5 new books to read this week

5 New Books To Read This Week
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Prudence Wade, PA

Pick up a new book, from nail-biting thrillers to revealing non-fiction about the criminal justice system…


1. The Apartment Upstairs by Lesley Kara is published in hardback by Bantam Press. Available now



Murder becomes a family affair in Lesley Kara’s latest thriller, with a disabled woman left confused and shocked following the tragic and bloody murder of her aunt in the apartment above her. You can’t stop searching through this brilliant novel for clues and answers, as it takes every twist and turn possible. The murder is linked to a woman who went missing a decade ago, and Scarlett – along with her new friend Dee – are left to find the truth. It’s a personal and moving look at familial bonds, women’s safety and dating. One question stands out all the way through: can you ever truly trust someone you love? Kara has woven a thick and nuanced plot, finally exploring chronic illness in a way that represents the experiences of thousands of people, while also taking you on a totally unexpected journey.
(Review by Imy Brighty-Potts)

2. Square One by Nell Frizzell is published in hardback by Bantam Press. Available July 7th



The pressure is real for women in their 30s. Marriage? House? Kids? All these boxes remain stubbornly unticked for Hanna, who splits up with her boyfriend and leaves their shared London flat to move in with her father Iain, also single and looking for love. But her fresh start feels more like a leap back, and Hanna feels trapped as she contemplates the milestones she ‘should’ have reached, while she drifts off each night under her childhood Jungle Book bedding. As she navigates a new job, hunts for a flatshare and forges connections in Oxford, Hanna tries to figure out what she wants, and untangle herself from the myriad expectations that she is reminded of every time she receives a picture of a friend’s pregnancy scan or wedding invite. Frizzell tells her journey with warmth, compassion and wit, and it’s reassuring to see an ending that doesn’t tie the loose ends neatly in a bow, but still involves a liberation of sorts.
(Review by Jemma Crew)

3. These Streets by Luan Goldie is published in hardback by HQ. Available now

These Streets is about people struggling to survive, families falling apart and coming back together – but the main character is really the location: Stratford, London. It’s in every page, running through everyone’s story. These Streets is told from two perspectives: Jess, a single mum to two teenagers – born and raised in the East End, struggling to make ends meet after she’s evicted from her home; and Ben, a lonely divorcee moving back to Stratford after a messy break-up. Goldie portrays the housing crisis and extortionate cost of living in London with reality and care, and you can’t help but root for the characters. While the setting is vibrant and the characters colourful, there’s not enough of a plot to make this book a standout, and it errs on the side of repetitive. Certainly readable – and it raises important issues – but as a story, not hugely memorable.
(Review by Prudence Wade)


4. Unlawful Killings by Her Honour Wendy Joseph QC is published in hardback by Doubleday. Available now

Her Honour Wendy Joseph QC tells it how she sees it, with this insightful and sensitive chronicle of human tragedy played out in the courtroom. The recently retired judge, who was one of only a handful of women to sit full-time at the Old Bailey, has penned six stories based on her experiences of homicide cases. They provide a unique view from the judge’s bench, giving the opportunity for the reader to effectively don the ceremonial robes and wig themselves. Anyone hoping to glean some insider knowledge of famous murders may be disappointed, as none of the tales Joseph produced during her lockdown writing relate specifically to any one of the many murder and manslaughter trials she presided over in her career. But by condensing and weaving together facts from many different cases and pouring them into stories, she brings together a wider truth. This is fresh, compelling, well-written and unflinchingly authentic. From the first page, Joseph explodes the myth of criminal judges being out of touch with the real world. Not just one for true crime buffs.
(Review by Emily Pennink)

Children’s book of the week

5. The House Of Shells by Efua Traore is published in paperback by Chicken House. Available July 7th

After moving to a new town, Kuki, 12, is struggling to fit in. One night, she is drawn to a spooky abandoned manor filled with piles of shells and meets a girl her own age called Enilo. They become best friends and are eerily similar – but is Enilo who Kuki thinks she is? This is Efua Traore’s second children’s novel. An inspiring Nigerian-German author who grew up in a small town in Nigeria, she is interested in myths, legends and superstitions. You’ll likely devour this mysterious story compulsively, and be hooked from the second you start to read. You’ll want to know what secrets Enilo is hiding and why Kuki is in danger, despite her name meaning “this one will not die”. Children who enjoy atmospheric adventure books and want to learn more about Nigerian folk legends should read this.
(Review by Julia Ballard)

Book charts for the week ending June 25th

Hardback (Fiction):
1. Murder Before Evensong by Reverend Richard Coles
2. The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi
3. Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh
4. Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby
5. The Partisan by Patrick Worrall
6. Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
7. The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
8. Just Got Real by Jane Fallon
9. The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn
10. Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Hardback (Non-fiction):
1. The Escape Artist by Jonathan Freedland
2. The Hong Kong Diaries by Christopher Patten
3. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before by Dr Julie Smith
4. Old Rage by Sheila Hancock
5. House Arrest by Alan Bennett
6. Russia by Antony Beevor
7. Freezing Order by Bill Browder
8. Bake by Paul Hollywood
9. The Social Distance Between Us by Darren McGarvey
10. Notes on Heartbreak by Annie Lord
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Audiobooks (Fiction & Non-fiction):
1. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith
2. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
3. Atomic Habits by James Clear
4. What Is Your Problem? by Jack Dee
5. Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
6. All About Me! by Mel Brooks
7. Windswept & Interesting by Billy Connolly
8. The Escape Artist by Jonathan Freedland
9. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
20. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
(Compiled by Audible)

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