June Picks

McTiernan, Dervla (2022) The Murder Rule. HarperCollins.

Third-year law student Hannah Rokeby sought to become a volunteer on a Virginia university’s Innocence Project. The focus of the Project was to revisit the convictions of wrongly-jailed prisoners. But innocence wasn’t Hannah’s motive in volunteering for the program. She was seeking to right a wrong done to her mother twenty-five years ago and the “innocent” man in question is her target. As she worms her way into the program she applies the murder rule – make them like you, make them need you, and make them pay! A clever thriller about manipulation and corruption. No one is innocent. Another great read from Dervla McTiernan.

Rating: 9/10

Lange, Tracey (2021) We are the Brennans. Celadon.

When after five years Sunday Brennan returns home following a DUI accident she finds her Irish Catholic family in disarray. In her absence her brothers have become rudderless, the family business is on the brink of collapse, her now married ex-fiancé is still hankering after her, and long-held secrets are set to explode. Sunday and the Brennans are forced to confront the past and present as a family. Warm but predictable domestic tale.

Rating: 8/10

 Prose, Nita (2021) The Maid. HarperCollins.

Molly loves her job as a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel. It is a joy to return a room to “a state of perfection”. However Molly is seen as a “weirdo” by her co-workers as she fails to understand social cues and finds it difficult to navigate conversations and relationships. When Molly finds Mr Black, a high profile hotel guest, dead in his bed she becomes the prime murder suspect, putting her beloved job at risk A neurodivergent heroine with a different take on the world and on solving a mystery. Quirky.

Rating: 8/10

Lewis, Susan (2021) I Have Something to Tell You. HarperCollins.

High-flying lawyer Jay Wells takes on the case of Edward Blake who is suspected of murdering his wife. No one believes that while he was watching television his wife was murdered upstairs, except Jay who painstakingly unpicks the crime, amidst her own personal drama. As she seeks to discover Edward’s secrets and navigate her feelings for him, she is addressing betrayals in her own marriage, until once again she hears the words “I have something to tell you”. A lengthy but immersive drama.

Rating: 8.5/10

Chambers, Clare (2020) Small Pleasures. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

In 1957 Jean Swinney is approaching 40, lonely and unfulfilled in life and career, taking small pleasures where she can find them. She cares for her neurotic mother and has a job at the local paper collating recipes and household tips. When she is offered the opportunity to interview Gretchen Tilbury, who claims that her 10-year-old daughter was a virgin birth, Jean welcomes the chance to investigate. Jean is charmed by Gretchen and her daughter, and also by her husband Howard, and as her relationship with them grows she earnestly attempts to substantiate Gretchen’s claim. The narrative follows medical expert analysis, tracing former patients and staff from the nursing home where Gretchen was in care at the time of conception, and Jean’s growing attachment to Howard. A tender mystery that keeps you guessing to the end. Heart-rending.

Rating: 9/10

Grisham, John (2021) The Judge’s List. Hodder & Stoughton.

Lacy Stoltz, from The Whistler, is once again on the trail of a corrupt judge, this time a serial killer. Jeri Crosby’s father was murdered twenty year ago in a case that remains unsolved, but she has obsessively stalked a suspect, and along the way discovered other victims. She shares her suspicions with Lacy, and seeks the help of the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct to obtain proof. However this sitting judge is no ordinary serial killer, not only is he clever and cunning, but he has a list with the names of his targets, and is determined to protect his identity at all costs. Suspenseful cat and mouse yarn.

Rating: 8.5/10

Kiernan, Olivia (2021) The Murder Box. Riverrun

When Gardia DCS Frankie Sheehan receives a murder mystery game on her birthday she thinks, at first, that it is a gift. However she soon recognises it has a connection to a missing young woman. As her team investigates, and she becomes increasingly immersed in the game, a mysterious network of fellow game players emerge. Which one of them will win, and what will happen if they lose? Some games can be deadly. Taut psychological thriller.

Rating: 8/10


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