Published: August 18th, 2022 Publisher: Pan Macmillan Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Gothic Fiction Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Today I’m sharing my review for the atmospheric and consuming Daisy Darker. Thank you to BookBreak UK and Pan Macmillan for the gifted ARC and for organising the readalong.
Daisy Darker is an all-consuming tale of psychological suspense with a spectacular twist from the internationally bestselling author 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 . . .
“Daisy Darker’s family were as dark as can be. When one of them died, all of them lied and pretended not to see…”
Daisy Darker arrives at Seaglass, her grandmother’s house on a private island on the Cornish coast, to celebrate her eightieth birthday. They are soon joined by the rest of the Darker family and Daisy is feeling apprehensive about seeing her whole family for the first time in a decade. As the tide comes in and isolates them on the island for eight hours, one of them is found dead. With a killer in their midst and no means of escape, how many of them will survive the night…
What. A. Book! Sinister, spooky and utterly brilliant, this was not only one of my favourite reads of last month, but one of my favourite of all time. I love a claustrophobic and creepy novel and there is nothing better for those vibes than a dysfunctional family full of dark secrets that are trapped in an old house with no means of escape or contacting the outside world. It adds an air of mystery and foreboding that hovers over the story from the first pages and sets the scene for what is to come. As the bodies pile up the terror rises and you could cut the tension with a knife. A cloud of suspicion hangs over everyone, including Daisy, and you have no idea who to trust.
The Darker family are a cast of complex, unlikeable and unreliable characters. They are a minefield of toxicity and dysfunction, the extent of which is unravelled slowly through flashbacks. I could understand why Daisy hadn’t seen them in so long and was dreading spending time with them. But Nana was different; an ebullient and caring character who totally stole the show and was my favourite family member. I could understand why Daisy loved her and cherished their relationship. Narrator Daisy seems to be a quite timid character who doesn’t give us any obvious reasons not to trust her yet there was just something that felt off about her from the start. This gave the book a magnetic quality I couldn’t resist as I love when you have an unreliable narrator or a character who you have no idea if they are friend or foe.
Alice Feeney can always be relied upon to deliver a first-class psychological thriller. But this time she really outdid herself, expertly messing with our minds as she delivered twist after twist. A ticking time bomb of lies, misdirection and sheer dread, I was on the edge of my seat and it wreaked havoc on my blood pressure. But there was also an old-fashioned murder mystery feel to the story that I loved and made it easy to imagine this being adapted for the screen.
Atmospheric, unnerving and consuming, Daisy Darker is a jaw-dropping masterpiece of a thriller that will linger long after reading. Just make sure you have a block of free time available before picking it up, because once you start you won’t be putting it down until you’ve read the last page.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Alice Feeney is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. Her debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, was an international bestseller and has been translated into over twenty languages. His & Hers is being adapted for screen by Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films. Rock Paper Scissors is her fourth novel and is also being made into a TV series for Netflix by the producer of The Crown.
Alice was a BBC Journalist for fifteen years, and now lives in the British countryside with her family.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this astonishing and unsettling thriller. Thank you to Olivia at Avon for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.
In search of a new life, seventeen-year-old Adriana Clark’s family moves to the ancient, ocean-battered Isle of Mull, far off the coast of Scotland. Then she goes missing. Faced with hostile locals and indifferent police, her desperate parents turn to private investigator Sadie Levesque.
Sadie is the best at what she does. But when she finds Adriana’s body in a cliffside cave, a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head, she knows she’s dealing with something she’s never encountered before.
The deeper she digs into the island’s secrets, the closer danger creeps – and the more urgent her quest to find the killer grows. Because what if Adriana is not the last girl to die?
All the stars for this truly astonishing and mesmerising novel! Merging mythology, folklore and superstition with suspicion, mystery and murder in an isolated, claustrophobic and forbidding setting, The Last Girl To Die is a tantalising and unforgettable read.
Set on the Isle of Mull, the story follows Sadie Levesque, a Canadian private investigator and teenage tracking specialist, who has been hired to find missing 17-year-old Adriana Clark. After days of searching she finds poor Adriana’s body inside a cliffside cave, a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head in a macabre twist. Faced with an island of people who distrust outsiders and closely guard their secrets, finding the killer is not going to be easy. Or without danger. And the more she uncovers, the more those with secrets will do anything to keep them hidden…
I have been a fan of Helen Fields ever since reading her debut novel and I don’t even read the blurb before adding her books to my TBR anymore. She always delivers a well written, suspenseful, gritty and visceral thriller filled with compelling characters, but with this book she took things to another level. Sadie is my favourite of her standalone protagonists and I enjoyed the decision to move away from traditional crime fiction by including supernatural and mythological elements as I love a witchy read. I didn’t want to put this book down and found myself thinking about it every minute I wasn’t reading.
From the start there is a sense that there is more to this island than they want to tell, a sense of chilling foreboding that you can’t shake. As the ancient folklore and rituals are slowly introduced we understand this place and its people a little more but I found my sense of horror grew with each new shocking twist and surprising revelation. Fields captured the atmosphere of a secluded island perfectly and I felt like I was walking on Mull alongside Sadie, and the animosity, distrust and menace radiating from the pages and cast of characters bringing it to life in vivid technicolour.
Gripping, unpredictable and breathtakingly brilliant, this is Fields’ best book yet. If you like nerve-shredding thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat and the unsettling aura of the supernatural, then this is for you.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Helen Fields is the author of best-selling crime, thriller and historical fiction books Perfect Remains, Perfect Prey, Perfect Death, Perfect Silence, Perfect Crime, Perfect Kill, These Lost and Broken Things & Degrees of Guilt written as HS Chandler. A former barrister and film producer, her books have been translated into more than 20 languages.
Published: August 18th, 2022 Publisher: Harper Collins UK Genre: Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my review of this dark and disturbing debut. Thank you to Harper Collins UK for the gifted copy.
This was the Squadpod Book Club August pick. Tune into our Twitter account at 7.30pm on August 30th for a live chat with the author.
