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.

October 2021 Featured Books

On The Edge

On The Edge

Author: Jane Jesmond Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/10/2021

A twisty thriller set against the windswept shores of Cornwall? It’s a premise that may hint at another writer whose dark tales are synonymous with the county. Yet debut novelist, Jane Jesmond, takes an effective (and bloody) stab at taking readers on a thrill ride amongst these same rocky outposts and smugglers coves. Our protagonist is, however, very different to Daphne du Maurier’s. Jen Shaw, a free climber, is in trouble. She might be out of rehab from her high-octane addiction, but she’s not on terra firma for long. This time, though, it’s a mystery how she finds herself swinging from a lighthouse – and even perhaps, who she really is. Done well, this kind of puzzle-solving story is the holy grail for publishers of commercial fiction, captivating fans of The Girl On The Train or Before I Go To Sleep. And if you loved them, On The Edge will certainly satisfy your crime cravings.

Lemon

Lemon

Author: Kwon Yeo-sun Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

Taking in the absurdities of life, misfortune and tragedy, Kwon Yeo-sun’s Lemon is an engaging, read-in-one-sitting novella of remarkable intensity. In some regards, it’s a crime novel, but one that turns the genre on its head to create an enigmatic emotional puzzle in which a woman warped by grief engages with the person she believes killed her sister. Back in 2002, nineteen-year-old Kim Hae-on was murdered in what became called the High School Beauty Murder. There were only ever two suspects, one of whom had an alibi, while no evidence was found to convict the second, so the case was never solved. Seventeen years later, Kim Hae-on’s younger sister, Da-on, remains utterly eaten up by the murder. Her life is on hold, her mind trapped in twisted stasis. Fixated on finding out what happened to her sister, she discovers unexpected truths that strike her to the core. Told from multiple perspectives and times, the story sparks with descriptive perfection, such as this evocation of the victim: “She was very pretty, but not in a typical way. How could I describe it? Her beauty was urgent, precarious, like the piercing wail of a speeding ambulance. I could not look away”.  It also swirls with powerful undercurrents of raw emotion - desperation, regret, longing, guilt, the brutal ripples of grief. Presented in all their ludicrous complexities, such raw states are overlaid with the mundanities of everyday life. Though short, this is an intensely gripping and profound reading experience. As Lemon ponders: “Couldn’t each moment we’re living now be the meaning of life?”

Debut Books of the Month
Silverview

Silverview

Author: John le Carré Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

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.

Left You Dead

Left You Dead

Author: Peter James Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/10/2021

NO BODY. NO TRACE. NO CRIME? Niall and Eden Paternoster start their Sunday the same way they always do – with a long drive, a visit to a country house and a quick stop at the local supermarket on the way home. But this Sunday ends differently – because while Niall waits and waits in the car park for Eden to pick up supplies, Eden never returns. She’s not waiting for him at home, and none of their family or friends have heard from her. Gone without a trace, Niall is arrested on suspicion of her murder. When DS Roy Grace is called in to investigate, it doesn’t take long to realize that nothing is quite as it seems – and this might be his most mysterious case yet . . . Sunday Times number one bestseller Peter James returns with the latest installment in his award-winning Roy Grace novels – now a major TV series.

Audiobooks of the Month
Over My Dead Body

Over My Dead Body

Author: Jeffrey Archer Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/10/2021

An unputdownable story of murder, revenge and betrayal from international number one bestseller Jeffrey Archer. THE CLOCK IS TICKING IN THIS ROLLERCOASTER RIDE OF A THRILLER... In London, the Metropolitan Police set up a new Unsolved Murders Unit - a cold case squad - to catch the criminals nobody else can. In Geneva, millionaire art collector Miles Faulkner - convicted of forgery and theft - was pronounced dead two months ago. So why is his unscrupulous lawyer still representing a dead client? On a luxury liner en route to New York, the battle for power within a wealthy dynasty is about to turn to murder. And at the heart of all three investigations are Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick, rising star of the Met, and ex-undercover operative Ross Hogan, brought in from the cold. But can they catch the killers before it's too late? 

eBooks of the Month
State of Terror

State of Terror

Author: Louise Penny, Hillary Rodham Clinton Format: Audiobook Release Date: 12/10/2021

STATE OF TERROR follows a novice Secretary of State who has joined the administration of her rival, a president inaugurated after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage. A series of terrorist attacks throws the global order into disarray, and the secretary is tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most. This high-stakes thriller of international intrigue features behind-the-scenes global drama informed by details only an insider could know.

Audiobooks of the Month
1414º

1414º

Author: Paul Bradley Carr Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/10/2021

The synopsis of ‘1414º’ by Paul Bradley Carr gripped me as soon as I read it. I was really curious and wanted to know more about this thriller that sees Journalist Lou McCarthy track down the person responsible for the deaths of two powerful Silicon Valley predators but then potentially turn her efforts to aiding them sent my expectations for this storyline off kilter. Lou works tirelessly at her job as a Journalist for the Herald to uncover and expose scandal and criminal behaviour committed by some of the most powerful people in San Francisco’s tech giants. But people that are powerful have a way of failing upwards. When her latest expose goes terribly wrong, her career is in disgrace and when events spiral even more drastically and dangerously out of control, Lou works with an unlikely ally to find out who is behind the deaths. I liked this storyline and that there’s a cast of strong female characters that take the lead. This thriller takes a lot of modern societal issues in order to develop a chillingly believable basis for ‘1414º’ and I was gripped by every twist and turn of the plot. The characters are all well developed, each with their own secrets and flaws, and Lou’s investigative skills as a journalist fit well into the storyline. An entertaining thriller that I enjoyed in a day and would recommend. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
The Nesting

The Nesting

Author: C.J. Cooke Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/09/2021

Atmospheric, gothic, spine-chilling... The new thriller from C.J Cooke will haunt you long after you turn the last page... It was like something out of a fairytale... The grieving widower. The motherless daughters. A beautiful house in the woods. Deep in a remote Norwegian forest, Lexi has found a new home with architect Tom and his two young daughters. With snow underfoot and the sound of the nearby fjord in her ears, it's as if Lexi has stepped into a fairy tale. But this family has a history - and this place has a past. Something was destroyed to build their beautiful new house. And those ancient, whispering woods have a long memory. Lexi begins to hear things, see things that don't make sense. She used to think this place heavenly, but in the dark, dark woods, a menacing presence lurks. With darkness creeping in from the outside, Lexi knows she needs to protect the children in her care. But protect them from what?

