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Hot off the press! Check out the books we think are the best of the best this month!
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!
Immerse yourself in this chilling, gripping, psychological thriller. It's an addictive page-turner and I couldn't put it down. The 17-year gap in friendship between Abi and Mel, the reunion, reliving the happy times, the twists and turns, the glamorous celebrity versus the suburban housewife. I was hooked on the book and it reminded me why I love Adele Parks so. You can't help but question yourself all the way through and deliberate about how you would deal with the scenarios encountered. I'm not sharing, but what the hell would you do?
A rawly realistic, enthralling and thoroughly entertaining crime novel set in a small New Zealand town. Police officer Sam Shephard responds to reports of a missing person, when a body is found she discovers there is far more behind the apparent suicide than would first appear. The prologue is absolutely riveting, the first few sentences fell like a sledge hammer, nailing my concentration to the page. Sam is as fabulous as a main character could be, gutsy, down-to-earth, likeable, I could reach out and touch her feelings, empathise with her. Vanda Symon writes with a beautiful simplicity, not once overplaying her hand, she took me completely and entirely into the storyline. The Sam Shephard series has been on the New Zealand best seller list and shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel and I can see why. I highly recommend Overkill, it is powerful, cooly assured, and an absolute belter of a read.
A dynamic, powerfully expressive novel that feels so real, you could be conjuring it to life as you read. Angel saves the life of English teacher Nina, later that night Angel turns from saviour to adversary when she and her blood soaked brother turn up at Nina’s door. Each chapter is headed by one of the main characters, they feel vividly real, almost touchable, and their pain and anguish sliced into my thoughts. Cass Green created an unexpected atmosphere as energetic whip-fast chapters gently, almost quietly revealed background information, which allowed my mind to process the action while sifting, analysing, questioning. Good and bad may be seen as opposites, yet there are times when lines and edges blur, creating a stimulating storyline that just crackles with tension. Don’t You Cry surprised me (which I always love) and left me feeling very satisfied indeed. Just make sure the edge of your seat is comfortable, as you’ll be spending a fair bit of time on it!
Caroline is an esteemed senior research psychologist, formerly a woman who seemed to have it all - professional acclaim, financial comfort, handsome husband Jack, and adorable kids – but she’s lost everything due to her sadistically selfish ex convincing everyone that she’s a jilted madwoman, unable to look after herself, and certainly unfit to care for their children. As Caroline careers deep into self-destruction mode, seeking solace in booze, shopping and one night stands with married men, an administrative error sees her take delivery of Jack’s luggage. After discovering a diary recounting each of his affairs in painful detail – replete with intimate photographs and ratings of every woman he’s won over – Caroline embarks on an intense mission to exact revenge on Jack for his longstanding controlling behaviour and multiple betrayals. But, more than that, Caroline wants her children back. This is a seriously addictive thriller, with Caroline’s cunningly executed campaign providing plenty of heart-pounding moments, especially when her actions become increasingly risky. But she’s being played too; watched, stalked and threatened as she implements her revenge via a cunningly executed social media campaign. But it’s a hideously complicated situation, and Jack is nothing if not a master of manipulation. Penetratingly sharp on the complexities of psychological abuse and the human heart, this compulsive, disturbing debut will be relished by fans of Gillian Flynn and Paula Daly.
Where Has Mummy Gone? is a captivating insight into the life of a foster carer. Eight-year-old Melody is angry and confused when she comes to live with Cathy Glass and her family, claiming that her drug-dependent mother Amanda can’t manage without her. Over time, it transpires that this vulnerable child isn’t the only one who needs help. Cathy works tirelessly to juggle Melody’s needs alongside the bureaucracy of fostering and bringing up her own children. It’s a difficult and demanding role, especially because, in this particular situation, Amanda needs specific care as well. This is my first Cathy Glass book and certainly won’t be my last. It’s written in a clear and easy-to-read style, with vivid descriptions bringing people, places and events to life. At times I forgot that this is a true story, with several revelations that could have come straight out of fiction. Where Has Mummy Gone? is filled with compassion and love, mixed with heartbreak and tragedy – a reminder that foster care can help to make a big difference to people’s lives. Its bittersweet ending brought tears to my eyes, touched me deeply and left me thinking.
Classic stuff with Paris very much at its centre. Although set in the present, the past echoes through it as various people brush up against history, politics and atrocities. Our main characters are a 19-year old, illegal, Moroccan immigrant, Tariq, and a lonely, middle-aged American academic, Hannah, bruised by a love affair in Paris ten years earlier. Tariq works in a fried chicken shop with a couple of Algerians who discuss the brutality of the French in the war of independence. This echoes the interviews Hannah is transcribing for her research about women under German occupation. A quirk of fate allows Tariq to become Hannah’s lodger and then translator. Although a comparatively short book, at under three hundred pages, there is a huge amount within it. Faulks is without a doubt an impressive novelist. This is a must-read.
