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.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this heart-pounding thriller. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Transworld for the gifted copy of the book.
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 McILVANNEY PRIZE FOR BEST SCOTTISH CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR As the house burns, the hunt for a killer begins…
In the dead of night someone starts a fire in a home for underprivileged children in Aberdeen. The flames spread quickly, and one person doesn’t make it out alive.
But the victim wasn’t found in their bedroom; they were discovered locked inside a secret basement underground. As DI Eve Hunter and her team search the blackened ruins, the case takes them into even darker territory.
Soon Eve unearths a horrific discovery at the heart of the property – one that turns the whole investigation on its head. Everyone in this home has something to hide, but who has a secret worth killing for?
“It was the sound. That’s what drew him in. The seconds of silence watching as the flame caught; orange-tinged yellow sparkling before growing and picking up speed – the poor bastards inside unaware of the nightmare headed their way.”
The flames start to lick at the building as he silently watches in the dark. As the residents of Wellwood Children’s Home begin to emerge, coughing from the smoke, he vanishes quickly to avoid detection. But not everyone made it out alive. Eleven-year-old Lucas Fyfe’s body is found in the basement and the evidence points to someone deliberately putting him there. But who would want to hurt him? And was it the same person who started the fire?
DI Eve Hunter and her team are back in another gripping thriller that had my heart pounding and my head swimming with unanswered questions. I was on the edge of my seat as author Deborah Masson took me on a twist-filled rollercoaster ride that built to a jaw-dropping finale. But this book is so much more than a simple thriller. Not only are there shady characters, unreliable witnesses and dark secrets, but Masson has woven in moments that are moving, heartbreaking and poignant, bringing tears to my eyes as I was reminded of how callous and cruel some humans can be towards others.
“The ghosts were swarming now, trying to tell her their stories. Wanting her to help them be heard.”
The story is told by multiple narrators in dual timelines. Each of the narrators reveal pieces of the story that we slowly piece together to create the full picture. But it was the mystery narrator and the chapters that discussed the history of Wellwood that were the most compelling.This place that should be a sanctuary of safety for the children sent to live there is slowly revealed to be something else entirely as the dark, horrific secrets that have been hidden for decades are finally brought to light.
Tense, twisty and addictive, From the Ashes is a dark and riveting thriller that I highly recommend.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Deborah Masson was born and bred in Aberdeen, Scotland. Always restless and fighting against being a responsible adult, she worked in several jobs including secretarial, marketing, reporting for the city’s freebie newspaper and a stint as a postie – to name but a few.
Through it all, she always read crime fiction and, when motherhood finally settled her into being an adult (maybe even a responsible one) she turned her hand to writing what she loved. Deborah started with short stories and flash fiction whilst her daughter napped and, when she later welcomed her son into the world, she decided to challenge her writing further through online courses with Professional Writing Academy and Faber Academy. Her debut novel, Hold Your Tongue, is the result of those courses.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the latest in the Rizzoli and Isles series. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Bantam Press for the eBook ARC.
Rizzoli & Isles return, in the nail-biting new thriller from Sunday Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.
The murder of Sofia Suarez is both gruesome and seemingly senseless. Why would anyone target a respected nurse who was well-liked by her friends and her neighbours? As Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles investigate the baffling case, they discover that Sofia was guarding a dangerous secret — a secret that may have led the killer straight to her door.
Meanwhile, Jane’s watchful mother Angela Rizzoli is conducting an investigation of her own. She may be a grandmother, not a police detective, but she’s savvy enough to know there’s something very strange, perhaps even dangerous, about the new neighbours across the street. The problem is, no one believes her, not even her own daughter.
Immersed in the hunt for Sofia’s killer, Jane and Maura are too busy to pay attention to Angela’s fears. With no one listening to her, and danger mounting in her neighbourhood, Angela just may be forced to take action on her own…
“Maura could dissect a body, examine its tissues all the way down to the cellular level, but what the dead knew and saw and felt as the lights blinked out would remain a mystery.”
Rizzoli and Isles has been one of my favourite crime series’, and Tess Gerritsen one of my favourite authors, since I borrowed The Surgeon from the library almost twenty years ago. So when I heard that Rizzoli and Isles were back after a five year break I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to not only be back with the familiar characters, but also immerse myself in Gerritsen’s darkly atmospheric words. It did not disappoint, reminding me of why she is known as the Queen of Crime.
In the thirteenth instalment in the series Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are investigating the gruesome murder of Sofia Suarez. There are no immediate motives for the crime, but when Rizzoli discovers that Suarez was guarding a dangerous secret, everything changes.
Meanwhile Rizzoli’s mother Angela is busy keeping a watchful eye on her neighbours when she notices something strange about the new couple across the street. Her daughter and the police department dismiss her as a busybody, but Angela is sure there is something sinister going on and begins her own ameteur investigation, little realising the danger she is walking into…
“That was the burden of working in homicide; you are always too late to change the victim’s fate.”
Gerritsen has knocked it out of the park yet again. Sharply written, cleverly crafted and perfectly paced, this is suspense at its best. You can feel yourself in the hands of a masterful storyteller as Gerritsen expertly takes the everyday and merges it with the macabre. I was on tenterhooks as she intricately wove the threads together until the full, shocking picture emerged.
Despite an absence of a number of years I found it easy to step back into Rizzoli and Isles’ world, the characters feeling like old friends. I’ve always loved how she fills this series with such strong, nuanced and familiar female characters that are richly drawn and easy to like. I particularly enjoyed Angela Rizzoli’s character in this story and liked how Gerritsen used her to highlight how older women are often invisible and easily dismissed. I felt for Angela as her concerns were pushed aside yet she felt so sure there was something wrong. It was great to see her shine after spending so long as more of a background character.
If you’re a fan of dark, tense, twisty and gripping thrillers then this should be on your TBR. While having read the other books in the series is recommended because they are so good, it isn’t necessary and you could also enjoy it as a standalone.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.
While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, “Adrift”, which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.
Tess’s first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), The Keepsake (2008; UK title: Keeping the Dead), Ice Cold (2010; UK title: The Killing Place), The Silent Girl (2011), Last To Die (2012), Die Again (2014), Playing With Fire (2015), and I Know A Secret (2017). Her books have been published in forty countries, and more than 30 million copies have been sold around the world.
Her books have been top-3 bestsellers in the United States and number one bestsellers abroad. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon). Critics around the world have praised her novels as “Pulse-pounding fun” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “Scary and brilliant” (Toronto Globe and Mail), and “Polished, riveting prose” (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the “medical suspense queen”.
Her series of novels featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series “Rizzoli & Isles” starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.
Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.
Published: June 9th, 2022 Publisher: Orion Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Police Procedural, Crime Fiction, Crime Series Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Cat & Mouse, the latest gripping thriller from M. J. Arlidge. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Orion for the gifted proof.
When you think you’re safe, When you think you’re all alone, That’s when he’ll come for you…
A silent killer stalks the city, targeting those home alone at night, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with the victims.
As panic spreads, Detective Inspector Helen Grace leads the investigation, but is herself a hunted woman, her every step shadowed by a ruthless psychopath bent on revenge.
As she tracks the murderer, Grace begins to suspect there is a truly shocking home truth that connects these brutal crimes. But what she will find is something more twisted than she could ever suspect…
Check the windows, lock the doors – this is a twisted page-turner that will prey on your darkest fears, in the way only M.J. Arlidge can.
“He had led them a merry dance so far, spreading terror and bloodshed in his wake….”
A brutal killer stalks Southampton, creeping into houses and slaughtering victims at their most vulnerable. There is no apparent motive, few clues and DI Helen Grace and her team are under pressure to stop the mysterious killer quickly.
We’re back for the latest instalment in one of my favourite crime series. It’s always exciting for me to be back with these characters and M.J. Arlidge can always be counted upon to write a tense, twisty and tantilising thriller that has me hooked. But this time around the stakes seemed higher than ever for the team, particularly Helen, who finds herself in a battle for her job, reputation, liberty and life. It seemed like there was no end to this rollercoaster as the pressure mounted, the suspense sizzled and I questioned if this could be the end for these characters. I read on tenterhooks, desperate not only for answers to the crimes, but to the dilemmas facing these much loved characters.
This is a series that isn’t afraid to explore the darkest sides of humanity or feature gruesome, bloody crime scenes that make your skin crawl. The mysterious killer in this book was truly the work of nightmares: someone methodical, measured and organised who stalks your home and breaks in while you sleep before brutally bludgeoning you in a senseless crime with no apparent motive The chapters told from his perspective were especially chilling as we get a glimpse inside the depraved mind of the person who Southampton’s residents fear and my nerves were shredded as I read.
Sinister, dark and compelling, M. J. Arlidge has delivered another outstanding thriller that shows why his books are auto-buys for me. An absolute must read for any fans of crime fiction.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
M. J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last twenty years, specializing in high-end drama production, including prime-time crime serials Silent Witness, Torn, The Little House and, most recently, the hit ITV show Innocent. In 2015 his audiobook exclusive Six Degrees of Assassination was a number-one bestseller. His debut thriller, Eeny Meeny, was the UK’s bestselling crime debut of 2014. It was followed by the bestselling Pop Goes the Weasel, The Doll’s House, Liar Liar, Little Boy Blue, Hide and Seek and Love Me Not. Down to the Woods is the eighth DI Helen Grace thriller. In 2019 he published a standalone thriller, A Gift for Dying.
Published: April 14th 2022 Publisher: Head of Zeus Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Police Procedural, Medical Thriller
It’s a little late due to health problems but welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Fall. Thank you to Sophie at Ransom PR for the invitation to take part and Head of Zeus for the eBook ARC.
The sins of the past echo in the present in the new literary thriller from crime-critic favourite, Rachael Blok.
The bigger the sin, the further the fall…
With Easter approaching, the verger of St Albans Cathedral was supposed to be readying the church. Instead he discovers a man lying dead, fallen from the famous 150-foot-high tower. Did he jump, or was he pushed?
