Though complex, subtle, and rich in history and myth, Violet Kupersmith's Build Your House Around My Body makes an instantly potent impression. Her writing is at once measured and vivid, infused with the elemental power of Vietnamese folklore, and with the histories, fates and desires of its protagonists. Following the lives of two fearless women who both went missing (though decades apart - one in 1986, the other in 2011), and who both seek revenge, Build Your House Around My Body is hauntingly poetic, playful, and a puzzle, of sorts. A multi-layered Russian doll of a story with magic realist elements - ghosts, time travel, snake monsters. Indeed, the whole novel might be described as a coiled serpent that spirals and springs when you least expect it. Despite their very different backgrounds, the women are bound by the past, and by ancestors and ghosts. It’s a mystery, a mythic epic, a slippery history that defies classification, and I loved it.
It’s little wonder that Russell Banks has won major awards for his subtle, seductive novels, and Foregone - the author’s first new novel for a decade - also deserves a place among prize-winners. It features famous left-leaning Canadian American documentary filmmaker, Leonard Fife. He’s in his late-seventies and dying of cancer, with a live-in Haitian nurse and attentive wife. The book opens with Fife wondering why he’s agreed to be filmed for a final interview to discuss his life and work. His nurse reminds him it’s “because he’s famous for something to do with cinema, and famous people are required to make interviews”. In the ensuing interview, after the irritation of the production team setting-up (a team led by his former star-pupil), Fife makes a long, dark, unexpected confession, with the plot cleverly switching camera angles from Fife to those who are filming him - a smart device, effectively realised. Taking in the history of US draft evaders who fled to Canada to escape serving in Vietnam (of which Fife was one of sixty-thousand), and written entirely in the present tense, Banks’s style is haunting, meditative and gripping, with its protagonist’s personal revelations striking compelling rhythmic, resonant beats.
This incredibly engaging and entertaining murder mystery set in 1938 just crackles with energy and would make a perfect Christmas read. Josephine Tey and DCI Archie Penrose spend Christmas at St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, a world famous film star and two deaths throw the festivities into disarray. This is the ninth in the Josephine Tey novels, however you can easily, and quite perfectly read it as standalone. Josephine Tey was a pseudonym used by writer Elizabeth MacKintosh, and just out of interest, her book The Daughter Of Time was named as the greatest crime novel of all time by the Crime Writers’ Association back in 1990. Using the real life crime writer Tey as one of the main characters works incredibly well, so do consider going back and starting at the beginning of the series with An Expert in Murder if you’ve not yet met her. The prologue for The Dead of Winter unsettles and creates intrigue before Nicola Upson sets snippets of information about Hitler and the war free to create a tone that settles over the novel.The characters are introduced with aplomb, St Micheal’s Mount and the weather are rather menacing, while the plot zips and darts along. A couple of maps also help proceedings (I love a good map!). Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month, if you love the Golden Age of Crime, and enjoy the thought of a Christmas mystery then I can wholeheartedly recommend The Dead of Winter to you.
I WAS BORN TO BE A WANDERER From the night she is rescued as a baby out of the flames of a sinking ship; to the day she joins a pair of daredevil pilots looping and diving over the rugged forests of her childhood, to the thrill of flying Spitfires during the war, the life of Marian Graves has always been marked by a lust for freedom and danger. In 1950, she embarks on the great circle flight, circumnavigating the globe. It is Marian's life dream and her final journey, before she disappears without a trace. Half a century later, Hadley Baxter, a brilliant, troubled Hollywood starlet is irresistibly drawn to play Marian Graves, a role that will lead her to probe the deepest mysteries of the vanished pilot's life. An enthralling journey over oceans and continents and a drama of exhilarating power, GREAT CIRCLE is perfect for book clubs and fans of William Boyd and Donna Tartt.
