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 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
Riccardino by Andrea Camilleri (Inspector Montalbano 28)
‘Contrary to what you think, I’m carrying out this investigation as best I can. But let’s do this: if I get stuck, if I find I can’t go forward or back, then I’ll let you know, and you can step in. And offer me a way out. You’ve gained a bit of detective work through me, haven’t you? What do you say?’
‘I’m game,’ said the Author . . .
When Inspector Montalbano receives an early-morning phone call it proves to be the start of a very trying day. For the caller expects Montalbano to arrive imminently at a rendezvous with some friends. But before he can reply the caller announces himself as someone called Riccardino and hangs up.
Later that day news comes in of a brutal slaying in broad daylight by an unknown assassin who makes his getaway on a motorbike. And when the Inspector learns of the victim’s identity – a man called Riccardino – his troubles are only just beginning. For soon he must contend with the involvement of a local bishop and a fortune teller who reports some strange goings-on in her neighbourhood.
All roads soon lead to a local salt mine but the case proves stubbornly intractable until Montalbano receives another unexpected call . . .
Trick or Treat by Katerina Diamond
TRICK OR TREAT?
When six-year-old Marcus is taken from outside his house on Halloween it shakes his quiet neighbourhood to the core.
Everyone was ready for a night of trick-or-treating. Now the unthinkable has happened.
TRUTH OR LIES?
As Detective Imogen Grey arrives to question Marcus’s parents, they tell her there has been a mistake. Their son is just fine.
But if that’s true, where is Marcus?
INNOCENT OR GUILTY?
Imogen becomes locked in a race against time to find the missing child and uncover the truth. Can she discover what’s happened to Marcus before it’s too late?
Ready or Not by Alex Lake
A happy family…
Alice and Tom Sark seem to have it all – a wonderful marriage, a gorgeous baby, a beautiful home. And now Alice, a journalist, starts investigating a story which could make her career – a serial killer in their town.
A murderer lurking in the shadows…
Very quickly though, the murder case takes its toll. Alice and Tom begin fighting all the time. Their baby daughter just won’t stop crying. And sometimes it feels almost as if they’re being followed…
Not everyone will live to tell the tale…
The killer has found a new family to target. And the clock is ticking for Alice and Tom to stop their worlds being destroyed forever.
Silverview by John Le Carre
Julian Lawndsley has renounced his high-flying job in the City for a simpler life running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. But only a couple of months into his new career, Julian’s evening is disrupted by a visitor. Edward, a Polish émigré living in Silverview, the big house on the edge of town, seems to know a lot about Julian’s family and is rather too interested in the inner workings of his modest new enterprise.
When a letter turns up at the door of a spy chief in London warning him of a dangerous leak, the investigations lead him to this quiet town by the sea . . .
Silverview is the mesmerising story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals. In this last complete masterwork from the greatest chronicler of our age, John le Carré asks what you owe to your country when you no longer recognise it.
The Lonely Ones by Hakan Nesser
A trip behind the Iron Curtain would change their lives forever . . .
It begins in 1969. Six young people arrive in Uppsala, Sweden. Different circumstances push the three young couples together and, over the course of a few years, they become friends. But a summer trip through Eastern Europe changes everything, and when their time at Uppsala University is over it also signals the end of something else.
Years later, a lecturer at Lund University is found dead at the bottom of a cliff in the woods close to Kymlinge. And chillingly, it is the very same spot where one of the Uppsala students died thirty-five years before.
Detective Inspector Gunnar Barbarotti takes on this ominous case of history repeating itself, and is forced to confront an increasingly grave reality.
Devil’s Table by Kate Rhodes
A MISSING CHILD
St Martin’s is shrouded in bitterly cold fog when Jade Minear and her twin brother, Ethan, are attacked in a field, late at night. Ethan manages to return home but the shocking events of Jade’s disappearance have rendered him mute.
A LONG-HELD GRUDGE
On a small island where there are few places a child can hide, DI Ben Kitto must battle the elements to search for Jade. When his investigation reveals that the Minear family have many enemies on the island, Kitto grows increasingly worried that Jade is in danger.
A KILLER HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT . . .
Meanwhile, someone on the island knows exactly where the girl is. Someone with a deep-seated hatred of Jade’s family. To find the truth, Kitto must investigate the lives of the people he has known all of his life. Because one of them is lying – and it isn’t long until a body is found . . .
