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New Books Wednesday: 23rd June 2020

Hello and Happy New Book Wednesday!! There’s lots to read from us this week, including new thrillers, a fantasy fairy tale, and a comprehensive history of Hitler’s Nazi party. 

Untimely Graves by Marjorie Eccles (A Gil Mayo Mystery Book 13) 

First up is the latest instalment in the Gil Mayo Mystery series, which was adapted for television as a BBC drama back in 2006. Marjorie Eccles has been described as ‘one of the stalwarts of British crime fiction’ by The Sunday Telegraph and this latest instalment to feature Mayo has been heralded as one of her best. 

When the murdered body of a woman is found floating in flooded uplands near an isolated farm and cottage, it poses problems of identification, prompting the press to dub her the ‘Mystery Woman’. 

Who is she? As time goes by, Detective Superintendent Gil Mayo and his assistant Inspector Abigail Moon begin to fear that this question is destined to remain unanswered, until the bursar of a public school is found murdered at his desk. Though the murders are seemingly unrelated, events begin to show that this is not the case.

As a temporarily unemployed ex-student, Cleo Atkins will do anything rather than take the safe secretarial position her mother has lined up for her, even to taking a job with Maid to Order, a firm of cleaning contractors, something her mother feels she is singularly unfitted for. The firm is much in demand following the trail of destruction left by the floods, and whilst working with the team Cleo comes across evidence from a totally unexpected source, and ultimately finds herself involved in the investigation.

With her cooperation, Mayo and Moon are able to follow a chain of events that guide them towards the true identity of the Mystery Woman. But will they find the solution to both murders in the process?

Queer Corners by Donald Olson

From Donald Olson, the writer of the first trans-thriller The Secrets of Mabel Eastlake which we published earlier this month, Queer Corners is a social comedy about homophobia in a middle class gay neighbourhood caught in the middle of a huge anti-gay campaign. 

In comfortably middle-class Queer Corners, Oregon, the living is easy – until a homophobic bigot and his evangelist wife move into the all-gay neighbourhood and begin a state-wide anti-gay rights campaign. 

In the ensuing battle, closet doors are flung open, peaceful lives turned inside-out, and the residents of Queer Corners find themselves on a violent journey of self-discovery. 

Queer Corners is a deftly observed social comedy that turns into a hair-raising psychological thriller as it exposes the homophobia next door.

The Nightingale by Kara Dalkey

Fantastic new fantasy from Kara Dalkey, this retelling of Han Christian Anderson’s fairy tale sets the story in Heian Japan. It combines magic, demons, and historic Japanese culture and is a retelling for our times. 

What is more important? Humanity or beauty?

In ancient Japan, a young girl named Uguisu gains the power of magical song through supernatural means. She hopes it will bring her her heart’s desire. But instead it leads her to the halls of Japan’s Imperial power, to the attention of the Emperor himself, and a danger she never expected. 

Soon she comes into conflict with a vengeful demon who competes with Uguisu for the Emperor’s favour in a fight between Uguisu’s humanity and the demon’s beauty and power. 

Based on the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, this retelling moves the story from China to Heian Japan, a period of faith, aristocracy and culture which in this story becomes a place of demons, poetry, and a very strange cat. 

The Nightingale is a retelling for our times and a celebration of a golden age of Japanese history. 

Stark Warning by James Raven

Meet DCI Sam Quinn, a detective seconded to the Metropolitan Police’s Celebrity Crime Squad. After his wife Karen, an actress, is murdered, Sam turns to gambling and is forced into the clutches of local gangster Baz Carter to whom he owes his debts. The first of two novels following the character, Stark Warning is fast-paced, thrilling, and shocking. 

“Every time you appear on screen someone will die.”

That’s the stark warning given to Jessica Lee, the undisputed ‘Queen of Trash TV.’ She’s the host of a confessional talk show on network television with millions of fans. But one deranged viewer is out to destroy her career. 

He demands that her programme be scrapped and tells her to stop appearing on TV. To prove he means business he claims his first victim – a young woman who is found dead with her throat cut. Jessica and her bosses face an agonising dilemma: take the show off the air or risk more murders. They decide to defy the killer, for fear of setting a dangerous precedent. But there are dire consequences…

 Charged with trying to stop the carnage is DCI Sam Quinn who has been seconded to the Met’s ‘Celebrity Crime Squad’. Quinn is particularly qualified following the murder of his own actress wife Karen 16 months earlier, a tragedy which propelled him towards gambling and eventually into the clutches of local gangster Baz Carter.  

