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New fiction for August 2021

by Brandon King

From gripping thrillers to touching stories, take a look at our brand new fiction titles for August 2021.

A slow fire burning by Paula Hawkins

Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She's seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous. Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn't mean she's a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace? Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill - look what's been started.

A line to kill by Anthony Horowitz

There has never been a murder on Alderney. It's a tiny island, just three miles long and a mile and a half wide. The perfect location for a brand new literary festival. Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne has been invited to talk about his new book. The writer, Anthony Horowitz, travels with him. Very soon they discover that not all is as it should be. Alderney is in turmoil over a planned power line that will cut through it, desecrating a war cemetery and turning neighbour against neighbour. The visiting authors - including a blind medium, a French performance poet and a celebrity chef - seem to be harbouring any number of unpleasant secrets. When the festival's wealthy sponsor is found brutally killed, Alderney goes into lockdown and Hawthorne knows that he doesn't have to look too far for suspects. There's no escape. The killer is still on the island. And there's about to be a second death.

Unholy murder by Lynda La Plante

A coffin is dug up by builders in the grounds of an historic convent - inside is the body of a young nun. In a city as old as London, the discovery is hardly surprising. But when scratch marks are found on the inside of the coffin lid, Detective Jane Tennison believes she has unearthed a mystery far darker than any she's investigated before. However, not everyone agrees. Tennison's superiors dismiss it as an historic cold case, and the Church seems desperate to conceal the facts from the investigation. It's clear that someone is hiding the truth, and perhaps even the killer. Tennison must pray she can find both - before they are buried forever.

The madness of crowds by Louise Penny

When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is asked to provide crowd control at a statistics lecture given at the Université de l'Estrie in Quebec, he is dubious. Why ask the head of homicide to provide security for what sounds like a minor, even mundane lecture? But dangerous ideas about who deserves to live in order for society to thrive are rapidly gaining popularity, fuelled by the research of the eminent Professor Abigail Robinson. Yet for every person seduced by her theories there is another who is horrified by them. When a murder is committed days after the lecture, it's clear that within crowds can lie madness. To uncover the truth, Gamache must put his own feelings about the divisive Professor to one side. But with her ideas gaining ground, the line separating good and evil, right and wrong, is quickly blurring - especially when the case leads unexpectedly close to home.

The heights by Louise Candlish

'The Heights' is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Shad Thames, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn't know it existed if you weren't standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that's when you see a man up there - a man you'd recognize anywhere. He's older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it's definitely him. Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact. Because you're the one who killed him.

The stone chamber by Kate Ellis

On a summer evening, Robert and Greta Gerdner are shot dead at their home in the Devon countryside. DI Wesley Peterson suspects the execution-style murders might be linked to Robert's past police career - until Robert's name is found on a list of people who've been sent tickets anonymously for a tour of Darkhole Grange, a former asylum on Dartmoor. Wesley discovers that other names on the list have also died in mysterious circumstances and, as he is drawn into the chilling history of the asylum, he becomes convinced that it holds the key to the case.

The island of missing trees by Elif Shafak

1974, on the island of Cyprus. Two teenagers, from opposite sides of a divided land, meet at a tavern in the city they both call home. The tavern is the only place that Kostas, who is Greek and Christian, and Defne, who is Turkish and Muslim, can meet, in secret, hidden beneath the blackened beams from which hang garlands of garlic, chilli peppers and wild herbs. This is where one can find the best food in town, the best music, the best wine. But there is something else to the place: it makes one forget, even if for just a few hours, the world outside and its immoderate sorrows. In 'The Island of Missing Trees', prizewinning author Elif Shafak brings us a rich, magical tale of belonging and identity, love and trauma, memory and amnesia, human-induced destruction of nature, and, finally, renewal.

Billy Summers By Stephen King

Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He's a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he'll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong? How about everything.

Not a happy family by Shari Lapeña

In the quiet, wealthy enclave of Brecken Hill, an older couple is brutally murdered hours after a tense Easter dinner with their three adult children. Who, of course, are devastated. Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you'd know. Wouldn't you?

The echo chamber by John Boyne

What a thing of wonder a mobile phone is. Six ounces of metal, glass and plastic, fashioned into a sleek, shiny, precious object. At once, a gateway to other worlds - and a treacherous weapon in the hands of the unwary, the unwitting, the inept. The Cleverley family live a gilded life, little realising how precarious their privilege is, just one tweet away from disaster. George, the patriarch, is a stalwart of television interviewing, a 'national treasure' (his words), his wife Beverley, a celebrated novelist (although not as celebrated as she would like), and their children, Nelson, Elizabeth, Achilles, various degrees of catastrophe waiting to happen. Together they will go on a journey of discovery through the Hogarthian jungle of the modern living where past presumptions count for nothing and carefully curated reputations can be destroyed in an instant.

Blank pages and other stories by Bernard MacLaverty

Everywhere, the dark currents of violence, persecution and regret pull at his subject matter: family love, the making of art, Catholicism, the Troubles and, latterly, ageing. 'Blank Pages' is a collection of twelve extraordinary new stories that show the emotional range of a master.

A narrow door by Joanne Harris

It's an incendiary moment for St Oswald's school. For the first time in its history a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to female students. Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely forty, she is just starting to reap the ambitions she has sown. But as the ground shifts beneath the old guards' feet, a body is discovered, along with a Prefect's badge from another school. But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She'll bury the past, just like she has done before. Even if that means murder.