LILY IS A GOOD DAUGHTER
Every evening she pours Mama a glass of perfectly spoilt orange juice. She arranges the teddy bears on Mama’s quilt, she puts on her matching pink clothes. Anything to help put out the fire of Mama’s rage.
MAMA IS A GOOD LIAR
But Mama is becoming unpredictable, dangerous. And as she starts to unravel, so do the memories that Lily has kept locked away for so long. She only wanted to be good, to help piece Mama back together. But as home truths creep out of the shadows, Lily must recast everything: what if her house isn’t a home – but a prison? What if Mama isn’t a protector – but a monster . . .
Gripping and devastating, from a voice that cuts as sharp as a knife, this is an unforgettable story about a family gone bad.
“Her power falls over the small space. Everyone is thrown into confusion, no one knows whether to look at her or not, to stop talking or continue. They are all in her thrall.”
Eighteen-year-old Lily does everything to please her mother; she carries out her every whim, makes her spoiled juice every night and even dyes her hair and paints her face to look more like the good Chinese daughter she wants. But it is never enough. Mama still finds fault with what she does and leaves Lily feeling bereft. All she wants is to feel loved. As long-hidden truths begin to emerge and Lily slowly unlocks the mysteries surrounding Mama, she thinks she’s finally found the way to be the perfect daughter and win Mama’s approval. But as things become clearer, Lily wonders if Mama is not actually her protector, but a monster….
Wow! What a crazy ride! Disturbing, dark and twisted, Bad Fruit is a hard-hitting portrayal of a dysfunctional family that also explores themes of identity and self-discovery. Author Ella King has crafted a multi-layered story filled with richly drawn and nuanced characters that explores difficult topics and asks hard questions. King had me hooked, but there were also times I had to put the book down and breathe before picking it up again.
At the heart of this book is the mother/daughter relationship. King strips bare the complexities of both this relationship and toxic families with such realism that it could be hard to read.. My heart ached for Lily. Subservient to her mother and forced to act as a go-between for her mother and her siblings, her life is pretty bleak. She tries to escape by locking herself away in her attic bedroom or riding her bike, but she can never escape what’s inside her head. Her pain and desperation for love and acceptance bled from every page and I wanted to reach into the book and hug her.
Then there is Mama. Cruel, callous, cold, scathing and vengeful, she holds her whole family hostage with her emotions. The author captured the essence of a toxic person so vividly in her that I would shiver every time she came onto the page and felt every bit of Lily’s apprehension and fear.
Harrowing, unflinching and deeply human, Bad Fruit is a powerful debut from an author to watch.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Ella King is a British-Singaporean novelist living in Greenwich, UK. She read Philosophy and Theology at Oxford University, is a graduate of Faber Academy’s novel-writing program, and is an award-winning writer, coming 3rd in the Aurora Prize for Short Fiction 2019 and winning the Blue Pencil Pitch Prize 2019. She’s worked as a corporate lawyer in London and for anti-human trafficking and domestic violence charities. Bad Fruit is her debut novel.
Published: August 5th, 2021 Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller, Crime Fiction, Biographical Fiction Format: Paperback, Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook
Today I’m sharing my review for this brutal and brilliant novel. Thank you Michael Joseph for the gifted copy and Ceri for asking me to buddy read this one with her.
You’ve never met a woman as dangerous as Bella Sorensen . . .
THE FASCINATING REIMAGINING OF THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HISTORY’S ORIGINAL FEMALE SERIAL KILLER ________
Bella Sorenson knows that the world is made for men.
They control everything: jobs, property, money. Marriage makes women like her their slaves. But now Bella is fighting back.
Because she’s angry. She’s bloodthirsty. She’s willing to kill to get what she wants – starting with her husband.
And then her next husband. And the next one . . .
“They thought that was it, then-that I was safe and would not bite. That I would take my lesson and learn from it, be humble and meek and know my place… They never expected me to hold a grudge…”
Bella Sorenson was the original female serial killer. As a big true crime junkie I had heard her name but knew little about her or her crimes and knew this was a book for me. It had been languishing on my shelves ever since I received an ARC last year so I was delighted to finally get around to reading it as part of a buddy read with my lovely blogger friend Ceri.
Brutal, bold and brilliant, author Camilla Bruce seamlessly blends fact with fiction to reimagine Bella’s story. It is a dark character study of the life and psyche of the woman behind the sensational headlines while never making excuses for her crimes or shying away from the grim facts. In the must-read author’s note at the end Bruce explains that the aim of this book was to try to understand what drove Bella to commit her crimes and I think she has achieved that, helping us see the nuances of her character, bond with her and even feel some sympathy for her. She claimed my attention instantly and kept me hooked until the final page, taking me on a journey that spans multiple decades and two continents. And while it is well researched and mindful of attention to detail, the author never allows it to become bogged down by them, instead being driven by the story and characters.
“She had been swallowed up by something else, something dark with terrible jaws – like a wolf.”
Bella is a terrifying character. She is a woman fuelled by spite, anger and contempt with an unquenchable thirst for revenge. I both loved and loathed this ruthless and remorseless killer who fails to understand why she shouldn’t hurt those she feels have wronged her. And knowing she was a real person, that she existed and committed these crimes rather than being simply a creation of an author’s twisted imagination, made her all the more fearsome. But despite all of this, Bruce manages to humanise her by exploring the pivotal moments of trauma in her life she can’t escape; the things that haunt her and helped shape her into a merciless killer. And while I never condoned her actions, I did have a lot of sympathy for some of the things she had endured.
But Bella isn’t our only narrator. Her older sister, Nellie, also shares her perspective. She is the voice of empathy and a morally complex character whose dilemmas raise both tension and emotion. I really enjoyed how Nellie provided another side to everything that happened, moved the story forward, and helped to create nuance in the story that would have otherwise been missing. There was also a cast of compelling and richly drawn background characters who leapt from the pages and helped bring the whole tragic tale to life in vivid technicolour.
“I would rise, if only to spite.”
