Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics Institute

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Recent books

We have changed the New Books section to Recent Books and the books will be displayed for a longer period just in case you forget to make a note of what you want to read the first time you read about it. 

We hope you like the new format.

Origin by Dan Brown (October 2017)

Origin by Dan Brown (October 2017)Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend the unveiling of a discovery that 'will change the face of science forever'.  The evening's host is his friend and former student, Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old tech magnate whose dazzling inventions and audacious predictions have made him a controversial figure around the world.  This evening is to be no exception: he claims he will reveal an astonishing breakthrough to challenge the fundamentals of human existence.

But Langdon and several hundred other guests are left reeling when the meticulously orchestrated evening is blown apart before Kirsch's precious discovery can be revealed.  With his life under threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape, along with the museum's director, Ambra Vidal.  Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch's secret.

Against an enemy who is one step ahead of them at every turn, Langdon and Vidal must navigate the labyrinthine passageways of the city.  On a trail marked only by enigmatic symbols and elusive modern art, Langdon and Vidal uncover the clues that will bring them face to face with a world-shaking truth that has remained buried - until now.

A Column of Fire by Ken Follett (October 2017)

A Column of Fire by Ken Follett (October 2017)The saga that has enthralled the millions of readers of The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End now continutes with Ken Follett's magnificent, gripping new story.

Christmas 1558, and young Ned Willard returns home to Kingsbridge to find his world has changed.

The ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn by religious hatred.  Europe is in turmoil as high principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty and love, and Ned soon finds himself on the opposite side from the girl he longs to marry, Margery Fitzgerald.

Then Elizabeth Tudor becomes queen and all of Europe turns against England.  The shrewd, determined young monarch immediately sets up the country's first secret service to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions and invasion plans.

Elizabeth knows that alluring, headstrong Mary Queen of Scotrs lies in wait in Paris.  Part of a brutally ambitious French family, Mary has been proclaimed the rightful ruler of England, with her own supporters scheming to get rid of the new queen.

Over a turbulent half-century, the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed, as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva.  With Elizabeth clinging precariously to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents, it becomes clear that the real enemies - then as now - are not the rival religions.

The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else - no matter the cost.

Munich by Robert Harris (October 2017)

Munich by Robert Harris (October 2017)September 1938.  Hitler is determined to start a war.  Chamberlain is desperate to preserve the peace.  The issue is to be decided in a city that will forever afterwards be notorious for what takes place there.  Munich.

As Chamberlain's plane judders over the Channel and the Fuhrer's train steams relentlessly south from Berlin, two young men travel with secrets of their own.  Hugh Legat is one of Chamberlain's private secretaries; Paul Hartmann a German diplomat and member of the anit-Hitler resistance.  Great friends at Oxford before Hitler came to power, they haven't seen one another since they were last in Munich six years earlier.  Now, as the future of Europe hangs in the balance, their paths are destined to cross again.

When the stakes are this high, who are you willing to betray?  Your friends, your family, your country or your conscience?

A Legacy of Spies by John le Carre (October 2017)

A Legacy of Spies by John le Carre (October 2017)Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London.  The reason?  His Cold War past has come back to claim him.  Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War.  Somebody must be made to pay for innocent blood once spilt in the name of the greater good.

Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own story, John le Carre has given us a novel of superb and enduring quality.

Casting Off A Memoir by Elspeth Sandys (October 2017)

Casting Off A Memoir by Elspeth Sandys (October 2017)At the end of the first volume of Elspeth Sandy's absorbing memoir, What Lies Beneath, an adult Elspeth has solved the riddle of her birth parents and begun to piece together the events of her early life and finds her place in the world.

Casting Off begins on the eve of Elspeth's first marriage.  She and her husband will soon depart New Zealand for England, joining a throng of Kiwis who chose to uproot themselves from their native land.  New attachments will be formed: new loves - of people; of places - will take the place of the old.  But the home country will continue to exercise a pull.

Backgrounding the personal story in this deeply satisfying memoir is the story of the Thatcher years and the creeping virus of neo-liberalism, the sexual revolution of the sixties, the beguiling world of books - reading and writing - and theatre.

Elspeth Sandys' refreshing honesty and her skill as a writer of fiction and drama propel the reader through an absorbing life story that is equally a commentary on the meaning of memoir and the peculiarities of memory.

House of Spies by Daniel Silva (October 2017)

House of Spies by Daniel Silva (October 2017)Legendary spy, assassin and art restorer Gabriel Allon is out for revenge ...

Just months after a deadly attack on America, terrorists leave a trail of carnage through London's glittering West End.  The attack is a brilliant feat of planning and secrecy, but with one loose thread.

The thread leads Gabriel Allon and his team of operatives to the south of France and the gilded doorstep of Jean-Luc Martel and Olivia Watson.  A beautiful former British fashion model, Olivia pretends not to know the true source of Martel's enormous wealth,  And Martel, likewise, turns a blind eye to the fact he is doing business with a man whose objective is the very destruction of the West.

Written in seductive and elegant prose, the story moves swiftly from the glamour of Saint-Tropez to the grit of Casablanca and, finally, to an electrifying climax.

A dazzling tale of avarice and redemption, set against the backdrop of the great conflict of our times.

The Last Hours by Minette Walters (October 2017)

The Last Hours by Minette Walters (October 2017)When the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly.

The Church proclaims it a punishment from God but Lady Anne of Develish has different ideas.  With her brutal husband absent, she decides on more sensible ways to protect her people than the daily confessions of sin recommended by the Bishop.  Anne gathers her serfs within the gates of Develish and refuses entry to outsiders, even to her husband.

She makes an enemy of her daughter by doing so, but her resolve is strengthened by the support of her leading serfs ... until food stocks run low and the nerves of all are tested by their ignorance of what is happening in the world outside.  The people of Develish are alive.  But for how long?  And what will they discover when the time comes for them to cross the moat?

Compelling and suspenseful, The Last Hours is a riveting tale of human ingenuity and endurance against the worst pandemic known to history.  In Lady Anne of Develish - leader, saviour, heretic - Walters has created her most memorable heroine to date.

Driving to Treblinka by Diana Wichtel (October 2017)

Driving to Treblinka by Diana Wichtel (October 2017)An award-winning journalist tells her haunting family story

As a young child Diana Wichtel is brought up in Vancouver, Canada.  Her mother is a Catholic New Zealander, her father a Polish Jew who miraculously survived the Holocaust.  When she is thirteen, her life changes dramatically as her mother whisks her and her sister and brother away to New Zealand.  Their father is to follow.

She never see him again.

Many years later she sets out to discover what happened to him.  The search becomes an obsession as she painstakingly uncovers information about his large Warsaw family and their fate as the hands of the Nazis, scours archives across the world for clues to her father's disappearance, and visits the places he lived.

This unforgettable narrative is also deep reflection on the meaning of family, the trauma of loss, and the insistence of memory.  It asks the question: Is it better to know, or more bearable not to?

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (September 2017)

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (September 2017)The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed.  If she deviates she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness.  But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's not that of the two men on which her future hangs.

Brilliantly conceived and excuted, this powerful vision of the future gives full rein to Margaret Atwood's irony, wit and astute perception.

The Seagull by Ann Cleeves (September 2017)

The Seagull by Ann Cleeves (September 2017)A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace.  Brace was convicted of curruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper - and Vera played a key part in his downfall.

