Here’s this week’s list of new fiction titles. 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.
I’ve decided to incorporate the next two weeks into one post, largely because there’s a bumper crop for the coming week and a negligible number of new titles the following week. It’s a policy I’ll also be adopting in two weeks time when I was faced with the same scenario.
Just a reminder I don’t see any advance copies, my choices are based on the blurb, gut instinct and what takes my fancy 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 a bonus extra
Crime, Thriller & Mystery
The Late Train to Gipsy Hill by Alan Johnson
Gary Nelson has a routine for the commute to his rather dull job in the city. Each day, he watches as a woman on the train applies her make up in a ritual he now knows by heart. He’s never dared to strike up a conversation . . . but maybe one day.
Then one evening, on the late train to Gipsy Hill, the woman invites him to take the empty seat beside her. Fiddling with her mascara, she holds up her mirror and Gary reads the words ‘HELP ME’ scrawled in sticky black letters on the glass.
From that moment, Gary’s life is turned on its head. He finds himself on the run from the Russian mafia, the FSB and even the Metropolitan Police – all because of what this mysterious young woman may have witnessed. In the race to find out the truth, Gary discovers that there is a lot more to her than meets the eye . . .
Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah
ON AN ORDINARY WORKING DAY…
Leila Syed receives a call that cleaves her life in two. Her brother-in-law’s voice is filled with panic. His son’s nursery has called to ask where little Max is.
YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE…
Leila was supposed to drop Max off that morning. But she forgot.
Racing to the carpark, she grasps the horror of what she has done.
IS ABOUT TO COME TRUE…
What follows is an explosive, high-profile trial that will tear the family apart. But as the case progresses it becomes clear there’s more to this incident than meets the eye…
The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves
North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder – Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed. His daughter Eve is a glassblower, and the murder weapon is a shard of one of her broken vases.
Dr Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He’s a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved, though, to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband.
Then another body is found – killed in a similar way. Matthew finds himself treading carefully through the lies that fester at the heart of his community and a case that is dangerously close to home . . .
Magpie by Elizabeth Day
Sometimes Marisa gets the fanciful notion that Kate has visited the house before. She makes herself at home without any self-consciousness. She puts her toothbrush right there in the master bathroom, on the shelf next to theirs.
In Jake, Marisa has found everything she’s ever wanted. Then their new lodger Kate arrives.
Something about Kate isn’t right. Is it the way she looks at Marisa’s boyfriend? Sits too close on the sofa? Constantly asks about the baby they are trying for? Or is it all just in Marisa’s head?
After all, that’s what her Jake keeps telling her. And she trusts him – doesn’t she?
But Marisa knows something is wrong. That the woman sleeping in their house will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
Marisa just doesn’t know why.
How far will she go to find the answer – and how much is she willing to lose?
How to Kill Your Best Friend by Lexie Elliott
The perfect getaway – to get away with murder…
Georgie, Lissa and Bronwyn have been best friends since they met on their college swimming team. Now Lissa is dead – drowned off the coast of the remote island where her second husband owns a luxury resort. But could a star open-water swimmer really have drowned? Or is something more sinister going on?
Brought together for Lissa’s memorial, Georgie, Bron, Lissa’s grieving husband and their friends find themselves questioning the circumstances around Lissa’s death – and each other. As the weather turns ominous, trapping the guests on the island, it slowly dawns on them that Lissa’s death was only the beginning. Nobody knows who they can trust. Or if they’ll make it off the island alive…
The Dark Remains by Ian Rankin and William McIlvanney
If the truth’s in the shadows, get out of the light . . .
Lawyer Bobby Carter did a lot of work for the wrong type of people. Now he’s dead and it was no accident. Besides a distraught family and a heap of powerful friends, Carter’s left behind his share of enemies. So, who dealt the fatal blow?
DC Jack Laidlaw’s reputation precedes him. He’s not a team player, but he’s got a sixth sense for what’s happening on the streets. His boss chalks the violence up to the usual rivalries, but is it that simple? As two Glasgow gangs go to war, Laidlaw needs to find out who got Carter before the whole city explodes.
William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw books changed the face of crime fiction. When he died in 2015, he left half a handwritten manuscript of Laidlaw’s first case. Now, Ian Rankin is back to finish what McIlvanney started. In The Dark Remains, these two iconic authors bring to life the criminal world of 1970s Glasgow, and Laidlaw’s relentless quest for truth.
