Friday 30 October 2020

Books to Look Forward to from Bitter Lemon Press

 January 2021

The story is set in Uruguay, it starts in a Montevideo prison where Diego waits for his lawyer, the slick Dr Antinucci, always raybanned, chain-smoking, never frisked by the prison guards. Diego, betrayed by his partner in crime, was arrested for kidnapping a businessman. But charges will not be pressed. The businessman and his wife have described Diego as duped by his partner, certainly no master criminal, so he will be let out. But Antonucci has plans for him, a favour must be returned for his surprising freedom, he must join forces with the psychopath El Roto and hold up an armoured truck in Montevideo. The mad and hilarious caper includes the robbery of course which degenerates into appalling violence, a few murders, and the general bungling of affairs by all the men involved. It is the belittled women, including Police Inspector Lima, who end up the true heroines of the story. This seemingly classic lowlife crime story has a powerful message: never, ever underestimate the women. All told with excoriating wit and humour from the Rio de la Plata. Crocodile Tears is by Mercedes Rosende.

February 2021

The Foreign Girls is by Sergio Olguin. Veronica Rosenthal has retreated to a cousin's remote cottage in the province of Tucuman, to recuperate from the traumatic events in The Fragility of Bodies. She befriends two female tourists -an Italian and a Norwegian-- invites them to stay and starts a sexual relationship with one of them. After a party they attend together, Veronica travels on alone but days later discovers that the women have been murdered. Suspicion falls on a local Umbanda priest, but Veronica starts to uncover a web of corruption, abuse and femicide in which government, wealthy landowners and a high-ranking official from the Argentina's 'Dirty War' are all implicated. Veronica's investigation, with its unforeseen political dimensions, has alarmed new enemies who will try to stop her at all cost.

March 2021

The Measure of Time is by Gianrico Carofiglio. One spring afternoon, defence attorney Guerrieri is confronted with an unexpected spectre from his past. In her youth, Lorenza had been a beautiful and unpredictable girl with dazzling charm. A changed woman faces him in his office that day. The ensuing years have ravaged her appearance and embittered her mind. As if that weren't enough, her son Jacopo, a small-time delinquent, stands convicted of the first-degree murder of a local drug dealer. Her trial lawyer has died, so, for the appeal, she turns to Guerrieri as her last hope. Guido is not convinced of the innocence of Lorenza's son, nor does he have fond memories of the way their relationship ended two decades earlier. Nevertheless, he accepts the case; perhaps to pay a melancholy homage to the ghosts of his youth. His old friend Carmelo Tancredi, a retired police inspector, and his girlfriend, the charming investigator Annapaola Doria are once again by his side. A masterful, compassionate novel, striking a balance between a straightforward trial story -some say the purest distillation of human experience - and the sad notes of time as it passes and exhausts itself.

April 2021

Things are looking bad for disgraced spy August Drummond. In emotional free fall after the death of his wife, fired for a series of unprecedented security breaches... and now his neighbor on the flight to Istanbul won't stop talking. The only thing keeping him sane is the hunch that there's something not quite right about the nervous young man several rows ahead - a hunch that is confirmed when August watches him throw away directions to an old European cemetery seconds before being detained by Turkish police. A reckless August decides to go to the cemetery, where he meets a mysterious figure from the dark heart of the Islamic State and quickly finds himself drawn into a shadowy plot to murder an Iranian scientist in Istanbul. But nothing is what it seems, and before long August realises he has gone too far to turn back. As he struggles to break free from the clutches of Islamic State and play off British intelligence against their Turkish counterparts, he will find his resourcefulness, ingenuity and courage tested to the very limit of what he can endure. How To Betray Your Country by James Wolff. 

June 2021

The Transparency of Time' by Leonardo Padura sees the Cuban investigator pursuing a mystery spanning centuries of occult history. Mario Conde is facing down his sixtieth birthday. What does he have to show for his decades on the planet? A failing body, a slower mind, and a decrepit country, in which both the ideals and failures of the Cuban Revolution are being swept away in favour of a new and newly cosmopolitan worship of money. Rescue comes in the form of a new case: an old Marxist turned flamboyant practitioner of Santeria appears on the scene to engage Conde to track down a stolen statue of the Virgen de Regla-a black Madonna. This sets Conde on a quest that spans twenty-first century Havana as well as the distant past, as he delves as far back as the Crusades in an attempt to uncover the true provenance of the statue. Through vignettes from the life of a Catalan peasant named Antoni Barral, who appears throughout history in different guises-as a shepherd during the Spanish Civil War, as vassal to a feudal lord-we trace the Madonna to present-day Cuba. With Barral serving as Conde's alter ego, unstuck in time, and Conde serving as the author's, we are treated to a panorama of history, and reminded of the impossibility of ever remaining on its sidelines, no matter how obscure we may think our places in the action.

