I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I let you go

One of the authors I’ve been meaning to read since I began blogging is Clare Mackintosh and I have a couple of her books lurking on my TBR pile, so I was delighted when her psychological thriller I Let You Go turned out to be the choice for the U3A book group to which I belong. I’ll be interested to discover what they all thought of it on Monday but I’m sharing my views today!

Published by Little Brown imprint Sphere, I Let You Go is available for purchase through these links.

I Let You Go

I let you go

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .

My Review of I Let You Go

On one evening for Jenna, events will spiral out of control affecting the rest of her life.

I found I Let You Go a completely absorbing and entertaining narrative that held me gripped throughout. There’s an intensity and menace from the start that doesn’t abate throughout. The plot is cleverly constructed and although I guessed some of the twists, others blindsided me with their cleverness. I thought Clare Mackintosh’s story was brilliantly constructed and I’m only sorry that this is my first reading of one of her books.

The title I Let You Go is so apposite because it could relate to the relationships Jenna has, the police and their investigations and various elements of the plot about which I can’t really comment without spoilers. Clare Mackintosh cleverly manipulated both plot and reader under her title so that there are moments of revelation and surprise that feel perfect.

I often find narratives from different perspectives frustrating, but in I Let You Go the balance between Jenna’s first person story and the third person elements relating to Ray and Kate works seamlessly. I was equally engaged with both aspects and desperate to know what would happen next. In fact, I’d go so far as to say these two strands are vital to allow the reader to recover from each ingeniously mastered section. Jenna and Ian in particular are fabulous creations. Their actions are so far removed from anything I might have experienced, but utterly believable and compelling. I Let You Go is a powerfully effective portrayal of the human psyche.

Alongside vivid descriptions of the Welsh coast and a twisty and thrilling narrative are weighty considerations for the reader too, so that I let You Go provides so much more than mere, albeit brilliant, entertainment. Clare Mackintosh made me confront the manner in which we are shaped by events and relationships, particularly abusive ones; she caused me to think about the ways the media and the public respond to those in the spotlight without necessarily having the full details and how crime and investigation can impact not only on the victims, but on those investigating too.

I Let You Go is a narrative that can be read and enjoyed on so many levels. Its one of those books that reverberates and has impact long after it has finished. It may be my first Clare Mackintosh book, but my goodness, it won’t be the last. At the risk of being completely clichéd, I could not put it down! It’s a cracking psychological thriller.

About Clare Mackintosh

clare mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant and is the founder of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival. She now writes full time and lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

Clare’s debut novel, I Let You Go, was a Sunday Times bestseller and the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It was selected for both the Richard and Judy Book Club (and was the winning title of the readers’ vote for the summer 2015 selection) and for ITV’s Loose Women’s Loose Books. It is a New York Times bestseller, with translation rights sold to more than 30 countries.

Her second psychological thriller, I See You, was a number 1 Sunday Times bestseller and Audible’s best selling psychological thriller in 2016. Translation rights have been sold to almost 30 countries.

Clare is the patron of the Silver Star Society, an Oxford-based charity which supports the work carried out in the John Radcliffe Hospital’s Silver Star unit, providing special care for mothers with medical complications during pregnancy.

You can find out more on Clare’s website. You’ll also find her on Facebook and can follow Clare on Twitter @claremackint0sh.

Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize

swansea

Ever since I read Under MilkWood over 40 years ago I have been fascinated by Dylan Thomas so it gives me enormous pleasure to bring you information about the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize, not least as I shall be attending the awards ceremony at the British Library in May.

Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the prize is named after the Swansea-born writer, Dylan Thomas, and celebrates his 39 years of creativity and productivity. One of the most influential, internationally-renowned writers of the mid-twentieth century, the prize invokes his memory to support the writers of today and nurture the talents of tomorrow.

Launched in 2006, The Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize is the largest literary prize in the world for young writers. In 2019 Swansea University will be the first British University to launch an English module based solely on a literary prize, where students will examine the works longlisted for the Prize.

The longlist was announced on 31st January and the shortlist will be made public on 2nd April. The winner will be announced on Thursday 16thth May at Swansea University’s Great Hall, just after International Dylan Thomas Day on 14 May.

This year’s longlist celebrates a whole host of debut authors, including eight dynamic and unique female writers, of which three are debut novelists and one is celebrating her debut poetry collection, and four amazing new, critically acclaimed, debut male voices.

The Judges

judges

The twelve longlisted titles will be judged by a panel chaired by Professor Dai Smith CBE,  BBC BroadcasterDi Speirs, award-winning novelist Kit de Waal and Professor Kurt Heinzelman. All their details can be found here. I’m thrilled that Kit de Waal has featured on Linda’s Book Bag here.

