Tuesday, 9 August 2022

August Books from Bookouture

 

The Girl on Wildfire Ridge by Leslie Wolfe. Her face, beautiful even in death, gazed open-eyed at the azure sky. Her brown, silky hair fanned around her head, bringing out the pallor of her skin. Her lips were slightly parted as if she was still breathing, as if she was whispering her goodbyes. On a hot summer’s day, the sleepy town of Mount Chester is thrown into turmoil when seventeen-year-old local girl Jenna goes missing. Within hours, the case takes an agonizing turn when her body is discovered in the isolated mountains. Detective Kay Sharp rushes to the scene, hiking for miles to the base of Wildfire Ridge. From the markings on Jenna’s body, it’s clear that she was brutally murdered. Near the victim, Kay finds a butterfly-shaped hair clip with a set of fingerprints that could be a vital clue. In the hunt for the truth, Kay turns the small town upside down. She learns that Jenna changed dramatically over the past months, no longer the popular girl who always wore a smile on her face. Kay is certain whatever happened to Jenna recently must be the key to her death. When forensics from the butterfly hair clip comes back, the fingerprints don’t match Jenna’s. Then Kay makes a breakthrough that turns her blood to ice. Jenna was in contact with someone linked to Kay’s own past—and the secret she has spent the last sixteen years burying. If the truth comes out, it could destroy her. With the clock ticking, and every minute critical, Kay is up against the toughest case of her career. Can she risk everything to confront the past she has been running from, and save another innocent girl before it’s too late?

In the small town of Crooked Creek, where the Appalachian Mountains climb into the clouds, nineteen-year-old Mandy’s Spring Break takes a sinister turn. Detective Ellie Reeves races straight to the scene, driving through the winding roads to the abandoned orphanage. Ellie saves the teenage girl but discovers human remains that have been there for thirty years, ever since the home for children closed down. Her heart shatters at the thought that they might belong to the helpless orphans. Working day and night on the case, Ellie searches for the orphanage’s files, but they have been stolen—somebody is clearly trying to cover their tracks. As she interviews the residents of the mountain community, Ellie finds out that almost everyone connected to the children’s home has disappeared. Then a woman is found dead, her body marked with a strange symbol. When Ellie learns that the victim used to work at the orphanage, it’s clear that a twisted killer is trying to stop the truth coming out. Ellie vows to solve this case that spans decades and, when her research into the meaning of the symbol leads her to a local business at the heart of recent controversy, she’s on the right track. Can she bring the secrets to light before another innocent person is murdered? And when she gets too close to uncovering the truth, will she survive? Hidden Bones is by Rita Herron.

Local Girl Missing is by Lisa Regan. Through swirling dawn fog, they follow the trail of discarded items at their feet: a tube of glittery lip gloss; a cell phone; a cracked make-up compact, broken chunks of ivory powder spilling into the grass. Then the mist parts—just for a second—to reveal a beautiful young girl on the ground, her pale lips frozen forever in a silent scream… On a winding mountain road into the small town of Denton, Pennsylvania, Detective Josie Quinn finds the body of a local teenage girl, Dina Hale. The sight of plum-colored bruises gathering around the girl’s neck pierces Josie’s heart, but the discovery of a second girl’s empty purse in the dirt nearby gives her a flicker of hope that one person, at least, made a lucky escape. Dina’s parents are grief-stricken as the town rallies together in a desperate search for the second girl, Alison Mills, who waitressed with Dina at a local hotel. The two best friends were on their way to a shift when they were attacked. Josie was too late to save Dina, but she won’t rest until Alison is home safe. Hitting a dead-end with interviews, Josie thinks she’s on to something when a photo surfaces suggesting Alison was romantically involved with one of the hotel staff. But when Josie arrives at the man’s house to find a bullet in his head, and the house ransacked, the case comes crashing down. Evidence of frantic searching at both crime scenes has Josie convinced a twisted killer is on a hunt for something very personal and precious. And that they won’t stop until they find it. But how many innocent lives will be destroyed before Josie can uncover the missing piece at the heart of this deadly puzzle? And what sacrifices will she have to make to find Alison alive?

