Welcome to the fourth post in my Anticipated Books series for the summer and autumn of 2015. Today it’s time for my mainstream fiction and thriller picks. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!
So begins the first letter that falls into Wang’s lap as he flips down the visor in his taxi. The letters that follow are filled with the stories of Wang’s previous lives—from escaping a marriage to a spirit bride, to being a slave on the run from Genghis Khan, to living as a fisherman during the Opium Wars, and being a teenager on the Red Guard during the cultural revolution—bound to his mysterious “soulmate,” spanning one thousand years of betrayal and intrigue.
As the letters continue to appear seemingly out of thin air, Wang becomes convinced that someone is watching him—someone who claims to have known him for over one thousand years. And with each letter, Wang feels the watcher growing closer and closer…
Seamlessly weaving Chinese folklore, history, and literary classics, The Incarnations is a taut and gripping novel that sheds light on the cyclical nature of history as it hints that the past is never truly settled.
You’re seventeen. One night, more or less by accident, you set fire to a garden shed.
Naturally, you pack up and run off to Paris, certain you can make enough money off your art to get by. You’re young, you’re talented, you’re full of life, and you have your best friend in all the world by your side.
What could possibly go wrong?
Sarah Lotz’s hilarious, heartbreaking first novel has only ever been published in South Africa. Now Hodder & Stoughton are proud to be bringing it to a world-wide audience, newly edited and with an all-new cover.
A talented young jewellery designer fights to rebuild her life and family by solving the mystery surrounding a diamond brooch given to her by her grandmother.
When Grace Manners takes up residence on the Wittering Manor estate in Sussex, she little realizes working alongside eccentric Fraser Stratton will change her life. Since her husband disappeared, along with most of their money, Grace has struggled to make ends meet and the little cottage on the estate is both a refuge and a workshop for her jewellery business. It’s only when Grace begins to uncover the story behind a beautiful diamond brooch she inherited that she becomes drawn into a family secret that threatens to destroy what little she has left…
I may be the best thief in the world but no one will ever know a single thing about me. Well, almost no one.
A lifetime ago I had a mentor, Angela. She taught me how to be a criminal, how to run a heist.
And now, six years after she vanished and left me high and dry on a job in Kuala Lumpur, she’s sent me an SOS.
Or at least I think it’s her. If it is, then I’ve got to go. I owe her that much.
So soon I’ll be on a plane to Macau, either to see a friend or walk into a trap. Or both.
But that’s the way I like it. Sometimes the only thing that makes me happy is risking my life.
Time to go.
When eighteen-year-old Rosie Anderson disappears, the idyllic village where she lived will never be the same again. Local gardener Kate is struck with guilt. She’d come to know Rosie well, and thought she understood her – perhaps better even than Rosie’s own mother.
A family torn apart
Rosie was beautiful, kind and gentle. She came from a loving family and she had her whole life ahead of her. Who could possibly want to harm her? And why?
A keeper of secrets
Kate is convinced the police are missing something. She’s certain that someone in the village knows more than they’re letting on. As the investigation deepens, so does Kate’s obsession with solving the mystery of what happened to Rosie.
Lois and Carly-May are just twelve years old when they’re abducted, driven across the country, and imprisoned in a remote, isolated hunting lodge for two months. That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they form a bond which will never be broken . . .
Decades later, both Lois and Carly-May have built new lives and identities for themselves. Lois, a professor of literature, is shaken when an obsessive student reminds her of the man who kidnapped her, a man she saw shoot himself on the porch twenty years before.
Out in LA, Carly-May is drinking too much and watching her beauty-queen looks fade, clinging to the last remnants of a once-promising career as an actress. When she reads a shockingly familiar screenplay, she warily she takes a role she knows is based on events from her own life.
Increasingly haunted by the devastating experience that shaped both their lives, Lois and Carly-May are drawn together again in a world that both echoes and falsifies their beautiful, terrible story.
A.J. Rich – The Hand That Feeds You (Scribner)
Morgan Prager, at age thirty, is completing her thesis on victim psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. She is newly engaged to Bennett, a seductive but possessive and secretive man. She returns from class one day to find Bennett mauled to death, and her dogs—a Great Pyrenees and two pit bulls she has rescued—covered in blood. Bewildered and devastated that her dogs could have committed such violence, she worries that she might suffer from one of the syndromes she studies: pathological altruism, when selfless acts do more damage than good.
