Toppling the TBR Pile – Little, Brown January to June 2022 titles

It’s getting to that time of year again. Publishers are starting to release their 2022 catalogues which means only one thing. Getting the metaphorical red pen out and circling everything you want like a child does with the Smyths Toys Christmas book.

I’ve had a look at the bookish equivalents of the Christmas Radio Times to see what readers can look forward to in 2022. First up is Little, Brown.

Starting in the most obvious place, January

Wayward by Dana Spiotta

Just as it seems she has it all, Samantha Raymond’s life begins to come
apart: Trump has been elected, her mother is ill and her teenage daughter is
increasingly remote. At fifty-two she finds herself staring into ‘the Mids’ –
those night-time hours of supreme wakefulness where women of a certain age
contemplate their lives. In Sam’s case, this means motherhood, mortality,
and the state of an unravelling nation.
When Sam falls in love with a beautiful, decrepit house on the wrong side of
town, she buys it on a whim and flees her suburban life – and her family – in
an attempt to find beauty in the ruins. (Virago)

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

It’s 2017, and Olga and her brother, Pedro ‘Prieto’ Acevedo, are bold-faced
names in their hometown of New York. Prieto is a popular congressman
representing their gentrifying, Latinx neighbourhood in Brooklyn, while
Olga is the wedding planner for Manhattan’s power brokers. Behind closed
doors things are far less rosy. Twenty-seven years ago, their mother, Blanca,
a Young Lord-turned-radical, abandoned her children to advance a militant
political cause, leaving them to be raised by their grandmother. Olga Dies
Dreaming is a story that examines the very notion of the American dream –
all while asking what it really means to weather a storm. (Fleet).

Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef

In 2002, with her sister, Hind, and their friend, Nihal, Nadia Wassef founded
Diwan, a fiercely independent bookstore. They were three young women
with no formal training, and nothing to lose. At the time, nothing like Diwan
existed in Egypt. Culture was languishing under government
mismanagement, and books were considered a luxury, not a necessity. Ten
years later, Diwan had become a rousing success, with ten locations, 150
employees, and a fervent fan base. Frank, fresh, and very funny, this is a
portrait of a country hurtling toward revolution, a feminist rallying cry, and
an unapologetic crash course in running a business under the law of entropy (Corsair)

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to
the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from
November 2019 to November 2020 by the store’s most annoying customer.
Flora dies on All Souls’ Day, but she simply won’t leave the store. Tookie,
who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she
survived by reading ‘with murderous attention,’ must solve the mystery of
this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in
Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation and furious
reckoning. (Corsair)

Abundance by Jakob Guanzon

Evicted from their trailer on New Year’s Eve, Henry and his son,
Junior, have been reduced to living out of a pick-up truck. Henry, barely a
year out of prison for selling drugs, is down to his last pocketful of cash, and
little remains between him and the street. Each chapter of this deeply
emotional and compassionate novel begins with amount of cash in Henry’s
pocket, showing how literally father and son’s fortunes can turn on a dime.
Can they make it through tomorrow? (Dialogue Books)

The Patron Saint of Second Chances by Christine Simon

Local vacuum cleaner repairman and self-appointed mayor Nino Speranza is
in trouble. Without the thousands of euros in taxes that he could never bring
himself to collect from his neighbours, the water board will cut the town off.
All 212 inhabitants will be forced to leave. So, in a desperate bid to save his
hometown, he starts a rumour that major movie star Dante Rinaldi is
filming his next movie in the village. Soon, all the locals want to be involved
and Nino Speranza starts to think he might have created the second chance
they all needed. Funny, charming and incredibly heart-warming, this is the
feel-good book we all need. (Sphere)

The Last Woman in the World by Inga Simpson

Fear is her cage. But what’s outside is worse… It’s night, and the walls of
Rachel’s home creak in the darkness of the Australian bush. Her fear of
other people has led her to a reclusive life as far from them as possible, her
only occasional contact with her sister. A hammering on the door. There
stand a mother, Hannah, and her sick baby. They are running for their lives
from a mysterious death sweeping the Australian countryside – so soon, too
soon, after everything. Now Rachel must face her worst fears to help
Hannah, search for her sister, and discover just what terror was born of us
and how to survive it… (Sphere)

The Night Caller by Martina Murphy

Introducing a new DS, Lucy Golden, who has a point to prove
Sometimes darkness stalks the most beautiful places… On Doogort East
Bog, Achill Island, a body is found. The close community is stunned to learn
that it’s Lisa Moran, a popular teacher who disappeared two days earlier.
DS Lucy Golden is assigned to the case. For her, it’s personal. As an Achill
native, she knows that sometimes great evil can lurk in plain sight. This is
her chance to put the past behind her. Her teenage son Luc’s behaviour,
however, is increasingly troubling and Lucy doesn’t have time for
distractions. When another body is found in an abandoned property on the
bog, with links to a murder twenty years ago, the stakes are raised – but a
pattern is emerging. Can Lucy put the pieces together? Or will her family
crisis mean the murderer claims his next victim? (Constable)

Also out this month is Breaking Point by Edel Coffey (Sphere) and If Not For You by Georgina Lucas (Little, Brown).

On to February.

