Coming this month, my fiction picks for December

Here’s my latest 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.

(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)

Index

Crime, Thriller and Mystery

General Fiction

Historical (I tend to take this as pre 1960’s ie not in my lifetime!)

Non-Fiction added extras

Crime, Thriller & Mystery

A Will to Kill: ‘A modern-day take on the classic locked-room murder mystery’ New York Times (a Harith Athreya mystery)

A Will to Kill by R V Raman

MIST

Ageing millionaire Bhaskar Fernandez has invited his relatives to the remote, and possibly haunted, Greybrooke Manor, high up in the misty Nilgiris.

MOUNTAINS

He knows his guests expect to gain from his death, so he writes two conflicting wills. Which one of them comes into force will depend on how he dies.

MURDER

Fernandez also invites Harith Athreya, a seasoned investigator, to watch what unfolds.

When a landslide leaves the estate temporarily isolated, and a body is discovered, Athreya finds that death is not the only thing that the mist conceals. . .


The Village of Eight Graves

The Village of Eight Graves by Seishi Yokomizo

The third title in Japan’s most popular murder mystery series — after The Honjin Murders and The Inugami Curse — fiendish classics featuring investigator Kosuke Kindaichi

Nestled deep in the mist-shrouded mountains, The Village of Eight Graves takes its name from a bloody legend: in the Sixteenth Century eight samurais, who had taken refuge there along with a secret treasure, were murdered by the inhabitants, bringing a terrible curse down upon their village.

Centuries later a mysterious young man named Tatsuya arrives in town, bringing a spate of deadly poisonings in his wake. The inimitably scruffy and brilliant Kosuke Kindaichi investigates.


Solstice of Death (The Mindful Detective Book 3) Kindle Edition

Solstice of Death by Laurence Anholt

A dazzling dawn breaks over the Stonehenge midwinter solstice, where the assembled new-age revellers are horrified to discover a green-painted human hand dangling from beneath a mound of snow, high on one of the stone lintels.
Leading the investigation into this peculiar death is DI Shanti Joyce and her partner, Vincent Caine. To Shanti’s chagrin the pair have become known as ‘the go-to team for weird stuff in the West Country’ and this festive fatality is the mother and Father Christmas of odd and ritualistic crimes.

Amidst the swirling flurries of Salisbury Plain, the unlikely duo discover that the deceased is none other than Hector Lovell-Finch, the eccentric Earl of Lovell Court, known to all as ‘Finch’ – and who also happens to be the father of the notoriously right-wing MP, Quentin Lovell-Finch.

It is no secret that relations between father and son have become decidedly frosty since Finch’s acrimonious divorce from Quentin’s mother, his conversion to environmentalism, and second marriage to an indigenous Brazilian environmentalist half his age. Now there is the icy issue of who will inherit the ancient Lovell-Finch Estate.

To make things more complicated, single mum Shanti has faithfully promised her son, Paul a magical Christmas with all the trimmings. Can this most knotty of English murders be untwined in just five days? And will the unlikely detective duo celebrate the season with merriment, mindfulness and mistletoe?


Darkness Falls: The unmissable new thriller in the pulse-pounding Kate Marshall series

Darkness Falls by Robert Bryndza

Kate Marshall’s detective agency takes off when she and her partner Tristan are hired to investigate a cold case from over a decade ago. Twelve years previously, a determined young journalist called Joanna Duncan exposed a political scandal that had major repercussions. In the fallout she disappeared without trace and was never found.

When Kate and Tristan examine the case files, they find the trail long cold, but they discover the names of two young men who also vanished at that time. As she begins to connect their last days, Kate realizes that Joanna may have been onto something far more sinister than anyone first believed: the identity of a serial killer preying on the people who few will ever miss.

But the closer Kate comes to finding the killer, the darker things become . . .


The Couple on Maple Drive: A new unputdownable and absolutely gripping psychological thriller

The Couple on Maple Drive by Sam Carrington

Have you heard about the couple on Maple Drive?

