Tyler, Anne (2018) Clock Dance. Knopf. In 1967 Willa is a schoolgirl coping with her mother’s disappearance, in 1977 she is a college co-ed receiving a proposal of marriage, in 1997 she is a young widow, and in 2017 she responds to a call for help from a stranger. This latter life decision is impulsive. It takes amenable Willa on an unexpected journey of self-discovery as she ‘figures out what to live for’ proving you can find happiness in unexpected places. Wonderful Anne Tyler. Delicious and comfortable. Rating: 9/10.
Walker, Martin (2018) A Taste for Vengeance. Quercus. Bruno has been promoted to Chief for Police for the whole Vézère valley, and it’s a learning curve. When one of the cooking school’s students goes missing he becomes involved in a mystery that involves homicide, mercenaries, international intrigue and the new IRA, culminating in one of the biggest manhunts in St Denis’ history. This adventure is but a sideline to the fine food and wine of the Périgord. Walker’s 11th Bruno novel is as rich and full of personality as his earlier stories. Wish I was in the Dordogne. Rating: 8.5/10.
Montefiore, Santa (2018) The Temptation of Gracie. Simon & Schuster. This epic romance has it all – Tuscan adventure, food, art fraud, family reunions, petty rivalries and lost love. Gracie is a widow who lives a quiet life until the day she spies an ad for a week-long cooking course in the heart of Tuscany. So off she goes with her daughter and grand-daughter in tow, but everything is not what it seems for Gracie is harbouring a secret past. Pleasant daydream. Rating: 7.5/10.
Bailey, Sarah (2018) Into the Night. Allen & Unwin. Bailey’s second crime procedural continues with the troubled and clever Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock. Now based in Melbourne Gemma is lonely, missing her son, her new workplace is hostile and her new partner terse and uncommunicative. When she is assigned to the murder of a homeless man and then to the bizarre death of a rising movie star she begins to find her feet as she works on unravelling the mysteries behind the deaths. Incisive writing and great characterisation. Addictive suspense at its best. Rating: 8.5/10.
Delaney, J P (2018) Believe Me. Quercus. Claire is a drama student who likes to play other people. She is in New York without a green card and to make ends meet she takes a job with divorce lawyers to entrap straying husbands. One of her targets becomes the subject of a murder investigation and Claire is forced to use all her acting skills to lure a confession from the suspect on behalf of the police. Claire is playing a deadly role that has severe consequences for her own psychological well-being. The many twists and turns of the plot keeps you on edge throughout. Smart and thrilling. Rating: 8.5/10.
Lapena, Shari (2018) An Unwanted Guest. Bantam Press. A weekend retreat in a remote country inn turns into a nightmare as a violent storm rages outside. The guests, all strangers to one another, begin to die. There is a killer among them, but they are trapped and cannot escape. Slowly crafted dread with Agatha Christie vibes. Derivative. Rating: 7/10.
Ware, Ruth (2018) The Death of Mrs Westaway. Scout Press. One dark and stormy night down on her luck fortune-teller, Harriet Westaway, receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her an inheritance from her grandmother. An unknown grandmother! Harriet convinces herself that needs must and she joins the Westaway family at the grand estate of Trepassen. She may be an imposter but things are not what they seem and she soon suspects that it is she who is being fatally conned. A menacing gothic family drama that takes its inspiration from Agatha Christie and Daphne Du Maurier. Rating: 8/10.
Robotham, Michael (2018) The Other Wife. Sphere. When Joe O’Loughlin is summoned to his father’s hospital bed after a brutal attack he meets an unknown woman claiming to be his wife. But his father, a celebrated surgeon, has been married for 60 years to Joe’s mother and childhood sweetheart. Who is this strange woman covered in his father’s blood? Joe begins his own investigation and discovers his father is a man of many faces. This is Robothan’s 9th crime thriller starring clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin. Fast moving page turning tale of duplicity with big characters. Great read. Rating: 8.5/10.