For DCI Maarten Jansen, it’s a simple case of suspected suicide. Until a witness, Willow, prompts a deeper investigation into a long-buried past, involving a psychiatric hospital, a pregnant woman, and fifty years of silence. As Willow’s own family history entwines with the case, Jansen starts to wonder how everything is connected.
The Fall is a haunting literary thriller about loss, trauma, silence, and how our past shapes who we are.
“Secrets don’t stay buried forever. Even those cast in stone.”
After a long day of travel Willow Eliot finally arrives at St Albans ready to prepare for her exhibition. But in the darkness she hears a scream and witnesses a body falling from the cathedral in the shadows. Did he jump or was he pushed? And are the fall of a young man who works at the cathedral a few days later and the disappearance of Willow’s twin sister connected or simply tragic coincidences?
A story of sins, secrets and suspicion, this literary thriller hit all the right notes for me. Taut, tense and intricately woven, it takes us on a twisty journey as past and present merge together and dark truths are slowly revealed. This book was my introduction to Rachael Blok and I didn’t realise that it is the fourth instalment in a series until I had almost finished reading. But that means I can tell you it makes a great standalone as I never felt like I was missing out on anything or confused about what was going on.
Told in three parts from multiple points of view, I loved the very different voices the author chose in which to tell the story. I found young Alice’s chapters were especially compelling and powerful, drawing into her tragic story. Many of the characters are keeping secrets, some of them with the power to shatter entire lives, leaving us with a complex puzzle to solve that looks nothing like I thought it would.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was that it is rich in history. But it is an awful history that dates back to the psychiatric hospital, Hill Barnes, a bleak, grim place where people were sent when they didn’t know how to deal with them, often committed for what now seem like trivial reasons. Behavioural issues, epilepsy, a wife disagreeing with her husband and being a young mother could all see you committed and subjected to barbaric treatments that did more harm than healing. It is a potent reminder of how we used to treat mental health and those we didn’t understand.
Dark, twisty and captivating, The Fall is a great read for anyone who enjoys a steadily paced thriller.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Rachael Blok is a best-selling author of the UK crime series set in the cathedral city of St Albans. Here, DCI Maarten Jansen struggles against his plain-speaking Dutch upbringing when faced with the seemingly polite world of the picturesque city. Under the Ice, The Scorched Earth and Into The Fire are out now. The Fall is coming April 2022.
May is shaping up to be another fabulous month for new releases in 2022. There are a plethora of exciting new releases, including many debuts, and it was a hard challenge to get this list down to the twenty-nine on this list.
Here are the books on my list of Emma’s Anticipated Treasures for May:
The Book of Night by Holly Black
Published: May 3rd Publisher: Del Rey Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, Thriller, Supernatural Fiction
SYNOPSIS: #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black makes her stunning adult debut with Book of Night, a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies.
Charlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn’t pick, a book she couldn’t steal, or a bad decision she wouldn’t make. She’s spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy of grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie.
Now, she’s trying to distance herself from past mistakes, but going straight isn’t easy. Bartending at a dive, she’s still entirely too close to the corrupt underbelly of the Berkshires. Not to mention that her sister Posey is desperate for magic, and that her shadowless and possibly soulless boyfriend has been keeping secrets from her. When a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie descends back into a maelstrom of murder and lies. Determined to survive, she’s up against a cast of doppelgängers, mercurial billionaires, gloamists, and the people she loves best in the world – all trying to steal a secret that will allow them control of the shadow world and more.
Published: May 3rd Publisher: Hot Key Books Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story, Dystopian Fiction
SYNOPSIS: In a world where girls and women are taught to be quiet, the dragons inside them are about to be set free …
In this timely and timeless speculative novel, set in 1950s America, Kelly Barnhill exposes a world that wants to keep girls and women small – and examines what happens when they rise up.
Alex Green is four years old when she first sees a dragon. In her next-door neighbour’s garden, in the spot where the old lady usually sits, is a huge dragon, an astonished expression on its face before it opens its wings and soars away across the rooftops.
And Alex doesn’t see the little old lady after that. No one mentions her. It’s as if she’s never existed.
Then Alex’s mother disappears, and reappears a week later, one quiet Tuesday, with no explanation whatsoever as to where she has been. But she is a ghostly shadow of her former self, and with scars across her body – wide, deep burns, as though she had been attacked by a monster who breathed fire.
Alex, growing from young girl to fiercely independent teenager, is desperate for answers, but doesn’t get any.
Whether anyone likes it or not, the Mass Dragoning is coming. And nothing will be the same after that. Everything is about to change, forever.
And when it does, this, too, will be unmentionable…
SYNOPSIS: A family with a secret. A past about to catch up with them.
At thirty, Hanna has finally decided she’s better off without her family. They hold her responsible for the incident that ruined their lives fourteen years ago and they’ve barely spoken since.
But then, whilst browsing a true crime website, she sees her family home listed as the site of a brutal murder. Number of victims: three. Date of crime: today. When the police investigate, they find no bodies, but the house is abandoned. Hanna’s family have disappeared.
To find them, Hanna will have to confront what happened all those years ago.
And the person determined to make her pay for it . . .
SYNOPSIS: FOUR FRIENDS. ONE MURDER. A GAME THEY CAN’T ESCAPE
‘It was only a game.’
Until a boy went missing.
‘No one was meant to get hurt.’
But a body has been found.
‘Just some innocent fun.’
Except one of them is a killer.
Ready or not, here I come.
It’s time to play hide and seek again.
THE WHISPER MAN meets THE GUEST LIST in this gripping story; DI Fleet is up against some of the most powerful people in the country as he attempts to discover the truth about what happened on the day of the game…
SYNOPSIS: Isobel lives an isolated life in North London, working at a nearby library. She feels safe if she keeps to her routines and doesn’t let her thoughts stray too far into the past. But a newspaper photograph of a missing local schoolgirl and a letter from her old teacher are all it takes for her ordinary, careful armour to become overwhelmed and the trauma of what happened when she was a pupil at The Schoolhouse to return.
The Schoolhouse was different – one of the 1970s experimental schools that were a reaction to the formal methods of the past. The usual rules did not apply, and life there was a dark interplay of freedom and violence, adventure and fear. Only her teenage diary recorded what happened, but the truth is coming for her and everything she has tried to protect is put at risk.
Set between the past and the present, The Schoolhouse is a masterful and gripping novel about childhood, secrets and trust.
SYNOPSIS: London. Nine million people. Two hundred and seventy tube stations. Every day, thousands of chance encounters, first dates, goodbyes and happy ever afters.
And for twenty years it’s been where one man and one woman can never get their timing right.
Jennifer and Nick meet as teenagers and over the next two decades, they fall in and out of love with each other. Sometimes they start kissing. Sometimes they’re just friends. Sometimes they stop speaking, but they always find their way back to each other.
But after all this time, are they destined to be together or have they finally reached the end of the line?
The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper (The Wolf Den Trilogy Book 2)
Published: May 12th Publisher: Apollo Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Romance Novel
SYNOPSIS: ‘Beautiful, moving, captivating… A brilliant sequel to The Wolf Den‘ Jennifer Saint
Freed from Pompeii’s brothel. Owned as a courtesan. Determined to have revenge. Her name is Amara. What will she risk for power?
Amara has escaped her life as a slave in Pompeii’s most notorious brothel. She now has a house, fine clothes, servants – but all of these are gifts from her patron, hers for as long as she keeps her place in his affections.
As she adjusts to this new life, Amara is still haunted by her past. At night she dreams of the wolf den, and the women she left behind. By day, she is pursued by her former slavemaster. In order to be truly free, she will need to be as ruthless as he is.
Amara knows she can draw strength from Venus, the goddess of love. Yet falling in love herself may prove to be her downfall.
The House with the Golden Door is the stunning second novel in Elodie Harper’s celebrated Wolf Den Trilogy, which reimagines the lives of women who have long been overlooked.
Published: May 12th Publisher: Harper Collins UK Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Humorous Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story, Regency Romance
SYNOPSIS: The season is about to begin – and there’s not a minute to lose…
Kitty Talbot needs a fortune.
Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. This is 1818 after all, and only men have the privilege of seeking their own riches.
With just twelve weeks until Kitty and her sisters are made homeless, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her. And Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks.
The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost.
Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one – not even a lord – will stand in her way…
Published: May 12th Publisher: Bantam Press Genre: Urban Fiction, Erotic Literature, Coming-of-Age Story, Religious Fiction
SYNOPSIS: ‘Follow your heart and speak your truth.’
For Samantha Miller’s young fans – her ‘girls’ – she’s everything they want to be. She’s an oracle, telling them how to live their lives, how to be happy, how to find and honour their ‘truth’.
And her career is booming: she’s just hit three million followers, her new book Chaste has gone straight to the top of the bestseller lists and she’s appearing at sell-out events.
Determined to speak her truth and bare all to her adoring fans, she’s written an essay about her sexual awakening as a teenager, with her female best friend, Lisa. She’s never told a soul but now she’s telling the world. The essay goes viral.
But then – years since they last spoke – Lisa gets in touch to say that she doesn’t remember it that way at all. Her memory of that night is far darker. It’s Sam’s word against Lisa’s – so who gets to tell the story? Whose ‘truth’ is really a lie?
‘You put yourself on that pedestal, Samantha. You only have yourself to blame.’
Riveting, compulsive and bold, IDOL interrogates our relationship with our heroes and explores the world of online influencers, asking how well we can ever really know those whose carefully curated profiles we follow online. And it asks us to consider how two memories of the same event can differ, and how effortlessly we choose which stories to believe.
Published: May 12th Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Mystery, Historical Mystery, Romance Novel, Lesbian Literature, LGBTQ Literature
SYNOPSIS: Pre-order this immersive, emotionally gripping novel about jealousy, loyalty, and the secrets we keep to protect those we love . . .
