Barton, Fiona (2019) The Suspect. Bantam. Two eighteen year old girls go missing in Thailand, then turn up dead after a suspicious fire. Their families are frantic. Newspaper reporter Kate Waters (The Widow, and The Child) is the first with the exclusive but as the mystery unfolds her own son is thrust into the spotlight. In a narrative driven by Kate, DI Bob Sparkes, the bereaved parents, and the victims, we follow the clues. This suspenseful thriller will raise parents’ angst about their own children fleeing the nest for places unknown. Nail-biting read. Rating: 8.5/10.
Robertson, Catherine (2019) What You Wish For. Black Swan. Robertson’s sequel to Gabriel’s Bay is more of the same. There is a newly imported GP, Mac’s daughter Emma has returned making trouble, androgynous Devon is seeking love, Patricia is struggling to foster a child, and Sidney is pregnant. So goes this warm-hearted soap opera, peppered with loveable and fallible characters, set in small coastal town New Zealand. Lots of fun. Rating: 8/10.
Barry, Jessica (2019) Freefall. Harper. Alison survives a fatal plane crash in the Colorado Rockies and struggles to traverse the mountain wilderness to safety, pursued by a faceless enemy. Although Alison is presumed dead her mother Maggie does not believe it. She begins to investigate what has happened to her estranged daughter. Can she find the truth in time? This thriller is narrated in tandem by a tenacious mother and daughter team and keeps you guessing until the end. Sad about the cat though! Rating: 8/10.
McTiernan, Dervla (2019) The Scholar. Harper Collins. When his partner Dr Emma Sweeney reports a hit and run outside her place of work DS Cormac Reilly is soon on the scene. Emma works for Darcy Therapeutics, a multi-billion dollar company with classified facilities at Galway University, and as Cormac investigates murder both he and Emma come under scrutiny. Has his personal loyalty led him to overlook key evidence? McTiernan’s second outing is an addictive treat. She is fast becoming one of my crime genre favs. Rating: 8.5/10.
Kaku, Michio (2018). The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth. Doubleday. Moving humans to the stars is increasingly a scientific possibility. In his concern for human survival Dr Kaku reveals his compelling vision that will make interstellar living humanity’s ultimate destiny. He believes that we cannot be constrained, with a timescale that ranges from the next few centuries to millions of years. Whilst the physics might be challenging this book is designed to introduce non-scientists to possible future frontiers and scenarios. Fascinating. Rating: 9/10.
Ward, Annie (2019) Beautiful Bad. Park Row. Maddie and Ian’s romance began at a party in the Balkans. Now sixteen years later, Maddie is married to Ian, living in suburbia with a beautiful son. Ian has PTSD from his time in military security in the world’s most dangerous hot spots, and Maddie fears for her future. When Maddie is badly scarred from an accident her fear manifests, culminating in a shocking killing. Who can we trust as the novel alternates between Maddie’s past and present? Darkly riveting and manipulative. Rating: 8.5/10.
Gentleman, Fenella (2018) The Reading Party. Muswell Press. The Reading Party is set in the mid-seventies when Oxford’s male colleges have just begun accepting women. Dr Sarah Addleshaw, her college’s first and only female ‘fellow’, is invited to accompany the first mixed group of students on the annual reading retreat. Talented students are selected to go to Cornwall for a week of reading, revision and leisure. This week away, and its aftermath, tracks Sarah’s first year as a don, as she comes to terms with relationship dilemmas and arcane traditions (glossary included). Nothing much happens in this comfortable drawing room comedy of manners and academia, but a nice period piece. Rating: 8.5/10.