Novels

by

Lyn Shea

The Legendary
Awakening of

Gerald Monkton

Woman
with a White Umbrella

Lone Horse
in the
Hinterland

The Enduring
Wisdom of
Refracted Glass

HOT PLOTS

 

A good book lasts forever - in the mind and in the collective consciousness. Fashions in literature come and go but a good book lives on, having various phases of interest. Literature endures in the way art endures. We can pick up a book at one time in our life and not take to it, then go back to it another time and find it compelling, such is the nature of the relationship between writers and readers. In ‘Hot Plots’ we present books both new to the market and not so new. Some literature never sees critical acclaim, and some works may remain hidden gems in the vast world of novels. Our selection here is eclectic and random, apprising many sorts of stories and genres.

 

 

‘The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley’

Sean Lusk

 

A unique and intriguing book. The kind which defines the word novel. Set in the 1750’s and involving a master clockmaker in London who makes the kind of automaton then popular. He is coerced into spying for the government, using one of his inventions and travels to Constantinople and the Sultan’s palace. Imaginative and colourful with characters which come to life and echo the era. Beautifully written.

 

‘A Slow Fire Burning’

Paula Hawkins.

 

Just a masterly crafted piece of crime fiction. Psychologically intelligent and perceptive on all levels. Set in current dayLondon. By the author of ‘Girl on the Train’.

 

‘The Death of Mrs Westaway’

Ruth Dare

 

A quirky, twisty thriller set in the current era, atmospheric and very genre. About a young woman who is as a beneficiary in a will to inherit the family estate in Cornwall, amid cunning and dark plots to preserve family secrets from the past. Very readable for connoisseurs of crime and mystery.

 

‘The Travelling Cat Chronicles’

Hiro Arikawa

 

This is just a wonderful book for cat lovers .. or possibly for all animal lovers. Translated from the Japanese it is fast reaching critical acclaim and is one of a series. A man on his journey through Japan with his cat re-visits people and friends from his past and gradually his own story unfolds.

 

‘The Red House’

Mark Haddon

 

From the writer of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night’. .. wholly different in style it is written with the same accent on underlying cause and sensitivity. It follows two families, of different social stratums, taking a holiday home for a week in remote Wales. The story engages and builds. Honesty and insight into modern life dilemmas from the point of view of differing age-groups.

 

‘Truly, Madly, Guilty’

Liane Moriarty

 

Just an excellent read. A skillfully crafted novel that has you gripped from the first page. A group of people in modern day Sydney, Australia go to a barbecue and their lives unravel. Believable characters and character interaction. Stunningly on-point insights and not a word wasted.

 

‘Girl A’

Abigail Dawn

 

A harrowing dark tale. It has been described as a a thriller and a mystery, but really it is neither. It lacks the cliff-edge suspense. It’s more an unfolding of one person’s struggle into adulthood from a background of cruelty, neglect and appalling circumstance. It’s a book about survival and religious fanaticism. It is in its way a masterpiece of story telling but it is not for the faint-hearted or those seeking light escapism.

 

‘The Chalet’

Catherine Cooper

 

A stylish and unique thriller set in the French Alps. Grips from the first page, with a well drawn plot line. Moves back and forth between two decades in a seamless way, and it races without a lull to its climax and becomes increasingly difficult to guess the endin.

 

‘The Rooster Bar’

John Grisham

 

Up to the usual standard of this author, this novel is a delight to read. Three U.S law students decide to practice before graduating and set out to bring down a part of the system exploiting the loopholes in financing and education netting millions and leaving the gullible struggling.. A unique storyline and a great insight into the way judiciary works.

 

‘Shiver’

Allie Reynolds

 

An edgy, no-nonsense contemporary thriller. Set around a group of young athletes in the Alps. A gripping novel with a realistic style.. A murder mystery well worth a read to enthusiasts of this genre.

 

 

‘A Gambling Man’

David Baldacci

 

A crime novel of panache, wit and warmth by this prolific writer. A look at an era – the late forties in the U.S.A . It will fascinate those who are nostalgic for those times and those who know nothing of them. A trainee private eye with a seasoned old time professional. A hero with human vulnerability and balls. Californian dreams, bent officials and lovely women. A great read within that genre.

 

 

‘The Mothers’

Sarah J. Naughton

 

An original and edgy mystery about a group of women who meet whilst pregnant and are members of an NLT group. From the pen of the author who wrote ‘The Other Couple’ this book has the modern slant on dysfunction and crime happening to ordinary people in ordinary situations and explores insights into relationship dynamics and the solidarity of friendship.