1955: In an apartment on the Lower East Side, school teachers Dovie and Gillian live as lodgers. Dancing behind closed curtains, mixing cocktails for two, they guard their private lives fiercely. Until someone guesses the truth . . .
1975: Twenty years later in the same apartment, Ava Winters is keeping her own secret. Her mother has become erratic, haunted by something Ava doesn’t understand – until one sweltering July morning, she disappears.
Soon after her mother’s departure, Ava receives a parcel. Addressed simply to ‘Apartment 3B’, it contains a photo of a woman with the word ‘LIAR’ scrawled across it. Ava does not know what it means or who sent it. But if she can find out then perhaps she’ll discover the answers she is seeking – and meet the woman at the heart of it all . . .
Published: May 12th Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Noir Fiction, Gay Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Crime Series
SYNOPSIS: THE DARKNESS FROM HIS PAST WILL FINALLY COME TO LIGHT
For sixteen years, DS Adam Tyler has been searching for answers to his father, Richard’s, death. Convinced it wasn’t suicide, he has been investigating the case in secret.
When a body is found in a frozen lake, linked to a cold case from 2002, it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the death of his father – except Tyler knows Richard was investigating the same case shortly before he died. And Tyler doesn’t believe in coincidences.
As he throws himself into finding out what really happened that day, Tyler uncovers a string of botched investigations, mysterious disappearances and, ultimately, deep-seated police corruption. There are dangerous people who don’t want Tyler asking questions – and the truth always comes at a price.
Published: May 12th Publisher: Phoenix Genre: Historical Fiction
SYNOPSIS: ‘Shot through with spirit and hope, it’s one hell of a book’ Stylist, Books You Can’t Miss in 2022
Montgomery, Alabama. 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend has big plans to make a difference in her community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she intends to help women make their own choices for their lives and bodies.
But when her first week on the job takes her down a dusty country road to a tumbledown cabin, she’s surprised to find that her new patients are just eleven and thirteen years old. Neither of the Williams sisters has even kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black, and for those handling their welfare benefits, that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her new responsibilities, she takes India and Erica into her heart and comes to care for their family as though they were her own. But one day she arrives at their door to discover the unthinkable has happened, and nothing will ever be the same.
Inspired by true events and a shocking chapter of American history, Take My Hand is a novel that will open your eyes and break your heart. An unforgettable story about love and courage, sisterhood and solidarity, it is also a timely and hopeful reminder that it only takes one person to change the world.
SYNOPSIS: THE BUNKER IS DESIGNED TO KEEP THEM ALL SAFE.
In the end, very few people made it to the bunker. Now they wait there for the outside world to heal. Wolfe is one of the lucky ones. She’s safe and employed as the bunker’s pharmacist, doling out medicine under the watchful eye of their increasingly erratic and paranoid leader.
BUT IS IT THE PLACE OF GREATEST DANGER?
But when the leader starts to ask things of Wolfe, favours she can hardly say no to, it seems her luck is running out. Forming an unlikely alliance with the young Doctor Stirling, her troubled assistant Levitt, and Canavan – a tattooed giant of a man who’s purpose in the bunker is a mystery – Wolfe must navigate the powder keg of life underground where one misstep will light the fuse. The walls that keep her safe also have her trapped.
How much more is Wolfe willing to give to stay alive?
Beautifully written and utterly gripping, The Pharmacist will be a guaranteed conversation starter when it is published.
Published: May 12th Publisher: Coronet Genre: Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: The wise and gloriously big-hearted debut novel from the much-loved broadcaster, Sara Cox
Becky: a single mum who prides herself on her independence. She knows from painful experience that men are trouble. Louise: a loving husband, gorgeous kids. She ought to feel more grateful. Jameela: all she’s ever done is work hard, and try her best. Why won’t life give her the one thing she really wants? Sheila: the nest is empty, she dreams of escaping to the sun, but her husband seems so distracted.
The inhabitants of the Inventor’s Housing Estate keep themselves to themselves. There are the friendly ‘Hellos’ when commutes coincide and the odd cheeky eye roll when the wine bottles clank in number 7’s wheelie bin, but it’s not exactly Ramsay Street.
The dilapidated community centre is no longer the beating heart of the estate that Becky remembers from her childhood. So the new pottery class she’s helped set up feels like a fresh start. And not just for her.
The assorted neighbours come together to try out a new skill, under the watchful eye of their charismatic teacher, Sasha. And as the soft unremarkable lumps of clay are hesitantly, lovingly moulded into delicate vases and majestic pots, so too are the lives of four women. Concealed passions and heartaches are uncovered, relationships shattered and formed, and the possibility for transformation is revealed.
Published: May 12th Publisher: Picador Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Domestic Fiction, LGBT Literature
SYNOPSIS: Strasbourg, 1518. In the midst of a blisteringly hot summer, a lone woman begins to dance in the city square. She dances for days without pause or rest, and as she is joined by hundreds of others, the authorities declare an emergency. Musicians will be brought in to play the Devil out of these women.
Just beyond the city’s limits, pregnant Lisbet lives with her mother-in-law and husband, tending the bees that are their livelihood. And then, as the dancing plague gathers momentum, Lisbet’s sister-in-law Nethe returns from seven years’ penance in the mountains for a crime no one will name.
It is a secret that Lisbet is determined to uncover. As the city buckles under the beat of a thousand feet, she finds herself thrust into a dangerous web of deceit and clandestine passion, but she is dancing to a dangerous tune . . .
Set in an era of superstition, hysteria, and extraordinary change, and inspired by the true events of a doomed summer, The Dance Tree is an impassioned story of family secrets, forbidden love, and women pushed to the edge.
Published: May 12th Publisher: Penguin Genre: Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance
SYNOPSIS: Nora is a cut-throat literary agent at the top of her game. Her whole life is books.
Charlie is an editor with a gift for creating bestsellers. And he’s Nora’s work nemesis.
Nora has been through enough break-ups to know she’s the woman men date before they find their happy-ever-after. That’s why Nora’s sister has persuaded her to swap her desk in the city for a month’s holiday in Sunshine Falls, North Carolina. It’s a small town straight out of a romance novel, but instead of meeting sexy lumberjacks, handsome doctors or cute bartenders, Nora keeps bumping into…Charlie.
She’s no heroine. He’s no hero. So can they take a page out of an entirely different book?
Published: May 12th Publisher: Trapeze Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Dark Comedy, Psychological Thriller
SYNOPSIS: She’s accused of four murders. She’s only guilty of three…
When Ruby was a child growing up in Miami, she saw a boy from her school struggling against the ocean waves while his parents were preoccupied. Instead of helping him, Ruby dove under the water and held his ankle down until he drowned. She waited to feel guilty for it, but she never did.
And, as Ruby will argue in her senior thesis while studying psychology at Yale, guilt is sort of like eating ice cream while on a diet – if you’re already feeling bad, why not eat the whole carton? And so, the bodies start to stack up.
Twenty-five years later, Ruby’s in an interrogation room under suspicion of murder, being shown four photographs. Each is a person she once knew, now deceased. The line-up includes her husband Jason. She is responsible for three of the four deaths… but it might be the crime that she didn’t commit that will finally ensnare her.
From the Emmy nominated Executive Producer of The Bold Type, this darkly funny and compulsively page-turning novel is perfect for fans of Caroline Kepnes’ You and Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister the Serial Killer.
SYNOPSIS: *FEATURING THE CHARACTERS YOU LOVED IN THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL!*
From the author of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill comes a story about friends who become our chosen family, proving that, even as adults, we all need help from time time. . . Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Nina Stibbe.
When Laura Costello arrives in downtown Los Angeles, her life has somewhat fallen apart.
Her apartment building has caught fire, her engagement to her high school sweetheart has been broken off, and she’s just been caught in a rare LA downpour and has no dry clothes.
But when she seeks shelter in Nina Hill‘s local neighbourhood bookshop, she finds herself introduced to the people who will become her new family. And as Laura becomes friends with Nina, Polly and Impossibly Handsome Bob, things start to look up.
Proving that – even as adults – we all sometimes need a little help assembling and re-assembling our lives. . .
Published: May 24th Publisher: Del Rey Genre: Thriller, Horror Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Suspense, Ghost Story, Paranormal Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: A high-stakes hide-and-seek competition turns deadly in this dark supernatural thriller from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White, perfect for fans of Stephen King and SQUID GAME.
The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don’t get caught.
The prize: enough money to change everything.
Even though everyone is desperate to win – to seize their dream futures or escape their haunting pasts – Mack feels sure that she can beat her competitors. All she has to do is hide, and she’s an expert at that.
It’s the reason she’s alive, and her family isn’t.
But as the people around her begin disappearing one by one, Mack realizes this competition is more sinister than even she imagined, and that together might be the only way to survive.
Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide, but nowhere to run.
Published: May 26th Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Police Procedural, Medical Thriller, Medical Fiction, Domestic Fiction
SYNOPSIS: My child has been taken. And I’ve been given a choice… Kill a patient on the operating table. Or never see my son again.
The man lies on the table in front of me. As a surgeon, it’s my job to save him. As a mother, I know I must kill him. You might think that I’m a monster. But there really is only one choice. I must get away with murder. Or I will never see my son again.
I’VE SAVED MANY LIVES. WOULD YOU TRUST ME WITH YOURS?
DON’T MISS THE HEART-STOPPING THRILLER OF 2022 #DONOHARM
Published: May 26th Publisher: Orion Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Crime Series
SYNOPSIS: ONCE, SHE SAVED HIS LIFE… NOW, HE’LL TAKE HERS.
When a baby is snatched from its pram and cast into the river Thames, off-duty police officer Lacey Flint is there to prevent disaster. But who would want to hurt a child?
DCI Mark Joesbury has been expecting this. Monitoring a complex network of dark web sites, Joesbury and his team have spotted a new terrorist threat from the extremist, women-hating, group known as ‘incels’ or ‘involuntary celibates.’ Joesbury’s team are trying to infiltrate the ring of power at its core, but the dark web is built for anonymity, and the incel army is vast.
