Published: May 13th, 2021 Publisher: Sandstone Press Genre: General Fiction Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
As part of the Squadpod’s Sandtember, I’m featuring an extract from The Disassembly of Doreen Durant on the blog today. Thank you to Sandstone for the extract and proof.
From her apartment window, Doreen Durand witnesses a horrific accident. The police want to know what she saw. Doreen doesn’t want to tell them – or anyone. But when she runs away it’s straight into the fantastic world of the wealthy and mysterious Violet Cascade. With one rogue police officer in pursuit, and life becoming more bizarre by the day, Doreen is caught up in a surreal game of cat and mouse.
The first weekend after Whitney left, a man showed up at the apartment unannounced. He knocked on the door too many times in a row, then rang the doorbell. Doreen ignored it at first – slightly scared, but also sleepily negligent – but when he drilled one more ungodly time on the doorbell, she pushed her hair around into something not haphazard, slipped on a pair of sweatpants, and answered it. ‘Whitney, right?’ said an older, grizzled man. He wore a stained t-shirt that wrapped too-tight around his globe of a gut and extended a callused hand in greeting. ‘I’m Jack.’ ‘Sorry, no,’ said Doreen, not saying her name and not taking his hand. ‘I’m here for the couch.’ ‘The couch? What?’ ‘You must be the roommate. Whitney gave me the address. I’m here for the couch you girls were selling.’ Doreen looked over her shoulder at the sofa in the living room, one of the few things Whitney had left. There was the sofa, a coffee table, an empty TV stand, and not much else. ‘I didn’t know she was selling it,’ Doreen said to the sofa. Jack craned his neck to try to see around her. ‘I’m sorry, I don’t want to cause a fuss,’ he said. ‘She posted an ad for the couch the other day. I said I was interested and we made a deal over email. I already sent her a hundred bucks – pretty good deal for a couch that nice. She said this morning would be a good time to pick it up. She said you might be the only one here, but it was fine to stop by.’ ‘Right,’ said Doreen. She picked at nothing behind her ear and squinted at the man. ‘I guess, yeah, you have to take it. Sure.’ Jack called down to a younger man who had been waiting in a pickup truck in the parking lot and the two of them came inside, thudding across the living room carpet in heavy, dusty boots, Saturday-sweaty. They lifted the long sofa, but struggled to shimmy it out the front door. The apartment was built in the seventies – Whitney said she had had to sign a waiver about lead paint or something – and its age showed whenever furniture was moved around like this. The floor creaked, the walls were too easily scuffed. The wood around the doorframe might as well have been made of fabric and seemed to stretch around the sofa squeezing through. ‘That’s it. There we go,’ said Jack. They marched it down to the pickup and threw it in the back. After they had it secured, Jack turned and nodded a mannish goodbye up at Doreen on the balcony, who shrugged and went back inside. A brighter rectangle of carpet remained where the couch had been. Whitney had bought it, so she had sold it. That was it. Logic, running its course around Doreen like a river running dry. What else had she bought? Doreen paced around and took inventory of all the things in her life that were not her own and could also vanish without warning. It was true, she hadn’t bought any of the furniture in the apartment – Whitney had been living there for almost a year before she came along – but the sudden removal was still jarring. For a minute, it felt like her life was being uprooted without her, but that was followed quickly by the realization that these roots were never hers to begin with. This scene repeated itself all weekend and the following weekend as well. With no warning, strangers showed up at the apartment asking for Whitney, explaining the transaction they had made and requesting entry. One after the other, the coffee table, the TV stand, the kitchen table and chairs, the decorative poufs, a mirror – all disappeared, taken away by strangers – men and women of varying ages and degrees of inclination towards small talk, like ants touring the shell of some dead animal, taking what they needed. After the second weekend of this, Doreen still hadn’t communicated with Whitney. An aggressive-aggressive text message would have been more than appropriate to send by now, but she didn’t. It wasn’t that she was actively refusing to communicate – the idea of reaching out, of snidely asking if anyone else would be coming by, just wasn’t there to be had. She sat on the carpet in the empty living room alone and did nothing while the dwelling around her disappeared. The trappings of life flew away. Sounds reverberated differently in the emptiness. She had no idea what to do with herself. She started letting things go. Nothing extraordinary, but little things like letting the few dishes that were left pile up in the sink, leaving wrappers and pop cans on the floor, letting the long black tails of chargers for different electronics dangle out across the living room. It wasn’t depression, she thought, it was simply a letting go. A closing. She felt a valve in her mind turn off, and another turn on, leading somewhere else, with some other function entirely. There was a miraculousness to it. She