Thriller and Suspense

All engrossing, pure escapist, nail-biting anxiety, mind bending terror and psychological twists. We’re not sure why it’s so appealing. Good though, isn’t it! You might also like to browse our Crime and Mystery category.

May 2022 Featured Books

The President's Daughter

The President's Daughter

Author: President Bill Clinton, James Patterson Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/05/2022

Every detail is accurate because one of the authors is President Bill Clinton. The drama and action never stop because the other author is James Patterson. ALL PRESIDENTS HAVE NIGHTMARES. THIS ONE IS ABOUT TO COME TRUE. Matthew Keating, a one-time Navy SEAL and a former US President, has always defended his family as fiercely as he has his country. Now these defences are under attack. And it's personal. Keating's teenage daughter, Melanie, has been abducted, turning every parent's deepest fear into a matter of national security. As the world watches, Keating embarks on a one-man special-ops mission that tests his strengths: as a leader, a warrior, and a father. Because Keating knows that in order to save Melanie's life he will have to put his own on the line . . . 

Two Nights in Lisbon

Two Nights in Lisbon

Author: Chris Pavone Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/05/2022

Wowsers. It’s kind-of a cliché to praise quality thrillers for being unpredictable and un-put-down-able, but Chris Pavone’s Two Nights in Lisbon delivers both those qualities with outstanding style. Reeling with smart misdirection, and raising questions around how well we really know people, Two Nights in Lisbon is a twisty rollercoaster of a read. The unnerving scenes of an American woman, Ariel, waking-up in Lisbon to find her husband gone soon veers in a direction you won’t see coming, setting the tone for the rest of the novel. Just when you think you’ve figured out what kind of story this is — bam! A new nugget comes to light and you’re hurtled down an entirely different track. In Lisbon for a vacation around her new husband’s work trip, Ariel reports his disappearance to the local police, and then the US Embassy. Neither are particularly interested at first — he hasn’t been gone that long, maybe he’s off with a mistress. A tonne of everyday explanations could account for his absence. But it’s not long before the stakes are raised — think changed identities, NDAs, and a murky situation in which it seems that no one’s who they claim to be. As Ariel remarks, “We tell ourselves stories about each other, about ourselves too, our pasts. We construct our narratives, we start with the big picture and then add details one by one, like building a house”, ending up with something “that looks like it’s been there forever, even though it’s a brand-new fabrication”.  And, having built a new life for herself, Ariel is forced to return to her past if her new husband is to have a future, and all the while she has her son back home to worry about, “one of the reasons that Ariel felt like she’d been living on high alert, waiting for some bad thing to happen”. Diving headlong into male abuses of power, and touching on how we leave digital footprints even if we try our damndest to be digitally invisible, Two Nights in Lisbon is a triumph.

Books of the Month
Razorblade Tears

Razorblade Tears

Author: S. A. Cosby Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

Hitting with hammer hard precision, thrilling storytelling is balanced with pointed social commentary in this fabulous novel set in the USA. Two fathers, both ex-cons, seek revenge for the murder of their sons. One of my favourite books from last year was S. A. Cosby’s debut Blacktop Wasteland which I read for the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award judging, it spoke to us all and was a highly commended shortlisted title. So I came to this, his second book, with a huge sense of anticipation. The writing style is passionately and fiercely bold yet holds moments of quiet gentleness and real compassion. The characters rumble with authenticity and charged with emotion, I could see, hear, touch them. Delivering an all-consuming blast of violence, raw grief, and blistering regret, I was taken to an unknown place which made me feel the social issues on offer. The plot screams, really screams at the top of its voice as it races along and as with his first book I was left feeling stunned and emotionally drained after I had finished. This is a writer who is able to touch hearts and minds, all while offering an immensely entertaining read. Razorblade Tears is a provocative, powerful, beautiful novel that is both a LoveReading Star Book, and a Liz Pick of the Month.

Star Books
The Year of the Locust

The Year of the Locust

Author: Terry Hayes Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/05/2022

THE AMAZING NEW THRILLER FROM TERRY HAYES. IF YOU THOUGHT I AM PILGRIM WAS GOOD...

The Dark Hours

The Dark Hours

Author: Michael Connelly Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

A CRIME BURIED FOR YEARS. AND ONE THAT'S JUST BEGUN... 'An authentic, topical and terrifying thriller: one of Michael Connelly's very best' THE TIMES 'Yet another superb thriller from a writer at the top of his game' SUNDAY EXPRESS 'Consistently excellent' MAIL ON SUNDAY * * * * * A MURDER YEARS IN THE MAKING A murder in the middle of a street party seems a senseless tragedy. But the victim had a dark past which came back to haunt him. THE DEEPER YOU LOOK Detective Renee Ballard connects the killing to an unsolved case last worked by ex-LAPD legend Harry Bosch. But then a new crime shatters the night shift... THE DARKER IT GETS The Midnight Men are a deadly pair of predators who stalk the city during the dark hours and disappear without a trace. Ballard once believed her job was to bring the truth to light. In a police department shaken to the core by protests and pandemic, both cases have the power to save her - or end her... * * * * * CRIME DOESN'T COME BETTER THAN CONNELLY: 'One of the very best writers working today' Sunday Telegraph 'The pre-eminent detective novelist of his generation' Ian Rankin 'The best mystery writer in the world' GQ 'A superb natural storyteller' Lee Child 'A master' Stephen King 'Crime thriller writing of the highest order' Guardian 'America's greatest living crime writer' Daily Express 'A crime writing genius' Independent on Sunday

Six Wounds

Six Wounds

Author: Morgan Cry Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2022

Six Wounds is an action-packed, entertaining mixture of pacy thriller and gritty whodunnit. Set in the sunny Costa Blanca, it provides the perfect balance of darkness and humour, with vivid descriptions that made me feel like I was there in the Spanish sunshine too, watching events unfold through a camera lens. Author Morgan Cry has created a solid cast of unforgettable characters, all larger than life with their individual quirks, flaws and eccentricities. Daniella Coulstoun is a feisty protagonist with plenty of attitude and a strong stubborn streak, bubbling with a rollercoaster of emotions as she learns more about her mother's shady past against a backdrop of murderous gangsters and British ex-pats. Six Wounds is highly engaging, taking its readers on a twisty path from beginning to end. Its witty dialogue made me laugh out loud, and the book was hard to put down. An ideal summer choice, providing hours of easy-to-read escapism.

Of Blood Descended

Of Blood Descended

Author: Steven Veerapen Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2022

Whether you’re an aficionado of novels set in the Tudor era, or are looking for an atmospheric page-turner to keep you reading into the wee hours, Steven Veerapen’s Of Blood Descended is likely to float your imperial barge. It’s a veritable feast of un-put-down-able historic fiction. It’s the summer of 1522 and as Henry VIII’s court receives Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, Anthony Blanke is summoned back to Hampton Court by Cardinal Wolsey, his former employee. The cardinal wants Anthony (the son of the king’s late black trumpeter, John Blanke) to take centre stage in a gift he’s preparing for Henry - a masque of King Arthur and the Black Knight. But Anthony’s role at court takes a very different turn when Wolsey’s historian is murdered, his body discovered as part of a grisly tableau scene, and Anthony is called upon to investigate the historian’s death. With “the shadowy, faceless, nameless murderer… abroad in the city streets”, he must “hunt him” on a labyrinthine inquiry as Anne Boleyn comes onto the scene. Witty, often funny, and always sharply evocative, Anthony’s narrative voice is incredibly engaging and gives this history-rich thriller broad modern appeal.