Star Books
Girl A

Girl A

Author: Abigail Dean Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/09/2021

'Girl A,' she said. 'The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.' Lex Gracie doesn't want to think about her family. She doesn't want to think about growing up in her parents' House of Horrors. And she doesn't want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can't run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings - and with the childhood they shared. Beautifully written and incredibly powerful, Girl A is a story of redemption, of horror, and of love. 

eBooks of the Month
The Final Twist

The Final Twist

Author: Jeffery Deaver Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/09/2021

The gripping new thriller from the No.1 Sunday Times bestseller Jeffery Deaver Twist left. Unique Investigator Colter Shaw is searching for the answer to his father's final, posthumous riddle. It will lead him to evidence that will topple the secretive espionage company, BlackBridge. Twist right. He believes BlackBridge to be responsible for his father's murder and brother's disappearance. They can outmanoeuvre anyone, as the long trail of bodies behind them can confirm. But they haven't yet met Colter Shaw. Don't slip up. This time the stakes are huge - the fate of a nation is in Colter's hands. He must find the solution as to why his father died - but to do that he needs to stay alive...

Audiobooks of the Month
Whitesands

Whitesands

Author: Johann Thorsson Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/09/2021

What a debut supernatural thriller! The main character is Detective John Dark, still trying to find his missing daughter after two years of looking while at the same time trying to repair his credibility as a detective. As such, a completely relatable character. Murders are committed, bodies staged, with the husbands all looking to be the obvious culprit. John Dark thinks differently, bringing him into conflict both with his boss and police partner. Supernatural elements appear as the book progresses. Confident and assured writing, all the more exciting considering this is a debut novel.  Helen Lowry, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Whitesands

Whitesands

Author: Johann Thorsson Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/09/2021

What a debut supernatural thriller! The main character is Detective John Dark, still trying to find his missing daughter after two years of looking while at the same time trying to repair his credibility as a detective. As such, a completely relatable character. Murders are committed, bodies staged, with the husbands all looking to be the obvious culprit. John Dark thinks differently, bringing him into conflict both with his boss and police partner. Supernatural elements appear as the book progresses. Confident and assured writing, all the more exciting considering this is a debut novel. Helen Lowry, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Whitesands

Whitesands

Author: Johann Thorsson Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/09/2021

What a debut supernatural thriller! The main character is Detective John Dark, still trying to find his missing daughter after two years of looking while at the same time trying to repair his credibility as a detective. As such, a completely relatable character. Murders are committed, bodies staged, with the husbands all looking to be the obvious culprit. John Dark thinks differently, bringing him into conflict both with his boss and police partner. Supernatural elements appear as the book progresses. Confident and assured writing, all the more exciting considering this is a debut novel.  Helen Lowry, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Whitesands

Whitesands

Author: Johann Thorsson Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/09/2021

What a debut supernatural thriller! The main character is Detective John Dark, still trying to find his missing daughter after two years of looking while at the same time trying to repair his credibility as a detective. As such, a completely relatable character. Murders are committed, bodies staged, with the husbands all looking to be the obvious culprit. John Dark thinks differently, bringing him into conflict both with his boss and police partner. Supernatural elements appear as the book progresses. Confident and assured writing, all the more exciting considering this is a debut novel. Helen Lowry, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
The Last House on Needless Street

The Last House on Needless Street

Author: Catriona Ward Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/09/2021

This is the story of a murderer. A stolen child. Revenge. This is the story of Ted, who lives with his daughter Lauren and his cat Olivia in an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street. All these things are true. And yet some of them are lies. You think you know what's inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you've read this story before. In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, something lies buried. But it's not what you think...

Star Books
Fresh Start

Fresh Start

Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/07/2021

‘Fresh Start’ by Mark Shaiken is a legal procedural with plenty of twists and turns. Quincy Witherman, a man with an eccentric penchant for family history and seemingly a chip on his shoulder about the fate of his ancestor is in court filing for bankruptcy. But will he be able to keep his secrets out of the courtroom? Stacy Milne, an unnecessarily hard-nosed special assets manager has her own grievances and she’s determined to take them all out on Quincy to discover what he’s hiding. Caught in the middle, Josephina Jillian Jones (3J) and Pascale, Quincy’s bankruptcy lawyers, and the other asset managers at a host of banks looking to recuperate their money for Witherman. This is a story filled with drama and twists, though not too many likeable characters. I found Quincy almost seemed to be looking for an opportunity to go bankrupt in order to get some form of revenge for his ancestor’s fate, to the point I was quite glad to see everything start to go wrong for him. If this is the response I’m meant to have to the character then the author has done a very good job constructing Quincy G. Witherman. I’m at a loss to see how Stacy Milne was hired and promoted given her attitude and how she represents a company, but she offers a strong and relentless antagonist to Witherman throughout to drive the plot forward. There’s enough detail and intrigue that I didn’t know how it was going to end, and all the technical speak and court processes felt authentic. This would be a good story for anyone looking for a slightly melodramatic legal drama and mystery with eccentric characte. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Agenda Indiscriminate

Agenda Indiscriminate

Author: Peter Harper Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/06/2021

This tense and twisty thriller featuring an El Salvadoran filmmaker teems with revenge, mystery and international intrigue. Packed with characterful details of people and places, Peter Harper’s Agenda Indiscriminate is a page-turning thriller that teems with tension as it entertains. The absorbing set-up of a film-maker becoming enmeshed in a world of criminal gangs, governmental schemes and global terror makes for a heady mix that will surely satisfy readers who like their mysteries meaty, and their thrillers to reel with international intrigue. Following the brutal murder of his lover, filmmaker Rafael leaves London for his native El Salvador in a state of turmoil. Having abandoned his script-in-progress, he agrees to help the government liaise with a dangerous gang to try to curtail an epidemic of violence and death. But it’s not long before Rafael decides to get out while he can, so he returns to London to pick up his incendiary script. Cue encounters with a mad gunman and uncontrollable revenge impulses that unfold through suspenseful plotting and perceptive dialogue.  Joanne Owen, A LoveReading Ambassador

September 2021 Featured Books

The Couple at No 9

The Couple at No 9

Author: Claire Douglas Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/09/2021

It was the house of their dreams. Until the bodies were found . . . BODIES FOUND UNDER PATIO When pregnant Saffron Cutler moves into 9 Skelton Place with boyfriend Tom and sets about renovations, the last thing she expects is builders uncovering a body. Two bodies, in fact. POLICE INVESTIGATE Forensics indicate the bodies have been buried at least thirty years, which leads the police to question the cottage's former owner - Saffy's grandmother, Rose. OWNER QUESTIONED Rose's Alzheimer's means her memory is increasingly confused. She can't help the police - but it is clear she remembers something. A KILLER AT LARGE? As Rose's fragmented memories resurface, and the police dig ever deeper, Saffy fears she and the cottage are being watched . . . What happened thirty years ago? What part did her grandmother play? And is Saffy now in danger? . . .