felt weightless. She had read once, in some quasi-self-help, tip-ridden pop-up article, about the importance of letting go – a more dressed-up version of spring cleaning, sponsored by a cleaning company – and how it could clean the mind, reformat the authenticity of life. Doreen wasn’t sure this was what was happening to her, but whatever was happening she allowed it. She lost track of time. She started to forget things, like turning the lights off in the kitchen or in the living room before bed, leaving them on all night. Other times, she’d spend a whole day forgetting to turn them on, dwelling in the dark. She would run the air conditioner at arctic levels or not at all. She started sleeping at odd times throughout the day, napping all the time. She went to work, then came home and disrobed right in the living room, leaving her clothes on the floor. She dragged Whitney’s bare mattress into the living room and fashioned it into a couch, which became a multi-purpose nest as the clutter gathered, until another stranger came and took that away, so then she dragged her own mattress out and never slept in her bedroom again. After nearly two months of this, like an amoeba left to morph and transform (some might say break down), new household problems cropped up. That strange smell from the laundry machine – maybe it wasn’t mold, maybe there was a dead rat behind it, Doreen wondered but did nothing about it – then the rust forming in the tub. The toilet and the kitchen sink continually clogging. These combined dangerously with her new listlessness – outliers that threatened to taint the overall image of her well-being as not one of letting go and living lightly, but one of neglect and mental illness. Objectively speaking, anyone stepping foot in that apartment would see more than a few reasons for concern, but after the strangers stopped coming to take her things away, she was left alone. The only person who saw the inside of Doreen’s apartment now was a delivery boy named Tyler, who caught glimpses of the chaos behind her when she opened the door for her dinner. She had stopped grocery shopping entirely and had taken to ordering in expensive meals every night when she came home from work. Money was another thing she felt herself letting go and she let it fly, ordering the best meals from the best places. ‘Sorry, I know it’s probably not my place to ask, but are you OK?’ Tyler finally asked one evening. He had just dropped off a platter of sushi. ‘What do you mean?’ said Doreen. She leaned out. Her long hair draped like a privacy curtain between him and the scene behind her. He craned his neck to see past her. He shrugged. ‘You’re ordering food every night, tipping me way too much money, and – I don’t want to be rude – but your apartment looks kind of messed up.’ ‘Messed up?’ Doreen adjusted her jacket. She was still wearing her work clothes on this occasion. She looked professional, with a blue blouse with a high collar, a dark skirt, and a freshly dry-cleaned white jacket. Behind her though, was a nest of blankets, empty take-out boxes covered in crumbs, unopened mail, cords for electronics, silverware, mugs. Also, all of the lights were off and the blinds were closed. Doreen and Tyler were standing in almost total darkness. ‘Not messed up,’ said Tyler. ‘It’s just that it doesn’t seem healthy to still have your take-out boxes from yesterday and the day before all thrown around back there. It looks like you’ve just let the trash stay there. And the lights are always off. Did they cut your power or something? Do you have any furniture?’ ‘How would I have charged my phone and used it to order dinner if I didn’t have power?’ said Doreen without missing a beat. Tyler fumbled over himself. ‘I’m sorry, I was just saying—’ Doreen leaned back into the living room and turned on the light, the mess behind her lit up in all its glory, then she stepped outside and stood next to Tyler, closing the door behind her. The two of them faced each other, illuminated by the orange glow through the window. Shadows cut across Doreen’s diamond-shaped face. ‘Is that better?’ she asked. ‘Now that you can’t see it? ‘I just wanted to make sure everything was OK,’ said Tyler. ‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything.’ ‘No, you shouldn’t have.’ The next evening, when Tyler came back with a bacon cheeseburger, two orders of sweet potato fries, and a strawberry shake from a hip new gastropub, Doreen was standing outside the front door already, waiting for him. The porch light was on this time and the door was closed behind her. She accepted the food, thanked Tyler and stayed standing there until he left. He got on his motorcycle, consulted his phone for his next delivery, and drove off. Once he was out of the complex and Doreen could no longer hear his motorcycle bumbling off into the night, she finally went inside and closed the door. Nothing had appeared out of the ordinary this time except for a small pile of dead grass, dirt, and a bottle cap on the ground, and the porch light itself, which had been twisted upside down.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Collett is a writer, knitter, and animator. He grew up in Oregon and now lives in London where he works as an editor. He also runs a popular YouTube…
Welcome to my review of this superbly sinister novel. Thank you to Sandstone Press for the copy of the book, which is the Squadpod Book Club September pick.
