Coming this week – my fiction picks to 6th March

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.

(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

One for Sorrow: The new heart-stopping, page-turning crime thriller for 2022

One for Sorrow by Helen Field

One for sorrow, two for joy
Edinburgh is gripped by the greatest terror it has ever known: a lone bomber is targeting victims across the city, and no one is safe.
 
Three for a girl, four for a boy
In their jobs, DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach deal with death every day. But when it becomes clear that every bomb is a trap designed to kill them too, the possibility of facing it themselves starts to feel all too real.
 
Five for silver, six for gold
With the body count rising daily and the bomber’s methods becoming ever more horrifying, Ava and Luc must race to find out who is behind the attacks – or pay the ultimate price…
 
Seven for a secret never to be told…


The Yards

The Yards by A F Carter

Git O’Rourke just wanted to blow off some steam.
She never expected to be accused of murder.

The rundown town of Baxter doesn’t have a lot going for it, but there’s always somewhere for single mum Git O’Rourke to cut loose and forget about her life. All she wanted was to put aside worried thoughts of her daughter, Charlie, and find a handsome stranger to spend the night with.

She never expected to be accused of murder.

Now Git is in deep trouble. She’s just woken up in a dark hotel room with a strange man she can’t seem to rouse, and surrounded by money and guns.

When the dead body is discovered with a bullet through its forehead, Officer Delia Mariola is one of the first on the scene. She knows the victim is connected to the mob, but something feels off – all signs point to a pick-up gone wrong. Which means that all signs point to Git.


The Paris Apartment: The unmissable new murder mystery thriller for 2022 from the No.1 bestselling and award winning autho...

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Welcome to No.12 rue des Amants

A beautiful old apartment block, far from the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower and the bustling banks of the Seine.

Where nothing goes unseen, and everyone has a story to unlock.

The watchful concierge
The scorned lover
The prying journalist
The naïve student
The unwanted guest

There was a murder here last night.
A mystery lies behind the door of apartment three.

Who holds the key?


Echo of the Dead: The gripping 19th installment of the Sunday Times bestselling DSI Lorimer series (DSI William Lorimer)

Echo of the Dead by Alex Gray

After a stressful winter, DSI William Lorimer is enjoying some time away from Glasgow. He and his new friend, Daniel Kohi, have retreated to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands to unwind. But what awaits them is far from a holiday.

Despite its troubled history, the mountain village of Glencoe is now a popular resort, famed for its close-knit community, its breath-taking scenery and the warm welcome it offers weary travellers. So it’s particularly shocking when two bodies are discovered in quick succession on the nearby peaks . . .

With a potential serial killer on the loose, Lorimer’s Major Incidents Team are drafted in from Glasgow. It’s clear that a dark secret lurks beneath the wild beauty of this place. But will Lorimer manage to root it out before the killer strikes again?


Give Unto Others (A Commissario Brunetti Mystery Book 31)

Give Unto Others by Donna Leon

The gifted Venetian detective returns in his 31st case – this time, investigating the Janus-faced nature of yet another Italian institution. Brunetti will have to once again face the blurred line that runs between the criminal and the non-criminal, bending police rules, and his own character, to help an acquaintance in danger.


Twelve Secrets: Harlan Coben meets Broadchurch in the paciest thriller of the year (Ben Harper Book 1)

Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold

A SMALL TOWN. A SHOCKING CRIME.
YOU’LL SUSPECT EVERY CHARACTER. BUT YOU’LL NEVER GUESS THE ENDING.

Ben Harper’s life changed for ever the day his older brother Nick was murdered by two classmates. It was a crime that shocked the nation and catapulted Ben’s family and their idyllic hometown, Haddley, into the spotlight.

Twenty years on, Ben is one of the best investigative journalists in the country and settled back in Haddley, thanks to the support of its close-knit community. But then a fresh murder case shines new light on his brother’s death and throws suspicion on those closest to him.

Ben is about to discover that in Haddley no one is as they seem. Everyone has something to hide.

And someone will do anything to keep the truth buried . . .


Reputation: the timely page-turner everyone is talking about

Reputation by Sarah Vaughan

Emma Webster is a respectable MP.
 
Emma Webster is a devoted mother.
 
Emma Webster is innocent of the murder of a tabloid journalist.
 
Emma Webster is a liar.
 
#Reputation: The story you tell about yourself. And the lies others choose to believe…


Nine Lives

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson

If you’re on the list you’re marked for death.

