Fresh Talent Spring 2016

Fresh Talent Spring 2016

Tenacity – J. S. Law

A sailor hangs himself on board a naval submarine. Although ruled a suicide Lieutenant Danielle Lewis, the Navy’s finest Special Branch investigator, knows the sailor’s wife was found brutally murdered only days before. Now Dan must enter the cramped confines of HMS Tenacity to interrogate the tight-knit, male crew and determine if there’s a link. Standing alone in the face of extreme hostility and with a possible killer on board, Dan soon realises that she may have to choose between the truth and her own survival. The pressure is rising and Dan’s time is running out…

“Tense, claustrophobic, and totally absorbing, this book should be on every thriller reader’s radar – or should that be sonar? Absolutely superb”

Matt Hilton

Read if you loved: Patricia Cornwell

The Sunshine Away – M. O. Walsh

One day Lindy Simpson cycles home from school and straight into a trap: someone is lying in wait for her, a wire strung between lampposts across the path. She is raped just yards from her front door. No one sees a thing and the perpetrator is not caught. Her fourteen-year-old neighbour has loved Lindy from afar since they were kids. He begins investigating neighbourhood ‘suspects’, determined to solve the crime. But before the long, hot summer is out, he will learn that the white picket fences of his hometown conceal a tangled web of darkness.

“Walsh’s Baton Rouge is a highly nuanced nowheresville that could match Anne Tyler’s Baltimore.”

Guardian

Read if you loved: Jeffrey Eugenides   /   Alice Sebold   /   Harper Lee

The Second Love of my Life – Victoria Walters

In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something. Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas. But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four. Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer…

“Brilliant and superior women’s fiction”

Heat

Read if you loved: A Hundred Pieces of Me – Lucy Dillon

Quicksand – Steve Toltz

Wildly funny and unceasingly surprising, Quicksand is both a satirical masterpiece and an unforgettable story of fate, family and friendship. Aldo Benjamin may be the unluckiest soul in human history, but that isn’t going to stop his friend Liam writing about him. For what more could an aspiring novelist want from his muse than a thousand get-rich-quick schemes, a life-long love affair, an eloquently named brothel, the most sexually confusing evening imaginable and a brief conversation with God?

“The energy, the hairpin turns, the narrative crashes, the stomach churning ascents and trashed taboos: what a joy to surrender oneself to a writer of such prodigious talent.”

Peter Carey, twice Man Booker Prize-winner

Read if you loved: Howard Jacobson

Not Working – Lisa Owens

Claire Flannery has quit her job in order to discover her true vocation – only to realize she has no idea how to go about finding it. Whilst everyone around her seems to have their lives entirely under control, Claire finds herself sinking under pressure and wondering where her own fell apart. ‘It’s fine,’ her grandmother says. ‘I remember what being your age was like – of course, I had four children under eight then, but modern life is different, you’ve got an awful lot on.’ Sharp, tender and funny, Lisa Owen’s brilliantly observed debut Not Working is the story of a life unravelling and a novel that asks the questions we’ve never dared to say out loud.

“Warmth and wit leaps off the pages of Not Working, a novel as insightful about the contemporary dilemmas facing young professionals as it is sharp, incisive and laugh-out-loud funny”

Observer

Read if you loved: Bridget Jones – Helen Fielding

The House at the Edge of the World – Julia Rochester

John Venton’s drunken fall from a Devon cliff leaves his family with an embarrassing ghost. His twin children, Morwenna and Corwin, flee in separate directions to take up their adult lives. Their mother, enraged by years of unhappy marriage, embraces merry widowhood. Only their grandfather finds solace in the crumbling family house, endlessly painting their story onto a large canvas map. His brightly coloured map, with its tiny pictures of shipwrecks, forgotten houses, saints and devils, is a work of his imagination, a collection of local myths and histo­ries. But it holds a secret. As the twins are drawn grudgingly back to the house, they discover that their father’s absence is part of the map’s mysterious pull. The House at the Edge of the World is the compellingly told story of how family and home can be both a source of comfort and a wholly destructive force. Cutting to the undignified half-truths every family conceals, it asks the questions we all must confront: who are we responsible for and, ultimately, who do we belong to?

“Darkly funny… sharp-as-knives observations brilliantly capture the black undertow of this family story”

Sunday Express

Read if you loved: Maggie O’Farrell  /   Zoe Heller   /   Kate Atkinson

Fishbowl – Bradley Somer

From his enviable view from a balcony on the 27th floor of an apartment block, Ian the Goldfish has frequent – if fleeting – desires for a more exciting life. Until one day, a series of unfortunate events give him an opportunity to escape… Our story begins, however, with the human inhabitants of Ian’s building. There is the handsome student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; an agoraphobic sex worker, the invisible caretaker; the pregnant woman on bed rest; and the home-schooled boy, Herman, who thinks he can travel through time.  And as Ian tumbles perilously downwards, he will witness all their lives, loves, triumphs and disasters… A truly original, philosophically joyful and charming novel with the unlikeliest of heroes. This is Tales of the City as seen by a goldfish.

