Escape from it all this summer with a chilling thriller,

THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett (Little, Brown £14.99)LITERARY FICTIONCLAIRE ALLFREETHE VANISHING HALFby Brit Bennett (Little, Brown £14.99)The lives of twin sisters, born black but with skin so pale they could pass for white, are mapped with compassion and insight in this triumph of empathetic storytelling. It examines the politics of race and gender across several decades in 20th-century America. A terrific novel.A THEATRE FOR DREAMERS by Polly Samson (Bloomsbury £14.99) A REGISTRY OF MY PASSAGE UPON THE EARTHby Daniel Mason (Picador £14.99)Short stories are great to have in a beach bag. These dazzling examples immerse the reader within sharply contrasting historical scenarios with a power that feels almost physical. The opening story, about a boxing match in 1820s Bristol, is extraordinary.A THEATRE FOR DREAMERSby Polly Samson (Bloomsbury £14.99)In 1960, the Greek island of Hydra was home to, among others, a young Leonard Cohen, his muse Marianne Ihlen and Marianne’s erstwhile husband Axel Jensen. Samson imagines it all with sultry precision in this utterly transporting, bittersweet portrait of youthful and sexual idealism.THE MYSTERY OF HENRI PICKby David Foenkinos (Picador £9.99)A rejected manuscript by an anonymous author becomes the toast of France in this delightful mix of romantic whimsy and literary satire, dripping in Gallic charm. MINOR DETAIL by Adania Shibli (Fitzcarraldo Editions £10.99)ANTHONY CUMMINSMINOR DETAILby Adania Shibli (Fitzcarraldo Editions £10.99)It isn’t comfort reading, but this is probably my novel of the year so far. Intelligent and formally daring, it turns on an atrocity committed by Israeli troops in 1949, which a Palestinian woman tries to learn about in the present day.THRESHOLDby Rob Doyle (Bloomsbury Circus £14.99)I could be out on a limb here, but this is the funniest novel I’ve read since January. Narrated by a globe-trotting Irish philosophy graduate, who muses on art and literature while high on mind-altering drugs, it’s unashamedly navel-gazing, slyly cosmopolitan and an absolute blast. REDHEAD BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD by Anne Tyler (Chatto £14.99)REDHEAD BY THE SIDE OF THE ROADby Anne Tyler (Chatto £14.99)This casually glorious, late-career masterpiece follows an IT guy in Baltimore slowly rethinking his happy-go-lucky ways after inadvertently (and, to him, bewilderingly) offending his girlfriend. Nothing dramatic happens, but Tyler’s zero-fuss artistry makes the story utterly engaging.YOUR HOUSE WILL PAYby Steph Cha (Faber £12.99)Writing a page-turner about racial politics in the U.S. is a delicate enterprise fraught with pitfalls, but Cha manages it superbly in this thought-provoking family saga, drawn on the true story of a Korean shopkeeper who avoided jail after shooting dead a black schoolgirl in 90s Los Angeles. YOU PEOPLE by Nikita Lalwani (Viking £12.99)STEPHANIE CROSSYOU PEOPLEby Nikita Lalwani (Viking £12.99)London waitress Nia wants to ‘learn how to spread light instead of darkness’, which is also the mission of her charismatic Singaporean boss who helps undocumented migrants. Lalwani explores kindness, altruism and the precariousness of interconnected lives in an economical tale that has the pace and suspense of a thriller.WHAT’S LEFT OF ME IS YOURSby Stephanie Scott (W&N £14.99)In Japan, a ‘wakaresaseya’ is someone you hire to split up your marriage by underhand means, but Sumiko finds herself falling for the ‘breaker-upper’ her husband has hired. Years later, her lawyer daughter, Rina, tries to discover why Sumiko was killed. Based on a real case, this slow-burning, intoxicatingly atmospheric mystery is a fascinating window on to Japanese society.THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE by Abi Dare (Sceptre £12.99)by Abi Dare (Sceptre £12.99)Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, this first novel follows the progress of 14-year-old Nigerian Adunni as she flees to Lagos, where she is sold as a house girl but never loses her passion for learning or her determination to speak out. Dare’s characters leap off the page, powering this funny, luminous and heart-swelling tale.THE BASS ROCKby Evie Wyld (Jonathan Cape £16.99)The spectre of centuries of violence against women haunts this disturbing and intensely absorbing gothic novel, which weaves together the fate of three women across three centuries. That it can also comfortably accommodate episodes of off-the-wall, Fleabag-esque hilarity confirms the acclaimed Wyld’s brilliance.POPULARWENDY HOLDEN VALENTINE by Elizabeth Wetmore (4th Estate £14.99)VALENTINEby Elizabeth Wetmore (4th Estate £14.99)Pre-oil-boom Texas is the setting for this brilliant, unsettling debut about the rape of a teenage girl and its consequences. The story is told by residents of the local community, all with different takes and their own problems. Like a grimmer, newer version of To Kill A Mockingbird, it’s bleak but strangely beautiful.THIS LOVELY CITYby Louise Hare (HQ £12.99)Musician Lawrie, newly arrived on the Empire Windrush, is getting to grips with 1950s London. It’s a bombed-out place with bombed-out morals; violence and racism