Lemon by Kwon Yeo-Sun
In the summer of 2002, nineteen-year-old Kim Hae-on was murdered in what became known as the High School Beauty Murder. There were two suspects: Shin Jeongjun, who had a rock-solid alibi, and Han Manu, to whom no evidence could be pinned. The case went cold.
Seventeen years pass without justice, and the grief and uncertainty take a cruel toll on her younger sister, Da-on, in particular. Unable to move on with her life, Da-on tries in her own twisted way to recover some of what she’s lost, ultimately setting out to find the truth of what happened.
Told at different points in time from the perspectives of Da-on and two of Hae-on’s classmates, Lemon is a piercing psychological portrait that takes the shape of a crime novel and is a must-read novel of 2021.
Are We Having Fun Yet? by Lucy Mangan
Meet Liz: all she wants is some peace and quiet so she can read a book with her cat Henry, love of her life, by her side. But trampling all over this dream is a group of wild things also known as Liz’s family. Namely:
Richard – a man, a husband, no serious rival to Henry.
Thomas – their sensitive seven year old son, for whom life is a bed of pain already.
Evie – five year old acrobat, gangster, anarchist, daughter.
And as if her family’s demands (Where are the door keys? Are we made of plastic? Do ‘ghost poos’ really count?) weren’t enough, Liz must also contend with the madness of parents, friends, bosses, and at least one hovering nemesis. Are We Having Fun Yet? is a year with one woman as she faces all the storms of modern life (babysitters, death, threadworms) on her epic quest for that holy grail: a moment to herself.
Trust by Domenico Starnone
A sharp, breath-taking exploration of love and relationships.
Pietro and Teresa’s love affair is tempestuous and passionate. After yet another terrible argument, she gets an idea: they should tell each other something they’ve never told another person, something they’re too ashamed to tell anyone. In this way, Teresa thinks, they will remain intimately connected forever.
A few days after sharing their shameful secrets, they break up. Not long after, Pietro meets Nadia, falls in love, and proposes. But the shadow of the secret he confessed to Teresa haunts him, and Teresa herself periodically reappears, standing at the crossroads of every major moment in his life. Or is it he who seeks her out?
Trust asks how much we are willing to bend to show the world our best side, knowing full well that when we are at our most vulnerable we are also at our most dangerous.
The Party Crasher by Sophie Kinsella
The Talbots are having one last party at their family home.
But Effie hasn’t been invited . . .
Effie’s still not over her parents splitting up a year ago. Her dad and his new girlfriend are posting their PDAs all over Instagram – and no one should have to deal with photos of their dad with the hashtags #viagraworks and #sexinyoursixties. Now they’re selling the beloved family home and holding a ‘house-cooling’ party. When Effie receives only a last-minute ‘anti-invitation’, she decides to give it a miss.
Until she remembers her precious Russian dolls, safely tucked away up a chimney. She’ll have to go back for them – but not as a guest. She’ll just creep in, grab the dolls and make a swift exit. No one will know she was ever there.
Of course, nothing goes to plan. Not only does Effie bump into her ex-boyfriend (who she’s very much not over), she can’t find the dolls. And as she secretly clambers around dusty attics, hides under tables and mournfully eyes up the dessert table, she discovers unexpected truths about her family – and even about herself.
With time (and hiding places) running out, Effie starts to wonder if she’d be better off simply crashing the party. Perhaps that’s the only way to find out what’s really going on with her family…
The Woman in the Middle by Milly Johnson
Shay Bastable is the woman in the middle. She is part of the sandwich generation – caring for her parents and her children, supporting her husband Bruce, holding them all together and caring for them as best she can.
Then the arrival of a large orange skip on her mother’s estate sets in motion a cataclysmic series of events which leads to the collapse of Shay’s world. She is forced to put herself first for a change.
But in order to move forward with her present, Shay needs to make sense of her past. And so she returns to the little village she grew up in, to uncover the truth about what happened to her when she was younger. And in doing so, she discovers that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find the only way is up.
The Promise by Emma Heatherington
Some bonds can never be broken
One terrible moment changes everything for teenagers Kate and David. Brought together during the darkest of times, a spark of hope is ignited between them – a hand held in the darkness, a promise whispered. Neither of them will ever forget those moments.
It’s another ten years before they meet once more, and their lives are now so different. The promise they made to each other on that fateful day still binds them, but now they have so much more to lose.
Have they missed their one chance at happiness? They only way they will ever know is to risk everything to be together. Is that too high a price to pay for love…?
