Coming this week – my fiction picks to 8th May

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

The Night They Vanished by Vanessa Savage

A family with a secret.
A past about to catch up with them.

At thirty, Hanna has finally decided she’s better off without her family. They hold her responsible for the incident that ruined their lives fourteen years ago and they’ve barely spoken since.

But then, whilst browsing a true crime website, she sees her family home listed as the site of a brutal murder. Number of victims: three. Date of crime: today. When the police investigate, they find no bodies, but the house is abandoned. Hanna’s family have disappeared.


To find them, Hanna will have to confront what happened all those years ago.

And the person determined to make her pay for it . . .


The Hiding Place by Simon Lelic

FOUR FRIENDS. ONE MURDER. A GAME THEY CAN’T ESCAPE

‘It was only a game.’

Until a boy went missing.

‘No one was meant to get hurt.’

But a body has been found.

‘Just some innocent fun.’

Except one of them is a killer.

Ready or not, here I come.

It’s time to play hide and seek again.


The Cook by Ajay Chowdhury

Kamil Rahman is a cook in a Brick Lane restaurant. But he used to be a detective back in Kolkata.
And somehow trouble still knows how to find him.


When a young woman Kamil knows is murdered the police are convinced her boyfriend is the culprit. Kamil isn’t so sure and feels he has no choice but to start his own investigation. Meanwhile, his friend and restaurant manager, Anjoli, is troubled by a rise in the number of homeless deaths in their local area.

Initially the cases seem unrelated, but as the duo dig deeper, they discover connections that stretch from London to Lahore.

Together they take on the indifference of the authorities to the homeless and the casual racism that pervades the investigation of killings of Muslims – all while trying to stop a supremely intelligent murderer who always seems to be several steps ahead of them.


Three by Valerie Perrin

1986: Adrien, Etienne and Nina are 10 years old when they meet at school and become inseparable. They promise each other they will one day leave their provincial backwater, move to Paris, and never part.

2017: A car is pulled up from the bottom of the lake, a body inside. Virginie, a local journalist with an enigmatic past, follows the case. Step by step she reveals the extraordinary bonds that unite the three childhood friends. How is the car wreck connected to their story? Why did their friendship fall apart?

Valérie Perrin has an unerring gift for delving deep into life’s depths. Following the thread of a sequence of heart-wrenching, inescapable events over the span of three decades, she draws the reader into a compelling story of love and loss, hope and grief, and of the distance that comes with the passing of time.


Back to Index

General/Contemporary Fiction

Six Days in Rome by Francesca Giacco

Emilia, an artist, arrives in Rome alone. What was supposed to be a romantic trip has, with the sudden end of her relationship, become a solitary one.

Six days lie ahead. She wanders the streets, surrendering herself to the music, food and beauty of the city.

But when she meets John, an American living out a seemingly idyllic existence in Rome, their instant connection challenges how she sees her past, her family and herself. As their intimacy deepens, can Emilia begin to imagine life anew?


We Do What We Do in the Dark by Michelle Hart

Mallory sees the woman for the first time at her college gym and is immediately transfixed. As a naturally reserved person who is now reeling from the loss of her mother, Mallory finds herself compelled by the woman’s assurance, and longs to know her better. Despite the discovery that she is a professor at the college, Mallory finds herself falling into a complicated love affair with the woman, the stakes of which she never quite understands.

In the years that follow, Mallory must come to terms with how the relationship shaped her, for better or worse, and learn to become a part of the world that she sacrificed for the sake of a woman she never truly knew.

In this enthralling debut novel, the complexities of influence, obsession, and admiration reveal how desire and its consequences can alter the trajectory of a life.


Here Goes Nothing by Steve Toltz

Angus Mooney is not happy – he’s been murdered, cut off in the prime of his life. He feels humiliated – he’s never even believed in an afterlife. (How wrong he’d been). He’s confused – death has provided more questions than answers. And he desperately misses his audacious and fiery wife, Gracie, who’s expecting their first child.