The envelope is unremarkable. There is no return address. It contains a single, folded, sheet of white paper.

The envelope drops through the mail slot like any other piece of post. But for the nine complete strangers who receive it – each of them recognising just one name, their own, on the enclosed list – it will be the most life altering letter they ever receive. It could also be the last, as one by one, they start to meet their end.

But why?


The Lying Club: the addictive and darkly compelling new thriller

The Lying Club by Annie Ward

At an elite private school nestled in the Colorado mountains, a tangled web of lies draws together three vastly different women. Natalie, a young office assistant, dreams of having a life like the school moms she deals with every day. Women like Brooke-a gorgeous heiress, ferociously loving mother and serial cheater-and Asha, an overachieving and overprotective mom who suspects her husband of having an affair.

Their fates are bound by their relationships with the handsome, charming assistant athletic director Nicholas, who Natalie loves, Brooke wants and Asha needs. But when two bodies are carried out of the school early one morning, it seems the jealousy between mothers and daughters, rival lovers and the haves and have-nots has shattered the surface of this isolated, affluent town-a town where people will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Set in a world of vast ranches, chalet-style apartments and mountain mansions, The Lying Club is a juicy thriller of revenge, murder and a shocking conspiracy-one in which the victims aren’t who you might think.


Remember Me

Remember Me by Charity Norman

They never found Leah Parata. Not a boot, not a backpack, not a turquoise beanie. After she left me that day, she vanished off the face of the earth.

A close-knit community is ripped apart by disturbing revelations that cast new light on a young woman’s disappearance twenty-five years ago.

After years of living overseas, Emily returns to New Zealand to care for her father who has dementia. As his memory fades and his guard slips, she begins to understand him for the first time – and to glimpse shattering truths about his past.

Are some secrets best left buried?


The Darkest Sin by D V Bishop

Florence. Spring, 1537.

When Cesare Aldo investigates a report of intruders at a convent in the Renaissance city’s northern quarter, he enters a community divided by bitter rivalries and harbouring dark secrets.

His case becomes far more complicated when a man’s body is found deep inside the convent, stabbed more than two dozen times. Unthinkable as it seems, all the evidence suggests one of the nuns must be the killer.

Meanwhile, Constable Carlo Strocchi finds human remains pulled from the Arno that belong to an officer of the law missing since winter. The dead man had many enemies, but who would dare kill an official of the city’s most feared criminal court?

As Aldo and Strocchi close in on the truth, identifying the killers will prove more treacherous than either of them could ever have imagined . . .


Back to Index

General/Contemporary Fiction

Mother's Boy

Mother’s Boy by Patrick Gale

Laura, an impoverished Cornish girl, meets her husband when they are both in service in Teignmouth in 1916. They have a baby, Charles, but Laura’s husband returns home from the trenches a damaged man, already ill with the tuberculosis that will soon leave her a widow. In a small, class-obsessed town she raises her boy alone, working as a laundress, and gradually becomes aware that he is some kind of genius.

As an intensely private young man, Charles signs up for the navy with the new rank of coder. His escape from the tight, gossipy confines of Launceston to the colour and violence of war sees him blossom as he experiences not only the possibility of death, but the constant danger of a love that is as clandestine as his work.

MOTHER’S BOY is the story of a man who is among, yet apart from his fellows, in thrall to, yet at a distance from his own mother; a man being shaped for a long, remarkable and revered life spent hiding in plain sight. But it is equally the story of the dauntless mother who will continue to shield him long after the dangers of war are past.


Looking For Jane

Looking for Jane by Heather Marshall

‘Just tell them you’re looking for Jane…’

2017

When Angela discovers a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession in a stack of forgotten letters, she begins to look for the intended recipient. Her search takes her to the 1970s and 80s, when a group of daring women operated an illegal underground abortion network known only by its whispered code name: Jane . . .

1971
As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was forced to give her baby up for adoption. Swearing she’ll do everything she can to make sure other women have the right to choose, she joins the Jane Network to provide safe but illegal abortions. There, she crosses paths with Nancy, who was told that if she ever found herself ‘in a position’, she should ask for Jane. Nancy soon becomes the Network’s newest volunteer, desperately trying to help others while family secrets threaten everything she knows to be true.

Over the years, Evelyn, Nancy, and Angela’s lives intertwine to reveal the devastating consequences that come from a lack of choice, and the buried secrets that will always find a way to the surface . . .


One Italian Summer: A magical, escapist read that will break your heart and put it back together again

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mum, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, the mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and – of course – delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.

