Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this tense and twisty locked-room mystery. Thank you to Jenny at Hodder and Stoughton for the invitation to take part and gifted copy of the book.
Zoey enjoys her life. She fills it with travel, casual work and partying with friends, and tries not to think about what’s gone wrong in the past.
But after a night out clubbing in New York to celebrate her best friend’s birthday, Zoey wakes in a stifling white room she’s never seen before, with no memory of how she got there. Filled with panic, she searches the luxurious house for someone who can tell her where she is, only to find herself entirely alone in what appears to be vast, unending desert.
Until, in the distance, she hears a woman screaming…
“In that moment I know I can’t just leave the Sanctuary – not until I’ve got to the bottom of whatever is going on.”
I love a good locked-room mystery, and The Sanctuary certainly fits that bill. Fast-paced, tense and addictive, I was putty in the palm of Emma Haughton’s hand as she wove her clever, twisty and intricate tale. There are many layers of mystery in the story: who is Zoey’s mysterious benefactor? Why are residents leaving in the middle of the night? And what is the secret Zoey can’t face?
Haughton transports you into the story, making you feel Zoey’s disorientation and fear as she wakes in this strange place. These feelings only deepen, and are joined by anger and frustration, as she adjusts to her situation. And as she begins to get to know the other patients and staff, it seems things only get more cryptic and strange. Something is clearly not right about this place, and Zoey can’t resist delving deeper into the mystery, the tension escalating alongside the danger they are facing. I was reading with my heart pounding in my chest as I tried to predict the answers to my many questions.
Atmospheric, claustrophobic and utterly compelling, this is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a well written thriller.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
From Emma’s Website: Emma Haughton grew up in Sussex; after a stint au pairing in Paris and a couple of half-hearted attempts to backpack across Europe, she studied English at Oxford University then trained in journalism. During her career as a journalist, she wrote many articles for national newspapers, including regular pieces for the Times Travel section.
Following publication of her picture book, Rainy Day, Emma wrote three YA novels. Her first, Now You See Me, was an Amazon bestseller and nominated for the Carnegie and Amazing Book Awards. Better Left Buried, her second, was one of the best YA reads for 2015 in the Sunday Express. Her third YA novel, Cruel Heart Broken, was picked by The Bookseller as a top YA read for July 2016.
The Dark, Emma’s chilling new thriller for adults, was published by Hodder in August 2021.
We’re edging closer to the end of the year and the number of releases is slowling down a little, but there are still a number of exciting books to look forward to. Here are the ones I’m most excited about being released next month.
SYNOPSIS: Secrets. Suspicion. Survival. No one writes relationships better than B.A. PARIS
Amelie has always been a survivor, from losing her parents as a child in Paris to making it on her own in London. As she builds a career for herself in the magazine industry, she meets, and agrees to marry, Ned Hawthorne.
Amelie wakes up in a pitch-black room, not knowing where she is. Why has she been taken? Who are her mysterious captors? And why does she soon feel safer here, imprisoned, than she had begun to feel with her husband Ned?
In true B.A. Paris style, The Prisoner is a gripping survival story, a twisted love story and at its dark heart a thriller to keep you up all night.
SYNOPSIS: A book with all of life’s answers, if only you can find it…
‘Extravagant, sexy and compelling. I loved it.’ LAUREN BEUKES
Rare book dealer Lily Albrecht has just been given a tip-off about The Book of the Most Precious Substance, a 17th century manual rumoured to be the most powerful occult book ever written, if it really exists at all.
With some of the wealthiest people in the world willing to pay Lily a fortune to track it down, she embarks on a journey from New York to New Orleans to Munich to Paris.
If she finds it, Lily stands to gain more than just money. This could erase the greatest tragedy of her life. But will Lily’s quest help her find some answers, or will she lose everything in search of a ghost?
Published: November 8th Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Dark Fantasy, High Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: I am the monster. I am the shield. I am the knife in the dark.
Ranka is tired of death. All she wants now is to be left alone, living out her days in Witchik’s wild north with the coven that raised her, attempting to forget the horrors of her past. But when she is named Bloodwinn, the next treaty bride to the human kingdom of Isodal, her coven sends her south with a single directive: kill him. Easy enough, for a blood-witch whose magic compels her to kill.
Except the prince is gentle, kind, and terrified of her. He doesn’t want to marry Ranka; he doesn’t want to be king at all. And it’s his sister – the wickedly smart, infuriatingly beautiful Princess Aramis – who seems to be real threat.
