Coming in the next two weeks – my fiction picks to 28th August

Here’s my 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

My Other Husband by Dorothy Koomson

Someone’s trying to frame me for murder. But I can’t prove my innocence. Because then I’d have to confess about… my other husband.

Cleo Forsum is a bestselling novelist turned scriptwriter whose TV series, ‘The Baking Detective’ is a huge success. Writing is all she’s ever wanted to do, and baking and murder stories have proved a winning combination.

But now she has decided to walk away from it all – including divorcing her husband, Wallace – before her past secrets catch up with her.

As Cleo drafts the final ever episodes of the series, people she knows start getting hurt. And it’s soon clear that someone is trying to frame her for murder.

She thinks she knows why, but Cleo can’t tell the police or prove her innocence. Because then she’d have to confess about her other husband . . .

A series of terrifying murders. A set of complex lies.
And a woman with no way to clear her name.

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Daisy Darker’s family were as dark as dark can be, when one of them died all of them lied and pretended not to see . . .

Daisy Darker is arriving at her grandmother’s house for her eightieth birthday. It is Halloween, and Seaglass – the crumbling Cornish house perched upon its own tiny private island – is at one with the granite rocks it sits on. The Darker family haven’t all been in the same place for over a decade, and when the tide comes in they’ll be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours. When the tide goes back out, nothing will ever be the same again, because one of them is a killer . . .

All Good People Here by Ashley Flower

What really happened to January Jacobs?

A MYSTERIOUS COLD CASE…
Twenty-five years ago, January Jacob’s parents awoke to find their daughter’s bed empty, a horrifying message spray-painted onto their wall. Hours later, January’s body was found discarded in a ditch. Her murder was never solved. But the town remembers.

A DANGEROUS OBSESSION…
Journalist Margot Davies is tired of reporting meaningless stories. One night, she stumbles upon a clue in the most infamous crime in her hometown’s history: the unsolved murder of six-year-old January.

A TOWN FULL OF SECRETS…
As Margot digs deeper, she begins to suspect that there is something truly sinister lurking in the small community: a secret that endangers the lives of everyone involved…including Margot.

Run Time by Catherine Ryan Howard

Movie-making can be murder.

The project
Final Draft, a psychological horror, being filmed at a house deep in a forest, miles from anywhere in the wintry wilds of West Cork.

The lead
Former soap-star Adele Rafferty has stepped in to replace the original actress at the very last minute. She can’t help but hope that this opportunity will be her big break – and she knows she was lucky to get it, after what happened the last time she was on a set.

The problem
Something isn’t quite right about Final Draft. When the strange goings-on in the script start to happen on set too, Adele begins to fear that the real horror lies off the page…

Dark Rooms by Lynda La Plante

Helena Lanark is the only one who knows about the horrors which once occurred in her family’s house. The heiress of an immense family fortune, she now resides in a luxurious care home; her mind and memory fading fast.

Jane Tennison is leading a murder investigation into the recent brutal death of a young girl, her decomposed, starved body discovered in an old air raid shelter in the garden of the Lanark’s now derelict house. Initially the focus is on identifying the victim, until another body is found hidden in the walls of the shelter.

As the investigation and search for answers intensifies, Jane travels to Australia. There she discovers the dark secret that the Lanark family has kept hidden for decades. A secret that not only threatens to bring down a family dynasty, but also places Jane Tennison in mortal danger . . .

1989 by Val McDermid

There’s nothing like a killer story . . .

1989. The world is changing, and Allie Burns is still on the front line, covering the stories that count.

Although Allie is no longer an investigative journalist, her instincts are sharper than ever. When she discovers a lead about the exploitation of society’s most vulnerable, Allie is determined to give a voice to those who have been silenced.

As Allie edges closer to exposing the truth, she travels behind the Iron Curtain, to East Berlin on the brink of revolution. The dark heart of the story is more shocking than she ever imagined. And to tell it, Allie must risk her freedom and her life . . .

The Midnight Killing by Sharon Dempsey

She’d cycled this way hundreds of times before, every twist and turn familiar. She didn’t know this would be the last. 