Love Marriage by Monica Ali

Yasmin Ghorami has a lot to be grateful for: a loving family, a fledgling
career in medicine, and a charming, handsome fiancée, fellow doctor Joe
Sangster. But as the wedding day draws closer and Yasmin’s parents get to
know Joe’s firebrand feminist mother, both families must confront the
unravelling of long-held secrets, lies and betrayals. As Yasmin dismantles
her own assumptions about the people she holds most dear, she’s also forced
to ask herself what she really wants in a relationship and what a ‘love
marriage’ actually means. Love Marriage is a story about who we are and
how we love in today’s Britain – with all the complications and
contradictions of life, desire, marriage and family. (Virago)

Wivenhoe by Samuel Fisher

A young man is found brutally murdered in the middle of the snowed-in
village of Wivenhoe. Besides his body stands another man, axe in hand.
Though the other villagers had suspicions about what might occur, none of
them tried to stop it from happening. Wivenhoe is a haunting novel set in an
alternate present, in a world that is slowly grappling with an environmental
disaster of global proportions and all that follows in its wake. Taking place
over twenty-four hours and told through the voices of a terminally ill mother
and her adult son, we see how one small community reacts to social
breakdown, isolation, and human failings. Samuel Fisher imagines a world,
not unlike our own, struck down and on the edge of survival . . . (Corsair)

A Million Aunties by Alecia McKenzie

Seeking solitude after a personal tragedy upends his world, American-born
artist Chris, travels to his mother’s homeland, Jamaica, in a bid to find
peace. He expects to spend his time painting in solitude, coming to terms
with his loss and the fractured relationship with his father. Instead, he
discovers a new extended and complicated “family” with their own startling
stories, including a love triangle. The people he meets help him to heal and
he supports them in unexpected ways, through his art. Told from different
points of view, this compelling novel about unlikely love, friendship, and
community, with several surprises along the way, takes place against the
backdrop of rural Jamaica, New York City and Paris. (Dialogue Books)

The Hemlock Cure by Joanne Burn

It is 1665 and the women of Eyam keep many secrets. Isabel Frith, the
village midwife, walks a dangerous line with her herbs and remedies. There
are men in the village who speak of witchcraft, and Isabel has a past to hide.
So she tells nobody her fears about Wulfric, the pious, reclusive apothecary.
Mae, Wulfric’s youngest daughter, dreads her father’s rage if he discovers
what she keeps from him. Like her feelings for Rafe, Isabel’s ward, or the
fact that she studies from Wulfric’s books at night. But others have secrets
too. Secrets darker than any of them could have imagine… Based on the real
history of an English village during the Great Plague, The Hemlock Cure is
an utterly beguiling tale of fear and ambition, betrayal, self-sacrifice and the
unbreakable bond between two women. (Sphere)

Catch the Sparrow by Rachel Rear

Growing up, Rachel Rear knew the story of Stephanie Kupchynsky’s
disappearance. But Rachel had more reason than most to be haunted by this
particular story of a missing woman: her mother had married Stephanie’s
father after the crime, and Rachel grew up in the shadow of her stepsister’s
legacy. In Catch the Sparrow, Rachel Rear writes a compulsively readable
and unerringly poignant reconstruction of the dark and serpentine path,
across more than two decades, to try to solve the case. Startling,
unputdownable, and deeply moving, Catch the Sparrow is a retelling of a
crime like no other. (Sphere)

Reader, I Buried Them and Other Stories by Peter Lovesey

Encouraged by crime-writing star Ruth Rendell, Lovesey started writing
short stories forty years ago and this collection marks his hundredth short
story in print. He says in his foreword: ‘Almost all of [the stories] are about
groups or individuals with an interest or a way of life that is unexpectedly
visited by crime. Mostly they are unlikely protagonists: a romantic novelist,
a dressmaker, a beekeeper, a brotherhood of monks, a bookseller, the cast of
a play, an obituary writer, an entrant for a fancy hat contest and a lady
seeking advice for a personal problem. In each, you will learn a little about
their activities just as I did and I hope you will be surprised and entertained
by discovering how the crime emerges.’ (Sphere)

When Silence Kills by Mark Griffin

When the mutilated body of a woman is discovered in her home, DCI Bishop
from the Met murder squad is called in to oversee the case. The horrific
killing bears a striking resemblance to three other murders years before, but
the cases were never solved. Bishop knows they need the help of Holly
Wakefield, a criminal psychologist who specialises in getting inside the
minds of serial killers. The grisly murders occur every three years, but it is
the stick-man drawing left at each crime scene that has the police baffled. A
post-mortem also detects a cocktail of drugs that can leave a victim
screaming in silence. Holly suspects that they are a missing a vital clue that
links the victims. But can she discover the link before the killer comes
knocking at her door? (Piatkus)

The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan

No man is above the law. Sir Konrad Vonvalt is a Justice – a judge, jury and
executioner all in one. He is sworn to travel the Empire and uphold the law
by way of his sharp intellect, arcane powers and skill as a swordsman. Yet
these are dangerous times, even for a Justice. When Vonvalt investigates the
murder of a provincial aristocrat, he unearths a conspiracy that stretches to
the very top of Imperial society. As the stakes rise and become ever more
personal, Vonvalt must make a choice: will he abandon the laws he’s sworn
to uphold in order to protect the Empire? (Orbit)

Also out this month are Whatever Gets You Through the Night and King Of The Ants  both by Charlie Higson, (Little, Brown and Abacus), All in My Head by Jessica Morris
(Fleet) and The Last Supper by Rosemary Shrager (Constable)

Next up what to expect in March.

Hourglass by Keiran Goddard

‘The second time you came, we went from bar to bar to bar. It made the city feel
smaller. Like a map we were folding to the size of a stamp. We were good at that.
We could have fit an entire universe inside a matchbox. Love builds up little by
little and that’s why it makes people reach for words like root and sediment and
other words to do with rocks and trees. But what about the dismantling? Does it
happen that way too? Because it feels like it is happening much, much faster.
And I am reaching for words like landslide and like wave and like storm . . .’ (Little, Brown).

Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda

Lydia is hungry. She’s always wanted to try sashimi, ramen, onigiri with
sour plum stuffed inside – the food her Japanese father liked to eat. And
then there is bubble tea and the vegetables grown by the other young artists
at the London studio space she is secretly squatting in. But Lydia can’t eat
any of this. The only thing she can digest is blood, and it turns out that
sourcing fresh pigs’ blood in London is much more difficult than she’d
anticipated. Lydia knows that they are her natural prey, but she can’t bring
herself to feed on them. If Lydia is to find a way to exist in the world, she
must reconcile the conflicts within her – between her demon and human
sides, her mixed ethnic heritage, and her relationship with food, and, in turn,
humans. Before any of this, however, she must eat. (Virago)

Soundings by Doreen Cunningham

Doreen first visited Utqiagvik as a young journalist reporting on climate
change among indigenous whaling communities. There, she joined the spring
whale hunt under the never-ending Arctic light, watching for bowhead
whales and polar bears, drawn deeply into an Iñupiaq family, their culture
and the disappearing ice. Years later, plunged into sudden poverty and
isolation, living in a Women’s Refuge with her baby son, Doreen recalls the
wilderness that once helped shape her own. She embarks on an extraordinary
adventure: taking Max to follow the grey whale migration all the way north
to the Iñupiaq family that took her in, where grey and bowhead whales meet
at the melting apex of our planet. (Virago)

At The Table by Claire Powell

To Nicole and Jamie Maguire, their parents seem the ideal couple – a
suburban double act, happily married for more than thirty years. So when
Linda and Gerry announce during a Mother’s Day lunch that they have
decided to separate, the siblings find themselves unexpectedly forced to
confront their own expectations and desires. Hard-working – and hard-drinking – Nicole pursues the ex she unceremoniously dumped six years ago,
while Jamie, her people-pleasing younger brother, fears he is sleepwalking
into a marriage he is not sure he wants. Spanning a year, the novel follows
each member of the Maguire family as long-simmering conflicts threaten to
boil over. (Fleet)

Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu

Achike Okoro feels like his life is coming together at last. His acting career is
taking off, he’s persuaded his father, Chibuike to move in with him and his
best friend Ekene is coming to stay. But after a magical night, when Achike
and Ekene come within a hair’s breadth of admitting their feelings for each
other, a devastating event rips all three men apart. In the aftermath, it is
Ekene and Chibuike who must try to rebuild. And although they have never
truly understood each other, grief may bring them both the peace and
happiness they’ve been searching for… (Dialogue Books)

Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold

Ben Harper’s life changed for ever the day his older brother Nick was
murdered by two classmates. It was a crime that shocked the nation and
catapulted Ben’s family and their idyllic hometown, Haddley, into the
spotlight. Twenty years on, Ben is one of the best true crime journalists in
the country and happily settled back in Haddley, thanks to the support of
its close-knit community. But when a fresh murder case shines new light on
his brother’s death and throws suspicion on those closest to him, Ben’s world
is turn upside down once more. He’s about to discover that Haddley is a
town full of secrets. No one is as they seem. Everyone has something to hide.
And someone will go to any length to keep the truth buried . . . (Sphere)

Echo of the Dead by Alex Gray

After a stressful winter, DSI William Lorimer is enjoying some time away
from Glasgow. He and his new friend, Daniel Kohi, have retreated to the
wilds of the Scottish Highlands to unwind. But what awaits them is far from
a holiday. It’s shocking when two bodies are discovered in quick succession
on the nearby peaks… With a potential serial killer on the loose, Lorimer’s
Major Incidents Team are drafted in from Glasgow. It’s clear that a dark
secret lurks beneath the wild beauty of this place. But will Lorimer manage
to root it out before the killer strikes again? (Sphere)

In Two Minds by Dr Sohom Das

Forensic psychiatrist Dr Sohom Das diagnoses, treats and rehabilitates
mentally ill offenders – or the ‘criminally insane’ – in prisons and secure
hospitals, many of whom have committed serious violence, some even
murder. He is also an expert witness, and advises on insanity or diminished
responsibility pleas. In this book, Dr Das tells the untold story of forensic
psychiatry during his fifteen years as a psychiatric doctor, and what happens
when an underfunded institution like this breaks – and how he’s learned to
live with his mistakes when the worst happens. He also writes very
personally and movingly about the abundant tragedy he has encountered in
real-life cases, and the human cost of violence caused by mental illness. (Sphere)

Careering by Daisy Buchanan

There’s a fine line between on the right track and coming off the rails. Harri
has poured her life into her job at Panache magazine, losing friendships, the
love of her life, and increasingly, her sanity. She knows it will all be worth it
when she gets the top job. Until she’s side-lined, passed over for promotion
and forced into running ‘a new venture’, which everyone knows is code for
‘being pushed out’. Imogen has had to hustle her whole professional life to
cling onto an industry that favours the privileged. When Harri offers her a
job, putting an end to her constant sofa-surfing, she feels like all her dreams
are coming true. But what will the view look like from the other side?
Hilarious and unflinchingly honest, Careering takes a hard look at the often
toxic relationship working women have with their dream jobs. (Sphere)