The Shot

The Shot

Author: Sarah Sultoon Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2022

For readers with an interest in what happens behind the scenes in the newsrooms – of which there are many – The Shot is sure to satisfy their thirst for the next big scoop. Given her first chance in the spotlight, young TV journalist Samira is out to prove her worth. Alongside seasoned photographer Kris, they take a photograph – a shot that has thrown their whole mission and lives in peril. As a former CNN news executive, author Sarah Sultoon packs her novel with the kind of details that only someone who’s been on the frontline of war reporting can – from what life is like in conflict zones, to the petty squabbles in the newsroom. What many readers may be left with is the full effect and exposure of the realities of war reporting. Sultoon’s style never veers into gratuitous violence, but her book is made only more visceral by the current conflict in Ukraine.  

eBooks of the Month
Vanda

Vanda

Author: Marion Brunet Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/04/2022

Marginal people scratching a living on the beach in Marseille, no money and no way out - this is the framework of Marion Brunet’s unsettling novel, Vanda. A short but sharply written book, Vanda is about a single mother, whose life has been one of free-spirited rebellion, trying to hold things together for her young son. What the novel is really about is prejudice, the secret cruelty of society and how having no money makes you an easy target. Thought-provoking fiction with a strong narrative drive, Vanda is expertly translated from the French by Katherine Gregor. Author Marion Brunet was previously recognised in France for her young adult fiction, yet Vanda and her previous adult novel, The Summer Of Reckoning, which won the prestigious French literary prize, Le Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, have taken her work to a new and eager audience.

Who's Lying Now?

Who's Lying Now?

Author: Susan Lewis Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Emotions are running high in the coastal town of Kesterly-on-Sea. It’s the height of a pandemic; an important friendship is in tatters and more than one marriage hangs in the balance. But for high-flying couple Jeannie and Guy Symonds, life couldn’t be sweeter. Until 6 January 2021 - the day Jeannie mysteriously disappears. Fans of Susan Lewis won’t be disappointed, those new to her books will be sucked right in. This is a novel that exudes suspense, sexual tension and a cast of perfectly developed characters who all have their own stories to tell and secrets to hide. With each chapter comes a new revelation or encounter that has you questioning what you know and who you believe, who you are rooting for and who you are slowly beginning to mistrust. This is page-turning, nail-biting stuff! Thankfully, Trainee Investigator, Cara Jakes, and Detective Andee Lawrence – a much-loved figure from Lewis’ earlier novels – are on hand to help us unravel the truth. The camaraderie between the newbie detective and Lawrence, along with various other female relationships in the novel, adds real warmth to this otherwise bleak world. A world in which the mistakes of the past are never forgotten and negative childhood experiences are woven into the very fabric of our futures. Who’s Lying Now? is a piece of wonderfully crafted crime fiction – but it also captures the very real world inhabited by us all in pandemic times. Add it to your reading list!

Books of the Month
The Match

The Match

Author: Harlan Coben Format: Audiobook Release Date: 17/03/2022

He is known as Wilde, the boy from the woods. Discovered living a feral existence in the Ramapo mountains of New Jersey, he has grown up knowing nothing of his parents, and even less about his own identity. Until now. When a match on a DNA database puts him on the trail of a close relative - the only family member he has ever known - Wilde thinks he might be about to solve the mystery of who he really is. Only this relation disappears as quickly as he's resurfaced. Undaunted, Wilde continues his research, becoming caught up in a secret community committed to exposing anonymous online trolls. Then one by one, people start to die, and it soon becomes clear that a serial killer is targeting this secret community. And that the next victim could be Wilde himself ...

Audiobooks of the Month
Fateful Hope

Fateful Hope

Author: Aleksandr Jarid Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/01/2022

‘Fateful Hope’ by Aleksandr Jarid is filled with suspense and mystery as Cameron must return to the life he’s left behind in order to be reunited with the ones he loves. Almost akin to a Dan Brown plot, Cameron’s life is in the clutches of powerful and secretive organisations like the Illuminati and the Freemasons as his previous work led him to discover too much about the secrets of human nature. Cameron is part Indiana Jones, part spy with his work hunting down and collecting precious artefacts for rewards has led him to know too much for those in power. His relationship with Emilie and her medical research has put them both in danger as together, they hold the answers about the long buried Mithras religion and human’s ability to asexually reproduce. Can Cameron be reunited with Emilie without having to reveal what he’s discovered? This is an interesting concept, which as I’ve said has the same atmosphere of a Dan Brown Indiana Jones or Nathan Drake plot, of hidden temples, artefacts and huge mysteries hidden somewhere for intrepid adventurers to discover. There are a lot of personal revelations throughout the plot, as Cameron does what he can to find out where Emilie went after disappearing without a trace a year previously, but I felt very little was actually revealed in terms of Cameron's discoveries and Emilie’s research was quite thin on the ground. Although I enjoyed the personal jeopardy involved for Cameron and found that it helped to round out the plot, I wanted more focus on what Cameron’s discoveries and Emilie’s research actually was. I was also left a bit confused by the reference to COVID-19. The intimation that a virus is somehow connected to Cameron and Emilie, but with no explanation of a link felt a bit like an unnecessary addition. If this plot point needs to be there I would have liked to see the references of viruses woven into Emilie and Cameron’s work earlier on, so that the suggestion isn’t as jarring and appears as a relevant aspect of the storyline that went before. I appreciated the complexity of the plot, with false trails laid and secrets kept by characters in order to keep themselves safe and there’s a lot of detail packed into a relatively small number of pages. I think that the ideas within this plot have the potential to shine with the addition of a bit more clarity and there’s potential for this book to be a suspense filled mystery.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

The Summer of 66

The Summer of 66

Author: Dan Wheatcroft Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/07/2020

A 60’s Spy novel set in the shadows of England’s historic World Cup win. ‘Summer of 66’ by Dan Wheatcroft has everything you would expect from a spy novel set in the 60s, a flippant and womanising male lead in Gally, cold war tensions and espionage. After his philandering ways lands Special Branch Detective Constable John Gallagher in hot water with his division, he is sent out of the way to join the British Home Office Statistical Unit. But this is more than a punishment placement, and soon Gally is embroiled in the investigation of the apparent suicides of government cryptologists. Also described as a prequel to the ‘Leveller’ series, I think that ‘Summer of 66’ is a good jumping off point. I didn’t feel I was missing out because I hadn’t read any of the ‘Leveller’ books. The main character is dynamic and quickly becomes an integral part of the Room 3 team. His consistent self-assurance lets the reader know that the events in the plot will be swiftly resolved. The football tournament, although not integral to the plot, creates some context and fleshes out the setting of the story, while also providing cover for the Room 3 team while the nation’s mind is elsewhere. ‘Summer of 66’ is a succinct and easy to read mystery, a story that can be read while enjoying a cup of tea and Jammie Dodgers with the rest of the team. Fans of the book will have more ‘John Gallagher’ books to look forward to, as well as the ‘Leveller’ series to enjoy. 

