Coming this week – my fiction picks to 29th May 2022

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

Midnight Dunes by Laura Griffin

Time is running out. And the body count is rising.

After a scandal derails her television reporting career, Macy Burns is looking for a change of pace in Lost Beach, Texas. She’s ready to focus on her first passion – documentary filmmaking – and has a new job working for the island’s tourism board, shooting footage of the idyllic beachside community. Her plans for a relaxing rebound are dashed when she realizes the cottage she’s renting belonged to the woman whose body was just found in the sand dunes.

Detective Owen Breda is under intense pressure to solve this murder. Violent crimes are rising in his small town, and he can’t stand to see anyone else hurt . . . especially not the beautiful documentarian who keeps showing up at the precinct.

With the clock ticking, cameras rolling, and body count climbing, Macy and Owen must use all their resources to find the killer without getting caught in the crosshairs.

The Murders at Fleat House by Lucinda Riley

The sudden death of a pupil in Fleat House at St Stephen’s – a small private boarding school in deepest Norfolk – is a shocking event that the headmaster is very keen to call a tragic accident.

But the local police cannot rule out foul play and the case prompts the return of high-flying Detective Inspector Jazmine ‘Jazz’ Hunter to the force. Jazz has her own private reasons for stepping away from her police career in London, and reluctantly agrees to front the investigation as a favour to her old boss.

Reunited with her loyal sergeant Alastair Miles, she enters the closed world of the school, and as Jazz begins to probe the circumstances surrounding Charlie Cavendish’s tragic death, events are soon to take another troubling turn.

Charlie is exposed as an arrogant bully, and those around him had both motive and opportunity to switch the drugs he took daily to control his epilepsy.

As staff at the school close ranks, the disappearance of young pupil Rory Millar and the death of an elderly classics master provide Jazz with important leads, but are destined to complicate the investigation further. As snow covers the landscape and another suspect goes missing, Jazz must also confront her personal demons . . .

Then, a particularly grim discovery at the school makes this the most challenging murder investigation of her career. Because Fleat House hides secrets darker than even Jazz could ever have imagined . . .

To the Grave by John Barlow

Will the truth be buried with the dead?

When DS Joe Romano first meets Ana Dobrescu she’s nervous, in serious danger, and clearly needs help. The next time Romano sees her, she’s dead.

There was nothing more he could have done, but that’s cold comfort for Romano. He’s determined to catch Ana’s killer. Although the prime suspect, her millionaire boyfriend, is in a coma.

With the help of his larger-than-life partner Rita Scannon-Aktar, Romano begins to piece together a puzzle that places Ana at the centre of something much bigger than they could have imagined.

But while they’re hunting a murderer, those higher up are more concerned about the money. So it’s up to Romano to get justice for Ana. And whatever she knew, he’ll just have to pray that she didn’t take her secrets to the grave.

The Dark by Sharon Bolton

When a baby is snatched from its pram and cast into the river Thames, off-duty police officer Lacey Flint is there to prevent disaster. But who would want to hurt a child?

DCI Mark Joesbury has been expecting this. Monitoring a complex network of dark web sites, Joesbury and his team have spotted a new terrorist threat from the extremist, women-hating, group known as ‘incels’ or ‘involuntary celibates.’ Joesbury’s team are trying to infiltrate the ring of power at its core, but the dark web is built for anonymity, and the incel army is vast.

Pressure builds when the team learn the snatched child was just the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women. Worse, the leaders of the movement seem to have singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate, placing her in terrible danger…

One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke

WE WERE DYING FOR A HOLIDAY

The six of us arrived on that beautiful Greek island dreaming of sun-drenched beaches and blood orange sunsets, ready to lose ourselves in the wild freedom of a weekend away with friends.

On the first night we swam under a blanket of stars.

On the second night the games began on our clifftop terrace.

On the third night the idyll cracked, secrets and lies whispering on the breeze.

And by the final night there was a body on the rocks below . . .

WHO WOULD KILL FOR IT?

Trapped by Camilla Lackberg

A shocking murder…
It’s a case unlike anything detective Mina Dabiri has seen before. A woman trapped inside a magician’s box, with swords pierced through. But this time, it’s not a magic trick. It’s murder.

A case which twists and turns…
Knowing she has a terrifying killer on her hands, Mina enlists the help of celebrity mentalist, Vincent Walder. Only he can give her an insight into the secret world of magic and illusions.

A ticking clock to stop a serial killer…
Mina and Vincent soon discover that the murder victim has the roman numeral III engraved on her leg. The killer is counting down. There are going to be three more murders. And time is running out to stop them.