Black Reed Bay by Rod Reynolds
Don’t trust ANYONE…
When a young woman makes a distressing middle-of-the-night call to 911, apparently running for her life in a quiet, exclusive beachside neighbourhood, miles from her home, everything suggests a domestic incident.
Except no one has seen her since, and something doesn’t sit right with the officers at Hampstead County PD. With multiple suspects and witnesses throwing up startling inconsistencies, and interference from the top threatening the integrity of the investigation, lead detective Casey Wray is thrust into an increasingly puzzling case that looks like it’s going to have only one ending…
And then the first body appears…
The Joy and Light Bus Company by Alexander McCall Smith
Mma Ramotswe knows she is very lucky indeed. She has a loving family, good friends and a thriving business doing what she enjoys most: helping people. But the latest mystery she is called upon to solve is distinctly trickier than it initially appears, and, of course, there’s plenty to handle in her personal life between Charlie and his new bride and Mma Makutsi and her talking shoes.
In the end, Mma Ramotswe’s patience and common-sense will win out, and, without a doubt, all will be the better for it.
Payday by Celia Walden
Late one night, three women share secrets.
They barely know each other, but they all know Jamie Lawrence. They know what he’s guilty of. And they agree something must be done.
But as their plan spirals out of control, they begin to doubt themselves . . . and each other. Then Jamie is found dead. And suddenly everything is at stake. As lies are unravelled and truths exposed, two urgent questions emerge:
Who is really guilty?
And who will have to pay?
Whisper Cottage by Anne Wyn Clark
How well do you know the woman next door?
When Stina and Jack move to an old rural cottage, they’re hoping for a fresh start. Their new home is run-down compared to their neighbour’s, but generous Mrs Barley quickly becomes a friend.
Until Stina sees a mysterious figure in the widow’s garden, and her happy new life begins to unravel. And when she hears strange noises in the night, she is forced to question if Mrs Barley is what she seems.
Why do the other villagers whisper about her? Why is she so eager to help the couple? And what is she hiding in her picture-perfect home?
The Chateau by Catherine Cooper
They thought it was perfect. They were wrong…
A glamorous chateau
Aura and Nick don’t talk about what happened in England. They’ve bought a chateau in France to make a fresh start, and their kids need them to stay together – whatever it costs.
A couple on the brink
The expat community is welcoming, but when a neighbour is murdered at a lavish party, Aura and Nick don’t know who to trust.
A secret that is bound to come out…
Someone knows exactly why they really came to the chateau. And someone is going to give them what they deserve.
Invite Me In by Emma Curtis
To those who think they know her, Eliza Curran has it all: two healthy children, a stunning home and a wealthy, adoring husband. No one would guess the reality of her life: trapped in an unhappy marriage to a controlling man, she longs for a way out.
When she takes on a new tenant, her life changes unexpectedly. Dan Jones is charming and perceptive, and quickly becomes a close friend to the whole family.
But Dan’s arrival threatens to tip Eliza’s fragile world out of balance. And when someone has as many secrets as Eliza does, the smallest slip could destroy everything . . .
The Refuge by Jerome Loubry
Where to hide when there’s nowhere left to run?
Sandrine is asked to empty her late grandmother’s house on a small island near the Normandy coast. She soon discovers that its elderly inhabitants haven’t left the island since their arrival as children during World War II. Sandrine can tell they are terrified of someone, or something. Yet, they refuse to leave the island.
What happened to the children from the holiday camp which was suddenly shut down in 1949? And who was Sandrine’s grandmother really?
A Slow Burning Fire by Paula Hawkins
‘What is wrong with you?’
Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She’s seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous.
Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn’t mean she’s a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?
Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.
Look what you started.
Lily White by Jelena Volic
All these years on, bouquets of white lilies-of-the-valley are laid in a Belgrade street, where a small Romani boy was beaten to death by two youths. One of the attackers was apprehended and imprisoned, while the other was allowed to flee. After twenty-five years on the run, he returns to Belgrade to confront his past. Days later his corpse is found floating in the Danube. After a cursory investigation the police declare it to have been suicide and close the case. But dead man’s lawyer and the criminologist Milena Lukin begin an investigation of their own. Soon they stumble upon a clue which leads them into the darkest recesses of Serbian politics, and to the root of a murder which shaped the fate of a country. Set in Belgrade, a city of flux between East and West, Lily White is a complex and riveting new case for Milena Lukin that once again will take her to the dark heart of Serbia’s past.
