Coming over the next two weeks – my fiction picks to 20th March

Here’s the 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

The Harbour by Katrine Engberg

A boy is missing.
A web of lies will be uncovered…

When fifteen-year-old Oscar Dreyer-Hoff disappears, it’s assumed he’s another teenage runaway – an overlooked middle child who will turn up within 24 hours.

But as the hours, and then days, tick by and the family become more frantic, Detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner begin to dig deeper into Oscar’s life.

Who has been sending the family malicious notes? What secrets is Oscar’s best friend keeping? And what’s really going on down at the harbour?

With every passing hour and little evidence, the odds of finding a missing person grow dimmer and dimmer in Kørner and Werner’s toughest case yet.


A Matter of Time by Claire Askew

At 8am the first shots are fired.

At 1pm, the police establish the gunman has a hostage.

By 5pm, a siege is underway.

At 9pm, DI Helen Birch walks, alone and unarmed, into an abandoned Borders farmhouse to negotiate with the killer.

One day. One woman. One chance to get everyone out alive.


The Match by Harlan Coben

He is known as Wilde, the boy from the woods.

Discovered living a feral existence in the Ramapo mountains of New Jersey, he has grown up knowing nothing of his parents, and even less about his own identity.

Until now.

When a match on a DNA database puts him on the trail of a close relative – the only family member he has ever known – Wilde thinks he might be about to solve the mystery of who he really is.

Only this relation disappears as quickly as he’s resurfaced. Undaunted, Wilde continues his research, becoming caught up in a secret community committed to exposing anonymous online trolls.

Then one by one, people start to die, and it soon becomes clear that a serial killer is targeting this secret community.

And that the next victim could be Wilde himself …


The Curfew by T M Logan

Your son said he was home. WHY DID HE LIE?

I should have known something was wrong. I should have sensed it. Felt it in the air, like the build-up of pressure before a thunderstorm, that heavy, loaded calm.

The curfew
Andy and Laura are good parents. They tell their son Connor that he can go out with friends to celebrate completing his exams, but he must be home by midnight.

The lie
When Connor misses his curfew, it sets off a series of events that will change the lives of five families forever.

The truth?
Because five teenagers went into the woods that night, but only four came out. And telling the truth might mean losing everything…

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?


River Clyde by Simone Buchholz

Mired in grief after tragic recent events, state prosecutor Chastity Riley escapes to Scotland, lured to the birthplace of her great-great-grandfather by a mysterious letter suggesting she has inherited a house. 

In Glasgow, she meets Tom, the ex-lover of Chastity’s great aunt, who holds the keys to her own family secrets – painful stories of unexpected cruelty and loss that she’s never dared to confront. 

In Hamburg, Stepanovic and Calabretta investigate a major arson attack, while a group of property investors kicks off an explosion of violence that threatens everyone. 

As events in these two countries collide, Chastity prepares to face the inevitable, battling the ghosts of her past and the lost souls that could be her future and, perhaps, finally finding redemption for them all.

Breathtakingly emotive, River Clyde is an electrifying, poignant and powerful story of damage and hope, and one woman’s fight for survival.


Never Seen Again by Paul Finch

A message no one was supposed to hear.

JodieMartindale‘s disappearance remains a mystery, unsolved to this day.

A message that will change everything.

DavidKelman covered the story. But he made a huge mistake, which cost someone their life.

A message from the missing.

Now, he has evidence he shouldn’t have. It’s a message from Jodie – who has been missing for six years – but sent just two weeks ago…


A Spoonful of Murder by J M Hall

Introducing the three unlikeliest sleuths you’ll ever meet…

Every Thursday, three retired school teachers have their ‘coffee o’clock’ sessions at the Thirsk Garden Centre café.

But one fateful week, as they are catching up with a slice of cake, they bump into their ex-colleague, Topsy.

By the next Thursday, Topsy’s dead.
 
The last thing Liz, Thelma and Pat imagined was that they would become involved in a murder.
 
But they know there’s more to Topsy’s death than meets the eye – and it’s down to them to prove it…


Back to Index

General/Contemporary Fiction

Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu

Achike Okoro feels like his life is coming together at last. His top-floor flat in Peckham is as close to home as he can imagine and after years of hard work, he’s about to get his break as an actor. He’s even persuaded his father, Chibuike, to move in with him, grateful to offer the man who raised him as a single parent a home of his own.

Between filming trips, Achike is snatching a few days in London with Ekene, his best friend of twenty years, the person who makes him feel whole. Achike can put the terrible things that happened behind him at last; everything is going to be alright. Maybe even better.

But after a magical night, when Achike and Ekene come within a hair’s breadth of admitting their feelings for each other, a devastating event rips all three men apart. In the aftermath, it is Ekene and Chibuike who must try to rebuild. And although they have never truly understood each other, grief may bring them both the peace and happiness they’ve been searching for…


The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson

The longer the marriage, the harder truth becomes . . .

Meet the Hanrahan family, gathering for a momentous weekend as famous artist and notorious egoist Ray Hanrahan prepares for a new exhibition of his art – the first in many decades – and one he is sure will burnish his reputation for good.