Fans of historical military fiction should now be very familiar with the name Luke McCallin. Twice short-listed for the CWA Historical Dagger, he hails from a similar mind and skill-set as William Ryan and Philip Kerr and has acquired a reputation for producing accurate and entertaining novels featuring Gregor Reinhardt, an intelligence officer tasked with investigating serious offences involving military personnel. With three successful novel behind him, all set in WWII, McCallin has taken his character back to WWI, to the trenches and to German Society as it was at the time of the Kaiser. Read, be entertained and learn about events that influenced history. With the fire lit and a whisky on the arm of the chair, could there be a better way to spend an evening?
It's late 1944. Hitler's rockets are slamming down on London with vicious regularity and it's the coldest winter in living memory. Allied victory is on its way, but it's bloody well dragging its feet. In a large house next to Hampstead Heath, Vee Sedge is just about scraping by, with a herd of lodgers to feed, and her young charge Noel ( almost fifteen ) to clothe and educate. When she witnesses a road accident and finds herself in court, the repercussions are both unexpectedly marvellous and potentially disastrous - disastrous because Vee is not actually the person she's pretending to be, and neither is Noel. The end of the war won't just mean peace, but discovery...
In Follett’s first contemporary thriller for more than a decade, he imagines the unimaginable, a cat and mouse game of brinkmanship between nuclear powers. Expertly researched and brilliantly crafted, this 800 page epic is unputdownable. It’s a cover-to-cover action-packed mammoth tale of weaving multiple interrelated story lines, with captivating characters and intriguing plots with tension, terror, heartache, love, betrayal. US President Pauline Green fights at home and abroad to prevent nuclear disaster as the book moves from Defcon 5, the lowest state of readiness, to Defcon 1, the brink of war. We follow the incredible work of Abdul Haddad, a spy working undercover with jihadis in Chad. Nearby, a beautiful young widow Kiah and her son Naji want to leave the shrinking shores of Lake Chad, escape their fate and travel illegally to Europe, no matter how terrifying the journey is with human traffickers. We fall for Tamara Levit a CIA operative attached to the American embassy in N’Djamena and her French counterpart Tab Sadoul, an attaché at the European Union Mission who are following the trail of a powerful group of drug-smuggling terrorists. In China, we support the machinations of Chinese spymaster Kai Chang, an ambitious senior government official battling against the old guard. Covert operations, terrorist activities, arms dealers, drug smugglers, human traffickers, government coups, military skirmishes – it has it all. And Ken Follett delivers it with aplomb. Hold on to your seats, it’s a bumpy rollercoaster ride!
THEIR STORY WILL BREAK YOUR HEART THEIR JOURNEY WILL FILL YOU WITH HOPE YOU WILL NEVER FORGET THEIR NAMES When they are little girls, Cibi, Magda and Livia make a promise to their father - that they will stay together, no matter what. Years later, at just 15, Livia is ordered to Auschwitz by the Nazis. Cibi, only 19 herself, remembers their promise and follows Livia, determined to protect her sister, or die with her. Together, they fight to survive through unimaginable cruelty and hardship. Magda, only 17, stays with her mother and grandfather, hiding out in a neighbour's attic or in the forest when the Nazi militia come to round up friends, neighbours and family. She escapes for a time, but eventually she too is captured and transported to the death camp. In Auschwitz-Birkenau the three sisters are reunited and, remembering their father, they make a new promise, this time to each other: That they will survive. Three Sisters is a beautiful story of hope in the hardest of times and of finding love after loss. Two of the sisters are alive in Israel today, surrounded by friends and family. They have chosen Heather Morris to tell their story in Three Sisters. Heather Morris is the global bestselling author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka's Journey, which have sold eight million copies worldwide. Three Sisters is her third novel, and the final piece in the phenomenon that is the Tattooist of Auschwitz series.