Isla barely leaves the house after her brutal mugging.

Her boyfriend Zach moved in with her after the attack. To look after her.

But something else has happened now. Right on their doorstep.

I don’t want to say that someone’s out to get her…

I just hope they find out the truth before it’s too late.

Or at least before the secrets they’re hiding from each other surface.

Because those could be even deadlier


We Are All Liars

We are All Liars by Carys Jones

We’re best friends.
We trust each other.
But…

We are all liars.

Allie, Stacie, Diana, Emily and Gail have been by each other’s sides for as long as they can remember. The Fierce Five. Best friends forever. But growing up has meant growing apart. And little white lies have grown into devastating secrets.

When Gail invites the increasingly estranged friends to reunite at her Scottish cabin, it could be the opportunity to mend old wounds and heal the cracks in their friendship. But when a freak snowstorm rocks the cabin and one of the girls is found dead on the ice, their weekend away becomes a race against time – and each other – to get off the mountain alive.

And in the end, whose story can you trust, when everything was founded on lies to begin with?


Quicksand of Memory

Quicksand of Memory by Michael J Malone

Jenna is trying to rebuild her life after a series of disastrous relationships.

Luke is struggling to provide a safe, loving home for his deceased partner’s young son, following a devastating tragedy.

When Jenna and Luke meet and fall in love, they are certain they can achieve the stability and happiness they both desperately need.

And yet, someone is watching.

Someone who has been scarred by past events.

Someone who will stop at nothing to get revenge…

Dark, unsettling and immensely moving, Quicksand of Memory is a chilling reminder that we are not only punished for our sins, but by them, and that memories left to blacken and sharpen over time are the perfect breeding ground for obsession, and murder…


Hide: The absolutely gripping new psychological thriller with a heart pounding twist for 2021

Hide by Nell Pattison

Seven friends. One killer. You can run, but you can’t hide…

It’s Boxing Day and your friendship group has planned a hike.

You know tensions are running high.

You’ve heard the rumours flying around.

But this trip is a chance for you to reconnect.

As you head into the reserve, everyone is quiet.

It almost feels like you’ve imagined the rift.

But as the sun sets, you hear a gun shot.

One of your group is dead.

And someone you know killed them…


Silent Parade: A DETECTIVE GALILEO NOVEL (Detective Galileo Series)

Silent Parade by Keigo Higshino

Kusanagi pointed at Yukawa with his fork. “When it comes to unraveling impossible crimes, you’re the master. It’s time for Detective Galileo to stand up.

A popular young girl disappears without a trace, her skeletal remains discovered three years later in the ashes of a burned-out house. There’s a suspect and compelling circumstantial evidence of his guilt, but no concrete proof. When he isn’t indicted, he returns to mock the girl’s family. And this isn’t the first time he’s been suspected of the murder of a young girl, nearly twenty years ago he was tried and released due to lack of evidence. Chief Inspector Kusanagi of the Homicide Division of the Tokyo Police worked both cases.

The neighborhood in which the murdered girl lived is famous for an annual street festival, featuring a parade with entries from around Tokyo and Japan. During the parade, the suspected killer dies unexpectedly. His death is suspiciously convenient but the people with all the best motives have rock solid alibis. Chief Inspector Kusanagi turns once again to his college friend, Physics professor and occasional police consultant Manabu Yukawa, known as Detective Galileo, to help solve the string of seemingly impossible murders.


The Newcomer

The Newcomer by Laura Elizabeth Woollett

When her 29-year-old daughter Paulina goes missing on a sleepy pacific island, Judy Novak suspects the worst. Her fears are soon realised as Paulina’s body is discovered, murdered.

Every man on the island is a suspect, yet none are as maligned as Paulina herself, the captivating newcomer known for her hard drinking, disastrous relationships, and a habit for walking alone. But even death won’t stop Judy Novak from fighting for her daughter’s life.


