Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

The Blurb On The Back:

There’s no blurb on the back, instead there are the following quotes:

”A page turned, with a plot so engrossing that it seems reckless to pick the book up in the evening if you plan to get any sleep that night … Enduring Love is also blessed with the psychological richness of the finest literary novel.”

Alain de Botton, Daily Mail

 

“Taut with narrative excitements and suspense … a novel of rich diversity that triumphantly integrates imagination and intelligence, rationality and emotional alertness.”

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

 

“He is the maestro at creating suspense; the particular, sickening, see-sawing kind that demands a kind of physical courage from the reader to continue reading.”

Amanda Craig, New Statesman

 

“McEwan’s exploration of his characters’ lives and secret emotions is a virtuoso display of fictional subtlety and intelligence.”

Robert McCrum, Observer

 

“McEwan’s latest, and possibly finest … his trademarks are in full force, combining stomach-pit dread and almost unbearable pathos.  His technique is unparalleled; like the smiler with the knife, he finally slips it to the reader with exquisite smoothness.”

Fiona Russell Powell, Guardian

 

“He creates an opening that is unforgettable … McEwan does a superb job of making us believe what seems so unlikely, and that is the book’s greatest power.”

Jan Daley, Independent on Sunday

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The House Of Light by Julia Green

The Blurb On The Back:

It’s always just been Bonnie and Granda, living off the land, keeping to themselves and out of trouble.  Until one day, Bonnie goes scavenging on the beach and finds a battered rowing boat, and a bare-footed boy.  He’s cold, hungry and in need of shelter.  Bonnie knows it’s a crime to help this stranger boy, but she can’t leave him for the border guards to find.

The longer she cares for this boy, who has travelled across oceans for a new beginning, the more Bonnie longs for her own freedom.  Perhaps it’s time to escape the life she’s always known, to move out of the darkness and set sail for the house of light … 

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My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

The Blurb On The Back:

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach.  This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in ‘self-defence’ and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away.  She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first.  Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse.  Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other … 

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The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay

The Blurb On The Back:

At eighteen, Somlata married into the Mitras: a once noble Bengali household whose descendants have taken to pawning off the family gold to keep up appearances.

When Pishima, the embittered matriarch, dies, Somlata is the first to discover her aunt-in-law’s body – and her sharp-tongued ghost.

First demanding that Somlata hide her gold from the family’s prying hands, Pishima’s ghost continues to wreak havoc on the Mithras.  With secrets spilt and cooking spoilt, Somlata finds herself at the centre of the chaos.  And as the family teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, it looks as though it’s up to her to fix it.

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die is a frenetic, funny and fresh novel about three generations of Mitra women, a jewellery box and the rickety family they hold together.  

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He: A Novel by John Connolly

The Blurb On The Back:

An extraordinary imagining of the life of one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever known: a man who knew both adoration and humiliation; who loved, and was loved in turn; who betrayed, and was betrayed; who never sought to cause pain to others, yet left a trail of affairs and broken marriages in his wake …

And whose life was ultimately defined by one relationship of such tenderness and devotion that only death could sever it: his partnership with the man he knew as Babe.

he is Stan Laurel.

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Tell The Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams

The Blurb On The Back:

Follow these steps for guaranteed happiness.

That’s what the machine said.

But how far would you go to be happy?

Happiness is Pearl’s job.  As a technician working with the revolutionary Apricity device, she runs tests to determine what will improve people’s mood.  But her teenage son, Rhett, is a sensitive boy who has forged an unconventional path through adolescence.  If only Pearl could persuade him to run an Apricity assessment … but what if she doesn’t like what she finds?

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Under The Ice by Rachael Blok

The Blurb On The Back:

It is the week before Christmas and the cathedral city of St Albans is blanketed by snow.  But beneath the festive lights, darkness is stirring.  The frozen body of a young girl is discovered by the ice-covered lake.

The police scramble for clues.  A local woman, Jenny, has had visions of what happened the night of the murder.  But Jenny is an exhausted new mother, whose midnight wanderings pull her ever closer to the lake.  Can Jenny be trusted?  What does she really know?

Then another girl goes missing, and the community unravels.  Neighbour turns against neighbour, and Jenny has no idea who to believe.  As Christmas approaches, Jenny discovers a secret about her past – and why she could be key to everything …  

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Still Lives by Maria Hummel

The Blurb On The Back:

Kim Lord’s face looked back at me, disguised in paint and the features of a murdered woman.