The Man Who Vanished and the Dog Who Waited by Kate High

Summer in the Lincolnshire Wolds and Clarice is rung by her friend Louise,
asking whether she can look after Susie, her son’s lively Boxer, as 41-yearold Guy has gone missing from the family home. Getting drawn into the
puzzle of Guy’s disappearance, Clarice wonders how Susie received a nasty
cut to her back leg, and who is the mysterious Charles? Guy apparently did
not trust him enough to let him into his home, and he had not been seen
since he was driven away in Charles’s car. Guy’s friends all say that he was a
good, honest man, but as Clarice looks further into the murky criminal world
he inhabits, she questions if Guy has been pulled in out of his depth… (Constable)

The Empty Room by Brian McGilloway

Pandora – Dora – Conlon wakes one morning to discover her seventeen-year old daughter Ellie, has not come home after a party. The day Ellie
disappears, Dora is alone. Her panic growing, Dora tries the local hospitals
and art college where Ellie is a student – but then the police arrive on her
doorstep with the news her daughter’s handbag has been discovered dumped
in a layby. So begins Dora’s ordeal of waiting and not knowing what has
become of her girl. Increasingly isolated and disillusioned with the police
investigation, Dora feels her grip on reality slipping as she takes it upon
herself to find her daughter – even if it means tearing apart everything and
everybody she had ever loved, and taking justice into her own hands. (Constable)

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May

On Crow Island, people whispered real magic lurked just below the surface.
But Annie Mason never expected her enigmatic new neighbour to be a witch.
When she witnesses a confrontation between her best friend Bea and the
infamous Emmeline Delacroix at one of Emmeline’s extravagantly illicit
parties, Annie is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where
magic can buy what money cannot; a world where the consequence of a
forbidden blood bargain might be death. Get swept into a vision of 1920s
England where magic is real but illegal, where young women have dark
powers burning inside them, and where the boundaries of wickedness are
tested with dire consequences. (Orbit)

Also out this month are Happy Now by Charlie Higson (Abacus), Where I Left Her by Amber Garza (Sphere) and The Meat Paradox by Rob Percival (Little, Brown)

Moving on to April now.

The Caretakers by Amanda Bestor-Siegal

In the smart Parisian suburb of Maisons-Larue, in the wake of the Paris
2015 terrorist attacks, an au pair is arrested after the sudden and suspicious
death of her nine-year-old charge . . . The truth behind what happened is
unravelled through six women: Geraldine, a heart-broken French teacher
who struggles to connect with her vulnerable students; Lou, an incompetent
au pair fired by the family next door; Charlotte, a chilly socialite and
reluctant mother; Holly, an anxious au pair who yearns to feel at home in
Paris; Nathalie, an isolated French teenager desperate for her mother’s
attention; and finally, Alena, the au pair accused of killing a child. All of
them play a part in nine-year-old Julien’s death . . . (Little, Brown).

One Pair of Feet by Monica Dickens

As the effects of the war raging in Europe begins to be felt at home in
London, Monica Dickens decides to do her bit and to pursue a new career,
and so enrols as a student nurse at a hospital in rural Hertfordshire. By
nature clever and spirited, she struggles to submit to the iron rule of the
Matron and Sisters, and is alternately infuriated and charmed by her
patients. That’s not to mention the mountains of menial work that are a
trainee’s lot. But there are friends among the staff and patients, night-time
escapades to dances with dashing army men, and her secret writing project
to keep her going. (Virago)

there are more things by Yara Rodrigues Fowler

there are more things is a novel about two women – Melissa and Catarina –
who meet as flatmates in London and form a deep bond. Catarina has come
from a wealthy home life in Olinda, Brazil, whereas Melissa has come from a
more precarious upbringing in south London. The novel charts their
friendship but also their backstories, set against the political landscapes of
the UK and Brazil. But the book is also about family, those we are born with
and those we create, of the bonds between women and of how history – both
personal and political – can travel through the years, touching lives in
unexpected ways. (Fleet)

The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

It’s 2010. Staggeringly successful and brilliant tech entrepreneur Bix Bouton
is desperate for a new idea. He’s forty, with four kids, and restless when he
stumbles into a conversation with mostly Columbia professors, one of whom
is experimenting with downloading or ‘externalising’ memory. Within a
decade, Bix’s new technology, Own Your Unconscious – that allows you
access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share every memory in
exchange for access to the memories of others – has seduced multitudes. In
spellbinding linked narratives, Egan spins out the consequences of Own
Your Unconscious through the lives of multiple characters whose paths
intersect over several decades. Intellectually dazzling and extraordinarily
moving, (Corsair)

Pod by Laline Paull

Ea has always felt like an outsider. As a spinner dolphin who has recently
come of age, she’s now expected to join in the elaborate rituals that unite her
pod. But Ea suffers from a type of deafness that means she just can’t seem to
master spinning. When catastrophe befalls her family and Ea knows she is
partly to blame, she decides to make the ultimate sacrifice and leave the pod.
As Ea ventures into the vast, she discovers dangers everywhere. While the
ocean itself seems to be changing: creatures are mutating, whole species of
fish disappear into the sky above. Just as she is coming to terms with her
solitude, a chance encounter with a group of arrogant bottlenoses will
irrevocably alter the course of her life. (Corsair)

Post-Traumatic by Chantal Johnson

Can Vivian live ecstatically, after what has been done to her?
For years, Vivian has self-medicated with a mix of dating, dieting, dark
humour and smoking weed with her BFF, Jane. But after a family reunion
prompts Vivian to take a bold step, she finds herself alone in new and
terrifying ways, without even Jane to confide in, and she starts to unravel.
Will she find a way to repair what matters most to her? A debut from a
stunning talent, Post-Traumatic is a new kind of survivor narrative,
featuring a complex heroine who is blazingly, indelibly alive. With razorsharp prose and mordant wit, Chantal V. Johnson performs an
extraordinary feat, delivering a psychologically astute story about the
aftermath of trauma that somehow manages to brim with warmth, laughter,
and hope. (Dialogue Books)

