THE FIFTH GIRL by Georgia Fancett (Arrow £8.99)


by Georgia Fancett (Arrow £8.99)

Even before publication, this belter of a police procedural won the Penguin Random House First Novel Competition in partnership with the Daily Mail.

DS Rawls has been on extended medical leave when he’s called back to investigate the murder of a young woman that shows the same modus operandi of three previous murders that he failed to solve.

Is there a serial killer loose in the city of Bath? Who will be his fifth victim? And will Rawls and his sidekick, Nat, be in time to stop another death? Despite some rather obvious pointers and a slow start, the novel picks up pace, twisting and turning to the final cliffhanger and resolution. Rawls is an excellent new detective on the block with a troubled domestic life and a touching vulnerability. I’m looking forward to his next outing.


by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom (Head of Zeus £16.99)

Three black women move to Stockholm, each hoping to start a new life.

Kemi, a high-flying Nigerian American, is headhunted by the CEO of Von Lundin Marketing, Jonny von Lundin. Brittany-Rae, a Jamaican-American model turned air stewardess, is stalked by Jonny until she agrees to move to be with him in Sweden. Muna, a young Somali refugee, fetches up in Stockholm as a cleaner in the Von Lundin offices.

But these apparently golden opportunities, all linked in one way or another to Jonny himself, provide each woman with numerous hurdles relating to their race and status.

Akerstrom writes all too convincingly about racism, fetishism, identity and loneliness, giving additional depth and texture to this vivid, involving novel.

THE DUST NEVER SETTLES by Karina Lickorish Quinn (Oneworld £16.99)


by Karina Lickorish Quinn (Oneworld £16.99)

Pregnant and engaged to be married, Anais Echeverria returns to Peru from London to sell her ancestral home.

But the desolate ‘yellow house on a hill’ in the Miraflores district of Lima is redolent with memories and crammed with possessions from previous generations who continue to haunt it. Anais decides not to sell, but to stay there.

Her story is interspersed with that of Julia, a 17-year-old maid who fell to her death from the house, and on her journey to sainthood becomes all-seeing, able to ‘make little alleviations in the journeys of the common man’.

Ambitious, sometimes confusing but always colourful, its magical realism beautifully realised, this novel brims with Peruvian folklore and history as Anais negotiates ghosts from the past and comes to terms with long-buried secrets.

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