The Longlisted Authors

image001 (4)

Top from left: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Clare Fisher, Michael Donkor, Emma Glass, Guy Gunaratne, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Top from left: Zoe Gilbert, Sarah Perry, Richard Scott, Louisa Hall, Sally Rooney, Jenny Xie

(No bias here on Linda’s Book Bag but I did love Clare Fisher’s Debut All The Good Things and you can read my review here.)

Recognised for its celebration of experimental and challenging young voices in contemporary writing, this year’s longlist highlights more than ever the challenging world we live by tackling head on difficult topics – including domestic violence, mental health, rape, racism, gender and identity.

This year’s longlist of 12 books comprises eight novels, two short story collections and two poetry collections:

  • Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Friday Black (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US) and Riverrun (UK))
  • Michael Donkor, Hold (4th Estate)
  • Clare Fisher, How the Light Gets In (Influx Press)
  • Zoe Gilbert, Folk (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Emma Glass, Peach ((Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Guy Gunaratne, In Our Mad and Furious City (Tinder Press, Headline)
  • Louisa Hall, Trinity (Ecco)
  • Sarah Perry, Melmoth (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Sally Rooney, Normal People (Faber & Faber)
  • Richard Scott, Soho (Faber & Faber)
  • Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, House of Stone (Atlantic Books)
  • Jenny Xie, Eye Level (Graywolf Press)

I think this sounds like an amazing collection of writing and I look forward to reading and featuring many of these talented young writers on the blog over the coming months.

You can find more details by following #IDTP19 or @dylanthomprize on Twitter. The Swansea University website has all you need to know.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

the lost man

My enormous thanks to Caolinn Douglas at Little Brown for inviting me to be part of the launch celebrations for The Lost Man by Jane Harper and for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

The Lost Man will be published by Little Brown tomorrow, 7th February 2019 and is available for purchase through these links.

The Lost Man

the lost man

He had started to remove his clothes as logic had deserted him, and his skin was cracked. Whatever had been going through Cameron’s mind when he was alive, he didn’t look peaceful in death.

Two brothers meet at the remote border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of the outback. In an isolated part of Australia, they are each other’s nearest neighbour, their homes hours apart.

They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old that no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish.

Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he choose to walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…

My Review of The Lost Man

When Cameron’s body is found next to the old stockman’s grave in the outback, no-one can work out why he died so far from his car.

Jane Harper’s writing has been so well received that I had probably unrealistically high expectations for The Lost Man. However, the author far exceeded each one. The Lost Man is totally sublime.

The title is so apt. It’s not just Cameron who is lost and found dead, but any of the men in this book could be the lost man. Each has his demons, his secrets, his losses and his pride that prevent him from becoming the man he wants to be. I actually found Jane Harper’s exploration of Nathan in particular, as well as Bub and Harry, quite tender and poignant so that they felt like real men in my own life and not mere characters on the page. Even the brutal, bullying Carl is a lost man. Equally affecting is the impact these lost men have on those around them, so that everyone in The Lost Man is touched by a brilliantly conveyed theme of disorientation and being adrift.

The mystery surrounding Cam’s death thrums with menace throughout the narrative so that I felt both tense and mesmerised by the writing. It’s such a cleverly constructed plot. The way in which small details are uncovered made it impossible not to continue reading. I found Jane Harper’s prose hypnotic and I could not tear myself away. She has a wonderfully distinctive and compelling authorial voice; sometimes as if she’s one of her characters and at other times as if she herself is part of the narrative. I found this incredibly effective. The searing realism of the outback and life in remote Australian places, that leaps from the page through her vivid descriptions and through the realistic and natural dialogue, is absolutely transporting. I was there with Nathan as he struggled to come to terms with Cam’s death and his own life. The undercurrent of violence made me feel quite nervous and I was never quite sure when that violence might erupt.

The emotions in The Lost Man are palpable.  Love, grief and passion are balanced by jealousy, hatred and relief so that every word in this amazing story felt poised, balanced and perfect. I had to compose myself at times as I read. My heart beat more rapidly on occasion and at other times I found I was holding my breath. The explorations of morality, memory and perception left me reeling. As soon as I had established what I thought was happening, Jane Harper shifted my viewpoint as easily as the winds shift the sand at the stockman’s grave. She made me give deep consideration to behaviour, blame and guilt so that I found The Lost Man thought provoking as well as enormously entertaining.