House of Silence by Patricia Marques

A woman’s body is found in a river just outside of Lisbon. Inspectors Isabel Reis and Aleksandr Voronov identify the murder victim as Marta Nunes – a youth centre worker who, like Isabel, classifies as Gifted. Born with special abilities, the Gifted are often looked at with a certain level of suspicion.

In the search for her killer, Reis digs into Marta’s past. She soon discovers that she is connected to a number of missing women. All young, all telepathic Gifted, all vanished off the face of the earth.

Marta might have been helping these missing girls, or she might have been hurting them. But Inspector Reis needs to find the truth about who killed Marta and why, and she needs to find where the missing girls go. Because some of them might still be alive out there . . .

The Sanctuary by Andrew Hunter Murray

In a disintegrating and increasingly lawless land, a young man is travelling north.

Ben is a young painter from the crowded, turbulent city. For six months his fiancée Cara has been living on the remote island of Sanctuary Rock, the property of millionaire philanthropist Sir John Pemberley. Now she has decided to break off their engagement and stay there for good.

Ben resolves to travel to the island to win Cara back. But the journey there is a harsh and challenging one, and when he does arrive, a terrible shock awaits him.

As Ben begins to find his way around Pemberley’s perfect island, he knows he must also discover – what has made Cara so determined to throw her old life away? And is Sanctuary Rock truly a second Eden, as the mysterious Sir John claims – or a prospect of hell?

The Homes by J B Mylet

There were good people in The Homes. But there were also some very, very bad ones…

A thousand unwanted children live in The Homes, a village of orphans in the Scottish Lowlands on the outskirts of Glasgow. Lesley was six before she learned that most children live with their parents. Now Lesley is twelve, and she and her best friend Jonesy live in Cottage 5, Jonesy the irrepressible spirit to Lesley’s quiet thoughtfulness.

Life is often cruel at The Homes, and suddenly it becomes much crueller. A child is found murdered. Then another. With the police unable to catch the killer, Lesley and Jonesy decide to take the matter into their own hands. But unwanted children are easy victims, and they are both in terrible danger…

The Accidental Medium by Tracy Whitwell

The Accidental Medium is the first book in a hilarious series from Tracy Whitwell featuring Tanz, the accidental medium who, with the help of the dead, is about to become an unwilling crime-solver.

Tanz is a wine-loving, straight-talking, once-successful TV actress from Gateshead, whose career has shrivelled like an antique walnut. She is still grieving for her friend Frank, who died in a car crash three years ago, and she has to find a normal job in London to fund her cocktail habit. When she starts work in a ‘new age’ shop, Tanz suddenly discovers that the voices she’s hearing in her head are real, not the first signs of madness, and that she can give people ‘messages’ from beyond the grave. Alarmed, she confronts her little mam and discovers she is from a long line of psychic mediums. Despite an exciting new avenue of life opening up to Tanz, darkness isn’t far away and all too soon there’s murder in the air.

Little Drummer by Kjell Ola Dahl

When a woman is found dead in her car in a Norwegian parking garage, everyone suspects an overdose … until a forensics report indicates that she was murdered. Oslo Detectives Frølich and Gunnarstranda discover that the victim’s Kenyan scientist boyfriend has disappeared, and their investigations soon lead them into the shady world of international pharmaceutical deals. 

While Gunnarstranda closes in on the killers in Norway, Frølich and Lise, his new journalist ally, travel to Africa, where they make a series of shocking discoveries about exploitation and corruption in the distribution of foreign aid and essential HIV medications. 

When tragedy unexpectedly strikes, all three investigators face incalculable danger, spanning two continents. And not everyone will make it out alive…

My Husband’s Secrets by Louise Sharland

On the evening of their wedding anniversary, Ali and Matthew are involved in a fatal car accident.

Grief-stricken, Ali can’t bring herself to believe that her beloved Matthew is gone…

The smell of his aftershave lingers in their bedroom. His voice still rings out on their answerphone. She sees his face in the eyes of strangers.

But as the months pass, and her family and friends rally round, Ali starts to uncover secrets that Matthew kept from her.

Did she really know her husband as well as she thought she did? And why can’t she shake the feeling that somehow, somewhere, he is still alive?

The Call by P D Viner

‘Ben, I need you. Help me.’

‘PLEASE HELP ME!’

‘It was an accident…but there’s so much blood…’

In a frantic late-night phone call, Ben learns his wife, Mia, has killed a man. And she needs his help.

When Ben arrives at Mia’s hotel room, the scene is horrific – but over the course of the night it will get much worse.

All their secrets will be uncovered, and they will discover how far they’ll go to protect themselves and each other… will they kill for love? Or will they die for it?

One phone call. Twelve hours to save their marriage. And their lives.

Back to Index

General/Contemporary Fiction

Vladimir by Julia May Jonas

A provocative, razor-sharp, and timely debut novel about a beloved English professor facing a slew of accusations against her professor husband by former students – a situation that becomes more complicated when she herself develops an obsession of her own . . .

