I laugh in the face of a book buying ban! Grab yourself a brew and check out the newest additions to my shelves, physical and virtual, reviewed and purchased. I’ve showcased some of my new books in previous posts this month so I won’t double up, nor will I show the ones I have already read and reviewed.
Take notes if you need to, let me know which books you’ve read, or bought; what I need to read immediately
and what can fall by the wayside. Or if you’ll be adding any of these titles to your TBR based on the synopsis/cover.
Wychwood by George Mann (thank you Titan Books)
After losing her job and her partner in one fell swoop, journalist Elspeth Reeves is back in her mother s house in the sleepy village of Wilsby-under-Wychwood, wondering where it all went wrong. Then a body is found in the neighbouring Wychwoods: a woman ritually slaughtered, with cryptic symbols scattered around her corpse. Elspeth recognizes these from a local myth of the Carrion King, a Saxon magician who once held a malevolent court deep in the forest. As more murders follow, Elspeth joins her childhood friend DS Peter Shaw to investigate, and the two discover sinister village secrets harking back decades.
House of Spines by Michael J. Malone (thank you Orenda Books)
Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman … A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…
A Justifiable Madness by A B Morgan (thank you Bloodhound Books)
Can you really tell the difference between madness and sanity?
Mark Randall goes to great lengths to get himself admitted to an acute psychiatric ward and, despite being mute, convinces professionals that he is psychotic. But who is he and why is he so keen to spend time in a psychiatric hospital?
When Mark is admitted, silent and naked, the staff are suspicious about his motives.
Dealing with this, as well as the patients on the ward, Mark’s troubles really begin once he is Sectioned under the Mental Health Act. When decisions about his future are handed to Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Giles Sharman, Mark’s life is about to go from bad to worse.
Drugged, abused and in danger, Mark looks for a way out of this nightmare. But he’s about to learn, proving that you are sane might not be easy as it seems…
Sister, Psychopath by Maggie James (thank you Bloodhound Books)
When they were children, Megan adored her younger sister Chloe. Now she can’t bear to be in the same room as her.
Megan believes Chloe is a psychopath and her sister does appear to be a textbook case: cold, cruel and lacking in empathy.
Why does Chloe want to taunt Megan at every opportunity? And why does she persist in manipulating their mentally ill mother, Tilly?
When Tilly, under Chloe’s malignant influence, becomes dangerously unstable, the consequences are ugly. Megan’s world falls apart. Her sister’s out of control and there’s little she can do about it. Until Chloe’s actions threaten the safety of Megan’s former lover. A man from whom she has kept an important secret…
A study of sibling rivalry and dysfunctional relationships, Sister, Psychopath tells the story of one woman’s struggle to survive the damage inflicted by her own flesh and blood.
Locked Up by GB Williams (thank you Bloodhound Books)
A prison officer and a convicted killer must work together to solve a brutal murder and expose conspiracy inside a prison.
Ariadne Teddington is surrounded by people who lie but that is to be expected when you work in prison where every man claims to be innocent.
Charlie Bell, an ex Detective, now finds himself in that prison serving time formurder after having taken the law into his own hands.
When a fellow inmate is killed Charlie is asked to investigate the case from theinside. Soon Charlie finds himself working with Ariande but she is a guard, he is an inmate and some lines should never be crossed…
Can two people on different sides of the law come together to solve the case?
And do the answers lie closer to home than anyone ever imagined?
Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption by Benjamin Rachlin
A gripping account of one man’s long road to justice, the relentless attorney who crusaded for his freedom, and the scourge of wrongful conviction in our criminal justice system.
After a 1987 rape in Hickory, North Carolina, a mistaken identification by the victim combined with botched evidence and suspect testimony led to the conviction and decades-long incarceration of Willie Grimes. Grimes, who was working two jobs to make ends meet at the time of his arrest, had no history of violent crime. He was a gentle spirit beloved by friends and family. For the next quarter century he and they devoted their lives to securing his freedom and providing justice for a crime he did not commit. Using this case as a lens into the criminal justice system at large, GHOST OF THE INNOCENT MAN unearths the shocking realities of wrongful conviction, and reveals the people and organizations fighting for social justice on behalf of those without a voice.
One of those people, Christine Mumma, was Grimes’s crusader. Mumma never stopped believing in his innocence, and it was she who was responsible for spearheading the founding of North Carolina’s Innocence Inquiry Commission, the only organization in the country with the power to declare a person not merely not guilty, but legally innocent. Grimes’s exoneration is one of ten that the Innocence Inquiry Commission has secured since its inception. With meticulous research and pulse-quickening prose, GHOST OF THE INNOCENT MAN presents the tragedy and triumph of one man’s long road to justice. More than that, it is a call to action through this account of one life spent away, but not gone to waste.
Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister
Joanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly.
But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home. Is she being followed? She is sure it’s him; the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave her alone. Hearing the steps speed up Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps and lying motionless on the floor.