Now, Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer who disappeared in the mid-nineties, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren.  He tells her that Marshall is dead, and that his body is buried close to St Mary's Island in Whitley Bay.  However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two.

This cold case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as 'the Prof', were friends of Hector, her father.  Together they were the 'Gang of Four', regulars at a glamorous nightclub called The Seagull.  Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive.  As the past begins to colide dangerously with the present, Vera confronts her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth.

The Late Show by Michael Connelly (September 2017)

The Late Show by Michael Connelly (September 2017)Los Angeles can be a dangerous city - never more so than in the dead of night.

Renee Ballard works the nigth shift at the LAPD in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives.  A once up-and-coming detective, she's been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two cases she doesn't want to part with, the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting.  Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn.  Against orders and her own partner's wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night.

As the cases entwine they pull her closer to her own demons and the reasons she won't give up her job - no matter what the department throws at her.

Camina Island by John Grisham (September 2017)

Camina Island by John Grisham (September 2017)The most daring and devastating heist in literary history targets a high security vault located deep beneath Princeton University.

Valued at $25 million (though some would say priceless), the five manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald's only novels are amongst the most valuable in the world.  After an initial flurry of arrests, both they and the ruthless gang of thieves who took them have vanished without trace.

Dealing in stolen books is a dark business, and few are initiated to its arts - which puts Bruce Kable right on the FBI's Rare Asset Recovery Unit's watch list.

A struggling writer burdened by debts, Mercer Mann spent summers on Florida's idyllic Camino Island as a kid, in her grandmother's beach cottage.  Now she is being made an offer she can't refuse: to return to the peace of the island, to write her novel - and get close to a certain infamous bookseller, and his interesting collection of manuscripts ...

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah (September 2017)

Did You See Melody?  by Sophie Hannah (September 2017)Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star resort she can't afford.  Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it aleady occupied - by a man and a teenage girl.

A simple mistake on the part of the receptionist - but Cara's fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can't possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents aer serving life sentences for her murder.

Cara doesn't know what to trust: everything she's read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes.  Did she really see Melody?  And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz (September 2017)

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz (September 2017)Spread the word.  The word is murder.

A wealthy woman strangled six hours after she's arranged her own funeral.

A very private detective uncovering secrets but hiding his own.

A reluctant author drawn into a story he can't control.

What do they have in common?

Unexpected death, an unsolved mystery and a trail of bloody clues lie at the heart of Anthony Horowitz's page-turning new thriller.

Tell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz (September 2017)

Tell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz (September 2017)No Choice
Daniel Brasher is leaving behind his job as a probation counsellor working with hardened criminals to spend more time with his wife, now well again after serious illness.  However, nothing is ever that simple.

No Time
When he finds a scrawled messge in the post at work demanding 'admit what you've done or you will bleed for it.  You have 'till midnite', he is horrified - then relieved to discover it's not addressed to him.  But he learns that the intended victim is already dead.

No Escape
More death threats signal a series of gruesome, seemingly inexplicable murders.  Until a note is addressed to Daniel himself.  And with the clock ticking, he must discover who wants him dead.  Any why.  Or become the next victim ...

The Break by Marion Keyes (September 2017)

The Break by Marion Keyes (September 2017)'Myself and Hugh ... We're taking a break.' 
'A city-with-fancy-food sort of a break?'
If only.

Amy's husband Hugh says he isn't leaving her.

He still loves her, he's just taking a break - from their marriage, their chldren and, most of all, from their life together.  Six months to lose himself in South East Asia.  And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.

Yes, it's a mid-life crisis, but let's be clear: a break isn't a break-up - yet...

However, for Amy it's enough to send her - along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers - teetering over the edge.

For a lot can happen in six months.  When Hugh returns, if he returns, will he be the same man she married?  And will Amy be the same woman?

Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then so is she...

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Larercrantz (September 2017)

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Larercrantz (September 2017)Book Five in the Millennium series

Lisbeth Salander is an unstoppable force.  Sentenced to two months in Flodberga women's prison for saving a young boy's life by any means necessary, Salander refuses to say anything in her own defence.  She has more important things of her mind.

Mikael Blomkvist makes the long trip to visit every week - and receives a lead to follow for his pains.  For him, it looks to be an important expose for Millennium.  For her, it could unlock the facts of her childhood. 

Even from a corrupt prison system run largely by the inmates, Salander will stand up for what she believes in, whatever the cost.  And she will seek the truth that is somehow connected with her childhood memory, of a woman with a blazing birthmark on her neck - that looked as if it had been burned by a dragon's fire ...

Good Friday by Lynda La Plante (September 2017)

Good Friday by Lynda La Plante (September 2017)March, 1976.  An IRA bombing campaign strikes terror across Britian.  Nowhere and no one is safe.

Minutes before a deadly tube station blast, detective constable Jane Tennison spots the bomber.  Too traumatised to identify him she is nevertheless a key witness.

As they battle to unmask the terrorists, the police are determined nothing will disrupt their annual Good Friday dinner dance.  Hundreds of detectives and their partners will be there - Jane among them.

And then Jane's memory returns.  Now not only can she identify the bomber, but she is in real and present danger from the IRA.  In a nail-biting race against time, Jane must convince her senior officers to believe her before London is engulfed in another bloodbath.

Three Days and A Life by Pierre Lemaitre (September 2017)

Three Days and A Life by Pierre Lemaitre (September 2017)Three days, one moments of madness.
A Young life's course altered forever
The dazzling new thriller from the master of noir

The House of Unexpected Sisters by Alexander McCall Smith (September 2017)

The House of Unexpected Sisters by Alexander McCall Smith (September 2017)At Botswana's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi are intrigued by the troubling dismissal of an employee at a thriving local business.  The ladies proceed with investigations as they are inclined to do - with Mma Makutsi's customary vigour, and Mme Ramotswe's rather more subtle caution.

While Mma Makutsi's focus, as self-appointed Principal Investigating Officer, is firmly on the case, Mma Ramotswe's attention is diverted by personal matters.  Not only has her disgraced ex-husband reappeared in town, but she has stumbled on an unsettling family secret of her own - one that might threaten what she holds closest to her heart.

As Precious contemplates this painful possibility, she must draw on her strength and compassion.  And for both Mma Makutsi and Mma Ramotswe, the wise words of their mentor Clovis Andersen - 'the needle swings in confusing ways' - have never been more prescient ...

 

Insidious Intent by Val McDermid (September 2017)

Insidious Intent by Val McDermid (September 2017)'Murdered people don't kill themselves...'

A quiet night on a country road.  The stillness shattered by a car engulfed in flames, and a burned body discovered in the driver's seat.  As the investigation unfolds, DCI Carol Jordan and psychological profiler Tony Hill quickly realise that this is more than just a tragic accident.  And so begins the hunt for a truly terrifying killer, someone who believes his is invisible, untraceable and untouchable.

As other victims are found to have met the same terrible fate, and with more women at risk, Tony and Coral are drawn into a dark and twisted web of fear and revenge that will force them to question their own ideas of justice ...

Discover the pulse-pounding new novel from the inimitable queen of crime and number one bestseller, Val McDermid, featuring two of the most iconic and unforgettable characters in crime fiction: Tony Hill and Caral Jordan.

Glass Houses by Louise Penny (September 2017)

Glass Houses by Louise Penny (September 2017)One cold November day, a mysterious figure appears on the village green in Three Pines, causing unease, alarm and confusion among everyone who sees it.  Chief Superintendent Armand Gamache knows something is seriously wrong, but all he can do is watch and wait, hoping his worst fears are not realised.  But when the figure disappears and a dead body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to investigate.