Occasionally I find an author whose writing I find hard to define and describe. That is the case with Jane Harper’s The Lost Man. It is a beautifully written insight into humanity. I think it will be hard to find a book I have enjoyed more this year. The Lost Man is phenomenal.

About Jane Harper

jane harper

Jane Harper is the author of the international bestsellers The Dry and Force of NatureHer books are published in more than 36 territories worldwide, with film rights sold to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea.

Jane has won numerous top awards including the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year, the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year and the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year.

Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and now lives in Melbourne.

You can find out more by visiting Jane’s website and finding her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @janeharperautho.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

3

You Belong To Me by Mark Tilbury

Mark Tilbury - You Belong To Me_cover

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for You Belong To Me by Mark Tilbury and would like to thank Mark and Emma Whelton at Bloodhound Books for inviting me to participate. This is one of the tours I agreed to before I decided on my tour ‘sabbatical’ and I’m so pleased to be taking part.

I have previously reviewed Marks The Abattoir of Dreams here and it became one of my books of the year in 2017 in a post you can read here. I was lucky enough to interview Mark when The Liar’s Promise was published (here) and Mark stayed in with me here on the blog more recently to chat about The Abattoir of Dreams.

Published by Bloodhound Books, You Belong To Me is available for purchase here.

You Belong To Me

Mark Tilbury - You Belong To Me_cover

Can two wrongs ever make a right?

The police never found fifteen-year-old Ellie Hutton. She vanished ten years ago after walking home from school along a disused railway track. But Danny Sheppard knows exactly what happened to her. She is dead and buried in a field near Lassiter’s Brook.

Now Cassie Rafferty has gone missing. Same age. Similar circumstances. And Danny also knows what has happened to her.

Can Danny fight his demons and tell the truth this time?

Or will history repeat itself and leave another innocent girl dead?

My Review of You Belong To Me

When school girl Cassie Rafferty goes missing it looks as if the past is going to catch up with the present.

Oh my goodness. I can’t honestly say I enjoyed Mark Tilbury’s You Belong To Me because it made me feel very disturbed and uncomfortable, but my goodness it’s a powerful read.

It’s tricky to say too much about the plot without spoiling the reading experience for others, but the three part structure works so well, especially with the theme of retribution and Keiran’s religious beliefs weaving through so that I kept thinking of the holy trinity and ethics in general. I found the middle section, dealing with the boys in the past, brutal and savage because of the realistic dialogue and the escalating violence of Calum. It was so effectively written that I had to keep giving myself a breather as I read to recover. I loved the way the narrative was resolved at the end.

What made me so disquieted about reading You Belong To Me was the way it made me question my own morality. Danny’s desire to outwit his evil brother Calum steps beyond what might be called acceptable behaviour, but I was with him all the way. I felt almost complicit in his actions and that didn’t make for an easy feeling. Mark Tilbury has an incredible knack of getting inside the very soul of a character, especially one like Calum, and making the reader understand them entirely. I found myself contemplating whether humans have the capacity to be born evil or whether Calum was simply incredibly ill. I’m not sure I know the answer even after reading You Belong To Me and I still don’t know if I would have gone along with Danny and the others.

As well as my helpless fascination with the character of Calum, I thought the four younger boys, Danny, Rob, Josh and Keiran were entirely realistic too. Their naive boasting, their bravado and the way in which they are affected by events seemed utterly believable and actually, terribly sad. Although I didn’t always like some of their language and attitudes, I have taught enough youngsters from challenging backgrounds to appreciate just how accurate a picture these parts of the narrative are.

You Belong To Me isn’t a book I will forget in a hurry and I’m beginning to find that this is characteristic of Mark Tilbury’s writing. He has the capacity to present the most barbarous actions utterly convincingly and to make the reader wonder ‘What if?’. I find this compelling and terrifying in equal measure. What a read!

About Mark Tilbury

mark tilbury

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

You can follow Mark on Twitter @MTilburyAuthor, visit his website and find him on Facebook.

you belong to me blog blitz

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu

Lost girls of camp forevermore

My enormous thanks to Lucy at Legend Press for a copy of The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu in return for an honest review.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore will be published by Legend Press on 15th February 2019 and is available for purchase here.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

Lost girls of camp forevermore

A group of young girls descend on a sleepaway camp where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets, and songs by the fire. Filled with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island.

But before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or guide them home.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore traces these five girls through and beyond this fateful trip. We see them through successes and failures, loving relationships and heartbreaks; we see what it means to find, and define, oneself, and the ways in which the same experience is refracted through different people.

A portrait of friendship and of the families we build for ourselves, and the pasts we can’t escape.

