Coming over the next two weeks – my fiction picks to 27 February

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!)

Crime, Thriller & Mystery

All That Lives: the gripping new thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author (The Inspector McLean Series)

All That Lives by James Oswald

Two victims. Nothing connects them, except that someone buried them in the exact same way.
Seven hundred years apart.

An archaeological dig at the old South Leith parish kirkyard has turned up a mysterious body dating from around seven hundred years ago. Some suspect that this gruesome discovery is a sacrifice, placed there for a specific purpose.

Then a second body is unearthed. This victim went missing only thirty years ago – but the similarities between her death and the ancient woman’s suggest something even more disturbing.

Drawn into the investigation, Inspector McLean finds himself torn between a worrying trend of violent drug-related deaths and uncovering what truly connects these bodies. When a third body is discovered, and too close for comfort, he begins to suspect dark purpose at play – and that whoever put them there is far from finished.


Five Days Missing: The new 2022 addictive and gripping psychological thriller with a shocking twist

Five Days Missing by Caroline Corcoran

Romilly disappeared hours after giving birth, leaving behind her baby. Now, those closest to her rally around to look after the little girl, and to figure out what drove Romilly to do such a thing.
 
Her husband Marc has an explanation that makes total sense. But is the easiest solution always the right one? And does someone in Romilly’s tight circle know more than they are letting on?
 
As secrets spill out and old ties are tested to their limits, one thing is clear: the truth will come out. The question is, who will still be alive to hear it?


Unhinged (Blix & Ramm Book 3)

Unhinged by Jorn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger

When police investigator Sofia Kovic uncovers a startling connection between several Oslo murder cases, she attempts to contact her closest superior, Alexander Blix before involving anyone else in the department. But before Blix has time to return her call, Kovic is shot and killed in her own home – execution style. And in the apartment below, Blix’s daughter Iselin narrowly escapes becoming the killer’s next victim.

Four days later, Blix and online crime journalist Emma Ramm are locked inside an interrogation room, facing the National Criminal Investigation Service. Blix has shot and killed a man, and Ramm saw it all happen.

As Iselin’s life hangs in the balance, under-fire Blix no longer knows who he can trust … and he’s not even certain that he’s killed the right man…


What His Wife Knew: The unputdownable and thrilling revenge mystery

What His Wife Knew by Jo Jakeman

SORRY

The only word scribbled on a note from Beth’s husband before he disappeared.

The police believe that Oscar took his own life and this last apology was his way of saying goodbye to his wife. But Beth knows there is more to the story. As disturbing secrets about his life emerge, and the lies of those closest to her begin to unravel, she realises she never really knew her husband at all.

She wants to know what he was sorry for, and she’s going to find out… but someone doesn’t want her to discover the truth.

And they’ll do anything to stop her.

What His Wife Knew is a gripping suspense which is not what it first seems. It is a tale of revenge and betrayal but also of family and loyalty, with a final showdown you won’t easily forget.


Disappeared

Disappeared by Laura Jarratt

Let it burn. Let everything burn.

One day Cerys walks out of her comfortable life, never to return. Standing on a hillside at night with no phone and no possessions, watching her car set alight, she believes this is the end. And then Lily walks into her life.

Lily is desperate for a new start for herself and her child. More than that, she knows she has to disappear in order to keep them both safe.

The two women strike a fierce bond, and are both running from things that soon threaten to catch up with them. Can these two women keep each other safe… Can they trust each other ? Or are the pasts they’ve escaped too much for either of them to bear?


The Trivia Night: the shocking must-read novel for fans of Liane Moriarty

The Trivia Night by Ali Lowe

Question: How long does it take to tear someone’s life apart?
Answer: Sometimes just one night.

From the outside the parents of the kindergarten class at Darley Heights primary school seem to have it all. Living in the wealthy Sydney suburbs, it’s a community where everyone knows each other – and secrets don’t stay secret for long.

The big date in the calendar is the school’s annual fundraising trivia night, but when the evening gets raucously out of hand, talk turns to partner-swapping. Initially scandalised, it’s not long before a group of parents make a reckless one-night-only pact.

But in the harsh light of day, those involved must face the fallout of their behaviour. As they begin to navigate the shady aftermath of their wild night, the truth threatens to rip their perfect lives apart – and revenge turns fatal.


The Lying Wife: An absolutely gripping psychological thriller

The Lying Wife by Kathryn Croft

Be careful what you wish for…

Callie has known sadness, and sometimes doubted she would ever have the life she wanted. When she meets James, also no stranger to grief, it seems as though her luck has changed. She becomes his wife, and in the process a stepmother to his two sons. Callie has finally got what she always imagined for herself.

But things don’t go to plan for Callie. She tries to get things right, but at every turn she makes mistakes. If she can only show her new family just how much she cares, perhaps everything will be okay. Yet the harder she tries, the more she fails. A split-second decision leads to her spiralling out of control, and there is no way back for Callie.

