Alma Katsu: The Hunger

 Published by Bantam Press February 2019

902l“Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark.” – Stephen King

After having travelled west for weeks, the party of pioneers comes to a crossroads. It is time for their leader, George Donner, to make a choice. They face two diverging paths which lead to the same destination. One is well-documented – the other untested, but rumoured to be shorter.

Donner’s decision will shape the lives of everyone travelling with him. The searing heat of the desert gives way to biting winds and a bitter cold that freezes the cattle where they stand. Driven to the brink of madness, the ill-fated group struggles to survive and minor disagreements turn into violent confrontations. Then the children begin to disappear. As the survivors turn against each other, a few begin to realise that the threat they face reaches beyond the fury of the natural elements, to something more primal and far more deadly.

Based on the true story of The Donner Party, The Hunger is an eerie, shiver-inducing exploration of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.

This tale is extremely disturbing and unnerving – the attention to detail is wonderful and the whole thing is remarkably enjoyable.

 

Liam McIlvanney: The Quaker

 Published by Harper Collins February 2019

902faHis name fills the streets with fear…

In the chilling new crime novel from award-winning author Liam McIlvanney, a serial killer stalks the streets of Glasgow and DI McCormack follows a trail of secrets to uncover the truth…

Winner of the 2018 McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year

A city torn apart.
Glasgow, 1969. In the grip of the worst winter for years, the city is brought to its knees by a killer whose name fills the streets with fear: the Quaker. He takes his next victim – the third woman from the same nightclub – and dumps her in the street like rubbish.

A detective with everything to prove.
The police are left chasing a ghost, with no new leads and no hope of catching their prey. DI McCormack, a talented young detective from the Highlands, is ordered to join the investigation. But his arrival is met with anger from a group of officers on the brink of despair. Soon he learns just how difficult life can be for an outsider.

A killer who hunts in the shadows.
When another woman is found murdered in a tenement flat, it’s clear the case is by no means over. From ruined backstreets to the dark heart of Glasgow, McCormack follows a trail of secrets that will change the city – and his life – forever…

The 1960s atmosphere is chilling and brilliantly captured.

 

David Mark: Cold Bones

 Published by Hodder & Stoughton January 2019

902fbWhen McAvoy is told by a concerned stranger that an elderly woman hasn’t been seen for a few days, he goes to check on her – only to find her in the bath, encased in ice: the heating off; the windows open; the whole house frozen over.

It could be a macabre accident, but McAvoy senses murder. Someone watched her die.

As he starts to uncover the victim’s story and her connections to a lost fishing trawler, his boss Trish is half a world away, investigating a mysterious death in Iceland. Hull and Iceland have traditionally been united by fishing – in this case, they are linked by a secret concealed for half a century, and a series of brutal killings that have never been connected.

Until now – when the secrets of the dead have returned to prey on the living.

McAvoy’s adventures continue with this stylish and atmospheric thriller, set in Hull. I can’t fault it.

 

John Connolly: The Woman in the Woods

 Published by Hodder 7 Stoughton February 2019

902fcThe new thrilling instalment of John Connolly’s popular Charlie Parker series.

It is spring, and the semi-preserved body of a young Jewish woman is discovered buried in the Maine woods. It is clear that she gave birth shortly before her death.

But there is no sign of a baby.

Private detective Charlie Parker is engaged by the lawyer Moxie Castin to shadow the police investigation and find the infant, but Parker is not the only searcher. Someone else is following the trail left by the woman, someone with an interest in more than a missing child, someone prepared to leave bodies in his wake.

And in a house by the woods, a toy telephone begins to ring.

For a young boy is about to receive a call from a dead woman . . .

It’s a while since I’ve read a Charlie Parker, and Connolly’s tales just seem to get better and better. Absolutely brilliant thriller.

 

Dan Proops: A Letter From Sarah

 Published by Urbane March 2019

902fe‘An intriguing and addictive read. The writing is superb, as is his cast of beautifully drawn characters. I’d recommend this book to anyone. A literary masterpiece.’

Adam’s sister, Sarah, has been missing for seven years, but he hasn’t given up hope of finding her. He is a sculptor and lives with his bedridden father who is a bully and a curmudgeon.

One morning, as the anniversary of Sarah’s disappearance nears, Adam receives a letter from her and she is apparently alive and well, living in New York. Adam travels to Brooklyn to search for Sarah as he’s desperate to see her, but she seems determined to avoid him.

Sarah’s letters arrive weekly, but she continues to remain elusive. Adam is perplexed by Sarah’s requests for secrecy, as is his father and his girlfriend, Cassandra.

He is determined to find her, whatever the cost to his wellbeing, health and sanity….

 

Dale Bailey: In The Night Wood

 Published by Harper Collins February 2019

902fgCharles Hayden has been fascinated by a strange Victorian fairy tale, In the Night Wood, since he was a child. When his wife, Erin – a descendant of the author – inherits her ancestor’s house, the couple decide to make it their home. Still mourning the recent death of their daughter, they leave America behind, seeking a new beginning in the English countryside.

But Hollow House, filled with secrets and surrounded by an ancient oak forest, is a place where the past seems very much alive. Isolated among the trees, Charles and Erin begin to feel themselves haunted – by echoes of the stories in the house’s library, by sightings of their daughter, and by something else, as old and dark as the forest around them.

A compelling and atmospheric gothic thriller, In the Night Wood reveals the chilling power of myth and memory.

Reminiscent of something that could have been written in the Victorian era. Thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable.

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