The Only Suspect by Louise Candlish (S&S £14.99, 432pp)



by Louise Candlish (S&S £14.99, 432pp)

As her increasing number of dedicated fans will testify, everyone in Candlishland has some sort of secret. Knowing when they should keep or reveal them is Candlish’s special gift, exposing them with the perfect timing that has now established her as a superstar of psychological thrillers.

This time, the secrets belong to Alex, a reliable husband whose biggest one is threatened when his wife, Beth, becomes embroiled in a mission to turn a local disused track into a nature trail.

Gradually, Beth’s comfortable life in leafy Silver Vale is disrupted by her husband’s increasingly paranoid behaviour.

Beth is a woman looking for a sense of purpose and she is an easily relatable character. Alex is harder to fathom, and jeopardy increases as his behaviour becomes more paranoid and desperate.

As usual Candlish is particularly skilful at creating female characters who look for safety and then define themselves as members of a particular community. 

She makes no bones about shattering that sense of safety in beguiling and shocking ways.

Queen K by Sarah Thomas (Serpent’s Tail £14.99, 288pp)


by Sarah Thomas (Serpent’s Tail £14.99, 288pp)

Sarah Thomas used to be a tutor to the super rich, so the vividly described world of this book has a real tang of authenticity. 

At the centre of the story is Kata — rich but desperate to be accepted in the right places. She hires Mel to be her daughter’s tutor and teach her how to navigate the privileged portals of top English schools and high society.

Neither of the two female characters are straightforward; the relationship between them is well-drawn and they successfully propel the plot at a rattling pace. Thomas has an easy, accessible style and a flair for telling a good story with wit and candour.

A Good House for Children by Kate Collins (Serpent’s Tail £14.99, 336pp)


by Kate Collins (Serpent’s Tail £14.99, 336pp)

This tale of two families and one big creepy house is a neat mix of psychological thriller and old-fashioned haunted house drama.

It’s the 1970s and Sarah is bringing up her four children in The Reeve, a grand, shabby house in Dorset. The family are trying to recover from the death of the father. Switching to the present day, artist Orla lives in the house with her toddler, a strangely silent son, and a largely absent father.

The story is a slow burn, with the first half concentrating on the development of the main characters — one of which is the house itself.

The twin perspectives make for an engrossing read, and her evocation of the power of the house itself is particularly convincing. At its heart, the book is about dealing with grief, and Collins doesn’t shield the reader from some heartbreaking scenarios.

Source: Read Full Article