But when witches start turning up dead, murdered by a mysterious, magical plague, Aramis makes Ranka an offer: help her develop a cure, and in return, she’ll teach Ranka to contain her deadly magic. But as the coup draws nearer and the plague spreads, Ranka is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her power, her past, and who she’s meant to fight for. Soon, she will have choose between the coven that raised her – and the princess who sees beyond the monster they shaped her to be. But as the bodies pile up, a monster may be exactly what they need.
Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory(Fairmile Series Book 3)
Published: November 8th Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Historical Fiction, Myths, Fairy Tale, Domestic Fiction
SYNOPSIS: The spellbinding Fairmile series continues as the fiercely independent Alinor and her family find themselves entangled in palace intrigue, political upheaval, and life-changing secrets in seventeenth-century England.
It is 1685, England is on the brink of a renewed civil war against the Stuart kings and many families are bitterly divided. Ned Ferryman cannot persuade his sister Alinor that he is right to return from America with his Pokanoket servant Rowan to join the rebel army. Instead, Alinor has been coaxed by the manipulative Livia to save the queen from the coming siege. The rewards are life-changing: the family could return to their beloved Tidelands, and Alinor could rule where she was once lower than a servant.
Alinor’s son, Rob, is determined to stay clear of the war, but when he and his nephew set out to free Ned from execution for treason and Rowan from a convict deportation to Barbados, they find themselves enmeshed in the creation of an imposter Prince of Wales – a surrogate baby to the queen.
From the last battle in the desolate Somerset Levels to the hidden caves on the slave island of Barbados, this third volume of an epic story follows a family from one end of the empire to another, to find a new dawn in a world which is opening up before them with greater rewards and dangers than ever before.
Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lynn Tan (The Celestial Kingdom Book 2)
Published: November 10th Publisher: Harper Voyager UK Genre: Fairy Tale, High Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Myths & Legends, Fantasy Series
SYNOPSIS: The stunning conclusion to the Celestial Kingdom Duology
An unspeakable terror is sweeping across the realm as the Celestial Emperor tightens his grip on power. The fragile peace Xingyin fought so hard for when freeing her mother is under threat.
Forced to flee her home, Xingyin ventures into the unexplored lands of the Immortal Realm to seek aid in her fight, but, with alliances shifting quicker than the tides, she has to overcome past grudges and enmities to forge a new path forward, seeking aid where she never imagined.
Xingyin must uncover the truth of her heart and claw her way through devastation – to rise against evil before it destroys everything she holds dear, and the worlds she has grown to love … even if doing so demands the greatest price of all.
The stunning sequel to the Sunday Times bestselling Daughter of the Moon Goddess delves deeper into beloved Chinese mythology, concluding the epic story of Xingyin – the daughter of Chang’e and the mortal archer Houyi – as she battles a grave new threat to the realm, in this powerful tale of love, sacrifice, and hope.
Murder on the Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict
Published: November 10th Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Holiday Fiction, Adventure Fiction
SYNOPSIS: **COULD YOU SOLVE THE CASE? PRE-ORDER NOW FOR THE PUZZLING CHRISTMAS MYSTERY OF THE YEAR**
Eighteen passengers. Seven stops. One killer.
In the early hours of Christmas Eve, the sleeper train to the Highlands is derailed, along with the festive plans of its travellers. With the train stuck in snow in the middle of nowhere, a killer stalks its carriages, picking off passengers one by one. Those who sleep on the sleeper train may never wake again.
Can former Met detective Roz Parker find the killer before they kill again?
All aboard for . . . Murder on the Christmas Express
Published: November 10th Publisher: Orenda Books Genre: Thriller, Medical Thriller, Police Procedural
SYNOPSIS: A young man wakes from a coma to find himself targeted by the men who killed his parents, while someone is impersonating a notorious New Zealand serial killer … the latest chilling, nerve-shredding, twisty thriller from the author of The Quiet People…
James Garrett was critically injured when he was shot following his parents’ execution, and no one expected him to waken from a deep, traumatic coma. When he does, nine years later, Detective Inspector Rebecca Kent is tasked with closing the case that her now retired colleague, Theodore Tate, failed to solve all those years ago.
