I have a very eclectic taste in reading from chicklit to non-fiction with almost everything in between so imagine my delight when this invitation dropped into my inbox:
I was so lucky to be able to take my husband along for the evening too for a change!
We were welcomed by a rightly enormously proud Lisa Milton, Executive Publisher at HQ Stories, before we were treated to lots of delicious canapes and drinks. Now, those of you who know me know I can’t drink ordinary wine but I am rather partial to a glass of something sparkling! With dramatic views from the window it was time for the evening proper to begin.
I had a brilliant time chatting with fellow bloggers and being somewhat starstruck by speaking with the authors. Although I didn’t get to them all I was thrilled to chat with about half those there, including HQ’s latest signing Louise Jensen, a friend and author of The Family.
I also got to speak with Mick Finlay, author of The Murder Pit, Roz Watkins, author of The Devil’s Dice and Dead Man’s Daughter, Vicky Newham (whom I feel I’ve known forever anyway), author of Turn A Blind Eye and Out of the Ashes, Kerry Barnes, author of The Hunted, friend Amanda Jennings, author of The Cliff House (which has been on my TBR far too long) and finally Kia Abdullah, author of Take It Back. Sadly, trains to darkest Lincolnshire meant we had to dash off promptly at 8.30 so I missed other wonderful writers.
You can see what a star-studded showcase it was:
By the time I got to the book tables all the books had been snapped up but I did manage to wangle a copy of Kerry Barnes’s The Hunted as I’d found talking to her really interesting.
Some of the books are so new that I have nothing more to tell you yet as cover and blurb are still in process, including House of Whispers by Annabel Kantaria, The Perfect Girl by Helen Warner, Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay, The Alibi Girl by CJ Skuse, Take It Back by Kia Abdullah, The Family by Louise Jensen and This Lovely City by Louise Hare.
However, here are the books that we call all look forward to over the next year and are already available for purchase or pre-order by clicking on the book title.
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
JAY QASIM is back home in West London and in pursuit of normality. He’s swapped dope-dealing for admin, and spends his free time at the local Muslim Community Centre or cruising around Hounslow in his beloved BMW. No-one would guess that he was the MI5 spy who foiled the most devastating terrorist attack in recent history.
But Jay’s part in sabotaging Ghurfat-Al-Mudarris’ hit on London didn’t pass unnoticed.
IMRAN SIDDIQUI was trained to kill in Afghanistan by the terrorist cell who saved his life after his home was destroyed by war. The time has finally come for him to repay them – throwing him headlong into the path of Jay Qasim.
Now, they must each decide whose side they’re really on.
London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else goes to Arrowood.
1896: Sherlock Holmes has once again hit the headlines, solving mysteries for the cream of London society. But among the workhouses and pudding shops of the city, private detective William Arrowood is presented with far grittier, more violent, and considerably less well-paid cases.
Arrowood is in no doubt who is the better detective, and when Mr and Mrs Barclay engage him to trace their estranged daughter Birdie, he’s sure it won’t be long before he and his assistant Barnett have tracked her down.
But this seemingly simple missing person case soon turns into a murder investigation. Far from the comfort of Baker Street, Arrowood’s London is a city of unrelenting cruelty, where evil is waiting to be uncovered . . .
A SHOCKING DEATH
A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face ribboned with scratches.
A SINISTER MESSAGE
Amidst rumours of a local curse, DI Meg Dalton is convinced this is cold-blooded murder. There’s just one catch – chiselled into the cave wall above the body is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century.
A DEADLY GAME
As Meg battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, it’s clear someone knows her secrets. The murderer is playing games with Meg – and the dice are loaded…
‘She was running towards the gorge. The place the locals call Dead Girl’s Drop…’
DI Meg Dalton isn’t prepared for her latest case. A ten year old girl is found running through the woods, barefoot and wearing only a blood-soaked nightdress. She has no memory of what happened to her, but her father is found stabbed to death in their nearby house.
At first, Meg blames an intruder – but why had the girl’s murdered father been so obsessed with the creepy statues in the woods, and with the girl’s recent heart transplant?
Meg’s investigation leads her down a chilling path. The girl has been having nightmares, and seems to remember things that happened to her heart donor. Who was the donor and what happened to them? Could this have anything to do with the murder of the girl’s father?
