Stephen King: The Outsider

 Published by Hodder & Stoughton 2nd May 2019

905fbomaSoon to be an HBO limited series starring Ben Mendelsohn.

‘If you read only one thriller this summer, make it this one’ Daily Mail

A horrifying crime.

Water-tight evidence points to a single suspect.

Except he was seventy miles away, with an iron-clad alibi.

Detective Anderson sets out to investigate the impossible: how can the suspect have been both at the scene of the crime and in another town?

 

The paperback version of Stephen King’s latest blockbuster from 2018 is out now, so there’s no excuse not to read this brilliant tale. Sensational stuff from the King!

 

 

Stephen King: Pet Sematary

 Published by Hodder & Stoughton 1st May 2019

905fbombThe house looked right, felt right to Dr Louis Creed.

Rambling, old, unsmart and comfortable. A place where the family could settle; the children grow and play and explore. The rolling hills and meadows of Maine seemed a world away from the fume-choked dangers of Chicago.

Only the occasional big truck out on the two-lane highway, grinding up through the gears, hammering down the long gradients, growled out an intrusive threat.

But behind the house and far away from the road: that was safe. Just a carefully cleared path up into the woods where generations of local children have processed with the solemn innocence of the young, taking with them their dear departed pets for burial.

A sad place maybe, but safe. Surely a safe place. Not a place to seep into your dreams, to wake you, sweating with fear and foreboding.

 

This the illustration for a new hardback film tie-in version of King’s creepiest book ever! You will need nerves of steel to tackle this one!

 

Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility

 Published by Oxford World’s Classics 9th May 2019

905fbomc‘Pray, pray be composed,’ cried Elinor, ‘and do not betray what you feel to every body present. Perhaps he has not observed you yet.’

For Elinor Dashwood, sensible and sensitive, and her romantic, impetuous younger sister Marianne, the prospect of marrying the men they love appears remote. In a world ruled by money and self-interest, the Dashwood sisters have neither fortune nor connections. Concerned for others and for social proprieties, Elinor is ill-equipped to compete with self-centred fortune-hunters like Lucy Steele, whilst Marianne’s unswerving belief in the truth of her own feelings makes her more dangerously susceptible to the designs of unscrupulous men.

Through her heroines’ parallel experiences of love, loss, and hope, Jane Austen offers a powerful analysis of the ways in which women’s lives were shaped by the claustrophobic society in which they had to survive.

The latest World’s Classic edition of this timeless classic carries a stunning portrait on the front cover. There can’t be many people who haven’t read this enchanting story, surely? If you haven’t, this is a brilliant edition to rectify that situation.

 

John Connolly: A Book of Bones

 Published by Hodder & Stoughton 18th April 2019

905faHe is our best hope.

He is our last hope.

On a lonely moor in the northeast of England, the body of a young woman is discovered near the site of a vanished church. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull.

Each is a sacrifice, a summons.

And something in the shadows has heard the call.

But another is coming: Parker the hunter, the avenger. Parker’s mission takes him from Maine to the deserts of the Mexican border; from the canals of Amsterdam to the streets of London – he will track those who would cast this world into darkness.

Parker fears no evil.

But evil fears him . . .

The latest Charlie Parker escapade, this time mostly set in Britain, and with distinctly Dennis Wheatley overtones. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Lindsey Davis: A Capitol Death

 Published by Hodder & Stoughton 4th April 2019

905fbEmperor Domitian has been awarded (or rather, has demanded) yet another Triumph to celebrate two so-called victories. Preparations are going smoothly until one of the men overseeing arrangements for the celebration accidentally falls to his death from a cliff on the symbolic Capitoline Hill.

But Flavia Albia suspects there’s more to the incident than meets the eye, as there are plenty of people who would have been delighted to be rid of the overseer. He was an abusive swine who couldn’t organise a booze-up in a winery and was caught up in a number of scams, including one surrounding the supply of imperial purple dye and a family of shellfish-boilers.

As Flavia finds herself drawn into a theatrical world of carnival floats, musicians, incense and sacrificial beasts, can she see to the heart of the matter and catch those responsible for the unpopular man’s untimely death?

Not the first thriller to be set in Ancient Rome, but in  my opinion, one of the very best. Superb attention to detail and a brilliant cast of characters.

 

Thomas Hocknell: Unfinished Business

 Published by Urbane Publications April 2019

905fcThe Life Assistance Agency finds itself at a loss after returning from Europe. Leading member Ben is determined to stay away from anything involving Angels, when the phone rings to invite them to write the biography of a self-deluded singer from defunct rave group Elev-8.

