Coming to you a day early is April’s book haul – Saturday is my blogging day of rest (unless I’m scheduled for a book tour) so on this glorious Friday, let’s take a look at the books I acquired this month, alongside my Urbane Book Club ‘Box’.
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio (courtesy of Titan Books)
Oliver Marks has just served ten years for the murder of one of his closest friends – a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the detective who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened ten years ago.As a young actor studying Shakespeare at an elite arts conservatory, Oliver noticed that his talented classmates seem to play the same roles onstage and off – villain, hero, tyrant, temptress – though Oliver felt doomed to always be a secondary character in someone else’s story. But when the teachers change up the casting, a good-natured rivalry turns ugly, and the plays spill dangerously over into life.When tragedy strikes, one of the seven friends is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.
Two Lost Boys by L.F. Robertson (courtesy of Titan Books)
Janet Moodie has spent years as a death row appeals attorney. Overworked and recently widowed, she’s had her fill of hopeless cases, and is determined that this will be her last. Her client is Marion ‘Andy’ Hardy, convicted along with his brother Emory of the rape and murder of two women. But Emory received a life sentence while Andy got the death penalty, labeled the ringleader despite his low IQ and Emory’s dominant personality.
Convinced that Andy’s previous lawyers missed mitigating evidence that would have kept him off death row, Janet investigates Andy’s past. She discovers a sordid and damaged upbringing, a series of errors on the part of his previous counsel, and most worrying of all, the possibility that there is far more to the murders than was first thought. Andy may be guilty, but does he deserve to die?
Exquisite by Sarah Stovell (courtesy of Orenda Books)
A chilling, exquisitely written and evocative thriller set in the Lake District, centring on the obsessive relationship that develops between two writers…
Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name.
Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend.
When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops… Or does it?
Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.
Walk in Silence by J. G. Sinclair (courtesy of Faber & Faber)
Find the boy. Bring him home. Keep him safe.
Keira Lynch is a lawyer who’s no stranger to trouble; but having only just landed in Albania, she’s already up to her neck in it. She thought money would help her find the boy, but in a brutal underworld where anything can be bartered – trust, loyalty, even lives – his kidnappers have other ideas.
They want the freedom of one of their gang members. A man Keira is about to help bring to trial back in the UK; a man who once put three bullets in her chest.
Can she walk away in silence, and save the boy? Or will she have to play the game, fight and risk losing everything?
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and A Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working on the retrial defence of death-row convicted murderer and child molester, Ricky Langley, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti death penalty. But the moment Ricky’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes, the moment she hears him speak of his crimes, she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case, realizing that despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.
Crime, even the darkest and most unspeakable acts, can happen to any one of us, and as Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining minute details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, to reckon with how her own past colours her view of his crime.
Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy
When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship’s comforts and possibilities seem infinite. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor mishaps lead the families further from the ship’s safety.
One minute the children are there, and the next they’re gone.
What follows is a heart-racing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the distraught parents – now turning on one another and blaming themselves – try to recover their children and their shattered lives.
I’d previously overlooked this one until I read Annie @ TheMisstery’s review – My Sister by Michelle Adams
My name is Irini. I was given away.
My name is Elle. I was kept.
All her life Irini thought she was given away because her family didn’t want her. What if the truth is something worse?
Two sisters. Two separate lives.
One family bound by a harrowing secret.
Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald are both high school seniors in the small town of Emerson Bay, North Carolina. When they disappear from a beach party one warm summer night, police launch a massive search. No clues are found, and hope is almost lost until Megan miraculously surfaces after escaping from a bunker deep in the woods.
A year later, the bestselling account of her ordeal has turned Megan from local hero to national celebrity. It’s a triumphant, inspiring story, except for one inconvenient detail: Nicole is still missing. Nicole’s older sister Livia, a fellow in forensic pathology, expects that one day soon Nicole’s body will be found, and it will be up to someone like Livia to analyze the evidence and finally determine her sister’s fate. Instead, the first clue to Nicole’s disappearance comes from another body that shows up in Livia’s morgue—that of a young man connected to Nicole’s past. Livia reaches out to Megan for help, hoping to learn more about the night the two were taken. Other girls have gone missing too, and Livia is increasingly certain the cases are connected.
But Megan knows more than she revealed in her blockbuster book. Flashes of memory are coming together, pointing to something darker and more monstrous than her chilling memoir describes. And the deeper she and Livia dig, the more they realize that sometimes true terror lies in finding exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Lastly, recommended by Sam @ CluesandReviews – Before This Is Over by Amanda Hickie
Meet Hannah Halloran. Wife of Sean, mother of teenage Zac and little Oscar. Their comfortable home is in a suburb of a city unaffected by the deadly flu that’s killed thousands. But Hannah is tense. She’s worried about Zac’s vulnerability miles away at a crowded summer camp. She’s uneasy about Oscar’s boisterous play with the children at his school. Is physical contact wise when an epidemic is coming closer? Hannah fears that their safe little world is about to be blown apart. And she’s right. It’s time to get Zac home – if they can…As the virus traps Hannah and her family in their neighbourhood and then within their own home, supplies of food, water and electricity dwindle. The battery life on their mobile phones fades, cutting them off from critical news bulletins. Sean’s confidence that the government will keep everyone safe is misplaced. Every day, Hannah has choices to make that will decide whether they live or die. Choices with devastating consequences. Just how far will she go to protect those she loves?