July 2021

It is the end of October, the city of Basel is grey and wet. It could be December. It is just after midnight when Police Inspector Peter Hunkeler, on his way home and slightly worse for wear, spots old man Hardy sitting on a bench under a street light. He wants to smoke a cigarette with him, but the usually very loquacious Hardy is silent-his throat a gaping wound. Turns out he was first strangled and his left earlobe slit, the diamond stud he usually wore there missing. The media and the police come quickly to the same conclusion: Hardy's murder was the work of a gang of Albanian drug smugglers. But for Hunkeler that seems too obvious a resolution. After all, Barabara Amsler, a prostitute, was also recently found strangled, her ear slit. He follows his own intuition and methods which lead him deep into a seedy world of bars and night clubs. More ominously, he soon must face the consequences of certain events in recent Swiss history that those in power would prefer to keep far from the public eye. The Basel Killings is by Hansjörg Schneider.

Wednesday 28 October 2020



This year we asked our Capital Crime Festival pass holders and our Book Club susbcribers to vote on their favourite crime and thriller books, TV shows and films from the past year.
The readers voted in droves, and we're pleased to announce the full list of winners below.

TV Show of the Year -
The Liar (Season Two)

Movie of the Year -
Knives Out

Audiobook of the Year -
The Guest List by Lucy Foley

E-BOOK of the Year -
Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee

Debut Book of the Year -
Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

Independent Voice Book of the Year -
Beast by Matt Wesolowski

Thriller Book of the Year -
Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

Mystery Book of the Year -
The Mist bycRagnar Jónasson

Crime Book of the Year -
Without A Trace by Mari Hannah

Click on the winners to check them out!

Sunday 25 October 2020

An October Surprise from Audible


Before Halloween is upon us, it might be worth downloading this remarkable literary crime thriller WHITEHAVENS by Parker Bilal from Audible, in readiness for that night - All Hallowes Eve.

But first a little background: Yet again, Audible present an exclusive, a crime thriller to debut as an audiobook before entering print or as an eBook; Audible’s 2020 October surprise -

So, what is Whitehavens all about?

In a mission that goes badly wrong, loyal assassin Brodie takes out the nephew of the criminal mastermind he works for – and the hitman suddenly finds himself in the firing line. Saved by the woman he was sent to kill, Brodie is injured and at her mercy. But Brodie and Karima know too much about unforgiving gangster Donny to remain alive. Brodie his gun for hire. Karima his accountant. They both know where the bodies are buried.

And when Donny turns the might of his brutally violent empire on them there’s only one thing to do: run. Because as Brodie knows all too well, a moving target is harder to hit. Bound together, this unlikely couple must do all they can to survive. But can Karima ever trust the man who was sent to end her life?

Taking flight, they can only outpace their would-be killers for so long. When they run out of road, they have one last shot at freedom. But can they make it – before it’s too late?

(c) 2020 AUDIBLE UK

Whitehavens by Parker Bilal is a standalone spin off from the Crane & Drake Series. Inspired by personal experience, Whitehavens follows the story of the hitman who suddenly finds himself to be the marked man.

Released exclusively to Audible and narrated with flourish by actor Damian Lynch, it’s a thought-provoking distraction from the Covid-19 lockdown.

Parker Bilal was born in London, he has lived in Khartoum, Cairo, Denmark, Barcelona and currently, Amsterdam. He began writing literary fiction under his own name Jamal Mahjoub publishing seven critically acclaimed literary novels, which have been widely translated.

However, in 2012 Mahjoub realised a long-held dream of breaking into Crime Fiction with The Golden Scales, the first in his Makana series. Set in Cairo, the series covers the decade from 2001 to 2011 and the Arab Spring.

For more information, head to,uk and join the growing numbers who have that £7.99 / month membership.

Click HERE, and HERE, and HERE, and HERE, and HERE, and HERE, and HERE for why Audible is so important for advocates of the Crime and Thriller genre.

Thursday 22 October 2020

CWA Dagger Awards 2020 Winners Announced


Michael Robotham, Lou Berney, Casey Cep, and Abir Mukherjee win 2020 CWA Dagger awards.  The winners of the 2020 CWA Daggers, which honour the very best in the crime writing genre, have been announced.

The world-famous Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Daggers are the oldest awards in the genre and have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century. 

The winners were announced during a live virtual ceremony (22 October, from 7.30pm), hosted by one of the UK’s leading experts on crime fiction, the writer and reviewer Barry Forshaw. The evening also featured guest speaker, Richard Osman. 

The 2020 CWA Gold Dagger for the best crime novel went to Michael Robotham for Good Girl, Bad Girl, featuring forensic psychologist, Cyrus Haven. Born in Australia, Michael worked as a journalist in Australia, America and the UK as senior feature writer for the Mail on Sunday before becoming a ghost writer collaborating with politicians and show business personalities to write their autobiographies. Since his first psychological thriller, The Suspect caused a bidding war at the London Book Fair in 2002, his novels have won numerous awards and have been translated into 25 languages. He was previously awarded the Gold Dagger for Life or Death in 2015.