But between that, and hunting for Copy Joe – a murderer on a spree, who’s imitating Christchurch’s most notorious serial killer – she’s going to need Tate’s help … especially when they learn that James has lived out another life in his nine-year coma, and there are things he couldn’t possibly know, including the fact that Copy Joe isn’t the only serial killer in town…
Published: November 10th Publisher: Orion Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Horror Fiction, Crime Series
SYNOPSIS: AN OLD ENEMY IS LAID TO REST . . . AND A NEW CRIME IS DISCOVERED
Florence Lovelady, the most senior serving policewoman in Britain, visits convicted serial killer Larry Glassbrook in prison. Larry is coming to the end of his life but has one last task for Florence: to learn the identity of the remains discovered at children’s home Black Moss Manor. The town Florence escaped narrowly with her life still holds many secrets. Will she finally learn the truth? Or will time run out for her first?
The latest Florence Lovelady thriller, set shortly after the bestselling first novel The Craftsman in the chilling, new series from Richard and Judy bestseller Sharon Bolton
Published: November 10th Publisher: Scribe UK Genre: Historical Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Could you marry a man you’ve never met? Three Korean women in 1918 make a life-changing journey to Hawaii, where they will marry, having seen only photographs of their intended husbands.
Different fates await each of these women. Hong-ju, who dreams of a marriage of ‘natural love’, meets a man who looks twenty years older than his photograph; Song-hwa, who wants to escape from her life of ridicule as the granddaughter of a shaman, meets a lazy drunkard. And then there’s Willow, whose 26-year-old groom, Taewan, looks just like his image …
Real life doesn’t always resemble a picture, but there’s no going back. And while things don’t turn out quite as they’d hoped, even for Willow, they do find something that makes their journey worthwhile ― each other.
Published: November 10th Publisher: William Morrow Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Adventure Fiction
SYNOPSIS: For fans of Lucy Foley and Liane Moriarty, a twisty, escapist suspense about a mysterious retreat center harboring violent secrets.
A perfect paradise? Or a perfect nightmare?
On a river deep in the Mexican jungle stands the colossal villa Xanadu, a wellness center that’s home an ardent spiritual group devoted to self-help guru Paul Bentzen and his enigmatic wife Kali. But when Paul mysteriously dies, his entire estate—including Xanadu—is left not to Kali, but to his estranged niece Sveta.
Shocked and confused, Sveta travels from New York City to Mexico to pay her respects. At first, Xanadu seems like a secluded paradise with its tumbling gardens, beautiful people, and transcendent vibe. But soon the mystical façade wears thin, revealing a group of brainwashed members drunk on promises of an impossible utopia, guided by a disturbing belief system and a charismatic, dangerously capable leader.
As the sinister forces surrounding Sveta become apparent, she realizes, too late, she can’t escape. Frantic and terrified, she discovers her only chance of survival is to put her confidence in the very person she trusts the least.
Published: November 10th Publisher: Apollo Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Regency Romance
SYNOPSIS: The rich and atmospheric new novel from prize-winning author Sally Gardner, set in the 18th century between the two great Frost Fairs.
Neva Friezland is born into a world of trickery and illusion, where fortunes can be won and lost on the turn of a card.
She is also born with an extraordinary gift. She can predict the weather. In Regency England, where the proper goal for a gentlewoman is marriage and only God knows the weather, this is dangerous. It is also potentially very lucrative.
In order to debate with the men of science and move about freely, Neva adopts a sophisticated male disguise. She foretells the weather from inside an automaton created by her brilliant clockmaker father.
But what will happen when the disguised Neva falls in love with a charismatic young man?
It can be very dangerous to be ahead of your time. Especially as a woman.
Murder Most Royal by S. J. Bennett (Her Majesty Investigates Book 3)
Published: November 10th Publisher: Zaffre Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Mystery Series
SYNOPSIS: THE ROYALLY BRILLIANT THIRD BOOK IN THE HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN INVESTIGATES MYSTERY SERIES ____________________
Christmas at Sandringham is going to be murder . . .
A human hand and a bag of drugs are found washed up on a beach next to the Queen’s estate at Sandringham
The Queen identifies the 70-year-old victim, Edward St Cyr, from his signet ring. But the search for his killer is not so straightforward. Suspects include the Queen’s horse groom, a shady land agent, an aristocrat neighbour, as well as the victim’s many cousins and relations.
The investigation leads the Queen – and her trusted assistant, Rozie – to a local pigeon racing club, back to London, and to the ancient, moated Godwick Hall. But how do the seemingly disparate pieces of the puzzle fit together? And who is the next victim?
Agatha Christie meets The Crown in MURDER MOST ROYAL, the much-anticipated third book in the ‘Her Majesty The Queen Investigates’ mystery series by SJ Bennett – for fans of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, Agatha Christie and M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin.
Published: November 10th Publisher: Harper Collins UK Genre: Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance, Humorous Fiction, Holiday Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Ever wished it could be Christmas every day?