April 2022 Featured Books

The Dying Squad

The Dying Squad

Author: Adam Simcox Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2022

DYING IS HELL . . . SOLVING YOUR OWN MURDER IS PURGATORY When Detective Inspector Joe Lazarus storms a Lincolnshire farmhouse, he expects to bring down a notorious drug gang; instead, he discovers his own dead body and a spirit guide called Daisy-May. She's there to enlist him to the Dying Squad, a spectral police force made up of the recently deceased. Joe soon realises there are fates far worse than death. To escape being stuck in purgatory, he must solve his own murder. A task made all the more impossible when his memories start to fade. Reluctantly partnering with Daisy-May, Joe faces dangers from both the living and the dead in the quest to find his killer - before they kill again.

Star Books
Silverview

Silverview

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2022

Julian Lawndsley has renounced his high-flying job in the City for a simpler life running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. But only a couple of months into his new career, Julian's evening is disrupted by a visitor. Edward, a Polish emigre living in Silverview, the big house on the edge of town, seems to know a lot about Julian's family and is rather too interested in the inner workings of his modest new enterprise. When a letter turns up at the door of a spy chief in London warning him of a dangerous leak, the investigations lead him to this quiet town by the sea . . . Silverview is the mesmerising story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals. In this last complete masterwork from the greatest chronicler of our age, John le Carre asks what you owe to your country when you no longer recognise it.

Death of the Black Widow

Death of the Black Widow

Author: James Patterson Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2022

A stunning stand-alone thriller following a Detroit cop's hunt for a serial killer like no other, from the bestselling authors of The Noise You never forget your first case. Officer Walter O'Brien is called to a murder scene on his first night with Detroit PD. A terrified young woman has bludgeoned her attacker with shocking skill. She is also a brilliant escape artist. Her flight from police custody makes the case impossible to solve - and, for Walter, impossible to forget. His fascination with the missing, grey-eyed woman approaches obsession. And when Walter discovers that he's not alone in his search, only one thing is certain . . . The string of murders didn't begin in his home city - but he's going to make sure it ends there.

Not a Happy Family

Not a Happy Family

Author: Shari Lapena Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2022

The chilling Sunday Times bestseller perfect for fans of Knives Out. The new unputdownable thriller from the multi-million-copy bestselling author of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR. In this family, everyone is keeping secrets - even the dead. 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. Wouldn't you? 

The Berserkers

The Berserkers

Author: Vic Peterson Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/04/2022

This novel starts with the discovery of a beautiful woman who has been found stabbed and frozen in the ice of Lake Munch; she is dressed only in the costume wings and tight corset of a Norse Valkyrie. From here, the life of Grammaticus will never be the same again, a police records clerk by day and a member of the Viking heavy metal band The Berserkers by night. His life is usually uneventful, and this, it seems, is how he likes it.    The Constable, who is leading the investigation, seems to have other ideas for Grammaticus and sends him out with the police to be a note-taker, throwing him into a succession of eventful situations. He knows nothing about police procedures or how to apprehend a murderer. Only after the death of the little woman from the mead factory, he decides to team up with Snorri and Aud and embark on a mystical and magical adventure that will change his outlook on life completely.   This story is beautifully written with magic and myths along with horror and humour, it will have you enthralled as it takes you along on this journey of three people who have nothing in common but form a very special bond. Alison Hartley, A LoveReading Ambassador

The Cutting Season

The Cutting Season

Author: M. W. Craven Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Poe's just hanging around on a Saturday afternoon... Dangling from a hook in a meat packing plant isn't how Detective Sergeant Washington Poe wants to spend his weekend. He's been punched and kicked and threatened, and when a contract killer arrives it seems things are about to go from bad to worse. He goes by the name of the Pale Man and he and his straight-edged razor have been feared all over London for twenty years. But Poe knows two things the Pale Man doesn't. Although it might seem like a hopeless situation, Poe has planned to be here all along. More importantly, a nerdy, computer whizz-kid called Tilly Bradshaw is watching his back. And now things are about to get interesting . . .

Blind Spot

Blind Spot

Author: Paula Hawkins Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/04/2022

'How can you say things like this? How can you be so blind?' Since they were kids, Edie, Jake and Ryan have been the closest of friends. It's been the three of them against the world. Edie thought the bonds between them were unbreakable. So when Jake is brutally murdered and Ryan accused of the crime, her world is shattered. Edie is alone for the first time in years, living in the remote house that she and Jake shared. She is grief-stricken and afraid - with good reason. Because someone is watching. Someone has been waiting for this moment. Now that Edie is alone, the past she tried so hard to leave behind is about to catch up with her...

Nobody But Us

Nobody But Us

Author: Laure Van Rensburg Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Steven Harding is a handsome, well-respected professor. Ellie Masterson is a wide-eyed young college student. Together, they are driving south from New York, for their first holiday: three days in an isolated cabin, far from the city. Ahead of them, the promise of long, dark nights - and the chance to explore one another's bodies, away from prying eyes. It should be a perfect, romantic trip for two. EXCEPT THAT HE'S NOT WHO HE SAYS HE IS. BUT THEN AGAIN, NEITHER IS SHE . . .

Into the Dark

Into the Dark

Author: Fiona Cummins Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

This fabulous crime thriller is full, absolutely stuffed full to overflowing with intense, smart, powerful writing. A local family goes missing in suspicious circumstances, the police, their friends and neighbours rush to fill in the gaps of their disappearance in order to find them. The novel runs along different timelines, revealing stories from both before and after the Holden’s were found to be missing. A number of different strands open up, running alongside each other, but in themselves independent. It feels as though there are enough stories here to fill several separate novels, yet it doesn’t ever feel cluttered. Fiona Cummins keeps the characters, time frames, and plot all spinning up in the air with aplomb, any that drop and smash open are done so deliberately and I found myself on tenterhooks, waiting for the next to fall. The darkness grows, stealing across the pages, almost overwhelming in its intensity. The words crept into my thoughts, suggesting, encouraging suspicion and questions to grow and expand. Even though I had been led to expect some of the events taking place, I was still shocked when they did, and that is the skill of the writing here. I found myself on that wonderful reading clifftop of suspense before falling out into the heart-stopping void, and so I’ve chosen Into the Dark as a Liz Pick of the Month. This breath-stealing novel offers dramatic, satisfying, pure reading pleasure, so we also declare it a LoveReading Star Book.

Books of the Month
Shadow Girls

Shadow Girls

Author: Carol Birch Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

I loved this atmospheric, coming-of-age novel, with its ghostly and tragic undertones. Shadow Girls explores the fragility and intensity of teenage friendships in the mid-1960s. The book instantly conjured up memories of my own school days in the 1980s – adolescent emotions, rebellious behaviour, first relationships and cliquey peer groups. The characters leapt out of the page, thanks to the stunning, highly descriptive prose and believable dialogue. The first half of the book is a slowburn, building up the tension and feelings of nostalgia; the second half is unsettling and much darker. The supernatural element of the book worked well for me too, sending a chill down my spine, and with an unreliable narrator it was very difficult to know what was real and what wasn't. Shadow Girls is also a beautiful written novel about mental health and the psychological impact of grief. It's a haunting read, and one that stayed with me long after I turned the final page. 

Books of the Month
The Whispers

The Whispers

Author: Heidi Perks Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Grace's best friend Anna is missing. She would never leave her husband and son by choice and Grace is beside herself with worry. As Grace searches desperately for answers, everyone seems to have a different version of the truth. Why won't Anna's husband call the police? What secrets are the other mothers at the school gate hiding? With each day that passes, Anna's life is under increasing threat. The pressure is mounting and it won't be long before something cracks...