abound. Lawrie finds love even so, but once the body of a baby is discovered on Clapham Common, his happiness hangs in the balance. A fantastic debut. THE GLASS HOUSE by Eve Chase (Michael Joseph £14.99)THE GLASS HOUSEby Eve Chase (Michael Joseph £14.99)The glamorous, troubled Harrington family leave London for their Forest of Dean mansion, taking their down-to-earth nanny with them. What unfolds affects her family for generations. Dreamy and atmospheric, this wonderful, moving novel time-slips between the Seventies and the present.ADULTSby Emma Jane Unsworth (Borough Press £12.99)Novels which send up social media are strangely rare. But here is a great one. Heroine Jenny is an Instagram addict. She puts filters on photos of croissants, is obsessed with influencer Suzy Brambles and oppressed by bullying boss Mia, editor of radical feminist online mag Foof. Hilarious.HISTORICALEITHNE FARRY HOW MUCH OF THESE HILLS IS GOLD by C Pam Zhang (Virago £16.99)HOW MUCH OF THESE HILLS IS GOLD by C Pam Zhang (Virago £16.99)Set in the dying days of the Californian gold rush, this tough, tender debut follows the fate of two young sisters who are forced to go on the run after a bungled bank raid. Peopled by unforgettable characters, Zhang has created a fierce feminist Western.THE LOST FUTURE OF PEPPERHARROWby Natasha Pulley (Bloomsbury £12.99)Clairvoyant samurai Keita Mori and translator Thaniel Steepleton have left the fog-bound streets of Victorian London for an intricately plotted adventure in rural Tokyo. Ghosts suddenly appear in the British legation, and a power-hungry baron is hiding some guilty secrets, in this inventive, wonderfully romantic read.THE MERCIES THE MERCIES by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Picador £14.99)by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Picador £14.99)Dark, dramatic and full of danger, this YA author’s first novel for adults retells the harrowing historical story of how an isolated community of women were accused of witchcraft in 17th-century Norway. The arrival of a Scottish witch hunter threatens everything as their close-knit community becomes riven by suspicion and fear.HAMNETby Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press £20)This beautifully written novel opens on a summer’s day in Stratford, 1596, with Hamnet, the day-dreamy son of William Shakespeare, searching for help for his ailing twin Judith — but it’s Hamnet who dies from the plague. Shakespeare appears in the grief-stricken narrative, but Agnes, his wife, is its beating heart.  SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid (Bloomsbury £12.99)CONTEMPORARYSARA LAWRENCESUCH A FUN AGEby Kiley Reid (Bloomsbury £12.99)Set in Pennsylvania, this thought-provoking, beautifully written and compelling debut, in which a black nanny is accused of kidnapping a white child, is about race, privilege and social status and is sensational on every level.GROWN UPSby Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph £20)This pleasingly hefty latest from Keyes is about a big family with very different personalities. They spend a lot of time together, but avoid certain subjects. Secrets, lies, tensions and inappropriate crushes simmer underneath the glossy veneer, eventually exploding in a shocking fall-out. Blissful. SEX & VANITY by Kevin Kwan (Hutchinson £14.99)THE F*CK-IT LISTby John Niven (Heinemann £16.99)AN utterly addictive revenge novel, which is set in America in 2026. Frank is a good guy in unconscionable pain after some senseless deaths in his family. When he gets a terminal diagnosis, Frank compiles a hit list of those he blames for the killings. The heartbreak and hilarity ratchet up simultaneously.SEX & VANITYby Kevin Kwan (Hutchinson £14.99)This delicious romp will transport you all over the world. From the high-octane glamour of Capri, to the fashionable streets of Manhattan, with frequent segues to the yacht clubs and restaurants of the Hamptons. Part social satire, part love story — it’s the ultimate holiday read.BIG GIRL, SMALL TOWN by Michelle Gallen (John Murray £14.99)DEBUTSFANNY BLAKEBIG GIRL, SMALL TOWNby Michelle Gallen (John Murray £14.99)Majella observes the inhabitants of the small town of Aghybogey from behind the counter of the local chippy where she works. Her distinctive voice, bold and bawdy, is what sets this novel apart, making it a joyous read.THE CODES OF LOVEby Hannah Persaud (Muswell Press £10.99)Emily and Ryan have an open marriage. They abide by their rules and all goes well, until Adeline comes along. Persaud dissects their relationship with a scalpel, simultaneously creating a tense and sharply observed portrait of love and obsession. THE BOOK OF ECHOES by Rosanna Amaka (Doubleday £12.99)THE BOOK OF ECHOESby Rosanna Amaka (Doubleday £12.99)Narrated by the spirit of a Nigerian slave, she relates her own story as well as those of Michael in Brixton and Ngozi in Nigeria, both struggling to escape the echoes of the past. I was drawn into all three lives in this powerful, impassioned and thought-provoking novel that deals with racism, intergenerational trauma and redemption.KEEPING MUMby James Gould-Brown (Trapeze £14.99)I couldn’t resist this heart-warming story of luckless Danny trying to reconnect