Saturday 27 December 2014

Books to look forward to from Quercus Books and MacLehose Press

Five Dreams of Fame.  Glasgow, 1965 Jack Mackay dares not imagine a life of predictability and routine.  The headstrong seventeen year old has one thing on his mind – London – and successfully convinces his four friends, and fellow band mates, to join him in abandoning their lives to pursue their goal of musical stardom.  Five Decades of Fear.  Glasgow, 2015.  Jack MacKay dares not look back on a life of failure and mediocrity.  The heavy-hearted sixty-seven year old is haunted by the cruel fate that befell him and his friends some fifty years before, and how he did and did not act when it mattered most – a memory he has run from all his adult life.  London, 2015 A man lies dead in a bedsit.  His killer looks on, remorseless.  What started with five teenagers five decades before will now be finished.  Runaway is by Peter May and is a tense nostalgic crime thriller spanning a half-century of friendships solidified and severed, passions ignited and extinguished; and set against the background of two unique and contrasting cities at two unique and contrasting periods of recent history.  Runaway is due to be published in January 2015.

The Lady from Zagreb is by Philip Kerr and is due to be published in May 2015.  In 1942, there are many worse places to be than Zurich, and detective Bernie Gunther has seen his fair share of them.  So when a superior asks him to track down a glamorous German actress believed to be hiding in Zurich, he takes the job.  Not that he has much choice: the superior is Goebbels himself.  Soon Bernie finds himself involved in something much more sinister.  The actress, it emerges, is the daughter of a fanatical Croatian fascist, the sadistic commandant of a notorious concentration camp.  And the Swiss police have a cold case that they want Bernie to take a look at: one that seems to have connections to some powerful people back in the Reich.
London, 1654.  Oliver Cromwell is at the height of his power and has declared himself Lord
Protector.  Yet he has many enemies, at home and abroad.  London is a teeming warren of spies and merchants, priests and soldiers, exiles and assassins.  One of the web's most fearsome spiders is Damian Seeker, agent of the Lord Protector.  No one knows where Seeker comes from, who his family is, or even his real name.  All that is known of him for certain is that he is utterly loyal to Cromwell, and that nothing can be long hidden from him.  In the city, coffee houses are springing up, fashionable places where men may meet to plot and gossip.  Suddenly they are ringing with news of a murder.  John Winter, hero of Cromwell's all-powerful army, is dead, and the lawyer, Elias Ellingworth, found standing over the bleeding body, clutching a knife.  Yet despite the damning evidence, Seeker is not convinced of Ellingworth's guilt.  He will stop at nothing to bring the killer to justice: and Seeker knows better than any man where to search.  The Seeker is the first in a new series by S G Maclean and is due to be published in February 2015.

The Other Child is by Lucy Atkins and is due to be published in June 2015.  When her newly married husband, Greg, a high profile paediatric heart surgeon, is offered the job of a lifetime in Boston, Tess reluctantly agrees to move to the US for a couple of years.  But once Tess and Joe, her son from a previous relationship, arrive in Boston they don't find settling there very easy.  Strange things seem to be happening at the house they have moved into, and the neighbours are acting weirdly towards Tess and Joe.  Above all, Tess has found out that she is pregnant, after having agreed with Greg that they wouldn't want any more children...and the unborn baby triggers different feelings with all three family members.  The only one striving in the new surroundings seems to be Greg, and Tess is beginning to wonder why.  Then she makes a jaw-dropping discovery.

Cocaine is a collection of short stories by Massimo Carlotto, Gianrico Carofiglio and Giancarlo de Cataldo and is due to be published in May 2015.  In Carlotto's The Campagna Trail, Inspector Campagna uses an old friendship with notorious drug dealer Roby Pizzo in a Machiavellian attempt to keep the peace.  But when an interfering new police chief demands Campagna bring down the Mafioso who heads Pizzo's gang, Campagna must use every weapon he has to save his job - and his life.  Meanwhile in Carofiglio's The Speed of an Angel, a writer in crisis strikes up an unlikely friendship with a mysterious woman he meets in a quiet seaside cafe.  As their conversations deepen, and their obsessions darken, their drug-fuelled relationship begins to spiral, in this haunting tale of damnation and redemption.  Finally in De Cataldo's The White Powder Dance, the city police are put on the trail of a baby-faced new graduate in the Milanese banking sector.  As the pursuit accelerates through back streets and skyscrapers, it becomes clear that there is more to organised crime than getting your hands dirty.

