Emma’s Anticipated Treasures – December 2020

Wow. I can’t quite believe that I’m writing this and that I’ve now done a year of Emma’s Anticipated Treasures. I’ve loved doing these posts and plan to keep it going through 2021, including a list of some of my most anticipated books of next year being posted on December.

December is probably the quietest month I’ve seen this year for book releases, while January is jam-packed full of so many that I’m dreading selecting my most anticipated. But there’s still some great books out before the year ends. Here are the ones I’m most excited about:

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

Published: December 1st, 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One perfect crime.

When Amelia is invited to an all-expenses-paid retreat on a private island, the mysterious offer is too good to refuse. Along with six other strangers, she’s told they’re here to test a brand-new product for Timeo Technologies. But the guests’ excitement soon turns to terror when the real reason for their summons becomes clear.

Each guest has a guilty secret. And when they’re all forced to wear a memory-tracking device that reveals their dark and shameful deeds to their fellow guests, there’s no hiding from the past. This is no luxury retreat—it’s a trap they can’t get out of.

As the clock counts down to the lavish end-of-day party they’ve been promised, injuries and in-fighting split the group. But with no escape from the island—or the other guests’ most shocking secrets—Amelia begins to suspect that her only hope for survival is to be the last one standing. Can she confront her own dark past to uncover the truth—before it’s too late to get out?

A claustrophobic setting with no escape? ✅ People hiding guilty secrets? ✅ Wintery location? ✅ Check. Written by a fantastic thriller writer who’s last book was amazing? ✅ This book has all the ingredients for an amazing winter thriller that I can’t wait to read.
Pre-order here.

Heading Over The Hill by Judy

Published: December 3rd, 2020
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance

Growing old disgracefully and having a grand old time…

Billy and Dawnie may be in their seventies, but that won’t stop them taking chances or starting again. Their grown-up children have families and lives of their own, so now it’s Billy and Dawnie’s turn, and a life near the sea in Devon beckons.

But the residents of Margot Street (or Maggot Street as Dawnie insists on calling it), don’t quite know what to make of their new neighbours. Billy’s loud, shiny and huge Harley Davidson looks out of place next to the safe and sensible Honda Jazz next door, and Dawnie’s never-ending range of outrageous wigs and colourful clothes, means she’s impossible to miss.

As new friendships are formed and new adventures are shared, Billy and Dawnie start winning their neighbours’ affection. And when life teaches them all a terrible lesson, the folks of Margot Street are determined to live every day as if it’s their last.

I’ve become a big fan of “pensioners on the pages” and this one sounds like a fun, uplifting read.
Pre-order here.

Dark Falls (Detective Megan Carpenter 3) by Gregg Olsen

Published: December 4th, 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Hardboiled, Police Procedural, Crime Series

One bath wall is a mural of a brilliant-yellow sunflower. The theme carries over to the shower curtains, but the yellow vinyl is spattered with red blotches. Propped against the mirror is a South Kitsap High School photo of a teenaged girl.

Detective Megan Carpenter is no stranger to horrifying crime scenes, but when she arrives at the home of a woman whose body has been brutalized, Megan is shocked to discover that she knows the victim. Monique Delmont helped Megan when she was in danger years ago. And the killer has left a disturbing calling card… two laminated photographs of a sixteen-year-old high school girl – Megan.

Someone is taunting her in the worst way possible and Megan is convinced she knows who is responsible. She just has to find him.

With the help of her new partner, Deputy Ronnie Marsh, Megan begins to unravel the clues that will lead them to the killer including links to three female murder cases from nearly twenty years ago – one of which was Monique’s daughter.

But to protect those closest to her, Megan must continue to hide the dark truth of her past, even if that means lying to her team about her connection to Monique.

When two photographs of a teenage Megan are found at her boyfriend’s place in Snow Creek, she knows the killer is circling and ready to strike again.

Can she get to him before he finds her? And will she pay the ultimate price for trying to keep her terrifying past buried?

I’m been a fan of the first two books in this series and can’t wait to see where the author takes the protagonist next. You can read my reviews for the first two books here: Book 1, Book 2.
Pre-order here.

