Simon Booker

Crime fiction debuts to look out for in June 2016

This is a look forward to the crime fiction/thriller debuts being published in June 2016.

2 June 2016

51ZnfjjaqZLBurned and Broken by Mark Hardie (from Sphere) (out in hardback on 23 June)

An enigmatic policeman – currently the subject of an internal investigation – is found burned to death in his car on the Southend sea front.

A vulnerable young woman, fresh out of the care system, is trying to discover the truth behind the sudden death of her best friend.

As DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell from the Essex Police Major Investigation Team are brought in to solve the mystery that surrounds their colleague’s death, they’re under intense pressure to crack the case without damaging the force’s reputation.

When a dramatic turn of events casts a whole new light on both cases, the way forward is far from clear. Were the victims connected in some way? And just how much should Pearson and Russell reveal to their bosses as they begin to unearth some dark secrets that the force would rather keep buried?

Mark Hardie began writing full time after completely losing his eyesight in 2002. He has completed a creative writing course and an advanced creative writing course at the Open University, both with distinction. You can find Mark on twitter @Markhardiecrime.

16 June 2016

51oxuCsdyMLMy Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor (from twenty7)

Heidi and Jason aren’t like other couples. Six years ago, Heidi’s daughter was murdered. A year later, Jason’s son Barney disappeared. Their shared loss brought them together. By chance, Heidi meets a boy she’s certain is Barney. But Jason is equally convinced it’s not him.

Is Heidi mad? Or is Jason hiding something? And can their fragile marriage survive Heidi’s newfound quest for the truth . . .

Deborah O’Connor is a writer and TV producer. Born and bred in the North-East of England, in 2010 she completed the Faber Academy novel writing course. She lives in London with her husband and daughter.

As with all twenty7 books this will be out on Kindle six months before the paperback is published.

Without Trace by Simon Booker (from twenty7)

Already out in kindle this is the paperback debut for this psychological thriller.

For four long years, journalist Morgan Vine has campaigned for the release of her childhood sweetheart Danny Kilcannon – convicted, on dubious evidence, of murdering his 14 year-old stepdaughter. When a key witness recants, Danny is released from prison. With nowhere else to go, he relies on single mum Morgan and her teenage daughter, Lissa. But then Lissa goes missing. With her own child now at risk, Morgan must re-think all she knows about her old flame – ‘the one that got away’. As the media storm around the mysterious disappearance intensifies and shocking revelations emerge, she is forced to confront the ultimate question: who can we trust…

Simon Booker is a screenwriter with an impressive set of credits to his name including The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and The Mrs Bradley Mysteries for BBC1 and ITV thrillers The Blind Date and The Stepfather. You can see my review here.

41nTt6pxC4LDear Amy by Helen Callaghan (from Penguin Random House)

As an agony aunt, Margot Lewis receives many letters – but none like this one. It claims to be from a kidnapped girl who’s being held prisoner – a girl who’s been missing for years. Is it a cruel hoax? Or a very real cry for help? This is a chilling, unpredictable psychological suspense novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Margot Lewis is an agony aunt who receives an unexpected letter from Bethan Avery, a girl who was supposedly murdered years ago. Is it a cruel hoax? As more and more letters begin flooding in, Margot must answer the letters which could cost her everything.

Helen Callaghan was born in California to British parents and her early years were spent in both the US and UK.

After several early false starts as barmaid, drama student, and nurse, she settled into bookselling, working as a fiction specialist and buyer for Athena Bookshop, Dillons and Waterstones over the next eight years. Though she loved life as a bookseller, Helen was drawn back to her studies. This decision proved to be rather a good one, and after studying for her A-levels at night school, she achieved a place to read Archaeology at Cambridge University as a mature student. Her interests include medieval cookery, hiking, running, and travel. She is fascinated by the past, and can frequently be found haunting ancient monuments. She blogs about these enthusiasms at www.helencallaghan.co.uk

She now runs her own business and lives in Cambridge.

852919413A Quiet Life by Natasha Walter  (from Borough Press)

Since the disappearance of her husband in 1951, Laura Leverett has been living in limbo with her daughter in Geneva. All others see is her conventional, charming exterior; nobody guesses the secret she is carrying.

Her double life began years ago, when she stepped on to the boat which carried her across the Atlantic in 1939. Eager to learn, and eager to love, she found herself suddenly inspired by a young Communist woman she met on the boat. In London she begins to move between two different worlds – from the urbane society of her cousins and their upper class friends, to the anger of those who want to forge a new society. One night at a party she meets a man who seems to her to combine both worlds, but who is hiding a secret bigger than she could ever imagine.

