the ebook might already be available. All titles are based on the listings found in The Bookseller, so I’m not working from a list of all titles being published.
Just a reminder I don’t see any advance copies, my choices are based on the blurb, gut instinct and what I might happen to fancy reading at the time.
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Historical (I tend to take this as pre 1960’s ie not in my lifetime!)
Non-Fiction added extras
Crime, thriller & mystery
The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
‘Mum, there’s some people here from college, they asked me back to theirs. Just for an hour or so. Is that OK?’
Midsummer 2017: teenage mum Tallulah heads out on a date, leaving her baby son at home with her mother, Kim.
At 11 p.m. she sends her mum a text message. At 4.30 a.m. Kim awakens to discover that Tallulah has not come home.
Friends tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a pool party at a house in the woods nearby called Dark Place.
Tallulah never returns.
2018: walking in the woods behind the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started as a head teacher, Sophie sees a sign nailed to a fence.
A sign that says: DIG HERE . . .
Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham
My name is Alice. I’m a police officer.
I’m trying to solve a murder on a psychiatric ward.
But I’m also a patient…
They were meant to be safe on Fleet Ward: psychiatric patients monitored, treated, cared for. But now one of their number is found murdered, and the accusations begin to fly.
Was it one of his fellow patients? A member of staff? Or did someone come in from the outside?
DC Alice Armitage is methodical, tireless, and she’s quickly on the trail of the killer.
The only problem is, Alice is a patient too.
The Crooked Shore by Martin Edwards
‘Perhaps beneath the surface we’re all capable of cruelty.
Even if we don’t intend it.’
‘All right, you win. Let me explain why Ramona Smith had to die.’
DCI Hannah Scarlett is an acknowledged expert in solving cold cases, but she is struggling under the weight of bureaucracy when Ramona Smith’s disappearance from Bowness more than twenty years ago crosses her desk.
The prime suspect was charged but found not guilty. Now the case
comes back into the public eye as the result of a shocking tragedy on the
Crooked Shore, the fount of dark legends in the south of the Lake District.
Tensions mount in the summer heat as a ruthless killer who has already got away with one murder plans further appalling crimes. Hannah finds herself racing against the clock as she strives to solve the mysteries and save innocent lives.
London Bridge is Falling Down by Bryant & May
It was the kind of story that barely made the news.
When 91-year-old Amelia Hoffman died in her top-floor flat on a busy London road, it’s considered an example of what has gone wrong with modern society: she slipped through the cracks in a failing system.
But detectives Arthur Bryant and John May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit have their doubts. Mrs Hoffman was once a government security expert, even though no one can quite remember her. When a link emerges between the old lady and a diplomat trying to flee the country, it seems that an impossible murder has been committed.
Mrs Hoffman wasn’t the only one at risk. Bryant is convinced that other forgotten women with hidden talents are also in danger. And, curiously, they all own models of London Bridge.
With the help of some of their more certifiable informants, the detectives follow the strangest of clues in an investigation that will lead them through forgotten alleyways to the city’s oldest bridge in search of a desperate killer.
But just when the case appears to be solved, they discover that Mrs Hoffman was smarter than anyone imagined. There’s a bigger game afoot that could have terrible consequences.
It’s time to celebrate Bryant and May’s twentieth anniversary as their most lunatic case yet brings death and rebirth to London’s most peculiar crimes unit.
Into the Dark by Stuart Johnstone
The brutal murder of ten-year-old Callum Bradley sent shockwaves across Scotland but, as the weeks have stretched on with no solid leads, the investigation has been scaled back. Sergeant Don Colyear, Community Police Officer, is tasked with tying up a loose end: a 999 call which may have hinted at the boy’s mutilation and murder. However, the call was made fully three weeks before the crime took place.