The public think Ava’s a monster. Ava thinks she’s blameless.
In prison, they called her Butcher Bird – but Ava’s not in prison any more. Released after 25 years to a new identity and a new home, Ava finally has the quiet life she’s always wanted.
But someone knows who she is. The lies she’s told are about to unravel.
“He thinks he knows me, that he’s got it all figured out. But really he’s only seeing the tip of what lies above the surface. The rest is hidden, and it will always stay that way.”
Ava is trying to adjust to life again after spending twenty-five years in prison. But that isn’t all that’s new, she also has a new identity to protect her from the public who see her as a monster. Ava thinks they’ve got her wrong and what happens wasn’t her fault. But there’s someone who’s sure it was and they want to see her pay. Is her new life about to fall apart?
Dark, harrowing and haunting, this twisted tale is an intimate look inside a fractured mind. There is an immediate sense of unease and an eerie atmosphere that lingers over the pages. Ava’s long sentence and ominous nickname – Butcher Bird – hint at a terrible crime but she believes herself to be blameless. A mere victim of happenstance and other people’s actions. But her subconscious seems to know what she can’t admit to herself and she is haunted by the spectre of those she’s accused of harming. It is exquisitely written, each word infused with heartache, grief and trauma that pulls at your heartstrings even when you doubt that you should be feeling any kind of empathy for Ava. The author drops small breadcrumbs that help the reader piece the puzzle together, slowly revealing the full, awful truth of Ava and her crime. It sent chills down my spine as things built to a shocking and unexpected climax.
Ava is one of the most chilling and unsettling characters I’ve read. Spectacularly written, she is unlikeable and unreliable yet utterly compelling, and there is something about her that makes it impossible not to feel some sympathy for her. She also seems pretty harmless and pathetic, if not a bit arrogant, and I found myself wondering if she wasn’t as bad as everyone seems to think, yet there was that little voice just stopping me from believing what she said. As time goes on we begin to see Ava come apart; she is increasingly paranoid and her inner monologue reveals the true darkness harbouring within her that she tries to hide.
Superbly sinister and tantalisingly twisty, Caged Little Birds is an unnerving thriller that you won’t be able to put down.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Originally from Hertfordshire, Lucy Banks moved to Devon, where she promptly fell in love with the landscape and lifestyle. Author of the Dr Ribero’s Agency of the Supernatural series, and winner of several literary awards and competitions, she lives with her husband, two children, and extremely boisterous cat.
Welcome to the September edition of Emma’s Anticipated Treasures. I’ve gone back and forth trying to narrow this down to the thirty titles I’ve included today. The problem was there were about ten more books I wanted to include but it seemed too much to have more than thirty books on the list.
So after a lot of deliberation, here are the books out next month that I’m most anticipating:
SYNOPSIS: THIS REUNION WILL TEAR A FAMILY APART … Summer, 2021. Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of TheGolden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.
The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.
But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.
From the bestselling author of He Said/She Said and Watch Her Fall, this is a taut, mesmerising novel about a daughter haunted by her father’s legacy . . .
SYNOPSIS: In search of a new life, seventeen-year-old Adriana Clark’s family moves to the ancient, ocean-battered Isle of Mull, far off the coast of Scotland. Then she goes missing. Faced with hostile locals and indifferent police, her desperate parents turn to private investigator Sadie Levesque.
Sadie is the best at what she does. But when she finds Adriana’s body in a cliffside cave, a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head, she knows she’s dealing with something she’s never encountered before.
The deeper she digs into the island’s secrets, the closer danger creeps – and the more urgent her quest to find the killer grows. Because what if Adriana is not the last girl to die?
Beautifully haunting with twists and turns you’ll never see coming, The Last Girl to Die is your next obsession waiting to happen. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride and L.J. Ross.