Revered artist Kim Lord is about to unveil her most shocking show yet: Still Lives, a series of self-portraits in which she impersonates the female victims of America’s most famous homicides, from Nicole Brown Simpson to the Black Dahlia.

As celebrities and rich patrons pour into L.A.’s Rocque Museum for the opening night, the attendees wait eagerly for Kim’s arrival.  All except Maggie Richter, museum editor and ex-girlfriend of Greg Shaw Ferguson, Kim’s new boyfriend.  But Kim never shows up to her party and the crowd’s impatience slowly turns to unease.

When Greg is arrested on suspicion of murder, it seems that life is imitating art.  Has Kim suffered the same fate as the women in her paintings?  As Maggie is drawn into an investigation of her own, she uncovers dark and deadly truths that will change her life forever …

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In Our Mad And Furious City by Guy Gunaratne

The Blurb On The Back:

For Selvon, Ardan and Yusuf, growing up under the towers of Stones Estate, summer means what it does anywhere: football, music, freedom. But now, after the killing of a British soldier, riots are spreading across the city, and nowhere is safe.

While the fury swirls around them, Selvon and Ardan remain focused on their own obsessions, girls and grime. Their friend Yusuf is caught up in a different tide: radicalism is sweeping his local mosque, and he’ll do anything to protect his troubled older brother, Irfan, from it.

As the voices of Nelson and Caroline echo with a previous generation’s experience of violence and extremism, the story spirals towards its devastating conclusion. 

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She’s Not There by Tamsin Grey

The Blurb On The Back:

When Jonah and Raff wake up on Monday, their mother Lucy isn’t there.

Although Jonah is only nine, he is the big brother, and knows enough about the world to keep her absence a secret. If anyone found out she’d left them alone, it could be disastrous for him and Raff; and she’ll be back, he’s nearly sure.

With growing unease, he puzzles over the clues she’s left behind. Who sent her the flowers Why are all her shoes still in the house? Why is her phone buried in a plant pot?

And who, in their diverse south London community, might know more about her than he does? 

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A Double Life by Flynn Berry

The Blurb On The Back:

Claire’s father is a privileged man: handsome, brilliant, the product of an aristocratic lineage and an expensive education, surrounded by a group of devoted friends who would do anything for him.

But when he becomes the prime suspect in a horrific attack on Claire’s mother, a scandal erupts.  Claire’s father disappears overnight, his car abandoned, blood on the front seat.

Thirty years after that hellish night, Claire is obsessed with uncovering the truth, and she knows that the answer lies with the same friends who all those years before had answered the call to protect one of their own.

Because they know where Claire’s father is.

They helped him escape.

And it’s time their pristine lives met her fury.

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Bad Blood by E. O. Chirovici

The Blurb On The Back:

It’s a rainy night in New York, and psychologist James Cobb is giving a talk on the art of recovering lost memories via hypnosis. Afterwards, he’s approached by a stranger; a dying man who, forty years ago, wake up in a Paris hotel room with a murdered woman and no memory at all of what happened.

Now, he needs to know the truth.  Intrigued, James begins to unpick the tangled threads of this decades-old mystery.  But everyone involved has a different story to tell, and every fact he uncovers has another interpretation.  As his interest becomes an obsession, and secrets from his own past start to surface, he begins to suspect that someone has buried the truth deep enough to hide it forever.

BAD BLOOD tells a gripping story of memory, motives, and how little we really know about ourselves. 

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One Clear Ice-Cold January Morning At The Beginning Of The Twenty-First Century by Roland Schimmerlpfennig

The Blurb On The Back:

One clear ice-cold January morning shortly after dawn, a wolf crosses the border between Poland and Germany.  His trail leads all the way to Berlin, connecting the lives of disparate individuals whose paths intersect and diverge.

On an icy motorway eighty kilometres outside the city, a fuel tanker jack-knifes and explodes.  The lone wolf is glimpsed on the hard shoulder and photographed by Tomasz, a Polish construction worker who cannot survive in Germany without his girlfriend.  Elisabeth and Micha run away through the snow from their home village, crossing the wolf’s tracks on their way to the city.  A woman burns her mother’s diaries on a Berlin balcony.  And Elisabeth’s father, a famous sculptor, observes the vast skeleton of a whale in his studio and asks: What am I doing here?  And why?