Captivating, suspenseful, devilishly dark and dripping with malice, Triflers Need Not Apply is a phenomenal story that thriller lovers and crime junkies will love.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Camilla Bruce is a Norwegian writer of speculative and historical fiction. She has a master’s degree in comparative literature and has co-run a small press that published dark fairy tales. Camilla currently lives in Trondheim with her son and cat.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this extraordinary debut. Thank you to Headline for the invitation to take part in the tour and my gifted copies of the book.
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.
“Reality is fragile. All it takes is a gentle tap to break its shell.”
Oh, my heart.
I finished this book last night and I’m still at a loss for words. This is a story that needs to be experienced. You will laugh, cry, your heart will break and then it will mend. There are times you will wonder what on earth you are reading. But I urge you to keep going because the reward is truly spectacular. A balm for the soul that will fill your heart with hope.
This extraordinary debut takes you on an emotional journey alongside Isaac Addy, a grieving man who feels he has nothing left to live for. The story opens with him standing alone on a bridge. He screams out into the void and, to his shock, something screams back. What follows is a truly original story that will linger long after reading.
Author Bobby Palmer paints a picture with prose that is achingly real and raw. It is meticulously written, each word carefully chosen to convey the devastating chasm of grief so evocatively that I felt my own heart break and cried real tears, yet Palmer manages to turn the ashes of grief into a beautiful and hopeful story that everyone will be talking about.
Atmospheric, luminous, hypnotic and dreamlike, Isaac and the Egg is without a doubt one of my top reads of the year. This accomplished debut needs to be on every reader’s TBR. And as for Bobby Palmer? Watch out world, a new literary star has arrived!
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Bobby Palmer is a freelance journalist who writes for publications including GQ, Men’s Health, Time Out and Cosmopolitan. Isaac and the Egg is his first novel.
Published: August 18th, 2022 Publisher: Harper Voyager Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Fairy Tale, Horror Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Happy Publication Day Sunyi Dean! I am delighted to be sharing my review for this darkly delicious debut on its book birthday. Thank you to Sasha at Pride Book Tours for the invitation to take part in the tour and to Sunyi Dean and Harper Voyager UK for the gifted ARC.
A gorgeous new fantasy horror – a book about stories and fairy tales with family and love at its dark heart…
Perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, and Let the Right One In
Hidden across England and Scotland live six old Book Eater families.
The last of their lines, they exist on the fringes of society and subsist on a diet of stories and legends.
Children are rare and their numbers have dwindled, so when Devon Fairweather’s second child is born a dreaded Mind Eater – a perversion of her own kind, who consumes not stories but the minds and souls of humans – she flees before he can be turned into a weapon for the family… or worse.
Living among humans and finding prey for her son, Devon seeks a cure for his hunger. But time is running out – for her family want her back, and with every soul her son consumes he loses a little more of himself…
This is a story of escape, a savage mother’s devotion and a queer love that will electrify readers looking for something beguiling, thrilling, strange and new.
“We consume written knowledge, her aunts and uncles had said so many times. We consume and store and collect all forms of paper flesh as the Collector created us to do, clothed as we are in the skin of human-kind. But we do not read, and we cannot write. “
Wow. Just, wow.
The Book Eaters is a darkly delicious debut that you will get lost in. This was a highly anticipated book for me from the moment I saw the magnificent cover and read the synopsis, but I was unprepared for just how special it would be or how I would fall deeper in love with every page. I luxuriated in it, wanting to devour it quickly but choosing instead to take my time and savour every word as I never wanted it to end. It is truly something special and I think I may have found my favourite book of the year so far.
The story explores a secret society hidden within the human world. They wear our skin as their disguise but feast on books, are forbidden to read and cannot write. They live in seclusion among one of the Six Families throughout the UK but their numbers are rapidly dwindling as daughters are extremely rare. Devon Fairweather no longer lives with her kind. Instead she is hiding among humans in order to protect her five-year-old son, Cai who is a mind-eater – a rare genetic mutation that means he must feast on the brains and souls of humans to survive. The Families would turn him into a weapon, so she must hide him while also searching the country for the one thing that can cure his hunger. But time is running out. Will she be able to find the cure before it’s too late?
“Like the other Families, the Fairweathers had libraries with a flavor all their own: vintage books stitched from carefully aged leather — the darker the better—with textured, embossed covers.”
This book is like nothing I’ve ever read before. Sinister, atmospheric, hypnotic and ambitious, this is a clever twist on the usual fantasy novel. There are characters who aren’t human and feast on books, a lesbian herione, asexual best friend, and even though they live in a patriarchal society, girls are highly desired and valued while boys are expendable. There are even creative spins on the usual princesses, knights and dragons we see in fantasy books. It is all so bizarre yet totally believable and I didn’t question it for one moment.
Sunyi Dean is an exceptional talent who has crafted a story that is like a work of art. From the first lines she draws you into the rich world she has created, the cinematic imagery bringing everything to life in vivid technicolour and immersing you in the story with her pitch perfect writing. Before I’d even finished the first chapter I was utterly captivated and enthralled. It is a book that fuels the imagination, almost as if I was devouring the book as hungrily as one of the book eaters to digest and experience every perfectly-written word. I was also impressed that despite all of the world building and backstories that were told, the book never lost momentum or tension for a moment, keeping my heart racing until the very last page.
“There were so many things to remember when she was out and around humans. Feigning cold was one of them…. having to feign a fear she never felt, but which should have ruled her. Solitary human women walked with caution in the night. In short, Devon had to act like prey, and not like the predator she had become. “
The story is told over five acts that move smoothly between past and present. It is narrated by Devon, who was easy to like and root for. Despite not being human, I felt an immediate bond with her and loved everything about this strong, complex and tenacious rebel. But I think it is her ferocity as a mother that I loved most of all. In a society where mothers are separated from their children after a few years, Devon refuses to accept this from the start and risks everything to be a more traditional mother. She proves just how far she’s willing to go for her children when she goes on the run with Cai instead of simply accepting the fate the Families have for him. Cai should be a terrifying and abominable creation who turns our stomachs yet Ms. Dean manages to humanise him so that all we see is an innocent child who is forced to do terrible things to survive. I found myself feeling more sadness for him than his victims, which surprised me and is a testament to Ms. Dean’s skills as an author.
