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). You can go to Hive Books here and Bookshop here.
(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 extra
Crime, Thriller & Mystery
Requiem in La Rossa by Tom Benjamin (Daniel Leicester 3)
Only in Bologna reads the headline in the Carlino after a professor of music is apparently murdered leaving the opera. But what looks like an open-and-shut case begins to fall apart when English detective Daniel Leicester is tasked with getting the accused man off, and a trail that begins among Bologna’s close-knit classical music community leads him to suspect there may be a serial killer at large in the oldest university in the world. And as Bologna trembles with aftershocks following a recent earthquake, the city begins to give up her secrets.
The Collective by Alison Gaylin
How far would a mother go to right a wrong?
Camille Gardner is a grieving and angry mother who, fives years after her daughter’s death, is obsessed with the man she believes to be responsible.
Because Camille wants revenge.
Enter: the Collective.
A group of women who enact revenge on those who have taken their children.
But as Camille gets more involved in the group she must decide whether these women are the heroes or the villains.
And if she chooses wrong, will she ever get out alive?
A Memory for Murder by Anne Holt
To Remember the truth, she’ll have to forget the lies…
When former high-powered lawyer turned PI Selma Falck is shot and her oldest friend, a junior MP, is killed in a sniper attack, everyone – including the police – assume that Selma was the prime target.
But when two other people with connections to the MP are also found murdered, it becomes clear that there is a wider conspiracy at play.
As Selma sets out to avenge her friend’s death, and discover the truth behind the conspiracy, her own life is threatened once again. Only this time, the danger may be closer to home than she could possibly have realised…
The Cyclist by Tim Sullivan
Introducing your new crime thriller fix: Bristol detective DS George Cross, champion of the outsider, the voiceless and the dispossessed.
DS George Cross can be rude, difficult, and awkward with people. But his unfailing logic and relentless pursuit of justice means his conviction rate is the best on the force. So when a ravaged body is found in a local demolition site, it’s up to Cross to piece together the truth from whatever fragments he can find.
The demolition began at dawn. Walls knocked over. Twisted pipes uprooted. Window frames smashed. And then, a dead body appeared in the wreckage…
DS Cross has little to go on, but from the faint tan lines on the ravaged body, and strange scars on his forearms, an identity gradually emerges: a young man; an amateur cyclist; a reliance on performance-enhancing drugs. But what led this man to his death? In the face of budget cuts, unreliable witnesses and colleagues pushing to close the case, Cross mounts a meticulous investigation that will uncover jealousy, ambition and a family tearing itself apart…
The Red Monarch by Bella Ellis
The Brontë sisters’ first poetry collection has just been published, potentially marking an end to their careers as amateur detectors, when Anne receives a letter from her former pupil Lydia Robinson.
Lydia has eloped with a young actor, Harry Roxby, and following her disinheritance, the couple been living in poverty in London. Harry has become embroiled with a criminal gang and is in terrible danger after allegedly losing something very valuable that he was meant to deliver to their leader. The desperate and heavily pregnant Lydia has a week to return what her husband supposedly stole, or he will be killed. She knows there are few people who she can turn to in this time of need, but the sisters agree to help Lydia, beginning a race against time to save Harry’s life.
In doing so, our intrepid sisters come face to face with a terrifying adversary whom even the toughest of the slum-dwellers are afraid of . . . The Red Monarch.
The Mitford Vanishing by Jessica Fellowes
A classic mystery starring the glamorous Mitford sisters and inspired real events, The Mitford Vanishing is the perfect story for fans of Agatha Christie.
1937. War with Germany is dawning, and a civil war already raging in Spain. Split across political lines, the six Mitford sisters are more divided than ever. Meanwhile their former maid Louisa Cannon is now a private detective, working with her ex-policeman husband Guy Sullivan.
Louisa and Guy are surprised when a call comes in from novelist Nancy Mitford requesting that they look into the disappearance of her Communist sister Jessica, nicknamed Decca. It quickly becomes clear that Decca may have made for the war in Spain – and not alone.