** Review copies now total: 29 books!
Find Me by J.S Monroe
Five years ago, Rosa walked to the pier in the dead of night, looked into the swirling water, and jumped. She was a brilliant young Cambridge student who had just lost her father. Her death was tragic, but not unexpected.
Was that what really happened?
The coroner says it was suicide. But Rosa’s boyfriend Jar can’t let go. He sees Rosa everywhere – a face on the train, a figure on the cliff. He is obsessed with proving that she is still alive. And then he gets an email.
Emma’s Baby by Abbie Taylor
That was how she saw him, mostly, in the weeks that followed. Standing there in the doorway with his toothy little grin, his crooked fringe, his blue fleece with the smiley elephant on the front.
Life as a single mother is hard. Emma loves her thirteen-month-old son Ritchie, she really does – but sometimes, she dreams about what life would be like without him. But when Ritchie is abducted from the London Underground, Emma’s dream becomes a nightmarish reality.
So why don’t the police seem to believe her? Why do they think that she would want to harm her son?
If Emma wants Ritchie back, it looks like she’ll have to find him herself. She hasn’t been the best mother in the past – but she’s willing to go to desperate lengths to bring her little boy home . . .
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
The Magpies by Mark Edwards
When Jamie and Kirsty move into their first home together, they are full of optimism. The future, in which they plan to get married and start a family, is bright. The other residents of their building seem friendly too, including the Newtons, a married couple who welcome them to the building with open arms.
But then strange things start to happen. Dead rats are left on their doorstep. They hear disturbing noises, and much worse, in the night. After Jamie’s best friend is injured in a horrific accident, Jamie and Kirsty find themselves targeted by a campaign of terror.
As they are driven to the edge of despair, Jamie vows to fight back—but he has no idea what he is really up against . . .
The Magpies is a gripping psychological thriller in which the monsters are not vampires or demons but the people who live next door. It is a nightmare that could happen to anyone.
Beneath the Ashes by Jane Isaac
The floor felt hard beneath her face. Nancy opened her eyes. Blinked several times. A pain seared through her head. She could feel fluid. No. She was lying in fluid.
When a body is discovered in a burnt-out barn in the Warwickshire countryside, DI Will Jackman is called to investigate.
Nancy Faraday wakes up on the kitchen floor. The house has been broken into and her boyfriend is missing. As the case unravels, DI Jackman realises that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has a secret.
Can he discover the truth behind the body in the fire, and track down the killer before Nancy becomes the next victim?
The Trap by Melanie Raabe
I know you killed my sister.
I wrote this novel for you.
Twelve years ago, Linda’s sister Anna was murdered. Her killer was never caught, but Linda saw him. Now, all these years on, she’s just seen him again. On TV.
He has since become a well-known reporter, and Linda – a famous novelist and infamous recluse – knows no one will believe her if she accuses him, so she does the only thing she can think of: she writes a thriller about a woman who is murdered, her killer never caught. When the book is published, she agrees to give just one media interview. At home. To the one person who knows more about the case than she does.
He knows what happened that night and she wrote a book about it but, when the doorbell rings, neither of them can be sure how the story will end.
A Perception of Sin by Juliet Cromwell
A Perception of Sin is a dark tale of forbidden sex, loneliness and love. The story begins in modern-day London with a suicide bomb attack aboard an underground train. During the subsequent forensic investigation DNA taken from one of the adult victims is flagged up as a match to a Cold Case blood sample, dating back 25 years.
The case is re-opened with chilling consequences.
Sin is what binds the characters and events together, as the story traverses the horrors of Bergen-Belsen, suicide and violent death alongside love, loyalty and compassion, though it is never stated, assessed or judged.
That is left entirely to the reader to decide.
The Abattoir of Dreams by Mark Tilbury
The past is never far away.
Michael Tate has not had an easy life. With his father in prison, and his mother dead, Michael was sent to Woodside Children’s Home. Now an adult, Michael wakes up in hospital from a coma suffering from amnesia and paralysis. Confused and terrified, he is charged with the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, Becky. He also learns he attempted to end his own life.
Detective Inspector John Carver is determined that Michael is sent to prison. With no way of defending himself, Michael is left in his hospital bed awaiting transfer to remand. But then strange things begin to happen and his childhood comes back to haunt him. Can Michael ever escape the past? Will he ever discover the truth about Becky’s murder? And why is DI Carver so eager to make him suffer?
The Abattoir of Dreams is a bitter sweet story of murder, innocence and abuse
Read It Swap It:
Between You and Me by Lisa Hall
They say every marriage has its secrets.
But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.
And sometimes those doors should never be opened…
Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.
A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming
Six weeks before she is due to become the first female head of MI6, Amelia Levene disappears without a trace.
Disgraced ex-agent Thomas Kell is brought in from the cold with orders to find her – quickly and quietly. The mission offers Kell a way back into the secret world, the only life he’s ever known.
Tracking her through France and North Africa, Kell embarks on a dangerous voyage, shadowed by foreign intelligence services. This far from home soil, the rules of the game are entirely different – and the consequences worse than anyone imagines…
**Considerably less books purchased this month than last month, if only every month could be my birthday ay! Minus review copies, my Goodreads shelf tells me my owned-books to read total is 220 books!
Please note: the use of an owned-books shelf on Goodreads is not an exact science, I previously bought The Trap on Kindle but didn’t add it to the shelf and ended up buy the paperback version this month…. this is not the first time this has happened!
Help! How do you keep track of all your book purchases and owned-books to read?
How many books did you haul this month?
A month later and my Netgalley request for The Marsh King’s Daughter is still pending…. oh woe is me!