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Droitwich Advertiser: Bookcase Bookcase

A look at the latest releases, plus what's new in paperback.

By Kate Whiting.

New fiction.

Catching The Sun by Tony Parsons is published in paperback by HarperCollins, priced £7.99. Available now.

Catching The Sun is the latest foray into fiction by journalist Tony Parsons, who is best-known for his popular novels One For My Baby, Man And Wife, and Man And Boy.

After relocating to the sun-drenched island of Phuket in Thailand, a British family hopes to find some semblance of paradise, especially the father, who was involved in an unsavoury incident back in the UK.

However, darker powers conspire to threaten not only their new lives, but their family bonds, leading them to the very things they wished to escape.

Parsons steps into familiar territory by exploring the emotional trials and tribulations faced by an average family, except this time the action takes place in a foreign country, somewhat exacerbating their problems.

Catching The Sun is a simple yet effective story, exploring the incessant search for happiness and what people will do to secure it.

6/10 (Review by Ben Major) Little People by Jane Sullivan is published in paperback by Allen & Unwin, priced £9.99. Available now.

Governess Mary Ann is pregnant, out of work and desperate when she goes to the Yarra River with the intention of throwing herself in.

When she sees what she thinks is a child falling in, she goes to their rescue. The person she has saved is no baby however, it is General Tom Thumb - part of a troupe of "little people" touring Australia.

Set in the 19th century, journalist Jane Sullivan's second novel is full of Gothic intrigue, mixed with the drama and razzle-dazzle of the travelling show.

Each member of the group has a dark side, which comes to light as the tour continues. We hear from each of the star turns in their own voice, including the General's beautiful wife Lavinia and her plotting sister Minnie.

Sullivan weaves historical fact with fiction, taking her inspiration from the real Tom Thumb who travelled across Australia in 1870. She conjures up a world of adventure and suspense in an action-filled plot - weakened only, perhaps, by moments of melodrama.

6/10 (Review by Lauren Turner) The Card by Graham Rawle is published in hardback by Atlantic books, priced £16.99. Available now.

Bubble gum card collector Riley Richardson has been assigned a coded mission by MI5 to protect the life of Princess Diana. Or so it seems.

The Queen of Hearts playing card, dropped in a deserted alleyway by a mysterious grey-haired man, is Riley's starting point. More cards, and thus more clues, appear. But has Riley got what it takes to decipher the cards correctly?

And will he be able to solve the mystery of the illusive card 19, which has haunted him for 30 years? The answer, as they say, is in the cards.

The Card by Graham Rawle is engaging, thought-provoking, and at times laugh out loud funny. The use of typographical features to highlight parts of the text and Rawle's illustrations of the cards is also visually striking. This story about ephemera is in no way short-lived.

8/10 (Review by Liz Ellis) Not Dead Yet by Peter James is published in hardback by Macmillan, priced £18.99. Available now.

British author Peter James hasn't strayed far away from his comfort zone for Not Dead Yet, his 22nd book and the eighth thriller in the Roy Grace series, which isn't a bad thing.

The screenwriter and film producer, who splits his time between London and Brighton, sets the nail-biting novel predominantly in Brighton, where Detective Superintendent Grace of Sussex CID is given the responsibility of heading a security campaign to protect Hollywood superstar Gaia as she shoots a new film in the seaside city.

Following an attempt on her life in Los Angeles and the discovery of an obsessed stalker, Grace has to increase his efforts to keep the actress safe - while solving a local case or letting his personal life suffer.

James's focus on the police process throughout the case is his strength, setting him apart from crime writers such as Kathy Reichs, Jeffery Deaver and Tess Gerritsen.

Rating: 6/10

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