In the early days of the murder inquiry, and months later as the trial for the accused begins, Gamache must face the consequences of his decisions and his actions, from which there is no going back...

Grunt by Mary Roach (September 2017)

Grunt by Mary Roach (September 2017)War: Mention it and most of us think of history, of conflicts on foreign soil, of heroism and compromise, of stategy and weapons.  But there's a whole other side to the gruesome business of the battlefield.

In Grunt, the inimitable Mary Roach explores the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war.  Setting about her task with infectious enthusiasm, she sniffs World War II stink bombs, tests earplugs in a simulated war zone and burns the midnight oil with the crew of a nuclear submarine.  Speaking to the scientists and the soldiers, she learns about everything from life-changing medical procedures to innovations as esoteric as firing daed chickens at fighter jets.  Engrossing, insightful and laugh-out-loud funny, this is an irresistible ride to the wider shores of modern military life.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (September 2017)

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (September 2017) Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia.  All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most: an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear that even greater pain awaits.  When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.

In Whitehead's razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated box-car pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can.  Thus Cora embarks on a harrowing journey, seeking true freedom, pursued relentlessly by a terrifying slave catcher named Ridgeway.

As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America, from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.  The Underground Railroad is at once the story of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage, and a shatteringly powerful meditation on history.

A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (August 2017)

A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (August 2017)Joshua is convinced there is a family curse.

It's taken loved ones from him, it's taken his sight, and it's the reason his father is killed tracking a serial killer.  But Joshua's world is about to change.  With a new, groundbreaking surgery, his days of being blind are about to be over.  Joshua is being offered the opportunity to see the world through his dead father's eyes.

As Joshua sees for the frist time, he catches glimpses of his father's life, and of the lives his father hunted.  There are things about his dad that don't add up...and it doesn't take long for Joshua to discover a world darker than the one he has emerged from.

Decliine & Fall on Savage Street by Fiona Farrell (August 2017)

Decliine & Fall on Savage Street by Fiona Farrell (August 2017)A house with a fanciful turret is build by a river.

Unfolding within its rooms are lives of event and emotional upheaval.  A lot happens.  And the tumultuous events of the twentieth century also leave their mark, from war to economic collapse, the deaths of presidents and princesses to new waves of music, art, architecture and political ideas.

Meanwhile, a few metres away in the river, another creature follows a different, slower rhythm.

And beneath them all, the planet moves to its own immense geological time.

With insight, wide-ranging knowledge and humour, this novel explores the same territory as its non-fiction twin, The Villa at the Edge of the Empire.  Writing in a city devastated by major earthquakes, Fiona Farrell rebuilds a brilliant, compelling and imaginative structure from bits and pieces salvaged from one hundred years of history.

A lot has happened.  This is now is might have felt.

The Little Breton Bistro by Nina George (August 2017)

The Little Breton Bistro by Nina George (August 2017)Marianne Messmann longs to escape a loveless marriage.  On a trip to Paris, she decides to leap off the Pont Neuf into the Seine, but is saved from drowning by a passer-by.  While recovering in hospital, Marianne comes across a painting of a beautiful port town in Brittany and decides to embark on a final adventure.

Once in Brittany, Marianne is swept up in an enchanting new way of life at 'Ar Mor' (The Sea) restaurant.  She meets Yann, the handsome painter, Genevieve, the fiery restaurant owner, Jean-Remy, the heartbroken chef, and many more friends who open her eyes to new possibilities.  Among food, music and laughter, Marianne discovers a new version of herself - passionate, carefree and powerful.  That is until her past comes calling.  And when it does, Marianne is left with a choice: to step back into the known or to cast it aside for an exciting and rewarding future.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (August 2017)

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (August 2017)1988 Frank owns a music shop.  It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre.  Classical, jazz, punk - as long as it's vinyl, he sells it.  Day after day, Frank finds his cutomers the music they need.  But while he is loved by many people, Frank is happy alone.

Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann.

Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music.  His instinct is to turn and run.  And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl.  But Ilse is not what she seems.  And Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen and a past he will never leave behind.

The Music shop is about learning how to listen and how to feel; it's about second chances and choosing to be brave despite the odds.  Because in the end, music can save us all.

Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard (August 2017)

Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard (August 2017)'This little dog has changed me in ways I think I'm only just beginning to understand.  Maybe I'll never fully understand it all.  Yet I do know this: finding Gobi was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life.  But being found by her - that was one of the best.'

In the scorching heat, across arid plains and over the Tian Shan Mountains, Dion Leonard was competing in a gruelling 155-mile ultramarathon race through the Chinese Gobi Desert when a stray dog started running with him.  The lovable pup, who earned the name 'Gobi', proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart, as she went step for step with Dion over the treacherous landscape, managing to keep pace with him for nearly 80 miles.

As Dion witnessed the incredible determination of this small scruffy dog, he felt something change within himself.  He had always focused solely on winning a place on the race podium, but now his goal was simply to make sure that his new friend was safe, nourished and hydrated.  Although Dion did not finish first, he felt he had won something far greater and promised to bring Gobi back to the UK to become part of his family.

Back in the UK, Dion was working hard to bring Gobi home when he received a phone call that made his stomach drop.  Gobi was missing in a dangerous sprawling Chinese city of 3 million people.  Dion was determined to do everything in his power to find the little dog who had inspired him and won his heart - this was the start of a journey neither of them would ever forget, a roller-coaster ride that changed their lives forever.

Sleeping in the Ground by Peter Robinson (August 2017)

Sleeping in the Ground by Peter Robinson (August 2017)A shocking mass murder occurs at a wedding in a small Dales church and a huge manhunt follows.  Eventually, the shooter is run to ground and things take their inevitable course.

But Banks is plagued with doubts as to exactly what happened outside the church that day, and why.  Struggling with the death of his first serious girlfriend and the return of profiler Jenny Fuller into his life.  Banks feels the need to dig deeper into the murders, and as he does so, he uncoveres forensic and psychological puzzles that lead him to the past secrets that might just provide the answers he is looking for.

When the surprising truth becomes clear, it is almost too late.

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham (August 2017)

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham (August 2017)Everyone has an idea of what their perfect life is.

For Agatha, it's Meghan Shaughnessy's.

These two women from vastly different backgrounds have one thing in common - a dangerous secret that could destroy everything they hold dear.

Both will risk everything to hide the truth, but their worlds are about to collide in a shocking act that cannot be undone.

The compelling new psycological thriller that will break your heart into tiny little pieces, from world-renowned author Michael Robotham.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (August 2017)

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (August 2017)The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on a journey of many years - the story spooling outwards from the cramped neighbouhoods of Old Delhi into the burgeoning new metropolis and beyond, to the Valley of Kashmir and the forests of central India, where war is peace and peace is war, and where, from time to time, 'normalcy' is declared.

Anjum, who used to be Aftab, unrolls a threadbare carpet in a city graveyard that she calls home.  A baby appears quite suddenly on a pavement, a little after midnight, in a crib of litter.  The enigmatic S. Tilottama is a much of a presence as she is an absence in the lives of the three men who love her.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once an aching love story and a decisive remonstration. It is told in a whisper, in a shout, through tears and sometimes with a laugh.  Its heroes are people who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued, mended by love - and by hope.  For this reason, they are as steely as they are fragile, and they never surrender.  This ravishing, magnificent book reinvents what a novel can do and can be.  And it deminstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy's storytelling gifts.

