Coming over the next two weeks – my fiction picks to 2nd October

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

An Honourable Thief by Douglas Skelton

1715. Jonas Flynt, ex-soldier and reluctant member of the Company of Rogues, a shady intelligence group run by ruthless spymaster Nathaniel Charters, is ordered to recover a missing document. Its contents could prove devastating in the wrong hands.

On her deathbed, the late Queen Anne may have promised the nation to her half-brother James, the Old Pretender, rather than the new king, George I. But the will has been lost. It may decide the fate of the nation.

The crown must recover it at all costs.

The trail takes Jonas from the dark and dangerous streets of London to an Edinburgh in chaos. He soon realises there are others on the hunt, and becomes embroiled in a long overdue family reunion, a jail break and a brutal street riot.

When secrets finally come to light, about the crown and about his own past, Jonas will learn that some truths, once discovered, can never be untold…

Black Hearts by Doug Johnstone

Death is just the beginning…

The Skelf women live in the shadow of death every day, running the family funeral directors and private investigator business in Edinburgh. But now their own grief interwines with that of their clients, as they are left reeling by shocking past events.

A fist-fight by an open grave leads Dorothy to investigate the possibility of a faked death, while a young woman’s obsession with Hannah threatens her relationship with Indy and puts them both in mortal danger. An elderly man claims he’s being abused by the ghost of his late wife, while ghosts of another kind come back to haunt Jenny from the grave … pushing her to breaking point.

As the Skelfs struggle with increasingly unnerving cases and chilling danger lurks close to home, it becomes clear that grief, in all its forms, can be deadly…

Bleeding Heart Yard by Elly Griffiths

DS Cassie Fitzgerald has a secret – but it’s one she’s deleted from her memory. In the 1990s when she was at school, she and her friends killed a fellow pupil. Thirty years later, Cassie is happily married and loves her job as a police officer.

One day her husband persuades her to go to a school reunion and another ex-pupil, Garfield Rice, is found dead, supposedly from a drug overdose. As Garfield was an eminent MP and the investigation is high profile, it’s headed by Cassie’s new boss, DI Harbinder Kaur. The trouble is, Cassie can’t shake the feeling that one of her old friends has killed again.

Is Cassie right, or was Garfield murdered by one of his political cronies? It’s in Cassie’s interest to skew the investigation so that it looks like the latter and she seems to be succeeding.

Until someone else is killed…

Picture You Dead by Peter James

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace finds himself plunged into an unfamiliar and rarefied world of fine art. Outwardly it appears respectable, gentlemanly, above reproach. But beneath the veneer, he rapidly finds that greed, deception and violence walk hand-in-hand.

Harry and Freya, an ordinary couple, dreamed for years of finding something priceless buried amongst the tat in a car boot sale.

It was a dream they knew in their hearts would never come true – until the day it did…
They buy the drab portrait for a few pounds, for its beautiful frame, planning to cut the painting out. Then studying it back at home there seems to be another picture beneath, of a stunning landscape. Could it be a long-lost masterpiece from 1770? If genuine, it could be worth millions.

One collector is certain that the painting is genuine. Someone who will use any method he can to get what he wants and will stop at nothing.

And Harry and Freya are about to discover that their dream is turning into their worst nightmare. . .

The Party Guest by Amanda Robson

A birthday to remember. But would they rather forget…?

Ralph is turning 45, and the only gift he wants is his ex-wife.
Gemma, his trophy girlfriend, won’t let anything ruin her plans for an engagement.
Sarah, the ex-wife, has agreed to attend Ralph’s party, with her new man in tow.
And Jack, her partner, will stop at nothing to keep Sarah out of her ex-husband’s clutches.

It’s a celebration like no other. The whole extended family in a villa on the beautiful Amalfi coast.
But by the end of the trip, two people will be dead.
At this birthday party to remember, will anybody unwrap the truth…?

Two weeks. Four guests. One party to die for.

Vengeance by RC Bridgestock

A terrible act of violence. A chance occurrence – or something more sinister?