When the police arrest her for murder, the dark tale of Callie’s shocking fall from grace slowly unfolds. But how much is Callie willing to reveal about the choices she made? If those she cares for the most learn the truth, they will hate her. Will her secrets be her undoing? Or will she tell the truth, no matter the cost?

*** Previously published under the title The Stranger Within. ***


Bad Terms: A page-turning British detective crime thriller (Detective Annie Delamere Book 3)

Bad Terms by Alex Walters

Dark deeds in the Peak District refuse to stay buried…

When a skeleton is unearthed at a building site in the village of Meresham, the police immediately link the case to a notorious missing persons investigation. Jayne Arnold was sixteen when she disappeared in the long, hot summer of 1976, and has not been seen since.

Soon after the bones are found, a tragic accident occurs at an elite boarding school nearby. The young victim fell to her death from the roof of a building. Digging into the girl’s background links her to an attempted expose of donations from unsavoury individuals. When further deaths follow, does it suggest a cover up is underway? Who stood to lose most from the truth coming out? And how do recent crimes link to events from more than 45 years ago? DI Annie Delamere and her team are tasked to answer these questions, but her own mother may stand between Annie and the truth.


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General/Contemporary Fiction

We Were Young (W&N Essentials)

We Were Young by Niamh Campbell

‘Young then. Before Alva and everything.’

Cormac is a photographer. Approaching forty and still single, he suddenly finds himself ‘the leftover man’.
Through talent and charm, he has escaped small town life and a haunted family. But now his peers are all getting divorced, dying, or buying trampolines in the suburbs. Cormac is dating former students, staying out all night and receiving boilerplate rejection emails for his work, propped up by a constellation of the women and ex-lovers in his life.

In the last weeks of the year, Cormac meets Caroline, an ambitious young dancer, and embarks on a miniature odyssey of intimacy. Simultaneously, he must take responsibility for his married brother, whose mid-life crisis forces them both to reckon with a death in the family that hangs over those left behind.

Set in Dublin, a city built on burial pits, We Were Young is a dazzlingly clever, deeply enjoyable novel from a Sunday Times Short Story Award-Winning author.


Cleopatra and Frankenstein: ‘Move over Sally Rooney: this is the hottest new book’ - Sunday Times

Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors

New York is slipping from Cleo’s grasp. Sure, she’s at a different party every other night, but she barely knows anyone. Her student visa is running out, and she doesn’t even have money for cigarettes. But then she meets Frank. Twenty years older, Frank’s life is full of all the success and excess that Cleo’s lacks. He offers her the chance to be happy, the freedom to paint, and the opportunity to apply for a green card. She offers him a life imbued with beauty and art—and, hopefully, a reason to cut back on his drinking. He is everything she needs right now. 
 
Cleo and Frank run head-first into a romance that neither of them can quite keep up with. It reshapes their lives and the lives of those around them, whether that’s Cleo’s best friend struggling to embrace his gender identity in the wake of her marriage, or Frank’s financially dependent sister arranging sugar daddy dates after being cut off. Ultimately, this chance meeting between two strangers outside of a New Year’s Eve party changes everything, for better or worse.


A Wedding in Provence: From the #1 bestselling author of uplifting feel-good fiction

A Wedding in Provence by Katie Fforde

Late summer, 1963

Fresh from London and a recent cookery course, Alexandra has always loved a challenge.

Which is why she now finds herself standing outside an imposing chateau in Provence.

Waiting for her inside is three silent, rather hostile children who are to be her charges for the next month.

They will soon be more friendly, she tells herself. All they need is some fun, good food and an English education.

Far more of a challenge though is their father – an impossibly good looking French count with whom she is rapidly falling in love . . .


The Farmhouse of Second Chances: A gorgeously uplifting story of new beginnings to curl up with in 2022!

The Farmhouse of Second Chances by Helen Rolfe

Home is where the heart is…

Joy has made a family for herself. She’s turned her beautiful old farmhouse into a safe haven for anyone who is looking for a new beginning. She’s always ready with a kind word, a nugget of advice and believes that anyone can change their life for the better, if they really want to.

Libby has exchanged her high-flying job in New York for a break in the quiet Somerset countryside. She’s soon drawn into Joy’s world and into her family of waifs and strays – including Drew, whom Joy once helped get back on his feet.

So when a secret from Joy’s past threatens everything, can the unlikely group come together to give Joy a second chance of her own?


Two Doors Away

Two Doors Down by Elle Spellman

Since moving to a new city, once-adventurous Steph is doing her best to prove to her friends and family back home that her life is as fulfilling and envy-inducing as ever. The truth? She is broke and has found that making new friends isn’t as easy as she expected.