The Pharaoh's Secret by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown (June 2017)

The Pharaoh's Secret by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown (June 2017)The City Of the Dead, Egypt 1353 BC
Buried deep beneath the Saharan desert is a secret - an ancient elixir so powerful that it is rumoured to take life from the living and restore it to the dead.

Lumpedusa, Present Day
Off a remote island, a mysterious ship releases a deadly poison.  Minutes later, everyone on the island is dead.
Responding to a distress call, Kurt Austin and the NUMA team struggle to understand what has caused this disaster.  As they investigate the incident further they uncover a far greater threat.

What Is The Truth Behind The Legends?
Now Kurt Austin must learn the secrets of the past if he is to save millions from a horrifying death.  But it is a desperate race against time.  And he faces a deadly enemy who will stop at nothing...

The Hidden Room by Stella Duffy (June 2017)

The Hidden Room by Stella Duffy (June 2017)Life is good for Laurie and Martha.  They have three great kids, a much-loved home in the countryside, and after years of struggle, Laurie's career as an architect is taking off at last.  Everything's perfect.

Except, it isn't.

Someone is about to walk into their happy family and tear it apart.

Laurie has been hiding from him for years.  The question is, now that he's found her, can she keep her family safe?  And just how far will she go to protect them?

The Method by Shannon Kirk (June 2017)

The Method by Shannon Kirk (June 2017)Imagine a helpless, pregnant sixteen-year-old who's just been snatched from the serenity of her home and shoved into a dirty van.  Kidnapped...Alone...Terrified.

Now forget her.

Picture instead a pregnant, sixteen-year-old, manipulative prodigy.  She is shoved into a dirty van and, from the first moment of her kidnapping, feels a calm desire for two things: to save her unborn son and to exact merciless revenge.

She is methodical - calculating - scientific in her plotting.  Leaving nothing to chance, she waits...for the perfect moment to strick.  The Method is what happens when the victim is just as cold as the captors.

Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier (June 2017)

Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier (June 2017)Disillusioned healer Blackthorn and her companion Grim have settled quietly in Dalriada to wait out the seven years of Blackthorn's bond to her fey mentor.  But trouble has a way of seeking out Blackthorn and Grim.

Lady Geileis, a noblewoman from the northern border, has asked for the prince of Dalriada's help in expelling a howling creature from an old tower on her land - one surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of thorns.  Casting, a blight over the entire district, and impossible to drive out by ordinary means, the mysterious presence threatens both the safety and the sanity of all who live nearby.

As Blackthorn and Grim begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together, it becomes clear that a powerful adversary is at work.  Their quest is about to become a life and death struggle - where even the closest of friends can find themselves on opposite sides.

Runaway by Peter May (June 2017)

Runaway by Peter May (June 2017)Five Dreams of Fame

Glasgow, 1965.  Jack Mackay dares not imagine a life of predictability and routine.  The headstrong seventeen year old has one thing on his mind - London - and successfully convinces his four friends, and fellow band mates, to join him in abandoning their homes to pursue a goal of musical stardom.

Five Decades fo Fear

Glasgow, 2015.  Jack Mackay dares not look back on a life of failure and mediocrity.  The heavy-hearted sixty-seven year old is still haunted by the cruel fate that befell him and his friends some fifty years before, and how he did and did not act when it mattered most - a memory he has run from all his adult life.

London, 2015.  A man lies dead ina bedsit.  His killer looks on, remorseless.  What started with five teenagers five decades before will now be finished.

Runaway is a tense, nostalgic crime thriller spanning a half-century of friendships solidified and severed, dreams shared and shattered, passions ignited and extinguished; and set against the backdrop of two unique and contrasting cities at two unique and contrasting periods of recent history.

The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone by Charity Norman (June 2017)

The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone by Charity Norman (June 2017)Girl meet boy.  They fall in love, and they marry.  For thirty years they share one another's lives.  That should have been the end of the story...

Luke Livingstone is a lucky man.  He's a father and grandfather, a respected solicitor, a pillar of the community.  He has a loving wife in Eilish, children who adore him and an idyllic home in the Oxfordshire countryside.

But Luke is struggling witih an unbearable secret, one that is close to destroying him.  All his life, Luke has hidden the truth about himself - a truth so fundamental that it will shatter his family, rock his community and leave him an outcast.

Luke has nowhere left to run.  He must either end his life, or become the woman he knows himself to be - whatever the cost.  His family is tested to its limits, as each of them is forced to consider what makes a person essentially themselves.  What do you do when you find that your husband - your father, your son - is not who you thought?  Can you ever love him again?

A beautiful and dramatic portrayal of a family in turmoil.

The Games by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan (June 2017)

The Games by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan (June 2017)Two years ago, Jack Morgan was in Rio consulting on security for the World Cup.  The tournament went without a hitch.  Until a man died in one of the executive hospitality suites during the final, and the autopsy showed the cause to be a rare and deadly virus.

The story was kept from the media to avoid causing panic, but Jack feared that the death was no freak occurrence.

Now the eyes of the world are once again turned towards Rio for the Olympic Games, and Jack is back in Brazil's beautiful capital.  It's not long before he uncovers terriying evidence that someone has set in motion a catastriphic plan.

The death at the World Cup was just a warning.  The Olympic Games could be the setting for the worst atrocity the world has ever seen.

Departure by A.G. Riddle (June 2017)

Departure by A.G. Riddle (June 2017)En route to London from New York, Flight 305 suddenly loses power and crash-lands in the English countryside, plunging a group of strangers into a mysterious adventure that will have repercussions for all of humankind.

Struggling to stay alive, the survivors soon realize that the world they've crashed in is very different from the one they left.  But where are they?  Why are they here?  And how will they get back home?

Five passengers seem to hold clues about what's really going on: writer Harper Lane, venture capitalist Nick Stone, German genetic researcher Sabrina Schroder, computer scientist Yul Tan, and Grayson Shaw, the son of a billionaire philanthropist.

As more facts about the crash emerge, it becomes clear that some in this group know more than they're letting on - answers that will lead Harper and Nick to uncover a far-reaching conspiracy involving their own lives.  As they begin to piece together the truth, they discover they have the power to change the future and the past - to save our world...or end it.

The Liar by Nora Roberts (June 2017)

The Liar by Nora Roberts (June 2017)When her husband Richard dies in a freak accident, Shelby Pomeroy is devastated.  But his death reveals a horrible truth - Richard was a liar and a cheat.  Now Shelby is left with the consequences - huge, terrifying debts and mounting proof that her late husband betrayed her in every conceivable way.

Heartbroken but unbowed, Shelby is determined to fix her problems - if only for the sake of her gorgeous little daughter Callie.  Returning home to Tennessee and the family she thought she'd lost for ever, she discovers a new sense of strength and freedom.  And hope, too, in the handsome form of carpenter Griffin Lott - a straight-dealing man who couldn't lie to her if he tried.

But not everyone is thrilled to see Shelby Pomeroy back in town.  And when a shocking act of violence is traced back to Richard's shady business, it becomes clear that she is not safe from him, even in death.  With her life in danger, Shelby must face the lies of the past - or lose everything.

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon (June 2017)

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon (June 2017)Alex is sinking.  Slowly but surely, she's cut herself off from everything but her one true love - drink.  Until she's forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy.

Amy is lost.  When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park.  Her attacker was never found.  Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place.  She's as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands.

Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys.  And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma...

The Predictions by Bianca Zander (June 2017)

The Predictions by Bianca Zander (June 2017)Gaialands, a bucolic vegan commune in the New Zealand wilderness, is the only home fifteen-year-old Poppy has ever known.  It's the epitome of 1970's counterculture - a place of free love, hard work and high ideals...at least in theory.  But Gaialands' strict principles are shaken when new arrival Shakti claims the commune's energy needs to be healed and she harnesses her divination powers in a ceremony called the Predictions.  Poppy is predicted to find her true love overseas, so when her boyfriend, Lukas, leaves Gaialands to fulfil his dream of starting a punk rock band in London, she follows him.  In London, Poppy falls into a life that looks very like the one her prediction promised - but is it the one she truly wants?

No Middle Name by Lee Child (May 2017)

No Middle Name by Lee Child (May 2017)Published together for the first time, and including a brand-new adventure, the complete Jack Reacher short story collection.

Jack 'No Middle Name' Reacher, lone wolf, knight errant, ex-military cop, lover of women, scourge of the wicked and righter of wrongs, is the most iconic hero of our age.

A new Reacher novella, Too Much Time, is included, as are those previously only published in ebook form: Second Son, Deep Down, High Heat, Not a Drill and Small Wars; and so is every Reacher short story that Child has written so far.  Read together, they shed new light on Reacher's past, illuminating how he grew up and developed into the wandering avenger who has captured the imagination of millions around the world.

The Cutthroat by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott (May 2017)

The Cutthroat by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott (May 2017)The Detective

It's 1911.  Chief Investigator Isaac Bell of the Van Dorn Detective Agency has had many extraordinary cases before.  But none quite like this.

The Investigation

Hired to find a young woman who has run away from home, Bell is shocked when instead he discovers that the pretty young actress has been brutally murdered.  Vowing to bring her killer to justice, he begins a manhunt which leads him to a chilling conclusion: that she was not the only victim - in cities across America young women sharing the same physical characteristics have been slain.

The Killer

And the pattern goes beyond the appearance of the victims - there are disturbing familiarities about the nature of the murders themselves that unnerves even a man as familiar with evil as Bell.  Because if he is right about his fears, then he is on the trail of one of the most terrifying serial killers ever to have lived...

Need You Dead by Peter James (May 2017)

Need You Dead by Peter James (May 2017)A Detective Superintendent Roy Grace novel

Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of a man who promises her the earth.  But, as Lorna soon finds, life seldom follows the plans you've made.  A chance photograph on a client's mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene.  At first it looks an open-and-shut case with a clear prime suspect.  Then other scenarious begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane (May 2017)

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane (May 2017)A toxic marriage a web of lies who can you trust?

Rachel's husband adores her.  When she hit rock bottom, he was there with her every step of the way as she slowly regained her confidence and her sanity.  But his mysterious behaviour forces her to probe for the truth about her beloved husband.

How can she feel certain that she ever knew him?  And was she right to ever trust him?

Post Mortem by Kate London (May 2017)

Post Mortem by Kate London (May 2017)She closed her eyes and saw, as if on a loop, a repeating backdrop of square windows, blue sky and concrete spinning and passing, passing, passing.  She could not escape the horror of it: falling unstoppably, irretrievably until the hard concrete reaches up.  That last glimpse of them at the edge.

A long-serving beat cop in the Met and a teenage girl fall to their deaths from a tower block in London's East End.  Left alive on the roof are a five-year-old boy and rookie police officer Lizzie Griffiths.  Within hours, Lizzie Griffiths has disappeared, and DS Sarah Collins sets out to uncover the truth around the grisly deaths, in an investigation which takes her into the dark heart of policing in London.

Kate London worked as a police officer for eight years, ending her career in the Metropolitan police services' Homicide division in 2014.  Post Mortem is her first novel.

The Hanging Club by Tony Parsons (May 2017)

The Hanging Club by Tony Parsons (May 2017)Judge.  Jury.  Witness.  Hangman.

A band of vigilante executionars roam London's hot summer nights, abducing evil men and handing them until dead.

Sentenced to Death:

The gang member who abused vulnerable girls,   The wealthy drunk driver who mowed down a child.  The hate preacher calling for the murder of British soldiers.

As the bodies pile up and riots explode across the sweltering city, DC Max Wolfe hunts a gang of killers who many believe to be heroes.

He discovers that the lust for revenge starts very close to home...

Through the Lonesome Dark by Paddy Richardson (May 2017)

Through the Lonesome Dark by Paddy Richardson (May 2017)For the men of the town, Blackball is the daily hardship of working the mine.  For the women, it's the dismal cottages with the piles of coal outside.  Yet for Pansy, Otto and Clem, children of Blackball, it's the treasure of the creek and bush and the richness of the friendship which binds them together.  But as Pansy soon realises, 'grown up is serious' and past promises cannot be kept.

Set in the times surrounding the Great War, Through the Lonesome Dark confronts and questions the loyalties demanded by family, friendship and love - both at home and amongst the ravages of war - and the hope of finding your way back.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (May 2017)

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (May 2017)Lucy is recoverng from an operation in a New York hospital when she wakes to find her estranged mother sitting by her bed.  They have not seen each other in years.  As they talk, Lucy finds herself recalling her troubled rural childhood and how it was she eventually ended up in the big city, got married and had children.  But this unexpected visit leaves her doubting the life she's made: wondering what is lost and what has yet to be found.

A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson (May 2017)

A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson (May 2017)'You may think you have a mnd for murder, Mrs Christie, but you will soon find that you are not the only one.'

Agatha Christie, in London to visit her literary agent, is on the station platform, preoccupied with the devastating knowledge that her husband Archie is having an affair.  There's a light touch on her back, causing her to lose balance, then someone pulls her to safety from the oncoming train.

But her rescuer is no guardian angel: he is a blackmailer of the most insidious, manipulative kind.  And Agatha must use every ounce of her cleverness and resourcefulness to thwart an adversary determined to exploit her genius for murder to kill on his behalf...

The details of Agatha Christie's sudden disappearance in the winter of 1926 remain unknown.  What actually happened to her in those ten days?  In his tantalising new novel, Andrew Wilson weaves an utterly compelling and convincing story about this still unsolved mystery involving the world's bestselling novelist.

The Fix by David Baldacci (May 2017)

The Fix by David Baldacci (May 2017)Walter Dabney is a family man.  A loving husband and the father of four grown daughters, he's built a life many would be proud of.

But then the unthinkable happens.

Standing outside the FBI Headquarters in Washington DC, Dabney shoots school teacher Anne Berkshire in cold blood before turning the gun on himself.

One of the many witnesses is Amos Decker: a man who forgets nothing and sees what most miss.

Baffled by what appears to be a seemingly senseless and random killing.  Decker is thrust into the investigation to determine what drove this family man to pull the trigger.

As part of an FBI special task force.  Decker and the team delve into the lives of Dabney and Berkshire to find a connection that doesn't seem to exist.  What they do find are secrets that stretch back a lifetime and reveal a current plot of impending destruction that will send the world reeling, placing Decker and his team squarely in the crosshairs.

The Burial Hour by Jeffery Deaver (May 2017)

The Burial Hour by Jeffery Deaver (May 2017)The only proof that a man was snatched in broad daylight is the account of an eight-year-old-girl - and the miniature noose left lying on the street.