Meg is forced to question her deepest beliefs to discover the shocking truth before the killer strikes again…
A headmistress is found strangled in an East London school, the victim of a ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, upon which is written an ancient Buddhist precept:
I SHALL ABSTAIN FROM TAKING THE UNGIVEN.
At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.
Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer strikes again.
Turn a Blind Eye is the first book in a brand-new series set in East London and starring DI Maya Rahman.
A terrible accident – or a fire set to kill?
When a flash mob on Brick Lane is interrupted by a sudden explosion, DI Maya Rahman is called to the scene. A fire is raging through one of the city’s most infamous streets – and it’s soon clear that it was a deliberate act of violence.
The discovery of two charred bodies in the burnt-out shell of the building transforms an arson attack into a murder case. And, with witnesses too caught up in the crowd to have seen a thing, Maya is facing an investigation without a single lead.
The possible motives are endless: money, vandalism, revenge. And, when reports of a second and even more horrifying crime lands on Maya’s desk, she knows she doesn’t have long to find answers – before all of East London goes up in flames.
One little lie just became deadly…
Perfect mother. Perfect wife. Jane Goodwin has spent years building her picture-perfect life in the quiet town of Ashdon.
So when the girl next door, sixteen-year-old Clare Edwards, is found murdered, Jane knows she must first protect her family.
Every marriage has a few white lies and hers is no exception. Jane’s worked hard to cover up her dark secret from all those years ago – and she’ll do anything to keep it hidden…
The gripping new psychological thriller from the author of The Doll House, the number one digital bestseller.
On a night out, four friends witness a stranger in trouble.
They decide to do nothing to help.
Later, a body washes up on the banks of the Thames – and the group realises that ignoring the woman has left blood on their hands.
But why did each of them refuse to step in? Why did none of them want to be noticed that night? Who is really responsible?
And is it possible that the victim was not really a stranger at all?
They said it was an accident. Her mother knows they’re lying. But the truth comes with a price…
A fast-paced and action packed psychological thriller that is full of twists and turns you won’t see coming. The Night Olivia Fell is the most gripping suspense mystery you’ll read this year.
IT’S EVERY PARENT’S WORST NIGHTMARE.
Abi Knight is startled awake in the middle of the night to a ringing phone and devastating news – her teenage daughter, Olivia, has been in a terrible accident.
Abi is told that Olivia slipped and fell from a bridge into the icy water below, and now she lies silent, dependent on life support.
But then Abi sees the angry bruises around Olivia’s wrists and learns that her sensible daughter is in fact three months pregnant . . .
WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT IF THEY TOLD YOU IT WAS AN ACCIDENT?
Knowledge of these files is classified.
You must not use police or intelligence services to carry out your investigation. Those channels are compromised.
A final warning: you must move fast.
Former MP Francis Morahan swore never to return to politics. But when he’s asked to chair a government inquiry into the intelligence agencies’ record against terror, it’s clear that it’s an order from the top – not a request.
Sara Shah once teetered on the edge of a dangerous circle. Now a lawyer in a prestigious London firm, she’s put her past behind her. Until a letter delivered by hand summons her to join the Morahan Inquiry.
Duty-bound, Sara accepts. Armed only with a list of names, dodging her one-time connection to the networks she infiltrates, she finds herself led by an anonymous source into the darkest corners of post-9/11 Britain.
What, or who, was the weapon at the heart of British terror?
IT IS A SECRET SOME WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO KEEP HIDDEN.
Westminster’s best-kept secrets are hunted down in this edge-of-your-seat political thriller – perfect for fans of Sam Bourne, Frank Gardner and Mick Herron.
Having spent her life watching her father run his East London firm, Zara Ezra has learnt a thing or two about being a gangster, and she’s ready to take over when the time comes.
Mike Regan, a blast from Zara’s past, is the head of his own firm, but when his son is kidnapped in the middle of a gangland feud, Mike has no choice but to accept help from the Ezras to get his little boy back alive.
With a rival firm playing increasingly dirty, murder moves to the top of the agenda and Zara has some big choices to make. It seems that the only way to come out on top is to play them at their own game…
But will she become The Hunter or The Hunted?