Pressure builds when the team learn the snatched child was just the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women. Worse, the leaders of the movement seem to have singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate, placing her in terrible danger…
SYNOPSIS: When a middle-aged couple downsizes to the countryside for an easier life, their two daughters become isolated, argumentative and violent … A chilling, vicious and darkly funny psychological thriller from bestselling author Helen FitzGerald. ________________________________________
Desperate to enjoy their empty nest, Penny and Andeep downsize to the countryside, to forage, upcycle and fall in love again, only to be joined by their two twenty-something daughters, Asha and Camille.
Living on top of each other in a tiny house, with no way to make money, tensions simmer, and as Penny and Andeep focus increasingly on themselves, the girls become isolated, argumentative and violent.
When Asha injures Camille, a family therapist is called in, but she shrugs off the escalating violence between the sisters as a classic case of sibling rivalry … and the stress of the family move.
But this is not sibling rivalry. The sisters are in far too deep for that.
This is a murder, just waiting to happen…
Chilling, vicious and darkly funny, Keep Her Sweet is not just a tense, sinister psychological thriller, but also a startling look at sister relationships and the bonds they share … or shatter.
SYNOPSIS: Atmospheric historical novel set in 20th-century Suffragette London interweaving fact and fiction from a compelling new voice.
Lotta Rae is a young working-class woman who is viciously attacked by a wealthy gentleman. Lotta’s family are firm believers in justice, so Lotta makes the brave decision to testify in court against her attacker. The guardians of justice support her, or so it seems.
William Linden is a barrister about to lose everything. He is failing to live up to his father’s formidable reputation and if he loses one more case, how will he house, clothe and feed his wife and young son?
Both Lotta and William have decisions to make that will change the course of their lives and the lives of everyone around them for generations to come.
Notorious after her trial and unable to return to the life she had before her attack, Lotta’s quest for her own form of justice takes her from the streets of Spitalfields to a Soho brothel, into the heart of the Suffragette movement, to an unimaginable place. One she could never have foreseen.
Published: May 26th Publisher: Bantam Press Genre: Humorous Fiction, Urban Fiction, Lesbian Literature
SYNOPSIS: Nobody speaks to strangers on the train. But what would happen if they did?
Every day at 8:05, Iona Iverson boards the train to go to work. Every day, she sees the same people and makes assumptions about them, even giving them nicknames. But they never speak. Obviously.
Then, one morning, Smart-but-Sexist-Surbiton chokes on a grape right in front of Iona. Suspiciously-Nice-New Malden steps up to help and saves his life, and this one event sparks a chain reaction.
With nothing in common but their commute, an eclectic group of people learn that their assumptions about each other don’t match reality. But when Iona’s life begins to fall apart, will her new friends be there when she needs them most?
You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
Published: May 26th Publisher: Faber & Faber Genre: Contemporary Literature, Contemporary Romance, Romance Novel, LGBTQ Literature
SYNOPSIS: Luxuriate in this INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING novelist’s sizzling hot entrance into the world of romance…
‘Emezi is a dream of a writer. My heart soared and shook and panted.’ Bolu Babalola
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime:
Feyi is about to be given the chance to escape the City’s blistering heat for a dream island holiday: poolside cocktails, beach sunsets, and elaborate meals. And as the sun goes down on her old life our heroine also might just be ready to open her heart to someone new.
The only problem is, she’s falling for the one man she absolutely can’t have.
SYNOPSIS: Pearl Winter hasn’t been outside in forty-three years.
Since she arrived on Dartmoor as a girl, an isolated family cottage has been her whole world. A place of safety. But now fifty-nine-year-old Pearl is utterly alone – except for the postman, the local crows, and memories of the summer of 1976.
Teenager Connor Matthews feels like a stranger in his own home.
Since his mother’s death he’s been adrift from his remaining family, troubled by the reality of moving on, and unable to see a future ahead. But when Connor begins a summer job as Pearl’s gardener, an unexpected friendship opens the door to a fresh start for them both. If only Pearl and Connor can take the first steps . . .
Published: May 26th Publisher: Picador Genre: Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A provocative, razor-sharp, and timely debut novel about a beloved English professor facing a slew of accusations against her professor husband by former students – a situation that becomes more complicated when she herself develops an obsession of her own . . .
When I was a child, I loved old men, and I could tell that they also loved me.
And so we meet our deliciously incisive narrator: a popular English professor whose husband, a charismatic professor at the same small liberal arts college, is under investigation for his inappropriate relationships with his former students. The couple have long had a mutual understanding when it comes to their extramarital pursuits, but with these new allegations, life has become far less comfortable for them both. And when our narrator becomes increasingly infatuated with Vladimir, a celebrated, married young novelist who’s just arrived on campus, their tinder-box world comes dangerously close to exploding.
With her bold, edgy, and uncommonly assured literary debut, Julia May Jonas takes us into charged territory, where the strictures of morality bump up against the impulses of the human heart. Propulsive, darkly funny, and surreptitiously moving, Vladimir maps the personal and political minefield of our current moment, exposing the messy contradictions of power and desire.
Today is my stop on the blog tour for this gripping thriller. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.
Five-year-old Cally waits in her pretty pink bedroom for the sound of the front door opening and her mother’s sweet voice in the hall. But when the doorbell finally rings, and Cally creeps out of bed to peer through the banister, a large man in uniform is all she sees. Her mother is missing…
Teacher Annabel Braddock was last seen drinking at the local pub with her best friend, Jennifer. Witnesses saw tears running down her cheeks, and friends say she was having problems with a colleague at work, and that her marriage had broken down.
But as the two women hugged goodbye, neither noticed the car speeding towards them. As the dust settled, Jennifer lay unconscious on the ground and Annabel was nowhere to be seen. She’d never abandon her little girl, so did someone snatch her?
As family crowd around Jennifer’s hospital bed, hoping she’ll wake up, police visit Annabel’s home and her inconsolable daughter, Cally, tells them she had seen a man outside staring into her room as she climbed into bed that evening. Was it her childish imagination, or had someone been watching Annabel’s home?
When Jennifer finally opens her eyes and tells the police what happened that night, it’s clear there are plenty of people with a reason to harm Annabel. With an unpredictable husband, a colleague who denies harassing her and a neighbour who seems to know her every move, could she be in imminent danger? As the hours turn to days, will little Cally ever see her precious mother again? Or will she be next?
If you love fast-paced, gripping crime thrillers that keep you up all night, you’ll be completely addicted to One Girl Missing. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Cara Hunter and Clare Mackintosh.
Best friends Annabel and Jennifer are hugging each other goodbye at the end of a girls night out when a car speeds towards them. Jennifer is left unconscious on the ground and Annabel is nowhere to be seen, only her bag and spots of her blood left behind. Detective Gina Harte and her team are called in and as they investigate it soon becomes clear that there are multiple people who might want to harm Annabel. But can they figure it out and find Annabel before it’s too late?
The eleventh instalment in Carla Kovach’s Gina Harte series is another compelling thriller. There are numerous suspects in this case, each with a valid motive, and they are all on the run: a cheating husband, his young girlfriend who was also the family childminder, an angry father, a teenage pupil with a crush, a colleague she was rumoured to be seeing and a friendly neighbour. But who took Annabel? I was sure it was each of them at one point or another and even wondered if some of them were working together. It is a tangled web of suspicion that is full of so many twists and turns I thought I’d get book whiplash! But was my final choice the real culprit? Or had Ms. Kovach duped me again with her red herrings?
One of the things I love most about reading a series is coming back to the familiar, much-loved characters and I was glad to be back with Gina and her team. Gina is dealing with emotional turmoil after seeing Briggs out with another woman. Is this the end of her relationship? And the whole team face heartache as they wait to learn if one of their own will survive, Jacob being particularly tortured as he hopes the love of his life pulls through. The new characters were well written as always. I felt a real bond with Annabel and could feel her terror as she’s held captive and wonders if she will ever see her young daughter, Cally, again. And it was Cally, along with teenage student Omar, who went right to my heart in this book. They were such great characters who it was impossible not to feel for. I was rooting for them, especially as young Omar takes it upon himself to save Annabel himself in order to keep her secrets.
Dark, suspenseful, gripping and action-packed, One Girl Missing is another riveting thriller from Ms. Kovach. Fans of this genre will love not only this book, but the whole series and I recommend them both highly.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Carla started writing more seriously ten years ago after having flirted with musical theatre and occasional writing in her youth.
Since then she has written & produced several stage plays, has four self-published books, has acted in several independent films and is currently in the final stages of production of her feature horror film, Penny for the Guy.
She now writes full time as well as co-owning a film, photography & video production company located in the heart of Redditch town centre.
March is fast approaching so it’s time to look at what books are on the horizon. 2022 is proving to be an incredible year in the book world and every month it is getting harder to narrow down these list, even when I’m allowing myself twenty-five books on each list. It’s crazy! I will never finish my TBR at this rate lol.
March is filled with some of my most anticipated reads of the year, including the latest installments in two of my favourite crime series. Here are the twenty-five books out next month that I’m most anticipating…
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
Published: March 1st Publisher: Quercus Genre: Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mum, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, the mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.
But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and – of course – delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.
And then Carol appears, healthy and sun-tanned… and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how – all she can focus on is that somehow, impossibly, she has her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman who came before.
But can we ever truly know our parents? Soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.
Rebecca Serle’s next great love story is here, and this time it’s between a mother and daughter. With her signature ‘heartbreaking and poignant’ (Glamour) prose, Serle has crafted a transcendent novel about how we move on after loss, and how the people we love never truly leave us.
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Apollo Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Psychological Fiction, Horror Thriller, Ghost Story, Coming-of-Age Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Part ghost story, part novel of suspense The Marsh House is the haunting second novel from the author of The Night of the Flood where two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by one, mysterious house on the North Norfolk coast.
