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New fiction for October 2018

Written by · Published Sep 28, 2018

Melmoth, Killing Commendatore, The House on Vesper Sands

Melmoth, by Sarah Perry

The author of bestselling The Essex Serpent returns with a new novel. She has a hard act to follow, but readers of her previous book will find a gothic tale with lots of bumps and shocks.

“20 years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory.

“But her sheltered life is about to change. A strange manuscript has come into her possession. It is filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black, with unblinking eyes and bleeding feet: Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world. Condemned to walk the Earth forever, she tries to beguile the guilty and lure them away for a lifetime wandering alongside her. Everyone that Melmoth seeks out must make a choice: to live with what they’ve done, or be led into the darkness.

“Helen can’t stop reading, or shake the feeling that someone is watching her. As her past finally catches up with her, she too must choose which path to take.”

The House on Vesper Sands, by Paraic O’Donnell

“It is the winter of 1893, and in London the snow is falling.

“It is falling as Gideon Bliss seeks shelter in a Soho church, where he finds Angie Tatton lying before the altar. His one-time love is at death’s door, murmuring about brightness and black air, and about those she calls the Spiriters. In the morning she is gone.

“The snow is falling as a seamstress climbs onto a ledge above Mayfair, a mysterious message stitched into her own skin. It is falling as she steadies herself and closes her eyes.

“It is falling, too, as her employer, Lord Strythe, vanishes into the night, watched by Octavia Hillingdon, a restless society columnist who longs to uncover a story of real importance.

“She and Gideon will soon be drawn into the same mystery, each desperate to save Angie and find out the truth about Lord Strythe. Their paths will cross as the darkness gathers, and will lead them at last to what lies hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.”

This is a terrific Victorian set mystery with a supernatural element. If you enjoy a mystery with plenty of twists and turns, you will enjoy this.

In a House of Lies, by Ian Rankin

The new Rebus. What can I say? Get yourself on the waiting list!

“A missing private investigator is found, locked in a car hidden deep in the woods. Worse still - both for his family and the police - is that his body was in an area that had already been searched.”

“Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is part of a new inquiry, combing through the mistakes of the original case. There were always suspicions over how the investigation was handled and now - after a decade without answers - it’s time for the truth.”

“Every officer involved must be questioned, and it seems everyone on the case has something to hide, and everything to lose. But there is one man who knows where the trail may lead - and that it could be the end of him: John Rebus.”

Tombland, by C. J. Sansom

“Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos. The nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry.

“Since the old King’s death, Matthew Shardlake has been working as a lawyer in the service of Henry’s younger daughter, the Lady Elizabeth. The gruesome murder of Edith Boleyn, the wife of John Boleyn - a distant Norfolk relation of Elizabeth’s mother - which could have political implications for Elizabeth, brings Shardlake and his assistant Nicholas Overton to the summer assizes at Norwich.”

Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver

The first novel from the Orange Prize winning novelist since 2012.

“2016 Vineland. Meet Willa Knox, a woman who stands braced against the vicissitudes of her shattered life and family - and the crumbling house that contains her.

“1871 Vineland. Thatcher Greenwood, the new science teacher, is a fervent advocate of the work of Charles Darwin, and he is keen to communicate his ideas to his students. But those in power in Thatcher’s small town have no desire for a new world order. Thatcher and his teachings are not welcome.

“Both Willa and Thatcher resist the prevailing logic. Both are asked to pay a high price for their courage.”

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Fred Fordham & Harper Lee

If you never got round to reading Harper Lee’s classic novel you may prefer this graphic novel format. Scout, Jem, Boo Radley, Atticus Finch and the small town of Maycomb, Alabama, are all captured in vivid and moving illustrations by artist Fred Fordham.

Dark Sacred Night, by Michael Connelly

If you are a fan of Michael Connelly’s books, you will be pleased that Dark Sacred Night brings together Detective Renee Ballard, his only female lead, and his legendary LAPD detective Harry Bosch. The pair investigate the brutal murder of Daisy Clayton, a 15 year old runaway.

Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami

“The much-anticipated new novel from the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of 1Q84 and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Killing Commendatore is an epic tour de force of love and loneliness, war and art - as well as a loving homage to The Great Gatsby - and a stunning work of imagination from one of our greatest writers.”

The Comforts of Home, by Susan Hill

The ninth DC Simon Serrailler case sees his personal and professional lives intertwine.

“DC Simon Serrailler’s last, devastating case was nearly the death of him and left him confronting a new reality

“Recovering on a remote Scottish island, his peace doesn’t last long. He is pulled in to a murder inquiry by the overstretched local police. A newcomer, popular with the islanders, has died in perplexing circumstances. The community’s reactions are complicated and fragile.

“It’s good to be back on the job. And when Simon returns to Lafferton, an arsonist is on the rampage and a woman whose daughter disappeared some years before is haunting the police station seeking closure. She will not let it rest, and Simon is called in to do a cold-case review.

“At home, Simon is starting to get used to having a new brother-in-law – in the form of his Chief Constable Kieron Bright. His sister Cat has embarked on a new way of practising medicine, and his nephew Sam is trying to work out what to do with his life. And then their tricky father, Richard, turns up again like a bad penny.”

Nine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty

Latest from the author of Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret. We are expecting a lot of demand.

“Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? Nine perfect strangers are about to find out.”

One Enchanted Evening, by Anton Du Beke

Yes, this is Anton Du Beke from Strictly. There will be a big marketing campaign behind this one.

“London, 1936. Inside the spectacular ballroom of the exclusive Buckingham Hotel the rich and powerful, politicians, film stars, even royalty, rub shoulders with the talented dancers from all around the world, who must enchant them, captivate them, and sweep away their cares.

“From behind plush curtains and discreet doors, the unseen staff of the hotel dream and listen - and watch. The storm clouds of war are gathering, and beneath the glitz and glamour of the ballroom lurks an irresistible world of scandal and secrets. Let’s dance.”

Absolute Proof, by Peter James

Peter James asks the ultimate question: what would it take to prove the existence of God? And what would organised religion and other vested interests do to get their hands on that information?

I read an advance copy of this and enjoyed it. It’s a bit outside his usual beat but it is fast paced and will keep you reading to the end.

Brandon King

I work in the Suffolk Libraries Stock Team