Coming this week – my fiction picks to 5th June 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

The Botanist by MW Craven

Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he’d still have his thumb left. There’s the insanely brilliant, guilelessly innocent civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw of course. He’s known his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn for years as he has his nearest neighbour, full-time shepherd/part-time dog sitter, Victoria.

And then there’s Estelle Doyle. It’s true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street but this time has she gone too far? Shot twice in the head, her father’s murder appears to be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers are the only footprints going in. Since her arrest she’s only said three words: ‘Tell Washington Poe.’

Meanwhile, a poisoner the press have dubbed the Botanist is sending high profile celebrities poems and pressed flowers. The killer seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice he gives his victims, and regardless of the security measures the police take, he seems to be able to kill with impunity.

For a man who hates locked room mysteries, this is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe’s life . . .


Sun Damage by Sabine Durrant

The heat is intense.
The secrets are stifling.
She just needs to escape . . .

Nine guests arrive at a remote villa in the south of France.

They know each other well. Or think they do.

But at least one of them has plenty to hide – and nowhere to run.

Under the relentless sun, loyalties will be tested, secrets revealed, and tensions pushed to the point of no return.


The Chemical Cocktail by Fiona Erskine

Jaq Silver is back with a bang in this high-octane third novel in the series

When Jaq Silver’s mother dies, she is handed a poisoned chalice. An inheritance more valuable to her than she could have imagined. Travelling from Portugal to Brazil amid conspiracies and corruption to get to the bottom of her family mystery, Jaq learns she is not the only one with an interest in her unusual inheritance. Racing against the clock as the threats to her life increase on all sides, Jaq must use her scientific know-how to save what matters most.


The Best Friend by Jessica Fellowes

Kate and Bella, Bella and Kate. From childhood they were inseparable yet polar opposites: Bella sensible and cautious, Kate gregarious and just a little dangerous.

Then men came into their lives and things changed: a black seed was set in in the heart of their relationship. Over decades, acts of both cruelty and love feed that seed until one shocking event leads to further tragedy. Neither will escape unscathed.

Back to Index

General/Contemporary Fiction

Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

When Sara Foster runs away from home at sixteen, she leaves behind not only the losses that have shattered her world but the girl she once was, capable of trust and intimacy. Years later, in Los Angeles, she is a sought-after bartender, renowned as much for her brilliant cocktails as for the mystery that clings to her.

Across the city, Emilie Dubois is in a holding pattern. In her seventh year and fifth major as an undergraduate, she yearns for the beauty and community her Creole grandparents cultivated but is unable to commit. On a whim, she takes a job arranging flowers at the glamorous restaurant Yerba Buena and embarks on an affair with the married owner.

When Sara catches sight of Emilie one morning at Yerba Buena, their connection is immediate. But the damage both women carry, and the choices they have made, will pull them apart again and again.


Honor by Thrity Umrigar

Indian American journalist Smita has returned to India to cover a story, but reluctantly: long ago she and her family left the country with no intention of ever coming back. As she follows the case of Meena – a Hindu woman attacked by members of her own village and her own family for marrying a Muslim man – Smita comes face to face with a society where tradition carries more weight than one’s own heart, and a story that threatens to unearth the painful secrets of Smita’s own past. While Meena’s fate hangs in the balance, Smita tries in every way she can to right the scales. She also finds herself increasingly drawn to Mohan, an Indian man she meets while on assignment. But the dual love stories of Honor are as different as the cultures of Meena and Smita themselves: Smita realizes she has the freedom to enter into a casual affair, knowing she can decide later how much it means to her.


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.


Fight Night by Miriam Toews

You are a small thing, and you must learn to fight.

Swiv has taken her grandmother’s advice too literally. Now she’s at home, suspended from school. Mom is pregnant and preoccupied – and so Swiv is in the older woman’s charge, receiving a very different form of education from a teacher with a style all her own.

Grandma likes her stories fast, troublesome and funny. She’s known the very worst that life can throw at you – and has met it every time with a wild, unnamable spirit, fighting for joy and independence every step of the way. But will maths lessons based on Amish jigsaws and classes on How to Dig a Winter Grave inspire the same fire in Swiv, and ensure it never goes out?

Time is running short. Grandma’s health is failing, the baby is on the way, as a family of three extraordinary women prepare to face life’s great changes together.


Paper Cup by Karen Campbell

What if going back means you could begin again?

Rocked by a terrible accident, homeless Kelly needs to escape the city streets of Glasgow. Maybe she doesn’t believe in serendipity, but a rare moment of kindness and a lost ring conspire to call her home. As Kelly vows to reunite the lost ring with its owner, she must return to the small town she fled so many years ago.

On her journey from Glasgow to the south-west tip of Scotland, Kelly encounters ancient pilgrim routes, hostile humans, hippies, book lovers and a friendly dog, as memories stir and the people she thought she’d left behind for ever move closer with every step.

Full of compassion and hope, Paper Cup is a novel about how easy it can be to fall through the cracks, and what it takes to turn around a life that has run off course.


Ungrateful by Angela Chadwick

Can you ever escape your past?

Cat knows she should be more grateful for her partner James. As a young woman struggling to care for her alcoholic mother, he whisked her away from the violence and addiction of her council estate home and offered her a taste of middle-class comfort.

But twenty years later, the escape he offered has begun to feel stifling. Surrounded by immaculate white carpets and scented candles, everything has its place in James’s house, except it seems, Cat. She had a place to study at university after finishing school, but her mother was too unwell for Cat to take it. She begins to dream of the opportunities education could offer her.

At a university open day, Cat finds herself standing before teenage boyfriend, Daniel, now a lecturer. As the spark that drew them together returns, Cat hopes that he can in some way help her reconnect with the drive and optimism of her younger self. Or perhaps she is simply hurtling back towards a past that can only hurt her further…

Can Cat let go of her demons to become the person she always hoped to be, or is it too late?


Thea and Denise by Caroline Bond

Two women. An open road. The trip of a lifetime.

Thea is confident, sorted, determined to have fun, but there are sorrows beneath the surface of her life.

Denise is struggling under the weight of her many commitments and in desperate need of some excitement.

When these polar opposites meet, and unexpectedly become friends, they realise they’re both looking to escape.

So begins a road trip that leads them far from home and yet closer to their true selves.

But they can’t outrun their pasts forever and when things start to become complicated, both women have an important decision to make. Do they give up or keep going? Turn around or drive on?

Back to Index

Historical

The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lusk

Zachary Cloudesley is gifted in a remarkable way. But not all gifts are a blessing…

Leadenhall Street, London, 1754.


Raised amongst the cogs and springs of his father’s workshop, Zachary Cloudesley has grown up surrounded by strange and enchanting clockwork automata. He is a happy child, beloved by his father Abel and the workmen who help bring his father’s creations to life.

He is also the bearer of an extraordinary gift; at the touch of a hand, Zachary can see into the hearts and minds of the people he meets.

But then a near-fatal accident will take Zachary away from the workshop and his family. His father will have to make a journey to Constantinople that he will never return from. And, years later, only Zachary can find out what happened.

A beautifully crafted historical mystery that will take the reader from 18th century London, across Europe and, finally, to the bustling city of Constantinople.


Back to Index

So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

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