When the body of architect James McCallum is found hanging in the grounds of his former school one cold night, DI Danny Stowe and forensic psychologist Rose Lainey suspect foul play behind his apparent suicide.

To their astonishment, the trail leads to a 20-year-old cold case of a missing girl, and a teenage party. But what was James’ fascination with the case and how is it linked to his death?

Secrets don’t stay buried forever – but the real killer will stop at nothing to hide theirs…

From the Ashes by Deborah Masson

As the house burns, the hunt for a killer begins…

In the dead of night someone starts a fire in a home for underprivileged children in Aberdeen. The flames spread quickly, and one person doesn’t make it out alive.

But the victim wasn’t found in their bedroom; they were discovered locked inside a secret basement underground. As DI Eve Hunter and her team search the blackened ruins, the case takes them into even darker territory.

Soon Eve unearths a horrific discovery at the heart of the property – one that turns the whole investigation on its head. Everyone in this home has something to hide, but who has a secret worth killing for?

The Lost Man of Bombay by Vaseem Khan

Bombay, 1950
When the body of a white man is found frozen in the Himalayan foothills near Dehra Dun, he is christened the Ice Man by the national media. Who is he? How long has he been there? Why was he killed?

As Inspector Persis Wadia and Metropolitan Police criminalist Archie Blackfinch investigate the case in Bombay, they uncover a trail left behind by the enigmatic Ice Man – a trail leading directly into the dark heart of conspiracy.

Meanwhile, two new murders grip the city. Is there a serial killer on the loose, targeting Europeans?

Rich in atmosphere, the thrilling third chapter in the CWA Historical Dagger-winning Malabar House series pits Persis against a mystery from beyond the grave, unfolding against the backdrop of a turbulent post-colonial India, a nation struggling to redefine itself in the shadow of the Raj.

The Generation Killer by Adam Simcox

There’s a new serial killer on the streets of Manchester – and only a dead cop can stop them.

Detective Joe Lazarus works for the Dying Squad, solving crimes the living police can’t. When the Generation Killer starts wiping out Manchester’s innocents, Joe and his new partner Bits have mere hours to catch the murderer. A young woman’s life depends on it.

Joe’s former partner Daisy-May has her own problems. Children are going missing in the afterlife, and she’s the only one who seems to care. Her investigation uncovers a conspiracy so vast, it threatens both the living and the dead.

Her predecessor the Duchess can’t help this time; she’s tracked her treacherous sister, Hanna, to Tokyo, where she’s been recruiting the dead. The Duchess must enlist the help of a local detective if she’s to have any choice of stopping her.


Time is running out for the Dying Squad. And if they can’t crack their cases, it’s the living that will pay…

Murder at Mount Ephraim by Julia Wassmer

Pearl Nolan receives a wedding invitation from an old school friend. Journalist Amy has chosen somewhere very special for the wedding ceremony – the historic Kent manor house of Mount Ephraim – and the invite includes a pre-nuptial stay for Pearl and other guests at this venue. Nestled in an 800-acre estate, and surrounded by beautiful gardens and a lake, Pearl sees this break as a chance to leave crime behind, along with her own detective agency and her restaurant, The Whitstable Pearl.

Accepting the invitation, Pearl looks forward to meeting the happy couple’s friends and family, as well as Amy’s fiancé, Guy, a handsome and successful adventurer who appears to be Mr Perfect. She also has time to reflect on her own engagement to Canterbury CID detective, DCI Mike McGuire…

But before any wedding bells sound, murder strikes – and Pearl and McGuire are thrust together again – as partners in crime.

The Family Retreat by Bev Thomas

When Rob decides the family needs to get away for the summer Jess is not convinced – won’t all the things they’re escaping be waiting for them on their return? But the kids are thrilled, and before long their idyllic little cottage, the sea air, and the feel of skin sticky from sun-cream, lollies and sand, begins to work its magic. Jess allows herself to sink into the holiday vibes – the family even make holiday friends.

The summer heat intensifies Jess – ever vigilant – unearths a secret, a problem she’s sure she can help solve. But things are not always as they seem. The water may look inviting but even the gentlest looking waves can hide the deadliest undercurrents.