Daggers Drawn

Daggers Drawn

Author: Maxim Jakubowski Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/09/2021

Dive in and discover 19 winning short stories by some of the greats in the crime writing world. You can sink in and totally immerse yourself in the writing, or pick and choose at your leisure. The Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) was founded in 1953, and they have run their annual awards, The Daggers, since 1956. Take a look at the shortlists of each Dagger and you are set up with a beautifully meaty reading list, the Short Story Dagger is no exception. Maxim Jakubowski, the current chair, has assembled this collection and as he declares in his introduction: “Every story a winner!”. The first, Swiftwing 98 by Peter O’Donnell in 1985 was from a time when the Short Story Dagger had to submitted and include certain ingredients. He had to work in a bottle of champagne, a cryptic message on a micro computer screen, a beautiful blonde Hungarian pianist and Victoria Station, and it is fascinating to see how these feature in the story. Maxim explains that not long after, the rules changed, and the award was given to what was judged to be just the best crime short story of that year. Particular stand outs for me were the amusing intrigue of Herbert in Motion by Ian Rankin, the slicing horror of the Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing by Danuta Reah, and the heartbreak of Martha Grace by Stella Duffy. Chosen as one of my Liz Picks of the Month, Daggers Drawn is a perfect gift for any crime fiction lovers and short story aficionados out there.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Turn a Blind Eye

Turn a Blind Eye

Author: Jeffrey Archer Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/09/2021

In the third instalment in the life of Detective William Warwick, following on from Hidden in Plain Sight, international bestseller Jeffrey Archer once again displays his mastery at the art of storytelling. Detective Inspector William Warwick is tasked with a dangerous new line of work, to go undercover and expose corruption at the heart of the Metropolitan Police Force. His team focuses on Detective Sergeant Jerry Summers, a young officer living an extravagant lifestyle. But Summers develops a personal relationship with a WPC on William's team and the investigation hangs in the balance. As his undercover officers draw the threads together, William realizes that the corruption may go far higher than his initial assessment, and that more of his colleagues than he thought possible might be willing to turn a blind eye . . .

Several People Are Typing

Several People Are Typing

Author: Calvin Kasulke Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/09/2021

Super smart and a little weird (in the best possible way), Several People are Typing comes served with a huge dollop of darkly quirky, smirky humour. This novel, which comes in at under 250 pages, is all written in the workplace chat function of the app Slack. Gerald is uploaded into the Slack while working on a spreadsheet, his pleas for help initially go unanswered by his work colleagues. We use Slack at LoveReading, but you really don’t need to be aware of it in order to ‘get’ this book, anyone who uses a workplace communications channel, apps or social media will just slide into this book and within a couple of pages feel right at home. Gerald and his colleagues could be anyone, anywhere, the little darts of jealousy, humour, support, showboating, flirting, and all the other emotions that highlight office life can be found on display. In terms of characters, Slackbot is a particular favourite of mine, the horror of the situation is deftly handled with humour by Calvin Kasulke. While office politics and shenanigans are front and foremost, I really enjoyed the relationship element sneaking in to stir things up. And it really did stir things up as it also poked a thought-provoking elbow into sexual consent. Several People are Typing is a fabulously ballsy read that edges along a tightrope between provocative and humour.  

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Black Reed Bay

Black Reed Bay

Author: Rod Reynolds Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

When Orenda Books decides to back an author, whether they write in - or are translated into - English, it’s wise to pay attention as they have an uncanny knack for finding and signing up writers of great quality in publishing’s busiest and most competitive genre. Rod Reynolds is no exception. Having gained plaudits aplenty for his excellent Charlie Yates 1940’s noir series; The Dark Inside, Black Night Falling and Cold Desert Sky, Reynolds then diverted to the brutal London-based stand-alone thriller, Blood Red City, and gained a long-listing for the CWA Steel Dagger for his troubles.  Pivoting ‘back to black’ with Black Reed Bay, Reynolds introduces us to his newest creation, Detective Casey “Big Case” Wray, through a superbly crafted contemporary who-why-how-dunnit.  Set in the fictitious Hampstead County - which bears a striking resemblance to Nassau County N.Y - on Long Island, with windswept Atlantic beaches and the cookie cutter beachfront McMansions of a comfortable community, each scene is imbued with a sense of location so real, you can feel the salt spray and neighbourly judgment sting your skin. On the face of it it’s a standard crime/thriller narrative: something bad happens and the police investigate. For some the female victim trope will rankle, but the story and cast are introduced with such nuance and style and then, credentials established, around the 100 page mark Reynolds moves up through the gears to deliver a beautifully paced, smartly plotted read that really delivers. And Wray? Well she is the real star of the story. Somewhere between Frances McDormand’s “Marge Gunderson” in Fargo and Helen Mirren as “Jane Tennison” in Prime Suspect; too good a human and too big hearted to be hard boiled, but à point cynical and with a great store of whip-crack one-liners. Mark these words, Reynolds is going to good places fast if he can repeat the magic of Black Reed Bay in his next few books. Join in and get reading, it’s going to be quite the journey.

Books of the Month
Terms of Restitution

Terms of Restitution

Author: Denzil Meyrick Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2021

When his son is brutally murdered, gangland boss Zander Finn leaves the Scottish underworld, goes underground and tries to transform his life with a move to London. When he’s pulled back into his old world to fight the Albanian mobsters threatening his family, it’s an action-packed adventure with thrills aplenty and promises that you’ll be on the edge of your seat every step of the way. Meyrick’s inimitable dark humour threads throughout and peppers Finn’s intense fight for survival.

eBooks of the Month
 Rizzio: Darkland Tales

Rizzio: Darkland Tales

Author: Denise Mina Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2021

At once historically evocative and infused with the rapier-sharp universality of basic drives and emotions (love, lust, envy and revenge), Denise Mina’s Rizzio is an immensely engaging novella. Wise, inventive and un-put-down-able, it’s a riveting read-in-one-sitting road-trip through a shadowy episode in Scottish history. It’s 1566 and Mary, Queen of Scots, is six months pregnant, unaware that her Palace of Holyrood is surrounded by an army intent on murdering her private secretary and confidante, handsome, charismatic David Rizzio. And all this was arranged by Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley who, intoxicated, relishes “thinking about how sorry they’ll all be when he is king, they’ll all be sorry then. He’ll see they are". Recounting the events of a fateful, bloody night, Mina’s present tense narrative is delivered with verve, taut dexterity and atmosphere, with a powerfully palpable sense of mounting tension.