On a beautiful summer afternoon, Stacey Sullivan is getting married to Mark James. But then screams smother the laughter, police sirens drown out the church bells. Out of nowhere, a drug-fuelled gunman opens fire on the wedding party.

The shooter is beaten, disarmed and detained by the guests. No one knows who the gunman is… or if they do, they’re not admitting it. The job of solving the two murders is laid solely at the feet of DI Charley Mann.

Could this be a random attack, or a pre-planned assassination? When information comes to light of a link to feuding drug-dealing families in Manchester, Charley’s team need to act rapidly. They need to find – and apprehend – those responsible. Fast.

It soon becomes clear: if they fail, more deaths are coming…

A Long Shadow by David Beckler

In this dystopian vision of London, public safety is in private hands—and nobody is beyond the reach of the ‘law’.

The constant threat of terrorism has left London under round-the-clock surveillance and in the tightening grip of privatised security firms. Journalist Antonia Conti suspects one such organisation—GRM—not only of being behind several women’s disappearances, but of financing the widespread violence it claims to fight.

When a gang of hitmen use rampant state surveillance to track Antonia down, she narrowly escapes with her life. But then one of them turns up dead—covered in her DNA—and Antonia finds herself the prime suspect in his murder.

DS Russell Chapman needs to bring her in. But evidence that Antonia has been framed quickly stacks up and when a personal grudge between her and GRM’s shadowy head of security is revealed, he begins an uncomfortable partnership with her.

Together, the pair delve beneath the surface of the corporate machine and soon find themselves embroiled in a dark and violent underworld even they had barely dared imagine. Will they find the evidence to bring GRM down? And can they keep Antonia’s name off the list of missing women?

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General/Contemporary Fiction

Drunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory

Nothing goes to your head as fast as a taste of love . . .

Margot Noble needs some relief from the stress of running her family winery. Enter Luke: sexy, charming, and best of all in the too-small world of Napa, a stranger, promising to be the perfect one-night stand she’ll never have to see again. That is, until Luke walks in the next morning as their newest hire. And with the attraction still bubbling between them, Margot is finding it a challenge to keep things purely professional.

Luke Williams had it all, but when burnout causes him to quit his high-salary tech job in Silicon Valley and move back to Napa, he doesn’t want to tell the world – or his mom, who loves bragging about her successful son – why he’s now working at a winery. The only thing Luke knows for certain is that he wants more with his smart and sexy new boss. But even if they can find a way to be together that wouldn’t be an ethical nightmare, would such a successful woman really want a tech-world dropout?

When in Rome by Sarah Adams

Amelia Rose, known as Rae Rose to her fans, is burnt out from years of maintaining her ‘princess of pop’ image. Inspired by her favourite Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday, and desperate for a getaway from the music business, she drives off in the middle of the night for a respite in Rome . . . Rome, Kentucky, that is.

When Noah Walker finds Amelia on his front lawn in her broken-down car, he makes it clear he doesn’t have the time or patience for celebrity problems. He’s too busy running the pie shop his grandmother left him and reminding his nosy but lovable neighbours to mind their own damn business. But his heart softens when it becomes clear that years in the public eye have left Amelia lonely and isolated. Soon she’ll have to return to her glamorous life on tour, but until then Noah will show Amelia all the charming small-town experiences she’s been missing and she’ll show him how to open his heart to more.

Amelia can’t resist falling for Rome and her grumpy tour guide, but she keeps reminding herself that even Audrey had to go back to her real life in the end . . .

Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer

Go get lost somewhere, it always does you good.

For Arthur Less, life is going surprisingly well: he is a moderately accomplished novelist in a steady relationship with his partner, Freddy Pelu. But nothing lasts: the death of an old lover and a sudden financial crisis has Less running away from his problems yet again as he accepts a series of literary gigs that send him on a zigzagging adventure across the US.