The Midnight Hour

The Midnight Hour

Author: Elly Griffiths Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/04/2022

A twisty new murder story from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries. An old man lies dead and it looks like poison, but his wife isn't the only one who had reason to kill him. Brighton, 1965 When theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his retirement home, no one suspects foul play. But when the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, eccentric ex-Music Hall star Verity Malone. Frustrated by the police response to Bert's death and determined to prove her innocence, Verity calls in private detective duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins. This is their first real case, but as luck would have it they have a friend on the inside: Max Mephisto is filming a remake of Dracula, starring Seth Billington, Bert's son. But when they question Max, they feel he isn't telling them the whole story. Emma and Sam must vie with the police to untangle the case and bring the killer to justice. They're sure the answers must lie in Bert's dark past and in the glamorous, occasionally deadly, days of Music Hall. But the closer they get to the truth, the more danger they find themselves in...

The Caretakers

The Caretakers

Author: Amanda Bestor-Siegal Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/04/2022

Haunting and compelling, Amanda Bestor-Siegal’s The Caretakers unveils the secrets of the inhabitants of a wealthy Paris suburb, with the spectre of the 2015 terrorist attacks as a backdrop, and the unthinkably tragic death of a child at home at its heart. We’re introduced to the set of characters when a young American au pair is arrested on suspicion of killing one of the children in her care. Her host family live in an affluent suburb on the edge of Paris, where hiring an au pair is pretty much de rigueur, where cracks glint beneath the polished veneer. Both the wealthy women and au pairs lay bare complex issues around class, privilege, coming-of-age and midlife shifts on both sides of the Atlantic as the novel slips in time and place to reveal the events that led to the au pair’s arrest. Revenge is exacted in the form of affairs. People hide secrets of their past. These are a collection of lost, lonely souls, with their backstories adding further depth, among them a story of Czech immigrants in the US, and a French woman hiding her provincial past. Exuding the enthralling pace of a thriller and the emotional depth of a literary family drama, The Caretakers is a thoroughly thought-provoking, un-put-down-able read.

Debut Books of the Month
The Rebel's Mark

The Rebel's Mark

Author: S. W. Perry Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/04/2022

Full of enthralling action, with a mix of fictional and real characters, this is a striking tale set in thought-provoking times, Dr Nicholas Shelby finds himself again acting as spy for Robert Cecil as Ireland rebels against Elizabeth’s rule. The Jackdaw Mysteries Series is one of my favourites, S. W. Perry is wonderfully consistent with his conjuring of the era, introducing thrilling plots and fascinating characters. Here we are at book five, and I highly recommend starting with The Angel's Mark and reading in order if you’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting Nicholas and Bianca. The court of Elizabeth thrums with activity and intrigue, and The Jackdaw inn remains at the centre of the tale even as Nicholas and Bianca travel to Ireland, a country fighting for its freedom. The mix of real characters and fact blended with fiction is really successful, it is all too easy to imagine the instability of the times and compare them to today. There is a strength to Nicholas and Bianca being together, their relationship allows a deeper exploration of the precariousness of being wound up so tightly in Cecil’s web. The Rebel’s Mark is a fabulous continuation of a winning series, long live the Jackdaw Mysteries! 

Books of the Month
The Liberation's Child

The Liberation's Child

Author: Lucy Cruickshanks Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/04/2022

This is Britain – but not as we know it. The country is reeling in the aftermath of the Free and Equal Britain (FEB) movement, a political regime that dismantled the structures of society and brought about the unjust killing of millions of citizens. Dom and Thea, two survivors trying to move on with their lives, face a race against time to discover the truth behind a child trafficking ring somehow connected to FEB-era politicians. Their desperation is present at every turn of this haunting fiction. Every move they make is riddled with tension; who is watching over them? Who can really be trusted? Cruickshanks' prose is beautifully taut – not a word is wasted – and her short, punchy paragraphs add pace to the thriller when it’s most needed. The narrative shifts between Thea’s and Dom’s stories with ease, both characters and their tragic pasts treated with emotional sensitivity rather than pity. Their resilience and integrity shine in an otherwise corrupt world – it’s impossible to not get swept along with them and their cause. The Liberation’s Child is dystopian fiction at its finest…but don’t be fooled. Although this version of London may be far removed from any modern reality, the unnerving themes that lie at the heart of this harrowing story - human trafficking, political unrest and genocide – will undoubtedly strike a chord with many.

Sorrowland

Sorrowland

Author: Rivers Solomon Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/04/2022

A triumphant, genre-bending novel, following a young Black woman through a nightmarish yet recognisable landscape as she attempts to create a new life for herself and her children. Vern, a hunted woman alone in the woods, gives birth to twins and raises them away from the influence of the outside world. But something is wrong - not with them, but with her own body. It's changing, it's stronger, it's not normal. To understand her body's metamorphosis, Vern must investigate the secluded religious compound from which she fled and the violent history of dehumanisation, medical experimentation and genocide that produced it. In the course of reclaiming her own darkness, Vern learns that monsters aren't just individuals, but entire histories, systems and nations. Rivers Solomon's Sorrowland is a memorable work of Gothic fiction that wrestles with the tangled history of racism in America and the marginalisation of society's undesirables. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction. 

Books of the Month
Amongst Our Weapons

Amongst Our Weapons

Author: Ben Aaronovitch Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/04/2022

PRE-ORDER THE HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED BRAND NEW NOVEL IN THE #1 BESTSELLING RIVERS OF LONDON SERIES NOW There is a world hidden underneath this great city... The London Silver Vaults - for well over a century, the largest collection of silver for sale in the world. It has more locks than the Bank of England and more cameras than a celebrity punch-up. Not somewhere you can murder someone and vanish without a trace - only that's what happened. The disappearing act, the reports of a blinding flash of light and memory loss amongst the witnesses all make this a case for Detective Constable Peter Grant and the Special Assessment Unit. Alongside their boss DCI Thomas Nightingale, the SAU find themselves embroiled in a mystery that encompasses London's tangled history, foreign lands and, most terrifying of all, the North! And Peter must solve this case soon because back home his partner Beverley is expecting twins any day now. But what he doesn't know is that he's about to encounter something - and somebody - that nobody ever expects... Effortlessly original, endlessly inventive and hugely entertaining - step into the world of the much-loved, Number One bestselling Rivers of London series. 

The Blood Tide

The Blood Tide

Author: Neil Lancaster Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/03/2022

Neil Lancaster has written a twisty, high-octane police procedural that thrilled and intrigued me from beginning to end. Starting with several dramatic scenes, this book drew me in straightaway, following DS Max Craigie and colleagues as they investigate two seemingly linked deaths. I've not read the first book in this series - Dead Man's Grave - but this didn't matter at all, as The Blood Tide works well as a standalone, with enough back story to fill in any gaps. The writing is beautifully descriptive, bringing the diverse characters, stunning Scottish countryside and fast-paced action scenes to life (it seemed as though everything was springing out of the page in front of me), and the humorous banter between the team brought some light relief to break up the darkness of the plot. The author's own police background provides realism, authenticity and insights to a gripping and gritty read. Highly recommended Scottish Noir - I'll be picking up the first book in this series soon, and look forward to the third.  

eBooks of the Month
Twelve Secrets

Twelve Secrets

Author: Robert Gold Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

If you're looking for your next book fix, stop right now and read Twelve Secrets. Twenty years ago Ben Harper's world was turned upside down when his older brother Nick and best friend are murdered by two school friends. Ten years later he lost his mother and the story rocked the little town and the whole country. Now an award-winning investigative journalist his boss asks him to relive his traumas on the tenth anniversary of his mother's death. Ben has a decision to make. Does he want to go there? What will he find? Will be be able to write this story? Set in fictional town of Haddley, based on Gold's hometown of Putney, Twelve Secrets is a cracking psychological thriller. When another murder brings it all back to haunt the idyllic town we see how secrets are a dangerous thing and the book grabs you in a vice like grip as you uncover them all. This is an assured debut, the start of a series and we can't wait to read more of Ben Harper. Bring it on, Gold!     