And then Carol appears, healthy and sun-tanned… and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how – all she can focus on is that somehow, impossibly, she has her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman who came before.

But can we ever truly know our parents? Soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.


The Summer That Changed Us

The Summer That Changed Us by Cathy Bramley

The sparkling seaside village of Merle Bay, with its beautiful beach scattered with seaglass, is a place where anyone can have a fresh start.

For Katie, it is the perfect hideout after a childhood trauma left her feeling exposed. For Robyn, the fresh sea air is helping to heal her scars, but maybe not her marriage. For Grace, a new start could help her move on from a heartbreaking loss. When they meet on Seaglass Beach one day, they form an instant bond and soon they’re sharing prosecco, laughter – and even their biggest secrets…

Together, the women feel stronger than ever before. So can their friendship help them face old fears and find happy endings – as well as new beginnings?


The Old Woman With the Knife

The Old Woman with the Knife by Gu Byeong-mo

Hornclaw is a sixty-five-year-old female contract killer who is considering retirement. A fighter who has experienced loss and grief early on in life, she lives in a state of self-imposed isolation, with just her dog, Deadweight, for company.

While on an assassination job for the ‘disease control’ company she works for, Hornclaw makes an uncharacteristic error, causing a sequence of events that brings her past well and truly into the present.

Threatened with sabotage by a young male upstart and battling new desires and urges when she least expects them, Hornclaw steels her resolve, demonstrating that no matter their age, the female of the species is always more deadly than the male.


Hourglass

Hourglass by Keiran Goddard

The second time you came, we went from bar to bar to bar. It made the city feel smaller. Like a map we were folding to the size of a stamp. We were good at that. We could have fit an entire universe inside a matchbox.

Love builds up little by little and that’s why it makes people reach for words like root and sediment and other words to do with rocks and trees. But what about the dismantling? Does it happen that way too? Because it feels like it is happening much, much faster. And I am reaching for words like landslide and like wave and like storm …


Good Intentions: A bold and heart-wrenching debut

Good Intentions by Kasim Ali

A heart-wrenching and beautifully told debut novel about love, family obligation and finding your way.

Nur and Yasmina are in love
They’ve been together for four happy years
But Nur’s parents don’t know that Yasmina exists

As Nur’s family counts down to midnight on New Year’s Eve, Nur is watching the clock more closely than most: he has made a pact with himself, and with his girlfriend, Yasmina, that at midnight he will finally tell his Pakistani parents the truth. That he has spent years hiding his personal life from them to preserve his image as the golden child. That he has built a life with a woman he loves and she is Black.

Nur wants to be the good son his parents ask him to be, and the good boyfriend Yasmina needs him to be. But as everything he holds dear is challenged, he is forced to ask, is love really a choice for a second-generation immigrant son like him?

Deftly exploring family obligation and racial prejudice alongside the flush of first love, Good Intentions is a captivating and powerful modern love story that announces a thrilling new voice in British fiction.


Edgware Road

Edgeware Road by Yasmin Cordery Khan

A wide-ranging and affecting debut novel about family and identity, from an award-winning historian.

1981. Khalid Quraishi is one of the lucky ones. He works nights in the glitzy West End, and comes home every morning to his beautiful wife and daughter. He’s a world away from Karachi and the family he left behind.

But Khalid likes to gamble, and he likes to win. Twenty pounds on the fruit machine, fifty on a sure-thing horse, a thousand on an investment that seems certain to pay out. Now he’s been offered a huge opportunity, a chance to get in early with a new bank, and it looks like he’ll finally have his big win.

2003. Alia Quraishi doesn’t really remember her dad. After her parents’ divorce she hardly saw him, and her mum refuses to talk about her charming ex-husband. So, when he died in what the police wrote off as a sad accident, Alia had no reason to believe there was more going on.

Now almost twenty years have passed and she’s tired of only understanding half of who she is. Her dad’s death alone and miles from his west London stomping ground doesn’t add up with the man she knew. If she’s going to find out the truth about her father – and learn about the other half of herself – Alia is going to have to visit his home, a place she’s never been, and connect with a family that feel more like strangers.


The Slowworm's Song

The Slowworm’s Song by Andrew Miller

An ex-soldier and recovering alcoholic living quietly in Somerset, Stephen Rose has just begun to form a bond with the daughter he barely knows when he receives a summons – to an inquiry into an incident during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

It is the return of what Stephen hoped he had outdistanced. Above all, to testify would jeopardise the fragile relationship with his daughter. And if he loses her, he loses everything.

