Saturday 2 December 2023

December books from Bookouture

December 2023 

Murder on the Cornish Cliffs is by Verity Bright. A festive invitation from an old family friend, the promise of gingerbread at the village inn, snowy walks on the Cornish coast with Gladstone the bulldog… But wait, is that a body on the beach? Winter, 1923. It’s nearly Christmas and Lady Eleanor Swift has received a rather strange letter from an old friend of her uncle. Mr Godfrey Cunliffe has asked her to stay in Cornwall for the holidays – but only because he believes his gardener is trying to poison him! With not a moment to waste Eleanor hurries down to his picturesque manor house with her butler Clifford and handsome beau Detective Hugh Seldon. But they arrive too late to stop the crime… Lying dead at the bottom of the steep cliffs, however, is not Mr Cunliffe, but the gardener himself. And his plans for restoring the gardens to their former glory are missing. Jerome St Clair has gone from suspect to victim. This certainly puts a twist in the tinsel! As snow begins to fall, Eleanor quizzes the family. Mr Cunliffe’s alibi is as fragile as the glass baubles hanging from his towering Christmas tree. Eleanor quickly realises everyone from the handyman to the housekeeper is keeping secrets, and she’s convinced that Mr Cunliffe is still scared for his life. When Gladstone the bulldog pulls a charred corner of the missing garden plans from a fireplace festooned with a gold-ribboned garland, Eleanor thinks the clue she needs is hiding out in the grounds. But when someone tries to run her over with the huge lawnmower, she knows she must wrap up the mystery fast before her Christmas is cancelled for good…

The Doctor's Mistress is by Daniel Hurst. The wife. The mistress. Who will get their revenge? I was the other woman. The mistress. Everyone blamed Doctor Drew Devlin’s death on me. And I’ve paid the price for loving the wrong man. Now, I have dark circles under my eyes because I can’t sleep at night. I lost everything – friends, family, my home and even my freedom. Drew’s devious wife Fern tore my whole world apart. And she thinks she’s got away with murder. But she’s wrong. It’s time for revenge. For myself… and for my baby. Her new life on the windswept Cornish coast is about to come crashing down around her. I’m determined for everyone to find out the true story. Because now it’s not just my life in danger, I’ve got to protect the doctor’s daughter too. I know Fern will expect me to come after her – I’m certain she will have her own plan in place to stop me. After all, she’s duped so many people before. But then again, Fern always did underestimate me. And by the time she realises, it’ll be far too late for the doctor’s wife…

Turning the key in the lock of the lakeside cabin, Ally puts her finger to her lips as her boyfriend laughs softly. Tonight it’s just the two of them. Later that night their broken bodies lie in the grass by the boathouse, the moonlight reflected in their unseeing eyes… When a young couple are found murdered by a remote holiday cabin, Agent Tori Hunter races to the scene: and is devastated to recognize Ally Mannion, a close friend’s daughter, and her boyfriend Reed. Who would want to snatch away their innocent lives? The first thing Tori notices is a boat drifting out on the lake. Did someone witness the attack? But with the boat offering up no clues, interviewing Ally’s heartbroken family Tori soon realizes that Ally and Reed broke in to the cabin. Were they hiding something? Or did the young couple see something they shouldn’t? Then the body of a missing person from fourteen years ago is found at the bottom of another lake. He too was murdered. Convinced the two cases are linked, Tori uncovers a series of terrible crimes at the heart of the local community stretching back years: even to her own school days. To catch the killer Tori will need to question everything about people she’s known her whole life. But how far will she have to go, before they strike again? Their Lost Souls is by Roger Stelljes.

Out of Sight is by Ruhi Choudhary. The woman’s body was propped against the rough bark of the tree. Traces of dried blood streaked her pallid face like brushstrokes. There was a horrifying void in her face where her left eye should have been.  When a young woman is found murdered in the woods, Detective Mackenzie Price and her partner Nick Blackwood are first on the scene. The harrowing discovery leaves them both breathless—the victim’s left eye has been removed. Mackenzie identifies the victim as Whitney Smythe, a lost soul with a troubled past, and makes another shocking discovery—Whitney recently gave birth. Reeling from the scene, Mackenzie and her team soon discover that this case is very similar to a murder that happened thirty years ago. But the killer was captured and died behind bars, so how can the two murders possibly be connected? When a second body washes ashore with her left eye missing, Mackenzie is certain—there’s a serial killer on the loose and she has to stop them before they pick their next victim. Mackenzie soon discovers that both victims were connected to a commune just outside of town, a breakthrough that changes the whole course of the investigation. But every step Mackenzie takes towards discovering who the sadistic serial killer is puts her closer to mortal danger. Because someone close to her has a personal connection to the case—and they’re not telling the truth…

The little girl trembles as a pair of dark eyes watch her every move. She’s been told to dig a hole big enough for a body and her heart races as she wonders who it’s for. She wants to run, but she knows she’ll be caught. So she fights back tears and begins to dig…  When police stop a car in the small town of Hilldale, they shudder as they pop the trunk and look inside. Covered in thick plastic, the body of a man lies totally still. In the car sit two women and a twelve-year-old girl, all refusing to speak. As Detective Eve Bennet is called in to investigate, she’s struck by the women’s calm demeanor. No stranger to the secretive local community, Eve knows the women won’t speak to her, but she’s sure she can get the young girl to tell her what happened. When ten-year-old Beth finally opens up and begs for help, Eve’s blood runs cold. If the man in the trunk is an eminent member of the local church, as Beth says he is, they could all be in serious danger. But Eve will stop at nothing to make sure Beth is safe, and when her search leads to a family home on a quiet little street, the last thing she expects is to come face to face with someone from her own dark past. Will she face her demons and unravel the truth behind the man in the trunk? And can she save herself and Beth from the evil that haunts their lives? Pray for Her is by Holly S Roberts.

