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.
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.
There’s a slight change to the format over the coming month or so as I’m prepping these posts ahead of impending surgery and the subsequent convalescence. Adding the normal purchasing links is just eating into what little time I have to get them done, so I’m afraid I’m just including the Amazon link (as I take the images and blurb from Amazon it seems only fair).
(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!)
Crime, thriller & mystery
Whispers of a Scandal by Julie Corbin
Who knows your darkest secret?
After every parents’ evening, friends Nina, Bel and Rachel look forward to their regular debrief at the pub. But there will be no clinking Prosecco tonight.
They are discussing an anonymous note that has been left in a child’s schoolbag: This class has secrets. All the parents tell lies.
As more notes are discovered, scandalous accusations are made and the school playground becomes rife with rumours.
Who could be revealing the three friends’ secrets? Because they thought the only people who knew everything about them were each other…
Bad Apples by Will Dean
It only takes one…
A resident of small-town Visberg is found decapitated
A grim celebration in a cultish hilltop community after the apple harvest
A race against time
As Visberg closes ranks to keep its deadly secrets, there could not be a worse time for Tuva Moodyson to arrive as deputy editor of the local newspaper. Powerful forces are at play and no one dares speak out. But Tuva senses the story of her career, unaware that perhaps she is the story…
A Change of Circumstance by Susan Hill
Simon Serrailler finds himself in devastating new territory as a sophisticated drugs network sets its sights on Lafferton and the surrounding villages
DCS Simon Serrailler has long regarded drugs ops in the Lafferton area as a waste of time. Small-time dealers are picked up outside the local secondary school, they’re given a fine or a suspended and away they go. And rinse and repeat. But when the body of a young drug addict is found in neighbouring Starly, the case pulls Simon into a whole new way of running drugs. The foot soldiers? Vulnerable local kids like Brookie and Olivia, who will give Simon a bitter taste of this new landscape…
The Survivors by Alex Schulman
Years ago, they fled the lake house.
Now, the brothers have returned.
Three brothers return to the family cottage by the lake where, more than two decades earlier, a catastrophe changed the course of their lives. Now, they are here to scatter their mother’s ashes – young men, estranged but bound together by the history that defines them. Their lives have been spent competing for their father’s favour and their mother’s love, in a household more like a minefield than a home. What really happened that summer day when everything was blown to pieces?
Twelve Motives for Murder by Fiona Sherlock
ONE MURDER. TWELVE SUSPECTS.
TWELVE MOTIVES FOR MURDER . . .
This Christmas, sit back and become a real armchair detective.
A murder mystery told entirely through interviews.
Private Investigator Elizabeth Chalice needs YOU to help her solve this case.
It’s a beautiful Christmas day in Como, and the Caswell-Jones family are celebrating with their nearest and dearest in their Villa Janus. Merriment and limoncello abound . . .
That is, until Jonty Caswell-Jones is found dead in his study. With no staff today, the only suspects are the guests and the family. Under the surface, tensions have been brewing, guests seething, and rivalries have reared their ugly head . . .
Jonty’s wife, Catherine, knows there’s a killer among them so she calls her acquaintance, Elizabeth Chalice, to investigate. She wants to keep this firmly within the family if she can. No one else must know.
As each suspect is interviewed in turn, Elizabeth must work out who killed Jonty and why. And is anyone else in danger? But with twelve suspects each with their own very clear motive, anything is possible . . .
The Scorpion’s Head by Hilde Vandermeeren
Shortly after a fractious weekend away with her family, Gaelle wakes up injured in a psychiatric hospital in Berlin. Her seven-year-old son is in a coma in another hospital – and the police suspect her of attempting to murder him. With no memory of what happened but convinced of her innocence, Gaelle escapes and begins a determined hunt for the truth.
Michael is a contract killer working for Scorpio, a ruthless organisation that spares no-one, where any agent who violates the rules signs their own death warrant. When Michael decides to reject an assignment, he knows he must run for his life.
One makes a living by killing, the other would kill to survive. And soon their paths will cross…
Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
It’s December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless – unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who’s been selling drugs to seventh-graders, has resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate.
Jonathan Franzen’s novels are celebrated for their unforgettably vivid characters and their keen-eyed take on the complexities of contemporary America. Now, for the first time, in Crossroads, Franzen explores the history of a generation. With characteristic humour and complexity, and with even greater warmth, he conjures a world that feels no less immediate.