eBooks of the Month
Find You First

Find You First

Author: Linwood Barclay Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

It’s a deadly race against time… Tech billionaire Miles has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of – except time. Now facing a terminal illness, Miles knows he must seize every minute to put his life in order. And that means taking a long hard look at his past. Somewhere out there, Miles has children. And they might be about to inherit both the good and bad from him – possibly his fortune, or possibly something more sinister. So Miles decides to track down his missing children. But a vicious killer is one step ahead of him. One by one, people are vanishing. Not just disappearing, every trace of them is wiped.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Untraceable

Untraceable

Author: Sergei Lebedev Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

An extraordinary and angry Russian novel about poisons of all kinds: physical, moral and political. Untraceable is a wonderful piece of fiction rooted in the recent history of Russia's state assassinations, especially the attempted poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury. Professor Kalitin is a ruthless, narcissistic chemist who has developed an untraceable, extremely lethal poison called Neophyte while working in a secret city on an island in the Russian far east. When the Soviet Union collapses, he defects and is given a new identity in Germany. After an unrelated Russian is murdered with Kalitin's poison, his cover is blown and he's drawn into the German investigation of the death. Two special forces killers with a lot of Chechen blood on their hands are sent to silence him - using his own undetectable poison. Their journey to their target is full of blunders, mishaps, holdups and accidents. Urgently topical and compellingly readable.

Star Books
Edge of the Grave

Edge of the Grave

Author: Robbie Morrison Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

Shortlisted for The Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2021 Longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year 2021 and the HWA Debut Crown 2021  Glasgow, 1932. When the son-in-law of one of the city's wealthiest shipbuilders is found floating in the River Clyde with his throat cut, it falls to Inspector Jimmy Dreghorn to lead the murder case - despite sharing a troubled history with the victim's widow, Isla Lockhart. From the flying fists and flashing blades of Glasgow's gangland underworld, to the backstabbing upper echelons of government and big business, Dreghorn and his partner 'Bonnie' Archie McDaid will have to dig deep into Glasgow society to find out who wanted the man dead and why. All the while, a sadistic murderer stalks the post-war city leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake. As the case deepens, will Dreghorn find the killer - or lose his own life in the process? Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison is a dark historical crime novel set in Glasgow, 1932. A city still recovering from the Great War; split by religious division and swarming with razor gangs. For fans of William McIlvanney's Laidlaw, Denise Mina and Philip Kerr.

A Necessary Death

A Necessary Death

Author: Anne Holt Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

The snow is falling Selma Falck is living a nightmare. Trapped in a burning cabin on a freezing snow-covered mountain, she has no idea where she is or how she got there. Bruised, bleeding and naked, she barely makes it out in time as the flames engulf the cabin. With no signs of human habitation nearby, the temperature rapidly dropping, and a blizzard approaching, how will she survive? She's lost in the wilderness As Selma fights the cold, the hunger and her own wounds, she eventually forms a frightening picture of the past six months. Not only does she have to find a way to stay alive, she needs to make it back to civilization, quickly. Murder has been committed, and a great injustice must be stopped. The very future of the nation itself is at stake... If the cold doesn't kill her, they will...

The Secret Life of Mr Roos

The Secret Life of Mr Roos

Author: Hakan Nesser Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

A secluded hut in the middle of the woods. A double life that could be his downfall. The Secret Life of Mr Roos is the third Inspector Barbarotti novel from the 'Godfather of Swedish crime' (Metro), Hakan Nesser. At fifty-nine years old, Valdemar Roos is tired of life. Working a job he hates, with a wife he barely talks to and two step-daughters he doesn't get on with, he doesn't have a lot to look forward to. Then, one day, a winning lottery ticket gives him an opportunity to start afresh. Without telling a soul, he quits his job and buys a hut in the remote Swedish countryside. Every day he travels down to this man-made oasis, returning each evening to his unsuspecting wife. Life couldn't be better, until a young woman arrives in paradise . . . Anna Gambowska is a twenty-one-year-old recovering drug addict. On the run from the rehab centre she hated and an abusive relationship she can't go back to, all Anna's prayers are answered when she comes across a seemingly vacant hut in the Swedish woodland. But it's not long before Anna's ex discovers her location, and an incident occurs that will mar the lives of both Anna and Valdemar forever. Inspector Barbarotti doesn't take much interest when a woman reports her husband as missing. That is, until a dead body is found near the missing man's newly bought hut, and Mr Roos becomes the number one murder suspect . . . The Secret Life of Mr Roos is the third novel in Hakan Nesser's Inspector Barbarotti quintet.

A Slow Fire Burning

A Slow Fire Burning

Author: Paula Hawkins Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/08/2021

Subtle and smart yet intense and thrilling, this story builds with each turn revealing another set of steps in front of you. Within a corner of London a murder sets questions hunting through secrets and the past. I was caught sleeping at the start and was given a huge shove, from that moment on my attention didn’t waver. This is all about the characters, yet the beautifully intricate plot more than holds its own. What Paula Hawkins does so successfully, is to allow you to see the inner being of people, the shadows that dwell within, without ever losing connection with their humanity. Every person in this story feels authentic, relatable, and that dreaded word, normal. It made me question what I would do in the same circumstances, could this in fact, be me. Oh, and just as an aside, great map! A Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, A Slow Fire Burning wanders through the everyday, before reaching under the surface and pulling out darkness.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Long, Long Afternoon

The Long, Long Afternoon

Author: Inga Vesper Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/08/2021

Well, a debut doesn't come more well-honed than Inga Vesper’s absolutely cracking slice of dark Americana, The Long, Long Afternoon, which is set in the summer of 1959 and encompasses a gripping mystery with an excoriating vision of the ways in which women everywhere are  under-estimated, silenced and diminished. Beautifully written with scenes and characters that take you right back to a time of mail-order catalogues, mother’s ‘little helper’ and the appalling casualness of race and gender inequality, Inga has created a breath-taking, chromium-shiny, tale of how dark the sunniest places can be and how very desperate things can get. The LoveReading LitFest invited Inga to the festival to talk about The Long, Long Afternoon. You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Inga in conversation with Paul Blezard and find out why everyone is talking about this book. Check out a preview of the event here.