The only upside is that Angus has found a way to see what his murderer is up to, and how Gracie is faring. The downside: Gracie and his murderer are getting uncomfortably close, and a worldwide pandemic means the afterlife is about to get very crowded . . .


London, With Love by Sarra Manning

London. Nine million people. Two hundred and seventy tube stations. Every day, thousands of chance encounters, first dates, goodbyes and happy ever afters.

And for twenty years it’s been where one man and one woman can never get their timing right.

Jennifer and Nick meet as teenagers and over the next two decades, they fall in and out of love with each other. Sometimes they start kissing. Sometimes they’re just friends. Sometimes they stop speaking, but they always find their way back to each other.

But after all this time, are they destined to be together or have they finally reached the end of the line?


Ruth & Pen by Emilie Pine

Dublin, 7 October 2019

One day, one city, two women: Ruth and Pen. Neither knows the other, but both are asking the same questions: how to be with others and how, when the world won’t make space for you, to be with yourself?

Ruth’s marriage to Aidan is in crisis. Today she needs to make a choice – to stay or not to stay, to take the risk of reaching out, or to pull up the drawbridge.

For teenage Pen, today is the day the words will flow, and she will speak her truth to Alice, to ask for what she so desperately wants.


Ocean State by Stewart O’Nan

When I was in eighth grade my sister helped kill another girl.

For the Oliviera family – mum Carol, daughters Angel and Marie – autumn 2009 in the once-prosperous beach town of Ashaway, Rhode Island is the worst of times. Money is tight, Carol can’t stay away from unsuitable men, Angel’s world is shattered when she learns her long-time boyfriend Myles has been cheating on her with classmate Birdy, and Marie is left to fend for herself. As Angel and Birdy, both consumed by the intensity of their feelings for Myles, careen towards a collision both tragic and inevitable, the loyalties of Carol and Marie will be tested in ways they could never have foreseen.


The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker

The reclusive Sylvia Wren, one of the most important American artists of the past century, has been running from her past for sixty years. Born Iris Chapel, of the Chapel munitions dynasty, second youngest of six sisters, she grew up in a palatial Victorian ‘Wedding Cake House’ in New England, neglected by her distant father and troubled, haunted mother.

The sisters longed to escape, but the only way out was marriage. Not long after the first Chapel sister walks down the aisle, she dies of mysterious causes, a tragedy that repeats with the second sister, leaving the rest to navigate the wreckage, with heart-wrenching consequences.


The Schoolhouse by Sophie Ward

Isobel lives an isolated life in North London, working at a nearby library. She feels safe if she keeps to her routines and doesn’t let her thoughts stray too far into the past. But a newspaper photograph of a missing local schoolgirl and a letter from her old teacher are all it takes for her ordinary, careful armour to become overwhelmed and the trauma of what happened when she was a pupil at The Schoolhouse to return.

The Schoolhouse was different – one of the 1970s experimental schools that were a reaction to the formal methods of the past. The usual rules did not apply, and life there was a dark interplay of freedom and violence, adventure and fear. Only her teenage diary recorded what happened, but the truth is coming for her and everything she has tried to protect is put at risk.


Back to Index

Historical

The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani

Domenica Cabrelli had two great loves of her life.

The first, her childhood sweetheart: a boy from the same small, sun-drenched Italian town of Viareggio. A romance born out of yearning and shared history; over before it really had a chance to begin.

Then, on an idyllic French coastline in the shadow of war, Domenica’s second great love affair, which would go on to define her – a mysterious captain, with a future on the front line.

Many decades later, only her daughter, Matelda, knows the true story of these two men’s lives, and the secret that connects them. And, as the end of her life nears, Matelda realises that some truths are too great to be lost.

But as she works against the clock with her own daughter to unpack their family’s legacy, more questions arise than answers.

What was the real story of her mother’s wartime years?

What kept her away from Italy for so long, after the fighting had ended?

And what, ultimately, brought her home again? . . .


Back to Index

So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

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