A crime scene this puzzling demands forensic expertise of the highest order.  Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are called in to investigate.

Then the case takes a stranger turn: a recording surfaces of the victim being strangled, his gasps underscoring a piece of music.  The video is marked as copyright The Composer...

Despite their best efforts, the suspect gets away.  So when a similar kidnapping occurs on a dusty road outside Naples, Rhyme and Sachs don't hesitate to rejoin the hunt.

But the search is now a complex case of international cooperation - and not all those involved may be what they seem.  All they can do is follow the evidence, before their time runs out.

Queen Bees by Sian Evans (May 2017)

Queen Bees by Sian Evans (May 2017)Six brilliant and extraordinary society hosteses between the wars - a spectacle of celebrity, talent, and burning ambition

Lady Nancy Astor
Lady Sibyl Colefax
Mrs Laura Corrigan
Lady Emerald Cunard
Mrs Ronnie Greville
Lady Edith Londonderry

In the aristocratic circles of early 20th Century London revolution was on the horizon - in the form of six remarkable society hostesses who would change the political, social and cultural landscape of Britain forever.

These formidable Queen Bees, presided over society from their dining tables and salons, charming, scheming, and mingling their way (with mixed results) through two world wars, the Great Depression, an abdication, a coronation and an upheaval in class structures.

With a glittering cast of players from the Mosleys to the Mitfords, from millionaires to maharajahs, from film stars to royalty, Queen Bees is the witty, warm and fascinating story of six remarkable women.

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins (May 2017)

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins (May 2017)'Julia, it's me.  I need you to call me back.  Please, Julia.  It's important...'

In the last days before her death, Nel Abbott called her sister.

Jules didn't pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help.

Now Nel is dead.  They say she jumped.  And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind.

But Jules is afraid.  So afraid.  Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of knowing that Nel would never have jumped.

And most of all she's afraid of the water, and the place they call the Drowning Pool...

A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride (May 2017)

A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride (May 2017)Welcome to the Misfit Mob...

It's where Police Scotland dumps the officers it can't get rid of, but wants to: the outcasts, the troublemakers, the compromised.  Officers like DC Callum MacGregor, lumbered with all the boring go-nowhere cases.  So when an ancient mummy turns up at the Oldcastle tip, it's his job to find out which museum it's been stolen from.

But then Callum uncovers links between his ancient corpse and three missing young men, and life starts to get a lot more interesting.  O Division's Major Investigation Teams already have more cases than they can cope with, so, against everyone's better judgement, the Misfit Mob are just going to have to manage this one on their own.

No one expects them to succeed, but right now they're the only thing standing between the killer's victims and a slow, lingering death.  The question is, can they prove everyone wrong before he strikes again?

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo (May 2017)

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo (May 2017)The blistering new Harry Hole thriller from the number one bestselling author of The Snowman and Police.

There's a new killer on the streets


A woman is found murdered after an internet date.  The marks left on her body show the police that they are dealing with a particularly vicious killer.

He's in your house ... he's in your room

Under pressure from the media to find the murderer, the force know there's only one man for the job.  But Harry Hole is reluctant to return to the place that almost took everything from him.. Until he starts to suspect a connection between this killing and his one failed case.

He's out for blood

When another victum is found, Harry realises he will need to put everything on the line if he's to finally catch the one who got away.

The End of the Day by Claire North (May 2017)

The End of the Day by Claire North (May 2017)Charlie meets everyone - but only once.

You might meet him in a hospital, in a warzone or at the scene of a traffic accident.

Then again, you might meet him at the North Pole - Charlie gets everywhere.

Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy; sometimes as a warning.  Either way, it will be the most important meeting of your life.

The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve (May 2017)

The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve (May 2017)1947

Fires are racing along the coast of Maine after summer-long drought, ravaging thousands of acres, causing unprecedented confusion and fear.

Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her moody and unpredictable husband Gene joiins the volunteers fighting to bring the fire under control. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie's two young children, Grace watches helplessly as their houses go up in flames and they are forced to walk into the ocean as a last resort.  They spend the night frantically trying to save their children.  When dawn comes, they have miraculously survived, but their lives are forever changed: homeless, penniless and left to face an uncertain future in a town that no longer exists.

As Grace awaits news of her husband's fate, she begins to discover glorious new freedoms she could never have expected and her spirit soars.  And then the unthinkable happens, and Grace's bravery is tested as never before.

The Scent of You by Maggie Alderson (April 2017)

The Scent of You by Maggie Alderson (April 2017)Are you still married if you haven't seen your husband for months?

Polly's life is great.  Her children are away at uni, her glamorous mother - still modelling at eighty-five - is happily settled in a retirement village, and her perfume blog is taking off.  Then her husband announces he needs some space and promptly vanishes.

As Polly grapples with her bewildering situation, she clings to a few new friends to keep her going - Shirlee, the loudmouthed yoga student; Guy, the mysterious, infuriating and hugely talented perfumer; and Edward, an old flame from university.

And while she distracts herself with the heady world of luxury perfume, Polly knows she can't keep reality at bay forever.  Eventually she is forced to confront some difficult truths: about her husband, herself and who she really wants to be.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (April 2017)

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (April 2017)The Norse myths are woven into the fabric of our storytelling - from the novels of Tolkien to the worlds of comics and superheroes.  They are also an inspriration for Neil Gaiman's own award-winning, bestselling fiction.

Now Gaiman reaches back through time to the original source stories in an epic and electrifying retelling of the great Norse myths - thrilling tales of dwarfs and frost giants, of treasures and magic, and of Asgard, home to the gods: Odin the all-father, highest and oldest of the gods; his mighty son Thor, whose hammer, Mjollnir, was forged by dwarfs and makes the mountain giants tremble; Loki, wily and handsome, reliably unreliable in his lusts; and Freya, more beautiful than the sun or the moon, who gives short shrift to the gods, giants and ogres who seek to control her.

Gaiman's gods are thoroughly alive on the page - irascible, visceral, playful, passionate - as he leads us from the beginning of everything to Ragnarok, the inescapable final downfall of the gods...
 

Secrets of a Happy Marriage by Cathy Kelly (April 2017)

Secrets of a Happy Marriage by Cathy Kelly (April 2017)Any family knows that a special birthday party is the perfect chance to come together, but for the Brannigan clan it's about more than just raising a glass...

Bess is hoping to show everyone just how happy her recent marriage is, but behind all the party-planning the cracks are begining to show.  Why is joining a new family so difficult?

Jojo, Bess's stepdaughter, has a point to make.  Bess is not her mother, and she won't replace the one she's been missing every day for the past two years.  And will she ever get the chance to become a mum herself?

Cousin Cari is a fierce career-woman who isn't unnerved by anything - apart from facing the man who left her at the altar, and he's on the guestlist.  Her job has been a safe place to hide ever since - but is it time to let love into her life again?

Thanks to laughter, tears and one surprise appearance, the Brannigans might just discover the secrets of a happy marriage...But will they find out before it's too late?

My not so Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella (April 2017)

My not so Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella (April 2017)Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

OK, so the truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn't really hers.  But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren't they?

Until her not-so-perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack.  All Katie's hopes are shattered.  She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance.  But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams - or try to get her job back?  Does Demeter - the woman who has everything - actually have such an idyllic life herself?  Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

Earthly Remains by Donna Leon (April 2017)

Earthly Remains by Donna Leon (April 2017)During the interrogation of an entitled, arrogant man suspected of giving drugs to a young girl who then died, Commissario Guido Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will quickly come to regret.  In the aftermath, he begins to doubt his career choices and realises that he needs a break from the stifling problems of his work.