Now Joanna has to do the thing she hates most – make a decision. Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong?
Close to Home by Cara Hunter
Someone took Daisy Mason.
Someone YOU KNOW.
Last night, 8-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from her parents’ summer party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.
DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows that nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.
That means someone is lying.
And that Daisy’s time is running out…
Freefall by Adam Hamdy
Eight months after confronting Pendulum, John Wallace is losing himself in a dangerous warzone in a misguided attempt at penance for what he has done. But an assassination attempt makes Wallace realise that he has once again been targeted for death. This time, Wallace is prepared and, tracking down his would-be assassin, he discovers a link to his nemesis, Pendulum.
The link is the missing piece of a puzzle that has tormented FBI Agent Christine Ash ever since they confronted Pendulum, but with no Bureau support she has been unable to progress her case. Wallace’s proof breaks it, but also exposes them both to terrible danger.
Confronted by a powerful, hidden enemy, Ash and Wallace must overcome impossible odds if they are to avert a dangerous challenge to the networked world that threatens to destroy our way of life.
Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
Two sisters go missing.
Only one returns.
We believe what we want to believe. We believe what we need to believe.
When my sister and I disappeared three years ago, they found Emma’s car at the beach. Some people believed she had gone there to find a party or meet a friend who never showed. They believed that she’d gone for a swim. They believed that she’d drowned. Maybe by accident. Maybe a suicide.
Everyone believed Emma was dead.
As for me, well – it was not as simple as that.
All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker
‘Raine sometimes complains that nothing exciting is ever gonna happen in Grace again. Daddy told her careful what you wish for.’
Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she’s a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace, Alabama – especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine. Then Summer goes missing.
Grace is already simmering, and with this new tragedy the police have their hands full keeping the peace. Only Raine throws herself into the search, supported by a most unlikely ally.
But perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye . . .
Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward
An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing examines the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power – and limitations – of family bonds.
Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children’s father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use.
When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.
**Total review copies to read: 16
**Total Netgalley copies to read: 9
District Nurse on Call by Donna Douglas (thank you Abby @ Anne bonny book reviews)
West Yorkshire, 1926. After completing her training in Steeple Street, Agnes Sheridan is looking forward to making her mark as Bowden’s first district nurse, confident she can make a difference in the locals’ lives.
But when Agnes arrives, she’s treated with suspicion, labelled just another servant of the wealthy mine owners. The locals would much rather place their trust in the resident healer – Hannah Arkwright.
And when the General Strike throws the village into turmoil, the miners and their families face hunger and hardship, and Agnes finds her loyalties tested.
Now it’s time to prove whose side she is really on and to fight for her place in the village . . .
The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception by Emmanuel Carrere
ON THE SATURDAY MORNING OF JANUARY 9, 1993, WHILE JEAN CLAUDE ROMAND WAS KILLING HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN, I WAS WITH MINE IN A PARENT-TEACHER MEETING…
With these chilling first words, acclaimed master of psychological suspense, Emmanuel Carrère, begins his exploration of the double life of a respectable doctor, eighteen years of lies, five murders, and the extremes to which ordinary people can go.
Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.
With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.
But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.
The Grave Tender by Eliza Maxwell
Endless questions from a shadow-filled East Texas childhood haunt Hadley Dixon. People said her mother, Winnie, was never quite right, but with one single, irreparable act, life as Hadley knew it was shattered. The aftershocks of that moonlit night left her reeling, but the secrets and lies had started long before.
When a widowed and pregnant Hadley returns years later, it’s not the safe harbor she expects. The mysteries surrounding a local boy’s disappearance remain, and the townspeople still whisper about Hadley’s strange and reclusive Uncle Eli—whispers about a monster in their midst.
But Hadley’s father and grandmother, the cornerstones of everything safe in her world, avoid her questions. If Hadley stays here, will she be giving her children the family they need, or putting their lives in danger?
The hunt for answers takes a determined Hadley deep into the pine forests, in search of sunlight that will break through the canopy of lies long enough to reveal the truth.
The One by John Marrs
How far would you go to find THE ONE?
One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.
A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner
Manon Bradshaw is back.
As dusk falls a young man staggers through a park, far from home, bleeding from a stab wound. He dies where he falls; cradled by a stranger, a woman’s name on his lips in his last seconds of life.
DI Manon Bradshaw can’t help taking an interest – these days she only handles cold cases, but the man died just yards from the police station where she works.
She’s horrified to discover that both victim and prime suspect are more closely linked to her than she could have imagined. And as the Cambridgeshire police force closes ranks against her, she is forced to contemplate the unthinkable.
How well does she know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder?
Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
Bagged and discarded, the dismembered body of a woman is discovered in the grounds of an abandoned monastery.
Dr Temperance Brennan, Director of Forensic Anthropology for the province of Quebec, has been researching recent disappearances in the city.