My Review of The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

Five girls head with their group leader out on an overnight trip whilst at summer camp.

What an intelligent and beautifully crafted novel this is. Initially the title made me think it might be a twee representation of American summer camps, but I was completely wrong. The entire structure and premise of The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore works on so many levels that I think it would reward multiple reads. The girls do get physically lost on their trip but the book is about so much more in terms of their losses over their lives. Each of the five experiences a loss in a relationship, or of identity, or friendship or self-worth so that there are multiple resonances that any readers could relate to.

However, what I found most fascinating of all the losses in The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore was the speed with which the girls become quite savage and almost feral as their individual need for survival takes over their behaviour and they lose the constraints of upbringing and society. Frequently I was reminded of Golding’s Lord of the Flies, but with less violence and a more realistic and accessible scenario that somehow made this book all the more shocking, believable and affecting.

I loved the way the initial story of the girls on their overnight camp underpins the accounts of their earlier and later lives. Reading The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore was akin to looking at a kaleidoscope because all the girls have their own perception of what happened and how they behaved or were treated. Accounts shift and refract depending on which character is the focus of the writing, so that patterns change and alter, providing considerable food for thought. Kim Fu has written a raw and compelling insight into how we create ourselves as individuals that is mesmerising and actually very poignant.

It’s tricky to comment on the plot but I will say that the plot structure is a work of art in itself. Melding past and present events substantiates the characters of the five girls so that somehow they seem more real, more flawed and more human. The settings and descriptions bring a cinematic intensity to the story.

Kim Fu is a highly skilled writer and I found The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore had quite a profound effect on me, creating quite conflicting emotions at times. For example, I felt contempt for Dina’s obsession with appearance and celebrity and yet simultaneously I felt profound sadness on her behalf too because Kim Fu’s wonderful writing made me understand Dina completely.

It’s hard to define The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore. It’s certainly superb literary fiction. It could almost be read as a young adult text and yet it embodies a wisdom and understanding of humanity that it ageless and timeless. I found it touching, thought-provoking and fascinating. I really recommend it.

About Kim Fu

Kim Fu

Kim Fu is a Canadian-born writer, living in Seattle, Washington. Kim Fu’s writing has appeared in Granta, the Atlantic, the New York Times, Hazlitt, and the Times Literary Supplement.

You can follow Kim on Twitter @skimfu. There’s more information on her website.

Cover Reveal: Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

amazinggracehires

I know, I know. I’m not supposed to be taking on anything new for the blog at the moment, but when one of the loveliest and most hard working people I know has the cover of their very first book revealed today I simply had to join in. I’m even more excited as another friend, blog tour organiser Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources, asked me to participate as a surprise for Kim.

I’m thrilled to bring you Amazing Grace by Kim Nash. As well as being a friend, Kim is a fantastic publicist and someone whose work in the publishing world I respect completely. It gives me enormous pleasure to be part of her publishing journey with today’s reveal and I’ll be reviewing Amazing Grace later too.

Let’s find out about Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace

amazinggracehires

She’s taking her life back, one step at a time…

Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with head teacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted.

Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary – and her perfect life fell apart.

Now she’s a single mum to Archie, trying to find her way in life and keep things together for his sake. Saturday nights consist of a Chinese takeaway eaten in front of the TV clad in greying pyjamas, and she can’t remember the last time she had a kiss from anyone aside from her dog, Becks…

Grace’s life needs a shake up – fast. So when gorgeous gardener Vinnie turns up on her doorstep, his twinkling eyes suggesting that he might be interested in more than just her conifers, she might just have found the answer to her prayers. But as Grace falls deeper for Vinnie, ten-year-old Archie fears that his mum finding love means she’ll never reconcile with the dad he loves.

So when ex-husband Mark begs her for another chance, telling her he’s changed from the man that broke her heart, Grace finds herself with an impossible dilemma. Should she take back Mark and reunite the family that Archie loves? Or risk it all for a new chance of happiness?

A funny, feel good romance about finding your own path and changing your life for the better – readers of Cathy Bramley, Jill Mansell and Josie Silver will love this uplifting read.

Doesn’t that sound a smashing read just right for spring?

Published by Hera on 10th April 2019, Amazing Grace by Kim Nash is available for pre-order on Kobo, AppleAmazon UK and Amazon US.

About Kim Nash

kimnash-authorpic

Kim Nash lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture and is a book blogger at Kim The Bookworm.

Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can’t quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA.

When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs.

Amazing Grace is her debut novel with Hera Books and will be out on 10th April 2019.

You can find out more by finding Kim on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @KimTheBookworm.

