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New fiction for July 2017

Written by · Published Jun 29, 2017

The Late Show, The Bedlam Stacks, A State of Freedom

Sunday Morning Coming Down, by Nicci French

Chilling seventh instalment of the bestselling Freida Klein series:

“Psychotherapist Dr Frieda Klein once again finds herself in the midst of a criminal investigation when the rotting body of an ex-policeman is found beneath the floorboards of her house. The corpse is only months old but the main suspect, murderer Dean Reeve, died over seven years ago.

“As the killer picks off his next victims and her home is turned into a crime scene, Frieda’s old life seems like a hazy dream. With eyes of the world upon her and no answers from the police, Frieda realises that she will have to track this killer before he tracks down those she loves.”

H(a)ppy, by Nicola Barker

The latest novel from one of Britain’s most inventive and unusual writers has a SF flavour:

“Imagine a perfect world where everything is known, where everything is open, where there can be no doubt, no hatred, no poverty, no greed. Imagine a system which both nurtures and protects. A community which nourishes and sustains. An infinite world. A world without sickness, without death. A world without God. A world without fear. Could you - might you be happy there?

“This novel is a post-post apocalyptic Alice in Wonderland, a story which tells itself and then consumes itself. It’s a place where language glows, where words buzz and sparkle and finally implode. It’s a novel which twists and writhes with all the terrifying precision of a tiny fish in an Escher lithograph - a book where the mere telling of a story is the end of certainty.”

The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce

New novel from the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.

Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t really do ‘heartwarming’ books but I have to say I enjoyed this one. The story is about Frank, who runs a vinyl-only record shop in the late 1980s. Frank is 40 and alone, after his mother died several years earlier, and is afraid of getting close to anyone. The little parade of shops he’s part of is under threat from developers but Frank is determined to stay. He is great at his job - finding the right song and music for anyone who comes in. His love of music was instilled in him by his erratic mother, and he feels it’s his duty to pass it on to others.

When a young German woman, Ilse, faints outside his shop one day, he’s immediately drawn to her. But he’s terrified of starting a relationship, and, anyway, she’s engaged to be married soon. Somehow, though, he can’t stop thinking about her. It’s a bittersweet tale of love, music and life.

The Late Show, by Michael Connelly

“A compelling thriller introducing a driven, young detective trying to prove herself in the LAPD. Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

“But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job - no matter what the department throws at her.”

My sources describe The Late Show as ‘absorbing’. Michael Connelly has a big following so it will be popular.

The Bedlam Stacks, by Natasha Pulley

“Deep in uncharted Peru, the holy town of Bedlam stands at the edge of a forest. The shrine statues move, and anyone who crosses the border dies. But somewhere inside are cinchona trees, whose bark yields quinine: the only known treatment for malaria. On the other side of the Pacific, it is 1859 and India is ravaged by the disease. The hunt for a reliable source of quinine is critical and in its desperation, the India Office searches out its last qualified expeditionary.

“Struggling with a terrible injury from his last mission and the strange occurrences at his family’s ruined estate, Merrick Tremayne finds himself under orders to bring back cinchona cuttings at any cost and dispatched, against his own better judgement, to Bedlam. There he meets Raphael, a priest around whom the villagers spin unsettlingly familiar stories of impossible disappearances and living stone.”

If you read The Watchmaker of Filigree Street then you will probably want to read this. For any new readers I would say that it requires some patience. The author gradually unveils the story and part of the enjoyment of her books comes from inhabiting the world she creates.

Dead in the Dark, by Stephen Booth

“How do you prove a murder without a body? Ten years ago, Reece Bower was accused of killing his wife, a crime he always denied. Extensive police searches near his home in Bakewell found no trace of Annette Bower’s remains, and the case against him collapsed. But now memories of the original investigation have been resurrected for Detective Inspector Ben Cooper - because Reece Bower himself has disappeared, and his new wife wants answers.”

Stephen Booth is an award-winning UK crime writer, the creator of two young Derbyshire police detectives, Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, who have appeared in sixteen novels set in the Peak District.

Sleeping in the Ground, by Peter Robinson

“A shocking mass murder occurs at a wedding in a small Dales church and a huge manhunt follows. Eventually, the shooter is run to ground and things take their inevitable course. But Banks is plagued with doubts as to exactly what happened outside the church that day, and why.

“Struggling with the death of his first serious girlfriend and the return of profiler Jenny Fuller into his life, Banks feels the need to dig deeper into the murders, and as he does so, he uncovers forensic and psychological puzzles that lead him to the past secrets that might just provide the answers he is looking for. When the surprising truth becomes clear, it is almost too late.”

Here and Gone, by Haylen Beck

“Audra has finally left her abusive husband. She’s taken the family car and her young children, Sean and Louise, are buckled up in the back. This is their chance for a fresh start. She keeps to the country roads to avoid attention and finds herself on an empty road in the Arizona desert, far from home.

“Looking for a safe place to stay for the night she spots something in her rear-view mirror. A police car is following her and the lights are flickering. As Audra pulls over she is intensely aware of how isolated they are. Her perfect escape is about to turn into a nightmare beyond her imagining.”

A rollercoaster of a thriller which you will not be able to put down. I would be amazed if there is not a film in this one.

House of Spies, by Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva’s last book, The Black Widow, was one of 2016’s biggest spy thrillers and was recently chosen as a Suffolk Loves title. Now, in House of Spies, Gabriel Allon is back and out for revenge, determined to hunt down the world’s most dangerous terrorist, a shadowy ISIS mastermind known only as Saladin.

A State of Freedom, by Neel Mukherjee

“What happens when one attempts to exchange the life one is given for something better? Can we transform the possibilities we are born into? A State of Freedom prises open the central, defining events of our century - displacement and migration - but not as you imagine them.”

The latest from the author of The Lives of Others, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker.

Brandon King

I work in the Suffolk Libraries Stock Team