Less roves across the ‘Mild Mild West’, through the South and to his mid-Atlantic birthplace, with an ever-changing posse of writerly characters and his trusty duo – a human-like black pug, Dolly, and a rusty camper van nicknamed Rosina. He grows a handlebar mustache, ditches his signature gray suit, and disguises himself in the bolero-and-cowboy-hat costume of a true ‘Unitedstatesian’… with varying levels of success, as he continues to be mistaken for either a Dutchman, the wrong writer, or, worst of all, a ‘bad gay’.

We cannot, however, escape ourselves – even across deserts, bayous, and coastlines. From his estranged father and strained relationship with Freddy, to the reckoning he experiences in confronting his privilege, Arthur Less must eventually face his personal demons. With all of the irrepressible wit and musicality that made Less a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning, must-read breakout book, Less Is Lost is a profound and joyous novel about the enigma of life in America, the riddle of love, and the stories we tell along the way.

Dreams Come True at Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters

Lorna is following her dreams. But can she follow her heart?

Lorna Ferguson has dreamt of opening her own bed and breakfast in the village of Glendale for as long as she’d pictured falling in love. While her love life remains frankly hopeless, Lorna is determined to secure Dove House – the home she imagined living in as a child – to start this new venture with her family.

Along with brother Adam, Lorna starts restoring the house to its Art Deco glory, but faced with a whole host of renovation problems and their money fast running out, they worry that Dove House will never be ready to open in the New Year.

When a mystery man turns up, needing to fulfil a promise he made to his dying father and find the object he left at Dove House many years ago, Lorna’s heart goes out to him. But what they find there is going to change both of their lives forever.

Facing problems at every turn, and distracted by her heart, Lorna is going to need all the magic that her beloved Glendale can supply to make all her dreams come true…

Best of Friends by Kamila Shamsie

Sometimes it was as though the forty years of friendship between them was just a lesson in the unknowability of other people…

Maryam and Zahra.

In 1988 Karachi, two fourteen-year-old girls are a decade into their friendship, sharing in-jokes, secrets and a love for George Michael. As Pakistan’s dictatorship falls and a woman comes to power, the world suddenly seems full of possibilities. Elated by the change in the air, they make a snap decision at a party. That night, everything goes wrong, and the two girls are powerless to change the outcome.

Zahra and Maryam.

In present-day London, two influential women remain bound together by loyalties, disloyalties, and the memory of that night, which echoes through the present in unexpected ways. Now both have power; and both have very different ideas of how to wield it… Their friendship has always felt unbreakable; can it be undone by one decision?

A Shetland Christmas Carol by Erin Green

Will the gift of friendship save their past, present and future?

Callie has taken multiple jobs to make the money she desperately needs. Her favourite is being the new guide for Lerwick Manor’s alpaca walks. But her troublesome past is making it difficult to prove to others that she’s learned from her mistakes.

Heather has been content breeding Sheltie sheepdogs and taking care of her grownup daughters. But now she feels that something is missing. Taking the leap into online dating, she makes an unexpected connection to which her daughters react very differently.

Tabitha sells homemade soap at the Stables Gallery, but her true passion is for amateur dramatics. Winning a role in the group’s festive production of A Christmas Carol, Tabby is determined to make her mark – but will her growing feelings for fellow actor Rabbie distract her?

As Christmas draws near, can true friendship save the past, present and future of the Lerwick community?

Before I Do by Sophie Cousens

What would you do if the one that got away turned up the night before your wedding?

Audrey is marrying Josh; steady, dependable Josh, the love of her life. They share a flat and a bank account, and it’s the only relationship that Audrey’s ever had that feels like something she can put her trust in. But romance should be full of fireworks, and as the big day approaches, Audrey’s found herself wondering if Josh really is ‘the one’.

So, when Josh’s sister Miranda arrives at their rehearsal dinner with Fred – Audrey’s ‘What If?’ guy, the man she met six years ago and had one amazing day with but never saw again – Audrey can’t help but see it as a sign.

Surely Fred’s appearance the night before Audrey is due to get married can’t be a coincidence. And when everything that could go wrong with the wedding starts to go wrong, Audrey has to wonder: could fate be trying to stop her from making a huge mistake?