The caller turns out to be a resident at an Edinburgh care home, drifting in and out of lucidity due to dementia. Enough to write off the potential lead as a dead end. But when a fresh murder disturbs the city, the clock is ticking and Don is drawn far away from his usual beat onto a dark path to catch a violent killer.
The Murder Box by Olivia Kiernan
At first, Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan believes the murder mystery game sent to her office is a birthday gift from one of her colleagues. But when Frankie studies the game’s contents, she notices a striking resemblance between the ‘murder victim’ and missing twenty-two-year-old Lydia Callin.
As Frankie and her team investigate, a series of grisly crimes connected to the game are discovered across Dublin city and Lydia’s involvement with a shadowy network of murder mystery players becomes clear.
On the hunt for Lydia’s murderer, Frankie is drawn more deeply into the game. Every successful move brings her closer to the killer. But the real question is not what happens should she lose — but what happens if she wins.
All Her Fault by Andrea Mara
ONE MISSING BOY.
Marissa Irvine arrives at 14 Tudor Grove, expecting to pick up her young son Milo from his first playdate with a boy at his new school. But the woman who answers the door isn’t a mother she recognises. She isn’t the nanny. She doesn’t have Milo. And so begins every parent’s worst nightmare.
FOUR GUILTY WOMEN.
As news of the disappearance filters through the quiet Dublin suburb and an unexpected suspect is named, whispers start to spread about the women most closely connected to the shocking event. Because only one of them may have taken Milo – but they could all be blamed . . .
IN A COMMUNITY FULL OF SECRETS, WHO IS REALLY AT FAULT?
The Doll by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
It was meant to be a quiet family fishing trip, a chance for mother and daughter to talk. But it changes the course of their lives forever.
They catch nothing except a broken doll that gets tangled in the net. After years in the ocean, the doll a terrifying sight and the mother’s first instinct is to throw it back, but she relents when her daughter pleads to keep it. This simple act of kindness proves fatal. That evening, the mother posts a picture of the doll on social media. By the morning, she is dead and the doll has disappeared.
Several years later and Detective Huldar is in his least favourite place – on a boat in rough waters, searching for possible human remains. However, identifying the skeleton they find on the seabed proves harder than initially thought, and Huldar must draw on psychologist Freyja’s experience to help him. As the mystery of the unidentified body deepens, Huldar is also drawn into an investigation of a homeless drug addict’s murder, and Freyja investigates a suspected case of child abuse at a foster care home.
What swiftly becomes clear is that the cases are linked through a single, missing, vulnerable witness: the young girl who wanted the doll all those years ago.
A Beginner’s Guide to Murder by Rosalind Stopps
Grace, Meg and Daphne, all in their seventies, are minding their own business while enjoying a cup of tea in a café, when seventeen-year-old Nina stumbles in. She’s clearly distraught and running from someone, so the three women think nothing of hiding her when a suspicious-looking man starts asking if they’ve seen her.
Once alone, Nina tells the women a little of what she’s running from. The need to protect her is immediate, and Grace, Meg and Daphne vow to do just this. But how? They soon realise there really is only one answer: murder.
And so begins the tale of the three most unlikely murderers-in-the-making, and may hell protect anyone who underestimates them.
The Image of Her by Sonia Velton
STELLA and CONNIE are strangers, brought together by two traumatic events – cruel twists of fate that happen thousands of miles apart.
Stella lives with her mother, a smothering narcissist. When she succumbs to dementia, the pressures on Stella’s world intensify, culminating in tragedy. As Stella recovers from a near fatal accident, she feels compelled to share her trauma but she finds talking difficult. In her head she confides in Connie because there’s no human being in the world that she feels closer to.
Connie is an expat living in Dubai with her partner, Mark, and their two children. On the face of it she wants for nothing and yet … something about life in this glittering city does not sit well with her. Used to working full time in a career she loves back in England, she struggles to find meaning in the expat life of play-dates and pedicures.
Two women set on a collision course. When they finally link up, it will not be in a way that you, or I, or anyone would ever have expected.