As autumn approaches, Jess – and the reader – will come to realise this is going to end in a way no-one could have imagined…

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General/Contemporary Fiction

A Bicycle Made for Two by Mary Jane Baker

Escape to the unspoilt Yorkshire Dales countryside and meet a hilarious community of colourful characters. Their bawdy wit in this romantic comedy is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face!

In a beautiful lost corner of the Yorkshire Dales, Lana Donati hatches a plan to boost business for the area by having the Grand Départ route pass through their village. But it’s not an easy task persuading the decision-makers that their village is Tour de France material…

First, she must convince the small community to work together, a challenging mission when the people involved include Lana’s unlucky-in-love brother Tom, the man-eating WI chair Yolanda, bickering spouses Gerry and Sue, and Lana’s arch-nemesis, Stewart McLean, whose offbeat ideas might just cost them everything.

Cornish Clouds and Silver Lining Skies by Ali McNamara

Meteorologist Sky Matthews does not like surprises.

Sky monitors her life like she does the weather, carefully and with a scientific eye. So, when she misses out on her dream job abroad and finds herself with no choice but to take a position on a tidal island off the Cornish harbour town of St Felix instead, she feels completely at sea. Worse still, she has to work alongside TV weatherman Sonny Samuels, who barely knows his storms from his tsunamis.

It doesn’t take long for Sky to become enchanted by the strange weather patterns over St Felix. Sonny is convinced they link to local folklore, but Sky knows her science too well to fall for that. Until she meets Walter, a local weather watcher with no qualifications beyond a lifetime of experience and Sky is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the weather, herself… and Sonny.

The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan

The Aylward women are mad about each other, but you wouldn’t always think it. You’d have to know them to know – in spite of what the neighbours might say about raised voices and dramatic scenes – that their house is a place of peace, filled with love, a refuge from the sadness and cruelty of the world.

Their story begins at an end and ends at a beginning. It’s a story of terrible betrayals and fierce loyalties, of isolation and togetherness, of transgression, forgiveness, desire, and love. About all the things family can be and all the things it sometimes isn’t. More than anything, it is an uplifting celebration of fierce, loyal love and the powerful stories that last generations.

American Fever by Dur E Aziz Amna

On a year-long exchange programme in rural Oregon, sixteen-year-old Hira must swap Kashmiri chai for volleyball practice and understand why everyone around her seems to dislike Obama. An unforgettably witty narrator, Hira finds herself stuck between worlds. The experience is memorable for reasons both good and bad; a first kiss, new friends, racism, Islamophobia, homesickness. Along the way Hira starts to feel increasingly unwell until she begins coughing up blood, and receives a diagnosis of tuberculosis, pushing her into quarantine and turning her newly-established world upside down.

The Black Dog by Kevin Bridges

Declan dreams of becoming a writer. It’s a dream that helps him escape the realities of his life – going through the motions at college and stacking supermarket shelves part-time, whilst fighting a battle with the ever-darkening thoughts in his head.

He has his pet Labrador for companionship and his best friend-turned-mentor, a pseudo-intellectual who works as a greenskeeper at the local municipal golf course, both of which help keep the worst of his anxieties at bay. But following a drunken row with local gangsters, Declan’s worries threaten to spiral out of control.

James Cavani – Declan’s idol and his hometown’s claim to fame – is a renowned writer, director and actor. But despite his success, his past hasn’t relinquished its hold of him, and through his younger sister’s battle with drug addiction, he finds himself returning to a world he thought he had escaped.

At face value, their lives couldn’t be more different, but perhaps fate has a way of bringing kindred spirits together – and perhaps each holds the other’s redemption in their hands.

Walk by James Rice

Benny thought that it would be him and his dad doing the walk. Just him and his father, hiking through the Welsh countryside, like they used to.

Only, when his dad got ill, it became obvious that this would never happen. So Benny was forced to consider other options.

If Benny is honest, him and Stephen haven’t been close since school, but once Benny had drunkenly blurted out the invitation, he couldn’t take it back.

Now Benny and Stephen are on the walk. A walk Benny has vowed to finish, no matter how hard it is. But as food runs low and money runs out, Stephen and Benny find themselves stranded on the edge of the world, far from home, where the possibility of return is becoming increasingly distant…

Everything We Are by Karen Angelico

This is a novel about marriage and friendship, secrecy and infidelity, guilt and desire. It’s about you and me and everything we are – and what happens when love isn’t enough.