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General/Contemporary Fiction

A Loving, Faithful Animal Kindle Edition

A Loving, Faithful Animal by Josephine Rowe

New Year’s Eve, 1990, small-town Australia. The mysterious death of the family dog pushes Jack, a Vietnam veteran suffering from severe PTSD, into one of his periodic vanishing acts. His eccentric brother Les remains next door, a gentle fixer-upper, whose loyalties are increasingly torn between Jack and his wife Evelyn. This time, Evelyn lets Jack stay gone. She is rapidly disappearing herself, lost in recollections of a vibrant youth as her eldest daughter Lani seems intent on misspending her own. And at the heart of it all is Lani’s little sister Ru, who sees everything and yet is overlooked.


The Silent Friend: One of the most gripping psychological thriller books of 2021 from the author of bestsellers including ...

The Silent Friend by Diane Jeffrey

Tragedy brought them together. The truth will tear them apart.

It’s supposed to be Laura’s dream holiday: a trip to France with a group of friends to see their favourite band play live. But the holiday quickly turns to disaster, and Laura is left haunted by terrifying images from the worst night of her life.
 
When Laura finds an online support group for victims like her, she’s not convinced it will help. But then Sandrine replies to her message, and she seems to understand what Laura’s going through, in a way that no one else can.
 
Soon, Laura and Sandrine are sharing their deepest thoughts and feelings with each other. But one of them has a terrible secret – she isn’t who she says she is. And once the twisted truth is revealed, there’s no going back…


Fall

Fall by West Camel

Twins Aaron and Clive have been estranged for forty years. Aaron still lives in the empty, crumbling tower block on the riverside in Deptford where they grew up. Clive is a successful property developer, determined to turn the tower into luxury flats.

But Aaron is blocking the plan and their petty squabble becomes something much greater when two ghosts from the past – twins Annette and Christine – appear in the tower. At once, the desolate estate becomes a stage on which the events of one scorching summer are relived – a summer that shattered their lives, and changed everything forever…

Grim, evocative and exquisitely rendered, Fall is a story of friendship and family – of perception, fear and prejudice, the events that punctuate our journeys into adulthood, and the indelible scars they leave – a triumph of a novel that will affect you long after the final page has been turned.


Fates and Fortunes in Little Woodford

Fates and Fortunes in Little Woodford by Catherine Jones

Summer is approaching in the market town of Little Woodford, which can only mean one thing: the town fete! But the winds of change are blowing through the sleepy town high street and trouble is on the horizon…

Two hot properties have come up for sale: The Talbot, Little Woodford’s much-loved local pub and The Reeve House, a beautiful country manor cut off from the rest of the town and closed to the community.

A ‘for sale’ sign means new members of the community, and gossip begins to fly about an offer on the Reeve House… who could be the new millionaire in their midst?

Meanwhile, Heather, Jacqui and Miranda are desperately trying to organise the fete as an opportunity to bring the town together. But devastation strikes when a newcomer threatens to derail the whole operation.


The Meeting Point: Hilarious, heart-warming and uplifting – the romantic comedy of 2021!

The Meeting Point by Olivia Lara

What if the Lift driver who finds your cheating boyfriend’s phone holds the directions to true love?

‘Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend’s phone?’

‘He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I’m the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.’

And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday.

So when the mystery driver rescues Maya with the suggestion that she cheers herself up at a nearby beach town, she jumps at the chance to get things back on track. She wasn’t expecting a personalised itinerary or the easy companionship that comes from opening up to a stranger via text, let alone the possibility it might grow into something more…

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Historical

The Visitors

The Visitors by Caroline Scott

Esme Nicholls is to spend the summer in Cornwall. Her late husband Alec, who died fighting in the war, grew up in Penzance, and she’s hoping to learn more about the man she loved and lost.
 
While there, she will stay with Gilbert, in his rambling seaside house, where he lives with his former brothers in arms. Esme is fascinated by this community of eccentric artists and former soldiers, and as she gets to know the men and their stories, she begins to feel this summer might be exactly what she needs.
 