Dog Rose Dirt by Jen Williams
What if your mother had been writing to a serial killer?
A convicted murderer with a story to tell
Serial killer Michael Reave – known as The Red Wolf – has been locked in Belmarsh Prison for over 20 years for the brutal and ritualistic murders of countless women.
A grieving daughter with a secret to unearth
Ex-journalist Heather Evans returns to her childhood home after her mother’s inexplicable suicide and discovers something chilling – hundreds of letters between her mother and Reave, dating back decades.
A hunt for a killer ready to strike again
When the body of a woman is found decorated with flowers, just like his victims, Reave is the only person alive who could help. After years of silence, he will speak to Heather, and only Heather.
If she wants to unearth the truth and stop further bloodshed, she’ll have to confront a monster.
Girls Who Lie by Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir
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…
Breathtakingly chilling and tantalisingly twisty, Girls Who Lie is at once a startling, tense psychological thriller and a sophisticated police procedural, marking Eva Björg Ægisdottir as one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
Ask no Questions by Claire Allan
Not all secrets are meant to come out…
Twenty-five years ago, on Halloween night, eight-year-old Kelly Doherty went missing while out trick or treating with friends.
Her body was found three days later, floating face down, on the banks of the Creggan Reservoir by two of her young classmates.
It was a crime that rocked Derry to the core. Journalist Ingrid Devlin is investigating – but someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. As she digs further, Ingrid starts to realise that the Doherty family are not as they seem. But will she expose what really happened that night before it’s too late?
The Stranger in the Mirror by Liv Constantine
A woman with no memory…
Addison should be happy; she’s about to marry a wonderful man. But something is wrong – she has no memory. Two years ago, she was found on the side of the road, unable to remember who she is.
A husband without a wife…
Julian has spent the past two years wondering why his loving wife disappeared. She never would have left her family willingly…would she?
A reunion where nothing is as it seems…
Julian finds Addison just in time to stop her marrying someone else. But something isn’t quite right. Who is Addison really? Why did she leave? And what dark secrets are hiding in this marriage?
The Black Dress by Deboragh Moggach
Pru’s husband has walked out, leaving her alone to contemplate her future. She’s missing not so much him, but the life they once had – picnicking on the beach with small children, laughing together, nestling up like spoons in the cutlery drawer as they sleep. Now there’s just a dip on one side of the bed and no-one to fill it.
In a daze, Pru goes off to a friend’s funeral. Usual old hymns, words of praise and a eulogy but…it doesn’t sound like the friend Pru knew. And it isn’t. She’s gone to the wrong service. Everyone was very welcoming, it was – oddly – a laugh, and more excitement than she’s had for ages. So she buys a little black dress in a charity shop and thinks, now I’m all set, why not go to another? I mean, people don’t want to make a scene at a funeral, do they? No-one will challenge her – and what harm can it do?
The Ophelia Girls by Jane Healey
In the summer of 1973, teenage Ruth and her four friends are obsessed with pre-Raphaelite paintings, and a little bit obsessed with each other. They spend the scorching summer days in the river by Ruth’s grand family home, pretending to be the drowning Ophelia and recreating tableaus of other tragic mythical heroines. But by the end of the summer, real tragedy has found them.
Twenty-four years later, Ruth is a wife and mother of three children, and moves her family into her still-grand, but now somewhat dilapidated, childhood home following the death of her father. Her seventeen-year-old daughter, Maeve, is officially in remission and having been discharged from hospital can finally start acting like a ‘normal’ teenager with the whole summer ahead of her. It’s just the five of them until Stuart, a handsome photographer and old friend of her parents, comes to stay. And there’s something about Stuart that makes Maeve feel more alive than all of her life-saving treatments put together . . .
As the heat of the summer burns, how long can the family go before long-held secrets threaten to burst their banks and drown them all?
