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There’s something about a debut. The team at LoveReading adore discovering a new favourite author. Can you imagine the blood, sweat, tears and love that has gone into the process of becoming an author? Here you can be in at the start and then recommend your favourites far and wide.
February 2018 Debut of the Month. A wonderfully intense and dramatic thriller, one that highlights the background, exposes the concealed, yet is action-packed and constantly moving. Nora Watts gave up her child, 15 years later that child is missing, and as the circumstances begin to twist around her, Nora has to revisit her past. Set in British Columbia, in the back streets and under-belly of Vancouver, and the vast icy mountain interior, the surroundings are a dramatic crucial element to the story. Nora is a truly distinctive character, tenacious, difficult, solitary, and she tells her own story, permitting you access to her uppermost thoughts. Sheena Kamal allows explanations to wait, encouraging you to get a feel for Nora by her actions and not her past. At times descriptive detailing surprised me, before connecting deeply within, at others I felt my mind racing to catch up, to understand. ‘Eyes Like Mine’ assails senses, stimulates thoughts and reasoning, and is a powerful, captivating read. ~ Liz Robinson
Revenge is a dish best served cold. Fear is a brilliant debut, a menacing tale of a family’s chilling journey, of a man’s best attempts to protect his loved ones. When all else fails, he takes things into his own hands. And who can blame him? Not me. This is an alarming, creepy story that challenges our traditional values and all that we hold dear. ~ Charlotte Walker
February 2018 Debut of the Month In a nutshell: sci-fi and fantasy blend in high-action, thought-provoking adventure Musician and entertainer will.i.am has collaborated with science of the future specialist Brian David Johnson to create an epic adventure. WaR seamlessly combines fantasy favourites wizards with robots, long beloved in sci-fi but now accepted as a crucial part of all our futures. Flipping back and forth in time, it stars feisty teenager Sara, whose mother is creating the first fully intelligent robot. This puts Sara at the centre of a power struggle, spanning centuries, between wizards and robots. As the story unfolds however, Sara must reconcile the two factions to defeat a common enemy. In this she’s helped by a young wizard called Geller and a robot, Kaku. Intriguing, refreshing and packed full of ideas, the momentum of the story sweeps readers along to its dramatic conclusion (at the CERN institute!). Real science is scattered throughout, and sci-fi has never seemed so now. ~ Andrea Reece
February 2018 Debut of the Month. Simply superb, this is a dark, gritty and stormingly fast read with real attitude. Formerly of the SAS, John Carr is now working in private security for a Russian, however the past is stalking him, ready to take his legs, and his life. If I tell you that the author James Deegan spent 17 years in the SAS and was described by his commanding officer as one of the most operationally experienced SAS men of his era, it should tell you all you need to know about the validity of his voice. The book begins with the CV of John Carr, it really sets the tone, gives you an understanding of his background, allowing the story to explode from the get-go. James Deegan delivers short punchy sentences, simply told, yet the words took hold of me, dumped me in the middle of the action, made my breath stop and my heart race. Once A Pilgrim bristles with energy and authenticity, it is an addictive, absolute whammy of read and I loved it - highly recommended.
February 2018 Debut of the Month. A debut to make you question everyone and trust no one. Bethany isn’t an innocent, in fact, you could say she is far from that, yet after murder tears her life apart, she has to find the killer in order to prove her innocence. The prologue snared my attention, the story then took off, throwing foreboding, suspicion and doubt in my way. Elle Croft hasn’t created a loveable, sugary sweet main character, you may find yourself wanting to shake Bethany on occasion, to question her motives, her actions, and of course that adds to the energy and tension. This is so entertaining and easy to read, the story just gallops along towards an ending that thunders with intensity. The Guilty Wife is an exciting, and fast paced read, the ending keeps beckoning and demanding your attention, will the last few pages shock you, or confirm your suspicions? ~ Liz Robinson
February 2018 Debut of the MonthA raw, convincing, achingly intimate and individual tale about actions and consequences. 16 years after the death of his brother, Conway wants revenge. When Ray Boy is released from prison, Conway hunts him down in order to kill him, but pulling the trigger isn’t as easy as he thought it would be. There is a sharp edge to the writing, yet the chapters flow from one story to another, initially separate, then linking, writhing and twisting together. William Boyle has created intensely tangible characters, their voices, thoughts and feelings almost become physical, touchable, and are so very, very believable. I highly recommend Gravesend, it is fresh, original, and somehow feels both modern and ancient, as though this story has been lived again and again, and yet is being told for the first time. ~ Liz Robinson
