Forthcoming Publications

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23 JANUARY

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All the Rage (D I Fawley) by Cara Hunter

4.5star.jpg Crime

A very beautiful, but extremely distressed teenage girl was picked up by a minicab driver on the outskirts of Oxford. She didn't want to go to the police station or the hospital: she just wanted to be taken home. The driver wasn't so certain though - and after dropping the girl at home he went to the police, which is why DI Adam Fawley found himself talking to Faith Appleford and her mother. Both were adamant that this was nothing more than an April Fool's joke which had gone wrong. No crime had been committed and Faith didn't want to take the matter any further. Fawley and his team weren't prepared to leave it at that and they began investigating. What they found strange was that Faith Appleford didn't seem to have much of a history. Full Review

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Hitler's Secret by Rory Clements

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

So, Hitler had a secret? Two, if you include the reproductive detail mentioned in a certain sing-song aspersion. But this is a secret that is counter to that, and in fact is a secret that Hitler himself doesn't even know about. His neice, Geli Raubal, the attractive young woman he seemed to be very close to in the early 1930s, had had his daughter behind his back. Protected under a false identity ever since, the girl is completely ignorant of her past, and the truth is a very rare thing. Martin Bormann, the 'gatekeeper' to Hitler and his right hand man, knows – and is desperately intent on wiping the slate clean and removing all connected with her existence from the Reich. So it's down to Tom Wilde, an American history professor at Oxbridge, to go in and extract her, in this most shadowy race against time. Full Review

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Haven't they Grown by Sophie Hannah

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

It was when Beth Leeson was ferrying her son, Ben, to a football match that she found herself on Wyddial Lane in Hemingford Abbots. Actually, It's a little disingenuous to say 'found herself' as Beth had made a deliberate detour on the grounds that she didn't find herself in this neck of the woods very often and she was curious to see where a family who'd come into money had lived before they'd all lost contact twelve years ago. And it might have gone no further than that had Beth not seen a car draw up and her friend Flora get out along with two children she called Thomas and Emily. Beth remembered the names well - but these children were about three and five and Flora's children - Thomas and Emily - would now be fifteen and seventeen. Full Review

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Miss Austen by Gill Hornby

5star.jpg Historical Fiction

It's long been known that Cassandra Austen burned most of the letters which she and other members of the extensive Austen family had exchanged with or about her sister Jane. What is not known is why she did this and at this stage - more than two hundred years after Jane's death - a definitive answer is unlikely to forthcoming. Gill Hornby has provided us with some possible answers in a book that proved to be far more emotionally complex than I was expecting. Full Review

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Deep State by Chris Hauty

3star.jpg Thrillers

Hayley Chill is a fighter. She is every kind of fighter, and well-trained in most of them. She's army infantry and she boxes for fun – and she wins. Always. She wins because she is focussed. She works hard, mentally and physically, and she knows how to deal with the pain. She is not so much cold as controlled. This fight is against someone she is not expected to beat. And she is being watched. Full Review

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The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H G Parry

4star.jpg General Fiction

Brothers Rob and Charley have struggled to see eye to eye for years - Rob a sensible lawyer who exists in the "normal" world - and Charley a man who is blessed with an ability he can't fully control - one which allows him to bring literary characters into the real world. After years of protecting Charley, Rob wants to discharge his duties and leave Charley to his own devices - but circumstances soon take choices out of both their hands. As literary characters begin to appear everywhere, it soon becomes clear that someone out there shares Charley's powers and intends to use them for nefarious gains. Rob and Charley must team up to stop the madness - in a battle to win before they, the characters and the world reach The End… Full Review

1 FEBRUARY

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A Queen In Hiding by Sarah Kozloff

3star.jpg Fantasy

World-building is the backbone by which fantasy novels live and die. And what a pleasure, then, to get a novel with world-building you actually want to delve into. Sarah Kozloff's debut novel presents a startlingly rich and layered world, with a complex history of connecting nations that seems certain to have more to tap, and the characters are interesting – if a little underdeveloped. But it's a world I could – and did – eagerly buy into, and the struggle of each Queen to discover and hone her magical talent felt very real and very apt. Full Review