“Refreshingly original…quirky and colourful – if you want something different and unexpected to read this summer, this is definitely a break from the norm.”

Heat Magazine

Read if you loved: The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed out of a Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson

The Exclusives – Rebecca Thornton

A heartbreaking story of friendship and betrayal – can we ever forgive the ones we love the most? Freya Seymour and Josephine Grey are invincible – beautiful and brilliant, the two best friends are on the cusp of Oxbridge, and the success they always dreamed they’d share. 2014. Freya gets in touch, looking for a conversation Josephine has run away from for eighteen long and tortured years. Beginning with one ill-fated night, The Exclusives charts the agonising spiral of friendship gone wrong, the heartache and betrayal of letting down those closest to you and the poisonous possibilities of what we wouldn’t do when everything we prize is placed under threat. And in the end, as she realises she cannot run for ever, Josephine must answer one question: is it Freya she cannot face, or is it her own darkest secret?

“Prep meets The Secret History meets Mean Girls –  a stunning debut novel”

Esther Walker, author of The Bad Mother

Read if you loved: Rosamund Lupton

The Daughter’s Secret – Eva Holland

My daughter is a liar. A liar, liar, liar. And I’m starting to see where she gets it from. When Rosalind’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Stephanie, ran away with her teacher, this ordinary family became something it had never asked to be. Their lives held up to scrutiny in the centre of a major police investigation, the Simms were headline news while Stephanie was missing with a man who was risking everything. Now, six years on, Ros takes a call that will change their lives all over again. He’s going to be released from prison. Years too early. In eleven days’ time. As Temperley’s release creeps ever closer, Ros is forced to confront the events that led them here, back to a place she thought she’d left behind, to questions she didn’t want to answer. Why did she do it? Where does the blame lie? What happens next?

“Tense and emotionally charged with an uncomfortably ominous atmosphere, this startling novel leads us through the complex relationship between a mother and daughter”

SUNDAY EXPRESS

Read if you loved: Notes on a Scandal – Zoe Heller

The Dark Inside – Rod Reynolds

1946, Texarkana: a town on the border of Texas and Arkansas. Disgraced New York reporter Charlie Yates has been sent to cover the story of a spate of brutal murders – young couples who’ve been slaughtered at a local date spot. Charlie finds himself drawn into the case by the beautiful and fiery Lizzie, sister to one of the victims, Alice – the only person to have survived the attacks and seen the killer up close. But Charlie has his own demons to fight, and as he starts to dig into the murders he discovers that the people of Texarkana have secrets that they want kept hidden at all costs. Before long, Charlie discovers that powerful forces might be protecting the killer, and as he investigates further his pursuit of the truth could cost him more than his job… Loosely based on true events, The Dark Insideis a compelling and pacy thriller that heralds a new voice in the genre.

“This is a debut novel by a young British writer but reads like an authentic piece of good old-fashioned Southern noir… Subtle, original and enthralling.”

Jake Kerridge, Sunday Express 

Read if you loved: James Lee Burke  /   Daniel Woodrell  /  David Peace

The Butcher Bird – S. D. Sykes

Oswald de Lacy is growing up fast in his new position as Lord of Somershill Manor. The Black Death changed many things, and just as it took away his father and elder brothers, leaving Oswald to be recalled from the monastery where he expected to spend his life, so it has taken many of his villagers and servants. However, there is still the same amount of work to be done in the farms and fields, and the few people left to do it think they should be paid more – something the King himself has forbidden. Just as anger begins to spread, the story of the Butcher Bird takes flight. People claim to have witnessed a huge creature in the skies. A new-born baby is found impaled on a thorn bush. And then more children disappear. Convinced the bird is just a superstitious rumour, Oswald must discover what is really happening. He can expect no help from his snobbish mother and his scheming sister Clemence, who is determined to protect her own child, but happy to neglect her step-daughters. From the plague-ruined villages of Kent to the thief-infested streets of London and the luxurious bedchamber of a bewitching lady, Oswald’s journey is full of danger, dark intrigue and shocking revelations.

“The medieval CJ Sansom”

Jeffery Deaver

Read if you loved: C. J. Sansom

The Blue Between Sky and Water – Susan Abulhawa

It is 1947, and Beit Daras, a rural Palestinian village, is home to the Baraka family – oldest daughter Nazmiyeh, brother Mamdouh, beautiful, dreamy Mariam and their widowed mother. When Israeli forces descend, sending the village up in flames, the family must take the long road to Gaza, in a walk that will test them to their limits. Sixty years later, in America, Mamdouh’s granddaughter Nur falls in love with a doctor. Following him to his work in Gaza, she meets Alwan, who will help Nur discover the ties of kinship that transcend distance – and even death. Told with raw humanity, The Blue Between Sky and Water is a lyrical, devastatingly beautiful story of a family’s relocation, separation, survival and love.

“In true Thousand and One Nights style, Abulhawa surprises us by continually unfolding new stories … Characters struggle to keep their secrets, but Abulhawa releases them. These are secrets we need to know, secrets that will educate us about ourselves, and Gaza”

Guardian

Read if you loved: Isabel Allende   /  Khaled Hosseini