Instead, he decides to write her an account of his life; a confession, a defence, a love letter. Also a means of buying time. But time is running out, and the day comes when he must face again what happened in that faraway summer of 1982.


At the Table

At the Table by Claire Powell

To Nicole and Jamie Maguire, their parents seem the ideal couple – a suburban double act, happily married for more than thirty years. So when Linda and Gerry announce that they’ve decided to separate, the news sends shockwaves through the siblings’ lives, forcing them to confront their own expectations and desires.

Hardworking – and hard-drinking – Nicole pursues the ex she unceremoniously dumped six years ago, while people-pleasing Jamie fears he’s sleepwalking into a marriage he doesn’t actually want. But as the siblings grapple with the pressures of thirtysomething life, their parents struggle to protect the fragile façade of their own relationship, and the secrets they’ve both been keeping.

Set in 2018, Claire Powell’s beautifully observed debut novel follows each member of the Maguire family over a tumultuous year of lunches, dinners and drinks, as old conflicts arise and relationships are re-evaluated. A gripping yet tender depiction of family dynamics, love and disillusionment, At the Table is about what it means to grow up – both as an individual, and as a family.


Mouth to Mouth

Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson

A struggling author is stuck at the airport, his flight endlessly delayed. As he kills time at the gate, he bumps into a former classmate of his, Jeff, who is waiting for the same flight. The charismatic Jeff invites the author to drinks in the First Class lounge, and there, swearing him to secrecy, begins telling him the fascinating and disturbing story of his gilded life, starting with a pivotal incident from his youth…

Alone on the beach one morning, Jeff notices a swimmer drowning in the rough surf – and so he rescues and resuscitates the unconscious man, before leaving him to the emergency services. But Jeff can’t let go of the events of that traumatic day, and he begins to feel compelled to learn more about the man whose life he has saved, convinced that their destinies are now somehow entwined. Upon discovering that the man is the renowned art dealer Francis Arsenault, Jeff begins to surreptitiously visit his Beverly Hills gallery, eventually applying there for a job. Although Francis doesn’t seem to recognize him, he nevertheless casts his legendary eye over Jeff and sees something of worth – and so he initiates him into his world of unimaginable power and wealth, where knowledge, taste and access are currency, and the value of things is constantly shifting, constantly calling into question what is real, and what matters. As Jeff finds himself seduced by the lifestyle, he pursues a deeper connection with Francis, until morals become expendable and their relationship becomes ever darker, leaving him to wonder… should he have just let Francis drown?


What Might Have Been: the stunning new novel from the bestselling author of The Sight of You

What Might Have Been by Holly Miller

Is Lucy’s life ‘meant to be’ . . . or meant to be different?

Lucy’s life is at a crossroads. She’s just walked out of her unrewarding job and has no idea about her next step: use her savings to pursue her dream of becoming a writer, or move to London to try and revive her career? It almost seems like fate that on that same night she meets Caleb, a stranger in a bar, and runs into Max, the one-time love of her life.

Should Lucy stay in the seaside town she grew up in, and in doing so, get to know Caleb better? Or should she go to London and reconnect with Max again after he broke her heart a decade ago? It’s just one decision – but sometimes one decision can change the course of your whole life . . .

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN is a sweeping and unforgettable novel for anyone who has ever believed in destiny and soulmates – or paused to wonder what your life might look like if you’d made a different choice.


Sunny: Heartwarming and utterly relatable - the dazzling debut novel by comedian, writer and actor Sukh Ojla

Sunny by Sukh Ojla

This actually is a love story, just not the one Sunny was looking for . . .

Sunny is the queen of living a double life. To her friends, she’s the entertaining, eternally upbeat, single one, always on hand to share hilarious and horrifying date stories. But while they’re all settling down with long-term partners and mortgages, Sunny is back in her childhood bedroom at thirty, playing the role of the perfect daughter. She spends her time watching the Sikh channel, making saag and samosey with her mum, hiding gins-in-a-tin in her underwear drawer and sneaking home in the middle of the night after dates, trying but failing to find ‘the one’.

She juggles both lives perfectly . . . on the outside, at least. But when her mum sees a guy dropping Sunny home one evening, Sunny’s life gets a little complicated. Now her mum wants to know about the life she’s hidden from her for so long.

Sunny is well versed in lying to her friends, her family, and, above all, herself. But how long can she keep it up for? Or is it finally time to start being honest?