Published: September 1st Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Legal Story
SYNOPSIS: WHO WILL YOU BELIEVE? PRE-ORDER THIS UNPUTDOWNABLE NEW THRILLER, PERFECT FOR FANS OF ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL
Ava Knight, a brilliant young prosecutor, always follows the rules. Until she meets Lily Hawthorne – a troubled fifteen-year-old, accused of stabbing charismatic hotel magnate Michael Osborne in cold blood.
From the outside, it seems a tragic, hopeless case. But Ava suspects something everyone else does not: MICHAEL OSBORNE IS LYING.
Because eighteen years ago, Ava was brutally assaulted. She identified her attacker; the case went to trial. But the jury let him go. His name? Michael Osborne
Back then, it was Michael’s word against Ava’s.
Now another girl’s future hangs in the balance, how far will Ava go to be believed?
Published: September 1st Publisher: Zephyr Genre: Young Adult Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A second novel from the bestselling author of Branford Boase-shortlisted and Carnegie-nominated Witch. An engrossing story of fathers and sons, death and grief, and unexpected bonds, new and old, forged by dark and benign magic.
When Sam, grieving the death of his father, finds a silver-flecked stone, ice-cold to the touch, strange and eerie things begin to happen. Myth, legend, magic and witchcraft mingle on the ancient hillside where the chalk white horse has galloped for centuries. Ravens wheel. Wolves prowl. As Halloween draws close, witches dance. Odin gathers brave, fallen warriors to his side.
Only the mysterious new girl, Oona, can heal Sam’s heart, revealing tarot secrets with her bewitching ways.
SYNOPSIS: From one of America’s most renowned storytellers comes a novel about love and deceit, and lust and redemption, against a background of child abductions in the affluent suburbs of Detroit.
In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together, with tragic consequences. There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on an unexpected mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit. As Babysitter continues his rampage of killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.
Suspenseful, brilliantly orchestrated and engrossing, Babysitter is a starkly narrated exploration of the riskiness of pursuing alternate lives, calling into question how far we are willing to go to protect those whom we cherish most. In its scathing indictment of corrupt politics, unexamined racism, and the enabling of sexual predation in America, Babysitter is a thrilling work of contemporary fiction.
Before Your Memory Fades (Before the Coffee Gets Cold 3) by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Published: September 1st Publisher: Picador Genre: Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fiction, Book Series
SYNOPSIS: The third novel in the international bestselling Before the Coffee Gets Cold series, following four new customers in a cafe where customers can travel back in time.
On the hillside of Mount Hakodate in northern Japan, Cafe Donna Donna is fabled for its dazzling views of Hakodate port. But that’s not all. Like the charming Tokyo cafe Funiculi Funicula, Cafe Donna Donna offers its customers the extraordinary experience of travelling through time.
From the author of Before the Coffee Gets Cold and Tales from the Cafe comes another story of four new customers, each of whom is hoping to take advantage of the cafe’s time-travelling offer. Among some familiar faces from Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s previous novels, readers will also be introduced to:
A daughter who begrudges her deceased parents for leaving her orphaned A comedian who aches for his beloved and their shared dreams A younger sister whose grief has become all-consuming A young man who realizes his love for his childhood friend too late
With his signature heart-warming characters and wistful storytelling, in Before Your Memory Fades, Toshikazu Kawaguchi once again invites the reader to ask themselves: what would you change if you could travel back in time?
Published: September 6th Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Genre: Dark Fantasy, Suspense, Thriller
SYNOPSIS: Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher – for their world or ours.
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself – and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her ageing master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.
Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.
King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale about another world than ours, in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy – and his dog – must lead the battle.
Published: September 6th Publisher: Titan Books Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
SYNOPSIS: Discover this sweeping debut steeped in Chinese mythology, the enchanting power of brewing tea, and a magical tournament to decide a country’s fate, sure to thrill fans of Adrienne Young and Leigh Bardugo.
I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, These are the hands that buried my mother.
For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her―the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.
When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi–masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making–she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.
But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.
Published: September 8th Publisher: Orbit Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Fairy Tale
SYNOPSIS: This is the story of Penelope of Ithaca, famed wife of Odysseus, as it has never been told before. Beyond Ithaca’s shores, the whims of gods dictate the wars of men. But on the isle, it is the choices of the abandoned women – and their goddesses – that will change the course of the world.