Granted leave from the Questura, Brunetti is shipped off by his wife, Paola, to a villa owned by a wealthy relative on Sant'Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the Venetial laguna.  There, he intends to pass his days rowing, and his nights reading Pliny's Natural History.

The recuperative stay goes according to plan and Brunetti is finally able to relax, until Davide Casati, the caretaker of the house, goes missing following a sudden storm.  Nobody can find him - not his daugher, not his friends, and not the woman he'd been secretly visiting.  Now, Brunetti feels compelled to investigate, to set aside his holiday and discover what happened to the man who had recently become his friend.

In Earthly Remains, Donna Leon shows Venice through an insider's eyes.  From family meals and vaporetti rides to the never-ending influx of tourists and suffocating political corruption, the details and rhythms of everyday Venetian life are at the core of this thrilling novel, and of the terrile crime at its heart.

The Revolving Door of Life by Alexander McCall Smith (April 2017)

The Revolving Door of Life by Alexander McCall Smith (April 2017)Life is getting better for seven-year-old Bertie Pollock.  The enforced absence of his endlessly pushy mother, Irene - currently consciousness-raising in a Bedouin harem - has immediate blessings: no psychotherapy, no Italian lessons and no yoga classes.  Bliss.  Elsewhere, Matthew makes a discovery that could make him even richer but also leaves him worried; Pat makes one that could make her poorer and her father miserable - unless that uber-narcissist, Bruce, can help her out; and the Duke of Johannesburg, we discover, isn't exactly who he says he is.  Will the residents of 44 Scotland Street - both young and grown-up - be able to overcome the new dilemmas thrown their way?

The Woolgrower's Companion by Joy Rhoades (April 2017)

The Woolgrower's Companion by Joy Rhoades (April 2017)Australia 1945.  Until now Kate Dowd has led a sheltered life on Amiens, her family's sprawling sheep station in northern New South Wales.  The horrors of war have for the most part left her untouched.  But with her father succumbing to wounds he's borne since the Great War, the management of the farm is increasingly falling on Kate's shoulders.

With only the sheep-rearing book The Woolgrower's Companion to guide her, Kate rises to the challenge.  However, the arrival of two Italian POW labourers unsettles not only the other workers, but Kate too - especially when she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic Luca Canali.

Then she receives devastating news.  The farm is near bankrupt and the bank is set to repossess.  Given just eight weeks to pay the debts, Kate is now in a race to save everything she holds dear.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (April 2017)

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (April 2017) February 1862.  The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill.  Days later, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery.  Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy's body.  From this seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of realism, entering a supernatural domain both hilarious and terrifying.  Willie Lincoln finds himself trapped in a transitional realm - called, in Tibetan tradition, the bardo - where ghosts mingle, squabble and commiserate, and a monumental struggle erupts over his soul...

The Cellar by Minette Walters (April 2017)

The Cellar by Minette Walters (April 2017)Muna's bedroom is a dark windowless cellar and her activities are confined to cooking and cleaning.  She's grown used to being maltreated by the Songoli family; to being a slave.

She's never been outside, doesn't know how to read or write, and cannot speak English.

At least that's what the Songolis believe.

But Muna is far cleverer - and her plans more terrifying - than the Songolis, or anyone else, can ever imagine...

The Wish Child by Catherine Chidgey (March 2017)

The Wish Child by Catherine Chidgey (March 2017)Finalist New Zealand Book Award

At the heart of Catherine Chidgey's extraordinary new novel is an enigmatic voice that tells the story of German families caught up in a nation's dream.

It's 1939.  Two children watch as their parents become immersed in the puzzling mechanisms of power.  Sieglinde lives in the affluent ignorance of middle-class Berlin, her father a censor who cuts prohibited words such as love and mercy out of books.  Erich is an only child living a rural life near Leipzig, tending beehives, aware that he is shadowed by strange, unanswered questions.  Drawn together as Germany's hope for a glorious future begins to collapse, the children find temporary refuge in an abandoned theatre amidst the rubble of Berlin.  Outside, white bedsheets hang from windows; all over the city people are talking of surrender.  The days Sieglinde and Erich spend together will shape the rest of their lives.

The Wish Child is a profound meditation on the wreckage caused by a corrupt ideology, on the resilience of the human spirit, and on crimes that cannot be undone.

I am the wish child, the future cast in water.  I am the thrown coin, the blown candle; I am the fallen star.

The Bone Field by Simon Kernick (March 2017)

The Bone Field by Simon Kernick (March 2017)Reviewed on Wireless Books Otago Access Radio 105.4FM 18 March 2017 also on podcast

A MISSING Girl
A RUTHLESS Crime Gang
A Man so EVIL he must be Stopped at any Cost


DI Ray Mason and PI Tina Boyd begin a desperate hunt for the truth that will take them into a dark and terrifying world of corruption and deadly secrets, where murder is commonplace, and nothing and nobody is safe...

Dead Girls Dancing by Graham Masterton (March 2017)

Dead Girls Dancing by Graham Masterton (March 2017)Reviewed on Wireless Books Otago Access Radio 105.4FM 18 March 2017 also on podcast

In the middle of Cork, in the middle of the day, a fire blazes in a local dance studio.

Thirteen women, all promising stars, die in the flames.  Their young lives cut short by a tragic accident.

But where others see tragedy, DCI Katie Maguire sees murder.  This is not the first fire to sweep through Cork.  And in one recent case, the victims were dead before the fire was started.

As Katie Maguire investigates the strange, obsessive world of competitive Irish folk dancing, she must face her most chilling killer yet...

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty (March 2017)

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty (March 2017)Reviewed on Wireless Books Otago Access Radio 105.4FM 18 March 2017 also on podcast

Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina try to catch up once a year for a girls' getaway.  Careers, husbands and babies have pulled those old high-school friends in different directions, and the closeness they once enjoyed is increasingly elusive.  This year, in a bid to revive their intimacy they each share a secret in an anonymous letter.  But the revelations are unnerving.  Then a fifth letter is discovered, venting long-held grudges and murderous thoughts.  But who was the author?  And which of the friends should be worried?

The Fifth Letter is a searing examination of women's friendship groups, the loyalty and honesty they demand, and the pain of ending relationships that once seemed essential but might be outgrown.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan (March 2017)

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan (March 2017)Reviewed on Wireless Books Otago Access Radio 105.4FM 18 March 2017 also on podcast

Kent, 1940.  In the idyllic village of Chilbury change is afoot.  Hearts are breaking as sons and husbands leave to fight, and when the Vicar decides to close the choir unti the men return, all seems lost.

But coming together in song is just what the women of Chilbury need, and they are ready to sing.  With a little fighting spirit and the arrival of a new musical resident, the charismatic Miss Primrose Trent, the choir is reborn.  But for one villager, the choir is the perfect cover to destroy Chilbury's new-found harmony.

Uplifting and profoundly moving, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir explores how a village can endure the onslaught of war, and how survival is as much about friendship as it is about courage.

Love, Lies & Linguine by Hilary Spiers (March 2017)

Love, Lies & Linguine by Hilary Spiers (March 2017)Hester and Harriet lead comfortable lives in a pretty cottage in an English village.  Having opened their minds, home and hearts to Daria, a mysterious migrant, and her baby son Milo, the widowed sisters decide to further expand their own horizons by venturing forth to Italy for their annual holiday.

