He had been to the limit. Then they sent him further. Gary - 'Gaz' - Baldwin is a watcher, not a killer. Operating with a special forces unit deep in Syria, he is to sit in a hide, observe a village, report back and leave. But the appalling atrocity he witnesses will change his life forever. Before long, he is living as a handyman on the Orkney islands, far from Syria, far from the army, not far enough from the memories that have all but destroyed him. 'Knacker' is one of the last old-school operators at the modern MI6 fortress on the Thames. He presides over the Round Table, a little group who meet in a pub and yearn for simpler, less bureaucratic times. When news reaches Knacker that the Russian officer responsible for the Syrian incident may be in Murmansk, northern Russia, he sets in motion a plan to kill him. It will involve a sleeper cell, a marksman and other resources - all unlikely to be sanctioned by the MI6 top brass, so it must be done off the books. But first, he will need a sure identification. And for that, he needs a watcher... Beyond Recall is by Gerald Seymour.
Haven’t They Grown is by Sophie Hannah. All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home. Just because she knows that her former best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn't mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn't seen Flora Braid for twelve years. But she can't resist. She parks outside Flora's house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children, Thomas and Emily, step out of the car. Except... There's something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older - just as Beth would have expected. It's the children that are the problem. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily Braid were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt - Beth hears Flora call them by their names - but they haven't changed at all. They are no taller, no older. Why haven't they grown?
Sally Page is an MI5 'footie', a junior Secret Service Agent who maintains 'legends': fake identities or footprints used by real spies. Her day consists of maintaining flats and houses where the legends allegedly live, doing online shopping, using payment, loyalty and travel cards and going on social media in their names - anything to give the impression to hostile surveillance that the legends are living, breathing individuals. One day she goes out for coffee leaving the safe house from which she and her fellow footies operate. When she comes back they have all been murdered and she barely escapes with her own life. She is on the run: but from whom she has no idea. Worse, her bosses at MI5 seem powerless to help her. To live, she will have to use all the lies and false identities she has so carefully created while discovering the truth . . . The Runner is by Stephen Leather.
The Burning Man is by Will Shindler. When a development in South London catches fire mid-construction, a close-knit team of fire fighters runs in to save a man spotted at the window. They come out without a body. They quit the service. They plan never to speak to each other again. Five years later one of them is set alight at his own wedding. Soon after, a second is found, nothing but a smoking corpse. It appears that someone knows what they did that night. What they chose over their duty. And there are still three men left to burn . . . DI Alex Finn and his new partner DC Mattie Paulsen are an unlikely pairing, but they need to discover who is behind these killings before the next man faces the fire.
Circle of Death is by Chris Ryan. Three years ago, Julian Norwood was the rising star of the political universe. As the co-founder of a wildly successful London-based political consultancy, Norwood and his colleagues used controversial tactics to help win the election for the American President and played a decisive role propping up odious governments around the world. But after a scandal broke, the company's reputation was shredded. All of a sudden, Norwood was toxic. People stopped returning his calls. Nobody wanted to work with him. In desperation, he fled to the Seychelles to escape the media spotlight. But when Norwood uncovers a terrifying secret - one that threatens to trigger a brutal new conflict - he senses an opportunity for political redemption...and a hefty payday. He reaches out to his former mentor, a close confidante of the American President and a shadowy populist puppet-master. Before he can tell his mentor what he has discovered, however, masked gunmen ambush the meeting, killing the populist and kidnapping Norwood. In Hereford, former SAS legends John Porter and Jock Bald are brought in from the cold and tasked with a dangerous new mission. A close-knit gang of ex-Navy SEALs, dishonourably discharged from the US military, have gone rogue down in the badlands of Mexico, offering their services to the highest bidder. Now American and British intelligence experts believe that the gang is plotting a sinister new attack - and they want Bald and Porter to infiltrate the gang and find out what they're up to. Amid the deadly carnage and daily, horrifying violence of the Mexican drug wars, Bald and Porter must earn the trust of the ex-SEALs and their charismatic leader, survive brutal cartel attacks and uncover a deadly conspiracy involving the 'Deep State' in both the US and the UK. When their cover is blown, however, Bald and Porter must act to stop a deadly plan to assassinate the Venezuelan President and trigger a bloody civil war. In a breathtaking finale, they must fight alongside their fellow SAS comrades, taking on the gang in a deadly battle of SAS versus Navy SEALs - and only the strongest will survive.
The Stranger is by Simon Conway. ISIS can't control him. MI6 can't find him. But he's coming... Things change quickly in the world of espionage and clandestine operations. Jude Lyon of MI6 remembers the captured terrorist bomb-maker. He watched him being flown off to Syria, back when Syria was 'friendly'. No-one expected him to survive interrogation there. Yet the man is alive and someone has broken him out of jail. Bad news for the former foreign secretary who authorised his rendition. And Jude's boss Queen Bee who knew he wasn't a terrorist at all, but an innocent bystander. Now she calls Jude back from a dangerously enjoyable mission involving a Russian diplomat's wife. He has a new job: close down this embarrassment. Fast. But embarrassment is only the beginning. Someone is using the former prisoner to front a new and unspeakably terrifying campaign. Someone not even ISIS can control. He is like a rumour, a myth, a whisper on the desert wind. But he is real and he is coming for us ... He is the genius known only as ... The Stranger.
The Familiar Dark is by Amy Engel. In a small town beset by poverty in the Missouri Ozarks two 12-year-old girls are found dead in the park. Their throats have been cut. Eve Taggert's daughter was one of them. Desperate with grief, she takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened to her little girl. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life - having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose parenting lessons she tried hard not to mimic. But with her daughter gone, Eve has no reason to stay soft. And she is going to need her mother's cruel brand of strength if she's going to face the truth about her daughter's death.