Debut Books of the Month
A Line to Kill

A Line to Kill

Author: Anthony Horowitz Format: Audiobook Release Date: 19/08/2021

I couldn't see the sea from my bedroom but I could hear the waves breaking in the distance. They reminded me that I was on a tiny island. And I was trapped.**** There has never been a murder on Alderney. It's a tiny island, just three miles long and a mile and a half wide. The perfect location for a brand-new literary festival. Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne has been invited to talk about his new book. The writer, Anthony Horowitz, travels with him. Very soon they discover that all is not as it should be. Alderney is in turmoil over a planned power line that will cut through it, desecrating a war cemetery and turning neighbour against neighbour. The visiting authors - including a blind medium, a French performance poet and a celebrity chef - seem to be harbouring any number of unpleasant secrets. When the festival's wealthy sponsor is found brutally killed, Alderney goes into lockdown and Hawthorne knows that he doesn't have to look too far for suspects. There's no escape. The killer is still on the island. And there's about to be a second death...

Audiobooks of the Month
Such a Quiet Place

Such a Quiet Place

Author: Megan Miranda Format: Audiobook Release Date: 19/08/2021

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last House Guest, a Reese's Book Club pick. We had no warning that she would come back... Welcome to Hollow's Edge - a picture-perfect neighbourhood where everyone has each other's backs. At least, that's how it used to be, until the night Brandon and Fiona Truett were found dead... Two years ago, branded a grifter, thief and sociopath by her friends and neighbours, Ruby Fletcher was convicted of murdering the Truetts. Now, freed by mistrial, Ruby has returned to Hollow's Edge. But why would she come back? No one wants her there, least of all her old housemate, Harper Nash. As Ruby's return sends shockwaves through the community, terrified residents turn on each other, and it soon becomes clear that not everyone was honest about the night the Truetts died. When Harper begins to receive threatening, anonymous notes, she realizes she has to uncover the truth before someone else gets hurt... Someone like her.

Audiobooks of the Month
1979

1979

Author: Val McDermid Format: Audiobook Release Date: 19/08/2021

The unmissable first thriller in an electrifying, brand-new series from the Queen of Crime. The shadows hide a deadly story . . . 1979. It is the winter of discontent, and reporter Allie Burns is chasing her first big scoop. There are few women in the newsroom and she needs something explosive for the boys' club to take her seriously. Soon Allie and fellow journalist Danny Sullivan are exposing the criminal underbelly of respectable Scotland. They risk making powerful enemies - and Allie won't stop there. When she discovers a home-grown terrorist threat, Allie comes up with a plan to infiltrate the group and make her name. But she's a woman in a man's world . . . and putting a foot wrong could be fatal.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Ex-Husband

The Ex-Husband

Author: Karen Hamilton Format: Ebook Release Date: 19/08/2021

Charlotte and Sam were partners. In life, and in crime. They never stole from anyone who couldn't afford it. Wealthy clients, luxury cruise ships. It was easy money, and harmless. At least, that's what Charlotte told herself, until the world caved in on her. But now, years after she tried to put that past life behind her, it comes rushing back when her estranged ex-husband Sam suddenly goes missing - and someone threatens to expose what they did. Desperate to escape whoever is tormenting her, Charlotte takes a job as events planner for an engagement party onboard a superyacht in the Caribbean. For a while, her plan seems to have worked, nothing but open ocean and clear skies ahead. Until it becomes clear that she's no longer a thousand miles away from harm. Because whoever is behind it all is onboard too. And now there's nowhere left to run.

eBooks of the Month
My Name is Jensen

My Name is Jensen

Author: Heidi Amsinck Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/08/2021

Copenhagen-born Heidi Amsinck, acclaimed for her BBC Radio 4-performed short stories, sure knows how to craft Scandi-noir with style. My Name is Jensen, her debut novel, is a gripping, twisty treat for fans of chic, gusty thrillers; an un-put-down-able rollercoaster through Copenhagen’s underbelly. Journalist Jensen has returned to her native Copenhagen following the closure of the London branch of her newspaper. She goes to work one morning to find a dead young man in a doorway, the word “Guilty” emblazoned on a cardboard sign. This is the second such victim in a few weeks, and Jensen needs to know who did it, and why. When her ex-lover, DI Henrik Jungersen, turns up on the scene, they play a kind-of cat and mouse game as a third body is found. At the same time, Jensen’s having work trouble. She hasn’t filed a big story since returning from London, and she lets a colleague take lead of reporting on these murders, all the while doing her own investigation and discovering more before anyone else, including her ex.  The case (and story) unfolds at carefully controlled, intriguing pace - always unpredictable, it will keep readers on their snow-chilled toes. As steeped in atmosphere as it’s driven by Jensen’s dogged commitment to discovering the truth, one hopes this setting and intriguing character feature in future novels.

Debut Books of the Month
The Tests

The Tests

Author: Robert W Kirby Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/06/2021

‘The Tests’ by Robert W. Kirby is a tense psychological thriller. When Alex Clayton loses his mother he is adrift and looking to find himself some new friends and escape a school life of bullying. But the interesting group he chooses has an initiation in order to be a part of the gang. Years later, the initiation and his time with this group come back to haunt him and Alex’s only solution to end his insomnia and nightmares is to gather the gang and work out what happened. Flipping between each group member, the present and the past the reader is taken on a twisting and turning ride that doesn’t give you much time to find your feet, let alone work out what secrets are going to be revealed. Each flash to the past entices you to read on, to work out which event exactly is at the source of Alex’s search for the truth. Each change of character allows you to know more about the whole group of friends, allowing them to have their own developed story and dimension. Gripping and brutal this is a story that I couldn't put down, a rollercoaster ride for anyone looking for a thrill. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
What About the Girl?

What About the Girl?

Author: K.T. Cavan Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/05/2021

The cold war and espionage in the 60s is the backdrop of ‘What About the Girl? Clemency White Takes Over’ by K.T. Cavan. The first in a spy series following Clemency White as she jumps at an opportunity to get involved in an undercover operation with agent Peter Aspinall. A different side of life from her work at the British Embassy in Bern, Clemency has to use strength, skills and courage she didn’t know she had as the KGB move in. I like Clemency, she seems a little amateur and makes rash decisions in the beginning and I enjoyed watching her character slowly develop as the book unfolds and I’m sure there’s more development to come as the series progresses. This is a fast paced book, full of interest and excitement and it is one that I found myself “one more chapter-ing” waiting to see what would happen next. Even though most of the focus is on Clemency and Peter, their relationship and the job in hand, the author still manages to add some dimension into the outside world, the setting and the cities the characters visit. I liked the tension building throughout the plot, the “will they won’t they” of Clemency and Peter as well as the constant risk of agents and eyes everywhere in the plot. The narrative flips perspectives during one especially dire situation and I found this further increased the tension, drawing the narrative out and left me eagerly wanting to read more. I’d recommend this book to those who love readers who love 60s espionage tales (think Man from U.N.C.L.E, or early Bond films) but want to try something with an interesting twist in perspective.