Newly single lawyer Gwen Baker is hoping that a family Christmas – countryside, a mountain of food and festive films – will salve the sting of her career hanging by a thread and her heart being trampled on. Because everyone else has their life sorted: even Dev, her boy-next-door crush, is now a tall, dark and handsome stranger with a fiancée. She can’t help wishing her future was clearer.
Then Gwen wakes up to discover it’s Christmas day all over again. Like Groundhog Day but with turkey. And family arguments. On repeat.
As she figures out how to escape her own particular Christmas hell, Dev is the one bright spot. He might be all grown-up but underneath he’s just as kind and funny as she remembers.
Maybe, just maybe, her heart can be mended after all.
But how do you fall in love with someone who can’t remember you from one day to the next?
SYNOPSIS: Olivia fled her abusive marriage to return to her hometown and take over the family beekeeping business when her son Asher was six. Now, impossibly, her baby is six feet tall and in his last year of high school, a kind, good-looking, popular ice hockey star with a tiny sprite of a new girlfriend.
Lily also knows what it feels like to start over – when she and her mother relocated to New Hampshire it was all about a fresh start. She and Asher couldn’t help falling for each other, and Lily feels happy for the first time. But can she trust him completely?
Then Olivia gets a phone call – Lily is dead, and Asher is arrested on a charge of murder. As the case against him unfolds, she realises he has hidden more than he’s shared with her. And Olivia knows firsthand that the secrets we keep reflect the past we want to leave behind - and that we rarely know the people we love well as we think we do.
SYNOPSIS: SHE WAS THE LAST PERSON TO SEE THE BABY…
You may not know Betty Gow’s name – but ‘the Lindbergh nanny’ is infamous.
In 1932, all eyes are on Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the most glamorous and intriguing couple in America. But who was paying attention when, one evening in early March, their baby son was stolen from the family home?
The Lindbergh nanny is the first person to discover Charlie missing… and the last to see him that night.
With the world watching on, Betty must discover the truth about what really happened to young Charlie, to clear her own name – and to find justice for the little boy she loves.
A propulsive re-imagining of America’s most notorious crime of the twentieth century, told through the eyes of the young woman who found herself at the heart of the case.
SYNOPSIS: Ruby Mills is ruthlessly ambitious, strikingly beautiful – and one of the Forty Thieves’ most talented members.
Harriet Littlemore writes the women’s section in a local newspaper. She’s from a ‘good’ London family and engaged to an up-and-coming Member of Parliament – but she wants a successful career of her own.
After witnessing Ruby fleeing the scene of a robbery, Harriet develops a fascination with the elusive young thief that extends beyond journalistic interest. As their personal aspirations bring them into closer contact than society’s rules usually allow, Ruby and Harriet’s stories become increasingly intertwined.
Their magnetic dynamic, fraught with envy and desire, tells a compulsive, cinematic story about class, morality and the cost of being an independent woman in 1920s London.
SYNOPSIS: A disenchanted man struggles to get beyond the first chapter of the books he’s writing, and to separate fact from fiction in his own life. His friend’s suicide changes everything … The mind-blowing, heart-rending new thriller from cult bestselling author Will Carver.
Eli Hagin can’t finish anything.
He hates his job, but can’t seem to quit. He doesn’t want to be with his girlfriend, but doesn’t know how end things with her, either. Eli wants to write a novel, but he’s never taken a story beyond the first chapter.
Eli also has trouble separating reality from fiction.
When his best friend kills himself, Eli is motivated, for the first time in his life, to finally end something himself, just as Mike did…
Except sessions with his therapist suggest that Eli’s most recent ‘first chapters’ are not as fictitious as he had intended … and a series of text messages that Mike received before his death point to something much, much darker…
SYNOPSIS: Very few people get the opportunity to stay here. And some don’t get to leave …
Zoey doesn’t remember anything about last night. But she knows something went badly wrong. For she is no longer in New York. She’s woken up in the desert, in a white building she doesn’t recognise, and she’s alone.
When she discovers she’s been admitted to The Sanctuary, a discreet, mysterious, isolated refuge from normal life, to avoid jail, she is stunned. She knows she has secrets, troubles, but she thought she had everything under control. But as she spends more time with other residents, she begins to open up about what she’s running from. Until she realises that not everyone in The Sanctuary has her best interests at heart, and someone might even be a killer . . .
Published: November 24th Publisher: HQ Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
Childhood betrayal casts a long shadow…
From the author of The Haven and The Cliff House, this is a devastating thriller set in a Cornish boarding school.