An astonishing and imaginative debut, The Book Eaters has everything the bibliophile fantasy-lover could want and more. It made my mind come alive and I will never be able to look at my book collection the same way again. I am hoping that the author turns this into a series as I am hungry for more stories from these characters, especially after that sensational ending.
Sink your teeth into this moreish read ASAP.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Sunyi Dean (sun-yee deen) is an autistic author of fantasy fiction. Originally born in the States and raised in Hong Kong, she now lives in Yorkshire with her children. When not reading, running, falling over in yoga, or rolling d20s, she sometimes escapes the city to wildswim in lonely dales.
Her short stories have featured in The Best of British Scifi Anthology, Prole, FFO, Tor Dot Com, etc., and her debut novel, THE BOOK EATERS, will be published 2 Aug 2022 by Tor (USA), and 18 Aug 2022 by Harper Voyager (UK). Available at all good bookstores, in ebook, hardback, and audio.
Welcome to the September edition of Emma’s Anticipated Treasures. I’ve gone back and forth trying to narrow this down to the thirty titles I’ve included today. The problem was there were about ten more books I wanted to include but it seemed too much to have more than thirty books on the list.
So after a lot of deliberation, here are the books out next month that I’m most anticipating:
SYNOPSIS: THIS REUNION WILL TEAR A FAMILY APART … Summer, 2021. Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of TheGolden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.
The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.
But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.
From the bestselling author of He Said/She Said and Watch Her Fall, this is a taut, mesmerising novel about a daughter haunted by her father’s legacy . . .
SYNOPSIS: In search of a new life, seventeen-year-old Adriana Clark’s family moves to the ancient, ocean-battered Isle of Mull, far off the coast of Scotland. Then she goes missing. Faced with hostile locals and indifferent police, her desperate parents turn to private investigator Sadie Levesque.
Sadie is the best at what she does. But when she finds Adriana’s body in a cliffside cave, a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head, she knows she’s dealing with something she’s never encountered before.
The deeper she digs into the island’s secrets, the closer danger creeps – and the more urgent her quest to find the killer grows. Because what if Adriana is not the last girl to die?
Beautifully haunting with twists and turns you’ll never see coming, The Last Girl to Die is your next obsession waiting to happen. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride and L.J. Ross.
Published: September 1st Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Legal Story
SYNOPSIS: WHO WILL YOU BELIEVE? PRE-ORDER THIS UNPUTDOWNABLE NEW THRILLER, PERFECT FOR FANS OF ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL
Ava Knight, a brilliant young prosecutor, always follows the rules. Until she meets Lily Hawthorne – a troubled fifteen-year-old, accused of stabbing charismatic hotel magnate Michael Osborne in cold blood.
From the outside, it seems a tragic, hopeless case. But Ava suspects something everyone else does not: MICHAEL OSBORNE IS LYING.
Because eighteen years ago, Ava was brutally assaulted. She identified her attacker; the case went to trial. But the jury let him go. His name? Michael Osborne
Back then, it was Michael’s word against Ava’s.
Now another girl’s future hangs in the balance, how far will Ava go to be believed?
Published: September 1st Publisher: Zephyr Genre: Young Adult Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A second novel from the bestselling author of Branford Boase-shortlisted and Carnegie-nominated Witch. An engrossing story of fathers and sons, death and grief, and unexpected bonds, new and old, forged by dark and benign magic.
When Sam, grieving the death of his father, finds a silver-flecked stone, ice-cold to the touch, strange and eerie things begin to happen. Myth, legend, magic and witchcraft mingle on the ancient hillside where the chalk white horse has galloped for centuries. Ravens wheel. Wolves prowl. As Halloween draws close, witches dance. Odin gathers brave, fallen warriors to his side.
Only the mysterious new girl, Oona, can heal Sam’s heart, revealing tarot secrets with her bewitching ways.
SYNOPSIS: From one of America’s most renowned storytellers comes a novel about love and deceit, and lust and redemption, against a background of child abductions in the affluent suburbs of Detroit.
In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together, with tragic consequences. There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on an unexpected mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit. As Babysitter continues his rampage of killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.
Suspenseful, brilliantly orchestrated and engrossing, Babysitter is a starkly narrated exploration of the riskiness of pursuing alternate lives, calling into question how far we are willing to go to protect those whom we cherish most. In its scathing indictment of corrupt politics, unexamined racism, and the enabling of sexual predation in America, Babysitter is a thrilling work of contemporary fiction.
Before Your Memory Fades (Before the Coffee Gets Cold 3) by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Published: September 1st Publisher: Picador Genre: Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fiction, Book Series
SYNOPSIS: The third novel in the international bestselling Before the Coffee Gets Cold series, following four new customers in a cafe where customers can travel back in time.
On the hillside of Mount Hakodate in northern Japan, Cafe Donna Donna is fabled for its dazzling views of Hakodate port. But that’s not all. Like the charming Tokyo cafe Funiculi Funicula, Cafe Donna Donna offers its customers the extraordinary experience of travelling through time.
From the author of Before the Coffee Gets Cold and Tales from the Cafe comes another story of four new customers, each of whom is hoping to take advantage of the cafe’s time-travelling offer. Among some familiar faces from Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s previous novels, readers will also be introduced to:
A daughter who begrudges her deceased parents for leaving her orphaned A comedian who aches for his beloved and their shared dreams A younger sister whose grief has become all-consuming A young man who realizes his love for his childhood friend too late
With his signature heart-warming characters and wistful storytelling, in Before Your Memory Fades, Toshikazu Kawaguchi once again invites the reader to ask themselves: what would you change if you could travel back in time?
Published: September 6th Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Genre: Dark Fantasy, Suspense, Thriller
SYNOPSIS: Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher – for their world or ours.
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself – and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her ageing master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.
Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.
King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale about another world than ours, in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy – and his dog – must lead the battle.
Published: September 6th Publisher: Titan Books Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
SYNOPSIS: Discover this sweeping debut steeped in Chinese mythology, the enchanting power of brewing tea, and a magical tournament to decide a country’s fate, sure to thrill fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo.