Experiences and encounters flicker past with a raw, visual power, like frames in a black and white film.  Those who catch sight of the wolf see their own lives reflected, and find themselves searching for a different path in a cold time. 

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Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

The Blurb On The Back:

On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, DC, he’s a top student and an athletics star at his prestigious private high school.  Bound for Harvard, his prospects are bright.  But Niru has a painful secret: he is gay – an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents.  No one knows except his best friend, Meredith – the one person who seems not to judge him.

When his father accidentally finds out, the fallout is brutal and swift.  Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him.  As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding towards a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine.  Neither will escape unscathed.

Speak No Evil is a novel about the power of words and self-identification, about who gets to speak and who has the power to speak for other people.

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The Colour Of The Sun by David Almond

The Blurb On The Back:

One hot summer morning, Davie steps boldly out of his front door.  The world he enters is very familiar – the little Tyneside town that has always been his home – but as the day passes, it becomes ever more dramatic and strange.

A boy has been killed, and Davie thinks he might know who is responsible.  He turns away from the gossip and excitement and sets off roaming towards the sunlit summit at the top of the town, where the real and imaginary world begin to blur.

Davie sees things on the hillside that show him that amongst immorality, there can be kindness and in darkness, there is a chance for hope.  

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Seventeen by Hideo Yokoyama

The Blurb On The Back:

Five hundred and twenty people died on that mountain.

That sparkling mountain.

1985.  Kazumasa Yuuki, a seasoned reporter at the North Kanto Times, runs a daily gauntlet against the power struggles and office politics that plague its newsroom. But when an air disaster of unprecedented scale occurs on the paper’s doorstep, its staff are united by an unimaginable horror, and a once-in-a-lifetime scoop

2003.  Seventeen years later, Yuuki remembers the adrenaline-fuelled, emotionally charged seven days that changed his and his colleagues’ lives. He does so while making good on a promise he made that fateful week – one that holds the key to its last unsolved mystery, and represents Yuuki’s final, unconquered fear.

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Restless Souls by Dan Sheehan

The Blurb On The Back:

After three years embedded in the Siege of Sarajevo, war correspondent Tom returns to Dublin a haunted shell of his former self.  His childhood friends Karl and Baz know they’re laughably unqualified to help him, but are determined to see him through the darkness.  Together, they embark on a journey for an unlikely cure, to an experimental Californian clinic called Restless Souls.

But as they try to save Tom from his memories, they must confront their own – of what happened to their childhood friend Gabriel.  And in doing so, they must ask how their raucously funny teenage souls became weighed down – and why life got so damn complicated and sad.  

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The Twelve Lives Of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

The Blurb On The Back:

After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter Loo to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife’s hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother’s mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past, a past that eventually spills over into his daughter’s present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come. 

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My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

The Blurb On The Back:

Sometimes strength is not the same as courage.

Sometimes leaving is not the only way to escape.

Sometimes surviving isn’t enough. 

At 14, Turtle Alveston knows the use of every gun on her wall; that chaos is coming and only the strong will survive it; that her daddy loves her more than anything else in this world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her with him.

She doesn’t know why she feels so different from the other girls at school; why the line between love and pain can be so hard to see; why making a friend may be the bravest and most terrifying thing she has ever done and what her daddy will do when he finds out …

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The President’s Gardens by Muhsin Al-Ramli

The Blurb On The Back:

On the third day of Ramadan, the village wakes to find the severed heads of nine of its sons stacked in banana crates by the bus stop.

One of them belonged to one of the most wanted men in Iraq, known to his friends as Ibrahim the Fated.

How did this good and humble man earn the enmity of so many?  What did he do to deserve such a death?

The answer lies in his lifelong friendship with Abdullah Kafka and Tariq the Befuddled, who each have their own remarkable stories to tell.

It lies on the scarred, irradiated battlefields of the Gulf War and in the ashes of a revolution strangled in its cradle.

It lies in the steadfast love of his wife and the festering scorn of his daughter.

And, above all, it lies behind the locked gates of The President’s Gardens, buried alongside the countless victims of a pitiless reign of terror. 