But everything is not as idyllic as it seems – a mysterious new arrival later in the summer will turn Esme’s world upside down, and make her question everything she thought she knew about her life, and the people in it.


The Zookeeper of Belfast: A heart-stopping WW2 historical novel based on an incredible true story

The Zookeeper of Belfast by S Kirk Walsh

As the bombs rain down on the city, Belfast’s first ever female zookeeper must fight to save the baby elephant in her charge in this gripping, uplifting tale based on a true story.

1941. With the men away fighting, animal-lover Hettie Quin is made Belfast Zoo’s first ever female zookeeper. She is put in charge of Violet, a three-year-old Indian elephant, and they soon form a special bond. With Violet at her side, Hettie can almost escape the grim reality of her life: the father who has abandoned her family; the sister who recently died; the war that’s raging hundreds of miles away.

But the devastation of war is closer than she thought. When the bombs begin to rain down on the city, Hettie must gather all her courage to protect those she loves the most. Can she save Violet – and get through unscathed herself?


The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay: A darkly gripping dual-time novel of family secrets to be hidden at all costs...

The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay by Julie Brooks

England, 1919: Rose and Ivy board a ship bound for Australia.

One is travelling there to marry a man she has never met.

One is destined never to arrive.

Australia, 2016: Amongst her late-grandmother’s possessions, Molly uncovers a photograph of two girls dressed in First World War nurses’ uniforms, labelled ‘Rose and Ivy 1917’, and a letter from her grandmother, asking her to find out what happened to her own mother, Rose, who disappeared in the 1960s.

Compelled to carry out her grandmother’s last wish, Molly embarks on a journey to England to unravel the mystery of the two girls whose photograph promised they’d be ‘together forever’…


Tempted by the Runes: The stunning and evocative new timeslip novel of romance and Viking adventure

Tempted by the Runes by Christina Courtenay

Born centuries apart. Bound by a love that defied time.

Madison Berger is visiting Dublin with her family for a Viking re-enactment festival, when she chances upon a small knife embedded in the banks of the Liffey. Maddie recognises what the runes on the knife’s handle signify: the chance to have her own adventures in the past.

Maddie only intends to travel back in time briefly, but a skirmish in 9th century Dublin results in her waking up on a ship bound for Iceland, with the man who saved her from attack.

Geir Eskilsson has left his family in Sweden to boldly carve out a life of his own. He is immediately drawn to Maddie, but when he learns of her connection to his sisters-in-law, he begins to believe that Fate has played a part in bringing them together. Amidst the perils that await on their journey to a new land, the truest battle will be to win Maddie’s heart and convince her that the runes never lie…


Hotel Portofino

Hotel Portofino by John O’Connell

A heady historical drama about a British family who open an upper-class hotel on the magical Italian Riviera during the ‘Roaring 20s’.
 
Hotel Portofino has been open for only a few weeks, but already the problems are mounting for its owner Bella Ainsworth. Her high-class guests are demanding and hard to please. And she’s being targeted by a scheming and corrupt local politician, who threatens to drag her into the red-hot cauldron of Mussolini’s Italy.
 
To make matters worse, her marriage is in trouble, and her children are still struggling to recover from the repercussions of the Great War. All eyes are on the arrival of a potential love match for her son Lucian, but events don’t go to plan, which will have far reaching consequences for the whole family.


Journey to Paradise

Journey to Paradise by Paula Greenlees

Singapore, 1949. When Miranda steps onto the pier with her husband Gerry she hopes that their move will bring the fresh start she needs and a chance to heal the scars from her past.

Gerry’s role at the British foreign office affords them a beautiful house and invites the best parties in town. But their life feels worlds apart from England and true friends are hard to find.

When doctor Nick Wythenshaw encourages Miranda to work within the local community, she finds new purpose that opens her eyes to a new way of life.

But as riots erupt across the region and danger draws close to home, Miranda must make an impossible choice. Will she sacrifice everything she holds dear to find happiness?


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So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

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