December, 1962. Desperate to create a happy Christmas for her young daughter, Franny, after a disastrous year, Malorie rents a remote house on the Norfolk coast. But once there, the strained silence between them feels louder than ever. As Malorie digs for decorations in the attic, she comes across the notebooks of the teenaged Rosemary, who lived in the house thirty years before. Trapped inside by a blizzard, and with long days and nights ahead of her, Malorie begins to read. Though she knows she needs to focus on the present, she finds herself inexorably drawn into the past…
July, 1931. Rosemary lives in the Marsh House with her austere father, surrounded by unspoken truths and rumours. So when the glamorous Lafferty family moves to the village, she succumbs easily to their charm. Dazzled by the beautiful Hilda and her dashing brother, Franklin, Rosemary fails to see the danger that lurks beneath their bright façades…
As Malorie reads Rosemary’s diary, past and present begin to merge in this moving story of mothers and daughters, family obligation and deeply buried secrets.
One For Sorrow (DI Luc Callanach Book 6) by Helen Fields
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Avon Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Crime Series
SYNOPSIS: Bestselling crime author Helen Fields is back with her best book yet. A masterful crime thriller that is set to be the most memorable read of 2022.
One for sorrow, two for joy Edinburgh is gripped by the greatest terror it has ever known. A lone bomber is targeting victims across the city and no one is safe.
Three for a girl, four for a boy DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach face death every day – and not just the deaths of the people being taken hostage by the killer.
Five for silver, six for gold When it becomes clear that with every tip-off they are walking into a trap designed to kill them too, Ava and Luc know that finding the truth could mean paying the ultimate price.
Seven for a secret never to be told… But with the threat – and body count – rising daily, and no clue as to who’s behind it, neither Ava nor Luc know whether they will live long enough to tell the tale…
With twists and turns you’ll never see coming, prepare to be gripped by this devastatingly good thriller. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride and MJ Arlidge.
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Legal Thriller, Political Thriller, Domestic Fiction
SYNOPSIS: From the bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal, soon to be a major Netflix series… Reputation: it takes a lifetime to build and just one moment to destroy. ‘Sarah Vaughan has done it again. Superb’ Shari Lapena
Emma Webster is a respectable MP.
Emma Webster is a devoted mother.
Emma Webster is innocent of the murder of a tabloid journalist.
Emma Webster is a liar.
#Reputation: The story you tell about yourself. And the lies others choose to believe…
The laugh-out-loud new novel from the bestselling author of Dial A For Aunties, winner of the Comedy Women In Print Prize 2021
It’s supposed to be the perfect day… After getting away with literal murder, Meddy can’t wait to settle down and marry the love of her life, Nathan. She’s found the dress, got the dream venue at Christ Church College, Oxford, plus having a destination wedding comes with the added bonus of not having to invite her very large extended family.
…But is it even a wedding if nobody gets killed? Although when her meddling aunties get involved, Meddy knows her wedding is going to be anything but quiet. Even though there’s no dead body hidden in the freezer this time, for better or worse, it’s certainly going to be a day she’s never going to forget…
SYNOPSIS: Hornclaw is a sixty-five-year-old female contract killer who is considering retirement. A fighter who has experienced loss and grief early on in life, she lives in a state of self-imposed isolation, with just her dog, Deadweight, for company.
While on an assassination job for the ‘disease control’ company she works for, Hornclaw makes an uncharacteristic error, causing a sequence of events that brings her past well and truly into the present.
Threatened with sabotage by a young male upstart and battling new desires and urges when she least expects them, Hornclaw steels her resolve, demonstrating that no matter their age, the female of the species is always more deadly than the male.
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Psychological Fiction, Suspense, Domestic Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Natalie Collins always has a plan.
Her troubled younger sister Kit rarely does.
Until Kit finds Wisewood, a secretive self-help retreat on a secluded Maine island. It promises you’ll leave a better, braver version of yourself.
But why does it forbid contact with the outside world? Why are there no testimonies from previous guests? Natalie fears it is some kind of cult.
Then, after six months of silence, she receives an email from Wisewood:Would you like to come tell your sister what you did – or should we?Who is digging into the sisters’ past? How did they discover Natalie’s secret? A secret that will destroy Kit.
She has no choice but to go to Wisewood, to find out if this place of healing has more sinister motives.But as she’s about to discover, Wisewood is far easier to enter than to leave . . .
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Sphere Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Book Series
SYNOPSIS: Ben Harper’s life changed for ever the day his older brother Nick was murdered by two classmates. It was a crime that shocked the nation and catapulted Ben’s family and their idyllic hometown, Haddley, into the spotlight.
Twenty years on, Ben is one of the best investigative journalists in the country and settled back in Haddley, thanks to the support of its close-knit community. But then a fresh murder case shines new light on his brother’s death and throws suspicion on those closest to him.
Ben is about to discover that in Haddley no one is as they seem. Everyone has something to hide.
And someone will do anything to keep the truth buried . . .
The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkenen
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Pan MacMillan Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller
SYNOPSIS: From Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, the authors of the top ten bestseller The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl, comes The Golden Couple – a compelling page-turner that will keep you guessing to the very end.
If Avery Chambers can’t fix you in ten sessions, she won’t take you on as a client. She helps people overcome everything, from domineering parents to assault. Her successes almost help her absorb the emptiness she feels since her husband’s death.
Marissa and Mathew Bishop seem like the golden couple, until Marissa cheats. She wants to repair things, both because she loves her husband and for the sake of their 8-year-old son. After a friend forwards an article about Avery, Marissa takes a chance on this maverick therapist, who lost her license due to controversial methods.
When the Bishops glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.
The Atlas Six (Atlas Series Book 1) by Olivie Blake
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Tor Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Series
SYNOPSIS: The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake is the runaway TikTok must-read fantasy novel of the year. If you loved Ninth House and A Deadly Education, you’ll love this.
Originally a self-published sensation, this edition has been fully edited and revised, including gorgeous new illustrations.
Secrets. Betrayal. Seduction. Welcome to the Alexandrian Society.
When the world’s best magicians are offered an extraordinary opportunity, saying yes is easy. Each could join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations. Their members enjoy a lifetime of power and prestige. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places.
Contenders Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona are inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds. Parisa Kamali is a telepath, who sees the mind’s deepest secrets. Reina Mori is a naturalist who can perceive and understand the flow of life itself. And Callum Nova is an empath, who can manipulate the desires of others. Finally there’s Tristan Caine, whose powers mystify even himself.
Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them.
The story continues in The Atlas Paradox, the heart-stopping sequel.
SYNOPSIS: You can’t escape the desert. You can’t escape Sundial.
Rob fears for her daughters. For Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. For Annie, because she fears what Callie might do to her. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her of the family she left behind. She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.
Callie is afraid of her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely. To tell her secrets about her past that both disturb and excite her. And Callie is beginning to wonder if only one of them will leave Sundial alive…
From the bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street comes a stunning thriller exploring the toxicity of the mother-daughter bond, and the power of the past to twist the present.
A Life for a Life (Detective Kate Young Book 3) by Carol Wyer
Published: March 15th Publisher: Thomas & Mercer Genre: Thriller, Police Procedural, Crime Series
SYNOPSIS: Nobody can get into the mind of an erratic killer―except an unpredictable detective.
When a young man is found lying on a station platform with a hole in his head, DI Kate Young is called in to investigate the grisly murder. But the killing is no one-off. As bodies start to pile up, she is faced with what might be an impossible task―to hunt down a ruthless killer on a seemingly random rampage.
Meanwhile, Kate has her own demons to battle as she struggles to come to terms with her husband’s death. And she is hell-bent on exposing corruption within the force and bringing Superintendent John Dickson to justice. But with the trail of deception running deeper―and closer to home―than she could ever have imagined, she no longer knows who she can trust.
With her grip on reality slipping, Kate realises that maybe she and the killer are not so different after all. But time is running out and Kate is low on options. Can she catch the killer before she loses everything?
Published: March 17th Publisher: Wildfire Genre: Historical Fiction, War Story, Coming-of-Age Fiction
SYNOPSIS: With every misfortune there is a blessing and within every blessing, the seeds of misfortune, and so it goes, until the end of time.
It is 1938 in China, and the Japanese are advancing. A young mother, Meilin, is forced to flee her burning city with her four-year-old son, Renshu, and embark on an epic journey across China. For comfort, they turn to their most treasured possession – a beautifully illustrated hand scroll. Its ancient fables offer solace and wisdom as they travel through their ravaged country, seeking refuge.
Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. His daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, but he refuses to talk about his childhood. How can he keep his family safe in this new land when the weight of his history threatens to drag them down?
Spanning continents and generations, Peach Blossom Spring is a bold and moving look at the history of modern China, told through the story of one family. It’s about the power of our past, the hope for a better future, and the search for a place to call home.
SYNOPSIS: An immersive and compelling novel that explores the struggle by two women, divided across centuries, for control over their lives, set against a beautiful historical backdrop.
‘An echo of Daphne du Maurier‘ Independent
Yorkshire, 1890. Having lost her father and brothers in tragic circumstances, Olwen Malkon is forced to leave her childhood home to live with her uncle’s family. In his chill vicarage, however, she fears that she is also losing her mind, as strange dreams take her into the life of Ælfwyn, a woman from a distant past whose fate is overshadowed by menace and betrayal.
In the grip of these afflictions, Olwen finds sympathy with the local doctor, John Osbourne, who is intrigued by her case. Suspecting darker undercurrents are at work, John comes into conflict with Olwen’s family, who dismiss her as a hysteric and, when he seeks to protect her, with the law.
As the dreams intensify, danger awaits them both. But when they begin to mirror reality, she and John start to suspect that it is these visions of the past which hold the answers . . .