What You Can See From Here by Mariana Leky
On a beautiful spring day, a small village in Western Germany wakes up to an omen: Selma has dreamed of an okapi. Someone is about to die. But who?
As the residents of the village begin acting strangely (despite protestations that they are not superstitious), Selma’s granddaughter Luise looks on as the imminent threat brings long carried secrets to the surface. And when death comes, it comes in a way none of them could have predicted…
A story about the absurdity of life and death, a bittersweet portrait of village life and the wider world that beckons beyond, What You Can See from Here is a story about the way loss and love shape not just a person, but a community.
The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
When Aleisha discovers a crumpled reading list tucked into a tattered library book, it sparks an extraordinary journey.
From timeless stories of love and friendship to an epic journey across the Pacific Ocean with a boy and a tiger in a boat, the list opens a gateway to new and wonderful worlds – just when Aleisha needs an escape from her troubles at home.
And when widower Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to connect with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha introduces him to the magic of the reading list. An anxious teenager and a lonely grandfather forming an unlikely book club of two.
Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life by Caroline Day
I don’t have any friends, only dog ones, because they don’t make you do bad things. I don’t want any human friends, actually. It’s for the best.’
Hope Nicely hasn’t had an easy life.
But she’s happy enough living at 23 Station Close with her mum, Jenny Nicely, and she loves her job, walking other people’s dogs. She’s a bit different, but as Jenny always tells her, she’s a rainbow person, a special drop of light.
It’s just . . . there’s something she needs to know. Why did her birth mother abandon her in a cardboard box on a church step twenty-five years ago? And did she know that drinking while pregnant could lead to Hope being born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?
In a bid to find her birth mother and the answers to these questions, Hope decides to write her autobiography. Despite having been bullied throughout school, Hope bravely joins an evening class where Hope will not only learn the lessons of writing, but will also begin to discover more about the world around her, about herself and even make some (human) friends.
But when Jenny suddenly falls ill, Hope realises there are many more lessons to come . .
Soul Sisters by Lesley Lokko
Since childhood, Jen and Kemi have lived like sisters in the McFadden family home in Edinburgh, brought together by a shared family history which stretches back generations. Kemi was educated in Britain alongside Jen and the girls could not be closer; nor could they be more different in the paths they take in life. But the ties that bind them are strong and complicated, and a dark family secret exists in their joint history.
Solam Rhoyi is from South Africa’s black political elite. Handsome, charismatic, charming, and a successful young banker, he meets both Kemi and Jen on a trip to London and sweeps them off their feet. Partly influenced by her interest in Solam, and partly on a journey of self-discovery, Kemi, now 31, decides to return to the country of her birth for the first time. Jen, seeking an escape from her father’s overbearing presence, decides to go with her.
In Johannesburg, it becomes clear that Solam is looking for the perfect wife to facilitate his soaring political ambitions. But who will he choose? All the while, the real story behind the two families’ connection threatens to reveal itself – with devastating consequences . . .
When We Were Young by Richard Roper
Theo has been living in his parents’ shed, nursing a broken heart and a wounded ego, convinced life can’t get any worse. Then he gets evicted on his 30th birthday. Theo thinks he’s done with the real world – until it shows up on his doorstep…
Joel is a successful TV scriptwriter, still in love with his teenage sweetheart. A proper grown-up – and yet he’s falling apart at the seams. He’s headed home to reconnect with best friend Theo – except they haven’t spoken since the summer they turned 16.
One of them is keeping a secret, and the other is living a lie. But can the promise they once made to walk all 184 miles of the Thames Path help them find their way back to the truth – and to their friendship?
A tender and funny story about wanting to go back – when you know it’s time to move on.
Welcome to Ferry Lane Market by Nicola May
Although thirty-three-year-old Kara Moon loves her hometown of Hartmouth in Cornwall, she has always wondered if she should have followed her dream of going off to study floristry. But she couldn’t bring herself to abandon her emotionally delicate single father, and has worked on Ferry Lane Market’s flower stall ever since leaving school.
