Coming this week – my fiction picks to 9th January 2022

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)

Index

Crime, Thriller and Mystery

General Fiction

Non-Fiction added extra

Crime, Thriller & Mystery

Opal Country: The unmissable new thriller from the award-winning author of Scrublands

Opal Country by Chris Hammer

Opals…

In the desolate outback town of Finnigans Gap, police struggle to maintain law and order. Thieves pillage opal mines, religious fanatics recruit vulnerable youngsters and billionaires do as they please.

Bodies…

Then an opal miner is found crucified and left to rot down his mine. Nothing about the miner’s death is straight-forward, not even who found the body. Homicide detective Ivan Lucic is sent to investigate, assisted by inexperienced young investigator Nell Buchanan.

But Finnigans Gap has already ended one police career and damaged others, and soon both officers face damning allegations and internal investigations. Have Ivan and Nell been set up, and if so, by whom?

Secrets…

As time runs out, their only chance at redemption is to find the killer. But the more they uncover, the more harrowing the mystery becomes, and a past long forgotten is thrown into scorching sunlight.

Because in Finnigans Gap, nothing stays buried for ever.


Dead of Winter: The unmissable new crime novel from the award-winning writer (Seasons Quartet)

Dead of Winter by Anders de la Motte

IT WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

WINTER 1987
Laura is excited to spend Christmas as usual with her beloved aunt Hedda and her friends. But her festive mood soon turns sour as she finds both old faces and new are keeping secrets from her. When a fire claims the life of her best friend, the scars of that night will remain with Laura for the rest of her life.

TODAY
With her aunt’s death, Laura inherits the cabin village Hedda used to manage and is forced to return to the town she hasn’t set foot in since the tragedy. Laura’s presence stirs up repressed emotions in the small community and it isn’t long before a series of arson attacks casts suspicion on her. Though Laura is desperate to leave, she learns her aunt discovered something about that fateful night not long before she died.

BUT SOMEONE WANTS THE PAST TO STAY BURIED . . .


The Secret: A gripping, page-turning new thriller from the author of the #1 eBook bestseller ‘The Vow’

The Secret by Debbie Howells

‘Everyone has secrets. And now, one of mine is yours…’

Best friends Hollie and Niamh tell each other everything. Behind the village of Abingworth’s closed doors, every family has its secrets – and their doors might hide the worst ones of all.

One day Hollie tells Niamh about a devastating discovery, swears her to secrecy, then vanishes. The villagers claim to know nothing. But when Hollie’s body is found, the police know one of their number isn’t just a liar, but a killer…

What did Hollie tell Niamh before she died? And who would kill to keep it hidden?

After all, two can keep a secret – if one of them is dead…

A completely unputdownable suspense novel that will leave you reeling at the final twist…


The Winter Guest: A haunting, atmospheric mystery from the author of A House of Ghosts

The Winter Guest by W C Ryan

The drive leads past the gate house and through the trees towards the big house, visible through the winter-bared branches. Its windows stare down at Harkin and the sea beyond . . .

January 1921. Though the Great War is over, in Ireland a new, civil war is raging. The once-grand Kilcolgan House, a crumbling bastion shrouded in sea-mist, lies half empty and filled with ghosts – both real and imagined – the Prendevilles, the noble family within, co-existing only as the balance of their secrets is kept.

Then, when an IRA ambush goes terribly wrong, Maud Prendeville, eldest daughter of Lord Kilcolgan, is killed, leaving the family reeling. Yet the IRA column insist they left her alive, that someone else must have been responsible for her terrible fate. Captain Tom Harkin, an IRA intelligence officer and Maud’s former fiancé, is sent to investigate, becoming an unwelcome guest in this strange, gloomy household.

Working undercover, Harkin must delve into the house’s secrets – and discover where, in this fractured, embattled town, each family member’s allegiances truly lie. But Harkin too is haunted by the ghosts of the past and by his terrible experiences on the battlefields. Can he find out the truth about Maud’s death before the past – and his strange, unnerving surroundings – overwhelm him?


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General/Contemporary Fiction

Wahala: Set to be the most talked-about book of 2022

Wahala by Nikki May

Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London.
They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English.
Not all of them choose to see it that way.

Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they question their future. Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Boo enjoys (correction: endures) stay-at-home motherhood; while Simi, full of fashion career dreams, rolls her eyes as her boss refers to her urban vibe yet again.

When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them.

Cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may just have repeated itself.

Explosive, hilarious and wildly entertaining, this razor-sharp tale of love, race and family will have you laughing, crying and gasping in horror. Fearlessly political about class, colourism and clothes, the spellbinding Wahala is for anyone who has ever cherished friendship, in all its forms.