‘A gripping page-turner’ Tammy Cohen, author of The Wedding Party
At a bleak boys’ boarding school in Cornwall in the eighties when bullying is rife, Will and his best friend, Luke, are involved in a horrific incident that results in Luke leaving.
Twenty-five years later their paths cross again and memories of a painful childhood come flooding back to haunt them both.
Will’s wife, Harmony, is struggling after a miscarriage that has hit her hard, and wishes Will would open up about what happened. But as Will withdraws further, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic stranger from her husband’s past, Luke, and soon all three are caught in a tangled web of guilt and desire . . .
From Amanda Jennings, author of The Cliff House, comes a haunting thriller about betrayal and revenge.
Published: November 29th Publisher: Tor Genre: Contemporary Romance, Disability Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Chicago, sometime. Two people meet in the armory of the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. After their meeting, those things do not change.
Everything else, however, is slightly different.
Both obsessive, eccentric personalities, Aldo Damiani and Charlotte Regan struggle to be without each other from the moment they meet. The truth – that he is a clinically depressed, anti-social theoretician and she is a manipulative liar with a history of self-sabotage – means the deeper they fall in love, the more troubling their reliance on each other becomes.
Alone With You in the Ether by Olivie Blake is a glimpse into the nature of love, what it means to be unwell, and how to face the fractures of yourself and still love as if you’re not broken.
Published: November 29th Publisher: Literary Fiction Genre: Scribner UK
SYNOPSIS: From the author of A Little Hopecomes an enormously powerful and life-affirming novel about three individuals whose lives intersect in unforeseen ways.
Set in a close-knit Pennsylvania suburb in the grip of winter, A Quiet Life follows three people grappling with loss and finding a tender wisdom in their grief.
Chuck Ayers used to look forward to nothing so much as his annual trip to Hilton Head with his wife, Cat–that yearly taste of relaxation they’d become accustomed to in retirement, after a lifetime of working and raising two children. Now, just months after Cat’s death, Chuck finds that he can’t let go of her things–her favorite towel, the sketchbooks in her desk drawer–as he struggles to pack for a trip he can’t imagine taking without her.
Ella Burke delivers morning newspapers and works at a bridal shop to fill her days while she anxiously awaits news–any piece of information–about her missing daughter. Ella adjusts to life in a new apartment and answers every call on her phone, hoping her daughter will reach out one day.
After the sudden death of her father, Kirsten Bonato set aside her veterinary school aspirations, finding comfort in the steady routine of working at an animal shelter. But as time passes, old dreams and new romantic interests begin to surface–and Kirsten finds herself at another crossroads.
In this beautifully crafted and profoundly moving novel, three parallel narratives converge in poignant and unexpected ways, as each character bravely presses onward, trying to recover something they have lost. Emotionally riveting and infused with hope, A Quiet Life celebrates humanity in the midst of uncertainty.
SYNOPSIS: You’ve got no idea what you’re dredging up. You’re going to ruin everything.
The past is not going to stay buried in this unputdownable crime novel, the first in a series featuring Detective Hanna Duncker. Fans of Ragnar Jonasson and Ann Cleeves will be gripped by this moving and atmospheric crime novel, already a bestseller in Sweden.
Hanna Duncker has returned to the remote island she spent her childhood on and to the past that saw her father convicted for murder. In a cruel twist of fate her new boss is the policeman who put him behind bars.
On her first day on the job as the new detective, Hanna is called to a crime scene. The fifteen-year-old son of her former best friend has been found dead and Hanna is thrown into a complex investigation set to stir up old ghosts.
Not everyone is happy to have the daughter of Lars Duncker back in town. Hanna soon realises that she will have to watch her back as she turns over every stone to find the person responsible…
SYNOPSIS: Six friends. One college reunion. One unsolved murder.
Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to her southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see—confident, beautiful, indifferent. Not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather Shelby’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year.
But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night—and the years’ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.
Told in racing dual timelines, with a dark campus setting and a darker look at friendship, love, obsession, and ambition, In My Dreams I Hold A Knife is an addictive, propulsive read you won’t be able to put down.
Published: August 4th, 2021 Publisher: Orion Genre: Suspense, Psychological Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Now I’m in charge, the gates are my gates. The rules are my rules.
It’s an incendiary moment for St Oswald’s school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls.
Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely forty, she is just starting to reap the harvest of her ambition. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered.
But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She’ll bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before. After all…
Published: August 5th, 2021 Publisher: Head of Zeus Genre: Humorous Fiction
SYNOPSIS: If you were offered a chance to cure your child’s disease, would you take it?