Star Books
Verity

Verity

Author: Colleen Hoover Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/01/2022

Lowen Ashleigh, a struggling writer, loses her mum, becomes homeless, is on the brink of financial ruin and she thinks all is lost. That’s until she is invited to a meeting to discuss her taking the baton from a global bestselling author Verity Crawford, to finish the final three books in an award-winning series. Verity’s husband Jeremy hires Lowen to pick up where his injured wife left off. When trawling through the messy office in their sprawling home, Lowen finds Verity's draft autobiography, a grippingly honest account of her life that surely no-one was ever intended to read. The admissions and the horror shock you to the core as all sympathy for this injured woman flies out of the window. As Lowen reads the manuscript page by page she falls harder and harder for Jeremy. Should she show him the autobiography? Is it her chance for happiness now? A departure from the emotional love stories Colleen Hoover is known for, this is a emotional rollercoaster that grips you from the start, and you can’t wait to see how it ends.  

Books of the Month
The Reversible Mask An Elizabethan Spy Novel

The Reversible Mask An Elizabethan Spy Novel

Author: Loretta Goldberg Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/12/2018

Loved it and can highly recommend. It is obvious lots of research has been done of the times, politics, war, people and European countries. The storyline starts off quite slowly in the early years of Queen Elizabeth's reign. Edward Latham is a witness to her progress to Oxford, the token Papist in a Protestant court. To ensure his soul is not lost he leaves hastily for Scotland to serve Queen Mary. All does not go to plan there and he ends up as a clerk to the Duke of Guise. Rashly he decodes a letter and so begins his career as a spy. The book continues with Latham encountering danger in many forms up to the Armada. Hopefully there will be a next book to continue Latham's story.  Linda Amos, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love

March 2022 Featured Books

Better Off Dead

Better Off Dead

Author: Lee Child, Andrew Child Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/03/2022

Reacher never backs down from a problem. And he's about to find a big one, on a deserted Arizona road, where a Jeep has crashed into the only tree for miles around. Under the merciless desert sun, nothing is as it seems. Minutes later Reacher is heading into the nearby border town, a backwater that has seen better days. Next to him is Michaela Fenton, an army veteran turned FBI agent, who is trying to find her twin brother. He might have got mixed up with some dangerous people. And Reacher might just need to pay them a visit. Their leader has burrowed his influence deep into the town. Just to get in and meet the mysterious Dendoncker, Reacher is going to have to achieve the impossible. To get answers will be even harder. There are people in this hostile, empty place who would rather die than reveal their secrets. But then, if Reacher is coming after you, you might be better off dead.

Private Rogue

Private Rogue

Author: James Patterson, Adam Hamdy Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/03/2022

We will take on any case, solve any crime, uncover any secret. We are Private. And we're the best. In Afghanistan, a US Special Forces pilot is shot down during a covert mission. In New York, a mother is forced to flee with her two young children. A wealthy businessman approaches Jack Morgan, head of Private - the world's largest investigation agency - with a desperate plea to track down his daughter and grandchildren, who have disappeared without a trace. What at first seems to be a simple missing persons case soon escalates into something much more deadly, when Jack discovers the daughter is being pursued by highly trained operatives. As Jack uncovers more of the woman's backstory, the trail leads towards Afghanistan - where Jack's career as a US Marine ended in catastrophe . . . Jack will need to face the trauma of his past to save a family's future.

The Curfew

The Curfew

Author: T. M. Logan Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/03/2022

Do you know where your kids are? It's time to preorder the brand new up-all-night thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Richard and Judy pick The Holiday and The Catch. I should have known something was wrong. I should have sensed it. Felt it in the air, like the build-up of pressure before a thunderstorm, that heavy, loaded calm. The curfew Andy and Laura are good parents. They tell their son Connor that he can go out with friends to celebrate completing his exams, but he must be home by midnight. The lie When Connor misses his curfew, it sets off a series of events that will change the lives of five families forever. The truth? Because five teenagers went into the woods that night, but only four came out. And telling the truth might mean losing everything... WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Reptile Memoirs

Reptile Memoirs

Author: Silje O. Ulstein Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/03/2022

Uncoiling monstrous extremes of human behaviour through traumatised, obsession-driven characters, Silje Ulstein’s Reptile Memoirs is a thriller like no other. An audaciously bizarre, taboo-tangled marvel of a debut. Guilefully plotted, the multi-timeframe, multi-voiced narrative is wildly original. In 2003, Liv becomes obsessed with the idea of having a snake, so she and her flatmates buy Nero, a young Burmese python that comes to dominate her life, evoking unnervingly intense emotions, and providing her with a strange sense of security. In 2017, Mariam’s daughter goes missing, prompting a twisting, shifting investigation that unveils the long-submerged secrets and traumas of everyone involved, including one of the chief investigators. Reader, there’s no escape from the serpentine onslaught of this story. Reptile Memoirs takes the notion of unexpected plot twists to seething, shocking extremes as characters slough their identities and the timelines converge, with the snake-narrated “reptile memoirs” of the title providing an unnerving, cold-blooded perspective on cold-blooded human actions.

Star Books
River Clyde

River Clyde

Author: Simone Buchholz Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

A thoughtfully lyrical yet full-on blast of, well, just how do I describe a novel that doesn’t neatly slot into any traditional genre. Bestselling and award winning Simone Buchholz is well known for her beautifully provocative Chastity Riley series, I’ve adored them from the beginning with Blue Night. Here she tunes her unique voice to a slightly different dial. Noir - oh yes, fantasy - perhaps, relationship story - potentially, family drama - yup, modern and contemporary - bang on, in other words, don’t even attempt to pigeon-hole, just read. Chastity leaves her grieving friends and her job as a State Prosecutor in Hamburg behind to explore her roots in Glasgow. Chastity is one of my favourite characters in fiction, at 48 she’s lived through hell, and is broken yet strong. As I read goosebumps skittered down my arms. The River Clyde character lends an almost otherworldly feel, it travels to the parts of the mind that lurk in dark and hidden places. Even so this smacks of authenticity, it feels so blimmin real! This is a novel that pushes you to think, it grabs thoughts, chews them up, and spits them back out again. Is it an end or a new beginning, only time will tell. Big shout out to translator Rachel Ward, it feels as though she and Simon Buchholz are as one. River Clyde is 230 pages of fabulous, joining an exciting and oh so satisfying series. 

Books of the Month
Faceless

Faceless

Author: Vanda Symon Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

If you’ve read the Sam Shephard series, you’ll know all about Vanda Symon, New Zealand’s Queen of Crime. If you’ve not read them, please do, they are cracking. Faceless is jam-packed with suspense, utterly gripping and I promise you’ll clench all the way through. Certain bits I felt I stopped breathing altogether! And don’t get me started on the final few chapters… Billy is a vulnerable, homeless artist who turns tricks to fund her art. When Bradley, a stressed, middle-aged man picks up Billy, his frustration leads him down a path, and pushes him into acting to prove he’s not weak, he lashes out and kidnaps Billy. Pals from the streets, Max is forced to come out of the shadows to find his only friend, confront his demons and boy, he’s committed. Your heart breaks as you follow Billy’s ordeal and as her plight becomes more and more desperate. Symon’s powerful storytelling delivers an emotional rollercoaster of a thriller, and doesn’t let you go. You follow the jaw-dropping journey as the faceless street dwellers become real people and we understand what led them to the streets; a thought-provoking thriller that will have your heart racing.