Panic surges through her lungs as she feels the weight of the ocean above her. She frantically kicks her legs to try and reach the boat. But someone’s grip is tightening around her ankles, and they won’t let go until she’s taken her final breath… As the sun rises over North Carolina’s Outer Banks, eight sorority sisters gather on the docks, excited to start their reunion weekend with a diving excursion. But when only seven of them return to the boat alive, Detective Casey White is the first person to investigate. Confused as to why she’s been called to what appears to be a tragic accident, her heart stops when she notices fresh hand-shaped bruises on the victim’s ankles. Karol Witney was murdered. But with a crime scene and any evidence thirty feet underwater, Casey knows this will be her most challenging case yet. Determined to find the killer, Casey and her fianc√© Jericho dive to the shipwreck where Karol was last seen exploring. But just as Casey discovers a piece of shocking evidence on the ocean floor, Jericho is attacked. The killer is still out there, and they’re watching Casey’s every move. As Jericho fights for his life, and another body washes up on the beach, Casey knows she has to dive again. Because she’ll do anything to catch the killer, even if it means using herself as bait… Our Sister's Grave is by B R Spangler.

After the Sleepover is by Kerry Wilkinson. “Gone. They’re gone.” Dylan’s wide-eyed mother bites her nails in desperation. “All three kids. They wanted to sleep outside. But I went to check this morning and… the tents are empty. They’re gone.” Twenty-five years ago: teenage Leah had a sleepover with her three best friends. By morning, the other girls were missing. This small town has been searching for answers ever since. Now it’s happened again… Three boys decide to camp in a field next to one of their homes. When dawn comes, dew glistens on their empty tents. Overgrown farmland is searched. Three distraught families are desperate for news. A mother herself now, Leah’s heart breaks as terrible memories flood back… Leah thought she knew what happened at the sleepover years ago but now another three children are missing. What if she was wrong? And how far will Leah have to go, to finally discover the truth, before it’s too late?

Bone Lake is by Stacy Green. Broken flowers drift on the foggy surface of the water. All is quiet, until the squad of police cruisers race up to the grand house that stands alone on the lakeside. Two girls lie inside, their bodies broken and still forever… When Special Agent Nikki Hunt is called to a home on Bone Lake, she is devastated to find blood all over the floor and two young women who clearly fought for their lives. But the viciousness of the scene isn’t the only thing that strikes Nikki. The house was the scene of another murder twenty years ago. The killer was never caught. Is this a terrible coincidence, or have they struck again? Nikki’s team quickly identify the girls from their belongings in the bedrooms upstairs. They had a party the night they were killed, and Nikki realizes that one attendee, their friend Alexia, is missing… Desperate to find Alexia, Nikki soon discovers that the only survivor of the original massacre, Matt Kline, still owns the house. She is instantly suspicious of him. But he claims he rents it out and hasn’t been there for years, and as Nikki looks into his dark eyes she sees her own terrible past. With time running out, Nikki and her team dig into Alexia’s life, and find out she was fascinated with the original Bone Lake case. Amongst her things, they find notebook after notebook about serial killers. Then Nikki is shocked to learn that Alexia was having a relationship with Matt. Has Nikki make a terrible mistake trusting a fellow survivor? And can she get the truth out of him, and find Alexia alive, before it’s too late?


The cold night breeze slams the barn door shut with a sickening crash. The girl curled in the corner wakes with a start. Her gold butterfly necklace catches the pale moonlight as she clutches it tight, thinking of her family. Will she ever escape? Or is his the last face she’ll ever see? Detective Katie Scott stares in horror at what she and her service dog Cisco have discovered: seven shallow graves, the bodies of young women each wrapped carefully in a blanket and buried in makeshift coffins. Miles of abandoned farmland stretch out from the treeline behind her. Has Katie uncovered the horrifying graveyard of a monster who has been stealing Pine Valley’s daughters for years? Katie quickly identifies one of the victims as Abigail Andrews, a beautiful young woman who disappeared fifteen years ago. Katie is heartbroken that she’ll have to tell Abigail’s mother her darling girl is gone. When Katie is ambushed working late at the scene, fired upon by an unknown assailant, she knows she must be close to finding the killer. But the shooter vanishes into thin air. And when a new young woman is taken, dark haired and dark eyed like the others, Katie realizes her time is running out. Can she stay alive long enough to track down this twisted murderer before another young life is stolen too soon? The First Girl is by Jennifer Chase.

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