An Evening at Headline’s #RoofTopBookClub #NewVoices2019

new voices

Last night I was privileged to attend a super event; Headline Books’ #NewVoices2019, at Carmelite House in London. Having read three of these brilliant books already I knew it was going to be a good evening but it surpassed my expectations. It was disappointing that Dominic Nolan couldn’t attend, but the other five authors more than made up for it!

Lovely Hannah Beckerman introduced our authors.  I know Hannah won’t mind me saying that she has her own debut novel, If Only I could Tell You coming from Orion on 21st February, which is available for pre-order through these links and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a copy just as soon as I can.

If Only I Could Tell You

if only i ccould tell you

Audrey’s family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected.

As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?

banner

After Hannah had interviewed our authors and we’d been given the opportunity to ask questions it was time to mingle, chat and enjoy a drink or two. It was lovely to meet Harriet Tyce, Richard Lumsden and Sarah Davis-Goff because I have so enjoyed their books. I’d have loved to meet Emily and Rhik directly too, but with a specific train to catch to transport me back to Lincolnshire I had to dash off. I didn’t even get chance to sign up to the Roof Top Book Club newsletter so I shall be chasing that up today.

Let me tell you a little bit about the books featured.

The #NewVoices2019 Books

new voices 2

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

blood orange

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

Blood Orange is available for pre-order here and you can read my review of Blood Orange here.

The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis

the girl in the letter

A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.

1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late.
Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever…

Read her letter. Remember her story…

The Girl in the Letter is available for purchase through these links. I was delighted to come away with a copy of The Girl in the Letter in my goody bag.

I Never Said I Loved You by Rhik Samadder

i never said i loved you

So new (as Rhik hasn’t quite finished writing it fully so please don’t take this cover picture as the final version – I took it on my phone!) I don’t have other details to share except I Never Said I Loved You announces the arrival of a funny, raw and powerful new voice on the subject of depression, masculinity and coming-of-age.

A hilarious and deeply effective memoir from a man who opened up for the first time on an unlikely backpacking trip with his mother in Thailand …

(And my goodness does that sound an interesting place to start after what was said yesterday evening!)

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff

Last Ones Left Alive

Remember your Just-In-Cases. Beware Tall Buildings. Watch Your Six

Raised by her mother and Maeve on Slanbeg, an island off the west coast of Ireland, Orpen has a childhood of love, rockpools and stories by the fireside. But the stories grow darker, and the training begins. Ireland has been devoured by a ravening menace known as the skrake, and though Slanbeg is safe for now, the women must always be ready to run, or to fight.

When Maeve is bitten, Orpen is faced with a dilemma: kill Maeve before her transformation is complete, or try to get help. So Orpen sets off, with Maeve in a wheelbarrow and her dog at her side, in the hope of finding other survivors, and a cure. It is a journey that will test Orpen to her limits, on which she will learn who she really is, who she really loves, and how to imagine a future in a world that ended before she was born.

Last Ones Left Alive is available for pre-order here. You can read my review of Last Ones Left Alive here.

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

past life

Waking up beside the dead girl, she couldn’t remember anything.
Who she was. Who had taken her. How to escape.

Detective Abigail Boone has been missing for four days when she is finally found, confused and broken. Suffering retrograde amnesia, she is a stranger to her despairing husband and bewildered son.

Hopelessly lost in her own life, with no leads on her abduction, Boone’s only instinct is to revisit the case she was investigating when she vanished: the baffling disappearance of a young woman, Sarah Still.

Defying her family and the police, Boone obsessively follows a deadly trail to the darkest edges of human cruelty. But even if she finds Sarah, will Boone ever be the same again?

Past Life is available for pre-order here. I think it looks a corker.

The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden

six loves of Billy Binns

I remember my dreams but not where they start.
Further back, I recall some of yesterday and the day before that. Then everything goes into a haze.
Fragments of memories come looming back like red London buses in a pea-souper.
Time plays funny tricks these days.
I wait for the next memory. I wait and I wait.

At 117 years old, Billy Binns is the oldest man in Europe and he knows his time is almost up. But Billy has a final wish: he wants to remember what love feels like one last time. As he looks back at the relationships that have shaped his flawed life – and the events that shaped the century – he recalls a life full of hope, mistakes, heartbreak and, above all, love.

The Six Loves of Billy Binns is available for purchase through these links. You can read my review of The Six Loves of Billy Binns here.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to read any of these you’re definitely missing out. There’s some wonderful reading to be had here.

I really enjoyed the New Voices Event. I’m looking forward to returning to Carmelite House for another event soon. They are always brilliant!