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New fiction for January 2018

Written by · Published Dec 29, 2017

I'll Keep You Safe, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, Coming Home to Island House

I’ll Keep You Safe, by Peter May

“Husband and wife Ruairidh and Niamh Macfarlane co-own Ranish Tweed, a Hebridean company that weaves its own special variety of Harris cloth, which has become a sought-after brand in the world of high fashion.

“But when Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair with Russian designer Irina Vetrov, then witnesses the pair killed by a car bomb in Paris, her life is left in ruins. Along with her husband’s remains, she returns home to the Isle of Lewis, bereft. The Paris police have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder - making Niamh the prime suspect, along with Irina’s missing husband, Georgy.

“And so French Detective Sylvie Braque is sent to the island to look into Niamh’s past, unaware of the dangers that await her. As Braque digs deeper into the couple’s history, Niamh herself replays her life with Ruiairidh, searching her memory for those whose grievances might have led to murder.”

A Long Way from Home, by Peter Carey

In the two-time Booker Prize winner’s latest novel:

“Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in rural south eastern Australia. Together with Willie, their lanky navigator, they embark upon the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the continent, over roads no car will ever quite survive.”

The Chalk Man, by C. J. Tudor

“Looking back, it all started on the day of the fair and the terrible accident. When twelve-year-old Eddie first met the Chalk Man. It was the Chalk Man who gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages between his group of friends. And it was fun, to start with, until the figures led them to the body of a young girl.

“That was thirty years ago and Ed thought the past was behind him. Then he receives a letter containing just two things: a piece of chalk, and a drawing of a stick figure. As history begins to repeat itself, Ed realises the game was never over.”

Our recent Meet the Author interviewee’s debut novel is an early contender for thriller of the year, having been at the centre of a bidding frenzy between publishers. The Chalk Man has been described as a cross between Stephen King and Stranger Things.

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, by Imogen Hermes Gowar

“One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid.

“As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on - and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.

“What will be the cost of their ambitions? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?”

This beautifully-written, glorious romp through Georgian London will appeal to fans of The Essex Serpent.

Coming Home to Island House, by Erica James

New title from a very popular Suffolk author:

“It’s the summer of 1939, and after touring an unsettled Europe to promote her latest book, Romily Temple returns home to Island House and the love of her life, the charismatic Jack Devereux.

“But when Jack falls ill, his estranged family are called home and given seven days to find a way to bury their resentments and come together. With war now declared, each member of the family is reluctantly forced to accept their new stepmother and confront their own shortcomings.

“But can the habits of a lifetime be changed in one week? And can Romily, a woman who thrives on adventure, cope with the life that has been so unexpectedly thrust upon her?”

Three Things About Elsie, by Joanna Cannon

The new book from the author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep:

“There are three things you should know about Elsie. The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better. And the third thing - might take a little bit more explaining.

“84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died 60 years ago?”

Read our Meet the Author interview with Joanna Cannon →

Still Me, by JoJo Moyes

In the follow-up to the immensely popular Me Before You and After You:

“Lou Clark knows too many things…

“She knows how many miles lie between her new home in New York and her new boyfriend Sam in London.

“She knows her employer is a good man and she knows his wife is keeping a secret from him.

“What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to meet someone who’s going to turn her whole life upside down.

“Because Josh will remind her so much of a man she used to know that it’ll hurt.

“Lou won’t know what to do next, but she knows that whatever she chooses is going to change everything.”

I Did It for Us, by Alison Bruce

New standalone thriller from another very popular local author:

“Cherry’s instincts tell her that best friend Joanne’s new boyfriend is bad news. Cherry fears for Joanne. Fears for Joanne’s children. But Joanne won’t listen because she’s in love. So Cherry watches, and waits - and then she makes a choice. But Cherry has a past, and secrets too. And is she really as good a friend to Joanne as she claims?”

Nucleus, by Rory Clements

“June 1939. In Germany, Otto Hahn has produced the first man-made fission and an atomic device is now a very real possibility. The Nazis set up the Uranverein group of physicists: its task is to build a superbomb. The German High Command is aware that British and US scientists are working on similar line.

“Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory is where the atom was split in 1932. Might the Cambridge men now win the race for a nuclear bomb? Hitler’s generals need to be sure they know all the Cavendish’s secrets. Only then will it be safe for Germany to wage war.

“When one of the Cavendish’s finest brains is murdered, Professor Tom Wilde is once more drawn into an intrigue from which there seems no escape. In a conspiracy that stretches from Cambridge to Berlin and from Washington DC to the west coast of Ireland, he faces deadly forces that threaten the fate of the world.”

Brandon King

I work in the Suffolk Libraries Stock Team