Lou Berney has won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best thriller for November Road, a poignant crime novel set against the assassination of JF Kennedy. The novel attracted widespread acclaim from reviewers and fellow authors alike, with Stephen King declaring it ‘exceptional’. The American author has previously won the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, Barry, and Oklahoma Book awards. Berney was also Highly Commended in the CWA Gold Dagger category.

The much-anticipated John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger highlights the best debut novels. This year the accolade goes to Trevor Wood for The Man on the Street, featuring a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, dubbed by Lee Child as ‘an instant classic’. Wood, a journalist and playwright, has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He served in the Royal Navy for 16 years.

Abir Mukherjee wins the Sapere Books Historical Dagger for his fourth novel featuring Sam Wyndham, Death in the East. The accountant turned crime writer was inspired to become an author after watching Lee Child on breakfast TV say he started writing age 40. Abir’s debut, A Rising Man, won the Dagger for best historical crime novel in 2017. Death in the East explores the legacy of colonialism in India. 

The Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger goes to Hannelore Cayre for The Godmother, translated by Stephanie Smee. Hannelore Cayre is an award-winning French novelist, screenwriter and director, as well as a practising criminal lawyer. The Godmother has been made into a feature film starring Isabelle Huppert. Stephanie Smee, who lives in Sydney, worked as a lawyer in Sydney and London before becoming a translator, specialising in French to English. 

The ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction is awarded to Casey Cep, a staff writer at the New York Times whose first book Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, has received acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. An instant New York Times bestseller, Furious Hours was a Barack Obama Book of the Year.

The CWA Daggers are one of the few high-profile awards that honour the short story. Lauren Henderson receives the Short Story Dagger for #Me Too which features in the anthology Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski. 

Linda Stratmann, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, said: “The winners, and all those who were in contention for a Dagger are, as always, to be commended. One thing the pandemic and lockdown has taught us is the value and importance of books and storytelling – for escapism and comfort and for our well-being. Books have always been the conduit to other worlds and into other lives. They let us know we are not alone, so our 2020 virtual awards feel even more significant as many vulnerable people are in enforced isolation and we are all socially distancing. We’re proud to celebrate the crime genre.

The Dagger in the Library is voted on exclusively by librarians, chosen for the author’s body of work and support of libraries. This year it goes to Scottish novelist Christopher Brookmyre, whose books mix comedy, politics and social comment. The journalist turned award-winning novelist is widely considered as one of Britain’s leading crime authors, selling more than two million copies of his novels in the UK alone.

One of the anticipated highlights of the annual Daggers is the Debut Dagger competition, open to unknown and uncontracted writers. The competition for unpublished writers can lead to them securing representation and a publishing contract. This year the winner is Josephine Moulds for Revolution Never Lies. Anna Caig was Highly Commended for The Spae-Wife

The Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year Dagger, which celebrates publishers and imprints demonstrating excellence and diversity in crime writing, goes to Orenda Books. The London-based publisher was established in 2014 by Karen Sullivan. 

Writer Barry Forshaw, MC for the Dagger Awards evening, said: “The CWA Dagger Awards are the most prestigious prizes in crime fiction, and this year has furnished a particularly strong set of books and authors. Nothing dampens the excitement of the Daggers – not even pandemics!


Awarded every year to an author whose crime-writing career has been marked by sustained excellence, and who has made a significant contribution to the genre. Votes from CWA members go forward to be deliberated on by an independent panel. 

This Dagger is announced in early spring each year and in 2020 goes to celebrated Golden Age specialist, anthology editor, reviewer and fiction writer Martin Edwards.

One of the UK’s most prominent societies for the promotion and promulgation of crime writing, the CWA was founded in 1953 by John Creasy; the awards started in 1955 with its first award going to Winston Graham, best known for Poldark. They are regarded by the publishing world as the foremost British awards for crime-writing.

The Winners:


Michael Robotham: Good Girl, Bad Girl (Sphere)

Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction) – Highly Commended


Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)


Trevor Wood: The Man on the Street (Quercus Fiction)


Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)


Hannelore Cayre: The Godmother, translated by Stephanie Smee (Old Street Publishing)


Lauren Henderson: #Me Too in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)


Casey Cep: Furious Hours (William Heinemann)


Christopher Brookmyre


Josephine Moulds: Revolution Never Lies 

Anna Caig: The Spae-Wife - Highly Commended 


Orenda Books

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Scott Carson On The Chill


Why another supernatural book?

It’s a common question, both from readers who are excited to wander back to the dark side with me and those who scoff at ghost stories. (We all know that type – too sophisticated for such silliness. And we all know that ninety percent of them wouldn’t feel comfortable walking through a graveyard in the dark, either. Explain that one to me.)

But most of us embrace a good ghost story. We drift back time and again, savor a good scare, and then move on. Why do we feel that pull?