Eric has lost his way in life since his breakup with perfect Clarissa. Now that all his friends are buying homes, getting married and starting families, Eric is still living in a house share, feeling left behind.

Eric and Steph are lonely. They’re strangers, but with one connection – they live on the same street, on either side of number 26. Neither Eric nor Steph have met their neighbour at number 26, but both used to take comfort in hearing their neighbour playing piano at the same time every night – it made them feel less alone.

Now the music has stopped and number 26 lies silent. Brought together by their mutual concern, Eric and Steph begin to grow closer and it looks like they might discover that the solution to their problems has been just two doors away the whole time.


The Stone World

The Stone World by Joel Agee

Joel Agee’s hallucinatory first novel begins in a house with a large garden in an unnamed Mexican town in the late 1940s, where six-and-a-half-year-old Peter reads, dreams, and plays with his friends. He is a nascent explorer, artist, philosopher, mystic, and scientist. His world is still new, not yet papered over with received knowledge.
 
And the actual world around him is a unique one in history: a community of leftist emigrés who have found refuge in Mexico from the Nazi and fascist regimes of Europe, rubbing shoulders with Mexican labor activists and leftists such as Frida Kahlo.  
 
But the emigrés long for home — including Peter’s step-father, who wants to return to his native Germany. Going back to Europe may not be safe for any of them yet, however, which gives rise to anguished arguments among Peter’s parents’s and their tight group of friends.
 
And slowly, Peter begins to comprehend that his world may be turned upside down – that he might be forced to take leave of everyone he knows: his best friend, Arón; his father’s friend Sándor, who talks about revolution and performs magic tricks; and Zita, the family’s live-in-maid, who has taught him the consoling mysteries of prayer . . .


A Million Aunties

A Million Aunties by Alecia McKenzie

Seeking solitude after a personal tragedy upends his world, artist Chris travels to his mother’s homeland, Jamaica, in a bid to find peace. He expects to spend his time painting in solitude, coming to terms with his loss and the fractured relationship with his father. Instead, he discovers a new extended and complicated ‘family’ with their own startling stories. Can they help him to become whole again?


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Historical

The Secrets of Sainte Madeleine: The gripping, glamorous and epic new historical novel for 2022 from the international bes...

The Secrets of Sainte Madeleine by Tilly Bagshawe

ONE FAMILY
THREE GENERATIONS
SOME SECRETS NEVER DIE . . .

Elise would do anything to inherit Sainte Madeleine, the vineyard that’s been home to the Salignacs for generations. Only Laurent Senard, a distant cousin, is a rival for her heart – yet when a family rift sends her on a new and dangerous path, she risks losing them both . . .
 
Alexandre, Elise’s brother, can’t bear to see their capricious father put the vineyard – and Alex’s birthright – in jeopardy. He leaves to carve out his own fortune in the rich hills of Napa, California. But will turning his back on the chateau be his biggest mistake?
 
Laurent Senard’s love for Elise was planted at Sainte Madeleine long ago. But with the shadow of war sweeping over Europe, Laurent must leave France to fight. Through the years of longing, secrecy and tragedy that follow, he vows to find his way back – if only it isn’t too late . . .
 
Sweeping through the 1920s to WWII and beyond, this is the story of the Salignac family – the loves that bind them, the secrets that threaten to divide them, and the chateau that will always call them home.


Sponsored Ad – The Midwife

The Midwife by Tricia Cresswell

1838. After a violent storm, a woman is found alone, naked and near death, on the Northumberland moors. She has no memory of who she is or how she got there. But she can remember how to help a woman in labour and how to expertly dress a wound, and can speak fluent French. With the odds against her, a penniless single woman, she starts to build her life from scratch, using her skills to help other women around her. She finds a happy place in the world. Until tragedy strikes, and she must run for her life . . .

In London, Dr Borthwick lives a solitary life working as an accoucheur dealing with mothers and babies in the elegant homes of high society together with his midwife, Mrs Bates, and volunteering in the slums of the Devil’s Acre alongside a young widow, Eleanor Johnson. His professional reputation is spotless and he keeps his private life just as clean, isolating himself from any new acquaintances. But he is harbouring a dark secret from his past – one that threatens to spill over everything.


Sponsored Ad – The Little Wartime Library: A gripping, heart-wrenching page-turner based on real events

The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson

London, 1944.

Clara Button is no ordinary librarian. While the world remains at war, in East London Clara has created the country’s only underground library, built over the tracks in the disused Bethnal Green tube station. Down here a secret community thrives: with thousands of bunk beds, a nursery, a café and a theatre offering shelter, solace and escape from the bombs that fall above.

Along with her glamorous best friend and library assistant Ruby Munroe, Clara ensures the library is the beating heart of life underground. But as the war drags on, the women’s determination to remain strong in the face of adversity is tested to the limits when it seems it may come at the price of keeping those closest to them alive.


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So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

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