Cuckold Point is by Patrick Easter and is due to be published in April 2015.  October 1799.  A
century is coming to an end, but river policeman Tom Pascoe's work is never done.  A new case in London's Docks holds danger not just for Tom but for the nation.  Sailing master Robert Cox cannot pay his gambling debts.  But he has information about a ship, which has arrived in British waters carrying a precious cargo.  Selling that information to one of London's most feared men might be Robert Cox's salvation - or his damnation.  Elsewhere in the warren of streets and waterways, Tom and his assistant Sam Hart are tipped off about a robbery.  Their inquiries take them to London's secretive Jewish community, where a dealer admits to being told that a quantity of silk is about to come on the market.  But when Robert Cox goes missing and powerful men from London's underworld and beyond begin to hunt for the silk, Tom finds himself investigating not just a crime but a conspiracy that will threaten his life, his family and his country.

A Book of Scars is the third book in the Breen and Tozer series by William Shaw and is due to be published in June 2015.  London - Devonshire, 1969.  Five years ago, teenager Alexandra Tozer was murdered on her family farm.  Her sister Helen Tozer will never forget.  Returning home after quitting the Met Police, she brings with her the recovering Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen, who begins to covertly investigate the unsolved case.  He discovers the Tozers were never told the whole truth.  Alexandra was tortured for twenty-four hours before she died.  But when he tracks down the original investigating sergeant, the man goes missing.  And so does Tozer.  Suspicion falls on her.  But Breen is on a trail that goes far beyond the death of a schoolgirl.  For the two men connected to this case met in Kenya, during the Mau Mau uprising; and the history that Britain has turned its face from is now returning to haunt it.  So when another innocent woman goes missing, Breen knows he has just twenty-four hours to save her.

Jigsaw Man is by Elena Forbes and is due to be published in January 2015.  DI Mark Tartaglia spends a night in a west London hotel with a woman he has just met.  When he is called out to the same hotel the next morning to investigate a murder, he realises it must have taken place while he was there.  If things weren't already complicated enough, the investigation takes a new and horrifying turn when he recognises the young female victim.  Still reeling from the shock, he learns that another case he has been investigating - the body of a homeless man found in a burnt-out car - is also not what it seems.  Tests reveal that the corpse has been assembled from the body parts of four different people.  Under mounting pressure from the media and unsure where his loyalties lie, Tartaglia must solve this new macabre puzzle before the Jigsaw Killer strikes again.

Unexplained bloodstains appear in a young couple's apartment; a disembodied hand is found in a rubbish dump; political prisoners resort to horrific measures in order to make a point.  In this brilliant new collection of stories, Crimes by Alberto Barrera Tyszka casts an eye on the violence that afflicts Latin America, and in particular its intimate effects on the individuals who suffer and inflict it.  Mixing the surreal with the quotidian, the banal with the unspeakable, Tyszka has created a fragmentary panorama of man's misdeeds against his own kind.  These windingly elliptical stories are ceaselessly surprising, and will bury themselves into your subconscious long after the final page is turned.  Crimes is due to be published in April 2015.

A Killing Winter is the debut novel by Tom Callaghan and is due to be published in February
2015.  'The Kyrgyz winter reminds us that the past is never dead, simply waiting to ambush us around the next corner'.  When Inspector Akyl Borubaev of Bishkek Murder Squad arrives at the brutal murder scene of a young woman, all evidence hints at a sadistic serial killer on the hunt for more prey.  But when the young woman's father turns out to be a leading government minister, the pressure is on Borubaev to solve the case not only quickly but also quietly, by any means possible.  Until more bodies are found...Still in mourning after his wife's recent death, Borubaev descends into Bishkek's brutal underworld, a place where no-one and nothing is as it seems, where everyone is playing for the highest stakes, and where violence is the only solution.

Norfolk is experiencing a July heat wave when a construction crew unearths a macabre discovery - a buried WWII plane with the pilot still inside.  Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway quickly realizes that the skeleton couldn't possibly be the pilot, and DNA tests identify the man as Fred Blackstock, a local aristocrat who had been reported dead at sea.  When the remaining members of the Blackstock family learn about the discovery, they seem strangely frightened by the news.  Events are further complicated by a TV company that wants to make a film about Norfolk's deserted air force bases, the so-called Ghost Fields, which have been partially converted into a pig farm run by one of the younger Blackstock's.  As production begins, Ruth notices a mysterious man lurking close to the Blackstock's family home.  Then human bones are found on the family's pig farm.  Can the team outrace a looming flood to find a killer?  The Ghost Fields is by Elly Griffiths and is due to be published in April 2015.

Dirty War is by Dominique Sylvain and is due to be published in June 2015.  A lawyer who specialises in French-African relations is found brutally murdered after suffering 'the torture of Father Lebrun' - a burning tyre is placed around his neck until he suffocates.  The case is already explosive because of its connections to high-profile members of the Franco-African arms trade.  But for Lola Jost, the case has a darker resonance - her much-loved assistant, a mixed race policeman named Toussaint Kidjo, was murdered in the same manner five years before - a crime that was never solved.  Weaving in our favourite larger-than-life characters from The Dark Angel, this is a far darker story, as Lola and Ingrid become embroiled in a case that draws attention from all the wrong quarters.