Seventeen years ago, king Odysseus sailed to war with Troy, taking with him every man of fighting age from the island of Ithaca. None of them have returned, and the women have been left behind to run the kingdom.
Penelope was barely into womanhood when she wed Odysseus. Whilst he lived, her position was secure. But now, years on, speculation is mounting that husband is dead, and suitors are starting to knock at her door . . .
But no one man is strong enough to claim Odysseus’ empty throne – not yet. Between Penelope’s many suitors, a cold war of dubious alliances and hidden knives reigns, as everyone waits for the balance of power to tip one way or another. If Penelope chooses one from amongst them, it will plunge Ithaca into bloody civil war. Only through cunning and her spy network of maids can she maintain the delicate balance of power needed for the kingdom to survive.
On Ithaca, everyone watches everyone else, and there is no corner of the palace where intrigue does not reign . . .
From the multi award-winning Claire North comes a daring, exquisite and moving tale that breathes life into ancient myth, and tells of the women who stand defiant in a world ruled by ruthless men. It’s time for the women of Ithaca to tell their tale . . .
Published: September 8th Publisher: Viper Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A locked room. A brutal murder. And a killer who can turn back time…
In the former mining town of Black Lake on the west coast of Canada, there is a story about a shipwreck. All those aboard died, except an unnamed man who staggered ashore. His descendants have a unique ability: once in their lives – and only once – they can unwind the events of the previous six hours.
More than two hundred years later, Ella Manning, marine biologist and part-time police constable, is attending a party at Black Lake Manor, the cliff-top mansion of the town’s divisive local billionaire. With a raging storm coming in from the Pacific, she and several other guests find themselves trapped. And when their host is discovered brutally murdered in a locked room, they turn to her to solve the crime.
Against the odds, Ella is sure she has identified the killer… but then time is unwound. With no memory of what she discovered before, her investigation begins again, with very different results. Someone is willing to use their gift to protect a killer, and everyone is a suspect…
Published: September 8th Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
SYNOPSIS: Carrie’s sister is dead. Four months after losing her sister, Becca-a serial killer unknown to everyone else in their town-Carrie Lawrence is finally free of her manipulative clutches. From now on, she’s keeping her hands clean, no more hiding dead bodies in the middle of the night, no more lies.
She’s never been happier. Then she attends a meeting of the Brampton Kill Seekers, a group of amateur local sleuths, and learns that a recent victim left behind a note that incriminates her in their disappearance. All of a sudden, the quiet, law-abiding life she’s been planning starts to unravel.
She’s never had so much to lose. In her frantic quest to keep her secret dead and buried, she discovers someone nefarious lurking in the shadows…someone who’ll go to any lengths to bring her dark truths to light. Now if Carrie wants her secrets to stay hidden, she’ll have to get her hands very, very dirty.
Published: September 13th Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Romantic Fantasy, Fantasy Series
SYNOPSIS: The Ballad of Never After is the fiercely-anticipated sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Once Upon a Broken Heart, starring Evangeline Fox and the Prince of Hearts on a new journey of magic, mystery, and heartbreak.
After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she’ll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.
But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed.Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.
Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can.
Published: September 13th Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Horror Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: PRE-ORDER THE CHILLING SERIAL KILLER THRILLER FROM THE CO-HOST OF CHART-TOPPING PODCAST MORBID
WREN WAS NEVER AFRAID OF THE DARK. UNTIL SHE LEARNT THAT SOME MONSTERS ARE REAL. . .
In deep Louisiana, a serial killer with a taste for medical experimentation is completing his most ambitious project yet. The media call him ‘The Butcher’ – and, so far, he’s proved impossible to catch.
With her encyclopedic knowledge of humanity’s darkest minds, and years of experience examining their victims, forensic pathologist Dr Wren Muller is the best there is. The longer the Butcher’s killing spree continues, the more determined she is to bring him to justice. And yet, he continues to elude her.
As body after body pile up on Wren’s examination table, her obsession grows. Pressure to put an end to the slaughter mounts. And her enemy becomes more brazen.
How far is Wren willing to go to draw the Butcher into the light. . .?
An addictive read with straight-from-the-morgue details only an autopsy technician could provide, The Butcher and the Wren promises to ensnare all who enter.