At his mansion in Sussex they meet the singer’s right-hand man, Billy `blind’ Fury, a retired wrestler, and his beautiful secretary Amber. Both of whom have plans for the Life Assistance Agency far beyond writing down half-recalled anecdotes from the early 90s pop charts…

‘Unfinished Business’ is the second novel featuring the Life Assistance Agency – when you’re in trouble whatever you do, don’t give them a call….

Not quite sure what to make of this – it’s certainly not a conventional thriller, more like an episode of the Avengers. Plenty of action and dark humour make it distinctly readable, though…

 

Beverley Hansford: Path of Injustice

 Published by Matador 28th March 2019

905fdSet in the 18th-century kingdom of Alteria, Path of Injustice is a story of romantic love tormented by jealousy and personal suffering, which takes place against the background of a country locked in civil war.

Daintry is a young woman in love with her childhood sweetheart. When she obtains a herbal potion to cure her sick father, she unwittingly sparks off a chain of events that threaten to change her life forever. Accused of witchcraft and thrown into a ghastly prison, she is aware that her innocent act of compassion can have only one ending – death by hanging or burning.

When her sentence of death is lifted, her relief is short-lived: she is sent as a prisoner to work in the dreaded silver mines of Katangar, from where no one returns. Will she ever see her betrothed or her family again? Can she hope for a miracle to save her?

Path of Injustice is a charming historical romance set in the 18th century, against the backdrop of civil war. His most recent titles include: The Golden Anklet, A Touch of Autumn Gold and Roots in Three Counties.

 

 

 

Barbara Lamplugh: The Red Gene

 Published by Urbane May 2019

905feWhen Rose, a young English nurse with humanitarian ideals, decides to volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, she is little prepared for the experiences that await her.

Working on one front after another, witness to all the horrors of war, she falls in love with a Republican fighter, Miguel. In 1939 as defeat becomes inevitable, Rose is faced with a decision that will change her life and leave her with lasting scars.

Interspersed with Rose’s story is that of Consuelo, a girl growing up in a staunchly Catholic family on the other side of the ideological divide. Never quite belonging, treated unkindly, she discovers at a young age that she was adopted but her attempts to learn more about her origins are largely thwarted.

It falls to the third generation, to Consuelo’s daughter Marisol, born in the year of Franco’s death and growing up in a rapidly changing Spain, to investigate the dark secrets of her family and find the answers that have until now eluded her mother.

I absolutely love the cover art for this brilliant tale of a young English girl caught up in the early days of the Spanish Civil War – it reminds me of those stunning 1950s and early 1960s covers for Pan Books. The story is simple enough, but handled superbly well by Barbara Lamplugh – it’s a love story, certainly, but it’s so much more than just a love story…

 

Paul Finch: Stolen

 Published by Avoon 16th May 2019

905ffHow do you find the missing when there’s no trail to follow?

DC Lucy Clayburn is having a tough time of it. Not only is her estranged father one of the North West’s toughest gangsters, but she is in the midst of one of the biggest police operations of her life.

Members of the public have started to disappear, taken from the streets as they’re going about their every day lives. But no bodies are appearing – it’s almost as if the victims never existed.

Lucy must chase a trail of dead ends and false starts as the disappearances mount up. But when her father gets caught in the crossfire, the investigation suddenly becomes a whole lot more bloody…

No Paul Finch is fast becoming one of my favourite contemporary British thriller writers, and DC Lucy Clayburn is a leading character to die for! Edge of the seat stuff from Paul!

 

Jonathan Forth: Plague

 Published by Matador 28th April 2019

905fgThe Pope needs war between England and France badly; peace has prevailed for far too long and a good war will put bums back on pews and money in the collection plate. Otherwise he’ll need to make cutbacks and the Vatican Christmas party will have to go.

Luckily his daring beautiful assassin is on the job. And what better time for the Edward King of England to die a horrible and painful death than when King Philipe of France is visiting. There’s just a small problem: the plague has reached Europe and there’s every chance it may get Edward first.

The rats are coming and fleas are nibbling at English ankles. The King’s vassal, Sir Walter, is on the case, but how can he stop the scourge with no idea of what’s causing it? Could be the stinky French cheese? The Church blames fornication, or perhaps the fireball that burned through the London sky is to blame; or maybe it’s the Dutch.

It’s a race against time with an array of colourful characters either plotting in dark corners or trying to save the day. Needless to say, pandemonium ensues and even without the plague, there an outbreak of weird stuff on the streets of London. Will any one live to see the end of the book or will the plague get them first?

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