Barcelona, Summer 2003.  Three women are sacrificed to an unknown purpose, skin
carved with a cryptic alphabet, tongues cut from their mouths.  Sent beautiful, sinister letters - clues, or confessions?  - Inspector Fabregat cannot decipher the warnings within.  As Barcelona explodes in revelry on the Festival of St Joan, Natalia Hernandez, flower of the National Theatre and Catalan idol, lies broken on the steps of the Cathedral.  The city bays for blood; Fabregat chases a shadow-like suspect and signs that whisper of secrets beyond his grasp.  Barcelona, Winter 2014.  Anna Verco - academic, book thief, and savant - unearths letters hidden for centuries from a lightning-struck chapel in Mallorca.  What they reveal compels her and Fabregat to reignite the Hernandez investigation.  Every page she turns conceals a coded message; every street she treads leads her deeper into the labyrinth.  As Fabregat baits her with suspects, and threats darken her steps, Anna hunts her own prey - the book that began it all, a medieval revelation written in the language of witches and alchemists: The Serpent Papers.  Anna believes this book will unlock the mystery.  She does not yet know she is the key.  The Serpent Papers is the first in a trilogy and is by Jessica Cornwell.  The Serpent Papers is due to be published in January 2015.

Daniel and Vanessa Parker are an American success story.  He is a Washington, D.C. power broker, and she is a doctor with a thriving practice.  But behind the facade, their marriage is a shambles, and their teenage son, Quentin, is self-destructing.  In desperation, Daniel dusts off a long-delayed dream - a sailing trip around the world.  Little does he know that the voyage he hopes will save them may destroy them instead.  Half a world away, on the lawless coast of Somalia, Ismail Ibrahim is plotting the rescue of his sister, Yasmin, from the man who murdered their father.  Driven to crime by love and loyalty, he hijacks ships for ransom money.  There is nothing he will not do to save her, even if it means taking innocent life.  Paul Derrick is the FBI's top hostage negotiator.  His twin sister Megan is a celebrated defense attorney.  When Paul is called to respond to a hostage crisis at sea, he has no idea how far it will take them both into their traumatic past - or the chance it will give them to redeem the future.  Across continents and oceans, through storms and civil wars, their paths converge in a single, explosive moment.  It is a moment that will test them, and break them, but that will also leave behind a glimmer of hope - that out of the ashes of tragedy the seeds of justice and reconciliation can grow, not only for themselves but also for Somalia itself.  The Tears of Dark Water is by Corban Addison and is due to be published in March 2015.

Four bodies are found.  There is nothing to connect them, other than that they have been killed in the same way: quick, efficient and bloodless, each victim stabbed with the same instrument.  The press call the killer 'The Ghost', as he leaves no trace.  Nor can Fabel see any hint of any psycho-sexual or other motive.  The victims are of both genders and from completely different walks of life.  They are, however, all roughly the same age, which leads Fabel to suspect, as the investigation progresses, that the motive may be linked to their histories.  From the earliest stages of the investigation, Fabel finds himself the target of attempts on his own life from a hidden, unknown assailant.  It's only after a near deadly encounter that Fabel realizes that, while he is the hunter of one killer, he has become the hunted of another.  A spectre from his own past has come to claim vengeance.  A killer who believes himself to be untouchable - because he believes himself already dead.  The Ghosts of Altona is by Craig Russell and is due to be published in June 2015.

The Boy in the Shadows is by Carl-Johan Vallgren and is due to be published in January 2015.  In an overcrowded Stockholm underground station a father and his two boys are late for their train.  Joel, the youngest, is howling in his pushchair and his seven-year-old brother, Kristoffer, refuses to take the lift.  A woman approaches and offers to lead Kristoffer up the stairs.  Reluctantly his father agrees, but when he arrives on the platform Kristoffer and the woman have vanished without a trace.  Many years later, Joel, now an adult, goes missing in suspicious circumstances.  His wife turns to Danny Katz - an old friend - for help.  But Katz isn't the only one trying to find Joel, and the deeper he digs the more secrets he uncovers about the wealthy and powerful family at the heart of the investigation.  Then suddenly, the case takes a dramatic new turn.