Lucky

Lucky

Author: Rachel Edwards Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

A tense, twisty novel about love, betrayal, survival - and an addiction so compelling it threatens to destroy everything in its path   Etta is in her mid thirties and keen to nudge her loving but commitment-phobic partner, Ola, towards marriage and children. Ola is reluctant to get engaged before they have enough saved for a house deposit, so Etta takes matters into her own hands and finds a way to start secretly making money: online gambling. What a delightful discovery! And what a stroke of luck that Etta just happens to be so brilliant at it.   Soon she's playing quite a lot. She doesn't like lying to Ola, but it's all for the good of their relationship. She's even made a friend on the site, StChristopher75, and she's invited to a special VIP party. And even if she is losing a little money here and there - or even quite a lot of money - she'll win it back eventually. Or maybe even StChristopher75 can help her out with a little loan, once she's met him in real life. He's just won big, and he's been so friendly and helpful on the site.   Why wouldn't he want to help her?

eBooks of the Month
Sundial

Sundial

Author: Catriona Ward Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/03/2022

So exquisitely haunting it hurts, Sundial slithers into thoughts to carve out a spot and make itself at home. Fearing for the future of both her daughters, Rob takes troubled Callie to her own childhood home in the Mojave Desert and revisits the past. I have been of fan of Catriona Ward since her debut Rawblood, each of her subsequent novels has become my new favourite, and that is most certainly the case here. Just reading the synopsis sent a shiver through me, I had to have this book! As I started to read, goosebumps shivered and skittered their way down my skin to declare just how special this was going to be. A quiet menace slipped past my boundaries to create a heightened sense of fear for what was to come. The smallest yet most vital of moments are created to tip feelings already in the balance. Trust is a scarce commodity, love though, love is more than evident as mother and daughter test their relationship. There is also a grace to be found, in the eloquence of words as they slice and then stitch to form the most vividly real and vibrant story. Sundial is an intensely dark and blazingly beautiful novel about the love that can hold us together, or shatter us into pieces. This stunning tale that hovers on a sharp edge of horror has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book, and Liz Pick of the Month, it will undoubtedly be one of my books of the year.

Star Books
Run Rose Run

Run Rose Run

Author: Dolly Parton, James Patterson Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/03/2022

From America's most beloved superstar and its greatest storyteller - a thriller about a young singer-songwriter on the rise and on the run, and determined to do whatever it takes to survive. Every song tells a story. She's a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her. She's also on the run. Find a future, lose a past. Nashville is where she's come to claim her destiny. It's also where the darkness she's fled might find her. And destroy her. Run, Rose, Run is a novel glittering with danger and desire - a story that only America's #1 beloved entertainer and its #1 bestselling author could have created. Also available: an album of 12 original Dolly Parton songs made for the novel!

Audiobooks of the Month
The Clockwork Girl

The Clockwork Girl

Author: Anna Mazzola Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Hugely provocative, powerful, and suffused with a stinging, haunting beauty, The Clockwork Girl thoroughly deserves its inclusion as a LoveReading Star Book. Set in Paris during 1750, Madeleine is tasked with discovering the truth about a clockmaker who designs mechanical objects that appear to come to life. Three women sit centre stage, all from different backgrounds, yet struggling to survive in a male dominated world.Oh my word, from the very beginning this made me flinch, unapologetically raw and intense the words burrowed their way inside me. Anna Mazzola really is the most gifted storyteller, I was taken captive as I read, consumed by the fierce thrilling plot and the characters who invaded, and still remain in my mind. I loved the sharp edge of the unreal I found myself hovering over, the insinuations and suggestions that allowed my thoughts to run riot. While the spellbinding clockworks danced eerily featherlight in their own world, the reality of the time created a layer of foreboding that sat glowering, waiting, ready. As it soared into chilling evocative life in front of my eyes I fell in love with this tale. I just had to include The Clockwork Girl as a Liz Pick of the Month, it’s an entirely and gloriously captivating stunner of a read.

Star Books
The Paris Apartment

The Paris Apartment

Author: Lucy Foley Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Populated with dysfunctional, unreliable characters who live in the eponymous upmarket building, Lucy Foley’s The Paris Apartment is as potent as its stifling, steamy summer-in-the-city setting. With this clearly-defined space providing the tingling tension of a classic mystery, this will have fans of twisty, psychological thrillers on the very edge of their seats. Pretty much penniless, Jess has fled her bar job in Brighton hoping to start afresh in Paris, where her half-brother Ben is working to make a name for himself as a journalist. Though they shared a mother, their lives took very different paths when Ben was taken-in by a well-to-do family who helped him make it to Cambridge University, which is kind-of how he came to be living in a stunning Paris apartment while Jess has been struggling. But Jess’s hopes for a new life are immediately thrown off-course when Ben’s not home when she arrives. As the hours - and days - pass, with Jess wondering how Ben can possibly afford to live in a place like this, she begins to ask questions of the apartment’s extremely well-heeled residents. It’s clear all the dysfunctional occupants are harbouring secrets (and carrying a whole lot of high-end Hermès baggage), but what might they have to do with Ben’s disappearance? And who is the most likely suspect? Readers are led on a grippingly twisting journey alongside Jess, one that lays bare many monsters beneath the luxury beds.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Soul Stealer

The Soul Stealer

Author: Graham Masterton Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

'God, he's good.' Stephen King A Native American demon is unearthed in the present day. Original, disturbing and utterly terrifying, this is the new standalone from master of horror, and author of The Manitou, Graham Masterton. Nemo Frisby used to be a detective. Now he drives an Uber between billionaire mansions in California. But he never lost the nose for the case - and when his housecleaner Trinity Fox discovers a young woman lying dead in her neighborhood, she persuades him to help her prove it wasn't suicide. Their investigation leads them to the Bel Air home of a wealthy movie producer, who built his mansion over a Native American burial site. Ancient mythology tells of a demon who, if unearthed, can imbue evil men with terrible power. But only if the demon is fed by the sacrifice of innocent lives... Graham Masterton is a true master of his genre, famous for his original, disturbing, and utterly terrifying novels. The Soul Stealer will stand alongside The Manitou as one of horror's most chilling explorations of the native magic of the ancients.

The Perfect Crime

The Perfect Crime

Author: Vaseem Khan, Maxim Jakubowski Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

It’s rub your hands in glee time with this collection of 22 hugely engaging and eloquent crime stories from around the world. The editors for this book are Maxim Jakubowski who is current chair of the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA), author, and former publisher, and Vaseem Khan author of two crime series set in India, co-host of the Red Hot Chilli Writers podcast, and who currently sits on the board of the CWA. In their introductions, Maxim and Vaseem both note that until this century, there was a lack of diversity in crime writing. Maxim says that he is privileged to have witnessed an explosion of crime writing by authors of all colours and ethnic backgrounds which has encouraged a new readership in the process. While Vaseem speaks more personally about his journey into publishing and is passionate about literature being a powerful means to change society for the better. Together they have invited authors from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds to contribute, and in reading these stories you can not only travel the globe but also experience new thoughts and feelings. Some of the authors are well known to me, and particular favourites, so I immediately turned to their fabulous tales. That’s the joy of an anthology isn’t it, dipping in and out, returning, sinking in and letting go. Then I explored the stories where I hadn’t yet met the author’s writing. Oh boy, what a reading thrill that was, I will most definitely be keeping an eye out for them in the future. With an assortment of writing styles, locations, times in history, and characters, the plots sizzle and evoke a variety of emotions. The Perfect Crime comes with a massive thumbs up from me and marches straight in to sit as a LoveReading Star Book.