Olga Dies Dreaming

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

It’s 2017, and Olga and her brother, Pedro ‘Prieto’ Acevedo, are bold-faced names in their hometown of New York. Prieto is a popular congressman representing their gentrifying, Latinx neighborhood in Brooklyn, while Olga is the tony wedding planner for Manhattan’s power brokers.

Despite their alluring public lives, behind closed doors things are far less rosy. Sure, Olga can orchestrate the love stories of the one percent, but she can’t seem to find her own . . . until she meets Matteo, who forces her to confront the effects of long-held family secrets.

Twenty-seven years ago, their mother, Blanca, a Young Lord-turned-radical, abandoned her children to advance a militant political cause, leaving them to be raised by their grandmother. Now, with the winds of hurricane season, Blanca has come barreling back into their lives.

Set against the backdrop of New York City in the months surrounding the most devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico’s history, Olga Dies Dreaming is a story that examines political corruption, familial strife and the very notion of the American dream – all while asking what it really means to weather a storm.


In His Own Image

In His Own Image  by Jerome Ferrari

A novel about passion, death, and the ambiguous relationship between art and reality

Antonia grows up in rural Corsica, a place of deeply-rooted traditions and strong family ties. When she’s fourteen, her uncle, a priest, gives her a camera—suddenly changing the way she looks at the world and igniting a life-long passion. 

Over two decades later, Antonia runs into Dragan, a soldier whom she had met when she was reporting on the war in the former Yugoslavia. The two spend the night in deep conversation, reminiscing about their experience of the conflict. As she drives home, Antonia loses control of her car, plunges off a cliff and is killed instantly. Tasked with officiating at her funeral, Antonia’s uncle is forced to reflect on her life and legacy and on the profound questions they beg about ambition and doubt, passion and guilt, representation and reality.


Anything Could Happen: the heartfelt and uplifting new novel from the bestselling author of The Beach Café

Anything Could Happen by Lucy Diamond

Your big secret is out. What next?

For Lara and her daughter Eliza, it has always been just the two of them. But when Eliza turns eighteen and wants to connect with her father, Lara is forced to admit a secret that she has been keeping from her daughter her whole life.

Eliza needs answers – and so does Lara. Their journey to the truth will take them on a road trip across England and eventually to New York, where it all began. Dreams might have been broken and opportunities missed, but there are still surprises in store…

Anything Could Happen is a warm, wise, funny and uplifting novel about love, second chances and the unexpected and extraordinary paths life can take us down.


The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures: a joyful and heart-warming novel you won't want to miss

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures by Holly Hepburn

When Hope loses her husband, she fears her happiest days are behind her. With her only connection to London broken, she moves home to York to be near her family and to begin to build a new life.  
 
Taking a job at the antique shop she has always admired, she finds herself crossing paths with two very different men. Will, who has recently become the guardian to his niece after the tragic death of her parents. And Ciaran, who she enlists to help solve the mystery of an Egyptian antique. Two men who represent two different happy endings.
 
But can she trust herself to choose the right man? And will that bring her everything she really needs?

*** Originally published in four parts this is the full story in one package. 


The Library

The Library by Bella Osborne

Two lonely bookworms. An unexpected friendship. A library that needs their help

Teenager Tom has always blended into the background of life. After a row with his dad and facing an unhappy future at the dog food factory, he escapes to the library.

Pensioner Maggie has been happily alone with her beloved novels for ten years – at least, that’s what she tells herself.

When they meet, they recognise something in each other that will change both their lives for ever.

Then the library comes under threat of closure, and they must join forces to prove that it’s not just about books – it’s the heart of their community.

They are determined to save it – because some things are worth fighting for.


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Non-Fiction – bonus extra!

Until I Loved I Never Lived: A Literary Celebration of Love in All its Forms

Until I Loved I Never Lived: A Literary Celebration of Love in All its Forms

Love is the most powerful force on the planet.

From the familial love that gives us the strength to protect and care for our families and the platonic love that drives us to do anything to help our friends, to the self-love that gets us through difficult times and the romantic love that makes us want to shout from the rooftops and walk miles for a kiss, love has inspired all of our greatest poets and writers to create some of their most moving works.

Discover some of the most beautiful words about love from the love letters of John Keats to passages from Virginia Woolf’s novels, to poems by Elizabeth Barret-Browning and more. Every passage celebrates love at its fullest, in all its forms, be it for a friend, a family member, oneself, or a lover.

Share the love by giving this book to someone you care about or borrow phrases from these brilliant voices to express how you feel.


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So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

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