The Gift: The new novel from bestselling national treasure Alan Titchmarsh

The Gift by Alan Titchmarsh

An ordinary life. An extraordinary choice.

Adam Gabriel has always been a child of nature. Raised on his parents’ remote Yorkshire farm, where life is measured by the rhythms of the flock, the turn of the seasons, and the yearly arrival of an itinerant local monk, he seems destined for a quietly contented life.

As Adam grows, Luke and Bethany see flickers of something extraordinary in their son – a healing touch that goes beyond his love for the land. But Adam’s gentleness has always made him an outsider, and a powerful gift can also be a heavy burden…

When tragedy turns the Gabriels’ life upside down, Adam faces a stark choice. Can he keep faith in his talents, even if it means risking the suspicion of others? Should he listen to the lure of new horizons, or does happiness lie closer to home? And when he needs it most, can he find the strength to save the people he loves?


The One: The brand-new heart-breaking novel of love, loss and learning to live again, from the acclaimed author of MARRIED...

The One by Claire Frost

What happens when you lose the love of your life just three months after you meet him?

Lottie Brown has finally found The One. Leo is everything she’s ever wanted – he’s handsome, kind, funny and totally gets her. Three months into their relationship, Lottie is in love and happier than ever before. 

But then Leo tragically dies, and Lottie is left floundering.

As she struggles to stop her life falling apart, Lottie learns more about the man she thought she knew, and starts to question whether Leo really was as perfect as he seemed…


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Historical

The Clockwork Girl: The captivating and hotly-anticipated mystery you won’t want to miss in 2022!

The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola

Paris, 1750.

In the midst of an icy winter, as birds fall frozen from the sky, chambermaid Madeleine Chastel arrives at the home of the city’s celebrated clockmaker and his clever, unworldly daughter.

Madeleine is hiding a dark past, and a dangerous purpose: to discover the truth of the clockmaker’s experiments and record his every move, in exchange for her own chance of freedom.

For as children quietly vanish from the Parisian streets, rumours are swirling that the clockmaker’s intricate mechanical creations, bejewelled birds and silver spiders, are more than they seem.

And soon Madeleine fears that she has stumbled upon an even greater conspiracy. One which might reach to the very heart of Versailles…

A intoxicating story of obsession, illusion and the price of freedom.


These Days: 'A gem of a novel, I adored it.' MARIAN KEYES

These Days by Lucy Caldwell

Two sisters, four nights, one city.

April, 1941. Belfast has escaped the worst of the war – so far. Over the next two months, it’s going to be destroyed from above, so that people will say, in horror, My God, Belfast is finished.

Many won’t make it through, and no one who does will remain unchanged.

Following the lives of sisters Emma and Audrey – one engaged to be married, the other in a secret relationship with another woman – as they try to survive the horrors of the four nights of bombing which were the Belfast Blitz, These Days is a timeless and heart-breaking novel about living under duress, about family, and about how we try to stay true to ourselves.


The Kitchen Front

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

Some wars will be fought at home . . .

Two years into the Second World War, and German U-boats are frequently disrupting Britain’s supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio programme called The Kitchen Front launches a new cooking contest – and the grand prize is a job as the programme’s first-ever female co-host.

For young widow Audrey, winning the competition could be a chance to pay off her husband’s debts and keep a roof over her children’s heads. However, her estranged sister, Gwendoline, is equally set on success even if her own kitchen maid, Nell, is competing against her. And then there is Zelda, a London-trained chef desperate to succeed in a male-dominated profession – and harbouring a secret that will change everything . . .


The Marsh House

The Marsh House by Zoe Somerville

December, 1962. Desperate to create a happy Christmas for her young daughter, Franny, after a disastrous year, Malorie rents a remote house on the Norfolk coast. But once there, the strained silence between them feels louder than ever. As Malorie digs for decorations in the attic, she comes across the notebooks of the teenaged Rosemary, who lived in the house thirty years before. Trapped inside by a blizzard, and with long days and nights ahead of her, Malorie begins to read. Though she knows she needs to focus on the present, she finds herself inexorably drawn into the past…

July, 1931. Rosemary lives in the Marsh House with her austere father, surrounded by unspoken truths and rumours. So when the glamorous Lafferty family moves to the village, she succumbs easily to their charm. Dazzled by the beautiful Hilda and her dashing brother, Franklin, Rosemary fails to see the danger that lurks beneath their bright façades…

As Malorie reads Rosemary’s diary, past and present begin to merge in this moving story of mothers and daughters, family obligation and deeply buried secrets.


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So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

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