When her good-for-nothing boyfriend cheats on her and steals her life savings, she finally dumps him and rents out her spare room as an Airbnb. Gossip flies around the town as Kara welcomes a series of foreign guests to her flat overlooking the estuary.
Then an anonymous postcard arrives, along with a plane ticket to New York. And there begins the first of three trips of a lifetime, during which she will learn important lessons about herself, her life and what she wants from it – and perhaps find love along the way.
The Art of Loving You by Amelia Henley
They were so in love . . .
And then life changed forever . . .
Will they find happiness again?
Libby and Jack are the happiest they’ve ever been. Thanks to their dear friend, eighty-year-old Sid, they’ve just bought their first house together, and it’s the beginning of the life they’ve always dreamed of.
But the universe has other plans for Libby and Jack and a devastating twist of fate shatters their world.
All of a sudden life is looking very different, and unlikely though it seems, might Sid be the one person who can help Libby and Jack move forward when what they loved the most has been lost?
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
She Who Became the Sun reimagines the rise to power of the Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor.
In a famine-stricken village on a dusty plain, a seer shows two children their fates. For a family’s eighth-born son, there’s greatness. For the second daughter, nothing.
In 1345, China lies restless under harsh Mongol rule. And when a bandit raid wipes out their home, the two children must somehow survive. Zhu Chongba despairs and gives in. But the girl resolves to overcome her destiny. So she takes her dead brother’s identity and begins her journey. Can Zhu escape what’s written in the stars, as rebellion sweeps the land? Or can she claim her brother’s greatness – and rise as high as she can dream?
For millennia, two women have been blamed for the fall of a mighty civilisation – but now it’s time to hear their side of the story . . .
As princesses of Sparta, Helen and Klytemnestra have known nothing but luxury and plenty. With their high birth and unrivalled beauty, they are the envy of all of Greece.
Such privilege comes at a high price, though, and their destinies are not theirs to command. While still only girls they are separated and married off to legendary foreign kings Agamemnon and Menelaos, never to meet again. Their duty is now to give birth to the heirs society demands and be the meek, submissive queens their men expect.
But when the weight of their husbands’ neglect, cruelty and ambition becomes too heavy to bear, they must push against the constraints of their sex to carve new lives for themselves – and in doing so make waves that will ripple throughout the next three thousand years.
Non-Fiction – an added extra
Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? by Séamas O’Reilly
Séamas O’Reilly’s mother died when he was five, leaving him, his ten brothers and sisters and their beloved father in their sprawling bungalow in rural Derry. It was the 1990s; the Troubles were a background rumble (most of the time), and Séamas at that point was more preoccupied with dinosaurs, Star Wars and the actual location of heaven than the political climate.
Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? is a book about a family of argumentative, loud, musical, sarcastic, grief-stricken siblings, shepherded into adulthood by a man whose foibles and reticence were matched only by his love for his children and his determination that they would flourish. It is the moving, often amusing and completely unsentimental story of a boy growing up in a family bonded by love, loss and fairly relentless mockery.
Class of ’37 by Hester Barron & Claire Langhamer
It is 1937 in a northern mill-town and a class of twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls are writing about their lives, their world, and the things that matter to them. They tell of cobbled streets and crowded homes; the Coronation festivities and holidays to Blackpool; laughter and fun alongside poverty and hardship. They are destined for the cotton mill but they dream of being film stars.
Class of ’37 uses the writing of these young girls, as collected by the research organisation Mass Observation, to rediscover this lost world, transporting readers back in time to a smoky industrial town in an era before the introduction of a Welfare State, where once again the clouds of war were beginning to gather. Woven within this rich, authentic history are the twists and turns of the girls’ lives from childhood to beyond, from their happiest times to the most heart-breaking of their sorrows.
So that’s all for this week.