A tour de force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, Crossroads is the story of a Midwestern family at a historical moment of moral crisis. Jonathan Franzen’s gift for melding the small picture and the big picture has never been more dazzlingly evident.
The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman
When Nell’s father makes a deathbed declaration that hints at a long-held secret, it reignites feelings of isolation that have plagued her for years. Her suspicions about the family’s past only deepen when her mother, Annie, who is losing her memories to dementia, starts making cryptic comments of her own.
Thirty-five years earlier, Annie’s life was upended by a series of traumas—one shock after another that she buried deep in her heart. The decisions she made at the time were motivated by love, but she knew even then that nobody could ever understand—let alone forgive—what she did.
As the two women’s stories unravel, a generation apart, Nell finally discovers the devastating truth about her mother’s past, and her own.
In this beautifully observed and emotionally powerful story of identity, memory and the nature of family, Hannah Beckerman asks: To what lengths would you go to protect the ones you love?
Burntcoat by Sarah Hall
You were the last one here before I closed the door of Burntcoat, before we all shut our doors.
In the bedroom above her immense studio at Burntcoat, the celebrated sculptor Edith Harkness is making her final preparations. Her life will draw to an end in the coming days.
Downstairs, the studio is a crucible glowing with memories and desire. It was here, when the first lockdown came, that she brought Halit. The lover she barely knew. A presence from another culture. A doorway into a new and feverish world.
The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman
A prize-winning tour de force when it came out in France, Violaine Huisman’s remarkable debut novel is about a daughter’s inextinguishable love for her magnetic, mercurial mother. Beautiful and charismatic, Catherine, aka ‘Maman’, smokes too much, drives too fast, laughs too hard and loves too extravagantly. During a joyful and chaotic childhood in Paris, her daughter Violaine wouldn’t have it any other way.
But when Maman is hospitalised after a third divorce and breakdown, everything changes. Even as Violaine and her sister long for their mother’s return, once she’s back Maman’s violent mood swings and flagrant disregard for personal boundaries soon turn their home into an emotional landmine. As the story of Catherine’s own traumatic childhood and coming of age unfolds, the pieces come together to form an indelible portrait of a mother as irresistible as she is impossible, as triumphant as she is transgressive.
With spectacular ferocity of language, a streak of dark humor and stunning emotional bravery, The Book of Mother is an exquisitely wrought story of a mother’s dizzying heights and devastating lows, and a daughter who must hold her memory close in order to let go.
The Dust Never Settles by Karina Lickorish Quinn
‘I have seen ghosts. They will not rest. The whispers of the past are all around…’
Anaïs Echeverría left Peru, the country where she grew up, many years ago. She has built a new life for herself in London: engaged and pregnant, she dares to believe that she has left the ghosts of her family’s past behind.
But now she must return to Lima to sell her ancestral home, the notorious yellow house that looms over the sprawling city below. Concealed within its walls are spectres from the past that demand her attention, remnants of the injustices on which both her country and her house were built.
The Dust Never Settles sweeps from the bustling beaches and teeming salsa halls of contemporary Lima to the rise and fall of the Inca empire; from vengeful Andean gods, to fishermen crammed into local ceviche bars and a civil war that will devastate the nation. Hauntingly beautiful, effortlessly poetic and epic in scope, it is the story of Anaïs’s uneasy homecoming, and a reckoning with secrets that refuse to stay buried.
A Woman Made of Snow by Elisabeth Gifford
Scotland, 1949: Caroline Gillan and her new husband Alasdair have moved back to Kelly Castle, his dilapidated family estate in the middle of nowhere. Stuck caring for their tiny baby, and trying to find her way with an opinionated mother-in-law, Caroline feels adrift, alone and unwelcome.
But when she is tasked with sorting out the family archives, Caroline discovers a century-old mystery that sparks her back to life. There is one Gillan bride who is completely unknown – no photos exist, no records have been kept – the only thing that is certain is that she had a legitimate child. Alasdair’s grandmother.
As Caroline uncovers a strange story that stretches as far as the Arctic circle, her desire to find the truth turns obsessive. And when a body is found in the grounds of the castle, her hunt becomes more than just a case of curiosity. What happened all those years ago? Who was the bride? And who is the body…?
So that’s all for this week.