 

‘12 Rules for Life - (an antidote to chaos).’

Jordan Peterson.

 

One of the most foremost thinkers and well-being gurus in the west today. This book looks at the underneath of the human plight and suffering. It is superb in its narrative and writing. Not a book to be read at one sitting, but in bite size chunks – or with time for digestion – a must for anyone who likes self reflection or self enhancement.

 

‘Into the Wild’ & The Warrior Series

Erin Hunter.

 

The first in a long series entitled ‘Warrior Cats’. Brilliant for cat lovers of all ages, but primarily written for older children, it tells the tale of four rival clans of feral cats. Written in the character of cats as the cats would see their world.

 

‘Last Seen Alive’

Claire Douglas

 

This book is of the popular genre of ‘secrets-lies-and-who-is-actually-who-they-seem-to-be’ thriller novels. A relationship between a young English couple turns sour while they engage in a house swap with folks they have never met. The past creeps up on the present, but unlike some other books of this same genre the story is moderate and the plot paced, nor is it larded with expletives. The reader is entreated to have sympathy with these protagonists who are quite normal suburbanites living a mediocre life. The book maintains pace and is highly readable, with twists unexpected and original.

 

 

‘Temptation’

Douglas Kennedy

 

Despite the frothy and exotic title, which in our estimation does not do justice to the story, this is not a romantic fiction or a steamy sex caper. An American screen writer has a meteoric rise to fame and success, and falls foul of one of the world’s wealthiest men who sets out to systematically deconstruct his career and reputation. This is a great read, by a prolific author who clearly knows his craft and has his own unique style.

 

 

‘La Belle Sauvage’

Philip Pullman

 

The prelude to ‘The Northern Lights’ it tells the story of Lyra from infancy and pre-dates the best selling trilogy. This is an epic book, itself part of another trilogy – ‘The Book of Dust’. For fans of Pullman and his metaphysical look at the universe and life it is a feast. Written again from the eyes of two young people, Malcolm and Alice, who embark on a voyage in a canoe in the midst of a great flood to rescue Lyra from the CCD and the Magisterium so that she may go on to fulfill her life’s mission and the proof of consciousness against religious tyranny.

 

 

‘We Had it So Good’

Linda Grant

 

This Booker Prize nominate is an insightful look at three decades of change – 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and through to the millennium as seen through the eyes of four people meeting at Oxford University in the 60’s ….the drugs, the philosophies and the realities. Plus some interesting glimpses into American life at the time. Two couples and a few fringe characters take us on the journey and anyone alive in any of those decades – or even curious about them - will love this book. A chronicle of lives as felt and seen and a truthful survey of the human condition.

 

 

‘The Curse of the House of Foskett’’

M.R.C. Kasasian

 

One of the most unusual detective stories you may ever read. Set in the eighteen hundreds, it chronicles the activities of the private investigating duo, Sidney Grice and March Middleton. Both humorous and truly gruesome its wry look at life and its undeniably quirky characters sees it set as a classic in its own genre. It is at first hard to know how to take the novel; as a horror spoof, a comedy excursion into the fascinating world of a hundred and odd years ago or just a true Novel. A ‘marmite’ sort of book it either grabs you and engages you or repels you after the first few pages. One in a series of nine.

 

‘Started Early, Took My Dog’

Kate Atkinson

 

A stunningly good book. Powerful, vibrant and tight, by the author of ‘Behind the Scenes at The Museum’. This book has it all, a gritty cameo of Northern life in and around Leeds, U.K. Described by The Times newspaper as a comedy (we don’t know which book they were reading) it is witty but not funny unless your sense of humour is warped. Pithy and insightful, it deals with dark subject matter: Police corruption, desperate female professionals and a laid back private detective who is seen in other of this writer’s books – she has to be a rising star in the contemporary thriller genre. But to say too much about the storyline spoils the fast moving plot which explains itself wonderfully from the first page.

 

 

‘A Crack in Forever’

Jeannie Brewer

 

An iconic love story of the 1990’s this tale of tragic love is exquisitely told, stops short of melodrama by its down to earth narrative and dialogue. A young female artist meets a pre-med student who models for her and a relationship begins. This is not hearts and flowers but more souls and landscape. The circumstances change quickly but the book is never maudlin - a credit to the endurance and strength of the human heart at its most resilient. For romantics and cynics of both genders.