Pre-order the electrifying new adventure in the Sunday Times bestselling series - in which Orphan X faces his most challenging mission ever . . . THE HERO Evan Smoak: former off-the-books assassin - code name Orphan X. His world is divided into those who deserve his help and those who've brought his singular brand of justice upon themselves. THE VICTIM A desperate father reaches out. His teenage daughter Anjelina has been kidnapped by a brutal criminal cartel and spirited over the border into Mexico. And while money is no object, Evan soon realises that his prospective client's past is as clouded and compromised as his own. THE MISSION If Evan is going to put his life on the line to rescue Anjelina, he must first decide whether he can act on behalf of a bad man. And even then, up against the men who are holding his daughter, there will be no guarantee of success ... Packed with edge-of-your-seat suspense, memorable characters, explosive action and razor-sharp plotting, Dark Horse confirms Gregg Hurwitz's place alongside Lee Child, David Baldacci, James Patterson and Harlan Coben as a master of the modern thriller.
The Taskforce and Mossad join forces to bring down a fanatical organisation in this action-fuelled thriller from New York Times bestselling author and former special forces officer, Brad Taylor. Was it an accident or assassination? When the former head of Israeli intelligence is killed on a paragliding trip, it's the latest in a series of 'accidental' deaths befalling key members of the American and Israeli governments. Mossad bring in terrorist hunters Aaron and Shoshana to investigate - and they know just who to call. Taskforce operator Pike Logan has been out of action for too long, so he jumps at the chance to take on the mission. An Iranian-funded militia group, operating in Iraq, has recently claimed responsibility for the deaths. But something doesn't add up, and Logan is determined to uncover the truth. He'll have to wade deep into the complex religious and political currents of the Israeli-Palestinian region, and it's up to the Taskforce to determine who is pulling the strings. What they find could have disastrous consequences not only for the Middle East, but for the entire world... Read the latest book in the electrifying Taskforce thrillers. Perfect for fans of Lee Child, Vince Flynn and Jack Ryan.
I read this beautifully stormy dark gothic mystery while perched high up on the edge of my seat. A dreadful fire has haunted Ivy for years, she mourns two deaths, and now seeks the truth. Beth Underdown’s debut The Witchfinder's Sister was a bestseller and winner of the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown Award 2017, this is her second novel and it more than lived up to my expectations. The two time frames, sitting either side of the First World War, are initially fractured before they gradually fuze together. Information dripped and then seeped into the pages before hiding in my thoughts. The story is secretive, occasionally sullen as it begins to unfurl. Cornwall, and the house in particular cast a brooding presence which adds to the intensity of this tale. The characters are perfectly imperfect, trust is a scare commodity, and each casts a deep shadow. I was held in limbo while I read, totally immersed in the writing. Expressively powerful The Key in the Lock thrills and chills in equal measure. Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month and LoveReading Star Book, this historical mystery is a worthy contender for the very top of your reading list.
Readers of Anne Holt will know that she spent two years working for the Oslo Police Department, founded her own law firm and rose to serve as Norway’s Minister of Justice, before publishing books that have sold over 10 million copies in 30 languages. That she knows of what she writes is therefore in no doubt. What the above facts don’t tell you however, is that she is a supremely talented storyteller, who has the ability to weave page-turning tales that meld plot and procedure, suspense and revelation and, as Val McDermid put it, “… reveal how truly dark it gets in Scandinavia.” Her latest is no exception and in A Memory for Murder, Holt seems to have found another writing gear as she draws the reader into a truly troubling web of political assassination and conspiracy. Falck is an endlessly fascinating character, a former lawyer turned private investigator who is at various times as endearing as she can be unappealing, but the reformed gambling addict is never anything less than captivating as she navigates her way through a tightly woven plot that has tension and vengeance at its core. Holt’s works are translated from the original Norwegian, in this case by Anne Bruce, and are so well done, the sense of place and of the Nordic mindset so clear, that at times it’s easy to forget that you’re reading in English. If you have yet to discover Holt and love a good story of snow and blood, then this stands every chance of meeting with your approval. And along the way you’ll discover why Jo Nesbø has called Holt, “the Godmother of modern Norwegian crime fiction.”