Indie Books We Love
Volta

Volta

Author: Nikki Dudley Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/05/2021

As soon as I opened the book and the title ‘Volta’ and its definition was revealed I knew this was going to be a book full of twists and turns and I looked forward to finding out exactly how this was going to be related to the plot. ‘Volta’ by Nikki Dudley throws the reader in at the deep end, when someone we later find out to be Briony wakes up covered in blood, apparently with no recollection of how she came to be in such a situation. We then pan out, taking the opportunity to meet Mari (Briony’s therapist) Aris (Mari’s detective brother) and SJ (Briony’s new lawyer with a history with Mari and a friendship with Aris). This interconnected foursome carry the plotline, each having their own turn with the narrative which I found added more dimension to the characters and the storyline. In this twisting and tense thriller there are multiple conundrums to figure out: what happened between Briony and Ed and is it connected to Briony’s past? What happened in SJ’s Past? And the ‘will they, won’t they’ of SJ and Mari which I found to be a more light-hearted aspect of the narrative that provided some much needed respite from the grittier topics although brought a different tension to the book. Having already won the Virginia Prize for Fiction, I know I will be adding my voice to a sea of others when I say that I really enjoyed this well-crafted and gripping thriller. The characters all have so much dimension and there’s a great deal of detail to the plot, this is a book I was mulling over when I wasn’t reading and will linger with me for a while now I’ve finished. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
K-666: BRUTUS — The Mongolian Virus: War through biological weapons

K-666: BRUTUS — The Mongolian Virus: War through biological weapons

Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/03/2021

 ‘K-666: BRUTUS - The Mongolian Virus: War through biological weapons’ by Alessandro Boccaletti is a Bond-esque take on a global pandemic. Sinister governing organisations setting out to manipulate a once dormant virus and use it as a biological weapon in order to expand their economy and improve their global positioning. As more and more people fall ill around the world, the unlikely co-operation of an American virologist and his Russian colleagues may just be able to find the solution needed. Based on the global experience over the past year, significantly embellished into a work of dramatic fiction with the incorporation of conspiracies and evil plots, in order to make this an entertaining medical and political narrative. With either a great deal of research or initial knowledge, the author navigates the scientific research and medical scenarios within this book in a way that appears technically detailed and believable throughout. Personally, I didn’t like the footnotes used in the book as I feel that as this is a work of fiction, information is either important enough to be included in the main narrative and should be integrated there, or else left out. However, this little pet peeve of mine didn’t stop me from following on and enjoying this medical thriller in one sitting.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

August 2021 Featured Books

How to Kill Your Best Friend

How to Kill Your Best Friend

Author: Lexie Elliott Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2021

How to Kill Your Best Friend is a taut psychological thriller. Featuring a small group of friends in a luxury hotel at its core, it's also an engaging lockdown mystery. Each main character has plenty of secrets to hide, resulting in a tangled web of lies that's desperate to be unravelled. And the two main narrators view key events very differently, adding to the intrigue. The book is beautifully written, with a slowburning narrative that reveals the dynamics of the group, amid vibrant descriptions of the beautiful island setting. The tension ramps up as the plot gains pace, with a sense of danger lurking in every corner and unease hovering below the surface. The book's twisty journey kept me guessing until its dramatic action-packed ending. As an aside, if you ARE thinking of killing your best friend, this book has plenty of suggestions, though read the pros and cons very carefully first.

The Great Silence

The Great Silence

Author: Doug Johnstone Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/08/2021

If you’re hoping for another nail-biter in Doug Johnstone’s popular Skelfs novels, you won’t be disappointed – and if you’re new here, well there’s much to enjoy. The third instalment in the series doesn’t waste time with back stories or explaining who’s who; we hop right to the action. What we do get, though, an introduction to the Skelfs, three generations of women who run a funeral business in Edinburgh – who also happen to be private investigators. Dorothy, the matriarch, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah are quickly embroiled in a mystery after a human foot is discovered in a park. From there, the plot expands far and wide into quite dark, even absurdist territories. But the strength of the novel is in the characters, with each chapter following one of the Skelf women. This trio, flawed but fair, elevates the book above your average crime novel. You’ll have to suspend disbelief at times but if you’re looking for a thrilling ride, this won’t leave you short-changed. 

eBooks of the Month
No Honour

No Honour

Author: Awais Khan Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/08/2021

Centred on a young woman who strikes free from the misogynistic confines and culture of her small Pakistani village, Awais Kahn’s No Honour tells a brutally honest story of courage, strength and father-daughter bonds in searingly clear style. The novel’s shockingly arresting opening sets the tone and themes in no uncertain terms as it recounts a brutal scene in which an unmarried young woman’s new-born is snatched from her before she’s subjected to public horrors. When it looks like sixteen-year-old Abida might face a similar fate, she’s driven to flee her small village for the city of Lahore, aided by her forward-thinking father, Jamil. When she vanishes, Jamil is compelled to go after her, leading to an entanglement of love, corruption and a lethal conflict between age-old practices and integrity, with a sense of place vividly evoked through the escalating pace. Exposing disparities between rich and poor, and the corruption of people in public office as it also exposes the plight of women, this wends to a tense end, driven by Abida’s indomitable spirit of survival. 

eBooks of the Month
56 Days

56 Days

Author: Catherine Ryan Howard Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/08/2021

56 Days is entertaining and fast paced - a tale of two strangers who make a hasty decision at a time of extreme stress, fear and anxiety. Multi-layered, brimming with suspense and with well-portrayed characters, this book certainly kept me on my toes. Set in present times, it felt very familiar, occasionally too familiar - a reflection of the early days of the pandemic, when no one could have predicted what was to come. The book has a dual timeline, focusing on a murder investigation in the present day and an exciting new relationship in the past. Occasionally, the two main characters give their persepctive on the same scenes, leading to some repetition, but I found myself trying to read between the lines - what they weren't telling each other, the secrets they were hiding ... 56 Days was a brave book to write (who could have known we would still be living in a Covid-19-filled world on publication day), but it doesn't come across as gimmicky at all. An engaging, unsettling and surprising domestic noir thriller - Brief Encounter with a rampant virus and decomposing body. 

Books of the Month
The Night Hawks

The Night Hawks

Author: Elly Griffiths Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/08/2021

'SET IN DIVINE NORTH NORFOLK. INTENSELY ATMOSPHERIC AND GREAT' India Knight Dr Ruth Galloway returns to the moody and beautiful landscape of North Norfolk to confront another killer. A devastating new case for our favourite forensic archaeologist in this acclaimed and bestselling crime series. The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor's death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder. Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner's suicide note includes the line, 'He's buried in the garden.' Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog. All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn't scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm ...