When Morgan tries to locate Bennett’s parents to tell them about their son’s hideous death, she discovers he was not the man he said he was. Everything he has told her—where he was born, where he lives and works—was a lie. In fact, he has several fiancées, and fits the clinical definition of a sociopath. And then, one by one, these other women are murdered. Suddenly Morgan’s research into Bennett takes on the urgency of survival: to stay alive, she must find out who is killing the women Bennett was closest to.
Unsettling and highly suspenseful, this is a brilliant collaboration between two outstanding writers.
Robert Stern, a successful defence lawyer, doesn’t know what lies in store for him when he agrees to meet a new client in a derelict estate on the outskirts of Berlin. To his astonishment, the defendant is a ten-year-old boy – Simon – a fragile child with a chronic illness who insists that he was a murderer in a former life. Stern’s surprise quickly turns to horror as he searches the cellar Simon has directed him to and discovers the skeletal remains of a man, the skull split with an axe – just as Simon told him he would.
But this is only the beginning, as Simon tells Stern where to find even more victims whose bodies have lain undisturbed for years. Suddenly, the present feels murderously dangerous as well…
The Child is a darkly twisting, page-turning thriller that will make your heart pound with adrenaline.
But what really happened that fateful afternoon?
Caught between her personal tragedy and a public who have turned against her, there is nobody left who Rachel can trust. But can the nation trust Rachel?
The clock is ticking to find Ben alive.
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
Michael Hendricks is not a good man.
He doesn’t deserve a good life.
But he is very good at his job.
He’s the killing kind.
He doesn’t accept contract kills. He doesn’t work for any criminal organisation. And he never kills civilians. He only hits hitters.
He’s not the kind of guy you call if you want to pop somebody who’s pissed you off or done you wrong.
He’s not a guy you call at all – he calls you.
And when he does, you’d be advised to take his call. Because it means that someone wants you dead, and time is running out to save your life.
It’s not a bad way to make a living, but it’s a great way to make enemies.
And now both the FBI and the mafia have Hendricks in their sights, he’s about to learn just how good he really is…
Jennifer McMahon – The Night Sister (Doubleday)
The latest novel from New York Times best-selling author Jennifer McMahon is an atmospheric, gripping, and suspenseful tale that probes the bond between sisters and the peril of keeping secrets.
Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper’s kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel’s past, something that ruined their friendship forever.
Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock’s next blonde bombshell leading lady.
As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.
Michael Robotham – Close Your Eyes (Sphere)
A mother and her teenage daughter are found murdered in a remote farmhouse, one defiled by multiple stab wounds and the other left lying like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her Prince. Reluctantly, clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin is drawn into the investigation when a former student, calling himself ‘the Mindhunter’, jeopardises the police inquiry by leaking details to the media and stirring up public anger.
With no shortage of suspects and tempers beginning to fray, Joe discover links between these murders and a series of brutal attacks where his victims have been choked unconscious and had the letter ‘A’ carved into their foreheads.
As the case becomes ever more complex, nothing is quite what it seems and soon Joe’s fate, and that of those closest to him, become intertwined with a merciless, unpredictable killer . . .
Tom Harper – Black River (Hodder & Stoughton)
This unputdownable Amazonian adventure is perfect for fans of The Lost City of Z. ‘The thinking person’s Dan Brown’ Tom Harper has taken you to the underworld. He’s taken you to the Arctic. Now he’s taking you to the deadliest jungle on earth.
When Kel MacDonald joins an expedition looking for a legendary lost city in the Peruvian Amazon, he’s expecting the adventure of a lifetime. But things are not what they seem. Paramilitaries, drug cartels, and wildcat prospectors all want what the jungle has to offer – while untamed local tribes will fight desperately to protect their way of life. Maps of the region have been doctored. And what exactly happened to the previous expedition, a government vaccination program that went upriver and never returned?
Soon finding the lost city is the least of their troubles. The jungle hides deadly secrets that must be hidden at all costs. And someone in the group wants to make sure they never get out.