The Ex Between Us is by Nicola Marsh. I thought my life was perfect. Cal and I have been together forever, high school sweethearts who share a beautiful son. But when we grow apart, we know it’s best to separate and try to stay friends. My best friend, Jo, has been an absolute rock for me. She’s known Cal since school too, and knows all my secrets, understands all my highs and lows. She encourages me to start dating again- though I’m uncertain, I’ve only ever been with Cal. But I decide to give it a go – what harm can it do? Then threats start landing at home and at work. At first it’s small things but when I disturb a masked intruder on my doorstep in the dead of night, I know someone is out to hurt me and I’m frightened about what might happen next. Jo’s becoming more distant too, and I start to wonder can I trust her? Does she know more about these threats than she’s letting on? Until she comes to my house, completely terrified, and tells me someone has left a menacing message at her house and she fears for her life. Everywhere I turn, my world seems to be falling apart. It’s clear someone is coming after my family and oldest friend… Someone that knows us intimately and will stop at nothing to destroy us. But can I stop them before it’s too late?

Behind closed doors is a secret someone is willing to kill for. I walk into the bright, open living room of my new apartment, and I know this is the fresh start I’ve been dreaming about. As I double lock my pretty red door each night, I feel like I can finally be happy. I can finally be safe. But when I’m woken one night by the sound of my neighbours arguing through the wall. I swear I hear one of them saying my name. Why would they be talking about me? Michaela and Kirsty seem so nice, always stopping to chat when we pass in the hallway, and inviting me round for a glass of wine after work. I know I’m being paranoid, but then my favourite hair clip goes missing and I start to feel like someone’s watching me. Nobody was meant to know where I am. And I was careful. I did everything right. But I can’t help but fear my past has caught up with me and this time, I might not escape… The House Share is by Carla Kovach.

Perfect Parents is by L G Davis I gave them my baby… but can I trust them? Giving away my child is the hardest decision I have ever had to make. But when I move into the Thorpes’ stunning home so they can support me through the pregnancy, it seems like they are everything I could have hoped for. They cook me delicious, healthy meals and make sure I’m getting the best medical care. They never question my background, or why I am giving them my child. But before long, I begin to wonder if something is very wrong with the Thorpes. I try to ignore how Travis lets his hand linger on mine for a little too long, and how Marcia comes to check on me during the night. I tell myself that when they control and monitor my movements, it’s just because they care. Keeping my baby safe and making sure they are going to the perfect family means everything to me. But when a threatening note turns up outside my door and I begin to unravel the Thorpes’ secrets, I realise I may not make it out of here alive. After everything I’ve been through, I’m not going to give up without a fight. And I’ll do anything to keep my baby safe…

Meet Dulwich Village’s most daring resident, Beth Haldane. Mother to a sweet little boy, owner of a sulky cat… and solver of mysteries? It’s a crisp spring day in Dulwich Village when Beth arrives at the intricate iron gates of Wyatt’s School for her new job as the historian’s assistant. But on a lunchtime stroll admiring the pristine grounds of this five-hundred-year-old institution, Beth is shocked to stumble over the body of her new boss Alan Jenkins: spectacles askew, his mustard-yellow tweed jacket covered in blood. Gossip about outsider Beth spreads like wildfire. The parents in the playground are all whispering: did she bump him off to get her hands on his job? Desperate to clear her name and protect her own little boy, Beth turns her research skills to hunt for the true killer. She soon discovers Alan rubbed his fellow teachers up the wrong way… could the handsome headmaster be involved? Why did Beth see a flash of the school receptionist’s bright pink jumper at the murder scene? And what is the groundskeeper hiding? When Beth returns from her sleuthing to find her office in disarray and documents missing from the archives, it’s clear this prestigious school hides a deadly secret. But with parents and teachers panicking that the long-protected reputation of Wyatt’s is under threat, will Beth herself be in the murderer’s sights before the school bell rings? The Murder Mystery is by Alice Castle.