Freckles by Cecelia Ahern
One woman’s search for happiness.
Allegra Bird’s arms are scattered with freckles, a gift from her beloved father. But despite her nickname, Freckles has never been able to join all the dots. So when a stranger tells her that everyone is the average of the five people they spend the most time with, it opens up something deep inside.
The trouble is, Freckles doesn’t know if she has five people. And if not, what does that say about her? She’s left her unconventional father and her friends behind for a bold new life in Dublin, but she’s still an outsider.
Now, in a quest to understand, she must find not one but five people who shape her – and who will determine her future.
Told in Allegra’s vivid, original voice, moving from modern Dublin to the fierce Atlantic coast, this is an unforgettable story of human connection, of friendship, and of growing into your own skin.
Iron Annie by Luke Cassidy
I still think’a her every day, several times a day.
Aoife knows everyone in Dundalk’s underworld. Too well, in some cases. But when she meets Annie, a beautiful whirlwind of a woman, and brings her to the Town, she finds that she doesn’t know nearly enough about her. Annie is magnetic and wild and Aoife’s desire to learn more quickly becomes a need, and then an obsession – to know this dangerous woman, to love her, to keep her.
So when Aoife’s friend and collaborator the Rat King asks her to help him dispose of ten kilos of cocaine, swiped from a rival, she brings Annie along for a road trip through a Britain that she only knows as a place to be suspicious of. So when Annie decides she doesn’t want to return to Ireland, Aoife makes a decision that changes everything.
Gritty and yet tender, tragic and yet hopeful, Iron Annie is a breakneck journey that crackles with energy, warmth and heart, and marks the arrival of a fresh and vibrant new voice in literary fiction.
Snow Country by Sebastian Faulks
1914: Aspiring journalist Anton arrives in Vienna where he meets Delphine, a woman of experience and deep secrets. Entranced by the light of first love, Anton comes to life. Until his country declares war on hers.
1927: For Lena, life with her mother in a small town has been cosseted and cold. After a few years of schooling, she encounters a young lawyer who spirits her away to Vienna. However, what she imagines to be love soon crumbles, and she leaves the city behind to take a post at the snow-capped sanatorium, the Schloss Seeblick.
1933: Having lost many friends on the Eastern Front, Anton is sent to write about the mysterious Schloss Seeblick. In this place, on the banks of a silvery lake where the roots of human suffering are laid bare, two people will see each other as if for the first time.
Sweeping across Europe as it recovers from one war and awaits the coming of another, SNOW COUNTRY is a landmark novel of exquisite yearnings, dreams of youth and the sanctity of hope. In elegant, shimmering prose, Sebastian Faulks has produced an epic love story of timeless resonance.
Lights Out in Lincolnwood by Geoff Rodkey
Sometimes all it takes to bring a family together is the possible end of the world
Meet the Altman family.
Fifty-something Dan is struggling to cope with a mid-life career change. MBA-educated wife and mother Jen has dealt with life’s disappointments by becoming a closet alcoholic. Seventeen-year-old Chloe is obsessing about getting into the right university and her state tennis semifinals. Fourteen-year-old Max is trying to figure out when he can next sneak a puff on his beloved vape and plotting revenge on the school bully.
They’re a normal family with normal problems.
Until, one day, the lights go out.
Mobile phones don’t work. Lights, laptops, cars, trains – anything that uses electricity – just stops.
And what happens next will change everything…
The Last Library by Freya Sampson
You can tell a lot about a person from the library books they borrow
Library assistant June knows a lot about the regulars at Chalcot Library, yet they know very little about her. When her mum – the beloved local librarian – passed away eight years ago, June stepped into her shoes. But despite their shared love of books, shy June has never felt she can live up to the village’s memory of her mum. Instead, she’s retreated into herself and her memories, surviving on Chinese takeaways-for-one and rereading their favourite books at home.
