Sunday, 3 March 2013

Books to Look Forward to From Quercus and Maclehose Press

Gold, Frankincense and Dust is the third book in the Commissario Soneri series by Valerio Varesi and is due to be published in November 2013.  Parma.  A multiple pile-up occurs on the autostrada into the city.  In the chaos, the burned body of a woman is found at the side of the road, but has no apparent link to the car accidents.  Commissario Soneri is assigned to the case and identifies the dead woman as Nina Iliescu, a Romanian immigrant whose beauty had enchanted a string of wealthy lovers.  Temptress, muse, angel, she was all things to all men.  Her murder conceals a crime and a sacrilege, and even in death, she has a surprise waiting for Soneri.
An Act of Kindness is the second book in the series featuring PI Lee Arnold and Mumtaz Hakim by Barbara Nadel and it is due to be published in July 2013.  London's East End has always been a social and racial melting pot and never more so than today.  PI Lee Arnold and his assistant Mumtaz Hakim don't mind - it keeps them on their toes.  It is November.  The days are getting darker and they have a new case on their hands.  A young Asian couple moves into a dilapidated house in Upton Park.  The woman, Nasreen, spends much of her time working alone on the house, her husband Abdullah preoccupied with his job.  John Sawyer is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.  Since his discharge, he has been volatile and is now homeless.  An unlikely friendship develops between Nasreen and John, one that her husband would frown upon.  When John's body is discovered, Nasreen's suspicions light upon Abdullah.  Did he know they were friends?  Reluctant to go to the police, Nasreen reaches out to the Arnold Detective Agency.  Mumtaz Hakim begins to dig into Abdullah's past and into the house itself, which, she finds, holds its own grim secrets.

The Riot is by Laura Wilson and is due to be published in August 2013.  August 1958 and DI Stratton is working in Notting Hill.  In the midst of a heatwave, the area has reached boiling point in the slums as squalor, overcrowding and prostitution reach record levels.  Unscrupulous landlords are only too willing to take advantage of the newly arrived Caribbean immigrants, who find themselves encountering prejudice at every turn.  Tasked with investigating the murder of a rent collector, Stratton finds himself drawn into the maelstrom of greed, scandal and violence fuelled by racism, jealousy and the sheer struggle for survival.

Soho 4.A.M is by Nuala Casey and is due to be published in July 2013.  6 July 2005.  Great Britain has just been announced as the next host of the Olympics.  The euphoric crowds pour forth from Trafalgar Square into the waiting bars and restaurants of Soho.  Dreams, drugs, debauchery...Soho is London's red light district, where any desire can be satisfied in the blink of an eye.  But behind it, all there is a permanent community of residents whose own sins are concealed by the partying and excess.  Zoe, an aspiring model looking for her big break, will discover the sinister world behind the bright lights; artist Seb is hoping he can forget the past by drinking himself into oblivion while his friend Ade is about to take extreme measures to save his livelihood and relationship.  Meanwhile, Stella, Ade's girlfriend, wonders if this is the night to escape.  Through the dark streets, these four ordinary people walk a dangerous, twisted path through London's greatest adult playground.  Come the morning of 7 July, as jubilation turns to horror, will they have fallen into Soho's poisoned embrace while the nation's eyes are turned elsewhere?

Christmas Day.  In the attic of a London mansion, a masked man stands over a disgraced financier, holding a can of petrol and a match.  Looking on are the terrified man's wife and their daughter, who has a primed grenade tied around her throat.  The last hostage is a delivery boy - in the wrong place at the wrong time, but young enough to fancy himself a hero.  Surrounding the building are police helicopters, Special Forces, news crews - and Ed Mallory, blind hostage negotiator, feeling the pressure after his last case went painfully wrong.  But as he begins his tentative negotiations, it begins to dawn on him that this case is more complex, and more cruel, than any he has ever faced.  None of them can know how far-reaching the danger is.  And as a fanatical assassin works his way across the city towards them, hostage-taker and hostages become prey to a torturous pressure that builds to an explosively shocking climax.  Sacrifice is by Max Kinnings and is due to be published in August 2013.