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The Taste Of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles

The Blurb On The Back:

What happened to you, Lux Langley, to make your nightmares turn red?

These are the things Lux knows:

She is an Artist.

She is lucky.

She is broken

These are the things she doesn’t know:

What happened after the party.

Why she ended up in hospital.

Why she is dreaming in red and screaming in the dark. 

Desperate to uncover the truth, Lux’s time is running out.  If she cannot piece together the events of that fateful night and regain control of her scorched and splintered mind, she will be taken away from everything and everyone she holds dear.

If the nightmares don’t take her first. 

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Before This Is Over by Amanda Hickie

The Blurb On The Back:

A normal family.  A quiet, leafy street.  A terrifying epidemic.

It’s been coming for a while: a lethal illness.  With sons of five and fourteen to look out for Hannah has been stockpiling supplies, despite everyone telling her that it’s unnecessary.

Then it arrives.

At first there are a few unconfirmed cases.  Then a death.  Now the whole city is quarantined.  But Hannah’s family is not yet safe behind their locked front door …

Basics soon become luxuries, and neighbours become hazards.  There are power cuts, food shortages and an ever-growing sense of claustrophobia.  How will the family cope?

How would you cope?

How far would you go to protect your children? 

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The Party by Elizabeth Day

The Blurb On The Back:

As the train pressed on, I realised that my life was in the process of taking a different direction, plotted according to a new constellation.  Because, although I didn’t know it yet, I was about to meet Ben and nothing would ever be the same again.

Martin Gilmour is an outsider.  When he wins a scholarship to Burtonbury School, he doesn’t wear the right clothes or speak with the right kind of accent.  But then he meets the dazzling, popular and wealthy Ben Fitzmaurice, and gains admission to an exclusive world.  Soon Martin is enjoying tennis parties and Easter egg hunts at the Fitzmaurice family’s estate, as Ben becomes the brother he never had.

But Martin has a secret.  He knows something about Ben, something he will never tell.  It is a secret that will bind the two of them together for the best part of 25 years.

Now, at Ben’s 40th birthday party, the great and the good of British society are gathering to celebrate in a haze of champagne, drugs and glamour.  Amid the hundreds of guests – the politicians, the celebrities, the old-money and newly rich – Martin once again feels that disturbing pang of not-quite belonging.  His wife, Lucy, has her reservations too.  There is disquiet in the air.  But Ben wouldn’t do anything to damage their friendship.

Would he?

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Last Stop Tokyo by James Buckler

The Blurb On The Back:

The funny thing with suffering is that, just when you think you’ve suffered enough, you realise it’s only just beginning. 

Alex thought running away would make everything better.  Six thousand miles from the mistakes he’s made and the people he’s hurt, Tokyo seems like the perfect escape.  A new life, a new Alex.

The bright lights and dark corners of this alien and fascinating city intoxicate him, and he finds himself transfixed by this country, which feels like a puzzle that no one can quite explain.  But when Alex meets the enigmatic and alluring Naoko, the peace he sought slips ever further from his grasp.

After all, trust is just betrayal waiting to happen, and Alex is about to find out that there’s no such thing as rock bottom.  There’s always the chance things will get worse …

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Gather The Daughters by Jennie Melamed

The Blurb On The Back:

Thou shalt not disobey thy father.

Thou shalt not enter another man’s home uninvited.

Thou shalt not raise more than two children.
Thou shalt not touch a daughter who has bled until she enters her summer of fruition.

Thou shalt not allow thy wife to stray in thought, deed, or body.

Thou shalt not allow women who are not sister, daughter, or mother to gather without a man to guide them.

Thou shalt not kill.

On a small island, cut off from the rest of the world, there’s a community that lives by its own rules.  Boys grow up knowing they will one day reign inside and outside the home, while girls know they will be married and pregnant within moments of hitting womanhood.

But before that times comes, there is an island ritual that offers children an exhilarating reprieve.  Every summer they are turned out onto their doorsteps to roam wild: they run, they fight, they sleep on the beach and build camps in trees.  They are free.

It is at the end of one of these summers, as the first frost leaves the ground, that one of the younger girls witnesses something she was never supposed to see.  And she returns home, muddy and terrified, clutching in her small hand a truth that could unravel their carefully constructed island world forever.

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