2 FEBRUARY

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Transference by B T Keaton

4star.jpg Science Fiction

Barrabus Madzimure is about to die, stranded on a mining planet millions of light-years from home, executed for high crimes against the Church, the ruling body of Earth. Except he's not Barrabus Madzimure, he's Thaniel Kilraven in Barrabus Madzimure's body. Such is the magic of Transference, the ability to transplant a person's soul or consciousness into a different body - and a power that the Church has exclusive control over. As if Thaniel doesn't have enough things to worry about, a Church employee named Corvus has arrived from Earth to interrogate him. All Thaniel wants is to see his family again, and he'll stop at nothing to accomplish this, but the Church isn't going to give in without a hell of a fight... Full Review

6 FEBRUARY

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A Bit of a Stretch: The Diaries of a Prisoner by Chris Atkins

5star.jpg Politics and Society

Documentary filmmakers don't usually get the run of establishments within the Mountbatten-Windsor Hotel Group, but after getting involved in an illegal tax scheme to fund his latest film, Chris Atkins was invited for a five-year stay. The first nine months were spent in HMP Wandsworth, which is probably the oldest, largest and most dysfunctional prison in Europe. Full Review

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Demelza and the Spectre Detectors by Holly Rivers

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Demelza Clock is a scientist, often staying up late to work on her various gadgets, much to her Grandma Maeve's irritation. However, she has also inherited a certain set of skills that are not especially scientific: Spectre Detecting, the ability to summon the ghosts of the recently deceased. Under the guidance of her Grandma Maeve, Demelza begins to master her newfound skills. However, there is a mysterious individual on the prowl, kidnapping young Spectre Detectors. It's up to Demelza and her best friend Percy to get to the bottom of this... Full Review

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Perfect Kill (D I Callanach) by Helen Fields

4star.jpg Crime

When Maggie Campbell realised that her son, Bart, was missing he was already 200 miles away and just waking from a chemically-induced sleep. Maggie knew straight away that something was wrong. Bart might be twenty but he was considerate of his mother and wouldn't have stayed out all night without letting her know. Besides, he didn't have his phone with him and he wouldn't have gone far without that. It's not long before Bart realises that he's alone, trapped in a shipping container and on his way to France, where his fate has already been decided. Full Review

11 FEBRUARY

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The Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood

4star.jpg Fantasy

What does it mean to betray someone? What if that someone is a god? Csorwe has been raised knowing that she would be sacrificed to her god on her fourteenth birthday, yet when the opportunity arises, she chooses to abandon everything she knows and flee with her life. Who can blame her? Her god's reach is limited and Csorwe intends to stay far beyond it, yet fate is a funny thing and when circumstances bring her back within the reach of her god Csorwe learns that her god remembers her, and blames her very much indeed. Full Review

20 FEBRUARY

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In Plain Sight (D I Clare Mackay) by Marion Todd

4.5star.jpg Crime

It was a coincidence that Detective Sergeant Chris West and DI Clare Mackay were at the beach when the baby was stolen. They were there for the fun run and their attention was taken by the NEFEW protesters who tried to disrupt the race. They're against the planned McIntosh Water bottled water plant to be constructed on Priory Marsh and the firm is sponsoring the fun run. It was Lisa Mitchell's scream which stopped everything. Her daughter, six-month-old Abi, had been taken from her pram whilst no one was looking. It's a major incident when any child is abducted but Abi needs regular medication because of a heart problem: without it, she might have only forty-eight hours to live. Full Review

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The Guest List by Lucy Foley

4.5star.jpg Crime

The boat trip out to Inis Amploir, off the Irish coast, might have been enough to put some guests off, but it was the wedding of the year. Will Slater (television personality, if not yet a celebrity) was to marry Jules Keegan, online magazine publisher, in the ruined chapel on the island. The bride's sister, Olivia, would be her only bridesmaid and the wedding planner and chef are Aoife and her husband, Freddy. They gave a huge discount to get the couple to the island, but surely it would be worth it for the publicity? Full Review

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Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray and Manuel Sumberac (illustrator)

5star.jpg Confident Readers

In the last city on Earth, anyone can be the vessel of The Enemy - the god who drowned the world - who has come to wreak havoc on the last of humanity. When a mysterious boy is pulled from the corpse of a whale, the citizens immediately believe him to be the Vessel - all except for young Ellie Lancaster, a girl inventor. As the ruthless Inquisition prepares to execute the boy, Ellie must prove that he is innocent - even if it means revealing her deepest, darkest secrets.... Full Review

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The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

We know that something has gone wrong - badly wrong - when the woman who was alone in the house is taken away by the police, but it's going to be a while before we learn exactly what has happened. Full Review