The Fake-Up by Justin Myers

Dylan and Flo are on the rocks. Of course they are in love. Obviously they
want it to work. But sometimes it feels like the world is against them. Their
flat is falling apart, their friends never stop meddling and the obstacles
keeping them from their dreams are insurmountable. Maybe they just . . .
aren’t meant to be? The break-up completely shatters them both. And,
unexpectedly, their stars begin to rise. Soon Dylan and Flo are on the cusp
of everything they’ve ever wanted. There’s only one problem: they can’t be
without one another, but their hard-won futures depend on their
estrangement. Can they keep their relationship a secret from the world? Or
has fate conspired to keep them apart for good? (Sphere)

The Children’s Secret by Nina Monroe

Nothing ever happens in a sleepy American town like Middlebrook. Until the
shocking events of one hot Saturday afternoon when, at a back-to-school
party, nine children sneak off to a barn and a gun is fired. And one child is
critically injured by another. In the media storm that sweeps the nation . . .
The press are asking questions. About the type of parents who let their
children play unsupervised in a house with guns. About how damaged a
child must be to commit this kind of atrocity. Two questions are the most
urgent, and the most baffling. Of the nine children who were present in that
barn, which one pulled the trigger? And why are the others staying silent? (Sphere)

In Deep Water by Christobel Kent

What happens when ‘putting yourself out there’ means ‘putting yourself in
danger’? Sukie has had enough of not putting herself out there. She has had
enough of her mother thinking so very little of her timid daughter. On a
whim, she accepts an offer to go to a Greek island for the weekend with Jake,
a man she has barely begun dating. Heather is at the airport when she sees
him, the man who raped her fifteen years ago. Jake is with another woman
and instantly Heather understands – this woman is in trouble. She buys a
ticket and follows them. What should have been a perfectly pleasant
weekend away quickly descends into something much darker. As these two
women come ever closer to each other it becomes increasingly unclear who
will walk away from the weekend with their life. (Sphere)

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

Ruthie Midona is twenty-four (going on ninety-four) and fully committed to
her job at a luxury retirement village. Keeping herself busy caring for the
eccentric residents means that Ruthie can safely ignore her own life. Teddy
Prescott is practically allergic to a hard day’s work. When he rocks up as the
retirement village’s newest employee, Ruthie is less than impressed. Lucky
for Ruthie, her favourite pair of mischievous residents need a new assistant
to torture . . . so she hands over Teddy, ready for them to send him running.
Except Teddy may be about to surprise her – not just by surviving the old
women’s antics, but by charming Ruthie so much, she starts to remember
that there’s more to life than work . . . Could Teddy be far more than simply
an unwelcome distraction? (Piatkus)

A Wake of Crows by Kate Evans

Donna Morris has chosen to do her probationary year in Scarborough. But
on her first day, a body is found in the woods: the corpse of Henrik Grünttor
presents itself as that of a homeless man, dead from his own drug use.
However, until recently, Grünttor had been working at the local GCHQ
centre on the Russian section and the post mortem reveals the cause of his
death to be uncertain. Due to the circumstances of her past Donna is drawn
to the dead man whose background is not dissimilar to hers… and her
persistence reveals there are several people who wanted Grünttor dead – and
gathered around him in his final days like a wake of crows… (Constable)

The Beach House by Beverley Jones

When Grace Jensen returns to her home in Lookout Beach one day, she finds
a body in a pool of blood and a menacing gift left for her. The community of
Lookout Beach is shocked by such a brutal intrusion and a police
investigation to find the trespasser begins. But Grace knows who’s after her.
She might have changed her name and moved across the world, deciding to
hide on the Oregon coast, but she’s been waiting seventeen years for what
happened in the small Welsh town where she grew up to catch up with her.
Grace might seem like the model neighbour and mother, but nobody in
Lookout Beach – not even her devoted husband Elias – knows the real her.
Or how much blood is on her hands. (Constable)

The Bangalore Detectives Club by Harini Nagendra

When eighteen-year-old Kaveri moves to Bangalore to marry handsome young
doctor Ramu, she’s long resigned herself to a quiet domestic life. At least she can
go swimming and practise algebra. But a storm is brewing and whispers of
revolution against the British Raj are in the air. When Ramu is invited to an
infamous party at the Century Club – a venue where Indians are free to drink
and dine alongside British folk – Kaveri bears witness to something terrible. By
moonlight, under a coconut tree, a murder most foul occurs. Initially led by
concern for the victim’s family, Kaveri launches a private investigation to find
the killer. The case leads her deeper into a hotbed of danger, sedition and intrigue
in Bangalore’s darkest alleyways . . . (Constable)

The Murder List by T F Muir

St. Andrews, Scotland: When an elderly woman’s body is found in her home,
crucified to the floor, DCI Andy Gilchrist and his associate, DS Jessie Janes,
find themselves in a hunt for a brutal serial killer. As the body count rises,
suspicion falls on Tap ‘Dancer’ McCrear, a career criminal recently released
from prison after serving fifteen years for a murder he swore he never
committed. As Gilchrist begins to uncover the terrifying truth behind each
of the killings, his worst fears are realised when he learns that McCrear is
killing everyone involved in his murder trial… for it was Gilchrist who
arrested McCrear all those years ago. Gilchrist won’t leave without a fight,
for he knows it is up to him to find Tap McCrear… before his own name is
struck off the murder list. (Constable)

