Coming over the next two weeks – my fiction picks to 3rd April

Here’s my latest pick 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

This is the Night They Come for You by Robert Goddard

On a stifling afternoon at Police HQ in Algiers, Superintendent Taleb, coasting towards retirement, with not even an air-conditioned office to show for his long years of service, is handed a ticking time bomb of a case which will take him deep into Algeria’s troubled past and its fraught relationship with France.

To his dismay, he is assigned to work with Agent Hidouchi, an intimidating representative of the country’s feared secret service, who makes it clear she intends to call the shots. They are instructed to pursue a former agent, now on the run after twenty years in prison for his part in a high-level corruption scandal. But their search will lead them inexorably towards a greater mystery, surrounding a murder that took place in Paris more than fifty years ago.

Uncovering the truth may be his responsibility, but Taleb is well aware that no-one in Algeria wants to be reminded of the dark deeds carried out in the struggle for independence – or in the violence that has racked the nation since. Before long, he will face a choice he has long sought to avoid, between self-preservation and doing the right thing.

And, ultimately, the choice may not even be his to make.


The Blood Tide by Neil Lancaster

You get away with murder.
In a remote sea loch on the west coast of Scotland, a fisherman vanishes without trace. His remains are never found.
 
You make people disappear.
A young man jumps from a bridge in Glasgow and falls to his death in the water below. DS Max Craigie uncovers evidence that links both victims. But if he can’t find out what cost them their lives, it won’t be long before more bodies turn up at the morgue…
 
You come back for revenge.
Soon cracks start to appear in the investigation, and Max’s past hurtles back to haunt him. When his loved ones are threatened, he faces a terrifying choice: let the only man he ever feared walk free, or watch his closest friend die…

Max, Janie and Ross return in the second gripping novel in this explosive Scottish crime series.


The Empty Room by Brian McGilloway

Pandora – Dora – Condron wakes one morning to discover her 17-year old daughter Ellie, has not come home after a party.

The day Ellie disappears, Dora is alone as her husband Eamon has already left for the day in his job as a long-distance lorry driver. So Dora does the usual things: rings around Ellie’s friends… but no one knows where she is. Her panic growing, Dora tries the local hospitals and art college where Ellie is a student – but then the police arrive on her doorstep with the news her daughter’s handbag has been discovered dumped in a layby.

So begins Dora’s ordeal of waiting and not knowing what has become of her girl. Eamon’s lack of empathy and concern, Dora realises, is indicative of the state of their marriage, and left on her own, Dora begins to reassess everything she thought she knew about her family and her life. Increasingly isolated and disillusioned with the police investigation, Dora feels her grip on reality slipping as she takes it upon herself to find her daughter – even if it means tearing apart everything and everybody she had ever loved, and taking justice into her own hands.


The People Next Door by Tony Parsons

Lana and Roman Wade have fled the city for a little corner of paradise, exchanging their flat with its unhappy memories for a small honey-coloured house among the rolling green hills of Oxfordshire. Their new home, set in a residential Close known as The Gardens, is their dream and their new neighbours are charming.
So why is Lana feeling so uneasy?

Lana and Roman may seem like an attractive, popular couple. But they are also a couple with a secret; a secret buried in the life they have left behind, a secret they have shared with no-one.

But their new neighbours – these charming, affluent men and women in the Gardens – have secrets of their own.
Terrible secrets; unimaginable secrets that include the apparently happy family who lived – and tragically died – in Lana and Roman’s new home.

As Lana struggles to adjust to her new life in Paradise, she becomes convinced that her new neighbours are hiding something from her, something connected with the deaths of the family who lived in her house before she did, something that could put her own life in danger…


Date with Betrayal by Julia Chapman

Death is coming to Bruncliffe: its target is Samson O’Brien.

Oblivious to his impending date with fate, Samson is busy juggling a number of cases at the Dales Detective Agency. Too busy, in fact, to notice his partner behaving oddly.

Because Delilah Metcalfe knows what is coming. A hitman. Sent from London with one objective: to finally silence the troublesome O’Brien before his corruption case can make it to court.

