Bookcase

Stourbridge News: Bookcase Bookcase

A look at the latest releases, plus what's new in paperback.

By Kate Whiting.

New fiction.

Mateship With Birds by Carrie Tiffany is published in hardback by Picador, priced £14.99. Available now.

The latest from Orange Prize-shortlisted Australian author Carrie Tiffany is a gentle story set in the 1950s countryside, where single mother Betty looks after her children and the neighbourly farmer Harry looks out for Betty.

Part narrative, part ornithologist Harry's diary entries about a small family of kookaburras, the novel is a tender exploration of normal lives and finding love when you thought all hope was lost.

Each character, from lustful teen Michael, to feisty Little Hazel and creepy neighbour Mues, is carefully crafted to capture the reader and keep them interested all the way through.

Tiffany paints the post-war era, with its sexual repression, poignantly and questions what it means to be a family.

8/10 (Review by Kate Whiting) XO by Jeffery Deaver is published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton, priced £18.99. Available now.

King of suspense Jeffery Deaver promised that he would alternate books about quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme and Kathryn Dance, a body analysis expert with the California Bureau of Investigation, and he has remained true to his word.

One of the genre's most prolific writers, XO follows The Burning Wire in 2010 featuring Rhyme and Carte Blanche - the latest instalment in the James Bond series, published in 2011.

In XO, Dance finds herself in the right place at the right time when her country singer friend Kayleigh Towne reveals she is being stalked by an obsessed fan, shortly before a homecoming concert.

Despite being off-duty, Dance jumps into action when one of Towne's crew is killed, echoing the lyrics of one of her own songs.

Fans of Deaver - a folk singer who has gone to the effort of writing 11 'Towne' tracks and even recorded an accompanying album - will enjoy the thrills and spills with his latest book, even if they have an inkling of what to expect, but this is also ideal for those wanting an introduction into his works.

8/10 (Review by Shereen Low) Whatever It Takes by Adele Parks is published in paperback by Headline Review, priced £11.99. Available now.

How far would you go to secure your family's happiness? Or even to create that perfect family in the first place? That's the question that Adele Parks poses in this, her 12th novel.

Eloise and her husband Mark have a privileged, content home life with their three young daughters in London, which they leave behind for a change of pace in Dartmouth.

While Mark has dreamed of living in the countryside for years, Eloise struggles with being farther away from her best friend Sara and closer to her mother-in-law Margaret.

We hear, through their own voices, how intent Sara is on having a baby - and how she will stop at nothing to achieve her goal.

And Margaret, while overjoyed to have her family close by, is finding it difficult to keep a grasp on reality, her fractured mind threatening to rupture their happiness.

What might seem like a detailed examination of one family's inner workings becomes a painting of modern life and the emotional quandaries that lie behind closed doors.

While not always entirely sympathetic, Parks's characters are authentically flawed human beings and she has given us a gripping, heart-wrenching story that fans old and new will want to devour.

8/10 (Review by Lauren Turner) The Hunter by John Lescroart is published in paperback by Headline, priced £12.99. Available now.

The New York Times best-selling author returns with another crime thriller set in San Francisco.

Forty-something private investigator Wyatt Hunt owns a company with a healthy caseload.

However, his comfortable life takes an unexpected turn when he receives an anonymous text message: "How did your mother die?"

From an early age, Hunt knew he was adopted, enjoying a happy existence with his only known family. So who sent the text and ultimately, who was his birth mother?

Calling on his contacts from his former workplace the Child Protective Services, Hunt searches for his parents.

Shocked by the findings that his birth mother was murdered when he was three years old, Hunt seeks the help of his friend Inspector Devin Juhle to investigate further.

As the pair trawl through the 40-year-old police reports, they uncover more than a murder, but also betrayal, greed, conspiracy and cults.

A fast-paced book from John Lescroart with an intricate plot.

7/10 (Review by Julie Cheng) You Came Back by Christopher Coake is published in paperback by Viking, priced £12.99. Available now.

Following high praise for his short stories, Christopher Coake's first novel You Came Back doesn't disappoint.

The story takes place several years after the accidental death of Mark and Chloe's much-loved seven-year-old son, Brendan.

Mark and Chloe have since divorced and Mark believes he has conquered his emotions as he rebuilds his life with new girlfriend Allison.

However, when a mysterious stranger turns up out of the blue saying that she has bought Mark's old house, the shock doesn't end there.

She is also adamant Brendan's ghost haunts the building. Little do Mark, Chloe or Allison realise just how much their lives are about to change. Is Brendan trying to reach them from beyond the grave?

This novel exposes the raw nerve endings of love, life and death and will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.

9/10 (Review by Philip Robinson) Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon is published in hardback by HarperCollins, priced £12.99. Available now.

The second novel from Melanie Gideon entitled Wife 22 is a refreshing and funny read about a woman named Alice Buckle.

Alice is a part-time drama teacher, mum to two children, and wife to William. She's also a woman going through a slight mid-life crisis after finally reaching the age at which her mum died.

Subsequently, Alice has found herself bored with her life, conjuring up anxieties about her son's sexuality and daughter's eating habits, not to mention the growing void between her and her husband.

When a marriage survey pops up unexpectedly in her inbox, Alice can't resist taking part, and as she delves further into her innermost thoughts, feelings and memories about her life and relationships, she finds herself increasingly drawn to the mysterious Researcher 101.

Interspersed with Alice's online exploits, Wife 22 is a witty and well-written reflection on modern-day marriages, that examines powerful questions about love and family.

8/10 (Review by Lyndsey Cartwright) The Yard by Alex Grecian is published in hardback by Michael Joseph, priced £12.99. Available now.

From the critically acclaimed author of the graphic comic book series Proof comes a debut novel about one of the most torrid and popular periods in British history.

Alex Grecian, formerly an advertising executive for household names such as Harley-Davidson, depicts a city in lawless agony.

In the aftermath of the Ripper murders, London is in the throes of a violent crime wave. The newly minted Murder Squad of Scotland Yard must do all they can to stem the flow of blood.

When a Yard detective is found dead in a steamer trunk with his eyes and lips sewn shut, the Murder Squad's newest recruit Walter Day must contend with a brutal and complex case.

With the aid of Dr Bernard Kingsley, the Yard's first forensic pathologist, and utilising hitherto unheard-of investigative techniques such as fingerprinting, Day delves into the heinous crime with shocking results.

Wonderfully evocative and artfully introducing the science of criminology, The Yard is a gripping page-turner.

8/10 (Review by James Fry)

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