Supernatural. Emphasis on natural.

It’s October right now. I’m in Maine, and the fog today is so thick that I can’t see the mountain from my office window at all, and the mountain is usually hard to miss, as mountains tend to be. Right now, though? Could be the ocean out there. Could be nothing but trees. Maybe an overgrown orchard. Certainly, there’s an old cemetery; this is New England, there’s always an old cemetery. The point is, I don’t know what’s out there. I know what I can see – blood-red leaves shivering out of skeletal birch trees, blanketing dead grass – but it’s what I can’t see that grabs the mind.

That’s a central theme to THE CHILL, which was born when I read an article in the New York Times describing a very real threat to New York City that was grounded in the most boring of topics: infrastructure. Water tunnels. There are only three of them for the entire city, tasked with providing water to more than eight million people. Those water tunnels were blasted and dug out of ancient rock by forgotten hands. More than a dozen massive reservoirs in faraway Catskill mountain towns contain the supply of precious life-and-city-sustaining fresh water. In my early research, I found some mesmerizing old photographs. One stands out to me even now: a picture of a farmhouse on a flatbed truck. There are men sitting on the roof of the house, mountains visible just beyond. The truck is towing the house away from the farm where once it stood sentry. The farm and the town around it are about to become the basin for a few million gallons of water to quench a city’s thirst.

The name of that town? Neversink.

You can’t make that up. A drowned town named Neversink. Shadowed mountains holding the water for a city of skyscrapers and subways. And someone built that! Imagined it, designed it, built it…what a story that is. What a triumph. Of course, the builders ran into some problems along the way, frustrations and obstacles. There were the headaches with the upstate locals, issues like eminent domain money and relocated farmhouses, relocated graveyards.

Now, tell me how you consider a backstory like that and don’t think of ghosts? Multi-generation family farms, small town squares, old orchards and, yes, old graveyards. They’re all still out there…just underwater now. It is easy to forget the things you cannot see. All in the past. But the past, as Faulkner famously told us, is never dead. It’s not even past.

That line is one I reference whenever I’m asked what draws me back to the supernatural. It’s the idea of human hubris, human control. We move through a natural world so infinitely complex you could devote a lifetime to studying any aspect of it, from mountains to anthills, and still be learning new things each day. Against that backdrop and amid that reality, we humans are able to maintain a fascinating notion: that we are in control of things.

Anyone who has ever seen the aftermath of a tornado – and I have a few times now – can tell you just how quickly that sense of control over the natural world evaporates. Implodes. Shatters and scatters. We’re watching large battles with nature on a daily basis, from global pandemics to wildfires and hurricanes and landslides. Floods.

And still, many of us can believe we’re running the show. Most of the time, at least.

Then the sun goes down and the wind rises and even though we were absolutely certain we knew what the terrain looked like beyond that bank of fog, we begin to doubt ourselves. To wonder.

What if we were wrong? What don’t we know? What have we forgotten? And at what cost.

Keep the lights on. Out there in the dark and the wind and the fog, why, you could begin to believe you’re not really in control, at all…

The Chill by Scott Carson (aka Michael Koryta) is published by Welbeck in paperback original, priced £8.99.

In upstate New York a drowned village lies beneath the dark, still waters of the Chilewaukee reservoir. Sacrificed a century ago to bring water to the millions living downstate, the town's destruction was for the greater good . . . at least that's what the politicians said. Years later an inspector overseeing the dangerously neglected dam witnesses something inexplicable. It seems more than the village was left behind in the waters of the Chill; some never left at all. Now a dark prophecy comes to fruition. Those who remember must ask themselves: who will be next? For sacrifices must be made.  As the dark water begins inexorably to rise, the demand for a fresh sacrifice emerges from the deep . . .

Books to Look Forward to from Allison & Busby

 January 2021

Hard-hitting talk show host Augustus Seeza has become a household name in Ghana, though plagued by rumours of lavish overspending, alcoholism, and womanising. He's dating the imposing, beautiful Lady Araba, who leads a self-made fashion empire. Araba's religious family believes Augustus is after her money and intervenes to break them up. A few days later, just before a major runway show, Araba is found murdered in her bed. Her driver is arrested after a hasty investigation, but Araba's favourite aunt, Dele, has always thought Augustus Seeza was the real killer. Almost a year later, Dele approaches Emma Djan, who has finally started to settle in as the only female PI at her agency. To solve Lady Araba's murder, Emma must not only go on an undercover mission that dredges up trauma from her past but navigate a long list of suspects with solid alibis. Emma quickly discovers that they are willing to lie for each other - and that one may still be willing to kill. Sleep Well My Lady is by Kwei Quartey.