But how low is the Network prepared to go to protect their ratings?  How does the killer select his victims in his bid to make Jessica suffer – and what ultimately is to be her fate?  Can DCI Quinn keep Carter’s goons off his back long enough to follow the crimson tide to its seemingly inevitable conclusion?

The Depraved by James Raven 

This is the second novel to feature DCI Sam Quinn, featuring a kidnapping, a serial killer, and the suggestion that the price of fame is fatal.

Can you really buy happiness? 

Singer Helen Troy loves being an A-list celebrity. There are the endless perks, private jets, fancy cars and more money than she’ll ever need. 

But when Helen is kidnapped during a night out in London, she discovers there’s a serious downside to being rich, famous and beautiful. DCI Sam Quinn, of the Met’s Celebrity Crime Squad, knows that Helen has become the tragic victim of her own success. His own actress wife Karen suffered the same fate. 

As he begins to investigate her abduction, he loses his prime suspect. But when more are bumped off in gang-style killings – and especially when an execution takes place in a police interview room – it’s seriously embarrassing for the Met and a major headache for DCI Quinn. 

A picture of Helen’s body pops up on the internet but things don’t stack up for DCI Quinn, who discovers that five other glamorous and successful young women have also appeared in the same way. 

But is Helen Troy as dead as she looks? 

Malicious by James Raven

And following on from the DCI Sam Quinn books is a standalone novel following Detective Robyn Tate. Tackling online privacy and the dangers of being spied on online, Malicious is a story about the danger we all face of our online secrets being made public. 

Detective Robyn Tate has a secret.

While a devoted and well-respected police officer on the job in Houston, Texas, she spends her down time indulging in online porn. 

That is until she receives an email from a man calling himself Slave Master, demanding ten thousand dollars or else he posts the videos that he’s captured of her clandestine activities online. Robyn is horrified, but it’s not the only secret she’s carrying. Since her divorce she has been feeling particularly bad about her body, and has been seeing Jonah Farrell, a therapist. 

Slave Master knows all about that, too. 

Robyn is hoping she can solve everything on her own and keep her secrets safe, but when another murder closer to home occurs, Robyn knows she can’t keep any more secrets without it compromising her investigation. She has a decision to make that will change her life forever. 

A page turner from the start, Malicious will have readers covering up their webcams.

The Nazi Party by Michael H. Kater 

This profile of the most infamous political party in history has been called ‘the first really complete and accurate picture of the composition of the Nazi movement’ by William Sheridan of the State University of New York. It looks at who the Nazis were, and how ordinary Germans became part of the most devastating political movement to have existed. 

Who filled the ranks of the most infamous political party in history?

This book is an in-depth study of the various groups that made up the membership and the leadership of the Nazi party in Germany from its beginnings to its destruction.

First published in 1983, it was the first full-scale description of who the Nazis were, their history, and their categories of age, social class, occupation, sex, and locality. Using data from the party’s membership cards alongside local and regional party member lists, Kater has developed an image of the people behind the infamous name. Kater also examines the leadership cadres and depicts the mentality that characterised their actions, linking it ultimately with the outcome of the Third Reich.

The Nazi Party reveals a good deal about the general structure of German society in the first half of the twentieth century and the relationship that society bears to the phenomenon of Nazism. 

Main Fleet to Singapore by Russell Grenfell 

In this account, Russell Grenfell explores the history of Britain in Singapore, from the point of view of the Royal Navy and its activities in the Far East. 

At the dawn of the Twentieth Century Japan was free to pursue its own goals in the far East with little interference from the West. With animosity growing and tensions rising between Japan and America, the British realised the impact on their interests in the Far East could be dire. So she began building the naval base in Singapore, turning it into a key British military stronghold in the East.

During the Second World War the British base at Singapore became a key battleground in the fight against Japan. Disaster off Kuantan led to the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Repulse and HMS Indomitable. Soon after Malaya fell to the Japanese, so did Singapore…

Combining his critical eye for strategy with engaging narrative, Main Fleet to Singapore provides a valuable insight into the British in Singapore, the Royal Navy and its relationship with the Far East.

We hope there’s something for you this week, and we’ll be back next Wednesday for even more new books. Stay safe and happy reading! 

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