When I was a child, I loved old men, and I could tell that they also loved me.

And so we meet our deliciously incisive narrator: a popular English professor whose husband, a charismatic professor at the same small liberal arts college, is under investigation for his inappropriate relationships with his former students. The couple have long had a mutual understanding when it comes to their extramarital pursuits, but with these new allegations, life has become far less comfortable for them both. And when our narrator becomes increasingly infatuated with Vladimir, a celebrated, married young novelist who’s just arrived on campus, their tinder-box world comes dangerously close to exploding.

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime:

Feyi is about to be given the chance to escape the City’s blistering heat for a dream island holiday: poolside cocktails, beach sunsets, and elaborate meals. And as the sun goes down on her old life our heroine also might just be ready to open her heart to someone new.

The only problem is, she’s falling for the one man she absolutely can’t have.

A Mother’s Heart by Carmel Harrington

Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
While Rachel Butler likes her life in a pretty Dublin coastal village, her heart lies in Hawke’s Bay, where she grew up. Visiting for the first time since tragedy tore her family apart, she and her stepchildren fall for its beauty and outdoor lifestyle.

Malahide, Ireland
As Rachel picks up the threads of her life as a single parent, she can’t shake off the memories of her loving family in New Zealand – and her dream house, the villa on the bay. But it’s time to move forwards with their life in Ireland, close to the children’s grandparents, amid the familiar surroundings they all know well.

Until the children’s grandmother, still grieving, starts to interfere, questioning Rachel’s position as stepmother.

Until Rachel’s attempts to strengthen the family she loves so dearly backfires, pitting everyone against each other.

And until her late husband’s parents mend the rift that has existed as long as she’s been married – bringing with them an explosive secret . . .

Reasons to Go Outside by Esme King

Pearl Winter hasn’t been outside in forty-three years.

Since she arrived on Dartmoor as a girl, an isolated family cottage has been her whole world. A place of safety. But now fifty-nine-year-old Pearl is utterly alone – except for the postman, the local crows, and memories of the summer of 1976.

Teenager Connor Matthews feels like a stranger in his own home.

Since his mother’s death he’s been adrift from his remaining family, troubled by the reality of moving on, and unable to see a future ahead. But when Connor begins a summer job as Pearl’s gardener, an unexpected friendship opens the door to a fresh start for them both. If only Pearl and Connor can take the first steps . . .

The People on Platform 5 by Clare Pooley

Nobody speaks to strangers on the train. But what would happen if they did?

Every day at 8:05, Iona Iverson boards the train to go to work. Every day, she sees the same people and makes assumptions about them, even giving them nicknames. But they never speak. Obviously.

Then, one morning, Smart-but-Sexist-Surbiton chokes on a grape right in front of Iona. Suspiciously-Nice-New Malden steps up to help and saves his life, and this one event sparks a chain reaction.

With nothing in common but their commute, an eclectic group of people learn that their assumptions about each other don’t match reality. But when Iona’s life begins to fall apart, will her new friends be there when she needs them most?

What Time is Love? by Holly Williams

1947. 1967. 1987.
When Violet and Albert first meet, they are always twenty.

Three decades.

Over the years, Violet and Albert’s lives collide again and again: beneath Oxford’s spires, on the rolling hills around Abergavenny, in stately homes and in feminist squats. And as each decade ends, a new love story begins…

Two people.
Together, they are electric and the world is glittering with possibility. But against the shifting times of each era, Violet and Albert must overcome differences in class, gender, privilege and ambition. Each time their lives entwine, it will change everything.

One moment is all it takes…

As their eyes first meet, for a split-second it’s as if the clocks have stopped. Nothing else matters. Yet whichever decade brings them together, Violet and Albert are soon forced to question: what if they met the right person at the wrong time?

Duckling by Eve Ainsworth

Duckling’s a nickname Lucy has never been able to shake off.
And, if she’s honest, maybe it suits her.
She just isn’t the type to socialise with other people.
You might say she’s reluctant to leave her nest.

Lucy’s life is small, but safe. She’s got a good routine. But all that’s about to change…

When Lucy’s neighbour asks her to look after her little girl for a couple of hours – and then doesn’t come back – Lucy is suddenly responsible for someone other than herself.

It takes courage to let the outside world in, and Lucy’s about to learn there’s much more to life – but only if she’s brave enough to spread her wings…

The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall

Freya Scott is getting married. Her wedding to Matthew, her long-term boyfriend, is the first of eight in her calendar this year, and as someone who prides herself on being meticulously organised, Freya is intent on making it the perfect day to remember.

But when Matthew calls things off hours before they walk down the aisle, Freya’s entire life plan goes up in smoke. Humiliated and heartbroken, the last thing she wants is to attend a summer of other peoples’ nuptials on her own.