Detective Jake Porter's life was ripped apart by the hit-and-run driver that killed his wife. The life he has been building up piece by piece is rocked by the discovery of new evidence that might finally lead him to her murderer. At the same time, he has a volatile case to juggle. Ross Henderson was a Vlogger with over ten million followers rallying against the growing tide of the far-right. As his audience tuned in to listen to Henderson tear apart more anti-immigrant vitriol, they watched in horror as he was brutally murdered during a live broadcast. Struggling to prevent full-blown riots and following the trail to his wife's killer will take its toll upon Porter, and there's no guarantee he will come out the other side intact. End of The Line is by Robert Scragg.

Murder at the Ritz Hotel is by Jim Elridge. August 1940. On the streets of London, locals watch with growing concern as German fighter planes plague the city's skyline. But inside the famous Ritz Hotel, the cream of society continues to enjoy all the glamour and comfort that money can buy during wartime - until an anonymous man is discovered with his throat slashed open. Detective Chief Inspector Coburg is called in to investigate, no stranger himself to the haunts of the upper echelons of society, ably assisted by his trusty colleague, Sergeant Lampson. Yet they soon face a number of obstacles. With the crime committed in rooms in use by an exiled king and his retinue, there are those who fear diplomatic repercussions and would rather the case be forgotten. With mounting pressure from various Intelligence agencies, rival political factions and gang warfare brewing either side of the Thames, Coburg and Lampson must untangle a web of deception if they are to solve the case - and survive.

February 2021

Never Ask The Dead is by Gary Donnelly. When only the dead have the answers, who can tell you the truth? Retired PSNI cop Tom 'Tucker' Rodgers has a cracked ballpoint pen, one second class stamp and no time left. The best he can do is try to get a message to DI Owen Sheen, the only man he knows he can trust. Sheen and DC Aoife McCusker are struggling with political agendas fed to them from the Chief Constable and now the single note from the missing Tucker is preying on Sheen's mind. A list of four dates, decades old, and a cryptic message. Tucker says that they killed his friend, and now they're coming for him. Sheen and Aoife's search places them on the path of the most highly placed IRA double agent of the Troubles as well as another man with an old score to settle.

1898, Glasgow. A man is found stabbed to death in a tenement block and the police are struggling to grasp any leads. Juan Cameron, photographer-cum-sleuth, is drafted in with his trusted camera in the hope he can bring to light what the eye may overlook. Yet Juan has problems of his own. Following the tragic death of his father in Cuba some months before, the man's legacy is threatened by a plagiarism suit from a mysterious senora, and Juan's hoped-for happiness with his fiancee, Jane, might be over before it's even begun - even more so when a visiting professor is murdered and Jane is witnessed fleeing the scene. Juan finds himself torn between finding the killer and finding his fiancee - but are they one and the same? The truth is in the frames. The Art of The Assassin is by Kevin Sullivan.

March 2021

Blood is Thicker Than Water is by Sarah Hawkswood. August 1144. Osbern de Lench is known far and wide as a hard master, whose temper is perpetually frayed. After riding to survey his land and the incoming harvest from the top of the nearby hill, his horse returns to the hall riderless and the lifeless body of the lord is found soon after. Was it the work of thieves, or something closer to home? With an heir who is cast in the same hot-tempered mould, sworn enemies for neighbours, and something amiss in the relationship between Osbern and his wife, undersheriff Hugh Bradecote, the wily Serjeant Catchpoll and apprentice Walkelin have suspects aplenty.

The Consequences of Fear is by Jacqueline Winspear. It is September 1941 and young Freddie Hackett is a message runner - he collects messages from a government office and delivers them to various destinations around London. On this particular day, he sets off with his message, along a route of bombed out houses and heaps of rubble, and comes across two men violently arguing. He rushes into the doorway of a bombed house and tries not to be seen - but from his vantage point he witnesses a murder. After the killer goes on his way, Freddie finally comes out of hiding, but he has an envelope to deliver and all messages from that office are urgent. He arrives at the house and he could swear the man who answers the door is the very man he has just seen kill another. But is he? Freddie flees, and reports what he has seen to the police but they brush him aside. It is then he remembers delivering a letter to Maisie Dobbs, a private investigator in Fitzroy Square - perhaps she will believe him and help solve the mystery?

In the depths of the blackout, the silence of London's Royal Albert Dock is broken only by the lap of inky water against the quay and the occasional scurrying of rats' feet. A patrolling policeman is passing the newly arrived freighter SS Magnolia when something catches his eye. A man is sprawled awkwardly across a nearby barge - with an exotic-looking dagger in his back. DI Jago of West Ham CID discovers the victim was a dock worker by day and a Home Guard volunteer by night - and there are things even his wife, bombed out of their flimsy home in Silvertown, doesn't know about his past. Who wanted to kill him? As Jago investigates, he uncovers a widening circle of secrets ranging across family tensions, the last war, and a far-flung corner of the British Empire. And then there's the mysterious spate of thefts from the dock to contend with. The Dockland Murder is by Mike Hollow.