Hester Young – The Gates of Evangeline (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
When grieving mother and New York journalist Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children after her only son passes away, she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the hallucinations of a bereaved mother, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if she can make sense of them.
After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams asking for her help, Charlie finds herself entangled in a thirty-year-old missing child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to the family’s estate Evangeline, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance bring healing. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust—and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could’ve imagined.
A Southern Gothic mystery debut that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist, THE GATES OF EVANGELINE is a story that readers of Gillian Flynn, Kate Atkinson, and Alice Sebold won’t be able to put down.
John Katzenbach – The Dead Student (The Mysterious Press)
A master of the modern psychological thriller, internationally bestselling author John Katzenbach is an unrivaled investigator of that most primal human motive—revenge. A tense, penetrating novel, The Dead Student follows a young man set on avenging the uncle who saved his life, no matter the consequences.
Timothy Warner, a PhD student who goes by the nickname “Moth,” wakes up on his ninety-ninth day of sobriety with an intense craving for drink. He immediately calls his uncle Ed, a former alcoholic and now successful psychiatrist who has become Moth’s mentor and father figure. Ed promises to meet him at an AA meeting later that day but never shows up. Moth bikes to his office only to discover a grisly scene: his uncle lying in a pool of blood, shot through the temple. Deeply shaken, Moth dials 911 and waits for the police, who pronounce the death a suicide. Two words are scrawled across Ed’s prescription pad: My fault. But Moth refuses to believe that his uncle would take his own life. Devastated and confused, he calls on the only person he thinks he can trust: Andrea Martine, an ex-girlfriend he has not spoken to in four years, a young woman who is struggling through her own trauma.
Each battling their inner demons, Moth and Andy travel into dark, unfamiliar territory, intent on finding out the truth about Ed’s death and circling ever closer to a devious mind that will flinch at nothing to achieve his own goal of revenge.
Louise Douglas – The Secret by the Lake (Transworld Books)
A FAMILY TRAGEDY
Amy’s always felt like something’s been missing in her life. When a tragedy forces the family she works for as a nanny to retreat to a small lakeside cottage, she realises she cannot leave them now.
A SISTER’S SECRET
But Amy finds something unsettling about the cottage by the lake. This is where the children’s mother spent her childhood – and the place where her sister disappeared mysteriously at just seventeen.
A WEB OF LIES
Soon Amy becomes tangled in the missing sister’s story as dark truths begin rising to the surface. But can Amy unlock the secrets of the past before they repeat themselves?
Your favourite authors love Louise Douglas . . .
‘Crackles with repressed longing . . . the explosive ending took my breath away’ C.L. TAYLOR, author of THE ACCIDENT and THE LIE
Christopher Golden – Dead Ringers (Headline)
When Tess Devlin runs into her ex-husband Nick on a Boston sidewalk, she’s furious at him for pretending he doesn’t know her. She calls his cell to have it out with him, only to discover that he’s in New Hampshire with his current girlfriend. But if Nick’s in New Hampshire…who did she encounter on the street?
Frank Lindbergh’s dreams have fallen apart. He wanted to get out of the grim neighborhood where he’d grown up and out of the shadow of his alcoholic father. Now both his parents are dead and he’s back in his childhood home, drinking too much himself. As he sets in motion his plans for the future, he’s assaulted by an intruder in his living room…an intruder who could be his twin.
In an elegant hotel, Tess will find mystery and terror in her own reflection. Outside a famed mansion on Beacon Hill, people are infected with a diabolical malice…while on the streets, an eyeless man, dressed in rags, searches for a woman who wears Tess’s face.
Lisa Scottoline – Every Fifteen Minutes (Headline)
Dr Eric Parrish is the Chief of a highly regarded Psychiatric Unit near Philadelphia. Recently separated from his wife, he is doing his best to be a single parent to his seven-year-old daughter Hannah.
But when Eric takes on a new patient, his entire world begins to crumble. Seventeen-year-old Max has a terminally ill grandmother. That, plus his OCD and violent thoughts about a girl he likes makes him a high-risk patient.
When the girl is found murdered, Max is nowhere to be seen. Then Eric’s own staff turns on him in a trumped-up charge of sexual harassment.
Can all this chaos be random?
Or is someone systematically trying to destroy Eric’s life?