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 books not set in my lifetime!)
Crime, thriller & mystery
A Murder Inside by Frances Brody
1969. A job in the Prison Service is not for everyone. The training is hard, the cells are bleak and a thick skin is needed. But for Nell Lewis, helping prisoners is something she cares about deeply, and when she’s promoted into a new post as governor of HMP Brackerley in Yorkshire, she’s tasked with transforming the renowned run-down facility into a modern, open prison for women.
Just as Nell is settling into her new role, events take a dark turn when a man’s body is discovered in the prison grounds. The mystery deepens still when one of their female inmates goes missing, ensuing a search across the country.
Can Nell resolve the sinister happenings at HMP Brackerley, before anyone else is put in danger?
The Fifth Girl by Georgia Fancett
When DC Rawls decided to take some time off work for his mental health, he thought he would need just a few days.
However, it’s been months since that terrible night and Rawls still hasn’t returned to the Somerset Police Dept. He can’t seem to shake the feeling that he might never be the same again.
But when a schoolgirl disappears and the police link her case to the disappearances of three other girls in Bath, it sends the media into a frenzy that places Rawls and his team at the heart of the storm.
Rawls isn’t sure that he’s ready to work on a case that hits so close to home, but he knows he can’t have any more blood on his hands. He has to find out the truth before it’s too late.
Who is behind these abductions?
And which girl will be taken next?
Cold as Hell by Lilja Sigurdardottir
Icelandic sisters Áróra and Ísafold live in different countries and aren‘t on speaking terms, but when their mother loses contact with Ísafold, Áróra reluctantly returns to Iceland to find her sister. But she soon realizes that her sister isn’t avoiding her … she has disappeared, without trace.
As she confronts Ísafold’s abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend Björn, and begins to probe her sister’s reclusive neighbours – who have their own reasons for staying out of sight – Áróra is led into an ever-darker web of intrigue and manipulation.
Baffled by the conflicting details of her sister’s life, and blinded by the shiveringly bright midnight sun of the Icelandic summer, Áróra enlists the help of police officer Daníel, as she tries to track her sister’s movements, and begins to tail Björn – but she isn’t the only one watching…
Slick, tense, atmospheric and superbly plotted, Cold as Hell marks the start of a riveting, addictive new series from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Booker-longlisted, bestselling author returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life
Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband – and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of their marriage, and the lives they built with other people, Strout weaves a portrait, stunning in its subtlety, of a tender, complex, decades-long partnership.
Oh William! captures the joy and sorrow of watching children grow up and start families of their own; of discovering family secrets, late in life, that alter everything we think we know about those closest to us; and the way people live and love, against all odds. At the heart of this story is the unforgettable, indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who once again offers a profound, lasting reflection on the mystery of existence. ‘This is the way of life,’ Lucy says. ‘The many things we do not know until it is too late.’
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him – and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church.
The long-awaited new work from the author of Foster, Small Things Like These is an unforgettable story of hope, quiet heroism and tenderness.
It Tales Two by Natalie Cox
We’ve all wanted to be someone else…
What if someone else wanted to be you?
Clem has often wished she could swap lives with someone. Her artisan cheese shop job is under threat, her ex-boyfriend wants to be her best friend, her upstairs neighbour has taken out a restraining order on her dog and her parents have fled the country, leaving her to sort out their dodgy financial affairs.
But when she discovers that someone has stolen her identity, Clem is outraged. Determined to track down her doppelganger, Clem is plunged into a madcap quest for justice involving ex-convicts, roller derby teams and a rather charming fraud detective who seems unusually interested in the case – and in Clem.
But when she finally catches up with her impersonator, Clem discovers that sometimes to really find yourself, you have to become someone else…
The Midwife’s Secret by Emily Gunnis
She shone the torch around and spotted some names written on the wall: Clara, Sara, Megan. Who were these girls and what had they been doing in there? She clicked open the old trunk and pulled out a leather-bound book, opening it on the first page: ‘Tessa James, Patient Notes’. She began to read…
1969 On New Year’s Eve, while the Hiltons of Yew Tree Manor prepare to host the party of the season, their little girl disappears. Suspicion falls on Bobby James, a young farmhand and the last person to see Alice before she vanished. Bobby protests his innocence, but he is sent away. Alice is never found.
Present day Architect Willow James is working on a development at Yew Tree when she discovers the land holds a secret. As she begins to dig deep into the past, she uncovers a web of injustice. And when another child goes missing, Willow knows the only way to stop history repeating itself is to right a terrible wrong.
For decades the fates of the Hilton and James families have been entwined in the grounds of Yew Tree Manor. It all began with a midwife’s secret, long buried but if uncovered could save them from the bitter tragedy that binds them. And prove the key that will free them all…
The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter.
With his mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett plans to pick up his eight-year-old brother Billy and head to California to start a new life.
But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have stowed away in the trunk of the warden’s car. They have a very different plan for Emmett’s future, one that will take the four of them on a fateful journey in the opposite direction – to New York City.
Bursting with life, charm, richly imagined settings and unforgettable characters, The Lincoln Highway is an extraordinary journey through 1950s America from the pen of a master storyteller.
Friendship : Echoes of the City II by Lars Saabye Christensen
In Kirkeveien, Oslo, in the year 1956, forty-year-old Maj is worn down by being a homemaker and widowed mother. To the indignation of the Red Cross ladies, she cautiously frees herself from the role she has otherwise fulfilled to the letter. She finds a job that she turns out to be more than good at, and some kind of love, too. Her friend Margrethe is sick of her marriage to the antiquarian bookseller, Olaf Hall, but cannot think of divorce. Jesper gets a girlfriend who opens the door to a new, more liberated environment of vegetarianism and politics. And his best friend Jostein realises that his talent for making money will allow him access to a world that is larger and richer than that of the Oslo slaughterhouse.
Friendship is a beautifully orchestrated story about people and their dreams, about social conventions, personal constraints and what it takes to have the courage to realise oneself. In this book brimming with human insight, as in Echoes of the City, in each of these characters we recognise something of ourselves.
The Canvas World by Antonin Varenne
Paris, 1900. Aileen Bowman arrives at the Exposition Universelle, where all the world has gathered to witness the birth of modernity. A journalist in her mid-thirties, unmarried and fiercely independent, she has been sent to cover the Exposition for the New York Tribune, and her arrival soon creates a scandal in the city of lights.
But it seems the life she left behind on the distant Nevada plains may have followed her across the Atlantic, and before long Aileen finds herself caught in a deadly tussle between the old world and the new.
So that’s all for this week.