Daniel and Luke are unlikely best friends. Their bond has stood the test of time, through marriages, children and tragedies. But midlife is upon them and hidden truths are beginning to surface. Luke’s hedonism is spiralling out of control, while Sarah fears for their future. And now Daniel has made a shocking discovery about his wife Kate, and doesn’t know where to turn.

Four people, two couples, and a secret that threatens to destroy them all . . .

This Beating Heart by Laura Barnett

WHAT IF THE FAMILY YOU WANT…
…ISN’T THE FAMILY YOU NEED?

‘It was up to her now; everything was up to her;
she needed only to make a choice and step towards it,
out from the shadows and into the light.’


At forty-three, Christina Lennox thought her future was settled: marriage to Ed, children, a house of their own.

But this is not that future: her marriage has ended, fractured by the stress of five rounds of IVF and two miscarriages. Overwhelmed by grief and disappointment, Ed has relocated to San Francisco and Christina’s dream of becoming a mother rests on persuading him to let her go ahead with one final round of IVF, using the last frozen embryo they have stored at the clinic.

But when Ed drops a bombshell that threatens to undo everything Christina has strived for, she is forced, once again, to realign her plans.

Is this the end of her dream, or an opportunity to consider a different – perhaps happier – version of her future?

Skip to the End by Molly James

Three kisses. Two break ups. One happy ending…

Amy Daniels has a pretty nice life. Her career is on the up, she loves her friends, and she’s about to buy her very own flat. On a good day, Amy could be described as a catch – so why is she perpetually single?

The trouble is, Amy can see something no one else can: the end. As soon as she kisses someone, she knows, in intimate, vivid detail, how their relationship will end. A screaming argument in the middle of the supermarket over milk. An explicit email sent to the wrong address. A hasty escape through a bathroom window on the second date. At the altar – runaway-bride style. There seems to be no end to the unhappy endings.

After years of trying, and failing, to change a pre-written future, Amy has given up. But then she drunkenly kisses three men at her best friend’s wedding and sees three possible endings: two painful, one perfect. The problem is, Amy can’t really remember who she kissed, and worse, what ending belongs to which person – the only thing she knows for certain is that she’s determined to find out…

Hello, Stranger by Rachel Marks

From their very first date, Jamie and Lucy know they’ve met THE ONE.

They’re as different as night and day. Jamie’s a home bird, while Lucy’s happiest on holiday. He has a place for everything – she can never find her keys.

Yet, somehow, they make each other happier than they ever thought possible.

So why does their story start with them saying ‘goodbye’?

And does this really have to be the end . . . ?

Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer

This is the story of Isaac and the Egg, the most talked-about book of the year.

Isaac stands alone on a bridge and screams.

Something screams back.

And that, like everything which follows, is unforgettable.

This is a book about a lot of things – grief, hope, friendship, love. It’s also about what you’d do if you stumbled into the woods at dawn, found something extraordinary there, and decided to take it home.

It’s a tale that might seem familiar. But how it speaks to you will depend on how you’ve lived until now.

Sometimes, to get out of the woods, you have to go into them. Isaac and the Egg is one of the most hopeful, honest and wildly imaginative novels you will ever read.

Every Shade of Happy by Phyllida Shrimpton

Algernon is at the end of his life.
His granddaughter is at the start of hers.
But they have more in common than they think…

Every day of Algernon’s 97 years has been broken up into an ordered routine. That’s how it’s been since the war, and he’s not about to change now.

Until his 15-year-old granddaughter arrives on his doorstep, turning Algernon’s black-and-white life upside down. Everything from Anna’s clothes to the way she sits glued to her phone is strange to Algernon, and he’s not sure he likes it.

But as the weeks pass, Algernon is surprised to discover they have something in common after all – Anna is lonely, just like him. Can Algernon change the habits of a lifetime to bring the colour back into Anna’s world?

