5 new books to read this week

Pick up a new book, from biting thrillers to nonfiction reveals about the criminal justice system…


1. The Apartment Upstairs by Lesley Kara is published in hardcover by Bantam Press, priced at £14.99 (ebook £5.99). Available now

Murder becomes a family affair in Lesley Kara’s latest thriller, with a disabled woman left confused and shocked by the tragic and bloody murder of her aunt in the apartment above her. You can’t stop searching this brilliant novel for clues and answers, because it takes every twist possible. The murder is linked to a woman who disappeared ten years ago, and Scarlett – along with her new friend Dee – must uncover the truth. It’s a personal and moving look at family ties, women’s safety and dating. A question arises throughout: can you really trust someone you love? Kara has weaved a thick, nuanced plot, finally exploring chronic illness in a way that represents the experiences of thousands, while taking you on a totally unexpected journey.9/10 (Review by Imy Brighty-Potts)

2. Square One by Nell Frizzell is published in hardcover by Bantam Press, priced at £14.99 (ebook £5.99). Available July 7

The pressure is real for women in their thirties. Wedding? Accommodation? Kids? All of those boxes remain stubbornly unchecked for Hanna, who separates from her boyfriend and leaves their shared London flat to move in with her father Iain, also single and looking for love. But her new beginning feels more like a leap backwards, and Hanna feels trapped as she contemplates the milestones she “should have” reached, as she falls asleep each night under her childhood Jungle Book bedding. . As she navigates a new job, searches for a roommate and forges relationships in Oxford, Hanna tries to figure out what she wants and untangles herself from the myriad of expectations that are reminded of her every time she receives a friend’s pregnancy scan photo or wedding invitation. Frizzell recounts his journey with warmth, compassion, and wit, and it’s reassuring to see an ending that doesn’t neatly tie the loose ends together in an arc, but still involves some sort of release. 8/10 (Review by Jemma Crew)

3. These Streets by Luan Goldie is published in hardcover by HQ, priced at £14.99 (ebook £7.99). Available now

These streets are about people struggling to survive, families falling apart and reuniting – but the main character is really the place: Stratford, London. It’s in every page, running through everyone’s story. These streets are told from two angles: Jess, single mother of two teenagers – born and raised in the East End, struggling to make ends meet after being kicked out of her home; and Ben, a lonely divorcee who returns to Stratford after a messy breakup. Goldie portrays the housing crisis and exorbitant cost of living in London with reality and care, and you can’t help but root for the characters. Although the setting is dynamic and the characters colorful, there isn’t enough plot to make this book standout, and it errs on the side of repetitiveness. Admittedly readable – and that raises important questions – but as a story, not hugely memorable. 7/10 (Review by Prudence Wade)


4. Unlawful Killings by Her Honor Wendy Joseph QC is published in hardcover by Doubleday, priced at £20 (ebook £9.99). Available now

Her Honor Wendy Joseph QC tells how she sees it, with this insightful and sensitive chronicle of the human tragedy played out in the courtroom. The recently retired judge, who was one of the few women serving full-time at the Old Bailey, wrote six stories based on her experiences in homicide cases. They provide a unique view from the judge’s bench, giving the reader the ability to effectively don the ceremonial robes and wig themselves. Anyone hoping to glean insider knowledge about famous murders may be disappointed, as none of the accounts Joseph produced during her lockdown writing relate specifically to any of the many murder and manslaughter trials she has. chaired during his career. But by condensing and weaving together facts from many different cases and pouring them into stories, she brings together a larger truth. It’s fresh, compelling, well-written, and flawlessly authentic. From the first page, Joseph explodes the myth of criminal judges disconnected from the real world. Not just one for true crime buffs. 10/10 (Review by Emily Pennink)

Children’s book of the week

5. The House Of Shells by Efua Traoré is published in paperback by Chicken House, priced at £7.99 (ebook £7.99). Available July 7

After moving to a new town, 12-year-old Kuki struggles to fit in. One night, she is drawn to a spooky abandoned mansion filled with piles of seashells and meets a girl her age called Enilo. They become best friends and look suspiciously alike – but is Enilo who Kuki thinks she is? This is Efua Traoré’s second children’s novel. An inspiring Nigerian-German author who grew up in small town Nigeria, she is interested in myths, legends and superstitions. You’ll probably devour this mystery story compulsively and be hooked the second you start reading. You’ll want to know what secrets Enilo is hiding and why Kuki is in danger, despite her name meaning “she won’t die.” Kids who love atmospheric adventure books and want to learn more about Nigerian folk legends should read this. 9/10 (Review by Julia Ballard)


RECORDED (FICTION)1. Murder Before Evensong by Reverend Richard Coles2. The Final Struggle of Saara El-Arifi3. Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh4. Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby5. The Partisan by Patrick Worrall6. Chemistry lessons by Bonnie Garmus7. The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett8. Just Got Real by Jane Fallon9. Joanna Quinn’s Whalebone Theater10. Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (Compiled by Waterstones)

RECORDED (NON-FICTION)1. The Escape Artist by Jonathan Freedland2. The Hong Kong Newspapers by Christopher Patten3. Why No One Told Me This Before by Dr. Julie Smith4. Old Rage by Sheila Hancock5. House arrest by Alan Bennett6. Russia by Antony Beevor7. Restraint Order by Bill Browder8. Cook by Paul Hollywood9. The Social Distance Between Us by Darren McGarvey10. Notes on Heartbreak by Annie Lord (Compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIO BOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)1. Why hasn’t anyone told me this before? by Dr. Julie Smith2. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman3. Atomic Habits by James Clear4. What is your problem? by Jack Dee5. Chemistry lessons by Bonnie Garmus6. All on me! by Mel Brooks7. Windswept and Interesting by Billy Connolly8. The Escape Artist by Jonathan Freedland9. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens20. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman (Compiled by Audible)

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