Velvet Was the Night

Velvet Was the Night

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/08/2021

1970s Mexico City: while student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite seeks escape from her humdrum life in the stories of passion and danger filling the latest issue of Secret Romance. She is deeply envious of her neighbour, a beautiful art student apparently living the life of excitement and intrigue Maite craves - so when Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman, journeying deep into Leonora's secret life of student radicals and dissidents. But someone else is also looking for Leonora, at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: he loathes violence and loves old movies and rock 'n' roll. Watching Maite from a distance, he comes to see her as a kindred spirit who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart. As Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora's disappearance, they can no longer escape the dangers threatening to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents and Russian spies all aiming to find or protect Leonora's secrets - at gunpoint. Velvet Was the Night: an edgy, passionate, simmering noir thriller from a writer at the very top of her game.

The Silver Collar

The Silver Collar

Author: Antonia Hodgson Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2021

A tremendously provocative yet entertaining historical crime thriller set in 1728, it’s worth noting that while this takes a journey through some very dark places, a light touch is on hand when needed.  Thomas and Kitty find themselves in the happiest of times, until they discover that someone wants Thomas dead. I’ve always loved this series, which began with Crime Writers' Association Historical Dagger award winning  The Devil in the Marshalsea, and it has progressed with such vivid intensity. While I recommend starting at the beginning, you can actually read these as standalone novels. Thomas and Kitty definitely deserve double billing, each ensures a balance is maintained and allows the plot to really sing (and occasionally glower and smirk). Antonia Hodgson not only encourages us to see and feel the times, she also shows the difficulties that humankind still fall foul of to this day. We really don’t learn do we! Exploring love, friendship, revenge, and the very nature of evil itself, the ending sliced through my thoughts and stayed with me for some time. You can feel the research behind the story, and I delved into her historical notes at the end. The Silver Collar is a cracking and thought-provoking read, and comes as highly recommended in my Liz Robinson Picks of the Month.   If you enjoyed Andrew Taylor’s James Marwood and Cat Lovett series which started with The Ashes of London set in 1666 and The Jackdaw Mysteries Series by S. W. Perry which began with The Angel's Mark set in 1570 then you should most definitely check out The Thomas Hawkins Series.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Her New Best Friend

Her New Best Friend

Author: Penny Batchelor Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2021

Fans of Batchelor’s well-received debut will instantly recognise her ability to have you on the edge of your seat right from the very first page of this, her second foray into her trademark brand of domestic noir. With beautifully filmic opening scenes that play on the worst fears of every parent, this story segues smoothly into a world where the nature of friendships, the foundations of trust and the room for deception in friendships have terrifying potential consequences. Bachelor’s particular talent is for the excellent plotting of a gripping tale set in immediately recognisable situations, and then moulding her story to illustrate her uncanny ability to manipulate the emotions of readers. She does this so well and all with a profound understanding of the motivations, weaknesses and insecurities of her all-too-credible characters.  Where she really excels however is by really putting you in the heads of her protagonists, forcing you to ask yourself the question “What would I do?” as she ratchets up the tension to violin-string tautness. Her New Best Friend is a real blast of book, a gear change up from Batchelor’s debut, and a superb read for thrill seeking fans of unputdownable anxiety-inducing fiction.  It is so packed with well-crafted plot turns that this reviewer considers her to be the “Tsarina of Twists.”  If you have young children, you might want to make sure that the baby monitor is on and working before settling down of an evening to read it.

Savage Road

Savage Road

Author: Chris Hauty Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2021

AMERICA IS THREATENED BY CYBER ATTACKS ONLY ONE WOMAN CAN PUT A STOP TO THEM Running a double agent from inside the White House to spy on the Russians is not easy, but Hayley Chill has never backed down from a challenge. Then suddenly her whole operation is at risk as a series of cyber-attacks are launched on Washington, D.C. Tasked by the covert organisation she works for to solve the situation, her hunt for the hacker takes her straight to the heart of the intelligence community. SAVAGE ROAD - address The location of Fort Meade, headquarters for the NSA and Cyber Command. Hayley must stop the hacker quickly, before global politics is disrupted and World War III breaks out. But when she uncovers dark truths about her own past, her characteristic calm is threatened... Nothing is as it seems. Nobody can be trusted. Hayley Chill is on her own. Savage Road is a political thriller of our time, perfect for fans of Gregg Hurwitz and Terry Hayes and series like The Bodyguard and Designated Survivor. 

Books of the Month
Win

Win

Author: Harlan Coben Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2021

From the #1 bestselling author and creator of the hit Netflix series The Stranger comes a riveting new thriller, starring the new hero Windsor Horne Lockwood III - or Win, as he is known to his (few) friends ...  Over twenty years ago, heiress Patricia Lockwood was abducted during a robbery of her family's estate, then locked inside an isolated cabin for months. Patricia escaped, but so did her captors, and the items stolen from her family were never recovered. Until now. On New York's Upper West Side, a recluse is found murdered in his penthouse apartment, alongside two objects of note: a stolen Vermeer painting and a leather suitcase bearing the initials WHL3. For the first time in years, the authorities have a lead not only on Patricia's kidnapping but also on another FBI cold case - with the suitcase and painting both pointing them towards one man. Windsor Horne Lockwood III - or Win as his few friends call him - doesn't know how his suitcase and his family's stolen painting ended up in this dead man's apartment. But he's interested - especially when the FBI tell him that the man who kidnapped his cousin was also behind an act of domestic terrorism, and that he may still be at large. The two cases have baffled the FBI for decades. But Win has three things the FBI does not:: a personal connection to the case, a large fortune, and his own unique brand of justice ...

The Night Gate

The Night Gate

Author: Peter May Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2021

In a sleepy French village, the body of a man shot through the head is disinterred by the roots of a fallen tree. A week later a famous art critic is viciously murdered in a nearby house. The deaths occurred more than seventy years apart. Asked by a colleague to inspect the site of the former, forensics expert Enzo Macleod quickly finds himself embroiled in the investigation of the latter. Two extraordinary narratives are set in train - one historical, unfolding in the treacherous wartime years of Occupied France; the other contemporary, set in the autumn of 2020 as France re-enters Covid lockdown. And Enzo's investigations reveal an unexpected link between the murders - the Mona Lisa. Tasked by the exiled General Charles de Gaulle to keep the world's most famous painting out of Nazi hands after the fall of France in 1940, 28-year-old Georgette Pignal finds herself swept along by the tide of history. Following in the wake of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa as it is moved from chateau to chateau by the Louvre, she finds herself just one step ahead of two German art experts sent to steal it for rival patrons - Hitler and Göring. What none of them know is that the Louvre itself has taken exceptional measures to keep the painting safe, unwittingly setting in train a fatal sequence of events extending over seven decades. Events that have led to both killings. The Night Gate spans three generations, taking us from war-torn London, the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, Berlin and Vichy France, to the deadly enemy facing the world in 2020. In his latest novel, Peter May shows why he is one of the great contemporary writers of crime fiction.