His three children will be there: beautiful Leah, always her father’s biggest champion; sensitive Patrick, who has finally decided to strike out on his own; and insecure Jess, the youngest, who has her own momentous decision to make . . .

And what of Lucia, Ray’s steadfast and selfless wife? She is an artist, too, but has always had to put her roles as wife and mother first. What will happen if she decides to change? For Lucia is hiding secrets of her own, and as the weekend unfolds and the exhibition approaches, she must finally make a choice.


The Flames by Sophie Haydock

This is the story of four muses…Women whose bodies were shown in intimate detail, depicted by the charming yet controversial artist Egon Schiele. But who were they?

ADELE: his passionate and fierce admirer.
GERTRUDE: his spirited and possessive sister.
VALLY: his independent and proud model.
EDITH: Adele’s quiet and conventional sister. Or was she?

The Flames reimagines the intertwining lives of these women: four wild, blazing hearts, longing to be known. In an elegant bohemian city like 1900s Vienna, everything seems possible. But just as a flame has the power to mesmerize, it can also destroy everything in its path …


Groundskeeping by Lee Cole

Eager to clean up his act after his troubled early twenties, Owen has returned to Kentucky to take a job as a groundskeeper at a small college in the Appalachian foothills, one which allows him to enrol on their writing course.

It’s there that he meets Alma, a Writer-in-Residence, who seems to have everything Owen doesn’t – a prestigious position, an Ivy League education, and published success as a writer. They begin a secret relationship, and as they grow closer, Alma, from a supportive, liberal family of Bosnian immigrants, struggles to understand Owen’s fraught relationship with his own family and home.

Exploring the boundaries between life and art, and how our upbringings affect the people we can become, Groundskeeping is at heart a love story – a novel about two very different people navigating the turbulence of an all-consuming relationship, and the complications which can ruin it.


The Truth Will Out by Rosemary Hennigan

Maybe I’ve told that version of the story so often,
that I can’t remember the truth of it anymore.’

Dara Gaffney is fresh out of drama school when she lands the leading role in the revival of Eabha de Lacey’s hugely successful yet controversial play.

Based on the true story of the death of Cillian Butler, many claim that Eabha had an ulterior motive when she penned it. Cillian’s death remains a mystery to this day, and Eabha and her brother, Austin, the only witnesses.

As the media storm builds and the opening night draws closer, the cast find it harder and harder to separate themselves from the characters.

And as the truth of Cillian’s fate becomes clear, Dara’s loyalty to her role will be irrevocably questioned as the terrible history starts to repeat itself…


Mothers and Daughters by Erica James

Even happy families have their secrets…

Since the sudden death of her husband, Naomi has steadily rebuilt the life they shared in the village of Tilsham by the sea.

Her eldest daughter, Martha, is sensible and determined – just like her father was – and very much in control of where her life is going. If she could just get pregnant with her husband, life would be perfect.

Willow, the youngest, was always more sunny and easy-going, yet drifted through life, much to her father’s frustration. But now, with charming new boyfriend, Rick, she has a very good reason to settle down.

The three women are as close as can be. But there are things Naomi has kept from her daughters. Like the arrival of Ellis, a long-lost friend from way back, now bringing the fun and spark back into her life. And she’s certainly never told them that her marriage to their father wasn’t quite what it seemed…


Impossible by Sarah Lotz

Meet Nick: Failed writer. Failed husband. Dog owner.

Meet Bee: Serial dater. Dress maker. Pringles enthusiast.

One day, their paths cross over a misdirected email. The connection is instant, electric. They feel like they’ve known each other all their lives.

Nick buys a new suit, gets on a train. Bee steps away from her desk, sets off to meet him under the clock at Euston station.

Think you know how the rest of the story goes? They did too . . .

But this is a story with more twists than most. This is Impossible.


The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

There are some maps you can lose yourself in…

Nell Young has lived her life in and around maps. Her father, Dr. David Young, was one of the most respected cartographers in the world. But this morning he was found dead – or murdered? – in his office at the New York Public Library.

Nell hadn’t spoken to her father in years, ever since he fired her after an argument over a seemingly worthless highway roadside map. A map which was mass-produced – and every copy of which is now being found and destroyed. But why?

To answer that question, Nell will embark on a dangerous journey into the heart of a conspiracy beyond belief, the secrets behind her family, and the true power that lies in maps . . .


The Patron Saint of Second Chances by Christine Simon

The Patron Saint of Plumbing is not answering Nino Speranza’s prayers.

Without expensive repairs to the pipes, the water board will cut off Speranza’s crumbling Italian village. All 212 inhabitants will be forced to leave.

In a desperate bid to find the money to save his hometown, he starts a rumour that Italian heart-throb Dante Rinaldi is coming to town to film his next movie.

Soon, the place is teeming with fans and everyone wants to be involved: Speranza’s assistant has a screenplay and the butcher will invest – if Speranza can find roles for each of his fifteen enormous sons. Even the priest is on board.
It seems the only way to give their beloved town a second chance is to actually make a movie. What could possibly go wrong?