Published: March 17th Publisher: One More Chapter Genre: Romance Novel, Saga, Humorous Fiction
SYNOPSIS: She can’t recall what started her collection. Maybe it was in a fragment of conversation overheard as she cleaned a sink? Before long (as she dusted a sitting room or defrosted a fridge) she noticed people were telling her their stories. Perhaps they always had done, but now it is different, now the stories are reaching out to her and she gathers them to her…
When Janice starts cleaning for Mrs B – a shrewd and tricksy woman in her nineties – she meets someone who wants to hear her story. But Janice is clear: she is the keeper of stories, she doesn’t have a story to tell. At least, not one she can share.
Mrs B is no fool and knows there is more to Janice than meets the eye. What is she hiding? After all, doesn’t everyone have a story to tell?
SYNOPSIS: Deep rooted secrets. A twisted family history. And a house that will never let go.
Eleanor lives with prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize a familiar person’s face. It causes stress. Acute anxiety.
It can make you question what you think you know.
When Eleanor walked in on the scene of her capriciously cruel grandmother, Vivianne’s, murder, she came face to face with the killer–a maddening expression that means nothing to someone like her. With each passing day, the horror of having come so close to a murderer–and not knowing if they’d be back–overtakes both her dreams and her waking moments, thwarting her perception of reality.
Then a lawyer calls. Vivianne has left her a house–a looming estate tucked away in the Swedish woods. The place her grandfather died, suddenly. A place that has housed a chilling past for over fifty years.
Eleanor. Her steadfast boyfriend, Sebastian. Her reckless aunt, Veronika. The lawyer. All will go to this house of secrets, looking for answers. But as they get closer to uncovering the truth, they’ll wish they had never come to disturb what rests there.
SYNOPSIS: Yinka wants to find love. Her mum wants to find it for her.She also has too many aunties who frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, a preference for chicken and chips over traditional Nigerian food, and a bum she’s sure is far too small as a result. Oh, and the fact that she’s a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is a bit of an obstacle too…
When her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences ‘Operation Find A Date for Rachel’s Wedding’. Armed with a totally flawless, incredibly specific plan, will Yinka find herself a huzband?
What if the thing she really needs to find is herself?
MARIE CLAIRE ‘BEST BOOKS OF 2022’ AND FEBRUARY PICK FOR MALALA’S LITERATI BOOKCLUB
Published: March 31st Publisher: Orbit Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Gothic Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Lesbian Literature
SYNOPSIS: In the aftermath of the First World War, a young woman gets swept into a glittering world filled with illicit magic, romance, blood debts and murder in this lush and decadent debut novel.
On Crow Island, people whispered, real magic lurked just below the surface. But Annie Mason never expected her enigmatic new neighbour to be a witch.
When she witnesses a confrontation between her best friend Bea and the infamous Emmeline Delacroix at one of Emmeline’s extravagantly illicit parties, Annie is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where magic can buy what money cannot; a world where the consequence of a forbidden blood bargain might be death.
Published: March 31st Publisher: Picador Genre: Literary Fiction, Medical Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
SYNOPSIS: Today I might trace the rungs of her larynx or tap at her trachea like the bones of a xylophone . . .
Something gleeful and malevolent is moving in Lia’s body, learning her life from the inside out. A shape-shifter. A disaster tourist. It’s travelling down the banks of her canals. It’s spreading.
When a sudden diagnosis upends Lia’s world, the boundaries between her past and her present begin to collapse. Deeply buried secrets stir awake. As the voice prowling in Lia takes hold of her story, and the landscape around becomes indistinguishable from the one within, Lia and her family are faced with some of the hardest questions of all: how can we move on from the events that have shaped us, when our bodies harbour everything? And what does it mean to die with grace, when you’re simply not ready to let go?
Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies is a story of coming-of-age at the end of a life. Utterly heart-breaking yet darkly funny, Maddie Mortimer’s astonishing debut is a symphonic journey through one woman’s body: a wild and lyrical celebration of desire, forgiveness, and the darkness within us all.
Published: March 31st Publisher: Mantle Genre: Thriller, Suspense
SYNOPSIS: From the author of R&J pick, People Like Her, and for fans of The White Lotus and Big Little Lies, Ellery Lloyd’s The Club is an exhilarating, addictive read, telling a story of ambition, excess, and what happens when people who have everything – or nothing – to lose are pushed to their limit.
There’s no place like Home . . .
The Home Group is a collection of ultra-exclusive private members’ clubs and a global phenomenon, and the opening of its most ambitious project yet – Island Home, a forgotten island transformed into the height of luxury – is billed as the celebrity event of the decade.
But as the first guests arrive, the weekend soon proves deadly – because it turns out that even the most beautiful people can keep the ugliest secrets and, in a world where reputation is everything, they’ll do anything to keep it.
If your name’s on the list, you’re not getting out . . .
Published: March 31st Publisher: Bloomsbury Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Not all that is hidden is lost.
For twelve years Aina and Whitney have been in exile on an island for a crime they committed together, tethered to a croft by pills they must take for survival every eight hours. They’ve kept busy – Aina with her garden, her jigsaw, her music; Whitney with his sculptures and maps – but something is not right.
Shipwrecks have begun washing up, and their supply drops have stopped. And on the day they’re meant to be collected for parole, the Warden does not come. Instead there’s a sheep. But sheep can’t swim.
As days pass, Aina begins to suspect that their prison is part of a peninsula, and that Whitney has been keeping secrets. And if he’s been keeping secrets, maybe she should too. Convinced they’ve been abandoned, she starts investigating ways she might escape. As she comes to grips with the decisions that haunt her past, she realises her biggest choice is yet to come.
Published: March 31st Publisher: HQ Genre: Humorous Fiction, Domestic Fiction
SYNOPSIS: It’s never too late to start a new chapter…
The utterly charming and feel-good new novel from the bestselling author of The Secrets of Sunshine and The Library of Lost and Found.
Liv Green loves losing herself in a good book. Her everyday reality is less romantic, cleaning houses for people who barely give her the time of day. But when she lands a job housekeeping for her personal hero and mega-bestselling author Essie Starling, she can’t believe her luck.
When Essie dies unexpectedly, Liv is left with an astonishing last wish: to complete Essie’s last ever novel. To do so, change-averse Liv will have to step away from the fictitious worlds in her head, and into Essie’s shoes. As she begins to write, she uncovers a surprising connection between the two women – and a secret that will change Liv’s life forever…
Heart-warming and uplifting, the new book from the author of The Library of Lost and Found is a reminder of how it’s never too late to change your own story – perfect for fans of All the Lonely People and The Authenticity Project.
Welcome to my list of Emma’s Anticipated Treasures for February. It’s another fantastic month with so many books I’ve been eagerly awaiting for a long time finally being published. There’s books from authors I’ve loved before like Marian Keyes, Beth Morrey, Eve Smith and Linwood Barclay, as well as some amazing debuts such as The Leviathan, The Hemlock Cure and The Embroidered Book.
It was hard to narrow down my list, but here are the 25 books I’m most anticipating that are released next month:
SYNOPSIS: SELECTED AS ONE OF THE OBSERVER’S 10 BEST DEBUT NOVELISTS OF 2022
A beguiling tale of superstition, myth and murder, perfect for fans of The Binding, The Essex Serpent and Once Upon a River.
SHE IS AWAKE…
Norfolk, 1643. With civil war tearing England apart, reluctant soldier Thomas Treadwater is summoned home by his sister, who accuses a new servant of improper conduct with their widowed father. By the time Thomas returns home, his father is insensible, felled by a stroke, and their new servant is in prison, facing charges of witchcraft.
Thomas prides himself on being a rational, modern man, but as he unravels the mystery of what has happened, he uncovers not a tale of superstition but something dark and ancient, linked to a shipwreck years before.
Something has awoken, and now it will not rest.
Richly researched, incredibly atmospheric, and deliciously unsettling, The Leviathan is set in England during a time of political and religious turbulence. It is a tale of family and loyalty, superstition and sacrifice, but most of all it is a spellbinding mystery and a story of impossible things.
Published: February 3rd Publisher: Harper Collins UK Genre: Humorous Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
SYNOPSIS: A mother. A daughter. A secret waiting to be discovered.
For too long – since the sudden death of her mother as a teenager, since the birth of her daughter, Em, when she was just seventeen – Delphine has been unable to let go of the past, obsessed with protecting Em and clinging to a secret that could ruin everything. She’s been living life in safe shades of grey.
The day that Delphine finally stands up for herself is the day that changes everything.
Delphine begins to remember what it’s like to want more: rediscovering her singing voice, opening herself to friendship, and reviving not only her mother’s roots, but her mother’s memories. As her life begins to fill with colour, can she be brave for herself and for Em? And what would happen if she finally told the truth?
A big-hearted, hopeful novel about finding second chances – and taking them.
SYNOPSIS: An expansive epic spanning the turbulent decades of Korea’s fight for independence, perfect for fans of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko
Beasts take many shapes…
It is 1917, and Korea is yet to be divided into north and south. With the threat of famine looming, a young girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver’s courtesan school in cosmopolitan Pyongyang, an act of desperation that will cement her place in the lowest social status. But the city’s days as a haven are numbered.
Jade flees to Seoul where she forms a deep friendship with an orphan boy called JungHo, who scrapes together a living begging on the streets. As Jade becomes a sought-after performer with unexpected romantic prospects, JungHo is swept up in the revolutionary fight for independence. Soon Jade must decide between following her own ambitions, or risking everything for the one she loves.
From the perfumed chambers of the courtesan school to the glamorous cafes of a modernising Seoul, the unforgettable characters of Beasts of a Little Land unveil a world where friends become enemies and enemies become saviours, where heroes are persecuted and beasts take many shapes.
Published: February 3rd Publisher: Picador Genre: Historical Fiction
SYNOPSIS: 1836, Prussia. Hanne is nearly fifteen and the domestic world of womanhood is quickly closing in on her. A child of nature, she yearns instead for the rush of the river, the wind dancing around her. Hanne finds little comfort in the local girls and friendship doesn’t come easily, until she meets Thea and she finds in her a kindred spirit and finally, acceptance.