The Willows have been through a lot. Louise has devoted her life to caring for her disabled youngest daughter. Pete works abroad, almost never seeing his loved ones. And their eldest, Eliza, is burdened by all the secrets she’s trying to keep from her overloaded family.
Meanwhile, Patience observes the world while trapped in her own body. She laughs, she cries, she has opinions and knows what she wants. But those who love her most – and make every decision about her life – will never know.
Or will they? When the Willows are offered the opportunity for Patience to take part in a new gene therapy trial to cure her Rett syndrome, they face an impossible dilemma. Are the very real risks worth the chance of the reward, no matter how small?
Published: August 5th, 2021 Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction, Biographical Fiction
SYNOPSIS: THE DELICIOUSLY DARK REIMAGINING OF THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HISTORY’S ORIGINAL FEMALE SERIAL KILLER
Bella Sorensen loves men. She loves them to death . . .
Early in life Bella Sorensen discovers the world is made only for men. They own everything: jobs, property, wives. But Bella understands what few others do: where women are concerned, men are weak.
A woman unhampered by scruples can take from them what she wants. And so Bella sets out to prove to the world that a woman can be just as ruthless, black-hearted and single-minded as any man.
Starting with her long suffering husband, Mads, Bella embarks on a killing spree the like of which has never been seen before nor since.
And through it all her kind, older sister Nellie can only watch in horror as Bella’s schemes to enrich herself and cut down the male population come to a glorious, dreadful fruition . . .
Based on the true story of Belle Gunness whose killing spree began in Chicago in 1900, Triflers Need Not Apply is a novelistic tour de force exploring one woman’s determination to pay men back for all they have taken.
Published: August 5th, 2021 Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller
SYNOPSIS: He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you.
The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him.
Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact.
Because you’re the one who killed him. It’s time to confess what we did up there.
‘Kieran Watts has been dead for over two years when I see him standing on the roof of a building in Shad Thames…’
SYNOPSIS: Shirley Jackson meets Ottessa Moshfegh meets My Sister the Serial Killer in a brilliantly unsettling and darkly funny debut novel full of suspense and paranoia
George March’s latest novel is a smash hit. None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings.
A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence on the Upper East Side. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book – a pathetic sex worker, more a figure of derision than desire – is based on Mrs. March.
One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.
A razor-sharp exploration of the fragility of identity and the smothering weight of expectations, Mrs. March heralds the arrival of a wicked and wonderful new voice.
SYNOPSIS: In the quiet, wealthy enclave of Brecken Hill, an older couple is brutally murdered hours after a tense Easter dinner with their three adult children. Who, of course, are devastated.
Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you’d know.
SYNOPSIS: Could one rare plant hold the key to a thousand riches?
It’s the summer of 1822 and Edinburgh is abuzz with rumours of King George IV’s impending visit. In botanical circles, however, a different kind of excitement has gripped the city. In the newly-installed Botanic Garden, the Agave Americana plant looks set to flower – an event that only occurs once every few decades.
When newly widowed Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh to live with her late husband’s aunt Clementina, she’s determined to put her unhappy past in London behind her. As she settles into her new home, she becomes fascinated by the beautiful Botanic Garden which borders the grand house and offers her services as an artist to record the rare plant’s impending bloom. In this pursuit, she meets Belle Brodie, a vivacious young woman with a passion for botany and the lucrative, dark art of perfume creation.
Belle is determined to keep both her real identity and the reason for her interest the Garden secret from her new friend. But as Elizabeth and Belle are about to discover, secrets don’t last long in this Enlightenment city . . .
And when they are revealed, they can carry the greatest of consequences.
Published: August 5th, 2021 Publisher: Picador Genre: Biography, Autobiography, Cookbook
SYNOPSIS: From the indie rockstar Japanese Breakfast, an unflinching, powerful, deeply moving memoir about growing up mixed-race, Korean food, losing her Korean mother, and forging her own identity.
‘As good as everyone says it is and, yes, it will have you in tears. An essential read for anybody who has lost a loved one, as well as those who haven’t.’ Marie–Claire
In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humour and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian-American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the east coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, performing gigs with her fledgling band – and meeting the man who would become her husband – her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.
Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Michelle Zauner’s voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.
Published: August 5th, 2021 Publisher: John Blake Genre: True Crime
SYNOPSIS: ‘The whole story is so terrible. You will be disgusted and amazed.’ Graham Young, confessing his crimes to detectives
There are few criminal cases more astonishing yet less well known than that of Graham Young. A quintessentially British crime story set in the post-war London suburbs, it involves two sensational trials, murders both certain and probable, a clutch of forgiving relatives, and scores of surviving victims.
