This week’s Friday Read comes from Amanda Keats, Managing Editor of Constable:
The Girl in the Green Dress is a powerful and thought-provoking exploration not just of a crime but also of the fallout, wrapped as it is in prejudice, ignorance and intolerance. It’s insightful and intriguing and one that is sure to stay with you long after that final page!
Staincliffe writes superbly about pain, drama and conflicted emotions, somehow weaving together a story that manages to be tense and exciting, yet utterly heartfelt. But the real strength of this book lies in the many questions it raises, about both male entitlement and acceptance of transgender youth and anyone who might be seen to be ‘different’.
The second I finished reading I was desperate to discuss the many themes explored within, which I’d say makes it the perfect story for book club reads. Just brilliant!
This week’s recommendation comes from Krystyna Green, publishing director at Constable:
After the months and months of damp, dank and just plain bloody awful weather we’ve been having, treat yourself to a holiday in Venice, where it’s high summer, the heat is shimmering and the Biennale is in full swing – contemporary arts festival, in case anyone is wondering!
An invitation to an exclusive event gives Nathan Sutherland the perfect chance to drink Prosecco in the sunshine and meet some of the greats of the art world.
And then a world-famous critic is decapitated by one of the installations in the British Pavilion. A terrible accident, it seems, until a postcard is discovered in the victim’s pocket: an image of Judith beheading Holofernes.
But this is not just a one-off. Before long, three more postcards have been sent out with deadly results. As the bodies pile up, Nathan finds himself getting closer and closer to the truth, but when he himself receives an image of Death bearing a scythe, it becomes a race against time to save his own life . . .
So this is Nathan’s second outing; his first in The Venetian Game, was Waterstones Crime Book of the Month in March and it flew off the shelves, probably because it coincided with the snow and everybody just wanted to get away from these shores, if not physically, than by book, to one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations. And like The Venetian Game, Vengeance in Venice IS a holiday in a book – not only is there a satisfying crime to solve, but along the way Nathan guides the reader to where the best Negroni in Venice is served, which Vaporetto to catch if you want to get from St Mark’s Square to the outlying lagoons and we also get whistlestop tours of the famous island of Murano and Venice’s own abandoned plague island.
So pick this up and become an armchair traveller for the weekend, and I can guarantee that by the final page the crime will have been solved and you’ll be cracking open the Prosecco to celebrate!
This week’s Friday Read comes from Krystyna Green, Publishing Director of Constable:
The Well of Ice is Andrea’s third book set on the wild and isolated Inishowen peninsula in Ireland, and is perfect reading for when a storm is raging outside. As with Andrea’s previous two books, Death at Whitewater Church and Treacherous Strand, The Well of Ice features solicitor Benedicta ‘Ben’ O’Keeffe. This time her relationship with police sergeant Tom Molloy is very much on as they plan to spend Christmas together but the discovery of a body up on the snow-covered slopes of Sliabh Sneacht puts paid to that when a murder investigation is launched.
As always with Andrea’s books, the other ever-present star is the Inishowen peninsula itself, with its wild beauty, rugged terrain and endless beaches. Andrea herself used to live there – and if a sense of place is as important to you as the protagonists you meet along the way in a crime book, then The Well of Ice is the ideal choice for you. And yet I can guarantee a shudder of horror from every reader when it comes to the part where, to let off steam, Ben takes a winter dip in the near-frozen sea!
Lucy Dauman, Sphere Commissioning Editor, recommends this Irish gem:
Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to Galway to celebrate the launch of The Ruin, Dervla McTiernan’s stunning debut thriller. What made the trip so special – apart from seeing Dervla, who lives in Australia – was the opportunity to see all the landmarks Dervla so vividly brings to life through her writing, from the River Corrib where a body is found, to the (numerous!) pubs her characters frequent.
The Ruin introduces DI Cormac Reilly, who has recently relocated from Dublin to Galway with his girlfriend Emma. Despite his rank, he finds himself regulated to investigating cold cases and subject to mistrust amongst the local force. But then he stumbles upon a cold case he recognises: the death of a woman who left behind two children. At the same time it emerges that one of those children – now grown – has been found in the River Corrib. But did he jump or was he pushed?
I absolutely love this book and can’t recommend it enough. If you are looking for a new crime series with excellent characters, rich atmosphere and a gripping, authentic and – at times – heart-breaking plot, then this is definitely one for you.
Krystyna in Constable is on the case again with this week’s Friday Read:
We are so proud to be publishing Steven Saylor’s long-awaited fifteenth and final Roma sub Rosa novel, The Throne of Caesar, this month; indeed we are tying in publication with the Ides of March!
Personally, I find it hard to believe I’ve been Steven’s editor for the past twenty years and have been with Gordianus the Finder from his early days. We’ve all travelled extensively throughout the ancient world with him, solving dramatic murders as well as becoming immersed in the political turmoil within the Roman Empire at the time. Ancient Rome, in the masterful hands of the author, has been brought to life time and time again, and I so look forward to the delivery of each new typescript – Steven’s writing just gets better and better with each book.