February 2018 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Brave British Muslim keeps her head after losing her heart An important, engaging debut in which a bright British Muslim is drawn down a dark path. Tingling with heart and urgency, and astute on the complexities of radicalisation, this rivetingly authentic read shows that representation really does matter. Fifteen-year-old Muzna has a passionate ambition to become a novelist, but her parents have other plans. Boys, make-up and hair removal are strictly forbidden, and they want her to become a doctor – “#BrownGirlProblems”, as Muzna describes her predicament. When labeled a terrorist by a classmate in her new school, “Guy Candy” Arif sticks up for her, and it’s not long before they strike up a friendship, and more. She starts attending meetings with Arif and his older brother Jameel, and her eyes are opened to the media’s anti-Muslim bias, and to Western demonisation of Islam. The brothers encourage her to pray, and she’s gifted a hijab, which she hides from her parents, since her father insists “it was only the 'ignorant’ who clung to Islamic teachings”. Being sharp-minded and questioning, Muzna is keen to understand different facets of Islam, but she’s conflicted when Jameel says her parents aren’t “real Muslims”, and he can’t be right when he declares “writers of fiction are among the worst of people”, can he? Muzna’s conflicts are sharply evoked, and there are moments that will have you begging her to listen to her friends when they reach out to her. But the truth only fully hits Muzna as time is running out, and she must summon the strength to remain true to the talented, intelligent young woman she is. Inspired by author’s shock at hearing that three British schoolgirls had flown to Syria to join the ‘Islamic State’ in 2015, this is a timely, thought-provoking debut that also packs in powerful universalisms about growing up, falling in love and discovering who you are. ~ Joanne Owen
February 2018 Debut of the Month. Oh my word, this is an absolutely cracking psychological thriller. Anna is unable to leave her house, she views the world from her window and connects with it on her laptop, when she witnesses a horrific incident in a neighbouring house, turmoil awaits. The first few pages set me on edge, and I remained on high alert throughout the story, doubting and questioning my own reasoning. Even if you suspect, you can’t be confident, and there are plenty of shocks and surprises lying in wait. Set over a few weeks, the short chapters whipped into my consciousness, yet the story reveals itself gradually. A. J. Flynn allows the tension to build, slowly, torturously, and exquisitely. Anna tells her own story, wounded herself, can she be trusted? When the revelations came, they spilled from the page and slapped my thoughts. So clever and focused, yet utterly mind-bending, ‘The Woman in the Window’ is a heart-hammering read and I highly recommend stepping into Anna’s world.
January 2018 Debut of the Month A whole series of impressive endorsements leads one to believe this to be a highly suspenseful thriller when actually it is a well-written, character led drama, an excellent “set up” for a new American detective series. Our hero, Detective Ben Wade, ex of LAPD Homicide, has moved to quieter territory in the hope of saving his marriage. He fails, it hurts. From a damaged youth he now hunts those more damaged than himself, assisted by a woman also with secrets in her past. There is a strangler on the loose but it is a paedophile who dominates most of our detective’s attention. The dual plot, laced with lots of family drama and police procedure, meshes nicely together in a slow build. A fascinating tale. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
January 2018 Debut of the MonthPoppy Parnell is an investigative journalist who digs into a case thirteen years old and produces a couple of podcasts. The first interviews the convicted murderer still claiming his innocence of killing a history professor. The second talks to the detective who was first on the scene and found twin sisters locked in a bedroom. We get the story through the eyes of one twin, now leading a new life with a new name. The media frenzy whipped up by the podcast exposes the vulnerable family with tragic consequences which does eventually allow some reconciliation but not for all. Simply written, highly addictive with the feel of a ‘young adult’ novel about it, this is a debut worth taking note of. Sarah Broadhurst
January 2018 Debut of the Month London 1895, gloriously brought to life in all its grizzly glory. Arrowood is a weathered Private Investigator with a soft heart and a weakness for a drink. He shares the same skies as the famous, revered detective, Sherlock Holmes and yet he can only dream of sharing the same accolades and financial rewards. The cases Arrowood and his long suffering assistant Barnett work are deadly, sleazier and of poor pay. Still carrying the ghost of a disastrous investigation that left a man violently beaten to death, they take on a seemingly straightforward missing person case. Before long a simple investigation turns into a dangerous step into the world of political violence and dealings with the very same crime boss involved in their earlier case. Anxious to keep a distance yet bound by obligation after the death of a young informant, they are soon deeply involved in something deadly. Being a fan of Sherlock Holmes it was wonderful to revisit late Victorian London. The atmosphere Finlay creates is authentic and Arrowood’s animosity towards Holmes adds an interesting twist. Arrowood is a very different detective. Repulsive at times, yet sad and kind-hearted. I couldn’t help but warm to him. His assistant and our narrator Barnett, leads us through the case right to the thrilling climax that had me on the edge of my seat.
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018 For fans of David Nicholls and Richard Curtis movies, this is an observational, tender and heart-warming drama about the trials and tribulations of spending a week with your family at Christmas. What a beautiful, perceptive, absorbing read this is. Family drama… yes, yet it’s more. Relationship tale… yes, yet it’s much more. Incredibly readable… oh yes yes yes! The Birch family are due to spend the seven days over Christmas at their holiday home in Norfolk in strict quarantine, as doctor Olivia has been in Liberia treating a serious epidemic. The prologue and first chapter take hold of this family, and toss their lives sky-high, I was well and truly hooked, and found myself reluctant to put the book down, even for a second. Francesca Hornak writes with empathy yet she cuts through to the heart of things, creating a believable, relatable, touchable family. As events spiralled out of control, yet in ever decreasing circles, and relationships unravelled, I wondered where on earth we were all going to end up. The ending is as satisfying and emotionally enthralling as the journey to reach it. ‘Seven Days of Us’ is a terrific read, I savoured every word, and I can’t wait to see what Francesca Hornak offers next. ~ Liz Robinson