I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, These are the hands that buried my mother.
For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her―the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.
When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi–masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making–she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.
But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.
Published: September 8th Publisher: Orbit Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Fairy Tale
SYNOPSIS: This is the story of Penelope of Ithaca, famed wife of Odysseus, as it has never been told before. Beyond Ithaca’s shores, the whims of gods dictate the wars of men. But on the isle, it is the choices of the abandoned women – and their goddesses – that will change the course of the world.
Seventeen years ago, king Odysseus sailed to war with Troy, taking with him every man of fighting age from the island of Ithaca. None of them have returned, and the women have been left behind to run the kingdom.
Penelope was barely into womanhood when she wed Odysseus. Whilst he lived, her position was secure. But now, years on, speculation is mounting that husband is dead, and suitors are starting to knock at her door . . .
But no one man is strong enough to claim Odysseus’ empty throne – not yet. Between Penelope’s many suitors, a cold war of dubious alliances and hidden knives reigns, as everyone waits for the balance of power to tip one way or another. If Penelope chooses one from amongst them, it will plunge Ithaca into bloody civil war. Only through cunning and her spy network of maids can she maintain the delicate balance of power needed for the kingdom to survive.
On Ithaca, everyone watches everyone else, and there is no corner of the palace where intrigue does not reign . . .
From the multi award-winning Claire North comes a daring, exquisite and moving tale that breathes life into ancient myth, and tells of the women who stand defiant in a world ruled by ruthless men. It’s time for the women of Ithaca to tell their tale . . .
Published: September 8th Publisher: Viper Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A locked room. A brutal murder. And a killer who can turn back time…
In the former mining town of Black Lake on the west coast of Canada, there is a story about a shipwreck. All those aboard died, except an unnamed man who staggered ashore. His descendants have a unique ability: once in their lives – and only once – they can unwind the events of the previous six hours.
More than two hundred years later, Ella Manning, marine biologist and part-time police constable, is attending a party at Black Lake Manor, the cliff-top mansion of the town’s divisive local billionaire. With a raging storm coming in from the Pacific, she and several other guests find themselves trapped. And when their host is discovered brutally murdered in a locked room, they turn to her to solve the crime.
Against the odds, Ella is sure she has identified the killer… but then time is unwound. With no memory of what she discovered before, her investigation begins again, with very different results. Someone is willing to use their gift to protect a killer, and everyone is a suspect…
Published: September 8th Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
SYNOPSIS: Carrie’s sister is dead. Four months after losing her sister, Becca-a serial killer unknown to everyone else in their town-Carrie Lawrence is finally free of her manipulative clutches. From now on, she’s keeping her hands clean, no more hiding dead bodies in the middle of the night, no more lies.
She’s never been happier. Then she attends a meeting of the Brampton Kill Seekers, a group of amateur local sleuths, and learns that a recent victim left behind a note that incriminates her in their disappearance. All of a sudden, the quiet, law-abiding life she’s been planning starts to unravel.
She’s never had so much to lose. In her frantic quest to keep her secret dead and buried, she discovers someone nefarious lurking in the shadows…someone who’ll go to any lengths to bring her dark truths to light. Now if Carrie wants her secrets to stay hidden, she’ll have to get her hands very, very dirty.
Published: September 13th Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Romantic Fantasy, Fantasy Series
SYNOPSIS: The Ballad of Never After is the fiercely-anticipated sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Once Upon a Broken Heart, starring Evangeline Fox and the Prince of Hearts on a new journey of magic, mystery, and heartbreak.
After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she’ll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.
But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed.Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.
Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can.
Published: September 13th Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Horror Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: PRE-ORDER THE CHILLING SERIAL KILLER THRILLER FROM THE CO-HOST OF CHART-TOPPING PODCAST MORBID
WREN WAS NEVER AFRAID OF THE DARK. UNTIL SHE LEARNT THAT SOME MONSTERS ARE REAL. . .
In deep Louisiana, a serial killer with a taste for medical experimentation is completing his most ambitious project yet. The media call him ‘The Butcher’ – and, so far, he’s proved impossible to catch.
With her encyclopedic knowledge of humanity’s darkest minds, and years of experience examining their victims, forensic pathologist Dr Wren Muller is the best there is. The longer the Butcher’s killing spree continues, the more determined she is to bring him to justice. And yet, he continues to elude her.
As body after body pile up on Wren’s examination table, her obsession grows. Pressure to put an end to the slaughter mounts. And her enemy becomes more brazen.
How far is Wren willing to go to draw the Butcher into the light. . .?
An addictive read with straight-from-the-morgue details only an autopsy technician could provide, The Butcher and the Wren promises to ensnare all who enter.
Published: September 13th Publisher: Titan Books Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A suspenseful small-town horror novel of oppression, heartbreak and buried anguish – Shirley Jackson meets Never Let Me Go with the wild west setting of Westworld.
When Lady Mae turns 18, she’ll inherit her mother’s job as the Butcher: dismembering Settlement Five’s guilty residents as payment for their petty crimes. An index finger taken for spreading salacious gossip, a foot for blasphemy, no one is exempt from punishment.
But one day Winona refuses to butcher a six-year-old boy. So their leaders, known as the Deputies, come to Lady Mae’s house, and, right there in the living room, murder her mother for refusing her duties.
Within twenty-four hours, now alone in the world, Lady Mae begins her new job. But a chance meeting years later puts her face to face with the Deputy that murdered her mother. Now Lady Mae must choose: will she flee, and start another life in the desolate mountains, forever running? Or will she seek vengeance for her mother’s death even if it kills her?
A devastating, alarming page-turner infused with melancholy, humanity – and society’s maddening acceptance in the face of horror.
Published: September 15th Publisher: Mantle Genre: Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale, Fantasy Fiction, Greek Mythology, Domestic Fiction,
SYNOPSIS: Natalie Haynes – the Women’s Prize-shortlisted author of A Thousand Ships – brings the infamous Medusa to life as you have never seen her before . . .