Layla by Colleen Hoover

Published: December 8th, 2020
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Thriller

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

I’ve heard this one be compared to her outstanding thriller Verity, which I absolutely loved, so this one is a must read for me.
Pre-order here.

In the Clearing by J.P Pomare

Published: December 10th, 2020
Publisher: Hodder Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Police Procedural


Amy has only ever known life in the Clearing. She knows what’s expected of her. She knows what to do to please her elders, and how to make sure the community remains happy and calm. That is, until a new young girl joins the group. She isn’t fitting in; she doesn’t want to stay. What happens next will turn life as Amy knows it on its head.

Freya has gone to great lengths to feel like a ‘normal person’. In fact, if you saw her go about her day with her young son, you’d think she was an everyday mum. That is, until a young girl goes missing and someone from her past, someone she hasn’t seen for a very long time, arrives in town.

As secrets of the past bubble up to the surface, this small town’s dark secrets will be exposed and lives will be destroyed.

I loved J. P. Pomare’s debut, Call Me Evie, and have been been eagerly anticipating the follow up ever since.
Pre-order here.

Out For Blood (DI Eve Hunter 2) by Deborah Masson

Published: December 10th, 2020
Publisher: Corgi
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Police Procedural, Urban Fiction, Crime Series

DI Eve Hunter is back in the edge-of-your-seat new detective thriller from Deborah Masson, winning author of the Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2020.

A young man, the son of an influential businessman, is discovered dead in his central Aberdeen apartment.

Hours later, a teenaged girl with no identification is found hanged in a suspected suicide.

As DI Eve Hunter and her team investigate the two cases, they find themselves in a tug-of-war between privilege and poverty; between the elite and those on the fringes of society.

Then an unexpected breakthrough leads them to the shocking conclusion: that those in power have been at the top for too long – and now, someone is going to desperate lengths to bring them down…

Can they stop someone who is dead set on revenge, no matter the cost?

Hold Your Tongue was one of my favourite thrillers of 2019 and a sensational start to a new series. I’ve been looking forward to the follow up since I read the last line and am excited that it’s almost here.
Pre-order here.

The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny

Published: December 10th, 2020
Publisher: Alcove Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction

A Man Called Ove meets The Rosie Project in this delightfully off-kilter (Rachel Yoder, Nightbitch) tale of a grumpy introvert, her astonishing lack of social skills and empirical data-driven approach to people and relationships.

Is there such a thing as an anti-social butterfly? If there were, Greta Oto would know about it–and totally relate. An entomologist, Greta far prefers the company of bugs to humans, and that’s okay, because people don’t seem to like her all that much anyway, with the exception of her twin brother, Danny, though they’ve recently had a falling out. So when she lands a research gig in the rainforest, she leaves it all behind.
But when Greta learns that Danny has suffered an aneurysm and is now hospitalized, she abandons her research and hurries home to the middle of nowhere America to be there for her brother. But there’s only so much she can do, and unfortunately just like insects, humans don’t stay cooped up in their hives either–they buzz about and… socialize. Coming home means confronting all that she left behind, including her lousy soon-to-be sister-in-law, her estranged mother, and her ex-boyfriend Brandon who has conveniently found a new non-lab-exclusive partner with shiny hair, perfect teeth, and can actually remember the names of the people she meets right away. Being that Brandon runs the only butterfly conservatory in town, and her dissertation is now in jeopardy, taking that job, being back home, it’s all creating chaos of Greta’s perfectly catalogued and compartmentalized world. But real life is messy, and Greta will have to ask herself if she has the courage to open up for the people she loves, and for those who want to love her.

The Butterfly Effect is an unconventional tale of self-discovery, navigating relationships, and how sometimes it takes stepping outside of our comfort zone to find what we need the most.

I’ll admit that my love of anything butterfly-related and the bright cover was what initially drew me to this one, but the compelling synopsis is why it is on my most anticipated list.
Pre-order here.