Published: September 13th Publisher: Titan Books Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A suspenseful small-town horror novel of oppression, heartbreak and buried anguish – Shirley Jackson meets Never Let Me Go with the wild west setting of Westworld.
When Lady Mae turns 18, she’ll inherit her mother’s job as the Butcher: dismembering Settlement Five’s guilty residents as payment for their petty crimes. An index finger taken for spreading salacious gossip, a foot for blasphemy, no one is exempt from punishment.
But one day Winona refuses to butcher a six-year-old boy. So their leaders, known as the Deputies, come to Lady Mae’s house, and, right there in the living room, murder her mother for refusing her duties.
Within twenty-four hours, now alone in the world, Lady Mae begins her new job. But a chance meeting years later puts her face to face with the Deputy that murdered her mother. Now Lady Mae must choose: will she flee, and start another life in the desolate mountains, forever running? Or will she seek vengeance for her mother’s death even if it kills her?
A devastating, alarming page-turner infused with melancholy, humanity – and society’s maddening acceptance in the face of horror.
Published: September 15th Publisher: Mantle Genre: Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale, Fantasy Fiction, Greek Mythology, Domestic Fiction,
SYNOPSIS: Natalie Haynes – the Women’s Prize-shortlisted author of A Thousand Ships – brings the infamous Medusa to life as you have never seen her before . . .
‘So to mortal men, we are monsters. Because of our flight, our strength. They fear us, so they call us monsters.’
Medusa is the sole mortal in a family of gods. Growing up with her Gorgon sisters, she begins to realize that she is the only one who experiences change, the only one who can be hurt. And her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.
When the sea god Poseidon commits an unforgivable act in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can – and Medusa is changed forever. Writhing snakes replace her hair, and her gaze now turns any living creature to stone. The power cannot be controlled: Medusa can look at nothing without destroying it. She is condemned to a life of shadows and darkness.
Until Perseus embarks upon a quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .
SYNOPSIS: From the author of the globally bestselling, multi-million-copy classic, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, comes its astonishing and powerful sequel.
Ninety-one-year-old Gretel Fernsby has lived in the same mansion block in London for decades. She leads a comfortable, quiet life, despite her dark and disturbing past. She doesn’t talk about her escape from Germany over seventy years before. She doesn’t talk about the post-war years in France with her mother. Most of all, she doesn’t talk about her father, the commandant of one of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps.
Then, a young family moves into the apartment below her. In spite of herself, Gretel can’t help but begin a friendship with the little boy, Henry, though his presence brings back memories she would rather forget. One night, she witnesses a violent argument between Henry’s mother and his domineering father, one that threatens Gretel’s hard-won, self-contained existence.
Gretel is faced with a chance to expiate her guilt, grief and remorse and act to save a young boy – for the second time in her life. But to do so, she will be forced to reveal her true identity to the world. Will she make a different choice this time, whatever the cost to herself?
All the Broken Places is a devastating, beautiful story about a woman who must confront the sins of her past and a present in which it is never too late for bravery.
Published: September 15th Publisher: HQ Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
SYNOPSIS: They claim they saw nothing. She knows they’re lying.
1996 – Cabramatta, Sydney
‘Just let him go.’
Those are words Ky Tran will forever regret. The words she spoke when her parents called to ask if they should let her younger brother Denny out to celebrate his high school graduation with friends. That night, Denny – optimistic, guileless Denny – is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, a refugee enclave facing violent crime, and an indifferent police force.
Returning home for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by her brother’s case. Even though several people were present at Denny’s murder, each bystander claims to have seen nothing, and they are all staying silent.
Determined to uncover the truth, Ky tracks down and questions the witnesses herself. But what she learns goes beyond what happened that fateful night. The silence has always been there, threaded through the generations, and Ky begins to expose the complex traumas weighing on those present the night Denny died. As she peels back the layers of the place that shaped her, she must confront more than the reasons her brother is dead. And once those truths have finally been spoken, how can any of them move on?
Published: September 15th Publisher: Orenda Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Historical Fiction, Saga, Psychological Fiction, Religious Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Queen of French Noir, Johana Gustawsson returns with the first in a startling new series – a dark, horrifying, powerful historical thriller with an extraordinary mystery at its heart and three women pushed so far beyond breaking point, they have only one way out…
1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.