Playing Grace is by Hazel Osmond and is due to be published in August 2013.  Grace is thoroughly in control of everything: her work life, her home life - and her love life.  Especially her love life.  But when her boss hires Tate Saunders, a brash American, to spice up the gallery where she works, he explodes into her life like a paintball.  She hates everything about him.  Then a precious icon is stolen while Grace and Tate are arguing, and the two are forced to team up to help recover it.  In spite of herself, Grace is won over by Tate's blundering American charm, and she begins to fall for him.  But is there a place for love in Grace's carefully ordered world?

When the Dead Awaken is by Steffen Jacobsen and is due to be published in September 2013.  The Neapolitan mafia, deadly assassins and a woman out for revenge.  Late one night in the port of Naples, a shipping container is dropped from a crane, spilling dozens of bodies.  Among the dead are a young woman and her son who were part of a witness protection programme.  A young district attorney, Sabrina d’Avalos, is tasked with the investigation.  But when links to the Neapolitan mafia – the Camorra – are uncovered, Sabrina becomes personally involved: the Camorra assassinated her father.  Now the mafia’s most terrifying assassins – the Albanian and L’Artista – are on Sabrina’s trail.  And Sabrina knows only too well that the Camorra will do anything necessary to protect their interests.

London, 1968: a society cracked down the middle.  A killer on the edge.  London, October 1968.  As Beatles fans encamp outside Abbey Road Studios up the road, the Marylebone CID is as much an old boys’ club as ever it was comfortably sexist, racially prejudiced and crawling with underhand dealings.  Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen is the pariah of the office, having just run out on a fellow officer held at knifepoint, when it’s shaken up by the arrival of WPC Helen Tozer: awkward chatterbox, farm girl, and the first woman to enter the murder unit – apart from the secretary.  When a young woman is found naked and strangled in well to do St John’s Wood her identity is a mystery.  The neighbours offer nothing but xenophobic suspicions, witnesses are staying silent; only Tozer’s savvy eyes gives Breen a lead.  Following it, resourceless, Breen sees one dead body lead to another – a trail of bloodshed taking them dangerously near to a killer with everything to lose.  A Song From Dead Lips is due to be published in August 2013 and is the first in a trilogy by William Shaw featuring DS Breen and WPC Tozer set against a clashing backdrop of sixties idealism and a corrupted CID on the brink of exposure.   

The Garden of Burning Sand is by Corban Addison and is due to be published in September 2013.  On a dark night in Lusaka, Zambia, an adolescent girl is brutally assaulted.  In shock, she cannot speak.  Her identity is a mystery.  Where did she come from?  Was the attack a random street crime or a premeditated act?  The girl's case is taken up by Zoe Fleming, a human rights lawyer working in Africa.  A betrayal in her own past gives the girl's plight a special resonance for Zoe, and she is determined to find the perpetrator and seek justice.  Also investigating on behalf of the Zambian police is Joseph Kabuta.  At first reluctant to work together, they team up.  Yet their progress is thwarted at every turn and it soon becomes clear that their opponents are every bit as powerful and determined as they are corrupt.

Detectives Zoe Barnes and Sam Taylor are called to the Lake District, a brother and sister have gone missing.  And they aren’t the only ones.  Across the country stories of children, missing or murdered by their mothers, grandmothers and nannies, are increasing – and talk of witches, the like of which hasn’t been heard since the 17th century, is spreading.  Could there really be a group of women intent on evil, or is this fantasy?  The Beautiful Killers is by Tom Grieves and is due to be published in October 2013.

No protagonist.  No detective.  Nothing between killer, victim – and reader.  Bavaria, Germany, 1944.  Afra Zauner is unmarried, and pregnant.  Her father’s shame, her mother’s fury and the whispers of the neighbours begin to weigh upon her.  She doesn’t believe in sin.  But everyone else does.  And one of them brings their judgement down upon her.  Years later, Hermann Müller is throwing a drunk out of his pub; a stranger who won’t stop ranting about an old murder left unsolved.  Hermann doesn’t listen.  But the next morning he finds a cutting, fallen from the man’s pocket, it features an old friend of his.  No-one ever atoned for Afra’s death; her story is waiting to be told.  Finsterau is by Andrea Maria Schenkel and is due to be published in November 2013.

