Plus, female award winner Maggie O’Farrell is back with her latest novel…


1. After The Lights Go Out by John Vercher, published in hardcover by Pushkin Vertigo, priced at £14.99 (ebook £9.99). Released September 1st

If you want a lighthearted tale of facing and overcoming adversity, this is not the book for you. But if you’re after the grim, dark tale of a man battling himself and the world, After The Lights Go Out is perfect. John Virtua is as economical in his words as hero Xavier is in the ring. Or at least what he used to be. Until recently, Xavier ‘Scarecrow’ Wallace was a career-ready MMA fighter until he received a one-year suspension. We meet Xavier as his suspension is about to be lifted and his personal life is crumbling. He has forgotten a great deal of time due to his violent career and burgeoning dementia. His father has terminal Alzheimer’s disease and has become violent as well. MMA fans will be fascinated by this complex story set in the dark shadows of an increasingly lucrative sport.
(reviewed by Rachel Howdle)

2. The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves is published in hardcover by Macmillan for £20 (£9.99 ebook). Released September 1st


Ann Cleves’ brilliant characterization and fast-paced script drive the plot of The Rising Tide, the tenth installment in her Vera series. A group of aging friends gather to reminisce about the good old days, but when they find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation after one of the gang members is found dead, The party ended quickly. Enter Detective Vera Stanhope, a breath of fresh (Northumberland) air, as she sets out to discover what they’re hiding. Cleeves creates vibrant characters and places them in the wild and remote settings of the Sacred Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland. As the title suggests, it’s not just the causeway tides that rise, but old secrets resurface. A thrilling tale with a surprise ending, it’s a story that both Vera newcomers and her die-hard fans will enjoy.
(Reviewed by Elspeth Keep)

3. Maggie O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portrait will be published in hardcover by Tinder Press for £25 (£10.99 ebook).available now

Maggie O’Farrell began her foray into historical fiction with 2020’s Hamnet and continues with Portraits of Marriage. Both seem worlds away from her previous novels, but Hamnett’s success proves that this is O’Farrell’s specialty, and her portrait of Marriage does not disappoint. . Set in the mid-1500s, it tells the story of her 15-year-old Lucrezia de Her Medici, who married Alfonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara. She is a charming character whose enthusiasm and creativity are evident until Lucrezia hears the news that she is getting married following her sister’s unexpected death. From then on, everything changes for her Lucrezia, fearing that her husband will eventually kill her, she begins living in her fear. The book is rich in detail and wonderfully illustrated, moving back and forth between her marriage and the events that led her to it.
(Reviewed by Francis Wright)


4. Rising To The Surface by Lenny Henry, published in hardcover by Faber & Faber, priced at £20 (ebook £7.99). Released September 1st

In the first volume of Sir Rennie Henry’s autobiography, Who Am I, Again? was able to return to his growing up years. Volume 2 covers his frenzied and mostly workaholic life in the 80’s and his 90’s, from sketching his success on the show Three Of A Kind to setting up Comic Relief with Richard Curtis. I’m here. He centers most of his memoir on his work, with his personal life a bit on the backburner of professional ups and downs. There is a brief mention of his ex-wife Dawn French, but there is not much emotional openness to this element of his story. , and feels completely written from the heart in a poignant chapter about how he moved forward with the help of grief therapy. Much more comes from Henry, who has long been one of our national treasures. Before catching up on all his accomplishments, here’s at least one of his autobiographies, maybe two more.
(Reviewed by Hannah Stevenson)

Children’s book of the week

5. The Great Zebra Escape by Katherine Randell, illustrated by Sarah Ogilvie, published in hardcover by Bloomsbury Children’s Books, priced at £14.99 (£10.49 for ebook). Released September 1st

Illustrator Sarah Ogilvie definitely gets her stripes on The Great Escape of the Zebra, and she does great painting throughout. Written by Catherine Randell, the book follows the adventures of freeing zebras and other animals that are being brutally held by the villain Mr. Spit. It carries messages to other animals such as Siamese cats, Hungarian puri, pigeons and small squirrels. Dressed in black with an evil grimace and an equally evil mustache, Mr. His Spit knows what will happen as the animal world unites against him. I have read many books to his daughters and grandchildren, and his illustrations for The Great Zebra Escape are one of the best I have ever seen. My girlfriend’s 7 year old and her 8 year old grandson also agreed.
(reviewed by Alan Jones)

Book chart for the week ending August 27

Audiobooks (fiction and non-fiction)
1. Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith
2. Where Crowdad Sings by Delia Owens
3. Knife Twist by Anthony Horowitz
4. Why didn’t anyone tell me this? Dr. Julie Smith
5. James Acustor’s Guide to Quitting Social Media By James Acustor
6. Fire And Blood by George RR Martin
7. Atomic Habits by James Clear
8. Boy, Mole, Fox and Horse by Charlie McKessie
9. Missed Bullet Richard Osman
10. Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
(audible edit)

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