Forever Home by Graham Norton

Carol is a divorced teacher living in a small town in Ireland, her only son now grown. A second chance at love brings her unexpected connection and belonging. The new relationship sparks local speculation: what does a woman like her see in a man like that? What happened to his wife who abandoned them all those years ago? But the gossip only serves to bring the couple closer.

When Declan becomes ill, things start to fall apart. His children are untrusting and cruel, and Carol is forced to leave their beloved home with its worn oak floors and elegant features and move back in with her parents.

Carol’s mother is determined to get to the bottom of things, she won’t see her daughter suffer in this way. It seems there are secrets in Declan’s past, strange rumours that were never confronted and suddenly the house they shared takes on a more sinister significance.

Love Untold by Ruth Jones

Grace is about to turn ninety. She doesn’t want parties or presents or fuss. She just wants to heal the family rift that’s been breaking her heart for decades.

But to do that she must find her daughter Alys – the only person who can help to put things right.

And when she finds her – if she does – she risks betraying granddaughter Elin. Who is far less forgiving of the past, with its hurts and secrets and lies. Meanwhile Grace’s great-grand-daughter Beca is oblivious to all these worries, too busy navigating the highs and lows of teenage life and keeping secrets of her own.

All families have their problems. And most of them get resolved. But Grace’s problem is thirty years old. And she doesn’t have time on her side.

So is it too late for her to make peace? Or is reconciliation still within reach?

The Book of the Gaels by James Yorkston

Rural West Cork, Ireland. Two Kids, Joseph and Paul, and their struggling, poet father, Fraser, are battling grief and poverty. When a letter arrives with a summons to Dublin and the promise of publication, it offers a chink of light – the hope of rescue. But Dublin is a long, wet and hungry way from West Cork in the mid-70s, especially when they have no money – just the clothes they stand up in and an old, battered suitcase.

So begins an almost anti-roadtrip of flipsides and contradictions – dreams and nightmares, promises and disappointments, generosity and meanness, unconditional love and shocking neglect.

Together, Again by Milly Johnson

Sisters Jolene, Marsha and Annis have convened at their beautiful family home, Fox House, following the death of their mother, the tricky Eleanor Vamplew. Born seven years apart, the women are more strangers than sisters.

Jolene, the eldest, is a successful romantic novelist who writes about beautiful relationships even though her own marriage to the handsome and charming Warren is complicated.
Marsha, the neglected middle child, has put all of her energy into her work, hoping money will plug the gap in her life left by the man who broke her young heart.

Annis is the renegade, who left home aged sixteen and never returned, not even for the death of their beloved father Julian. Until now.

So when the sisters discover that their mother has left everything to Annis in her will, it undermines everything they thought they knew. Can saying their final goodbyes to Eleanor bring them together again?

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Historical

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

1926, and in a country still recovering from the Great War, London has become the focus for a delirious new nightlife. In the clubs of Soho, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time.

The notorious queen of this glittering world is Nellie Coker, ruthless but also ambitious to advance her six children, including the enigmatic eldest, Niven whose character has been forged in the crucible of the Somme. But success breeds enemies, and Nellie’s empire faces threats from without and within. For beneath the dazzle of Soho’s gaiety, there is a dark underbelly, a world in which it is all too easy to become lost.

Echoes of Love by Jenny Ashcroft

Under the Cretan sun, in the summer of 1936, two young people fall in love…

Eleni has been coming to Crete her entire life, swapping her English home for cherished sun-baked summers with her grandfather in his idyllic shoreside villa. When she arrives in 1936, she believes the long, hot weeks ahead will be no different to so many that have gone before.

But someone else is visiting the island that year too: a young German man called Otto. And so begins a summer of innocence lost, and love discovered; one that is finite, but not the end.

When, in 1941, the island falls to a Nazi invasion, Eleni and Otto meet there once more. But this time Eleni has returned to fight for her home, and Otto to occupy it. They are enemies, and their love is not only treacherous, but also dangerous. But will it destroy them, or prove strong enough to overcome the ravages of war?

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So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

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