Dirty South is by John Connolly. It is 1999, and someone is slaughtering young black women in Burdon County, Arkansas. But no one wants to admit it, not in the Dirty South. In an Arkansas jail cell sits a former NYPD detective, stricken by grief. He is mourning the death of his wife and child, and searching in vain for their killer. He cares only for his own lost family. But that is about to change . .. Witness the becoming of Charlie Parker.
When Elspeth arrives at the fiftieth birthday party of her ex-husband, the famous British film director Richard Bryant from whom she has been estranged for 10 years, she expects a crowd in his sprawling LA mansion. Instead, there are only eight other people, and Richard's pet octopus Persephone, floating dreamily in a wall-sized aquarium. By the morning, Richard is dead. All of the guests are suspects. As she is interviewed by the police, Elspeth pieces together her memories of the party that evening. She also remembers her marriage, her early film career, and the consuming power of a monstrous man. The Octopus is by Tess Little.
The Grove of the Caesars is by Lindsey Davis. Julius Caesar left his gardens to the citizens of Rome, a peaceful sanctuary across the Tiber. Now the gardens and their sacred grove are dangerous haunts, especially for women alone. 'Don't go to the Grove,' people mutter, but when her husband has to leave Rome, it falls to Albia to supervise his building project in an old grotto. Why has someone buried tattered scrolls by philosophers - and does it involve a worse crime than terrible writing? Soon that puzzle is overtaken. A woman disappears from her husband's birthday party; she meets a dire fate, then Albia learns that on the same night, two louche slaves given to her family by the brooding Emperor Domitian also vanished in the gardens. Apparently, it is well known that a killer lurks there. The vigiles have failed to investigate properly for decades and this won't improve when the sinister agent Karus arrives. Albia must co-operate, in order to give the many victims justice and find answers for grieving relatives. But can she herself remain safe? And, after others have failed, can she at last identify the predator who has made the Grove his killing ground?
On a jagged, bleak lava field just outside Reykjavik stands the Gallows Rock. Once a place of execution, it is now a tourist attraction. Until this morning, when a man was found hanging from it... The nail embedded in his chest proves it wasn't suicide. But when the police go to his flat, a further puzzle awaits: a four-year-old boy has been left there. He doesn't seem to have any link with the victim, his parents cannot be found, and his drawings show he witnessed something terrible. As detective Huldar hunts the killer, and child psychologist Freyja looks for the boy's parents, the mystery unfolds: a story of violence, entitlement, and revenge. Gallows Rock is by Yrsa Sigurdardottir.
The Return by Rachel Harrison. Her best friend disappeared. A stranger came back. Julie is missing, and the missing don't often return. But Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and she feels in her bones that her best friend is out there. She's right. Two years to the day that Julie vanished, she reappears with no memory of what happened to her. But she is different. She's emaciated, with sallow skin, chipped teeth and odd appetites. In so many ways, Julie seems to be the friend they all loved and lost. But in others, she seems to be a stranger. Along with Molly and Mae, their two close friends from college, they decide to reunite at the eccentric, remote Red Honey Inn. But when bad weather traps them inside the hotel, tensions flare. Elise begins to hear scratching within the walls, to see the slither of shadows cast by nothing. And as the weekend unfurls, it becomes impossible to deny that the Julie who vanished two years ago is not the same Julie who came back.
The Darlings is by Cristina Alger. The Darlings of New York are untouchable. But no one is safe from a scandal this big. When Carter Darling's business partner commits suicide, it triggers a huge financial investigation. The allegations are serious. The danger of it exposing their private lives is equally threatening. In times of crisis, the Darlings have always stuck together. But with the stakes so high, how long will their loyalty last?
Seven patients. One dark secret. Jennifer Nielsen has her life on track. Until she gets news that her former psychiatrist, Phillip Walton, has been brutally murdered, and that she is implicated. Philip knew her darkest secrets. And circumstances of his murder suggest that someone else out there knows them too. Jenny needs to speak to old friends, and old enemies, from her dark years spent at Hillside Psychiatric Hospital. Because they are the only ones who know what really happened at Hillside, about the secret that Phil kept for them all, and that this is not the first murder. Cracked is by Louise McCreesh.
A Safe Place is by Anna Downes. A beautiful home might hide dangerous secrets . . Emily Proudman has been offered the chance of a lifetime - leave her messy London life, move to a beautiful estate in France and help her boss's wife take care of their daughter. It seems like the perfect opportunity to start again. But once there, Emily soon starts to suspect that her charismatic new employers aren't telling her the whole truth. That there are even dangerous secrets hidden beneath the glamorous facade. Why have the family been moved to this isolated house so far from home? Why does her bosses' daughter refuse to speak or be touched? Why are there whispers in the night? The only problem is, the more Emily knows, the less chance there is she will ever be able to leave . . .
As a school nurse. Anna Pierce is a trusted member of the community. So when she is accused of hitting a pupil, the reaction is one of shock and disbelief. The pupil of Tori Carmichael – Anna’s mentee and a child known for her lies. Anna is hurt by the accusation but determined to clear her name. Before she can, the worst happens: Tori is fund dead. Suspicion against Anna spreads quickly in the close-knit community. At the very least, Anna should have protected this vulnerable girl. At worst, she is a killer. But which is it? I Tell a Lie is by Julie Corbin.
Also published in July 2020 is Camino 2 by John Grisham.
Also published in July 2020 is Camino 2 by John Grisham.