With Samson’s life in peril, and betrayal around every corner, Delilah has no choice but to call in favours from all of her Bruncliffe connections in order to counteract the menace threatening to engulf the Dales town.

The only trouble is the townsfolk have long memories and deep grievances when it comes to Samson O’Brien. Trust must be earned and they will take some convincing before they put themselves in danger in order to save him.

And even then, it might not prove enough . . .


Little Rumours by Bryony Pearce

It started with a rumour. But rumours can be deadly…

In a small town, three mothers wave goodbye to their children at the school gates.

Naomi has lived in Exton Cross since she was born, and she knows everything there is to know about everyone.

Aleema hates it here. It’s been three years and she’s yet to make a single friend. And she’s sure the other mums whisper about her behind her back.

Kelly is an outsider. New to the town, she arrives with nothing but her son – and a dark secret.

By the end of the school day, one of their children will be missing. And rumours will swirl that one of them knows why…


Traitor in the Ice by K J Maitland

Whispers haunt the walls and treachery darkens the shadows in this captivating historical novel for readers of C.J. Sansom, Andrew Taylor’s Ashes of London and Kate Mosse.

Winter, 1607. 
A man is struck down in the grounds of Battle Abbey, Sussex. Before dawn breaks, he is dead.

Home to the Montagues, Battle has caught the paranoid eye of King James. The Catholic household is rumoured to shelter those loyal to the Pope, disguising them as servants within the abbey walls. And the last man sent to expose them was silenced before his report could reach London.

Daniel Pursglove is summoned to infiltrate Battle and find proof of treachery. He soon discovers that nearly everyone at the abbey has something to hide – for deeds far more dangerous than religious dissent. But one lone figure he senses only in the shadows, carefully concealed from the world. Could the notorious traitor Spero Pettingar finally be close at hand?

As more bodies are unearthed, Daniel determines to catch the culprit. But how do you unmask a killer when nobody is who they seem?


Vanished by Lynda La Plante

KILLERS DON’T JUST DISAPPEAR . . .

When an eccentric widow claims she is being stalked by her former lodger, Detective Jack Warr is the only person who believes her wild claims.

Days later, she is found brutally murdered in her home.

When the investigation uncovers an international drugs operation on the widow’s property, the case grows even more complex. And as the hunt for the widow’s lodger hits dead end after dead end, it seems that the prime suspect has vanished without a trace.

To find answers, Jack must decide how far is he willing to go – and what he is willing to risk – in his search for justice. Because if he crosses the line of the law, one wrong move could cost him everything . . .


Back to Index

General/Contemporary Fiction

French Braid by Anne Tyler

A brilliantly perceptive, painfully true and funny journey deep into one family’s foibles, from the 1950s right up to the changed world of today

When the kids are grown and Mercy Garrett gradually moves herself out of the family home, everyone is determined not to notice.

Over at her studio, she wants space and silence. She won’t allow any family clutter. Not even their cat, Desmond.

Yet it is a clutter of untidy moments that forms the Garretts’ family life over the decades, whether that’s a painstaking Easter lunch or giving a child a ride, a fateful train journey or an unexpected homecoming.

And it all begins in 1959, with a family holiday to a cabin by a lake. It’s the only one the Garretts will ever take, but its effects will ripple through the generations.


I Am Not Your Eve by Devika Ponnambalam

I Am Not Your Eve is the story of Tahitian muse and child bride of Paul Gauguin, Teha’amana. The novel shares her thoughts as he works on one of his masterpieces, The Spirit of the Dead Keeps watch, a painting so important to Gauguin that it appears in the background of his own self-portrait.

As we listen to Teha’amana herself, the other voices in the novel include those of the Tahitian goddess of the moon, a lizard watching from the eaves, and Gauguin’s wooden mask of Teha’amana’s face, carved from a tree cut down from the island’s interior.
Interwoven are the origin myths that underpinned Polynesian society before the islanders turned towards the Christian faith introduced by French colonists, and diary entries by Gauguin’s favourite daughter Aline –who was the same age as her father’s new ‘wife’.

I Am Not Your Eve finally gives Teha’amana a voice as her story is told through the myths and legends of the islands and one that travels through history and finally asks to be heard.