Into The Dark is by Stuart Johnstone. The brutal murder of a ten-year-old girl sends shockwaves across Scotland, but with no solid leads the investigation is scaled back. Don Colyear is tasked with tying up a loose end: a 999 call that exactly matches the details of the girl's murder. But the call was made two months before her death. When the same caller reports a new killing, the clock is ticking for Colyear.

Spring has brought many new beginnings into the world of Persimmon 'Simmy' Brown. Not only has her baby arrived, but she and her fiance Christopher have moved to the historic village of Hartsop - and their forthcoming nuptials are only a short month away. But when a former acquaintance of Christopher's reminds him of an undertaking made a decade previously but failed to fulfil, their lives soon take a sinister - and deadly - turn. Yet even with a young baby to consider Simmy cannot ignore her instinct to investigate, especially when the murder has a personal link to her soon-to-be husband. Ably assisted by her would-be detective friend Ben, can Simmy puzzle out this reckoning from the past and protect her family in time for the wedding bells to chime? The Ullswater Undertaking is by Rebecca Tope.

April 2021

When Robert Pomeroy, a young undergraduate at Corpus Christi College, finds a letter slipped under his door in the early hours of a rainy day, he flies into a panic. Hastily readying himself and dashing off a few lines for the porter to summon his friend Nicholas Thorpe, he hurries to the railway station. But he doesn't reach his destination alive. Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming are called upon to investigate this tragedy on the railway. It soon becomes apparent that Cambridge's hopes of success in the forthcoming Boat Race rested on Pomeroy's shoulders. With academic disputes, romantic interests and a sporting rivalry with Oxford in play, the Railway Detective will have his work cut out to disentangle the threads of Pomeroy's life in order to answer the truth of his death. Tragedy on The Branch Line is by Edward Marston.

Skelton's Guide to Suitcase Murders is by David Stafford. A woman's dismembered corpse is discovered in a quarry, and police quickly link the victim back to their chief suspect: her husband, Doctor Ibraham Aziz. His wife had been planning to leave him, so his guilt isn't in doubt as far as local law enforcement is concerned. Barrister Arthur Skelton is asked to represent the accused, and though all believe the case to be hopeless, Skelton soon suspects there may be more to the victim's death. Aided by his loyal clerk Edgar and his roaming cousins, Alan and Norah, Skelton soon finds himself embroiled in an investigation not only concerning this world but the one beyond. Can he convince a jury of Aziz's innocence before the judge dons his black cap?

Ethelred Tressider and his agent Elsie Thirkettle have been invited to lecture on a creative writing course at Fell Hall, a remote location in the heart of ragged countryside that even sheep are keen to shun. While Ethelred's success as a writer is distinctly average, Elsie sees this as an opportunity to scout for new, hopefully more lucrative, talent. But heavy snow falls overnight, trapping those early arrivals inside, and tensions are quick to emerge between the assembled group. When one of their number goes missing, Ethelred leads a search party and makes a gruesome discovery. With no phone signal and no hope of summoning the police, can Ethelred and Elsie identify the killer among them before one of them is next? Farewell My Herrings is by L C Tyler.

May 2021

Murder at World's End is by Alanna Knight. When Tam Eildor arrives unexpectedly on a remote Scottish island in the year of 1587 after his time machine develops a fault, he quickly finds himself embroiled in the lives of the colourful locals who are trying to escape the tyranny of the greedy Earl Robert Stewart. The power-hungry earl has imprisoned the beautiful Princess Marie and plans to force her into a distasteful marriage to tie himself closer to the throne, furthering his own ambitions. Aided by a motley crew including a stowaway, a pirate, a lost time lord and the earl's own son, Tam attempts a daring rescue of the princess. Together they will travel the oceans in search of Spanish gold, lost loves and new futures.

June 2021

one of its nightwatchmen decapitated and his colleague nowhere to be found. To the police, the case seems simple: one killed the other and fled, but workers at the museum aren’t convinced. Although forbidden contact by his superior officer, Scotland Yard detective John Feather secretly enlists ‘Museum Detectives’ Daniel Wilson and Abigail Fenton to aid the police investigation. When the body of the missing nightwatchman is discovered encased within a wax figure, the case suddenly becomes more complex. With questions over rival museums, the dead men’s pasts and a series of bank raids plaguing the city, Wilson and Fenton face their most intriguing and dangerous case yet. Murder at Madame Tussauds is by Jim Eldridge.

The Dartmouth Murders is by Stephanie Austin. When Juno Browne purchases a wardrobe to stock in her fledgling antiques store, she doesn’t expect to find a dead body inside. And when the man she bought it from, rascally farmer Fred Crick, is found battered to death in his blazing cottage, the hunt for a double murderer is on. Despite the police struggling to connect the two deaths, this time Juno is resolved to ignore her impulse to investigate. Until, that is, a stranger arrives who bears an uncanny resemblance to the dead man in the wardrobe. Determined to discover how his identical twin brother died and impressed by Juno’s reputation in the local press as Ashburton’s amateur sleuth, Henry tries to drag her into his quest to solve the mystery, with disastrous results. 