‘So to mortal men, we are monsters. Because of our flight, our strength. They fear us, so they call us monsters.’
Medusa is the sole mortal in a family of gods. Growing up with her Gorgon sisters, she begins to realize that she is the only one who experiences change, the only one who can be hurt. And her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.
When the sea god Poseidon commits an unforgivable act in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can – and Medusa is changed forever. Writhing snakes replace her hair, and her gaze now turns any living creature to stone. The power cannot be controlled: Medusa can look at nothing without destroying it. She is condemned to a life of shadows and darkness.
Until Perseus embarks upon a quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .
SYNOPSIS: From the author of the globally bestselling, multi-million-copy classic, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, comes its astonishing and powerful sequel.
Ninety-one-year-old Gretel Fernsby has lived in the same mansion block in London for decades. She leads a comfortable, quiet life, despite her dark and disturbing past. She doesn’t talk about her escape from Germany over seventy years before. She doesn’t talk about the post-war years in France with her mother. Most of all, she doesn’t talk about her father, the commandant of one of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps.
Then, a young family moves into the apartment below her. In spite of herself, Gretel can’t help but begin a friendship with the little boy, Henry, though his presence brings back memories she would rather forget. One night, she witnesses a violent argument between Henry’s mother and his domineering father, one that threatens Gretel’s hard-won, self-contained existence.
Gretel is faced with a chance to expiate her guilt, grief and remorse and act to save a young boy – for the second time in her life. But to do so, she will be forced to reveal her true identity to the world. Will she make a different choice this time, whatever the cost to herself?
All the Broken Places is a devastating, beautiful story about a woman who must confront the sins of her past and a present in which it is never too late for bravery.
Published: September 15th Publisher: HQ Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
SYNOPSIS: They claim they saw nothing. She knows they’re lying.
1996 – Cabramatta, Sydney
‘Just let him go.’
Those are words Ky Tran will forever regret. The words she spoke when her parents called to ask if they should let her younger brother Denny out to celebrate his high school graduation with friends. That night, Denny – optimistic, guileless Denny – is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, a refugee enclave facing violent crime, and an indifferent police force.
Returning home for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by her brother’s case. Even though several people were present at Denny’s murder, each bystander claims to have seen nothing, and they are all staying silent.
Determined to uncover the truth, Ky tracks down and questions the witnesses herself. But what she learns goes beyond what happened that fateful night. The silence has always been there, threaded through the generations, and Ky begins to expose the complex traumas weighing on those present the night Denny died. As she peels back the layers of the place that shaped her, she must confront more than the reasons her brother is dead. And once those truths have finally been spoken, how can any of them move on?
Published: September 15th Publisher: Orenda Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Historical Fiction, Saga, Psychological Fiction, Religious Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Queen of French Noir, Johana Gustawsson returns with the first in a startling new series – a dark, horrifying, powerful historical thriller with an extraordinary mystery at its heart and three women pushed so far beyond breaking point, they have only one way out…
1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.
1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.
2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.
Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…
Published: September 15th Publisher: Pan Macmillan Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: David Asha wants to tell you a story about three people:
Elliott Asha, his son, broken by a loss that will redeem him.
Ben Elmys, a surrogate father and David’s trusted friend, a man who might also be a murderer.
Harriet Kealty, a retired detective searching for answers to three mysterious deaths, while also investigating a man who might turn out to be the love of her life.
Every word David tells you is true, but you will think it fiction . . .
Bestselling author Adam Hamdy returns with a story of soulmates torn apart by circumstance and three deaths that haunt the past, present and future. The Other Side of Night is a genre-defying book unlike any you’ve ever read and a spellbinding novel about love, sacrifice and endless possibilities.
The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman (The Thursday Murder Club 3)
Published: September 15th Publisher: Viking Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Mystery Series
SYNOPSIS: A new mystery is afoot in the third book in the Thursday Murder Club series from record-breaking, bestselling author Richard Osman.
It is an ordinary Thursday and things should finally be returning to normal.
Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers.
Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill. . . or be killed.
As the cold case turns white hot, Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), while Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim chase down clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?
SYNOPSIS: The child you never knew knows all your secrets . . .
Out of the blue, Susie Jukes is contacted on social media by Anna, the girl she gave up for adoption fifteen years ago.
But when they meet, Anna’s home life sounds distinctly strange to Susie and her husband Gabe. And when Anna’s adoptive parents seem to overreact to the fact she contacted them at all, Susie becomes convinced that Anna needs her help.
But is Anna’s own behaviour simply what you’d expect from someone recovering from a traumatic childhood? Or are there other secrets at play here – secrets Susie has also been hiding for the last fifteen years?
Published: September 15th Publisher: Harper Collins UK Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Anthology
SYNOPSIS: A brand new collection of short stories featuring the Queen of Crime’s legendary detective Jane Marple, penned by twelve remarkable bestselling and acclaimed authors.
This collection of twelve original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery. · Naomi Alderman · Leigh Bardugo · Alyssa Cole · Lucy Foley · Elly Griffiths · Natalie Haynes · Jean Kwok · Val McDermid · Karen M. McManus · Dreda Say Mitchell · Kate Mosse · Ruth Ware
Miss Marple was first introduced to readers in a story Christie wrote for The Royal Magazine in 1927 and made her first appearance in a full-length novel in 1930’s The Murder at the Vicarage. It has been 45 years since Agatha Christie’s last Marple novel, Sleeping Murder, was published posthumously in 1976, and this collection of ingenious new stories by twelve Christie devotees will be a timely reminder why Jane Marple remains the most famous fictional female detective of all time.
Published: September 15th Publisher: Harper Muse Genre: Satire, Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A perfect storm of comedic proportions erupts in a DC bookstore over the course of one soggy summer week, punctuated by political turmoil, a celestial event, and a perpetually broken vacuum cleaner.
Independent bookstore owner Sophie Bernstein is burned out on books. Mourning the death of her husband, the loss of her favorite manager, her only child’s lack of aspiration, and the grim state of the world, she fantasizes about going into hiding in the secret back room of her store.