Fourteen in the summer of 1962, Graham stood in the Old Bailey dock charged with poisoning a schoolfriend and family members by adding antimony to their packed lunches, Sunday roast and morning cups of tea. Diagnosed with multiple personality disorders, Graham’s trial resulted in his detainment at Broadmoor, where he was the youngest patient.
But it was on his release from Broadmoor that Graham caused the greatest harm. Finding employment in Hadlands, a photographic supplies firm, his role as junior storeman meant he was expected to make tea and coffee for his colleagues. And very soon, numerous members of staff began experiencing crippling stomach pains…
A psychologically astute insight into the mind of a complex and intriguing individual, A Passion for Poison is true crime at its best.
Published: August 12th, 2021 Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Genre: Suspense, Thriller
SYNOPSIS: Carrie wants a normal life. Carrie Lawrence doesn’t need a happily ever after. She’ll just settle for “after.” After a decade of helping her sister hide her victims. After a lifetime of lies. She just wants to be safe, boring, and not trekking through the woods at night with a dead body wrapped in a carpet.
Becca wants to get away with murder. Becca Lawrence doesn’t believe in happily ever after because she’s already happy. She’s gotten away with murder for a decade and has blackmailed her sister into helping her hide the evidence-what more could a girl want?
But first they have to stop a serial killer. When thirteen bodies are discovered in their small town, people are shocked. But not as shocked as Carrie, who thought she knew all the details of Becca’s sordid pastime. When Becca swears she’s not behind the grisly new crimes, they realize the town has a second serial killer who has the sisters in his sights, and what he wants is . . . Carrie.
SYNOPSIS: ONE DEAD BODY. TWELVE SUSPECTS. TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR DARKNESS.
In the most inhospitable environment – cut off from the rest of the world – there’s a killer on the loose.
A&E doctor Kate North has been knocked out of her orbit by a personal tragedy. So when she’s offered the opportunity to be an emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica, she jumps at the chance. The previous doctor, Jean-Luc, died in a tragic accident while out on the ice.
The move seems an ideal solution for Kate: no one knows about her past; no one is checking up on her. But as total darkness descends for the winter, she begins to suspect that Jean-Luc’s death wasn’t accidental at all.
And the more questions she asks, the more dangerous it becomes . . .
Published: August 19th, 2021 Publisher: Picador Genre: Political Fiction
SYNOPSIS: From the widely acclaimed author of American War, Omar El Akkad, a beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic and profoundly moving novel that brings the global refugee crisis down to the level of a child’s eyes.
More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another over-filled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too-many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives in their homelands. And only one had made the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who has the good fortune to fall into the hands not of the officials, but of Vänna: a teenage girl, native to the island, who lives inside her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though Vänna and Amir are complete strangers and don’t speak a common language, Vänna determines to do whatever it takes to save him.
In alternating chapters, we learn the story of Amir’s life and of how he came to be on the boat; and we follow the duo as they make their way towards a vision of safety. But as the novel unfurls, we begin to understand that this is not merely the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. Omar El Akkad’s What Strange Paradise is the story of our collective moment in this time: of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair – and of the way each of those things can blind us to reality, or guide us to a better one.
SYNOPSIS: The case is unexceptional, that is what I know. A house full of stuff left behind by a dead woman, abandoned at the last . . .
When trauma cleaner Essie Pound makes a gruesome discovery in the derelict Edinburgh boarding house she is sent to clean, it brings her into contact with a young policewoman, Emily Noble, who has her own reasons to solve the case.
As the two women embark on a journey into the heart of a forgotten family, the investigation prompts fragmented memories of their own traumatic histories – something Emily has spent a lifetime attempting to bury, and Essie a lifetime trying to lay bare.
Emily Noble’s Disgrace is the third novel from Mary Paulson-Ellis, the bestselling author of The Other Mrs Walker, a Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year.
Published: August 19th, 2021 Publisher: Orenda Books Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Political Fiction, Religious Fiction, Adventure Fiction, Urban Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A young woman defies convention in a small Pakistani village, with devastating results for her and her family. A stunning, immense beautiful novel about courage, family and the meaning of love, when everything seems lost…
In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.
When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.
Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.
Moving from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore, No Honour is a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms … a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman’s battle for change.
SYNOPSIS: No one even knew they were together. Now one of them is dead.