Monday 19 October 2020

Books to Look Forward to from Cornerstone

October 2020 

Three Women Disappear is by James Patterson and Shan Serafin. Three women are on the run, wanted for the murder of a high-ranking mobster in this stunning new stand-alone from the world's bestselling thriller writer James Patterson. Sarah, his personal chef, Anna, his wife, Serena, his maid Mob accountant Anthony Costello has a talent for manipulating both numbers and people. When he's found murdered in his own home, the three people who had most reason to want him dead are missing. Detective Sean Walsh, whose personal connection to the case makes his desire to solve it even stronger, is short on leads to track down the three missing women. But even if he finds them alive, can they be trusted?

November 2020

A scandalous double homicide opens the psychological case files on Alex Cross . . . When a glamorous socialite and high school principal are found murdered, lying half naked in a car, the shocking double homicide dominates tabloid headlines. Kay Willingham was a well-known philanthropist and ex-wife of the US vice president. Randall Christopher was a respected educator with political ambitions, as well as a wife and family. Alex Cross knew both victims well. Especially Kay, who had been his patient once. And maybe more. Cross is left grieving, questioning who would want them dead, and why. While Cross's former Metro Homicide partner John Sampson tracks Christopher's final movements, Cross and FBI Special Agent Ned Mahoney travel to Alabama to investigate Kay's past. They discover that although Kay had many enemies, none of them had a full motive. In a world of trouble, corruption, and secrets, Cross is left facing a desperate choice between breaking a trust and losing his way . . Deadly Cross is by James Patterson.

December 2020

At the wedding of the century, a brazen kidnapper steals the star of the show... Erin Easton's wedding in one of New York's biggest venues may have a TV crew documenting every extravagant detail, but when the bride disappears from the reception, it's no diva turn. Her dressing room is empty except for a blood-spattered wedding dress. Detective Kylie MacDonald of NYPD Red, already at the scene as a plus-one, brings in her partner, Detective Zach Jordan, to search for the missing bride. Unable to rule anything out, every A-list celebrity on the guest list has to be considered either a target of suspicion . . . or a target. NYPD Red 6 is by James Patterson & Marshall Karp.

January 2021

I Know What I Saw is by S K Sharp. She remembers everything. She understands nothing. Only a handful of people in the world have a truly perfect memory. Nicola is one of them. It's more of a curse than a blessing - every moment of sadness, embarrassment and unhappiness is burned into her mind forever - so she plays it down, and tries to live a quiet life. But a body has been found, a discovery that threatens to tear her community apart - and reopen old wounds from decades ago. Nicola was a child, but she remembers the night with perfect clarity. Despite that, she never discovered the truth of what happened. Now she must use her unique memory to solve the murder, or watch the man she loved be wrongly convicted of the crime...

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman with more regrets than belongings who spends her life doing what no one else will: searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking. A new case brings Frankie to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim's wary family tells Frankie she's on her own. And she soon learns she's asking questions someone doesn't want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing will be her … Before She Disappeared is by Lisa Gardner.

Maximum Ride lost her fight to save the world. But from the ashes of the old world, a phoenix has risen... she calls herself Hawk. Hawk doesn't know her real name. She doesn't know who her parents were, or where they went. The only thing she remembers is that they told to wait on a street corner until they came back for her. That was ten years ago. The day that she finally gives up waiting is the moment her life changes for ever. Because the promise becomes reality: someone is coming for her. But it's not a rescue. It's an execution. Hawk is by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnett.

Your Neighbour's Wife is by Tony Parsons. Tara Carver seems to have the perfect life. A loving mother and wife, and a business woman who runs her own company, she's the sort of person you'd want to live next door to, who might even become your best friend.But what sort of person is she really? Because in one night of madness, on a work trip far from home, she puts all this at risk. And suddenly her dream life becomes a living nightmare when the married man she spent one night with tells her he wants a serious relationship with her. And that he won't leave her or her precious family alone until she agrees. There seems to be only one way out. And it involves murder …

February 2021

The Russian is by James Patterson and James O'Born. As Detective Michael Bennett's wedding day approaches, a killer has a vow of his own to fulfil... Weeks before NYPD Detective Michael Bennett is to marry his long-time love, Mary Catherine, an assassin announces their presence in the city with a string of murders. All of the victims are young women. And each has been killed in a manner as precise as it was gruesome. Tasked with working alongside the FBI, Bennett uncovers multiple cold-case homicides across the country that fit the same distinctive pattern. Bennett promises Mary Catherine that the case won't affect their upcoming wedding. But, as he struggles to connect the killings, Bennett may be walking into a deadly trap.                                                

Serpentine is by Jonathan Kellerman. Ellie Barker is a self-made millionaire by the age of forty, and is obsessed with reopening the coldest of cases: the decades-old death of the mother she never knew. She hires LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis to help. Twenty-five years ago Ellie's mother was found with a bullet in her head in a torched Cadillac that has overturned on infamously treacherous Mulholland Drive. No physical evidence, no witnesses, no apparent motive. And a slew of detectives have already worked the job and failed. This is a case that calls for the insight of brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. And as he and Sturgis begin digging, the mist begins to lift. There are too many coincidences. Facts turn out to be anything but. And as they soon discover, very real threats are lurking in the present...