Hanne’s family are Old Lutherans, and in her small village hushed worship is done secretly – this is a community under threat. But when they are granted safe passage to Australia, the community rejoices: at last a place they can pray without fear, a permanent home. Freedom.
It’s a promise of freedom that will have devastating consequences for Hanne and Thea, but, on that long and brutal journey, their bond proves too strong for even nature to break . . .
From the bestselling author of Burial Rites and The Good People, Devotion is a stunning story of girlhood and friendship, faith and suspicion, and the impossible lengths we go to for the ones we love.
Published: February 3rd Publisher: Phoenix Genre: Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours.
He knows what he’s done, and now awaits the same fate he forced on those girls, years ago. Ansel doesn’t want to die; he wants to be celebrated, understood.
But this is not his story.
As the clock ticks down, three women uncover the history of a tragedy and the long shadow it casts. Lavender, Ansel’s mother, is a seventeen-year-old girl pushed to desperation. Hazel, twin sister to his wife, is forced to watch helplessly as the relationship threatens to devour them all. And Saffy, the detective hot on his trail, is devoted to bringing bad men to justice but struggling to see her own life clearly.
This is the story of the women left behind.
Blending breathtaking suspense with astonishing empathy, Notes On An Execution presents a chilling portrait of womanhood as it unravels the familiar narrative of the American serial killer, interrogating our cultural obsession with crime stories, and asking readers to consider the false promise of looking for meaning in the minds of violent men.
SYNOPSIS: A missing woman. A husband suspected. The truth will … Take Your Breath Away
It’s always the husband, isn’t it?
One weekend, while Andrew Mason was on a fishing trip, his wife, Brie, vanished without a trace. Most people assumed Andy had got away with murder, but the police couldn’t build a strong case against him. For a while, Andy hit rock bottom – he drank too much, was abandoned by his friends, nearly lost his business and became a pariah in the place he had once called home.
Now, six years later, Andy has put his life back together. He’s sold the house he shared with Brie and moved away for a fresh start. When he hears his old house has been bulldozed and a new house built in its place, he’s not bothered. He’s settled with a new partner, Jayne, and life is good.
But Andy’s peaceful world is about to shatter. One day, a woman shows up at his old address, screaming, ‘Where’s my house? What’s happened to my house?’ And then, just as suddenly as she appeared, the woman – who bears a striking resemblance to Brie – is gone. The police are notified and old questions – and dark suspicions – resurface.
Could Brie really be alive after all these years? If so, where has she been? It soon becomes clear that Andy’s future, and the lives of those closest to him, depends on discovering what the hell is going on. The trick will be whether he can stay alive long enough to unearth the answers…
Published: February 3rd Publisher: Harper Collins UK Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller
SYNOPSIS: She thought the murders had stopped. She was wrong.
Soon to be a major TV series, developed by Emma Stone
Chloe Davis’ father is a serial killer. He was convicted and jailed when she was twelve but the bodies of the girls were never found, seemingly lost in the surrounding Louisiana swamps. The case became notorious and Chloe’s family was destroyed.
His crimes stalk her like a shadow. Now Chloe has rebuilt her life. She’s a respected psychologist in Baton Rouge and has a loving fiancé. But she just can’t shake a tick-tick-tick of paranoia that, at any moment, it might all come crashing down.
As does something darker. It is the anniversary of her father’s crimes, and Chloe is about to see her worst fears come true – a girl she knows goes missing.
Published: February 3rd Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Genre: Psychological Fiction, Urban Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
SYNOPSIS: CHOSEN AS A BOOK OF 2022 BY VOGUE AND ESQUIRE
A bitingly honest, darkly funny debut about love, sex, power and desire, by a major new British talent
Anna is struggling to afford life in London as she trains to be a singer. During the day, she vies to succeed against her course mates with their discreet but inexhaustible streams of cultural capital and money, and in the evening she sings jazz at a bar in the City to make ends meet.
It’s there that she meets Max, a financier fourteen years older than her. Over the course of one winter, Anna’s intoxication oscillates between her hard-won moments on stage, where she can zip herself into the skin of her characters, and nights spent with Max in his glass-walled flat overlooking the city.
But Anna’s fledgling career demands her undivided attention, and increasingly – whether he necessarily wills it or not – so does Max.
Published: February 3rd Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Literature, Domestic Fiction, Saga, Coming-of-Age Story
SYNOPSIS: **A Grazia Instagram ‘IT’ book to watch out for**
‘We can’t go to the island, Bryon. We don’t really know what we’re getting into . . .’
Eleanor Bennett won’t let her own death get in the way of the truth. So when her estranged children – Byron and Benny – reunite for her funeral in California, they discover a puzzling inheritance.
First, a voice recording in which everything Byron and Benny ever knew about their family is upended. Their mother narrates a tumultuous story about a headstrong young woman who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder, a story which cuts right to the heart of the rift that’s separated Byron and Benny.
Second, a traditional Caribbean black cake made from a family recipe with a long history that Eleanor hopes will heal the wounds of the past. Can Byron and Benny fulfil their mother’s final request to ‘share the black cake when the time is right’?
Will Eleanor’s revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever?
Published: February 3rd Publisher: Bantam Press Genre: Dark Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, Fantasy Series
SYNOPSIS: And then there were three . . .
Three years ago, the sisters confronted their demon father in that strange other-world called Everwhere. It was a battle that ended in a devastating loss, and the scars they carry seem to have slowly pushed the sisters apart . . .
One sister, still raw with grief, is now a near recluse but determined to use her powers to resurrect what she has lost.
Another has made the journey to learn more of her family, her culture and her roots.
And another seems to have turned her back on what she is and opted to lead a more normal life.
But now the sisters are about to be brought together once more. Because when the clock strikes midnight, when October ticks into November, when autumn wilts into winter, when All Hallows’ Eve becomes All Saints’ Day, the sisters Grimm will turn twenty-one and reach the zenith of their powers.
And on this night, at this time, in this place called Everwhere, anything is possible . . .
SYNOPSIS: It is 1665 and the women of Eyam keep many secrets.
Isabel Frith, the village midwife, walks a dangerous line with her herbs and remedies. There are men in the village who speak of witchcraft, and Isabel has a past to hide. So she tells nobody her fears about Wulfric, the pious, reclusive apothecary.
Mae, Wulfric’s youngest daughter, dreads her father’s rage if he discovers what she keeps from him. Like her feelings for Rafe, Isabel’s ward, or that she studies from Wulfric’s forbidden books at night.
But others have secrets too. Secrets darker than any of them could have imagined.
When Mae makes a horrifying discovery, Isabel is the only person she can turn to. But helping Mae will place them both in unspeakable peril.
And meanwhile another danger is on its way from London. One that threatens to engulf them all . . .
Based on the real history of an English village during the Great Plague, The Hemlock Cure is an utterly beguiling tale of fear and ambition, betrayal, self-sacrifice and the unbreakable bond between two women.
Published: February 10th Publisher: Hutchinson Heinemann Genre: Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Listen to my history. My adventures are worth hearing. I have lived many lifetimes and been loved by emperors, kings and thieves. I have survived kidnap and assault. Revolution and two world wars. But this is also a love story. And the story of what we will do for those we love.
In Leonardo da Vinci’s studio, bursting with genius imagination, towering commissions and needling patrons, as well as discontented muses, friends and rivals, sits the painting of the Mona Lisa. For five hundred tumultuous years, amid a whirlwind of power, money, intrigue, the portrait of Lisa del Giocondo is sought after and stolen.
Over the centuries, few could hear her voice, but now she is ready to tell her own story, in her own words – a tale of rivalry, murder and heartbreak. Weaving through the years, she takes us from the dazzling world of Florentine studios to the French courts at Fontainebleau and Versailles, and into the Twentieth Century.
I, Mona Lisa is a deliciously vivid, compulsive and illuminating story about the lost and forgotten women throughout history.
House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City 2) by Sarah J. Maas
Published: February 15th Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Romantic Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy Series
SYNOPSIS: Sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller. Sarah J. Maas’s sexy, groundbreaking CRESCENT CITY series continues with this second installment.
Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar have made a pact. As they process the events of the Spring they will keep things . platonic . until the Solstice. But can they resist when the crackling tension between them is enough to set the whole of Crescent City aflame?
And they are not out of danger yet. Dragged into a rebel movement they want no part of, Bryce, Hunt and their friends find themselves pitted against the terrifying Asteri – whose notice they must avoid at all costs. But as they learn more about the rebel cause, they face a choice: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.
In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode – and the people who will do anything to save it.
SYNOPSIS: When a one-night stand leads to a long-desired pregnancy, Susan will do anything to ensure her husband won’t find out … including the unthinkable. But when something horrendous is unleashed around the globe, her secret isn’t the only thing that is no longer safe…
A longed-for baby An unthinkable decision A deadly mistake
In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, not just crops, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect … altering genes that may cause illness, and more…
Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand makes her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable. She believes her secret is safe. For now.
But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…
Bestselling author of The Waiting Rooms, Eve Smith returns with an authentic, startlingly thought-provoking, disturbing blockbuster of a thriller that provides a chilling glimpse of a future that’s just one modification away…
Published: February 17th Publisher: Harper Voyager Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Fairy Tale, Romantic Fantasy, Coming-of-Age Story
SYNOPSIS: Brimming with romance, betrayal, and enchantment, The Embroidered Book reveals and reimagines a dazzling period of history as you have never seen it before.
‘Power is not something you are given. Power is something you take. When you are a woman, it is a little more difficult, that’s all’
1768. Charlotte, daughter of the Habsburg Empress, arrives in Naples to marry a man she has never met. Her sister Antoine is sent to France, and in the mirrored corridors of Versailles they rename her Marie Antoinette.
The sisters are alone, but they are not powerless. When they were only children, they discovered a book of spells – spells that work, with dark and unpredictable consequences.
In a time of vicious court politics, of discovery and dizzying change, they use the book to take control of their lives.
But every spell requires a sacrifice. And as love between the sisters turns to rivalry, they will send Europe spiralling into revolution.