In 1799, William Pitt is attempting to force through anti-slavery legislation.  Many have a vested interest in preventing this, and would go to dangerous lengths to stop it.  Meanwhile, Tom Pascoe of the river police is grieving for the women he loved, looking for solace at the bottom of a bottle.  Tom’s drinking has made him increasingly unpredictable, so when he is called to a body in the Thames – that is a close associate of William Pitt – there’s doubt over whether he’s up to the task.  AS Pitt finds himself in increasing peril, Tom must pull himself together or be dragged under.  The Rising Tide is the third book in the Tom Pascoe series by Patrick Easter and is due to be published in August 2013.
The Prey is by Tony Park and is due to be published in November 2013.  Kylie Hamilton is an American executive working for the international mining company Global Resource.  Sent to South Africa to investigate a new site on the edge of the Kruger National Park, she becomes caught up in the battle over the area’s resources.  When a group of illegal miners kidnap one of the legal employees, manager Rory Dowd steps in.  With Kylie and Rory forced to work side by side, their mutual dislike evolves into solidarity before becoming something more.  Together, there’s a chance they can rescue the kidnapped man.

In The Passage Du Desire is by Dominique Sylvain and introduces Lola Jost and Ingrid Diesel, a mismatched pair of amateur sleuths always one step ahead of the Paris Police.  On the one hand, there’s Lola.  She is grumpy retired police commissioner who cannot go a day without her best friend: red wine.  On the other hand, there’s Ingrid, an American girl in love with Paris.  She gives massages all day long and does stripteases at night.  This mismatched and funny duo live in a Parisian working class district and can never refuse to help a friend in trouble with the police.  In The Passage Du Passage is due to be published in December 2013.

The Axe Factor is by Colin Cotterill and is due to be published in November 2013.  On the gulf of Thailand, the Juree family are managing their run-down beach resort for the second year – still stalked by disaster.  Daughter Jimm has a new love in her life, but finds herself pursued by another man, with a markedly different agenda in mind.  Meanwhile, Jimm’s new case is that of Dr Somluk, a champion of the rights of rural mothers, who is missing following a run in with the marketers of infant formula.  As ever, there is blood, brine and bedlam aplenty at the Gulf Bay Lovely Resort.

Eight days prior to the American Presidential election, the US Secretary of State is abducted while conducting secret negotiations aboard a tanker in the South China Sea.  ‘Seven days’ is his captors warning.  Seven days before he is beheaded, live on the internet.  Former CIA operative and master thief Robin Monarch embarks on a journey into the volatile underworld of Southeast Asia to locate and extract his target.  But as he navigates this shady labyrinth, Monarch starts to unravel a worrying conspiracy: one stretching from the red light districts of Thailand to the White House itself.  Takes a Rogue is by Mark Sullivan and is due to be published in December 2013.

Recently divorced, Tessa Parker runs a successful B&B in a seaside town.  During a surprise visit from Australia, a long-lost aunt lets slip a family secret that unsettles her fragile world.  In shock, and feeling betrayed by her whole family, Tessa confides in her ex-husband just as he reveals he has a new woman in his life.  Struck unexpectedly by jealousy; balancing her own turmoil against the demands of parenting, Tessa tries to trace her birth father, with devastating results.  Yet she fails to see how this is a crucial moment in her children's lives.  If she gets things wrong, the consequences could be fatal.  The Bad Mother is by Isabelle Grey and is due to be published in September 2012.

Killing Caravaggio is by Alex Connor and is due to be published in December 2013.  In Killing Caravaggio author Alex Connor takes the artist Caravaggio as its subject.

February 1941, wartime Berlin.  Brilliant, idealistic young detective Georg Heuser joins the Murder Squad in the midst of the biggest manhunt the city has ever seen.  A serial killer is slaughtering women on S-Bahn trains and leaving their battered bodies by the tracks.  Heuser must confront evil eye-to-eye as he helps track down the murderer.  July 1959, peacetime West Germany: a pioneering young lawyer, Paula Siebert, is the sole woman in a federal unit investigating men who have committed crimes of unimaginable magnitude and horror.  Their leader has just been arrested.  His name is Georg Heuser.  Siebert is sure of his guilt.  However, one question haunts her: how could a once decent man have become a sadistic monster?  The answer lies in the desolate wastes of the Russian Front; the vast landmass conquered by Hitler's forces...the new empire the Nazis call Ostland.  Based on an extraordinary true story, Ostland is a gripping detective thriller, a harrowing account of the Holocaust and a thought-provoking examination of the capacity for sin that lurks in every human soul.  Ostland is by David Thomas who also writes thrillers under the name Tom Cain.  Ostland is due to be published in July 2013.

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