Tom Mondrian is the last person you want on your case. And the only one who can solve it, in this quirky psychological thriller.
Tom Mondrian is watching his life ebb away directing traffic as a PCSO, until a bullet to the brain changes everything. With a new unusual perspective, including an inability to recognise faces and absolutely no filter between what he thinks and what he says, Tom’s career is suddenly shifting gear.
Tom’s new condition gives him an advantage over other police officers, allowing him to notice details that they can’t see. Now, with his new insight and unwavering determination, Tom is intent on saving three missing girls, before more start to disappear…
Bonfire Night. A missing girl.
Anna only takes her eyes off Laurel for a second. She thought Laurel was following her mum through the crowds. But in a heartbeat, Laurel is gone.
Laurel’s parents are frantic. As is Anna, their nanny. But as the hours pass, and Laurel isn’t found, suspicion grows.
Someone knows what happened to Laurel. And they’re not telling.
Have You Seen Her is the breath-taking new thriller with a killer twist from bestseller Lisa Hall.
THE TWINS ARE CRYING.
THE TWINS ARE HUNGRY.
LAUREN IS CRYING.
LAUREN IS EXHAUSTED.
Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting . . .
After a traumatic birth, Lauren is alone on the maternity ward with her newborn twins. Her husband has gone home. The nurses are doing their rounds. She can’t stop thinking about every danger her babies now face. But all new mothers think like that. Don’t they?
A terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves Lauren convinced someone or something is trying to steal her children. But with every step she takes to keep her babies safe, Lauren sinks deeper and deeper into paranoia and fear. From the stark loneliness of returning home after birth, to the confines of a psychiatric unit, Lauren’s desperation increases as no one will listen to her. But here’s the question: is she mad, or does she know something we don’t?
Loosely inspired by the ghostly folktale The Brewery of Eggshells, where a mother becomes convinced her twins are in danger, Little Darlings offers a fresh perspective on modern motherhood, postnatal psychosis and the roles women play. It has always been thus: folk tales do not spring from whimsy; they warn us and teach us, and speak to the fear in us all.
The start of a brand new series from the global bestselling author of the DI Hillary Greene series.
Oxford, 1960. There’s a murderer on the loose and two unlikely heroes are poised to solve the case.
Meet Probationary WPC Trudy Loveday – smart, enthusiastic and always underestimated.
In the hope of getting her out of the way, Trudy’s senior officer assigns her to help coroner Clement Ryder as he re-opens the case of a young woman’s death. She can’t believe her luck – she is actually going to be working on a real murder case.
Meanwhile, the rest of the police force are busy investigating a series of threats and murders in the local community, and Clement can’t help but feel it’s all linked.
As Trudy and Clement form an unlikely partnership, are they going to be the ones to solve these crimes before the murderer strikes again?
I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney
Aimee Sinclair: the actress everyone thinks they know but can’t remember where from.
Except me. I know exactly where you’re from, who you are, what you’ve done.
Your husband has gone missing and the police think you’re hiding something. You lie for a living, always pretending to be someone else. But that’s not new, is it?
Because I know you lied before. You’ve always lied. And the lies we tell ourselves are always the most dangerous . . .
Some friendships are made to be broken
Cornwall, summer of 1986.
The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.
If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home.
If only her life was as perfect as theirs.
If only Edie Davenport would be her friend.
If only she lived at The Cliff House…
Don’t Tell Teacher by Suzy K Quinn
School should have been the safest place…
For Lizzie Riley, switching her six-year-old son Tom to the local academy school marks a fresh start, post-divorce. With its excellent reputation, Lizzie knows it’ll be a safe space away from home.
But there’s something strange happening at school. Parents are forbidden from entering the grounds, and there are bars across the classroom windows.
Why is Tom coming home exhausted, unable to remember his day? What are the strange marks on his arm? And why do the children seem afraid to talk?
Lizzie is descending into every parent’s worst nightmare: her little boy is in danger. But will she be able to protect him before it’s too late?
As you can see, it was quite an evening and my TBR pile of books is certainly not going to shrink with all of these heading our way. I have a feeling I’m going to be busy in 2019!
I hope some of these appeal to you too!
My enormous thanks to all the HQ team for putting on such a smashing event.