56 DAYS AGO Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin and start dating the same week COVID-19 reaches Irish shores.
35 DAYS AGO When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests they move in together. Ciara sees a unique opportunity for a relationship to flourish without the scrutiny of family and friends. Oliver sees a chance to hide who – and what – he really is.
TODAY Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.
Can they determine what really happened, or has lockdown created an opportunity for someone to commit the perfect crime?
SYNOPSIS: THE STANDALONE THRILLER FROM THE MILLION-COPY BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF RAGDOLL – SOON TO BE A MAJOR TV SERIES
The Women of Troy by Pat Barker
Published: August 26th, 2021 Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Genre: Historical Fiction, War Story
SYNOPSIS: Following her bestselling, critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker continues her extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest myths.
Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home as victors – all they need is a good wind to lift their sails. But the wind has vanished, the seas becalmed by vengeful gods, and so the warriors remain in limbo – camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, kept company by the women they stole from it.
The women of Troy.
Helen – poor Helen. All that beauty, all that grace – and she was just a mouldy old bone for feral dogs to fight over.
Cassandra, who has learned not to be too attached to her own prophecies. They have only ever been believed when she can get a man to deliver them.
Stubborn Amina, with her gaze still fixed on the ruined towers of Troy, determined to avenge the slaughter of her king.
Hecuba, howling and clawing her cheeks on the silent shore, as if she could make her cries heard in the gloomy halls of Hades. As if she could wake the dead.
And Briseis, carrying her future in her womb: the unborn child of the dead hero Achilles. Once again caught up in the disputes of violent men. Once again faced with the chance to shape history.
Masterful and enduringly resonant, ambitious and intimate, The Women of Troy continues Pat Barker’s extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest classical myths, following on from the critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls.
Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She’s seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous.
Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn’t mean she’s a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?
Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.
Look what you started.
THE SCORCHING NEW THRILLER FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and INTO THE WATER
Today you’re getting two for the price of one as I couldn’t resist sharing the first lines from both of the gorgeous proofs I was kindly sent by Hodder and Stoughton this week. The Hodder Fiction Showcase 2021 was held last night and was a wonderful evening full of exciting upcoming releases. I might have requested almost all of the books that were discussed. But I was also fortunate to receive a package from them before the event with two of the books highlighted, which also happen to be two of the books I’m most excited for this summer.
“White. Endless, featureless, mind-numbing white. A white so bright it hurts your eyes, at once beautiful and dreadful. I’ve arrived, finally, at the end of the earth – or rather its southernmost tip.”
These arresting first lines are taken from The Dark by Emma Haughton, an electrifying thriller which is out August 19th. Check out the synopsis below to see why I’m so excited about this book.
ONE DEAD BODY TWELVE SUSPECTS TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR DARKNESS
In the most inhospitable environment – cut off from the rest of the world – there’s a killer on the loose.
A&E doctor Kate North has been knocked out of her orbit by a personal tragedy. So when she’s offered the chance to be an emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica, she jumps at the chance. The previous doctor, Jean-Luc, died in a tragic accident while out on the ice.
The move seems an ideal solution for Kate: no one knows about her past; no one is checking up on her. But as total darkness descends for the winter, she begins to suspect that Jean-Luc’s death wasn’t accidental at all. And the more questions she asks, the more dangerous it becomes for them all . . .
“Among the masses of driftwood on the shore, the creature lies sprawled on black-flecked sand. From far away, it had looked like a giant slug, bloated on the shore, but now, nearing it, Ruth can see it is a mammal. A warm-blooded, air-breathing mammal with a belly button, just like her.”
The Stranding by Kate Sawyer is a hopeful debut which is out June 24th. And just look at that gorgeous proof cover.
HER WORLD FELL TO PIECES. FROM THE BONES SHE BUILT A NEW LIFE.
Ruth lives in the heart of the city. Working, drinking, falling in love: the rhythm of her vivid and complicated life is set against a background hum of darkening news reports from which she deliberately turns away.
When a new romance becomes claustrophobic, Ruth chooses to leave behind the failing relationship, but also her beloved friends and family, and travels to the other side of the world in pursuit of her dream life working with whales in New Zealand.
But when Ruth arrives, the news cycle she has been ignoring for so long is now the new reality. Far from home and with no real hope of survival, she finds herself climbing into the mouth of a beached whale alongside a stranger. When she emerges, it is to a landscape that bears no relation to the world they knew before.
When all has been razed to the ground, what does it mean to build a life?
The Stranding is a story about the hope that can remain even when the world is changed beyond recognition.