The Lost Hours

The Lost Hours

Author: Susan Lewis Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2021

Don't miss the gripping new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author!  A perfect marriage... Golden couple Annie and David Crayce have it all. A loving marriage, three beautiful children and a thriving family business. Life couldn't be better. Until the unthinkable happens... A perfect crime? A piece of damning DNA evidence has arisen, placing David as the prime suspect of a murder committed twenty-years ago. Annie is sure her David is innocent. But if he isn't guilty, then either his father or brother must be. As the police investigate the cold case, so does Annie. Trawling through her old diaries, she begins desperately looking for answers. But it all comes down to a few lost hours she can't solve. And Annie begins to doubt the one person she thought she knew best... Her husband.

Books of the Month
Billy Summers

Billy Summers

Author: Stephen King Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/08/2021

From legendary storyteller and No. 1 bestseller Stephen King, whose 'restless imagination is a power that cannot be contained' (The New York Times Book Review), comes a thrilling new novel about a good guy in a bad job. Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He's a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he'll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong? How about everything. This spectacular can't-put-it-down novel is part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It's about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption. You won't put this story down, and you won't forget Billy.

The Night She Disappeared

The Night She Disappeared

Author: Lisa Jewell Format: Audiobook Release Date: 22/07/2021

"Mum, there's some people here from college, they asked me back to theirs. Just for an hour or so. Is that OK?" Midsummer 2017: teenage mum Tallulah heads out on a date, leaving her baby son at home with her mother, Kim. At 11pm she sends her mum a text message. At 4.30am Kim awakens to discover that Tallulah has not come home. Friends tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a pool party at a house in the woods nearby called Dark Place. Tallulah never returns. 2018: walking in the woods behind the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started as a head-teacher, Sophie sees a sign nailed to a fence. A sign that says: DIG HERE . . .

Audiobooks of the Month
Dead Ground

Dead Ground

Author: M. W. Craven Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/06/2021

A ferociously entertaining, sharply amusing, hard-hitting wow of a read. DS Washington Poe and programmer Tilly Bradshaw are faced with an apparently clear cut case that becomes more convoluted the deeper they delve. Excuse me while I rave about this book and series, it’s worth hearing me out! M.W. Craven is winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award for his first in this series, The Puppet Show, and the other two books have been long-listed for the Gold Dagger which in itself should tell you just how good this series really is. The combination of superbly readable characters, thrilling plots, and authentic voice ensure these novels are always on my must-read list.  M.W. Craven’s mind just blows me away, he is able to hook, twist, and throw my thoughts as well as make me cackle like a demented thing. Poe and Tilly are among my favourite characters in the crime fiction world, they are both treasures (of the reading variety) waiting to be found if you’ve not yet met them. A stunner of a stimulating ride, Dead Ground comes with a whopping thumbs up from me, and of course it’s one of my Liz Robinson Picks of the Month. 

Star Books
The Serial Killer's Wife

The Serial Killer's Wife

Author: Alice Hunter Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

A snaking twisting ride into the middle of a young family torn apart by allegations of murder. When the police knock on the door of Beth and Tom Hardcastle the resulting investigation means that life will never be the same again. The author previously worked for the NHS and on completing a psychology degree then worked in a men’s prison facilitating rehabilitation programmes, she has also written thrillers under another name. While the title screams a high body count, the story weaves through the reactions of community and friendship as the allegation hits. The four narrators each have their own unique voice, with Beth and Tom speaking in the present, Katie in the past, while a further un-named narrator adds a decidedly chilling tone. These are characters who delight in provoking the reader, both in terms of decisions they make, and who they are. As I read my thoughts paused before moving down new paths as each voice and short chapter altered the plot in turn. The Serial Killer’s Wife is a read you can throw yourself into and race through, while the plot corkscrews itself through to a highly entertaining end.

eBooks of the Month
The Lantern Boats

The Lantern Boats

Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/04/2021

Beautifully-written, smoothly-readable, and waltzing with elegance and the intrigue of espionage, Tessa Morris-Suzuki’s The Lantern Boats is an accomplished work of historical fiction. Melding criss-crossing personal stories with the bigger-picture political climate of occupied Japan, it’s rich in details of time and place, with swathes of charisma that make single-sitting readings all but impossible to resist. Adding to the intrigue, the book’s characters are based on real people. The novel opens with an evocative scene describing the swell of the Sumida River illuminated by paper lanterns in a ritual for the dead, of which there are many as a result of the US firebombing raids that ended six years ago. Then we meet Kamiya Jun, a young war orphan with nothing - “no home, no family, no documents, no identity.” Being invisible makes him ideal spy material, and so he’s tasked by the Americans to spy on Vida Vidanto, a beautiful Japanese poet they suspect of being a communist spy. Meanwhile, part-Japanese, part-Scottish Elly Ruskin feels compelled to spy on Vida herself - she suspects her journalist husband, Fergus, of having an affair with the poet, and all while they’re in the process of adopting a child. The worlds of spy and spied-on intermesh powerfully when Fergus finds Vida’s strangled body, and then follows a gripping quick-fire succession of secrets unveiled, a tragic casualty, and hopeful beginnings.

Books of the Month
Relative Secrets

Relative Secrets

Author: Helen Stancey Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/03/2021

Helen Stancey’s Relative Secrets is a highly readable story for readers who like to get lost in the drama and intrigue of other people’s relatable lives. Told in a straightforward style, with domestic detail and emotional ups and downs to heighten engagement, three generations of women are at the heart of this saga of family secrets. It’s set in 1999 and follows the family from the 1920s through to the millennium. The eldest of the women, Mary, is in a care home, her mind deteriorating. During a visit from grand-daughter Lucy, Mary makes strange statements that arouse Lucy’s curiosity. She tries to put them out of mind - until she finds a locket while clearing out Mary’s former room. Not wanting to upset her mother (not with her father gone, her elder brother away, and her little brother misbehaving), Lucy takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of the mystery - risking discovering truths that might unsettle the very foundations of their family.    The drama builds slowly at first - there’s a considered, unhurried build-up, with lots of family backstory delivered before the revelations come. Then tension builds as Lucy delves deeper, and the questions keep coming - not merely what the secret is, but why it was covered-up. And, a question with universal resonance - is it sometimes better to simply let things be?

eBooks 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!