1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.
2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.
Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…
Published: September 15th Publisher: Pan Macmillan Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: David Asha wants to tell you a story about three people:
Elliott Asha, his son, broken by a loss that will redeem him.
Ben Elmys, a surrogate father and David’s trusted friend, a man who might also be a murderer.
Harriet Kealty, a retired detective searching for answers to three mysterious deaths, while also investigating a man who might turn out to be the love of her life.
Every word David tells you is true, but you will think it fiction . . .
Bestselling author Adam Hamdy returns with a story of soulmates torn apart by circumstance and three deaths that haunt the past, present and future. The Other Side of Night is a genre-defying book unlike any you’ve ever read and a spellbinding novel about love, sacrifice and endless possibilities.
The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman (The Thursday Murder Club 3)
Published: September 15th Publisher: Viking Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Mystery Series
SYNOPSIS: A new mystery is afoot in the third book in the Thursday Murder Club series from record-breaking, bestselling author Richard Osman.
It is an ordinary Thursday and things should finally be returning to normal.
Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers.
Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill. . . or be killed.
As the cold case turns white hot, Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), while Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim chase down clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?
SYNOPSIS: The child you never knew knows all your secrets . . .
Out of the blue, Susie Jukes is contacted on social media by Anna, the girl she gave up for adoption fifteen years ago.
But when they meet, Anna’s home life sounds distinctly strange to Susie and her husband Gabe. And when Anna’s adoptive parents seem to overreact to the fact she contacted them at all, Susie becomes convinced that Anna needs her help.
But is Anna’s own behaviour simply what you’d expect from someone recovering from a traumatic childhood? Or are there other secrets at play here – secrets Susie has also been hiding for the last fifteen years?
Published: September 15th Publisher: Harper Collins UK Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Anthology
SYNOPSIS: A brand new collection of short stories featuring the Queen of Crime’s legendary detective Jane Marple, penned by twelve remarkable bestselling and acclaimed authors.
This collection of twelve original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery. · Naomi Alderman · Leigh Bardugo · Alyssa Cole · Lucy Foley · Elly Griffiths · Natalie Haynes · Jean Kwok · Val McDermid · Karen M. McManus · Dreda Say Mitchell · Kate Mosse · Ruth Ware
Miss Marple was first introduced to readers in a story Christie wrote for The Royal Magazine in 1927 and made her first appearance in a full-length novel in 1930’s The Murder at the Vicarage. It has been 45 years since Agatha Christie’s last Marple novel, Sleeping Murder, was published posthumously in 1976, and this collection of ingenious new stories by twelve Christie devotees will be a timely reminder why Jane Marple remains the most famous fictional female detective of all time.
Published: September 15th Publisher: Harper Muse Genre: Satire, Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A perfect storm of comedic proportions erupts in a DC bookstore over the course of one soggy summer week, punctuated by political turmoil, a celestial event, and a perpetually broken vacuum cleaner.
Independent bookstore owner Sophie Bernstein is burned out on books. Mourning the death of her husband, the loss of her favorite manager, her only child’s lack of aspiration, and the grim state of the world, she fantasizes about going into hiding in the secret back room of her store.
Meanwhile, renowned poet Raymond Chaucer has published a new collection, and rumors that he’s to blame for his wife’s suicide have led to national cancellations of his publicity tour. He intends to set the record straight―with an ultrafine Sharpie―but only one shop still plans to host him: Sophie’s.
Fearful of potential repercussions from angry customers, Sophie asks Clemi―bookstore events coordinator, aspiring novelist, and daughter of a famed literary agent―to cancel Raymond’s appearance. But Clemi suspects Raymond might be her biological father, and she can’t say no to the chance of finding out for sure.
This big-hearted screwball comedy features an intergenerational cast of oblivious authors and over-qualified booksellers―as well as a Russian Tortoise named Kurt Vonnegut Jr.―and captures the endearing quirks of some of the best kinds of people: the ones who love good books.
Published: September 27th Publisher: Doubleday Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction
SYNOPSIS: 1926, and in a country still recovering from the Great War, London has become the focus for a delirious new nightlife. In the clubs of Soho, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time.