Meanwhile, renowned poet Raymond Chaucer has published a new collection, and rumors that he’s to blame for his wife’s suicide have led to national cancellations of his publicity tour. He intends to set the record straight―with an ultrafine Sharpie―but only one shop still plans to host him: Sophie’s.
Fearful of potential repercussions from angry customers, Sophie asks Clemi―bookstore events coordinator, aspiring novelist, and daughter of a famed literary agent―to cancel Raymond’s appearance. But Clemi suspects Raymond might be her biological father, and she can’t say no to the chance of finding out for sure.
This big-hearted screwball comedy features an intergenerational cast of oblivious authors and over-qualified booksellers―as well as a Russian Tortoise named Kurt Vonnegut Jr.―and captures the endearing quirks of some of the best kinds of people: the ones who love good books.
Published: September 27th Publisher: Doubleday Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction
SYNOPSIS: 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.
With her unique Dickensian flair, Kate Atkinson brings together a glittering cast of characters in a truly mesmeric novel that captures the uncertainty and mutability of life; of a world in which nothing is quite as it seems.
Published: September 27th Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Speculative Historical Noir, Young Adult Fiction, Horror Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Assassin. Immortal. Spy.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights comes the first book in a captivating new duology following an ill-matched pair of spies posing as a married couple to investigate a series of brutal murders in 1930s Shanghai.
It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.
Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging – and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption for her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.
Code name: Fortune.
But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.
To reduce suspicion, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong. Although Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanour infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined.
Published: September 29th Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Ghost Story, Supernatural Fiction, Horror Fiction
SYNOPSIS: PRE-ORDER THE HAUNTING SHORT STORY COLLECTION FROM THE QUEEN OF CHILLERS, C. J. TUDOR . . .
This Halloween prepare to be terrified with C. J. Tudor’s first collection of short stories.
Featuring eleven twisted tales of the macabre, including:
The Lion at the Gate in which a strange piece of graffiti leads to a terrifying encounter for four school friends . . . Butterfly Island which tells the story of a group of survivors who wash up on a deserted island and make a horrifying discovery . . .
Gloria where a cold-hearted killer encounters a strange young girl at a motorway service station with unexpected consequences . . .
SYNOPSIS: A propulsive new thriller set in London featuring Detective Harbinder Kaur from the author of the No 1 bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries. A murderer hides in plain sight – in the police.
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.
Published: September 29th Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Thriller, Suspense
SYNOPSIS: The new must-read thriller from the bestselling author of SOMETHING IN THE WATER
1. Listen carefully 2. Do your research 3. Trust no one 4. Run for your life
Harriet Reed is newly engaged to Edward Holbeck, the heir to an extremely powerful American family. When Edward’s father hands her a tape of a book he’s been working on, she is desperate to listen. But as she presses play, it’s clear that this isn’t a novel. It’s a confession to murder. Feeling isolated and confused, Harriet must work out if this is all part of a plan to test her loyalty. Or something far darker. Because this might be a game to the Holbeck family – but games can still be deadly.
SYNOPSIS: 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 the shoreside villa her lost mama grew up in. 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. The two of them meet, and – far from the Nazi’s Berlin Olympics, the brewing civil war in Spain – share the happiest time of their lives; 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. It is a different place to the one they knew. Secrets have become currency, traded for lives, and trust is a luxury few can indulge in. Eleni has returned to fight for her home, Otto to occupy it. They are enemies, and their love is not only treacherous, it is dangerous – but will it destroy them, or prove strong enough to overcome the ravages of war?
An epic tale of secrets, love, loyalty, family and how far you’d go to keep those you love safe, The Echoes of Love is an exquisite and deeply moving love letter to Crete – one that will move every reader to tears.
Welcome to my review for this sensational start to a new series by one of my favourite authors. Thank you Sphere for the gifted ARC.
INTRODUCING DC FFION MORGAN, IN THE UNMISSABLE NEW SERIES FROM #1 BESTSELLER CLARE MACKINTOSH
‘Superb, with echoes of Agatha Christie‘ PATRICIA CORNWELL ‘A dark delight of a murder mystery’ JANICE HALLETT ‘Detectives Leo and Ffion make a storming debut‘ BELINDA BAUER ‘Mackintosh is just getting better and better‘ PETER JAMES
On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests.
His lakeside holiday homes are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbours. This will be the party to end all parties.
But not everyone is there to celebrate. By midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.
On New Year’s Day, DC Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects.
The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbours, friends and family – and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.
With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn’t who wanted Rhys dead . . . but who finally killed him.
In a village with this many secrets, a murder is just the beginning.
“Is anyone at The Shore who they appear to be?”
Do I need to start a new crime series? No. Was I going to the moment I knew Clare Mackintosh had written one? Of course!
The Last Party introduces us to DC Ffion Morgan, a spiky detective who lives in Cwm Coed, North Wales. I loved Ffion. She isn’t always likeable but there is something about her that makes her compelling to read. We know from early on that she has secrets and I loved how that made me question if I could trust her, even making me wonder if she could be our perpetrator a few times. By the end of the book I felt a real bond with her character and am excited to see what’s next for her as the series continues. For this investigation, Ffion is paired with English detective Leo Brady, something neither one is thrilled about. I loved their dynamic and found Leo to be a likeable and fascinating character in his own right, so I’m hoping he will be back for book two.
The case that brings Ffion and Leo together is the murder of local celebrity Rhys Lloyd, whose body is found floating in the lake during the traditional New Year’s Day swim. Rhys is a deplorable character who gave me the heebie-jeebies from the beginning. He is a man with more enemies than friends and I could understand why someone would want him dead. In fact, I had more sympathy for whoever might have killed him than the victim himself, which tells you a lot. But it isn’t that simple as the suspects are the other residents, an array of richly drawn background characters who also happen to be Ffion’s family and friends. And this small town is a place filled with secrets, including those being kept by Ffion herself. These added layers and complexities created moral dilemmas that helped us learn more about Ffion’s as both a person and a detective. Would she do whatever it takes to catch the killer or would she sacrifice justice in order to protect herself and those she loves?