Impelled by desire, she finds herself caught up in his hidden life. Love grows, but so do fear and danger. This is the warm-blooded story of the Cold War. The story of a wife whose part will take her from London in the Blitz, to Washington at the height of McCarthyism, to the possible haven of the English countryside. Gradually she learns what is at stake for herself, her husband, and her daughter; gradually she realises the dark consequences of her youthful idealism.

Natasha Walter is the author of two non-fiction books, The New Feminism and Living Dolls: the Return of Sexism. She has worked as a journalist, columnist and reviewer for the Guardian, the Observer and the Independent, and is the founder of the charity Women for Refugee Women. She lives in London with her partner and their two children. A Quiet Life is her first novel.

30 June 2016

519N8czdefLS is for Stranger by Louise Stone (from Carina)

There are two sides to every story.

But only one is true.

Sophie wished she’d paid more attention when her little daughter, Amy, caught sight of a stranger watching them. She only looked away for a second. But now Amy’s gone.

No one trusts an alcoholic. Even a sober one. The police are suspicious of Sophie’s tangled story and so is her ex-husband, Paul. Especially when new information emerges that changes everything.

But what if Sophie is telling the truth? What if her daughter really is missing? And what if that stranger at the fairground wasn’t really a stranger at all…

Charlie Phillips, writing under the pseudonym Louise Stone, worked as a teacher before turning her hand to fiction. She was brought up in Africa and the Middle East and then – as an adult – travelled extensively before moving to London and finally settling in the Cotswolds with her partner, and now baby. When she’s not writing, you will find her scouring interior design magazines and shops, striving toward the distant dream of being a domestic goddess or having a glass of wine with country music turned up loud. As a child, she always had her nose in a book and, in particular, Nancy Drew. S is for Stranger is her first psychological suspense thriller and it was shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize 2014. She also writes women’s fiction under the pseudonym Lottie Phillips.

Too Close by Gayle Curtis (from twenty7)

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Cecelia and Sebastian have a connection like no other – more than just brother and sister, they’ll go to any lengths to protect each other. Growing up in a bleak old farmhouse, their mother gone and their father violent and abusive, the twins have only each other to keep them alive.

But when the secrets of their mother’s disappearance start to emerge, and truth and lies are thrown into question, events take a terrifying turn . . .

As Cecelia tries to break away from the ties that bind her to her brother, Sebastian is determined that the twins should be together – whatever the costs.

Gayle writes all her books from a caravan in a field; the rest of the time she resides in an old chapel situated in North Norfolk with her husband, Chris. She does not have a degree in English, or anything remotely creative. Born and bred in Norfolk, she is not married to any of her relatives . . . Her inspiration comes from the beautiful countryside where she lives, coastal walks and the weird friends she is surrounded by.

As with all twenty7 books this will be out on Kindle six months before the paperback is published.

4123316148The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis (from Borough Press)

This is the story of Elka, a young girl who is confronted by news that breeds distrust in the small, fragile world she has built with the help of man named Trapper. Set in a remote land ravaged by an unnamed disaster, The Wolf Road is not your average thriller.Since the Damn Stupid turned the clock back on civilization by centuries, the world has been a harsher place. But Elka has learned everything she needs to survive from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her in when she was just seven years old.So when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka.

Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. There will be a reckoning, one that will push friendships to the limit and force Elka to confront the dark memories of her past.

Beth Lewis was raised in the wilds of Cornwall and split her childhood between books and the beach. She has travelled extensively throughout the world and has had close encounters with black bears, killer whales, and Great White sharks. She has been, at turns, a bank cashier, fire performer, juggler, and is currently a Managing Editor at a leading London publisher.

51ZyB4f4U3LBaby Doll by Holly Overton (from Penguin Random House)

Lily has been abducted from outside her high-school gates.For eight long years she’s been locked away from the outside world. During that time she’s changed from a girl into a woman. She’s had a baby.And now she has seized her chance and escaped. Running for her life, with her daughter in her arms, she returns to her family and the life she used to know – to her much-loved twin sister Abby, her mum, her high-school boyfriend – and her freedom. But is it possible to go back? Lily’s perfect life as a teenager doesn’t exist any more. Since she’s been gone, her family’s lives have changed too, in ways she never could have imagined. Her return, and the revelation of who took her, will send shockwaves through the whole community.

Hollie Overton is a television writer whose father was a member of the Overton Gang and went to prison for manslaughter. Hollie draws on her own childhood to explore violence and a complicated family.


For previous ‘debuts’ posts see JanuaryFebruaryMarchApril and May.

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