Stepping Up by Sarah Turner

Beth has never stuck at anything.

She’s quit more jobs and relationships than she can remember and she still sleeps in her childhood bedroom. It’s not that she hasn’t tried to grow up, it’s just that so far, the only commitment she’s held down is Friday drinks at the village pub.

Then, in the space of a morning, her world changes.

An unspeakable tragedy turns Beth’s life upside down, and she finds herself guardian to her teenage niece and toddler nephew, catapulted into an unfamiliar world of bedtime stories, parents’ evenings and cuddly elephants. Having never been responsible for anyone – or anything – it’s not long before she feels seriously out of her depth.

What if she’s simply not up to the job?

With a little help from her best friend Jory (purely platonic, of course …) and her lovely, lonely next-door neighbour, Albert, Beth is determined that this time she’s not giving up. It’s time to step up.

This is a story about digging deep for strength you never knew you had and finding magic in things that were there all along.


Old Friends by Felicity Everett

Two couples, best friends for half a lifetime, move in together. What could possibly go wrong…?
 
Harriet and Mark have it all: successful careers, a lovely house in a leafy London suburb, twin boys on the cusp of leaving home. Yvette and Gary share a smaller place with their two daughters in a shabbier part of the same borough.
 
But when the stars align for a collective move north, it means a fresh start for them all. For Mark, it’s a chance to escape the rat race; for Harriet, a distraction from her unfulfilled dream of a late third child. Gary has decided to reboot the Madchester band that made him famous, while Yvette hopes it will give her daughters what she never had herself.
 
But as the reality of their new living arrangements slowly sinks in, the four friends face their own mid-life crises, and the dream becomes a nightmare…


The Woman Who Took a Chance by Fiona Gibson

Meet Jen. Flight attendant. Mum to a grown-up daughter. Permanently single.

Age: Fifty (gulp)

Number of children: One

Number of husbands: Zero (it’s complicated)

Number of failed first dates in the last month: Too depressing to contemplate

Number of tickets for a romantic, once-in-a-lifetime trip: Two

Number of days left to find her Mr Right to take on holiday: Quickly running out…


The Breakup Expert by Sonya Singh

Manny is a high-flying CEO who runs a company that specializes in other people’s breakups. Happily engaged and often featured in the media she appears to have it all. But when she is photoshopped to look less Asian and her fiancé decries he doesn’t “see race” she decides it’s time to reconnect with her roots.

Determining she needs to learn more about her community, she convinces a client to take her to his brother’s big Indian wedding. When they arrive, Manny is instantly thrown into a celebration filled with fashion, food, dancing and family.

There she discovers more than she could have ever dreamt of…


The Lost Lives of Frances Langley by Michelle Adams

Some things which feel truly lost, are really there all along, safely hidden, just waiting to be found…

France. Summer 1981: In a small village in southern France, a wilful English girl is falling in love. Frances Langley has fallen under Benoit’s romantic spell, and their summer of love finds Frances willing to do almost anything for the handsome art collector, even hiding a precious artefact for him, stolen by the Nazis decades before.

England. Summer 2022: Frances’s son, Harry, finds himself packing up the clutter and chaos of his late mother’s home. Little does he know that his mother had sent a letter to Tabitha, the lost love of his life, begging the pair to find a priceless jewellery box, hidden in her cottage.

Harry quickly dismisses the search, but as an art historian, Tabitha cannot risk the chance to recover something so valuable that was long thought to be lost. And so they embark on a journey of discovery, but soon find themselves searching for much more than a missing piece of art…


Back to Index

Historical

Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu

With every misfortune there is a blessing and within every blessing, the seeds of misfortune, and so it goes, until the end of time.

It is 1938 in China, and the Japanese are advancing. A young mother, Meilin, is forced to flee her burning city with her four-year-old son, Renshu, and embark on an epic journey across China. For comfort, they turn to their most treasured possession – a beautifully illustrated hand scroll. Its ancient fables offer solace and wisdom as they travel through their ravaged country, seeking refuge.

Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. His daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, but he refuses to talk about his childhood. How can he keep his family safe in this new land when the weight of his history threatens to drag them down?

Spanning continents and generations, Peach Blossom Spring is a bold and moving look at the history of modern China, told through the story of one family. It’s about the power of our past, the hope for a better future, and the search for a place to call home.


Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

SIX BROTHERS AND SISTERS. ONE INJUSTICE THAT WILL SHATTER THEIR BOND FOREVER

Junius is the patriarch, a celebrated Shakespearean actor who fled bigamy charges in England, both a mesmerising talent and a man of terrifying instability. As his children grow up in a remote farmstead in 1830s rural Baltimore, the country draws ever closer to the boiling point of secession and civil war.

Of the six Booth siblings who survive to adulthood, each has their own dreams they must fight to realise – but it is Johnny who makes the terrible decision that will change the course of history – the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Booth is a riveting novel focused on the very things that bind, and break, a family.


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So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

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