Tense, twisty, claustrophobic and surprising, The Last Party is a great example of why Clare Mackintosh needs to be on everyone’s TBR. She is a master of her craft, carefully constructing the many threads so that they collide into a finale that made my jaw drop. I need book two now!
MEET THE AUTHOR:
With more than two million copies of her books sold worldwide, number one bestseller Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author of I Let You Go, which was a Sunday Times bestseller and the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It also won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year in 2016.
Both Clare’s second and third novels, I See You and Let Me Lie, were number one Sunday Times bestsellers. All three of her books were selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club. Clare’s latest novel, After the End, was published in June 2019 and spent seven weeks in the Sunday Times hardback bestseller chart.
Clare’s thriller, Hostage, was published in June 2021, and her latest thriller, The Last Party, which is the first in a new crime series, is published in August 2022.
Together, Clare’s books have been published in more than forty countries. Clare is patron of the Silver Star Society, a charity based at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, which supports parents experiencing high-risk or difficult pregnancies. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.
On Book Lovers Day 2018 I made the decision to take the plunge and start an Instagram account dedicated to books, something I’d been considering doing for about a month. I can remember how my heart racing as uploaded my first post.
I didn’t think many people would want to hear what little old me had to say about books and remember thinking that if I could get to 500 followers I’d be happy. I never dreamed that it would grow to what it is or that I’d have had the experiences and opportunities that are now open to me. I also had no idea that I was joining the most kind and caring community there is and that I would meet so many genuine friends who I would now be lost without.
Thank you so much to every single person who follows me on my blog or social media. You all bring me so much joy and are appreciated more than you could know. I look forward to continuing to share a love of books with you all long into the future.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this hilarious, addictive and outrageous novel. Thank you to HQ for the invitation to take part and the gifted hardback.
Bridesmaids meets Black Mirror in the most twisted and entertaining thriller of 2022.
Robin and Ellie have been best friends since childhood. They’ve been through everything together, from Robin coming out to the death of Ellie’s dad. But when Ellie asks Robin to be her maid of honour, Robin is reluctant.
It’s not that Robin isn’t happy for Ellie, she just hates everything about weddings and marriage – plus the guy Ellie’s engaged to. There’s also the matter of the crazy (not to mention dangerous) wedding rituals that couples are resorting to in the hope of securing a lifetime of happiness.
Despite her misgivings, Robin finally says yes. But as the wedding day approaches, she gets the feeling that everyone in the bridal party is out to get her. And it seems Ellie is willing to do anything for the perfect day. After all, marriage is about sacrifice…
“If you want to know the story of how my best friend and I ended up trying to kill each other, I should probably start with the night she asked me to be her maid of honor.”
Opening with such an ominous and foreboding first line, So Happy For You packs a punch from the start, letting you know that you are about to embark on one of the craziest rides you’ve ever had. I am the first to admit that a book about a crazy bride and a best friend who hates weddings might not seem the ideal read when in the middle of planning my own wedding but I loved this book. Unique, outrageous and wickedly funny, it had me hooked. I liked that while the ending is established immediately there is still a big air of mystery as we have no idea how they get to the point of trying to kill each other or what the outcome is, keeping me guessing until the final page.
“It kind of feels like we’re at the beginning of a darkly comic horror movie.”
Celia Laskey is a skilled storyteller who has crafted a sinister literary thriller with some deeply vulnerable moments intricately woven in. She brings up interesting and timely topics such as feminism, abortion, homosexuality marriage and friendship, exploring them with sensitivity but never shying away from their harsh truths. As the blurb suggests, it is marriage that she delves deepest into, examining the assumption that all women want to be wives and mothers and picking it apart piece by piece: the societal pressure, the sinister side of the institution and the history behind the familiar customs, something I found both fascinating and thought-provoking.
“Years later I would remember this moment and ask myself if Ellie really knew the reason she wanted me as her maid of honor, or if she didn’t decide until later.”
The story is told in the past tense directly to the reader and moves between the events leading up to the wedding and flashbacks that tell the story of Robin and Ellie’s friendship. It is set in an undated future that is so believable it is terrifying. In this reality the government offer incentives for getting married – even organising monthly blind-dates, women are viewed as ‘leftovers’ by the age of twenty-seven and ‘rotten’ by thirty-five, and abortion is severly restricted. Then there’s the wedding charms. These really disturbed me and the lengths some couples would go to in order to try and secure future happiness was frightening. I may want my own wedding to go off without a hitch but I can honestly say I’d never even contemplate such extremes, something I’m sure my guests will be happy to hear!
“Friends didn’t even feel like the right word. It felt like our DNA was tied together in a mess of knots so complete that we wouldn’t be able to untangle it even if we made it our life’s work. At that point in our friendship, it didn’t occur to me that the knots would loosen due to forces beyond our control. “
Robin and Ellie have a very intense but toxic friendship. While neither are really likeable, I did find Robin easy to root for. Witty, cynical, inquisitive and tenacious, she is more vulnerable than she admits and struggles to balance standing up for what she believes with supporting her best friend’s life choices. Our view of Ellie is biased and she is offered up as the traditional villain and I enjoyed seeing our view of her change as Robin began to understand her more. I liked how the author explored the intricacies of friendship through their relationship, asking what it is that makes a good friend, how far we are willing to go for them, and what we are prepared to forgive.
Addictive, unflinching and charged with tension, So Happy For You is a hilarious romp that would be perfect for the big screen. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read and I can’t wait to read more from Ms. Laskey. Highly recommended, just keep it away from any bridezillas 😉
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Celia Laskey is the author of So Happy for You and Under the Rainbow, a finalist for the 2020 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her other work has appeared in Guernica, The Minnesota Review, Day One, and elsewhere. She has an MFA from the University of New Mexico and currently lives in Los Angeles with her wife and their dog Whiskey.
She enjoys gossiping about closeted celebrities, dissecting Taylor Swift lyrics, singing the praises of probiotics and diva cups, learning the names of plants via an app on her phone, rewatching Mad Men for the 43728th time, and picking up her holds from the library.