 

 

‘Camino Island’

John Grisham

 

A great read from this most readable of authors. Slower paced than some of his books, it takes in the world of rare books and manuscripts and a list of intelligent and sophisticated characters who make up the heist and the fall-out. One of the best thriller writers alive today, Grisham never fails to hit the mark with storyline and plot and maximum feasibility. When a young female writer fails to deliver her third novel she turns to the world of espionage for financial injection and is in deeper than she cares to be.

 

 

‘On The Other Hand”

Chris Cleave

 

The true power of this book does not reveal itself until possibly half way through. It is haunting and moving and evocative, but not for the squeamish. If you finish the first two chapters you won’t be able to stop reading. It tells the story of two women, one white and English and in publishing, the other black and African and seeking asylum. Their lives come together in one shocking hour on a beach, and to say more is to spoil the read.

 

 

‘Till We Meet Again’

Lesley Pearse

 

It’s hard to describe this as a murder mystery, but to some extent that is what it is. Not a who-dun-it type yarn, but a story which takes time to build its own powerful plot.. Plainly written, not one of fancy twists or quirky characters but one which piles intrigue onto highly moving tragedy through back-story. Two women who have met in their girlhood meet again under vastly different circumstances and purely by accident. One a lawyer, the other a struggling and grieving loner. This is a genre which is hard to describe but it’s certainly a very unique human interest story.

 

 

‘A Rake’s View’

Stephanie Laurens

 

A surprisingly erotic tale set in the Georgian British period. This novel is too classy to be labelled a corset ripper. Though profoundly romantic in essence she defies the stereotype by her intelligent prose and insights into male/female dynamic. This author has written a whole series and has effortless style and natural story telling ability. A book for male and female enthusiasts of the historical novel with a sexy plot.

 

 

The Swallow and The Hummingbird’

Santa Montefiore

 

A thoroughly absorbing read. A romantic novel set between the Devon coast and Argentina between the forties and the sixties. Not so much boy-meets-girl as boy knows girl all his life and then comes back from the war emotionally scarred and goes away to recover and then stays away for a couple of decades. Interesting and likable characters. It is obvious that this author has written from life experience and this is moe than a love story; it’s a veritable saga of events involving the surrounding characters who are as vital to the tale as the two lovers.

 

 

‘Snow Blind’

Ragnar Jonasson

 

This is not a fast paced thriller, but a steady and thoughtful revelation into the minds and lives of people and their deepest fears and desires. It is of that genre of the Scandinavian crime story which has become popular over the last two decades or so. It is written in a truthful way that loses little in translation. A young policemen moves to the northern regions of Iceland in the depth of winter to pursue his career, where the weather conditions are extreme and the town lazy and unchanging until a sudden suspicious death of one of its local theatre’s writers and a further death soon after. Struggling with his own depression and homesickness he follows a trail to unravel the truth. Scenery described beautifully and characters brought to life realistically. Patient crime lovers will enjoy.

 

 

‘The Muse’

Jessie Burton

 

A masterpiece in its own right. A superbly crafted novel of the art world and artists, Set between two worlds and eras – that of Spain in the 1930’s and Britain in the 1960’s. A tale of revolution, betrayal, and cunning. Two strong female protagonists unfold a compelling story which is both unique and thrilling while losing nothing of its complex layers. By the same author who gave us ‘The Miniaturist’.

 

'Lone Horse in the Hinterland'

Lyn Shea

 

Three couples unfold a story of ideals, land feuds and past life memory.  Diverse personalities of differing ages, temperaments and  professions. English rural life combines the infinite and seamless potential for life beyond the known agenda with the continuing mundane struggles of pressure and success amid the well-heeled and the poorer.  An interesting montage of plot and action that spins the story into realms unexpected.  Told with simplicity, wit and acute observation into human affection and frailty, it is unsentimental and honest. The style of writing evokes visual drama and is a colourful arc of discovery.

 

 

‘In a Dark Dark Wood’

Ruth Ware

 

A debut crime novel. Almost Christie-esque in its structure and plot, but contemporary in setting, and carefully crafted and paced and easy to read. Very much a page-turner and a lot of readers would say establishing the status of classic thriller genre. A hen party held in the wilds of Northumberland goes horribly wrong among six old friends.

 

Astrological Outlooks

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Novels
Novels