The Cutting Season by M W Craven

Dangling from a hook in a meat packing plant isn’t how Detective Sergeant
Washington Poe wants to spend his weekend. He’s been punched and kicked
and threatened, and when a contract killer arrives it seems things are about
to go from bad to worse. He goes by the name of the Pale Man and he and
his straight-edged razor have been feared all over London for twenty years.
But Poe knows two things the Pale Man doesn’t. Although it might seem like
a hopeless situation, Poe has planned to be here all along. More importantly,
a nerdy, computer whizz-kid called Tilly Bradshaw is watching his back.
And now things are about to get interesting . . . (Constable)

Also published this month is Deer Man by Geoffroy Delorme  (Little, Brown).

We’ve arrived now at May’s publications.

True Biz By Sara Novic

True Biz plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf,
where they’ll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who’s never met
another deaf person before; Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is
rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the headmistress,
who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might
not be able to do both. As a series of crises both personal and political
threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their
lives inextricable from one another – and changed forever. Absorbing and
assured, idiosyncratic and relatable, True Biz is an unforgettable journey (Little, Brown).

Hush by Kate Maxwell

After five exhilarating years in New York, Stevie has a successful career and
a glamorous social life. But what she most wants is a baby, an aspiration
that feels impossible given that she is single, thirty-eight and living in a tiny
apartment in Manhattan, far away from most of her family in England.
Determined to become a mother, Stevie returns to London and has a baby
on her own. When she gives birth to Ash, she finds motherhood painfully at
odds with her former life and her expectations. She begins to wonder if
having a child was a mistake – and what she might be willing to do to escape.
As she struggles with her new reality and what her future might hold,
revelations from the past change everything she believed about family and
love (Virago)

A Model Citizen by Daniel Shand

A Model Citizen is a story of our future. Set in a UK where artificial
intelligence and cloning are part of daily life, the novel follows a cast of
characters struggling to come to terms with the reality of their confusing,
dehumanising present. How obligated are we to the things we create? What
do we give up when we exist online? Why, when our lives become easier, do
we end up more dissatisfied and more anxious? (Corsair)

The Schoolhouse by Sophie Ward

Isobel was deafened in childhood. Now, she lives an isolated life in north
London, working at a nearby library and feeling safe if she keeps to her
routines. But a newspaper photograph of a missing local schoolgirl and a
letter from her old teacher are all it takes for her ordinary, careful armour to
become overwhelmed and the trauma of what happened when she was a
pupil at The Schoolhouse to return. The Schoolhouse was different – one of
the 1970s experimental schools that were a reaction to the formal methods of
the past. It was there Isobel learned that some truths are safest kept hidden.
Only her teenage diary recorded what happened. But the truth is coming for
her and everything she has tried to protect is put at risk. (Corsair)

The Heartbreak Club by Eva Woods

The first rule of heartbreak club is – get your heart broken. That’s all really.
Caroline’s heart broke when her husband took his own life. Josh’s heart
broke when his wife was killed in an accident. And somehow, talking to a
group of strangers once a week doesn’t seem to be helping either of them.
Until Sylvia arrives. When she lost her own partner two years ago, she fell
apart and had to put herself back together. Most of all she wished for the
help of someone who’d been through it already. And now she’s here to pass
her handbook on to those who need it most. The problem is, following
Sylvia’s rules means looking to the future. And Caroline and Josh each need
some answers from their past before they can even think about that… (Sphere)

An Island Wedding by Jenny Colgan

Olivia and Anthony are planning A Very Extravagant Wedding at the
newest hotel on the tiny Scottish island of Mure. Flora is trying – and failing
– not to let Olivia and Anthony’s wedding distract her from planning her
own big day with Joel. But the couple have wildly different ideas about how
to celebrate and somehow, just when their relationship should be plain
sailing, everything is suddenly very hard indeed. And then there’s Lorna and
Saif: the local headmistress and the GP desperately keeping their
relationship a secret to protect his sons. But while they’re looking out for the
boys, who’s looking out for them? Three couples. One midsummer’s night.
Can everyone get their happy ever after? (Sphere)

Lie to Me by C J Cooper

One morning, a jury summons arrives on Natalie’s doorstep. She is one of
twelve people to decide whether a man is innocent or guilty of a horrific
crime. But in the weeks after the trial, Natalie can’t shake the feeling that
the verdict was a terrible mistake. That they let a guilty man walk free. So
when she crosses paths with the accused by chance, she decides to do
whatever it takes to find the truth. Because as Natalie knows, sometimes
you have to take justice into your own hands . . . (Constable)

Requiem in La Rossa by Tom Benjamin

In the sweltering heat of a Bologna summer, a murderer plans their pièce de
résistance… Only in Bologna reads the headline in the Carlino after a
professor of music is apparently murdered leaving the opera. But what looks
like an open-and-shut case begins to fall apart when English detective Daniel
Leicester is tasked with getting the accused man off, and a trail that begins
among Bologna’s close-knit classical music community leads him to suspect
there may be a serial killer at large in the oldest university in the world. And
as Bologna trembles with aftershocks following a recent earthquake, the city
begins to give up her secrets. (Constable)

