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Each week our team of book lovers choose a selection of books they have loved and think deserve an extra shout out. Everyone fights to get theirs on the list. Here are this week’s faves…
Stinging, compelling, dynamic… excellent. After Paula’s husband dies she discovers she may not have known him quite as well as she thought. Life takes a vicious slap at Paula and her only chance is to come out swinging. As I read I felt as though the words were shaping into life, as though this tale could be happening right now, at this very moment. There is an immediacy, a powerful edge to the storyline that feels so very real and wonderfully different too. Glasgow sits centre stage, vibrantly punchy and full of life. Michael J. Malone has created a dramatic and thrilling family tale that just sings with intensity. I thoroughly enjoyed picking my way along the razor wire of uncertainty that my thoughts and feelings teetered on. After He Died is an explosive tale, one that takes hold, bites, and doesn’t let go.
What? You haven’t read a Stella Rimington novel! Don’t worry, nor had I… and even better The Moscow Sleepers can easily be read as a standalone novel. If you are now feeling rather smug as you are already well on board this particular series then I trust you won’t be disappointed. I now plan to start at the beginning and read the first ten in the ‘Liz Carlyle’ novels as I trust they will be just as addictive. Liz Carlyle becomes embroiled in a case that appears to be fractured and confusing, gradually however the pieces begin to slide, one by one into deadly place. As you’d expect, Stella Rimington writes with a commanding pen, I felt in safe and secure hands as I sank below the surface into the dangerous world of international intelligence. An intricate web with a number of characters weaved together in the most utterly believable way. The Moscow Sleepers isn’t sexy, fickle, excitable fantasy, instead I felt as though I was in a completely plausible world, one that particularly at the moment, feels all too heart in mouth real - highly recommended.
Vivian is one of life’s outsiders; an orphan oddity adrift from the world, whose parents told her she was a Changeling. She posts her aunt’s ashes to her aunt’s friends, and then to strangers from the phone book. She advertises for a friend who “Must Answer to Penelope: Pennies Need Not Apply.” Against the odds, a Penelope responds, and a bond is formed but still, Vivian wanders Dublin, doing the strange things that make perfect sense to her, but arouse alarm in others and the question, “Is everything, alright?” This charming, unsettling, magical story about loneliness, reaching out, friendship and hope is laced with dark humour and whimsy. It is at once briskly amusing and deeply moving, and makes a marvellous companion to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
A psychopath preys on lonely women and lures them into his trap using a dating website. But DS Imogen Grey is back and on the case as three separate stories unravel and we see the light in what is a dark dark crime novel. The fourth in the DS Grey Series, The Promise has big shoes to fill after The Teacher, The Secret and The Angel. However this is another banging book and can be read as a standalone if this is your first Katerina Diamond encounter. I promise you'll then want to read them all though!
Did she slip through the cracks, or was she pushed? When a severed hand is found in an abandoned flat, Detective Jake Porter and his partner Nick Styles are able to DNA match the limb to the owner, Natasha Barclay, who has not been seen in decades. But why has no one been looking for her? It seems that Natasha's family are the people who can least be trusted. Delving into the details behind her disappearance and discovering links to another investigation, a tragic family history begins to take on a darker twist. Hampered by a widespread fear of a local heavy, as well as internal politics and possible corruption within the force, Porter and Styles are digging for answers, but will what they find ever see the light of day?
In a nutshell: creepy YA psychological thriller Sarah Epstein’s well-crafted psychological thriller will keep readers on their toes, and nervously checking over their shoulders too. Aged just 8, Tash witnessed her imaginary friend the sinister Sparrow kidnap a little girl from a fair. Nine years and lots of therapy later, Tash has learned to keep quiet about what happened, convinced along with her parents that what she saw was just the imagination of a little girl desperate for attention. But when circumstances draw her back to the area, back to the fairground, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. Can she believe her eyes? Can we believe her? Dark and twisty, this is hard to put down and good, creepy fun. ~ Andrea Reece For more unreliable narrators and psychological adventures don’t miss Little Liar by Julia Gray.