Star Books
Reputation

Reputation

Author: Sarah Vaughan Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

This powerful, provocative, intoxicating rush of a read hit me head on and ploughed through my thoughts. Mother, former teacher and now MP Emma Webster is used to the press and public judging her, when a man is found dead in her home it opens the floodgates. Trolling, bullying, the difficulties of being a woman and a powerful one at that, are examined while encased in a plot that accelerates into a thrilling story. Newspaper reports and social media comments lie in wait. The focus on different characters and their points of view ensures each nuanced layer splices to the next. Only Emma is written in the first person, I felt her emotional reaction and found myself positively aching for her. The characters are beautifully flawed, each giving you access yet creating a space to explore their personality and choices made. Sarah Vaughan allows you to see what’s coming, the what but not the how, letting you in while creating tension with the slicing edge of the story. Thoroughly provoking thoughts while being highly entertaining, Reputation is timely, convincing, and exhilarating read.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Vatican Secret

The Vatican Secret

Author: David Leadbeater Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2022

The clock is ticking for ex-MI5 agent, Joe Mason. An elderly professor under his protection has been ruthlessly murdered in the Vatican archives; if he doesn’t act fast to track down the people responsible, and the book of secrets in their possession, the threat to the Church and the world at large could be devastating. David Leadbeater brings his codebreaking quest to life by perfectly balancing explosive action sequences with key historical detail. Car chases, boat crashes, hand-to-hand combat and a healthy dose of brutal murder all help to keep the blood pumping and the pages turning. But there’s plenty to discover too about the ancient cities, churches and artefacts that lie at the heart of Christianity. The relationships between Mason and Roxy - his feisty fellow agent - and other comrades they encounter on their chase are also central to the unfolding drama. Each carries their own physical or psychological scars that are explored sensitively as the action builds. The success of this mission could help them all atone for past mistakes and misjudgments - so failure is not an option. The Vatican Secret is a thrilling novel that whisks you through crypts and catacombs, across stormy waters and treacherous caves. But it’s also a timely story about corruption, fake news and the danger posed by power hungry leaders. In a world as dark as this, it feels like Joe Mason has arrived on the scene just when we need him the most.

Books of the Month
The Patient

The Patient

Author: Tim Sullivan Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Detective Sergeant George Cross seems to be the only police officer prepared to listen to the mother of a dead drug user when she claims her daughter had been murdered. Cross is intrigued, and decides to look into the claim. The premise - a detective re-investigating the work of a colleague who would prefer his failings are not exposed- is very real and very prescient. Before turning to writing police procedurals, Tim Sullivan enjoyed a successful career as a screen writer, working with some famous actors on some well known series. 'The Patient' is his third book in what, so far, has been a very popular and enjoyable detective series. George Cross is a character who reminds me of several detectives I’ve worked with in the past. He is autistic, a quality that may cause some readers to question whether he could become a police officer, let alone a detective. In reality, the sense of focus, the ability to see things others don’t and the attention to detail are qualities I have seen in some very capable real-life detectives who had struggled as a uniform officer but excelled at detective work. Cross does them great credit. His character – at times funny, at times frustrating – is a refreshing change from the maverick, hard-drinking types so often created for a protagonist. His working partner, Josie Ottey, is perfect. Josie is Cross’s anchor, his mentor and his champion. She understands his strengths and appreciates his eccentricities. At times comical, at times poignant, their partnership makes for compelling reading. Highly recommended.

Books of the Month
The Choice

The Choice

Author: SJ Ford Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2022

Hero or villain? Right or wrong? You decide, in this fast-paced thriller fraught with conundrums and contradictions, forged by the love we have for our children. The curiosity, the confusion, the suspicion, the creeping fear, the panic, the anger, the hopelessness, the protective fire of a mother. Which side will you be on? She did it, you see. She killed him.  She pointed her car at him and slammed down the accelerator. Jane Bell, mother of two, frustrated and terrified about being ignored by the police, takes matters into her own hands when she uncovers plans for her neighbour to bomb the local primary school. The school and nursery which her children attend.  What would you do? What do you think? Your conscience screams alongside Jane’s as the story unfolds, as we find out more chapter by chapter from each standpoint, from each perspective, from each of the bystanders. The husband Neil. The Detective Inspector Bill Simmons, the senior officer at the scene. Aneesa Khan, the journalist following the story for the Birmingham Gazette. Simon Rafferty, the barrister who decides to grab Jane’s case and attempt to change the course of legal history. As a mother myself this sucker punched me, and tears were streaming.  It’s thought-provoking, captivating. And not always in a comfortable way. What if this were my children’s school? But thou shalt not kill. It’s black and white isn’t it? Or is it… With twists and turns along the way, you follow the story of Jane and her incredible journey through the media firestorm and the trial. Would you take one life to save hundreds? Let’s talk about it after you’ve read this book.

Debut Books of the Month
Remember Me

Remember Me

Author: Charity Norman Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2022

With an all-consuming plot and characters that feel vibrantly real, this is an engaging and eloquent novel. Emily travels home to New Zealand and finds herself living in her father’s past as well as the present as his health deteriorates. As Felix reveals details of a woman who went missing 25 years ago, Emily begins to fear for his future. There are two distinct sides to this story, both hitting with equal intensity as they begin to intertwine. The journey Alzheimers can take spears feelings, while the story of the missing women sits waiting, biding its time. The sense of place is vividly realised, and hovers, ever present. I love Charity Norman’s writing, I find myself exploring everyday situations with new awareness as she opens the unknown and gives it voice. This tale almost sits entirely within the circle of Leah and her father Felix and I felt as though I was watching them in person, experiencing their emotions alongside them. There was a feeling of inevitability as I observed them, I could feel their pain at the cruelty inflicted. There were times when the story was so quiet it actually felt as though it was yelling. And yet there is joy to be found, and hope too, as well as a reminder that the obvious isn’t always so. Remember Me is a touching, thoughtful novel even as it dances through memories with devastating results. 