The notorious queen of this glittering world is Nellie Coker, ruthless but also ambitious to advance her six children, including the enigmatic eldest, Niven whose character has been forged in the crucible of the Somme. But success breeds enemies, and Nellie’s empire faces threats from without and within. For beneath the dazzle of Soho’s gaiety, there is a dark underbelly, a world in which it is all too easy to become lost.
With her unique Dickensian flair, Kate Atkinson brings together a glittering cast of characters in a truly mesmeric novel that captures the uncertainty and mutability of life; of a world in which nothing is quite as it seems.
Published: September 27th Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Speculative Historical Noir, Young Adult Fiction, Horror Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Assassin. Immortal. Spy.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights comes the first book in a captivating new duology following an ill-matched pair of spies posing as a married couple to investigate a series of brutal murders in 1930s Shanghai.
It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.
Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging – and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption for her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.
Code name: Fortune.
But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.
To reduce suspicion, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong. Although Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanour infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined.
Published: September 29th Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Ghost Story, Supernatural Fiction, Horror Fiction
SYNOPSIS: PRE-ORDER THE HAUNTING SHORT STORY COLLECTION FROM THE QUEEN OF CHILLERS, C. J. TUDOR . . .
This Halloween prepare to be terrified with C. J. Tudor’s first collection of short stories.
Featuring eleven twisted tales of the macabre, including:
The Lion at the Gate in which a strange piece of graffiti leads to a terrifying encounter for four school friends . . . Butterfly Island which tells the story of a group of survivors who wash up on a deserted island and make a horrifying discovery . . .
Gloria where a cold-hearted killer encounters a strange young girl at a motorway service station with unexpected consequences . . .
SYNOPSIS: A propulsive new thriller set in London featuring Detective Harbinder Kaur from the author of the No 1 bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries. A murderer hides in plain sight – in the police.
DS Cassie Fitzgerald has a secret – but it’s one she’s deleted from her memory. In the 1990s when she was at school, she and her friends killed a fellow pupil. Thirty years later, Cassie is happily married and loves her job as a police officer.
One day her husband persuades her to go to a school reunion and another ex-pupil, Garfield Rice, is found dead, supposedly from a drug overdose. As Garfield was an eminent MP and the investigation is high profile, it’s headed by Cassie’s new boss, DI Harbinder Kaur. The trouble is, Cassie can’t shake the feeling that one of her old friends has killed again.
Is Cassie right, or was Garfield murdered by one of his political cronies? It’s in Cassie’s interest to skew the investigation so that it looks like the latter and she seems to be succeeding.
Published: September 29th Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Thriller, Suspense
SYNOPSIS: The new must-read thriller from the bestselling author of SOMETHING IN THE WATER
1. Listen carefully 2. Do your research 3. Trust no one 4. Run for your life
Harriet Reed is newly engaged to Edward Holbeck, the heir to an extremely powerful American family. When Edward’s father hands her a tape of a book he’s been working on, she is desperate to listen. But as she presses play, it’s clear that this isn’t a novel. It’s a confession to murder. Feeling isolated and confused, Harriet must work out if this is all part of a plan to test her loyalty. Or something far darker. Because this might be a game to the Holbeck family – but games can still be deadly.
SYNOPSIS: Under the Cretan sun, in the summer of 1936, two young people fall in love…
Eleni has been coming to Crete her entire life, swapping her English home for cherished sun-baked summers with her grandfather, in the shoreside villa her lost mama grew up in. When she arrives in 1936, she believes the long, hot weeks ahead will be no different to so many that have gone before. But someone else is visiting the island that year too: a young German man called Otto. The two of them meet, and – far from the Nazi’s Berlin Olympics, the brewing civil war in Spain – share the happiest time of their lives; a summer of innocence lost, and love discovered; one that is finite, but not the end.
When, in 1941, the island falls to a Nazi invasion, Eleni and Otto meet there once more. It is a different place to the one they knew. Secrets have become currency, traded for lives, and trust is a luxury few can indulge in. Eleni has returned to fight for her home, Otto to occupy it. They are enemies, and their love is not only treacherous, it is dangerous – but will it destroy them, or prove strong enough to overcome the ravages of war?
An epic tale of secrets, love, loyalty, family and how far you’d go to keep those you love safe, The Echoes of Love is an exquisite and deeply moving love letter to Crete – one that will move every reader to tears.