The Hiding Place by Amanda Mason
Some secrets can never be concealed . . .
Nell Galilee, her husband and twelve year old step-daughter Maude rent a holiday cottage by the sea, needing time and space away from home. Nell grew up in this small, wind-blown town and has mixed feelings about returning, and it isn’t long before she is recognised by a neighbour, seemingly desperate to befriend her. The cottage has been empty for some time, and from the start Nell feels uncomfortable there. Something isn’t quite right about this place . . .
Maude, furious about being brought here against her will, soon finds herself beguiled by the house’s strange atmosphere. There are peculiar marks in the roof beams above her bedroom, and in another room, a hiding place, concealing a strange, unnerving object.
As the house gradually reveals its secrets, Nell becomes increasingly uneasy – and Maude spellbound. But these women – and the women that surround them – are harbouring their own secrets too, and soon events will come to a terrible head . . .
The Guinness Girls : A Hint of Scandal by Emily Hourican
It’s the dawn of the 1930s and the three privileged Guinness sisters, Aileen, Maureen and Oonagh, settle into becoming wives and mothers: Aileen in Luttrellstown Castle outside Dublin, Maureen in Clandeboye in Northern Ireland, and Oonagh in Rutland Place in London.
But while Britain becomes increasingly politically polarised, Aileen, Maureen and Oonagh discover conflict within their own marriages.
Oonagh’s dream of romantic love is countered by her husband’s lies; the intense nature of Maureen’s marriage means passion, but also rows; while Aileen begins to discover that, for her, being married offers far less than she had expected.
Meanwhile, Kathleen, a housemaid from their childhood home in Glenmaroon, travels between the three sisters, helping, listening, watching – even as her own life brings her into conflict with the clash between fascism and communism.
As affairs are uncovered and secrets exposed, the three women begin to realise that their guiled upbringing could not have prepared them for the realities of married life, nor for the scandals that seem to follow them around.
The Prince of the Skies by Antonio Iturbe
Writer. Romantic. Pilot. Hero.
All Antoine de Saint Exupéry wants to do is be a pilot. But flying is a dangerous dream and one that sets him at odds with his aristocratic background and the woman he loves. Despite attempts to keep him grounded, Antoine is determined to venture forwards into the unknown. Together with his friends, Jean and Henri, he will pioneer new mail routes across the globe and help change the future of aviation. In the midst of his adventures, Antoine also begins to weave a children’s story that is destined to touch the lives of millions of readers around the world. A story called The Little Prince . . . Fame and fortune may have finally found Antoine, but as the shadow of war begins to threaten Europe, he’s left to wonder whether his greatest adventure is yet to come . . .
The Secrets of Hawthorn Place by Jenni Keer
Two houses, hundreds of miles apart . . . yet connected always.
When life throws Molly Butterfield a curveball, she decides to spend some time with her recently widowed granddad, Wally, at Hawthorn Place, his quirky Victorian house on the Dorset coast.
But cosseted Molly struggles to look after herself, never mind her grieving granddad, until the accidental discovery of an identical Arts and Crafts house on the Norfolk coast offers her an unexpected purpose, as well as revealing a bewildering mystery.
Discovering that both Hawthorn Place and Acacia House were designed by architect Percy Gladwell, Molly uncovers the secret of a love which linked them, so powerful it defied reason.
What follows is a summer which will change Molly for ever . . .
The Last Reunion by Kayte Nunn
War would bring them together.
But would it ultimately tear them apart?
Bea, Plum, Bubbles, Joy and Lucy are five young women looking for adventure, fighting a forgotten war in the jungle attached to the Fourteenth Army. Running a mobile canteen, navigating treacherous roads and dodging hostile gunfire, they soon become embroiled in life-threatening battles of their own – battles that will haunt the women for the rest of their lives.
Oxford, 1976. At the height of an impossibly hot English summer, a woman slips into a museum and steals several rare Japanese netsuke, including the famed fox-girl. Despite the offer of a considerable reward, these tiny, exquisitely detailed carvings are never seen again.
London and Galway, 1999. On the eve of the new millennium, Olivia, assistant to an art dealer, meets Beatrix, an elderly widow who wishes to sell her late husband’s collection of Japanese art. Concealing her own motives, Olivia travels with Beatrix to a New Year’s Eve party, deep in the Irish countryside, where friendships will be tested and secrets kept for more than fifty years are spilled…
So that’s all for this week.