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Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

False Witness by Karin Slaughter

False Witness by Karin Slaughter

Truth or Dare by MJ Arlidge

Truth or Dare by MJ Arlidge

Psycho by the Sea by Lynne Truss

Psycho by the Sea by Lynne Truss

Phone for the Fish Knives by Daisy Waugh

Phone for the Fish Knives by Daisy Waugh

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Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

Hostage by Claire Mackintosh

Sphere, £14.99

It’s the first non-stop 20-hour flight from London to Sydney and the atmosphere is electric. Many have paid a lot of money to be part of this history making journey – but it seems it could be making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Mina, a flight attendant, has managed to get on board the plane and is happy to have a few days away from her estranged husband and her five-year-old daughter. At least when she’s in the sky, she can look after her business class guests. But when Mina receives an anonymous note shortly after take off, a note that suggests she do everything she can to ensure the plan does not reach Sydney – or there will be consequences – will she agree to co-operate? You really get the sense of tension throughout the book as you count down the hours that the plane has left before reaching its destination. The ending is particularly good and suggests it’s important to never underestimate anyone.

False Witness by Karin Slaughter

HarperCollins, £20

I haven’t read many of Karin’s books but this is the book that encouraged me to seek others out. Sisters Leigh and Callie did something terrible two decades ago – and they’ve paid for it every day since. Going in separate directions, rarely meeting up, their lives tarnished by the role each played in ensuing a violent end, their past is set to come back in a big way thanks to Leigh’s work. Now a successful lawyer, though with an estranged husband and daughter, she’s forced to take on a new client. Which is bad enough, until she realises who the client is and what they could contribute to That Night all those years before. And quite clearly, the client is willing to hold everything against Leigh and Callie if he doesn’t get his own way.. This handles so much ‘big’ themes beautifully, and doesn’t sensationalise or over dramatize. The sisters’ relationship feels authentic, a true sign of Karin’s talent to craft a puzzling, detailed story.

Truth or Dare by MJ Arlidge

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Orion, £12.99

I couldn’t wait to read the new Detective Inspector Helen Grace crime drama and when it dropped, I dropped everything to do so. Not only does Helen have to withstand the issues in her department – caused by the souring of a long over relationship with a colleague – but she has a series of crimes to negotiate. From a brutal arson attack to a carjacking to a hammer incident, each crime seems distinct but somehow linked to what else is going on. While her team may differ on who could be responsible, it’s almost impossible to find common ground. This is a crime with multiple parts, like a jigsaw with a never-ending amount of pieces, but each piece links to another, and another. Helen realises that the person behind all the goings on is going to be a lot more difficult to find – and catch – than even she expected. I love how the personal relationships have an impact on the professional relationships, it makes the novel read more realistically.

Psycho by the Sea by Lynne Truss

Raven Books, £14.99

It’s 1957, Brighton in the next instalment of this quirky crime series. Inspector Steine – newly honoured for his bravery in the line of duty – has had to hire a secretary to help with the increased workload that comes with being a hero. Meanwhile, Sergeant Brunswicke and Constable Twitten are on the case of a missing criminal, escaped from Broadmoor who, for some reason, enjoys boiling policemens’ heads (after he kills them, of course). Brunswicke and Twitten must make their own enquiries into the missing man’s whereabouts, as well as undertake and manage all the villainy that’s going on in the city. A local gang member has disappeared, and an American researcher has been found dead in the city’s leading department store. Are the crimes linked? Having not read the previous books, it took me a little while to get absorbed into the characters but it’s easily and quickly done. You can’t help but laugh and commiserate with the police and villains alike and the writing is very, very good.

Phone for the Fish Knives by Daisy Waugh

Piatkus, £18.99

The Tode family – who live in Tode Hall, naturally – is in a tizzy. Husband and wife India and Egbert are delighted when Hollywood wants to remake a film that made the location famous but it’s proving more difficult and less starry than anyone had hoped. Movie producers aren’t happy with the colour of the grass, the local debut actor – someone who previously worked on the estate – is bringing up feelings of jealousy with other cast members, who are worried about contract nudity clauses. As egos abound, it’s clear things are going to end badly, though quite how badly couldn’t be predicted (unless you’re the reader). There’s a lot to love about Daisy’s second book in this series. From ghostly grandmothers to tricky triplets and a will they/won’t they love scenario, this contemporary take on a golden age mystery is simply wonderful.


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