Sleepless by Louise Mumford

Published: December 10th, 2020
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Suspense, Science Fiction

Don’t close your eyes. Don’t fall asleep. Don’t let them in.

Thea is an insomniac; she hasn’t slept more than three hours a night for years.

So when an ad for a sleep trial that promises to change her life pops up on her phone, Thea knows this is her last chance at finding any kind of normal life.

Soon Thea’s sleeping for longer than she has in a decade, and awakes feeling transformed. So much so that at first she’s willing to overlook the oddities of the trial – the lack of any phone signal; the way she can’t leave her bedroom without permission; the fact that all her personal possessions are locked away, even her shoes.

But it soon becomes clear that the trial doesn’t just want to help Thea sleep. It wants to control her sleep…

As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I pre-ordered it. My only worry is I’ll be up all night reading it.
Pre-order here.

Deity (Six Stories 6) by Matt Wesolowski

Published: December 18th, 2020
Publisher: Orenda
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Horror Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction, Urban Fiction, Book Series

Online investigative journalist Scott King investigates the death of a pop megastar, the subject of multiple accusations of sexual abuse and murder before his untimely demise in a fire … another episode of the startlingly original, award-winning Six Stories series.

It’s no secret how much I love Orenda books and Matt Wesolowski become an instant must-read when I read Beast, the last installment in this series. I’ve been counting down to the next one ever since.
Pre-order here.

The Spiral by Iain Ryan

Published: December 24th, 2020
Publisher: Bonnier Books UK
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense


Erma Bridges’ life is far from perfect, but entirely ordinary. So when she is shot twice in a targetted attack by a colleague, her quiet existence is shattered in an instant.

With her would-be murderer dead, no one can give Erma the answers she needs to move on from her trauma. Why her? Why now?

So begins Erma’s quest for the truth – and a dangerous, spiralling journey into the heart of darkness.

With all the inventiveness of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and the raw brutality of Mulholland Drive, THE SPIRAL is a unique crime thriller with killer twists – and 2020’s most jaw-dropping ending.

Earlier this year I signed up for updates on this book from the publisher and the trickle of clues arriving in my inbox regularly has me eagerly awaiting finally getting the chance to read the book.
Pre-order here.

The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher

Published: December 29th, 2020
Publisher: Graydon House Ltd
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller

Have you ever been wrong about someone?
Juno was wrong about Winnie Crouch.
Before moving in with the Crouch family, Juno thought Winnie and her husband, Nigel, had the perfect marriage, the perfect son–the perfect life. Only now that she’s living in their beautiful house, she sees the cracks in the crumbling facade are too deep to ignore.
Still, she isn’t one to judge. After her grim diagnosis, the retired therapist simply wants a place to live out the rest of her days in peace. But that peace is shattered the day Juno overhears a chilling conversation between Winnie and Nigel…
She shouldn’t get involved.
She really shouldn’t.
But this could be her chance to make a few things right.
Because if you thought Juno didn’t have a secret of her own, then you were wrong about her, too.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Tarryn Fisher and have been meaning to read her books for a while. This sounds like a gripping thriller and a great introduction to her work.
Pre-order here.

The Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd

Published: December 29th, 2020
Publisher: HQN
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller

Eighteen-year-old Evelyn Jones lands a job in small-town Alaska, working for a man in his isolated mountain home. But her bright hopes for the future are shattered when Donald White disappears, leaving her to face charges of theft, embezzlement–and a brutal double murder. Her protestations of innocence count for nothing. Convicted, she faces life in prison…until fate sends her on the run.
Evie’s escape leaves her scarred and in hiding, isolated from her family, working under an alias at a wilderness camp. Bent on justice, intent on recovering her life, she searches for the killer who slaughters without remorse.
At last, the day comes. Donald White has returned. Evie emerges from hiding; the fugitive becomes the hunter. But in her mind, she hears the whisper of other forces at work. Now Evelyn must untangle the threads of evidence before she’s once again found with blood on her hands: the blood of her own family…

Christina Dodd is another author I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Everything about this book makes me want to read it immediately: from the chilling synopsis to the striking cover.
Pre-order here.

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