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A Window Breaks by C M Ewan

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

Tom Sullivan and his wife Rachel are having problems. It's not just the usual growing apart after more than a decade of marriage. Their son, Michael, was killed in a car crash some months before: he was driving his father's Audi and at sixteen wasn't legally entitled to drive. Not only did he kill himself when the car rammed into a tree, but he also killed his girlfriend, fifteen-year-old Fiona Connor. Tom can't think about Michael without a sense of shame and guilt. Rachel is broken, but she wants to forgive Michael. To give some space, Tom's moved out of the family home, but stresses to his thirteen-year-old daughter, Holly, that it is only a trial separation. Full Review

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When You See Me by Lisa Gardner

4star.jpg Crime

For Janet and Chuck, it was a hiking break in the Appalachians in Georgia and pure chance that Chuck went off the beaten track to find a stick. What he found was a human bone and SSA Kimberley Quincy was called in, along with Sergeant D D Warren. Both women were experienced in this type of rather gruesome work but they also called on the services of Keith Edgar, a computer analyst, and Flora Dane who brought something unique to the table. Flora had been kidnapped and held for 472 days by the notorious killer, Jacob Ness. If Ness had anything to do with the current discoveries then what Flora had to say could be invaluable. Full Review

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Into The Fire by Gregg Hurwitz

5star.jpg Thrillers

Grant Merriweather is a forensic accountant. Or rather, was. He was brought into an ER room after an alleged car crash, his friend pleading with the medics to keep him alive. He was needed alive just long enough to give up a name. His cousin, Max. Full Review

3 MARCH

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Havenfall by Sara Holland

4star.jpg Teens

Maddie Morrow is supposed to spending the summer with her Grandma Ellen. But after a visit to her mother in prison, Maddie wants nothing more than to go to Havenfall to see her uncle, Marcus. It's the only place she feels truly at home. Maddie's father, understandably, is not keen on Maddie spending time with her mother's family - because the crime Maddie's mum is languishing on death row for committing is the murder of Maddie's brother... Full Review

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Cursed: An Anthology of Dark Fairy Tales by Marie O'Regan and Paul Kane (editors)

4.5star.jpg Fantasy

Curses. They're there throughout tales of faery and other fantastical folk – people being cursed to do this, or not to be able to do that. Children can be cursed, as can princesses on the verge of marrying, and older people too. It seems in a way there's no escaping it. Which is why the theme of this book of short stories is such a standout – we may well think we know all there is to know about this accursed character, that demonised place, and that other bewitched person. We'd be very wrong. Full Review

12 MARCH

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Black River by Will Dean

5star.jpg Crime

Tuva Moodyson returns - and this third book in the Tuva Moodyson mystery series delves deep into her personal life, returning her to the isolated town of Gavrik and into a desperate search for her missing best friend. With the Midsommar sun blocked out by the dark pines of the forest, Tuva fights to save her friend. But who’ll be there to save Tuva? Full Review

31 MARCH

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Wink by Rob Harrell

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

When Ross is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, aged 12, his desperate attempts at school to just be 'normal' become impossible. Suddenly he is the cancer kid, and everything he does, how he looks, and how he behaves falls under the scrutiny of the other kids in school. Ross is, understandably, angry. He is facing potential blindness, whilst dealing with an eye sealed in a permanent wink. He has gloopy eye medicine to try to help with the pain, plus the need to wear a hat at all times to protect his face due to the ongoing treatment. With the sudden ghosting by one of his best friends, and a series of horrible memes that someone at school creates about Ross, nothing about his life is normal any more, and he has to find new ways to deal with his feelings, and survive. Full Review

2 APRIL

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The Loop by Ben Oliver

3.5star.jpg Teens

Set during the aftermath of a Third World War where methods of punishment for criminal activities have been amped up to a horrific level by machines, The Loop follows the precarious existence of adolescent Luka Kane. In a world of Have and Have Nots where Alts [cyborgs] have power over Regulars, he is trapped inside a living hell with no chance of escape. A detonator has been sewn inside his heart connecting him to a trigger held by the guards who can end his life with one squeeze. Luka is taunted by limited access to his memories and relentlessly drained of energy through a gruelling daily torture ritual. Doomed to Delay [a risky medical trial where he is a guinea pig for Alts in place of execution] after Delay he is in despair. His prison is based on the model of an infinity loop designed to make its inmates suffer. With the only glimmers of hope being the rumours of rebellion outside and the visits of sympathetic Alt guard Wren, can Luka ever be free? Why has he been imprisoned? What waits for him if he can break the loop? Full Review