When the library is threatened with closure, a ragtag band of eccentric locals establish the Friends of Chalcot Library campaign. There’s gentlemanly pensioner Stanley, who visits the library for the computers and the crosswords, cantankerous Mrs B, who is yet to find a book she approves of, and teenager Chantal, who just wants a quiet place to study away from home. But can they compel reclusive June to join their cause?
If June wants to save the library, she finally has to make some changes to her life: opening up her heart to friendship, opportunities and maybe even more . . .
The Wolf in the Woods by Dan Brotzel
Colleen and Andrew haven’t had sex in eleven weeks and three days [not that anyone’s counting]. Their marriage is in crisis, they’re drinking too much and both have secrets they’re afraid to share. A teetotal week in a remote cottage could solve all their problems. But with the promised beach nowhere in sight, a broken-down car and a sinister landlord, they may not find it so easy to rekindle their romance. In this dark and funny novel, tensions build and tempers fray
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 year!
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…
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.
That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex – he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand herself. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.
Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are still young – but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They worry about sex and friendship and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?
School Days by Jack Sheffield
The year is 1976 and Jack Sheffield never wants to leave his job.
Jack has been the deputy head teacher at Newbridge Primary School for six years now, and he’s happy exactly where he is – even if it sometimes feels like there are a few things missing from his life. After all, the kids keep him busy and there’s always a game of rugby to play.
But it’s a time of change, and Jack’s world is no exception. New and old faces appear in his life and a romance blossoms, bringing with it a buried secret and hidden threat. Soon, Jack must make a decision as to where his future is heading, and prepare to face whatever change is yet to come . . .
A classic Jack Sheffield tale, ready to transport you back to a simpler time.
The Girl from Vichy by Andie Newton
1942. With the war raging in Europe, Adèle Ambeh dreams of a France that is free from the clutches of the Nazis. As the date of her marriage to a ruthless man draws closer, she only has one choice: she must run.
Adèle flees to Lyon and seeks refuge at the Sisters of Notre Dame de la Compassion. From the outside this is a simple nunnery, but the sisters are secretly aiding the French Resistance, hiding and supplying the fighters with weapons. Adèle quickly finds herself part of the efforts to take down the regime.
As each day fills with a different danger and she begins to fall for another man, Adèle’s entire world could come crashing down around her.
She must fight for her family, her country – and her own destiny.
Rizzio by Denise Mina
FROM THE AWARD-WINNING DENISE MINA COMES A RADICAL NEW TAKE ON ONE OF THE DARKEST EPISODES IN SCOTTISH HISTORY – THE BLOODY MURDER OF DAVID RIZZIO.
This breathtakingly tense work is a tale of sex, seduction, secrets and lies, one that looks at history through a modern lens and explores the lengths that men – and women – will go to in the search for love and power.
It’s Saturday evening, 9 March 1566, and Mary, Queen of Scots, is six months pregnant. She’s hosting a supper party. Outside, Edinburgh is bustling. It’s full of the Great and the Good and the Idiot Sons of the Rich, here for a Parliament that will take Scotland by the shoulders and turn it from England to face Europe.
Mary doesn’t know that her Palace is surrounded – that, right now, an army of men is creeping upstairs to her chamber. They’re coming to murder David Rizzio, her friend and secretary, the handsome Italian man who is smiling across the table at her. Mary’s husband wants it done in front of her and he wants her to watch it done …
The Hidden Child by Louise Fein
From the outside, Eleanor and Edward Hamilton have the perfect life, but they’re harbouring a secret that threatens to fracture their entire world.
Eleanor Hamilton is a dutiful mother, a caring sister and an adoring wife to a celebrated war hero. Her husband, Edward, is a pioneer in the eugenics movement. The Hamiltons are on the social rise, and it looks as though their future is bright.
When Mabel, their young daughter, begins to develop debilitating seizures, they have to face an uncomfortable truth: Mabel has epilepsy – one of the ‘undesirable’ conditions that Edward campaigns against.
Forced to hide their daughter away so as to not jeopardise Edward’s life’s work, the couple must confront the truth of their past – and the secrets that have been buried.
Frontline by Dr Hilary Jones
A SWEEPING DRAMA SET ON THE BATTLEFIELDS OF EUROPE AS A GLOBAL INFLUENZA PANDEMIC LOOMS…
Frontline is the first book in a series charting the rise of a prominent British medical family in the twentieth century. From wars to a pandemic, the discovery of penicillin to the birth of the NHS, successive generations of the Burnett family are at the vanguard of life-saving developments in medicine.