Fortunately, her friends have an idea: together they devise a series of outrageous challenges for Freya to complete at each event, designed to distract her from Matthew and what might have been.

From getting stuck in an old church bathroom and needing to be rescued by the vicar to making out with a barman at a French chateau, Freya realises that despite herself, she might just be having fun.

By the time the final wedding arrives, she’s not the same woman she was at the start of the season. And maybe her own love story isn’t over just yet . . .

Suddenly That Summer by Lizzie Byron

Sometimes, you have to go far from home to find your way back.

Nora is about to turn twenty-seven and things couldn’t be better. She’s just told her boss exactly what she thinks of him after being offered her dream job and is looking forward to a summer of old friends and new adventures.

But when Nora discovers that there’s been a mistake and they’ve given her dream job to someone else, her future – and summer – suddenly isn’t looking so bright. So, when she’s given the opportunity to escape to idyllic Cornwall, she doesn’t hesitate.

It was just supposed to be a distraction while she looks for something else, but could this be the summer that she finds everything she’s looking for right there in Cornwall?

Beach House Summer by Sarah Morgan

A marriage in the spotlight
Joanna Whitman’s high-profile marriage held more secrets than she cares to remember, so when her ex-husband dies, she doesn’t know what to feel. But when she discovers that he’s left behind a pregnant young woman, Joanna is forced to act. She knows exactly how brutal the spotlight on them both will be…unless she can find a way for them to disappear.

A beach house hideaway
Ashley Blake is amazed when Joanna suggests they lie low at her beach house in her sleepy Californian hometown. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley needs all the support she can find.

A summer of new beginnings
Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future. But when an old flame reappears, and secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is put to the test…

Never Gonna Happen by Heidi Stephens

EMILY HAS SWORN OFF LOVE.
BUT MAYBE IT’S TIME TO GET BACK IN THE SADDLE . . . ?

Emily Wilkinson has lost everything. Literally. In a hair-straightener fire. Oh, and her boyfriend (and boss) has announced he’s going back to his wife. So, she needs a new job, a new plan, and somewhere to live that isn’t her childhood bedroom.

Charles Hunter is looking for a live-in PA to help run Bowford Manor and Emily thinks she’s the perfect fit. Well, she’s spent ten years propping up demanding men, so she can definitely handle some tricky characters – like Charles’s eldest son and heir, who’s got plans for the estate that might raise a few eyebrows.

No one’s mentioned Jamie though. The stable hand – and youngest Hunter. Dashing, of course, but totally unsuitable. And Emily’s not about to make that mistake again.

Definitely not. No, really.

The Slow Lane Walkers Club by Rosa Temple

Daniel isn’t used to living life in the slow lane. So when he finds himself unexpectedly jobless and back in his old Cornish hometown, he can’t sit still.
 
Hazel used to be adventurous too. But now widowed and in her eighties, she barely leaves the house. When she sees an advert for Daniel’s new walking club, she grabs at the chance of some excitement.
 
Daniel’s heart sinks when he sees that the only person who’s turned up for his walking club is the crazy old lady from two doors down. But what he doesn’t expect is to discover that Hazel is one of the most fascinating people he’s ever met . . .

One Night With You by Laura Jane Williams

Move over Harry and Sally, sit down Ross and Rachel, there’s a new will-they-won’t-they romance in town! Enter Nic and Ruby: perfect for each other, but crossed by the stars even as they meet under them for the very first time…

It’s his first night in London. And her last…

Ruby’s leaving London. She’s not running away from her ex per se, but an exciting opportunity in a new city has landed at the perfect time.

Nic is moving to London. After a bad break-up, he’s excited to see where big-city life could take him.

When a chance meeting throws the pair of them together for just one night, it’s clear that this could be the start of something special. But there’s one problem: she’s leaving, and he’s just arriving. So, after tonight, they’ll never see each other again . . . will they?

Back to Index

Historical

The Summer of Secrets by Patricia Wilson

On the Greek island of Castellorizo young Sofía must put her big dreams on hold to support her older sister Maria with her large family. But World War II is looming and while the idyllic island may seem far from harm at first, there are unspeakable dangers on the horizon – perils that will change the sisters’ lives forever . . .

Devastated by her divorce and the death of her dear mum, Olivia seeks solace on Castellorizo. Her Granny Sofía fled the beautiful Greek island during the war, but Olivia knows little else about her family’s history. The only link to the Island she has left is her elderly great-uncle George. As his memory begins to fail, Olivia feels her one chance at uncovering the truth about her grandmother start to slip away.

As a mother’s sacrifice echoes throughout the generations, will Olivia discover some things are best left in the past?

Back to Index

So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

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