Published: February 17th Publisher: Manilla Press Genre: Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: The luminous debut adult novel from the Waterstones Prize Winner, perfect for fans of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, The Essex Serpent and The Doll Factory
In an age defined by men, it will take something extraordinary to show four women who they truly are . . .
October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in Shropshire as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders.
Meanwhile, when rumours of a ‘fallen angel’ cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grip of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . .
THE GIFTS is the astonishing debut adult novel from the lauded author of BEARMOUTH. A gripping and ambitious book told through five different perspectives and set against the luminous backdrop of nineteenth century London, it explores science, nature and religion, enlightenment, the role of women in society and the dark danger of ambition.
Published: February 17th Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Contemporary Romance, Domestic Ficiton
SYNOPSIS: Twenty-five years after the iconic, 1.5 million-copy bestseller Rachel’s Holiday burst into our lives, Rachel’s BACK!
Pre-order Marian Keyes’ hilarious, heart-warming sequel, Again, Rachel, NOW.
Back in the long ago nineties, Rachel Walsh was a mess.
But a spell in rehab transformed everything. Life became very good, very quickly. These days, Rachel has love, family, a great job as an addiction counsellor, she even gardens. Her only bad habit is a fondness for expensive trainers.
But with the sudden reappearance of a man she’d once loved, her life wobbles.
She’d thought she was settled. Fixed forever. Is she about to discover that no matter what our age, everything can change?
A Good Day to Die (Pretty Boy Thriller Bool 1) by Amen Alogne
Published: February 17th Publisher: Quercus Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime Series
SYNOPSIS: Meet Pretty Boy. Vengeance is on his mind.
His real name: Unknown
His code of conduct: Don’t be a pawn in someone else’s game. Never underestimate the enemy. Above all, survive. There is no glory in death.
His mission: It’s been ten years since Pretty Boy left the big city – today he’s back. No one knows why, but it’s clear that revenge is on his mind: he is determined to make the person responsible for his exile from the London scene finally pay. But his plans seem derailed when he takes possession of a bracelet, unaware that its original owner has set a high price for its safe return. Suddenly, the hunter becomes the hunted and Pretty Boy will have to find out if it is indeed a ‘good day to die’.
Jam-packed with action, an unforgettable cast of characters and peppered with dry humour, A Good Day to Die marks the arrival of a fresh and exciting new voice in thriller writing.
SYNOPSIS: Deep in the French countryside, inside the walls of a family chateau, a remarkable legacy awaits . . .
From the international bestselling author comes an escapist, glamorous tale spanning generations & sweeping from Burgundy to Greece and beyond . . .
ONE FAMILY THREE GENERATIONS SOME SECRETS NEVER DIE . . .
Elise would do anything to inherit Sainte Madeleine, the vineyard that’s been home to the Salignacs for generations. Only Laurent Senard, a distant cousin, is a rival for her heart – yet when a family rift sends her on a new and dangerous path, she risks losing them both . . .
Alexandre, Elise’s brother, can’t bear to see their capricious father put the vineyard – and Alex’s birthright – in jeopardy. He leaves to carve out his own fortune in the rich hills of Napa, California. But will turning his back on the chateau be his biggest mistake?
Laurent Senard’s love for Elise was planted at Sainte Madeleine long ago. But with the shadow of war sweeping over Europe, Laurent must leave France to fight. Through the years of longing, secrecy and tragedy that follow, he vows to find his way back – if only it isn’t too late . . .
Sweeping through the 1920s to WWII and beyond, this is the story of the Salignac family – the loves that bind them, the secrets that threaten to divide them, and the chateau that will always call them home.
Published: February 22nd Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Fairy Tale, Myth and Legend
SYNOPSIS: Don’t chase fate. Let fate chase you.
For generations, deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curse them with death and despair. To appease him, each year a maiden is thrown into the sea, in the hopes that one day the ‘true bride’ will be chosen and end the suffering.
Many believe Shim Cheong – Mina’s brother’s beloved – to be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is sacrificed, Mina’s brother follows her, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.
Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina finds the Sea God, trapped in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man and a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits, Mina sets out to wake him and bring an end to the storms once and for all.
But she doesn’t have much time: a human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking . . .
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a magical feminist retelling of a classic Korean legend, perfect for fans of Uprooted and Miyazaki’s SpiritedAway.
Published: February 22nd Publisher: Roaring Brook Press Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
SYNOPSIS: From debut author Carolyn Tara O’Neil comes a thrilling alternate history set during the Russian Revolution.
Russia, 1918: With the execution of Tsar Nicholas, the empire crumbles and Russia is on the edge of civil war–the poor are devouring the rich. Anna, a bourgeois girl, narrowly escaped the massacre of her entire family in Yekaterinburg. Desperate to get away from the Bolsheviks, she offers a peasant girl a diamond to take her as far south as possible–not realizing that the girl is a communist herself. With her brother in desperate need of a doctor, Evgenia accepts Anna’s offer and suddenly finds herself on the wrong side of the war.
Anna is being hunted by the Bolsheviks, and now–regardless of her loyalties–Evgenia is too.
Daughters of a Dead Empire is a harrowing historical thriller about dangerous ideals, inequality, and the price we pay for change. An imaginative retelling of the Anastasia story.
A nightmare jolts Debs awake. She leaves the kids tucked up in their beds and goes downstairs. There’s a man in her kitchen, holding a knife. But it’s not an intruder. This is her husband Marc, the father of her children. A man she no longer recognises.
Once their differences were what drew them together, what turned them on. Him, the ex-army officer from a good family. Her, the fitness instructor who grew up over a pub. But now these differences grate to the point of drawing blood. Marc screams in his sleep. And Debs hardly knows the person she’s become, or why she lets him hurt her.
Neither of them is completely innocent. Neither is totally guilty. Marc is taller, stronger, and more vicious, haunted by a war he can’t forget. But he has no idea what Debs is capable of when her children’s lives are at stake…
A powerful exploration of a relationship built on passion, poisoned by secrets and violence. Perfect for readers of Blood Orange and Big Little Lies.
Published: December 8th 2021 Publisher: Code Grey Publishing Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Crime Series Format: Paperback, Kindle
I’m closing out the year with a review for a heart-pounding thriller by an author I’ve loved reading this year. Thank you A.J. Campbell for the invitation to take part in the tour and the gifted eBook ARC.
Someone is dying. Everyone is lying.
Glamorous Cara De Rosa has it all: a rapidly expanding chain of family-run Italian restaurants, friends aplenty and an imminent marriage to a much younger man.
When she collapses during a family party, all signs point to a heart attack. But Cara knows better. She confides in her beloved granddaughter, Sienna. Someone wants her dead.
Sienna, a troubled single parent, is exasperated with the police for failing to find the culprit of her husband’s death five years earlier. Her lack of confidence in the justice system leads her to delve into Cara’s chilling allegation.
It’s a race against time to save her grandmother’s life. The more Sienna searches for the truth, the more she discovers her family is riddled with dark secrets, lies and deceit.
But who would want to see the end of the popular Cara De Rosa?
A psychological suspense thriller full of twists and turns
Great for fans of Lisa Jewell, Harlan Coben, Shari Lapena, Adele Parks, Mark Edwards, Miranda Rijks, Daniel Hurst and Lucy Foley.
When De Rosa family Matriarch, Cara, collapses at her great-granddaughter’s birthday party all signs point to a heart attack. But while in hospital Cara confides in her granddaughter Sienna that she has been poisoned, and she knows who wants her dead…
A thrilling mystery skillfully interwoven with compelling family drama, Search No Further is a story of family, secrets, lies and betrayal. It will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, breaking your heart as Cara fights for life in her hospital bed and Sienna continues to grapple with the devastating loss of her husband five years earlier, making you smile as young Lola shares the wisdom only children can possess, and making your heart race as you work to untangle the web of mystery surrounding them all to discover if one of them is a potential killer.
I’ve now read all of A.J. Campbell’s novels and she just keeps getting better. This book is a departure from her Eva Barnes series but I found the De Rosa family utterly compelling. Even without their deep cavern of family secrets this family is entertaining enough for multiple books, a colourful cast of characters who leapt from the page. I especially loved Cara and the sweet relationship she and Sienna shared. It reminded me of the close relationship I enjoyed with my own Grandmother, who I lost earlier this year, right down to how Cara dotes on her great-grandchild, just as mine did. This made me feel even more invested in the story and whether or not Cara would pull through. As we approached the finale I couldn’t read fast enough, my heart pounding so hard I thought it might beat out of my chest right up until the shocking truth was revealed.
A pacy and twisty psychological puzzle that will keep you guessing, read this book if you enjoy a well-written thriller.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
AJ Campbell is the debut author of the bestselling novel Leave Well Alone, which readers describe as ‘a gripping story with a killer twist’. An alumna of the Faber Academy, AJ writes in the psychological suspense, thriller and mystery genres. Her latest novel Don’t Come Looking, although a standalone story, is a sequel to her debut and was released in April 2021.
The human mind and how different people react to each other and interact in society fascinates AJ. She draws inspiration for her novels from many facets of everyday life. Asking, ‘How can that have possibly happened?’ AJ loves to immerse herself in developing threads, plotting and letting her creative energy help her characters evolve.
Until the birth of her twins in 2005, which radically changed her life, AJ worked as an accountant in London. One of her twins was born with severe disabilities, as a result of which she had to give up work to care for him. During this incredibly challenging (and rewarding) time, AJ began to draw on her love of the written word, partly for daily inspiration and partly for her own mental health.
Reading or writing, AJ loves nothing more than settling down with a good book. She enjoys reading most genres, especially thought-provoking novels that beg the question – what would I have done in that situation?
AJ lives on the Essex / Hertfordshire border with her husband, two of her three sons, and her cocker spaniel, Max. She is a firm believer in daily exercise for mental health and enjoys walking Max in the local fields. AJ also loves cooking oriental food while sipping a good glass of white wine.