with his young son who hasn’t spoken since his mum died in a car accident. If you want feel-good with a distinctive, funny, supporting cast, then this is the book for you.PSYCHO THRILLERSCHRISTENA APPLEYARD YOU ARE NOT ALONE by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (Macmillan, £14.99)YOU ARE NOT ALONEby Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (Macmillan, £14.99)This is the latest excellent offering from the classy double act that gave us the The Wife Between Us. The mystery centres around the motives of the glamorous Moore sisters who take up with a social misfit soon after she witnesses a suicide. Intelligent and disturbing.DEAD TO HERby Sarah Pinborough (HarperCollins £12.99)Set in the racially charged high society of the American deep South, this is the clash of two ambitious, beautiful trophy wives, each with her own secrets. One of them is older and one of them is black. Both are ruthless. Genuine psychological insights are Pinborough’s trademark. THE ALIBI GIRL by C.J. Skuse (HQ £7.99)THE ALIBI GIRLby C.J. Skuse (HQ £7.99)Skuse already has a cult following for her anarchy and comedy. Here, deeply troubled Joanne tells everyone a different story about who she is. When her lookalike is murdered, things get really wild. Great new original voice.FINDERS KEEPERSby Sabine Durrant (Hodder £14 99)Two very different women neighbours are drawn into each other’s lives with appalling consequences. But whose reality do we trust: the shy, older lexicographer or the showy, smug young mother? Durrant is a master of disturbing, deliberate confusion.SCI-FI & FANTASYJAMIE BUXTON MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno Garcia (Jo Fletcher £16.99)MEXICAN GOTHICby Silvia Moreno Garcia (Jo Fletcher £16.99)A gothic chiller, set in 1950s Mexico, that will clamp you in its icy embrace and linger like a nightmare. Dashing socialite Noemi is sent to a misty mountain mansion and can only rescue her pretty cousin from a miserable marriage by unpeeling layers of mystery.PROVIDENCEby Max Barry (Hodder 16.99)The spaceship Providence and its unpredictable crew is sent deep into the galaxy to blow up salamanders: antimatter-spitting space monsters that want to take over the universe. Like Starship Troopers with added brain, this is such a blast you can overlook just how clever and thought-provoking it is. SOOT by Dan Vyleta (W&N £18.99)SOOTby Dan Vyleta (W&N £18.99)A strange mutation is sweeping the Victorian world. People don’t so much emote as emit: clouds of scented smoke that are brewed in newly evolved glands and reveal true feelings. Daringly conceived and brilliantly executed, this is a true epic with a high-gothic tang, imperial reach and filigree steampunk detailing.THE UNSPOKEN NAMEby A. K. Larkwood (Tor £16.99)Child priest Csorwe must be sacrificed in the service of her god, so when a better offer comes along from an amoral mage, our delightful heroine jumps at it. A rip-roaring debut with an epic register of nasty gods, trans-dimensional gateways and a malevolent priest.CRIME AND THRILLERSGEOFFREY WANSELL   THE GUEST LIST by Lucy Foley (HarperCollins £12.99)THE GUEST LISTby Lucy Foley (HarperCollins £12.99)A society wedding on a remote island off the Irish coast is the setting for this beguiling mystery. A storm is raging and the lights keep going out as someone is murdered. Did the killer sneak on to the island, or are they one of the guests? It is a tantalising delight.THE PART TIME JOBby P. D. James (Faber £3.50)The ‘Queen of British Crime’, P.D. James, would have been one hundred years old this summer. To celebrate, her publishers have produced this little gem of a short story in book form. A boy vows to take his revenge on the school bully, but is in no hurry to do so: as delicious as it is dark. THREE HOURS by Rosamund Lupton (Viking £14.99)THREE HOURSby Rosamund Lupton (Viking £14.99)The siege of a school in rural Somerset, by two armed men during a violent winter snowstorm, is the background to this riveting story. A group of seven-year-olds are trapped in the pottery room with a gunman peering through the window as the parents congregate nearby. Unputdownable.KEEPERby Jessica Moor (Viking £14.99)A frightening evocation of the violence and abuse that can be directed against women, this focuses on counsellor Katie Straw who works at a women’s refuge. When her body is pulled from the river the first thought is suicide, but a bleaker truth begins to emerge. Superb. MY DARK VANESSA by Kate Elizabeth Russell (4th Estate £12.99)MY DARK VANESSAby Kate Elizabeth Russell (4th Estate £12.99)This is the haunting tale of a 15-year-old girl who embarks willingly on an affair with her 42-year-old English teacher. Seventeen years later, she realises that their relationship may have been abusive as he is accused of sexual misconduct by another former pupil.THE LIZARDby Dugald Bruce-Lockhart (Muswell Press £12.99)Undergraduate Alistair decides to take himself to the Greek islands to recover from a broken heart. There he encounters a wily Australian who seduces him into a world of debauchery and murder that finally sees him having to flee from the police. Told with gusto, it never lets go. 
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