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First published in AdXtra

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

By Kate Whiting


New fiction

Vengeance by John Banville writing as Benjamin Black is published in hardback by Mantle, priced £16.99. Available now.

Vengeance is the new thriller from the Booker Prize-winning and Edgar-nominated Benjamin Black (John Banville), author of Christine Falls and The Silver Swan.

The story begins with the unexplained suicide of one of Ireland's most successful entrepreneurs, Victor Delahaye.

After arranging a boat trip with his business partner's son, he pulls out a pistol and kills himself. But the blood shed doesn't end there. Someone is out to wreak vengeance upon those who knew Victor and his family and friends.

The story unfolds through the eyes of the remaining family members of both Victor and his business partner, who all have skeletons in their closets.

Detective Inspector Hackett, who is quick on the case, wastes no time calling in consultant pathologist Quirke, who avid Black followers will recognise from previous tales.

It's a fast-paced read with plenty of cunning twists to keep you turning the pages.

7/10

(Review by Philip Robinson)


Turf by John Lucas is published in paperback by Bodley Head, priced £9.99. Available now.

The Blake Street Boyz gang means everything to 15-year-old Jay and his friends, spending dinner times and evenings defending their turf, but his life takes a not-altogether-unexpected turn when he has to prove himself to ruthless leader Shads in a bid to join the ranks of the more respected gang members.

What he doesn't expect is having to kill a rival boy for the privilege. Reeling, he calls his whole existence into question, fighting to understand how his life has turned out like this, while struggling to explain the situation to his girlfriend and family.

A poignant, gritty read, John Lucas's debut novel captures the brutal experience of gang culture among vulnerable city teenagers, exposing not only their heinous deeds, but a society that allows children to feel unloved and excluded.

8/10

(Review by Ben Major)


The Housemaid's Daughter by Barbara Mutch is published in hardback by Headline Review, priced £16.99. Available now.

Experience the terrible dawn of apartheid set against the desert landscape of the South African 'Karoo' in the debut novel from Barbara Mutch.

Ada is the eponymous narrator of The Housemaid's Daughter. Growing up, Ada flourishes under the kindly protection of Cathleen, her mother's Irish employer.

This charmed life is shattered when Ada falls pregnant with a mixed-race child, forcing her to flee the only family she has known.

Interspersed with Cathleen's diary entries, The Housemaid's Daughter gives an intriguing insight into the gaping divide between black and white, rich and poor.

Although the characters are sometimes two dimensional - Cathleen, for instance, is somewhat too saintly - the engaging plot successfully holds the reader's interest throughout.

7/10

(Review by Zahra Saeed)


The Girl On The Stairs by Louise Welsh is published in hardback by John Murray, priced £16.99. Available now.

Glaswegian Louise Welsh's fifth novel sees her leave her native Scotland and head to Berlin.

The German capital is a suitably spooky backdrop for this haunting thriller where the heavily pregnant Jane finds herself home alone waiting for the moment her life will change forever.

She soon finds herself besieged by eerie noises, suspicious neighbours and ghosts from the city's past.

The tension mounts as she plunges further into a paranoid plot fuelled by suspicions of domestic abuse and the mysterious disappearance of a woman years before.

Welsh builds the suspense brilliantly and keeps the reader on their toes before deflating the tension with an ending that ties up the loose ends just a bit too neatly.

But there is much to enjoy in this creepy crime novel - just skip the last few pages.

7/10

(Review by Robert Dex)


Elza's Kitchen by Marc Fitten is published in paperback by Bloomsbury, priced £11.99. Available now.

The second novel by American author Marc Fitten, Elza's Kitchen tells the story of a single and childless forty-something-year-old woman trying to make her mark in the world of cuisine in a small town in Hungary.

Recently divorced and not overawed with life, Elza looks to her first love and passion, food, to help her rediscover her happiness.

With help from her old cookery school teachers, she persuades the food critic from a renowned French magazine to visit her restaurant, Tulip, and taste her traditional Hungarian fare.

But not all goes well, and from focusing mainly on the food, the story develops into a wider tale exploring relationships, happiness and acceptance.

With much warmth and some comedy thrown in, this is a charming look at the peculiarities of life.

It does take a while for the story to get going, and some of the characters and situations lack some depth but, that said, it's a very light and easy read. Ideal for taking on holiday.

7/10

(Review by Debbie Murray)


 

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