September 2018 Book of the Month From the creator of the mega-selling Cherub series comes the author’s first foray into standalone fiction, a killer-concept, Vegas-set page-turner in which a virus threatens to wipe out humanity. Fourteen-year-old Brit boy Harry is a something of a fish out of water in his Vegas high school. His photojournalist mum died when he was seven, and she’s given him “an urge to follow her path”, which is why Harry grasps his first big opportunity when there’s an explosion at his school and he riskily films the aftermath. As his footage goes viral and starts earning him big bucks, thirteen-year-old Charlie is in the frame for the attack. Described as “low-rent trailer trash” by Harry’s friend, she’s a science geek with a rough home life and a history of making explosives. Harry sees her as a “beautiful freak”, though, and over the course of the next eight years their lives crisscross at a pivotal point in human history. With gene-editing tech developing at a rapid pace, everyone wants in on procedures that can enhance their body and brain. But, with the terrorist-created Killer T virus spreading like wildfire, and a crazily huge ransom demanded for the release of a cure, society is sinking into a hot mess of modified monsters, death and violence, with Charlie and Harry trying to hang on to doing the right thing. Charlie and Harry are the kind of fully-formed characters whose stories you’re desperate to follow. They’re complicated, authentically flawed, and the sparky tension between them is tinglingly tangible. This is truly gripping tale, big in scope, big in action and big in emotional impact. - Joanne Owen A Piece of Passion from Felicity Johnston, Commissioning Editor; It's always so exciting to see a bestselling author do something different. KILLER T has all the hallmarks of Robert's writing - brilliantly observed characters, cool gadgets, corruption, blackmail and suspense - but it will also surprise you. At its heart, KILLER T is a love story, set in a world just a few years ahead of our own - but then slowly, slowly, slowly, Robert ups the stakes, until the effects of technology and gene modding become frightening and all too real. It's meticulously crafted, with the energy of CHERUB - and also the sort of satisfying story arc that only a true standalone can provide. Oh, and you'll never look at a wasp the same way again!
A deeply emotional, dramatic, and refreshingly original story for young (or older) adults, set in the late 1990’s in Australia. Teenager Sam’s mother dies in his arms on New Year’s Eve, mourning and traumatised, he moves in with his estranged Aunt and cousins, and his life is forever altered. The first chapter simply and vividly set the scene, I could look around me, almost touch, smell, hear my surroundings. Claire Zorn writes with eloquent empathy, yet doesn’t hide from heartache. As I read I could see Sam’s pain as a stinging physical entity. I found myself completely immersed in the story, the words caught hold of me, picked me up and ran. Sam’s raw emotions scorch the pages, he is the focus, yet the surrounding characters are fascinating in their own right. I adored the ending, where it left me, how it left me feeling. At times hope seems so very far away, yet it is very much a part of this story. ’One Would Think The Deep’ is a beautifully written tale, tender yet penetrating and powerful, it offered itself to me and let me sink into its depths.
'Welcome to Ocean View. You don't know it yet, but you'll be happy here...' Julia's not running away. Not exactly. She just needs a break from Paris and Marc and all the sad stuff that's been going on lately. A little time to pull herself together. The job offer felt like a lifeline. But now she's back in Biarritz, suitcase in hand, she hasn't the faintest idea what she was thinking. What Julia doesn't yet know is there's more to the odds and ends of Ocean View than meet the eye. Behind the double doors lie broken hearts, lifelong secrets, a touch of romance and an unwavering passion for life. And sometimes it's the most unlikely of places and people who help you find your way.
Cloaking herself in Christie’s Poirot mantle for the third time, bestselling crime writer Sophie Hannah here presents Hercule Poirot with something of a peculiarly personal puzzle. Our loveable hero is left feeling somewhat perplexed when an agitated middle-aged woman - “a whirlwind most fierce” – demands to know why he sent her a letter accusing her of killing a certain Barnabas Pandy. And then a second person presents themselves, demanding to know the very same thing. Mon dieu! Poirot has no idea who Pandy is, or why someone is sending these letters in his name, and so a thrillingly unpredictable mystery unfolds. The writing is elegant, suffused with the spirit of, and reverence for, Poirot’s creator, and this makes for an entertainingly satisfying experience.
A sparkling, witty, occasionally rather sexy debut that made me nod in agreement and splutter with laughter. 30 year old Polly works for Posh! magazine, she excels in making the aristocracy look spectacular on paper, however her love life is wilting dramatically… and she needs a Plus One for her best friend’s wedding. Polly quickly settled into a fabulous friend status, we sat together gossiping, I giggled, winced, and regularly raised my eyebrows as I read. Sophia Money-Coutts has a wonderfully light touch, she also keeps laughing gas in her pen, and isn’t afraid to use it. I alternated in reading bits out loud to my husband (who was as shocked as I’d hoped he’d be), and just sinking into, and enjoying the story. There is a heart-felt reality kick along the way, however for me this was an outrageously feel-good read. ‘The Plus One’ became my best friend while I read it, very funny, sometimes shocking, always extremely entertaining.
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