Lyn Shea

The Legendary
Awakening of

Gerald Monkton

with a White Umbrella

Lone Horse
in the

The Enduring
Wisdom of
Refracted Glass



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.



‘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.




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.



‘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.


‘The First Wife’

Emily Barr


A light almost ingenuous story, heartwarming in its simplicity of purpose at first, but then descending suddenly into a darker genre when you least expect it A girl from a sheltered background in Cornwall is forced into a new life at a young age with no experience and not much to fall back on. Hard to say where the appeal of this novel lies exactly but it is probably in its honest down to earth approach and graphics and an integrity of style.



‘A Week in December’

Sebastian Faulks


A montage of activity of a group of people over one week in 2007 - a banker, a barrister, a literary critic, a premier league footballer and other movers and shakers, all destined to meet at a London dinner party. Depending on your point of view this gives a depressing insight into the state of society in fashionable London of the 21st century, or can be seen as a fascinating look into modern culture. It does have some satirical humour and a startling honesty, but maybe not to be read if you are looking for light-hearted uplift.



'Gone Girl’

Gillian Flynn


This thriller reached quite iconic acclaim. Baffling, disturbing and unsavory at times it portrays the love/hate tangle of a marriage gone wrong. Whether you deem it to have been a satisfying read at its conclusion depends on your taste for the bizarre, but it is without doubt in a genre of its own as far as psychological thrillers go. At first a seemingly routine tale of police interaction and family consternation amid a disappearance and suspected murder, it takes you suddenly down a steep deep set of twists that present almost a new book entirely.




Iain Banks


A journalist with addiction problems and a need to prove himself becomes involved in a web of conspiracy, serial revenge killings and ultimately the law.. Not a book for the squeamish, but the violence and gore is part of the tale unfolding and is off-set by superb prose and use of language. A page turner and quite a unique style of writing. Not your average crime novel. Set in Scotland it provides the reader with great scenic description and a fast plot.



‘The Virgin’s Lover’

Philippa Gregory


From the author of ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ more about the Tudor court of England in the 1500’s. Philippa Gregory excels in her individual style of historical factional drama. Exploring the infamous relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, her favoured courtier and Master Of Horse. The flirtations she kept going with Philip of Spain and other heads of state from in attempts to assure herself marriage proposals and keep herself on the throne. The imposition caused by Dudley’s devoted wife who refused to divorce him. The intricacies of the politics and affairs of state of that time are cleverly depicted - without the boring bits. This intelligent author writes in a way which appeals to both historians and romantics alike. Her objective facts and research are unsurpassed.




Astrological Outlooks

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