Yinka, Where is Your Husband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

Yinka wants to find love. Her mum wants to find it for her.

She also has too many aunties who frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, a preference for chicken and chips over traditional Nigerian food, and a bum she’s sure is far too small as a result. Oh, and the fact that she’s a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is a bit of an obstacle too…

When her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences ‘Operation Find A Date for Rachel’s Wedding’. Armed with a totally flawless, incredibly specific plan, will Yinka find herself a huzband?

What if the thing she really needs to find is herself?


Welcome to Your Life by Bethany Rutter

This is a love story…

Serena Mills should be at her wedding. But she’s not.

Instead, she’s eating an ice cream sundae and drinking an obscenely large glass of wine in a Harvester off the M25.

Everyone thinks she’s gone mad.

She’s left the man everyone told her she was ‘so lucky’ to find – because Serena wants to find love. Real love. A love she deserves – not one she should just feel grateful for.

So, she escapes to the big city and sets herself a challenge: 52 weeks. 52 dates. 52 chances to find love. It should be easy, right?


The Book Share by Phaedra Patrick

It’s never too late to start a new chapter…

Liv Green loves losing herself in a good book. But her everyday reality is less romantic, cleaning houses for people who barely give her the time of day. So when she lands a job housekeeping for her personal hero and mega-bestselling author Essie Starling, she can’t believe her luck.

When Essie dies unexpectedly, Liv is left with a life-changing last wish: to complete Essie’s final novel. To do so, change-averse Liv will have to step away from the fictitious worlds in her head, and into Essie’s shoes. As she begins to write, she uncovers a surprising connection between the two women – and a secret that will change Liv’s life forever…


The Return of Faraz Ali by Aamina Ahmad

A spellbinding debut set in Pakistan during the anarchic late ’60s – a multi-layered tale of family, identity and the politics of power in a caste-ridden society.

As riots erupt on the streets of Lahore, Inspector Faraz returns to his birthplace, the red-light district in the ancient walled city where women still pass on the profession of courtesan to their daughters. Plucked from it as a small boy by his influential father, Faraz has kept his roots well hidden. Now his father has sent him back: to cover up the murder of a young prostitute.

It should be a simple task in the marginalised community, but Faraz finds himself unable to obey orders or to resist searching for the mother and sister he left behind. Chasing down the walled city’s labyrinthine alleys for answers that risk shattering his carefully constructed existence, he is unaware that his sister faces having to return too, and to a life she thought she had escaped.


Back to Index

Historical

The Great Passion by James Runcie

Love and Death.
Grief and Joy.
Music that lasts forever.

Leipzig, 1726. Eleven-year-old Stefan Silbermann, a humble organ-maker’s son, has just lost his mother. Sent to Leipzig to train as a singer in the St Thomas Church choir, he struggles to stay afloat in a school where the teachers are as casually cruel as the students.

Stefan’s talent draws the attention of the Cantor – Johann Sebastian Bach. Eccentric, obsessive and kind, he rescues Stefan from the miseries of school by bringing him into his home as an apprentice. Soon Stefan feels that this ferociously clever, chaotic family is his own. But when tragedy strikes, Stefan’s period of sanctuary in their household comes to a close.

Something is happening, though. In the depths of his loss, the Cantor is writing a new work: the Saint Matthew Passion, to be performed for the first time on Good Friday. As Stefan watches the work rehearsed, he realises he is witness to the creation of one of the most extraordinary pieces of music that has ever been written.


The Geometer Lobachevsky by Adrian Duncan 

It is 1950 and Nikolai Lobachevsky, great-grandson of his illustrious namesake, is surveying a bog in the Irish Midlands, where he studies the locals, the land and their ways. One afternoon, soon after he arrives, he receives a telegram calling him back to Leningrad for a ‘special appointment’.

Lobachevsky may not be a great genius but he is not foolish: he recognises a death sentence when he sees one and leaves to go into hiding on a small island in the Shannon estuary, where the island families harvest seaweed and struggle to split rocks. Here Lobachevsky must think about death, how to avoid it and whether he will ever see his home again


Back to Index

So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

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