Kick off your new year reading list with some gripping thrillers…


1. Here In The Dark by Alexis Soloski is published in hardback by Raven Books

Who better than a prize-winning New York theatre critic to write about a sharp-witted New York theatre critic drawn into a web of mystery and suspense? Alexis Soloski steps out of the dark in her debut novel, following the life of Manhattan critic Vivian Parry, who agrees to be interviewed by graduate student David Adler, believing it will boost her profile and chances of promotion. The student disappears, the police refuse to investigate, and his fiancée begs Vivian to find him, so she begins a journey laced with lies, deception – and danger. She plays the role of an amateur detective, encountering a dodgy private eye – oh, and discovers a dead body. The Brooklyn-based author keeps readers enthralled from the first to the final, dramatic act. Let’s hope she writes an encore.

Credits: PA; Author: PA;

2. Hot Springs Drive by Lindsay Hunter is published in hardback by Renegade Books

In Lindsay Hunter’s Hot Springs Drive, the unconventional multi-narrator structure adds complexity to a tale centred on the lives of best friends Jackie and Theresa, but this at times is confusing. Set against the backdrop of their close-knit community on Hot Springs Drive, the story delves into the intricacies of their deepening friendship. However, the plot takes a sinister turn when it’s discovered that Jackie has had an affair with Theresa’s husband, Adam – then Theresa’s body is found in her garage. While not conventionally suspenseful, it explores betrayal and the intricate dynamics of human relationships and asks the question: what happens after a tragedy? Hunter skilfully crafts a haunting story that lingers, showcasing the consequences of fractured loyalties in the mundane yet profound setting of Hot Springs Drive.

Credits: PA; Author: PA;

3. One Love by Matt Cain is published in hardback by Headline Review

Matt Cain’s sixth novel follows Danny and Guy who have been friends since university, flitting between their first meeting, a weekend away two decades later, and all the years in between. Danny has been besotted with Guy since day one and hopes they may finally become more than just friends when they go back to Manchester for Pride. What follows is not what readers might expect, but is instead a thought-provoking look at the complexities of human feelings, behaviour and motivations. An enjoyable read, but it can take a while to get used to the time jumps – and it would have been nice to read more about the other characters.


4. The Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World by Bettany Hughes is published in hardback by W&N

In The Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World, Bettany Hughes brings to life astonishing feats of engineering and creativity in mostly long-destroyed wonders. Her historical storytelling encourages the reader to question why humanity creates, why we remember some wonders over others, and what it is about the stories entwined with them that fire our curiosity. The Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos, the Colossus at Rhodes and the Lighthouse of Alexandria have made staggering imprints on our planet – and while we are taught their relevance in school, this book emphasises not only the scale and majesty of each of the seven wonders, but the human story behind them and encourages the reader to fall in love with them all over again. This book will fire your imagination and take you on a wonderful tour of the ancient world.

Children’s book of the week

5. A Horse Called Now by Ruth Doyle, illustrated by Alexandra Finkeldey, is published in paperback by Nosy Crow

This is a truly wonderful book that will assist, enable and open conversations for any parent/teacher and their children. It follows a horse, Now, who knows exactly what to say to her worried farm animal friends. They come to the horse when there’s something they find scary – and she tells them how breathing can help bring calm, advising that nothing lasts forever. The book shows that it’s normal to have worries, and the colourful illustrations make it a delight to read. After reading, children will hopefully feel reassured and be equipped to ask the questions they need to ask.

Credits: PA; Author: PA;