Murder at Mount Ephraim by Julie Wassmer

Pearl Nolan receives a wedding invitation from an old school friend she
hasn’t seen for years. Amy, a journalist, has chosen somewhere very special
for her wedding ceremony – the seventeenth-century Kent country house of
Mount Ephraim – and the invite includes a pre-nuptial stay for Pearl and
other guests at this historic venue. Pearl sees this break as a chance to leave
crime behind, along with her own detective agency. Accepting Amy’s
invitation, Pearl also looks forward to meeting the happy couple’s friends
and family, as well as Amy’s fiancé, Guy, a handsome and successful
adventurer who appears to be Mr Perfect… But before any wedding bells
sound, murder strikes – and Pearl and McGuire are thrust together again –
as partners in crime. (Constable)

The Bride Collector by Siobhan MacDonald

Winter brings more than fierce Atlantic storms to the thriving tourist town
of Kylebeggan in County Kerry. On a cold January night, a woman is
murdered and laid out in her wedding dress on her bed. And then another
woman is discovered murdered in her flat, laid out in the same way. The
gardaí, mayor, and tourist board are desperate to end the negative publicity
of a town that relies on the holiday trade; they cannot afford to have a
rumour spread that a serial killer is at large. Ellie also has her own suspicions
about the killer. She is persuaded to share her thoughts with investigative
journalist Cormac Scully; digging into past secrets of the town, can they
figure out who it is before the Bride Collector strikes again? (Constable)

No Quarter Given by Neil Broadfoot

She was lying in the road when he found her, crumpled and broken, the car
that hit her screaming away from the scene in a haze of tyre smoke and
exhaust fumes… Jennifer MacKenzie being hit by a car was a tragic
accident. Or so it seemed. Until Connor is summoned to a meeting with his
girlfriend’s dad, Duncan MacKenzie. MacKenzie claims that Jen’s accident
was actually a message intended for him – and a way to force him to kill his
trusted lieutenant Paulie King, who has now mysteriously disappeared. His
request to Connor is simple. Find Paulie and the men who hurt his daughter.
Do whatever it takes. As an all-out gang war threatens to explode across
Central Scotland, Connor is also driven by a vow – to find Paulie. And when
he does, no quarter will be given. (Constable)

Too Much of Water by L C Tyler

Eastwold, 1670, and local legend tells how on a still night, if you stand on
the beach there, you can still hear the bells of the drowned church of St
James tolling mournfully beneath the waves… Rich men from London are
prepared to pay well for the votes of the dozen or so remaining burgesses of
the town. The voters are looking forward to a profitable by-election, only for
the Admiralty’s candidate, the unpopular Admiral Digges, to end up in a
fishing net, every bit as drowned as his prospective constituency. Is it an
accident, as the coroner has ruled, or has Digges been murdered, as the
Admiralty fears? (Constable)

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who hunts and sells
illegal magic. When she saves a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of
his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient
lamp that has the power to revive the barren land – at the cost of sacrificing
all jinn. With no choice but to obey, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest
son, who unbeknownst to her is actually the prince that she saved in magical
disguise. Aided by Loulie’s bodyguard, who has secrets of his own. In a
world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that
everything – her enemy, her magic, even her own past – is not what it seems,
and she must decide who she will become in this new reality. (Orbit)

Also published this month is Noel Streatfeild’s Holiday Stories by Noel Streatfeild (Virago), Poor Little Sick Girls by Ione Gamble (Dialogue Books), Yorkshire: There and Back by Andrew Martin (Corsair) and Civil to Strangers
Less Than Angels, A Glass of Blessings and Crampton Hodnet all by Barbara Pym.


Horse by Geraldine Brooks

Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom and a bay foal forge a bond. When the
nation erupts in civil war, an artist who has made his name painting
racehorses reunites with the stallion and his groom. New York City, 1954. A
gallery owner becomes obsessed with a 19th equestrian oil painting of
mysterious provenance. The Smithsonian Institute, 2019. A scientist and an
art historian find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared
interest in the skeleton of a horse. Based on the remarkable true story of the
record-breaking thoroughbred, Horse is an original reckoning with the legacy
of enslavement and racism in America. (Little, Brown)

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

The people of Willow Springs have inhabited the island since the time of
Sapphira Wade, a ‘true conjure woman’ who could ‘walk through a lightning
storm without being touched’ and, as legend has it, murdered the white
landowner who was first her master and then her lover. Located between
Georgia and South Carolina, but part of neither, Willow Springs makes
strange the rest of the world. The island’s matriarch, Mama Day, has
inherited Sapphira’s gifts. When Cocoa, her great-niece, arrives from New
York with her new husband, her life and soul are in danger from the island’s
darker powers, and it is up to Mama Day to save her. A hurricane, jealousy,
and tragedy combine to teach Cocoa about the power of love and family. (Virago)

Non-Fiction by Julie Myerson

Non-Fiction is Julie Myerson’s new novel about mothers: what it is like to
have one, what it is like to be one. In it, a mother narrates the relationship
with her child who is struggling with addiction. The book also plays on the
relationship between fiction and non-fiction, hence the title. (Corsair)

Ungrateful by Angela Chadwick

Can you ever let go of your past?
Cat knows she should be more grateful for her partner James. He whisked
her away from her council estate home and offered her a taste of middle-class
comfort. But twenty years later, the escape he offered has begun to feel
stifling. She had a place to study at university after finishing sixth form, but
her mother was too unwell for Cat to take it. Could she go back now? At a
university open day, Cat finds herself standing before her boyfriend of
teenage years, Daniel, now a lecturer. As the spark that drew them together
returns, Cat hopes that he can in some way help her reconnect with the drive
and optimism of her younger self. Or is she simply hurtling back towards a
past that can only hurt her further? (Dialogue Books).