As a second, separate missing person case is opened, Louisa and Guy discover that every marriage has its secrets – but some are more deadly than others . . .
The Bloodless Boy by Robert J Lloyd
Part Wolf Hall, part The Name of the Rose, a riveting new literary thriller set in Restoration London, with a cast of real historic figures, set against the actual historic events and intrigues of the returned king and his court …
The City of London, 1678. New Year’s Day. Twelve years have passed since the Great Fire ripped through the City. Eighteen since the fall of Oliver Cromwell and the restoration of a King. London is gripped by hysteria, and rumors of Catholic plots and sinister foreign assassins abound.
When the body of a young boy drained of his blood is discovered on the snowy bank of the Fleet River, Robert Hooke, the Curator of Experiments at the just-formed Royal Society for Improving Natural Knowledge, and his assistant Harry Hunt, are called in to explain such a ghastly finding—and whether it’s part of a plot against the king. They soon learn it is not the first bloodless boy to have been discovered.
Meanwhile, that same morning Henry Oldenburg, the Secretary of the Royal Society, blows his brains out, and a disgraced Earl is released from the Tower of London, bent on revenge against the King, Charles II.
Wary of the political hornet’s nest they are walking into – and using scientific evidence rather than paranoia in their pursuit of truth – Hooke and Hunt must discover why the boy was murdered, and why his blood was taken.
A Village Vacancy by Julie Houston
As the Yorkshire village of Westenbury mourns the loss of one of their own, the women can’t help but contemplate who will fill the vacancy in handsome widower David’s life.
Meanwhile, Grace Stevens has decided to move on without her good-for-nothing husband. Right now, she needs to focus less on men and more on wrangling with her unruly class of pre-teens.
And thankfully, there’s plenty to keep her occupied. Between an accidental dalliance with a pupil’s dad, helping close down a drug ring and keeping up with her closest girlfriends, Grace is busier than ever.
But as she spends more time with David, her determination to go it alone begins to waver…
Dog Park by Sofi Oksanen
Helsinki, 2016. Olenka sits on a bench, watching a family play in a dog park. A stranger sits down beside her. Olenka startles; she would recognize this other woman anywhere. After all, Olenka was the one who ruined her life. And this woman may be about to do the same to Olenka. Yet, for a fragile moment, here they are, together – looking at their own children being raised by other people.
Moving seamlessly between modern-day Finland and Ukraine in the early days of its post-Soviet independence, Dog Park is a keenly observed, dark and propulsive novel set at the intersection of East and West, centered in a web of exploitation and the commodification of the female body. Oksanen brings fearless psychological acuity to this captivating story about a woman unable to escape the memory of her lost child, the ruthless powers that still hunt her, and the lies that could well end up saving her.
Sour Grapes by Dan Rhodes
When the sleepy English village of Green Bottom hosts its first literary festival, the good, the bad and the ugly of the book world descend upon its leafy lanes
But the villagers are not prepared for the peculiar habits, petty rivalries and unspeakable desires of the authors. And they are certainly not equipped to deal with Wilberforce Selfram, the ghoul-faced, ageing enfant terriblewho wreaks havoc wherever he goes
Sour Grapes is a hilarious satire on the literary world which takes no prisoners as it skewers authors, agents, publishers and reviewers alike.
Learwife by J R Thorp
‘I am the queen of two crowns, banished fifteen years, the famed and gilded woman, bad-luck baleful girl, mother of three small animals, now gone. I am fifty-five years old. I am Lear’s wife. I am here.’
Word has come. Care-bent King Lear is dead, driven mad and betrayed. His three daughters too, broken in battle. But someone has survived: Lear’s queen. Exiled to a nunnery years ago, written out of history, her name forgotten. Now she can tell her story.