Back in England, Daria and Milo are celebrating - they've received official refugee status with papers to confirm they can make England their home.  Meanwhile nephew Ben, who knows only too well how much he owes his aunts, is hurtling towards a different sort of celebration - one he's trying to backpedal out of as fast as he possibily can.

With a huge secret hanging between the sisters, an unlikely new love on the landscape for Hester and new beginings also beckoning for Harriet, Italy provides more opportunities for adventure than either of them could ever have imagined.  But which ones will Hester and Harriet choose?

As Hester and Harriet throw all their cards on the table in Italy, and potential catastrophe threatends Ben in England, it's anyone's guess how chaos will be kept in bay.

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (March 2017)

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (March 2017)Reviewed on Wireless Books Otago Access Radio 105.4FM 18 March 2017 also on podcast

Who Killed Audrey Marshall?

Following a brutal attack by her ex-boyfriend, Kate Priddy makes an uncharacteristically bold decision when her cousin, Corbin Dell, suggests a temporary apartment swap - and she moves from London to Boston.

But soon after her arrival Kate makes a shocking discovery: Corbin's next-door neighbour, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered.  When the police begin asking questions about Corbin's relationship with Audrey, and his neighbours come forward with their own suspicions, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own.

Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination playing out her every fear, Kate can barely trust herself... so how can she trust any of the strangers whose world she has only just entered?

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (March 2017)

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (March 2017)Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts colege move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition.  There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel painter pursuing fame in the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serve as their centre of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride.  Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself; by midlife a terrifyingly talented lawyer yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by a degree of trauma that he fears he will not only be unable to overcome - but that will define his life forever.

In a novel of extaordinary intelligence and heart, Yanagihara has fashioned a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark and haunting examination of the tyranny of experience and memory.

Under Italian Skies by Nicky Pellegrino (May 2016)

Under Italian Skies by Nicky Pellegrino (May 2016)Athenaeum Book Club pick for 2017

'It was a curious sort of feeling, being so cherished by a stranger..'

Stella has life under control - and that's the way she likes it.  For twenty-five years, she's been trusted assistant to a legendary fashion designer, but after her boss dies suddenly, she's left with nothing to do but clear the studio.

It seems as though the life she wanted has vanished - until one day she finds a house swap website and sees a beautiful, old villa in a southern Italian village.  Could she really exchange her pokey London flat for that?

What was intended as just a break becomes much more and Stella finds herself trying on a stranger's life.  As the villa begins to get under her skin, she can't help but imagine the owner from the clues around her.  She meets his friends, cooks the food he recommends and follows suggestions to visit his favourite places.  But can an idea of someone ever match up to the reality?

As Stella wonders if she can let go of the safety of her past, perhaps there's a chance for her to find a way into her future...

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver (May 2016)

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver (May 2016)Athenaeum Book Club pick for 2017

It is 2029.

The Mandibles have been counting on a sizeable fortune filtering down when their 97-year-old patriarch dies.  Yet America's soaring national debt has grown so enormous that it can never be repaid.  Under siege from an upstart international currency, the dollar is in meltdown.  A bloodless world war will wipe out the savings of millions of American families.

Their inheritance turned to ash, each family member must contend with disappointment, but also - as the effects of the downturn start to hit - the challenge of sheer survival.

Recently affluent Avery is petulant that she can't buy olive oil, while her sister Florence is forced to absorb strays into her increasingly cramped household.  As their father Carter fumes at having to care for his demented stepmother now that a nursing home is too expensive, his sister Nollie, an expat author, returns from abroad at 73 to a country that's unrecognizable.

Perhaps only Florence's oddball teenage son Willing, an economics autodidact, can save this formerly august American family from the streets.

This is not science fiction.  This is a frightening, fascinating, scabrously funny glimpse into the decline that may await the United States all too soon, from the pen of perhaps the most consistently perceptive and topical author of our times.

The Death of an Owl by Paul Torday with Piers Torday (May 2016)

The Death of an Owl by Paul Torday with Piers Torday (May 2016)Athenaeum Book Club pick for 2017

Andrew Landford is driving home one night along a dark country lane, when a barn owl flies into his windscreen.  It is an accident, nothing more.  However, Andrew is in line to be the country's next prime minister.  And he has recently been appointed to a parliametary committee concerned with the Wildlife and Countryside Act.  Barn owls are a protected species, and it is a crime to kill one.  If Andrew acknowledges that he has killed the owl, he could be risking his political career.

With Andrew in the car is his old Oxford friend and political adviser, Charles Fryerne.  An expert in communications, Charles has just joined the team that is masterminding Andrew's route to the Tory Party leadership, and from there to No. 10 Downing Street.  He has spent many years quietly building up a very successful career as a strategist.

But the death of the owl threatens to destroy not onlly Andrew's career, but everything that Charles has worked for too.  Should they come clean, or hide the story and hope it goes away?

Twister by Jane Woodham (May 2016)

Twister by Jane Woodham (May 2016)Athenaeum Book Club pick for 2017

Dunedin, in thegrip of an unseasonal flu, is a city under siege.  Then after five damaging days of rain, a twister rips through, exposing the body of a missing schoolgirl in Ross Creek.

Detective Senior Sergeant Leo Judd is the only one who can lead the investigation, depite unresolved sorrow over the disappearance of his own daughter nine years earleir.

Sultry weather broods over the beleaguered city as suspects are sifted and pressure mounts for Judd to solve the crime.  Meanwhile his wife, Kate, tries to find the courage she needs to tell him the secrets she's been nursing for too long - including one about the disappearance of their belived Beth.

Love As A Stranger by Own Marshall (April 2016)

Love As A Stranger by Own Marshall (April 2016)Finalist New Zealand Book Awards

Brilliantly tracing the progress of unexpected love and the perils of relationships, this gripping novel is a tour de force.

Temporarily in Auckland while her husband is undergoing treatment, Sarah enjoys a walk in the coolness of the Symonds Street Cemetery.  As she pauses at the grave of Emily Keeling, murdered in 1886 by a rejected suitor, a stranger named Hartley strikes up a conversation.  Before long he arranges to meet Sarah for coffee.

So their friendship begins, and soon blossoms into an affair, rich in mutual understanding and sexual excitement.  But love may become obsession, which brings with it disquieting demands, even menace.

'When love is not madness, it is not love.'

The Living and the Dead in Winsford by Hakan Nesser (December 2015)

The Living and the Dead in Winsford by Hakan Nesser (December 2015)Athenaeum Book Club pick for 2017

Winner of the Rosenkrantz Award for Best Thriller of the year.

There is nobody in the whole world who knows that we are here...

A woman arrives in the village of Winsford on Exmoor.  She has travelled a long way and chosen her secluded cottage carefully.  Maria's intention is to outlive her beloved dog, Castor.  And to survive the torrent of memories that threaten to overwhelm her.

Weeks before, Maria and her husband Martin fled Stockholm under a cloud.  The couple were bound for Morocco, where Martin planned to write an explosive novel; one that would reveal the truth behind dark events within his commune of writers decades before.  But the couple never made it to their destination.

As Maria settles into her lonely new life, walking the wild, desolate moors, it becomes clear that Winsford isn't quite the sanctuary she thought it would be.  While the long, dark evenings close in and the weather worsens, strange things begin to happen around her.  But what terrible secrets is Maria guarding?  And who is trying to find her?
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