A Colourful Country Escape by Anita Faulkner

Will an escape to the country heal Lexie’s broken heart? When vibrant but
penniless Lexie is dumped by her posh boyfriend she decides to pack up her
beloved (and ageing) orange campervan Penny in search of a new path.
Stumbling upon a vacancy at a family-run paint company in the Cotswolds,
Lexie believes she’s found her perfect match, but it seems that the owner,
Benedict Carrington, is less than impressed with her arrival. Crashing into
wealthy Ben’s colourless world Lexie realises she’ll have her work cut out for
her if she’s to convince the stuffy ‘Beige Ben’ to trust her with rescuing his
out-of-touch business. Will Lexie show Ben that life has more to fight for
than his disapproving mother’s fortune before it’s too late? (Sphere)

Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

Mallory is delighted to have a new job looking after the gorgeous four-year old, Teddy. She’s been sober for a year and a half and she’s sure her new
nannying role in the affluent suburbs will help keep her on the straight and
narrow. That is until Teddy starts to draw disturbing pictures of his
imaginary friend, Anya. It is quite clear to Mallory and to Teddy’s parents
that the woman Teddy is drawing in his pictures is dead. Teddy’s crayons
are confiscated, and his paper hidden. But the drawings somehow keep
coming and they’re becoming more sophisticated. Not only that, they seem
to be telling a frightening story – of a woman murdered. But if Teddy isn’t
drawing the pictures any more, then who is? (Sphere)

The Time of My Life by Rosie Mullender

Imagine the worst day of your life. Now imagine living it on repeat. This
Friday the 13th has been particularly unlucky. Jess has been fired from her
comfortable job. She’s gone from dating two guys to none. She’s been kicked
out of her mediocre flat. And worst of all, she’s really really let down her best
friend. As she drifts off to sleep, she is filled with relief that this terrible day
is over. Tomorrow she will try to fix things, tomorrow cannot be any worse
than this. Except it is. Maybe not worse, but exactly the same. When Jess
wakes up the next morning, it’s Friday the 13th again. And again. And
again. Jess knows how this goes, she’s seen the films, this is her wake up call.
But she had no idea she needed a wake up call. How is Jess supposed to work
out where she’s gone wrong when, as far as she’s concerned, she’s been
having the time of her life? (Sphere)

Summer at the Castle Cafe by Donna Ashcroft

When Alice Appleton’s boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, just after she
lost her mother, she’s knocked sideways. Escaping to the Dorset coast, she
takes a job at the crumbling Castle Café. Surrounded by cream teas and
welcoming faces, could the quirky seaside village be the perfect place for
Alice to heal her broken heart this summer? Mysterious and handsome Jay
O’Donnell has lived in Castle Cove since he was a child. Haunted by his past,
he’s on a mission to save as many people as possible and when Alice catches
his eye, he has to remind himself he can have no distractions. But he begins
to realise it might just be his time to be rescued. As they find in each other
someone they can really talk to, will they learn the importance of letting go
to make way for second chances? (Sphere)

Celtic Cross by Sara Sheridan

About to get married, Mirabelle and her fiancé, retired Superintendent Alan
McGregor, are torn about where they will settle but when a once-in-alifetime opportunity comes up to buy a secluded house on the banks of the
Firth of Forth, they submit to getting permission from the local landlord.
But that permission comes at a price and when a nun dies in mysterious
circumstances at the Little Sisters of Gethsemane Convent nearby they are
drafted in to uncover what happened. (Constable)

The Botanist by M W Craven

Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of
friends he has. And then there’s Estelle Doyle. It’s true the caustic
pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street but this time
has she gone too far? Shot twice in the head, her father’s murder appears to
be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her
hands, and hers are the only footprints. Meanwhile, a poisoner the press
have dubbed the Botanist is sending high profile celebrities poems and
pressed flowers. The killer seems to be able to walk through walls and,
despite the advance notice he gives his victims, he seems to be able to kill
with impunity. For a man who hates locked room mysteries, this is going to
be the longest week of Washington Poe’s life . . . (Constable)

Also out this month are The Murder Book by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown), Birth Notes by Jessica Cornwell (Virago), Islanders by Cathy Thomas (Virago), How to Be a Writer by Marcus Berkmann (Little, Brown), Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris (Little, Brown), Excellent Women and Jane & Prudence both by Barbara Pym, The Maze by Nelson Demille (Sphere), The Mushroom Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu (Constable), The Best Friend by Jessica Fellowes (Sphere), R in the Month by Nancy Spain (Virago) and an as yet untitled novel by  Michael Robotham (Sphere)

So there we have it, a veritable feast of books due out next year to entertain and console us, to keep us company whilst alone and to discover new found friends in. Do you like the sound of any of these? Which are you looking forward to? Do let me know.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for this, Janet. I failed to make it to the showcase yesterday thanks to my booster after effects. All worth it! Lots to enjoy here. Some were on my horizon aleady but you’ve sucessfully expanded my tbr!


  2. Joanne says:

    Gosh, what a selection! I like the sound of A Million Aunties.


  3. MarinaSofia says:

    Wow, a massive catalogue! I’ve got my eye on a few but it’s all a bit overwhelming!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for putting all this together, what a job! There are a few I’ll be keeping an eye out for such the new Louise Erdrich and A Million Aunties, and Wivenhoe looks intriguing. I’ve just read Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller which was published over here as Shelf Life, and can definitely recommend it.


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