The Lighthouse Bookshop by Sharon Gosling

At the heart of a tiny community in a remote village just inland from the Aberdeenshire coast stands an unexpected lighthouse. Built two centuries ago by an eccentric landowner, it has become home to the only bookshop for miles around.
 
Rachel is an incomer to the village. She arrived five years ago and found a place she could call home. So when the owner of the Lighthouse Bookshop dies suddenly, she steps in to take care of the place, trying to help it survive the next stage of its life.
 
But when she discovers a secret in the lighthouse, long kept hidden, she realises there is more to the history of the place than she could ever imagine. Can she uncover the truth about the lighthouse’s first owner? And can she protect the secret history of the place?

Snowfall Over Halesmere House by Suzanne Snow

Welcome to Halesmere House, where romance might be just around the corner…

After years of living in the past, Ella is ready to start building a future. The perfect opportunity presents itself when she is offered a short-term role at Halesmere House in the Lake District, and tasked with kick-starting its artists’ residence. She can’t wait to start and explore a new career in an inspiring location.

But when Ella arrives at Halesmere, she wonders if she’s made a huge mistake after she clashes with Max, the new owner. Max has his own reasons to be unsettled by her presence, but despite his misgivings it seems everyone else loves having Ella around. As a single dad, it’s his children’s attachment to her that bothers him most. Who will pick up the pieces when Ella leaves?

What Max doesn’t know is that Ella is falling for more than just the Lake District and the community around her. Can her temporary job lead to a permanent happy ending?

The White Rock by Anna Hope

Here it was that the ships sailed to San Francisco and further north.
Here the Yoeme prisoners would have disembarked.
Here the singer may have stood.
Here she stands.

She should never have come.


The White Rock stands, ancient and sacred, off the Pacific coast of Mexico. Four people, across four centuries, each navigating ruptures to the world they know, are irresistibly drawn to it.

2020: A British writer travels with her husband to give thanks for the birth of their child.
1969: An American rock star runs from the law in the final act of his self-destruction.
1907: A Yoeme girl is torn from her homeland and taken by force to the coast.
1775: A Spanish naval officer prepares to set sail to continue the conquest of the Pacific coast.

As the White Rock bears witness to the truth that they are not the first to face days of reckoning, is there still a chance they might not be the last?

Undercurrent by Barney Norris

Years ago, in an almost accidental moment of heroism, Ed saved Amy from drowning. Now, in his thirties, he finds himself adrift. He’s been living in London for years – some of them good – but he’s stuck in a relationship he can’t move forward, has a job that just pays the bills, and can’t shake the sense that life should mean more than this. Perhaps all Ed needs is a moment to pause. To exhale and start anew. And when he meets Amy again by chance, it seems that happiness might not be so far out of reach. But then tragedy overtakes him, and Ed must decide whether to let history and duty define his life, or whether he should push against the tide and write his own story.


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Historical

A Postcard from Capri by Alex Brown

Her summer escape will awaken the past

In the Golden Age of Hollywood, Kelly Sinclair is on the cusp of becoming the next big movie star. Until then, she’s spending the summer of 1953 on the magical island of Capri…

Sixty years later, on a visit to her elderly grandmother’s cottage, photographer Maddie Williams unearths a box of old film memorabilia featuring a glamorous and beautiful young woman with platinum blonde hair. She also finds a postcard from the island of Capri, detailing the heart-breaking end of a passionate love affair.

Her grandmother now has trouble remembering anything from all those years ago. So when Maddie is commissioned for a photoshoot in Italy, she visits Capri to see if she can find out the truth. Can she unravel the mystery and discover what really happened in the summer of 1953, and will her magical island escape hold some surprises for Maddie, too?

The Manhattan Girls by Gill Paul

NEW YORK CITY, 1921

An impossible dream.
The war is over, the twenties are roaring, but in the depths of the city that never sleeps, Dorothy Parker is struggling to make her mark in a man’s world.
A broken woman.
She’s penniless, she’s unemployed and her marriage is on the rocks when she starts a bridge group with three extraordinary women – but will they be able to save her from herself?
A fight for survival.
When tragedy strikes, and everything Dorothy holds dear is threatened, it’s up to Peggy, Winifred and Jane to help her confront the truth before it’s too late. Because the stakes may be life or death…


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So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

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