If I Fall is by Merilyn Davies. We were told to meet at a rooftop bar. Four friends, bound by one terrible secret. No one knew why we were there. Then we saw a woman, watched as she fell from the edge and plunged to her death. The police think it's suicide, but I know better. Someone is sending a message. Now they're coming for us.

March 2021

Lindsay Boxer has sworn to defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic. As Lindsay prepares to celebrate her own daughter's birthday, she clashes with rising Chief Charlie Clapper over a family case. When a distraught mother pleads with Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas to investigate the disappearance of her daughter, Linda, and baby granddaughter, Lorrie, Cindy immediately loops in SFPD. But Linda's schoolteacher husband, Lucas Burke, tells a conflicting story that paints Linda as a wayward wife, not a missing person. And there's reason to believe he may be telling the truth. While M.E. Claire Washburn harbours theories that run counter to the police investigation of the Burke case, ADA Yuki Castellano sizes Lucas up as a textbook domestic offender - until he puts forward a theory of his own that unexpectedly connects the dots on a constellation of copycat killings. If what Lucas tells law enforcement has even a grain of truth, there isn't a woman in the state of California who's safe from the reach of such an unspeakable threat. 21st Birthday – Women's Murder Club is by James Patterson.

Win is by Harlan Coben. Over twenty years ago, heiress Patricia Lockwood was abducted during a robbery of her family's estate, then locked inside an isolated cabin for months. Patricia escaped, but so did her captors, and the items stolen from her family were never recovered. Until now. On New York's Upper West Side, a recluse is found murdered in his penthouse apartment, alongside two objects of note: a stolen Vermeer painting and a leather suitcase bearing the initials WHL3. For the first time in years, the authorities have a lead not only on Patricia's kidnapping but also on another FBI cold case - with the suitcase and painting both pointing them towards one man. Windsor Horne Lockwood III - or Win as his few friends call him - doesn't know how his suitcase and his family's stolen painting ended up in this dead man's apartment. But he's interested - especially when the FBI tell him that the man who kidnapped his cousin was also behind an act of domestic terrorism, and that he may still be at large. The two cases have baffled the FBI for decades. But Win has three things the FBI does not:: a personal connection to the case, a large fortune, and his own unique brand of justice …

June 2021

The President's Daugther is by President Bill Clinton and James Patterson.  There's a new administration in the White House. But it's the previous First Family who tops an international assassin's hit list. Michael Keating is a former Navy SEAL - and a former President of the United States, now relocated to rural New Hampshire after a brave but ill-fated military mission cost him his second term. All he wants is to sink into anonymity with his family (and his Secret Service detail). But when he's briefed on an imminent threat against his daughter, Keating's SEAL training may prove more essential than all the power, connections and political acumen he gained as President.

When Chrissie was eight, she killed a child. Fifteen years later, she has one of her own. I killed a little boy today. Held my hands around his throat, felt his blood pump hard against my thumbs. He wriggled and kicked and one of his knees caught me in the belly, a sharp lasso of pain. I roared. I squeezed. Sweat made it slippy between our skins but I didn't let go, pressed and pressed until my nails were white. It was easier than I thought it would be. Chrissie is eight years old, and she has just killed a two-year-old boy. Her playmates are tearful and their mothers are terrified, keeping them locked up indoors. Chrissie knows how to steal sweets from the shop without getting caught, the best hiding place for hide-and-seek, the perfect wall for handstands. Now she has a new secret. It gives her a fizzing, sherbet feeling in her belly. She doesn't get to feel power like this at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer. Fifteen years later, Julia is working in a fish and chip shop and trying to mother her five-year-old daughter, Molly. She is always worried - about affording food and school shoes, about what the other mothers think of her. Most of all she worries that the social services are about to take Molly away. That's when the phone calls begin. Julia is too afraid to answer, because it's clear the caller knows the truth - that Julia is Chrissie, living under the new name given to her when she was released from prison eight years before. Julia wants to give Molly the childhood she was denied, and that means leaving Chrissie in the past. But Chrissie doesn't want to be left. The First Day of Spring is by Nancy Tucker.

July 2021

Clay Edison 2 is by Jonathan Kellerman. Thirty-six hours is all it's taken for society to break down. It's Monday morning and the power has been out since Friday night. As deputy Coroner Clay Edison arrives at a large, gated house to investigate the sudden death of its wealthy owner in the mist of a city-wide blackout, he knows he has his work cut out for him...