‘After twenty-seven years, fourteen novels, and two volumes of short stories, the saga of Gordianus and his family comes full circle with The Throne of Caesar, a fitting finale to the Roma Sub Rosa series. So much history, so much drama – and I’m talking about my career, not that of Gordianus! But thank you for sticking with me through all this time.’
This week’s read comes from Krystyna Green, publishing director at Constable:
What better way to celebrate Scotland’s recent victory in the Calcutta Cup than to settle down with a big, juicy police procedural set in St Andrew’s. As with the timing of the last Scottish rugby triumph over the English, the DCI Andy Gilchrist series began ten years ago and now, seven books in, he shows no signs of slowing down and thinking about his retirement. This is good news for us as we can look forward to many more outings to come! On this occasion a woman’s body is washed up on the rocks by the castle ruins in St Andrews with evidence of strangulation, and no ID. Two days into the case, a call from another woman claiming to be the victim’s friend could be DCI Andy Gilchrist’s first solid lead. But when she fails to turn up for an interview, Gilchrist fears the worst. The next day, they find her battered body.
Gilchrist’s focus centres on his prime suspect, a local handyman with a reputation of being a ladies’ man, who seems to have no history beyond three years, the length of time he’s been living in the East Neuk. But before Gilchrist can bring him in for questioning, he vanishes . . .
As the Daily Record says: ‘Rebus did it for Edinburgh. Laidlaw did it for Glasgow. Gilchrist might just be the bloke to put St Andrews on the crime fiction map.’ And here’s hoping he does!
This week’s Friday read comes from Krystyna Green, publishing director at Constable:
Just as we are experiencing this icy blast from the Northeast which has left us shivering in our shoes, Constable publishes Apostle Lodge, which is set in Cape Town during a ferociously debilitating heatwave where bush fires and acts of terrorism ravage the city and its environs. You can feel the searing heat come off the pages in this explosive thriller, Paul’s third in a series Lee Child has described as ‘excellent and uncompromising’, featuring Colonel Vaugh de Vries of the South Africa Police Service.
This time, as well as coping with the usual political intrigue which is endemic in day-to-day life in CT, de Vries is chasing a serial killer who has left his depraved calling card within the walls of Apostle Lodge, an award-winning mansion overlooking the Pacific ocean. And more deaths follow in the wake of this murder, leaving de Vries to believe that there is more than one killer at work here . . .
If you love gripping, densely plotted thrillers with a overwhelmingly clear sense of place, you will love Apostle Lodge – and long to visit South Africa long after you’ve finished the book, because despite all the action which takes place in its pages, the final image you are left with is of a beautiful country with stunning vistas, clear skies and endless, endless desert. If you’ve not read Paul Mendelson before, you are in for a real treat.
Ellie in editorial is recommending The Agency, a prequel to the Jed Walker series by James Phelan:
The Agency takes us back to the beginning of Jed Walker’s story, a man so enigmatic and tough that he’s been described as having muscles in his spit (West Australian), and even Lee Child has admitted Jack Reacher has a rival in Walker!
This time around it’s 2005 and Walker has just joined the CIA. Sent to New Orleans, on the trail of Russians wanting to claim back what was stolen from them in Afghanistan, it doesn’t take long for Walker to realise that in the murky world of espionage, the rules of war do not apply. From Langley to Louisiana, Washington to Moscow, The Agency moves like a tempest through a treacherous landscape of double crosses, false identities, and enemies old and new.
A rollercoaster ride indeed! Very few men can put on their CV that part of their job description is regularly saving the world in 48 hours – but Jed can do that! So if you haven’t discovered him yet, do – all his earlier adventures are currently available on Kindle at £1.99.
Jennie wanted to leave this as a parting recommendation, but she forgot to write it before she left, so Thalia is also recommending!
Survivor is the latest gritty tale of London’s East End. The heroine this time is Lolly, who has a nightmare mum, to say the least, but is the titular survivor when she is able to break away from her. Then her life entwines with Mal Fury, who has never got over the disappearance of his daughter and has a private investigator looking for her. This uncovers a decades-old mystery that changes Lolly’s entire world…
Roberta Kray’s characters are as warm as the heroines need to be and as nasty as the baddies can go. This is a enjoyable, redemptive tale with great heart.
Ellie in editorial is recommending Blotto, Twinks and the Stars of the Silver Screen, another hair-raising adventure featuring the aristocratic brother and sister sleuthing duo – the perfect entertainment for these dark January days.
A hilarious romp in the vein of P. G. Wodehouse and Agatha Christie, Simon Brett’s Blotto and Twinks series never fails to entertain – and this outing is no exception. Blotto is invited to bat against the Hollywood cricket team out in sunny LA – and so begins the latest adventure for Blotto and his supremely gifted sister Twinks. Invited to a dazzling party upon arrival in Hollywood, the mood curdles with the breaking news that beautiful starlet Mimsy La Pim – the (former) love of Blotto’s life – has been kidnapped. And Blotto is determined to make it his personal mission to rescue her . . . Hijinks ensue as once again the siblings are thrown into a world of danger. This is murder most enjoyable.