Books of the Month
Sea Change

Sea Change

Author: J.M. Simpson Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2022

‘Sea Change’ by J.M. Simpson follows on from the thrilling events of Sea State as a new face shows up in a small Welsh seaside town. Rob Fox is new to Castleby, looking to renovate the climbing centre and rebuild his life after leaving the army and a divorce. I haven’t read Sea State, but I found that Sea Change provided enough background for me to dive into the story with little hesitation. I really liked the sense of community that the author has managed to create throughout this book. Initially from the eyes of a new character in Foxy, then when residents experience challenges or difficulty. I found that whenever I wasn’t reading this story I was looking forward to getting back to it and finding out what would happen next. There are moments of suspense, a slow burning mystery in the background as well as the threat of Jesse’s ex-partner Chris, who vows to track her down. These moments cast a cloud over the town, with a sense of foreboding - a feeling that everything is happy, but not for long. The suspense added a different texture to the plot that kept me intrigued, turning the pagers ever faster as the book was coming to the final pages. Character driven but full of thrills, suspense and drama, this may not be for someone looking for something dark and gritty, but I think it is a perfect quiet Sunday afternoon read. I can't wait to catch up on the first instalment and eagerly await the next. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
The Anniversary

The Anniversary

Author: Laura Marshall Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2022

They thought the killer had no motive. But these murders are not what they seem . . . On 15th June 1994, Travis Green - husband, father, upstanding citizen - walked through the streets of Hartstead and killed eleven of his neighbours. The last victim was little Cassie Colman's father. As the twenty-five-year anniversary approaches, Cassie tries to forget the past - even as her mother struggles to remember it at all. Then something hidden in her mother's possessions suggests the murders were not what everyone believes. Cassie can't stop herself from digging up the past. But someone will do anything to keep it buried . . .

Suspects

Suspects

Author: Lesley Pearse Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2022

In Willow Close, everyone is a suspect . . . Nina and Conrad thought they'd discovered their dream home. But on the day they move in, a body is found - the victim attacked and killed in the woods. As police interview witnesses, they soon discover each resident hiding their own secrets. Because few in the Close are exactly who they seem . . . Nina and Conrad thought they'd found their dream home. Now, it might just be their worst nightmare . . .

Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park

Author: Katherine Faulkner Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2022

Welcome to the must read thriller of 2021. Helen has it all... Daniel is the perfect husband. Rory is the perfect brother. Serena is the perfect sister-in-law. And Rachel? Rachel is the perfect nightmare. When Helen, finally pregnant after years of tragedy, attends her first antenatal class, she is expecting her loving architect husband to arrive soon after, along with her confident, charming brother Rory and his pregnant wife, the effortlessly beautiful Serena. What she is not expecting is Rachel. Extroverted, brash, unsettling single mother-to-be Rachel, who just wants to be Helen's friend. Who just wants to get know Helen and her friends and her family. Who just wants to know everything about them. Every little secret...

Debut Books of the Month
Unhinged

Unhinged

Author: Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/02/2022

An all-in all-out absolute belter of a read, and I’m still coming down from the most amazing reading high. Bear with me, as it’s also one of those books where I don’t want to say too much in case I inadvertently include spoilers! Police Officer Alexander Blix and news blogger Emma Ramm investigate a murder which hits too close to home. This is the third in the superb Blix and Ramm series by Jorn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger. As with the previous novel, translator Megan Turney ensures you only realise just how good the translation has been once you’ve finished and come up for air. Do start with Death Deserved and Smoke Screen as they most definitely warrant your attention before starting on Unhinged. One of the things I love about this series is that Blix and Emma aren’t an obvious duo and their individual stories carry as much weight as the joined. Put plenty of reading time aside, as I hit top gear from the whammy of a start and didn’t want to put it down, even for a second. Short chapters, shifts in focus, and rapid changes in time frames kept me on my toes and high alert. The storytelling is just superb, I’d love to know how these two writers created such a seamless and fast-moving plot. Once I’d finished, and my mind had stopped racing around, I had to have some time out to recover. Chosen as a LoveReading Star Book, Unhinged is pure, unadulterated and absolutely thrilling reading pleasure! The LoveReading LitFest invited Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger to the festival to talk about Unhinged. The digitally native, all year round, online literature and books festival, with new content released every week is a free-for-all-users festival. What are you waiting for? Check out a preview of the event and sign up to become a member.

Star Books
Target: Hollywood

Target: Hollywood

Author: Lawrence Pintak Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/02/2022

Target: Hollywood has an excellent, gritty plot which was very involved and maintained a good pace throughout. Written by Lawrence Pintak, a former Middle East correspondent for CBS News, this is the story of two cousins, brought up side by side in the slums of Beirut, who find themselves on opposing sides of the ‘war on terror’. Ali must head back to the life he thought he left behind in order to save his girlfriend’s father and potentially countless others. The author's background shows in his attention to detail and the reader learns a lot about Lebanon, Muslims, Shi'ites and religious beliefs. I found that the story was very believable and realistic and descriptions of the characters and aims of the terrorist group 'Wrath of God' were extremely convincing. I think that ‘Target: Hollywood’ is a book that is definitely worth reading and re-reading. Jill Barton, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
The Ballerinas

The Ballerinas

Author: Rachel Kapelke-Dale Format: Audiobook Release Date: 07/12/2021

Dare Me meets Black Swan and Luckiest Girl Alive in a captivating, voice-driven debut novel about a trio of ballerinas who meet as students at the Paris Opera Ballet School. Fourteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she's been away...and some secrets can't stay buried forever. Moving between the trio's adolescent years and the present day, Rachel Kapelke-Dale's The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won't see coming, with magnetic characters you won't soon forget.

Audiobooks of the Month
Both of You

Both of You

Author: Adele Parks Format: Audiobook Release Date: 27/05/2021

Leigh Fletcher, devoted wife and stepmum, goes to work one day and never returns home. Same week, different world … Kai Janssen leaves her sexy, wealthy husband and their luxurious penthouse, and vanishes into thin air. Both husbands seem distraught, claiming they have no idea where their wives have gone. DC Clements wants answers. Did these women run away or were they taken? Most importantly, where are they now? When the detective discovers a shocking link between the missing women, it’s clear the truth can devastate. Now Clements must work against a ticking clock, before both wives disappear forever. The Sunday Times Number One bestseller Adele Parks returns with her most provocative book to date: Both Of You.

Audiobooks of the Month
Sekret Machines: Chasing Shadows

Sekret Machines: Chasing Shadows

Author: A.J. Hartley, Tom Delonge Format: Audiobook Release Date: 29/11/2016

The witnesses are legion, scattered across the world and dotted through history, people who looked up and saw something impossible lighting up the night sky. What those objects were, where they came from, and who-or what-might be inside them is the subject of fierce debate and equally fierce mockery, so that most who glimpsed them came to wish they hadn't. Most, but not everyone. Among those who know what they've seen, and are forever changed by it, are a pilot, an heiress, a journalist, and a prisoner of war. From the waning days of the twentieth century's final great war to the fraught fields of Afghanistan to the otherworldly secrets hidden amid Nevada's dusty neverlands-the truth that is out there will propel each of them into a labyrinth of otherworldly technology and the competing aims of those who might seek to prevent-or harness-these beings of unfathomable power. Because, as it turns out, we are not the only ones who can invent and build . . . and destroy. Featuring actual events and other truths drawn from sources within the military and intelligence community, Tom DeLonge and A. J. Hartley offer a tale at once terrifying, fantastical, and perhaps all too real

Audiobooks of the Month

Picture it. You’re going on holiday. The bags are packed and the family is ready, you’re at the gate, the plane is boarding, you’ve decided to start your brand new, especially purchased thriller right away. Suddenly, you’re immersed into the corridors of intrigue, conspiracy, murder, espionage and you don’t know who to trust. The plane has left without you. So has the family. You haven’t even noticed. At least you have a good book … and the whole house to yourself for a week!

This section is crammed with dangerously compelling adventures that will have your nails bitten and nervous system tested to the full. From Dan Brown, Stieg Larsson and James Patterson to Fred Vargas, Bernard Minier and C.J Sansom, there’s enough here to keep you ‘head-down and out-of-it’ for years. There’s certainly time to read one more before the family gets back from Torremolinos … and that’s where we come in!