Childhood Sweetheart is by Wendy Clarke Bang. Bang. Bang. I jump as the knocks on the window crash above the roaring wind outside. Who could it be, at this late hour? I open the curtains and peer outside. ‘Hello?’ But the dark, the rain and the empty lane are all I see. It’s been eleven years since I last saw Jonah, after his brother died that stormy summer night. And now, without warning, he’s back, living in his old house next door just like old times, on the remote Scottish island that is home. Where I used to imagine we’d stay, together, forever, sharing our lives and our secrets as we always had. But that was before. Jonah’s not the sweet boy I once knew. His mood is changeable, his behaviour unstable, our brief conversations are forced and awkward. And then the knocks on my window begin. It can only be him, but why, and what does he want? I used to love him. Now I don’t even want to invite him in. Because after all these years, I see our childhood secrets, the ones we swore never to reveal, in a newly terrifying light. Was his brother’s death truly an accident? Could Jonah’s secrets have been worth killing for? And how safe am I now, on this isolated island, with the man I used to love…?

The love of your life… or a deadly mistake? It’s hard, meeting your ex after so much time apart. You remember the tears and accusations, the desperate look on his face as he punched the wall, but you try not to show it. You smile politely, even while your heart beats faster. You watch as he looks down into the stroller, at the beautiful blond-haired blue-eyed baby kicking his little legs in the sunshine, whose innocent smile lights up your world. You see his face change. You know what he’s thinking. The next day he calls. His voice is shaking. He wants the truth. Is it his child? You hesitate, your throat dry, good and bad memories swirling in your mind. You’ve missed him so much… but can you ever trust him again? You decide that the most important thing is doing what’s right for baby Tom. But months later, when the sirens wail in the night, you have to admit: you never thought either of you would go this far… The Ex is by S E Lynes

The Beach Party is by Amy Shepherd. We were all at the party. Which of us wanted her dead? As the smoke from the bonfire spirals into the night sky and the cool drinks slip down our throats, none of us can take our eyes off Lacey. She dances in the dunes, her long golden hair damp from her late-night swim, her smile dazzling, her blue eyes closed. Everyone who is close to Lacey sits by the smoky fire. Her adoring boyfriend, who holds onto her, perhaps a little too tightly. Her little sister, always in Lacey’s shadow, sifting fine soft sand through her fingers, never taking her eyes off Lacey. And me. Sad and full of rage, after an argument forced the man I love to leave the party early. When the fire burns out, we stumble away from the beach, along the cliff path – faces burned by the wind, hearts full of secrets. But Lacey never makes it home. The next morning, her body is found in the sand dunes, a heart-shaped locket missing from around her neck. Who would have thought our beach party could end the way it did? Close friends gathered on the last night of a long hot summer – which one of us could have killed the girl everybody loved?

The society wedding of the decade has everything: the blushing bride, beautiful flowers… and the groom arrested before he can walk down the aisle? Thank goodness Lady Swift is on the guest list! Lady Eleanor Swif isn’t normally one for grand social occasions, but who can resist a wedding? Especially when it’s her old friend, Constance Grainger, marrying the most eligible bachelor in town, Lord Peregrine Davencourt. Eleanor is taking Gladstone the bulldog as her plus one, with a smart new bowtie to match her bridesmaid’s dress. But the big day is ruined when the groom is arrested for murder before he makes it to the altar. In a baffling twist, it turns out he was already engaged to the lovely Daisy Balforth, who has been found dead at the local inn with Lord Davencourt kneeling over her. The gossip pages will have a field day! The distraught bride-to-be asks Eleanor to clear her fianc√©’s name, as she’s certain he wouldn’t hurt a fly. With help from handsome Detective Seldon, Eleanor examines the evidence. But she’s barely had time to write down her suspect list before Constance’s father is set upon by a bearded stranger on the golf course. Clearly there is more to this story than Eleanor first thought, but can she catch the real killer before the wedding turns into her wake? Death Down the Aisle is by Verity Bright.






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