Frontline is the story of an aristocrat’s daughter who joins the war effort as a nurse. In a field hospital in rural France she meets Will, a dockworker’s son serving as a stretcher-bearer. As rumours of an armistice begin to circulate, so too does a mysterious respiratory illness that soldiers are referring to as the ‘Spanish flu’.
The Rose Garden by Tracy Rees
Every house has its secrets…
For twelve-year-old Ottilie Finch, London is an exciting playground to explore. Her family have recently arrived in Hamstead from Durham, under a cloud of scandal that Otty is blissfully unaware of. The only shadow over her days is her mother’s mysterious illness, which keeps her to her room.
When young local girl Mabs is offered the chance to become Mrs Finch’s companion, it saves her from a desperate life on the canals. Little does she know that all is not as picture-perfect as it seems. Mabs is about to become tangled in the secrets that chased the Finches from their last home, and trapped in an impossible dilemma . . .
The Forgotten by Mary Chamberlain
How do you rebuild a life from the ashes of despair?
London 1958. Twenty-six-year-old Betty Fisher is one of the first to join the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and attend its inaugural meeting, where she meets John Harris. Posted to Berlin towards the end of the war, John has been left traumatised by his experiences in Germany. And, as his initial admiration for Betty shifts into an overwhelming need to protect her, he is plagued by flashbacks and fantasies. John’s increasing fragility brings to the surface Betty’s own memories. And soon her past, too, begins to unravel…
Resistance by Mara Timon
THREE WOMEN. ONE MISSION. ENEMIES EVERYWHERE.
May 1944. When spy Elisabeth de Mornay, code name Cécile, notices a coded transmission from an agent in the field does not bear his usual signature, she suspects his cover has been blown – something that is happening with increasing frequency. With the situation in Occupied France worsening and growing fears that the Resistance has been compromised, Cécile is ordered behind enemy lines.
Having rendezvoused with her fellow agents, Léonie and Dominique, together they have one mission: help the Resistance destabilise German operations to pave the way for the Normandy landings.
But the life of a spy is never straightforward, and the in-fighting within the Resistance makes knowing who to trust ever more difficult. With their lives on the line, all three women will have to make decisions that could cost them everything – for not all their enemies are German.
Non-Fiction – bonus extra!
On the Cusp : Days of ’62 by David Kynaston
The ‘real’ Sixties began on 5 October 1962. On that remarkable Friday, the Beatles hit the world with their first single, ‘Love Me Do’, and the first James Bond film, Dr No, had its world premiere in London: two icons of the future heralding a social and cultural revolution.
On the Cusp, continuing David Kynaston’s groundbreaking history of post-war Britain, takes place during the summer and early autumn of 1962, in the charged months leading up to the moment that a country changed. The Rolling Stones’ debut at the Marquee Club, the last Gentlemen versus Players match at Lord’s, the issue of Britain’s relationship with Europe starting to divide the country, Telstar the satellite beaming live TV pictures across the world, ‘Telstar’ the record a siren call to a techno future – these were months thick with incident, all woven together here with an array of fresh contemporary sources, including diarists both famous and obscure.
Britain would never be the same again after these months. Sometimes indignant, sometimes admiring, always empathetic, On the Cusp evokes a world of seaside holidays, of church fetes, of Steptoe and
Son – a world still of seemingly settled social and economic certainties, but in fact on the edge of fundamental change.
So that’s all for this week.
About that Iron Annie… Dundalk has an underworld? Really? It isn’t a very big town. In fact, it is a lovely little place that I spent 10 days in during their Springtime Festival. Strange…
I wouldn’t presume to know whether it has or hasn’t, as tourists we don’t always see what is happening at all levels. But isn’t this a work of fiction anyway?
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I used to love Sebastian Faulks’ work but haven’t read anything by him in a long while. Three time lines in one novel could be difficult to follow??
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I think it’s do-able if the timeframes are well defined, and the story merits it. I really enjoyed The Frequency of Us by Keith Stuart which had multiple timelines which worked really well and wasn’t as difficult to follow as you might think. That said it needs to be a great story otherwise I can’t be doing with the jumping about.