Soon she is convinced that a serial killer is at work. But when no one else seems to care, her anger forces her to take matters into her own hands. Her determined probing has placed those closest to her in mortal danger, however.
Can Tempe make her crucial breakthrough before the killer strikes again?
The Strays by Emily Bitto
On her first day at a new school, Lily befriends one of the daughters of infamous painter Evan Trentham. He and his wife are trying to escape the conservatism of 1930s Australia by inviting other like-minded artists to live at their home. Lily becomes infatuated with this wild, bohemian lifestyle and longs to truly be a part of the family.
But as the years pass, Lily observes the way the lives of these artists come to reflect their art. Yet it’s not Evan, but his own daughters, who pay the price for his radicalism. Almost 30 years later, Lily contemplates the ordinary path her own life took, how she has played it safe, but does freedom come at a cost?
Brought together once more, this is a story of the impact of loss, devotion and obsession, and the demise of one family.
Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan
The epic novel Beauty Is a Wound combines history, satire, family tragedy, legend, humour, and romance in a sweeping polyphony. The beautiful Indo prostitute Dewi Ayu and her four daughters are beset by incest, murder, bestiality, rape, insanity, monstrosity, and the often vengeful undead. Kurniawan’s gleefully grotesque hyperbole functions as a scathing critique of his young nation’s troubled past: the rapacious offhand greed of colonialism; the chaotic struggle for independence; the 1965 mass murders of perhaps a million Communists, followed by three decades of Suharto’s despotic rule.
Beauty Is a Wound astonishes from its opening line: ‘One afternoon on a weekend in May, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years…’ Drawing on local sources folk tales and the all-night shadow puppet plays, with their bawdy wit and epic scope and inspired by Melville and Gogol, Kurniawan’s distinctive voice brings something luscious yet astringent to contemporary literature.
Shattered Minds by Laura Lam
Laura Lam’s Shattered Minds stars a female ‘Dexter’ with a drug problem and a conscience, in a terrifying near-future where technology rules our lives and haunts our dreams.
She can uncover the truth, if she defeats her demons
Ex-neuroscientist Carina struggles with a drug problem, her conscience, and urges to kill. She satisfies her cravings in dreams, fuelled by the addictive drug ‘Zeal’. Now she’s heading for self-destruction – until she has a vision of a dead girl.
Sudice Inc. damaged Carina when she worked on their sinister brain-mapping project, causing her violent compulsions. And this girl was a similar experiment. When Carina realizes the vision was planted by her old colleague Mark, desperate for help to expose the company, she knows he’s probably dead. Her only hope is to unmask her nemesis – or she’s next.
To unlock the secrets Mark hid in her mind, she’ll need a group of specialist hackers. Dax is one of them, a doctor who can help Carina fight her addictions. If she holds on to her humanity, they might even have a future together. But first she must destroy her adversary – before it changes us and our society, forever.
Tell No One by Harlan Coben
Eight years ago David Beck was knocked unconscious and left for dead, and his wife Elizabeth was kidnapped and murdered.
Dr Beck re-lived the horror of what happened that day every day of his life. Then one afternoon, he receives an anonymous email telling him to log on to a certain website. The screen opens on to a web cam – and it is Elizabeth’s image he sees.
As Beck tries to find out if Elizabeth is truly alive, and what really happened the night she disappeared, the FBI are trying to pin Elizabeth’s murder on him. And everyone he turns to seems to end up dead…
The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg
In the fishing community of Fjallbacka, life is remote, peaceful – and for some, tragically short.
Foul play was always suspected in the disappearance twenty years ago of two young holidaymakers in the area. Now a young boy out playing has confirmed this grim truth. Their remains, discovered with those of a fresh victim, send the town into shock.
Local detective Patrik Hedstrom, expecting a baby with his girlfriend Erica, can only imagine what it is like to lose a child. When a second young girl goes missing, Hedstrom’s attention focuses on the Hults, a feuding clan of misfits, relgious fanatics and criminals. The suspect list is long but time is short – which of this family’s dark secrets will provide the vital clue?
The Hidden Child by Camilla Lackberg
Crime writer Erica Falck is shocked to discover an old Nazi medal among her late mother’s belongings. Inspired to dig deep into her past, she visits a retired history teacher for answers. Two days later, he’s dead.
Detective Patrik Hedström is on paternity leave. But his wife’s enquiries appear to have set off a chain of murders and he’s finding it hard to keep out of the investigation.
A terrible secret from the darkest days of World War II is coming to light – and their families’ histories are right at the heart of it.
**Okay people, this is not the end, but we’re only human – 25 books, that’s 25 covers to study, 25 blurbs to read and 25 times you’ve judged a book. So, we’ll pick this up tomorrow, same time, same place.
I told you, I laugh in the face of a book buying ban, and we haven’t even gotten to my kindle purchases yet!
To be continued…