Though her grief and rage may threaten to crack the earth open, she knows she must seek answers. Why was she sent away in shame and disgrace? What has happened to Kent, her oldest friend and ally? And what will become of her now, in this place of women? To find peace she must reckon with her past and make a terrible choice – one upon which her destiny, and that of the entire abbey, rests.
Giving unforgettable voice to a woman whose absence has been a tantalising mystery, Learwife is a breathtaking novel of loss, renewal and how history bleeds into the present.
The Gardener by Salley Vickers
Artist, Hassie Days, and her sister, Margot, buy a run down Jacobean house in Hope Wenlock on the Welsh Marches. While Margot continues her London life in high finance, Hassie is left alone to work the large, long-neglected garden. She is befriended by eccentric, sharp-tongued, Miss Foot, who recommends, Murat, an Albanian migrant, made to feel out of place among the locals, to help Hassie in the garden.
As she works the garden in Murat’s peaceful company, Hassie ruminates on her past life: the sibling rivalry that tainted her childhood and the love affair that left her with painful, unanswered questions.
But as she begins to explore the history of the house and the mysterious nearby wood, old hurts begin to fade as she experiences the healing power of nature and discovers other worlds.
In her haunting new novel, Salley Vickers, the bestselling author of The Librarian and The Cleaner of Chartres, writes with the profound psychological insight and sense of the numinous power of place that is the hallmark of all her novels.
Love at First Fight by Mary Jane Baker
Bridie Morgan is giving love one last chance – she’s going on twenty dates in twenty days. If this ‘love’ thing really is a numbers game, then surely she’ll find The One. And if not? Well, at least the memory will be enough to put her off for life.
But being love’s biggest sceptic is a challenge in the face of best friend Hattie’s upcoming nuptials. And as maid of honour, she really has to give it a chance.
Then Bridie’s lifelong nemesis Ben Kemp returns home to join the wedding party. Ben, who triggered the sorry state of affairs that has been Bridie’s love life since high school. Ben, the best man to her maid of honour.
As old enemies reunite, sparks fly – in ways Bridie could never have seen coming…
House Swap by Olivia Beirne
You can learn a lot about someone when you swap houses. . .
Twins Katy and Rachel don’t know much about each other’s lives anymore.
Rachel thinks that Katy is a high-flying event planner in London, while Katy thinks that Rachel lives in idyllic marital bliss in the countryside.
Each sister believes the other has created a perfect life – but the truth is that neither twin has the life she pretends she does.
And when these sisters unexpectedly swap houses for a week, they’re in for a big shock.
But it might just be the wake-up call they’ve both been waiting for. . .
The Swift and the Harrier
When bloody civil war breaks out between the King and Parliament, families and communities across England are riven by different allegiances.
A rare few choose neutrality.
One such is Jayne Swift, a Dorset physician from a Royalist family, who offers her services to both sides in the conflict. Through her dedication to treating the sick and wounded, regardless of belief, Jayne becomes a witness to the brutality of war and the devastation it wreaks.
Yet her recurring companion at every event is a man she should despise because he embraces civil war as the means to an end. She knows him as William Harrier, but is ignorant about every other aspect of his life. His past is a mystery and his future uncertain.
Non-Fiction – bonus extra!
Europe’s 100 Best Cathedrals by Simon Jenkins
Europe’s cathedrals are magnificent. They outstrip palaces and castles. They are the most sensational group of structures anywhere in the world – which everyone should ‘see before they die’. They are also hugely popular, most of them absolutely packed. They are humankind’s greatest creations.
In Europe’s 1oo Best Cathedrals, Simon Jenkins has travelled the continent – from Chartres to York, Cologne to Florence, Toledo to Moscow and Stockholm to Seville – to illuminate old favourites and highlight new discoveries. Beautifully illustrated with colour photographs throughout, this joyous exploration of Europe’s history tells the stories behind these wonders, showing the cathedral’s central role in the European imagination. Readers will be inspired to make their own pilgrimage to all one hundred of them.
So that’s all for this week.