A Cold Killing is by Anna Smith and is due to be published in April 2015.  Crime reporter Rosie Gilmour returns from hiding in Bosnia to a story of a brutal execution.  University lecturer Tom Mahoney was shot at point blank range, the killing has all the signs of a hit.  But who would want to kill a retired lecturer?  Rosie throws herself into the investigation, looking for a witness that has gone missing.  A witness that might hold the key to the story.  But she has her own reasons to stay hidden.  As Rosie digs deeper, she finds the story has connections to the Ministry of Defence and MI6 and Mahoney's past is darker than anyone could imagine.  Rosie's running out of time to find out the truth, before Mahoney's killers silence her for good.

The Wrong Girl is by Laura Wilson and is due to be published in May 2015.  In 2006, three-
year-old Phoebe Piper went missing on a family holiday.  Despite massive publicity and a long investigation, no trace of her was ever found.  Seven years later, Molly Jackson, aged ten and recently uprooted to a Norfolk village, finds her great uncle Dan dead in his bed.  Molly remembers nothing of her early years, but she's been sure for ages that she is Phoebe.  Everything in her life points to it and now, finally, she has proof.  Dan's death brings his hippie sister Janice back to Norfolk where she's re-united with Molly's mother Suze, the daughter she gave up for adoption decades earlier.  Janice discovers that a former lover, Joe Vincent, lives nearby.  Joe was a rock star who, at the height of his fame, turned his back on public life.  As she is drawn back into the past, Janice begins to wonder if Dan's death and Joe's reputation as a reclusive acid casualty are quite what they appear...And then Molly disappears.

Kosher sushi, kebabs, a second hand bookshop, and a bar:
the 19th arrondissement in Paris is a cosmopolitan neighbourhood where multicultural citizens live, love, and worship alongside one another.  This peace is shattered when Ahmed Taroudant's melancholy daydreams are interrupted by the blood dripping from his upstairs neighbour's brutally mutilated corpse.  The violent murder of Laura Vignole, and the pork joint placed next to her, set imaginations ablaze across the neighbourhood, and Ahmed finds himself the prime suspect.  However detectives Rachel Kupferstein and Jean Hamelot are not short of leads.  What is the connection between a disbanded hip-hop group and the fiery extremist preachers that jostle in the streets for attention?  And what is the mysterious new pill that is taking the district by storm?  Arab Jazz is the debut novel by Karim Miské and is due to be published in February 2015.

Camille is the third book in the trilogy by Pierre Lemaitre and is due to be published in March 2015.  Anne Forestier finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time when she is trapped in the middle of a raid on a jewellers on the Champs-Elysees.  Shot three times, she is lucky to survive - and morbidly unlucky to remember the face of her assailant.  Followed home from her hospital bed, Anne is in grave danger.  But one thing stands in her favour - a dangerously vengeful partner, carrying the scars of devastating loss, who will break all the rules to protect the woman he loves: Commandant Camille Verhoeven.  Following the horror of Irene and the thrills of Alex, Camille is the heart-stopping final chapter of Lemaitre's multi-award-winning trilogy, soon to be the subject of a major American film.  Drawn once again into a labyrinthine web with answers ever out of reach, Camille must draw on all his talent to face an enemy who threatens everything he holds dear.

Tormented by past heartbreak and contemporary politics, for Edgar 'Lefty' Mendieta the news of the murder of lawyer Bruno Canizales represents just another day at the office in the drug-ridden city of Culiacan.  It soon becomes clear that there is no shortage of suspects in a city where it's hard to tell the gangsters from the politicians.  Canizales was the son of a former government minister and the partner of a drug baron's daughter, with his own penchant for cross-dressing and dangerous sex.  What is less clear is why the assassin chose to use a silver bullet.  And why, two days later, they seem to have struck again.  In this sweltering city where a desire for the truth can be as dangerous as any drug, Mendieta's search for justice takes him from mansions to drug dens, in Élmer Mendoza's seminal founding text of Latin America's 'narco-lit' wave.  Silver Bullets is by Élmer Mendoza and is due to be published in April 2015.

Fall of Man in Wilmslow is by David Lagercrantz and is due to be published in May 2015.  Leonard Corell, a detective sergeant in the sleepy town of Wilmslow, is disillusioned with his lot.  Trapped between professional stagnation and personal repression, he can't even work up the courage to ask out Julie, the pretty assistant at the tailor's.  Tasked with investigating the suicide of a local recluse, Alan Turing, Corell is torn between admiration for the dead man's genius and disgust for his sexuality.  In the face of opposition from his superiors, Corell continues to investigate the open-and-shut case, stumbling across forbidden knowledge about the marvels of Bletchley Park, and the horrors of its hero's downfall.  As this succession of remarkable discoveries drives Corell to examine his own prejudice, he is rocked by two startling developments.  His much-loved Aunt Vicky is exposed as a lesbian, and his increasingly hostile bosses are demanding he investigate rumours of homosexual activity in Wilmslow.  To make matters worse, it seems Corell's questions might be answered sooner than he imagined...

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