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Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech @OrendaBooks @Louisewriter

Long ago my beloved Nanny Eve chose my name. Then one day she stopped calling me it. I try now to remember why, but I just can’t.’

 

Thirty-two-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.

With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges… and changes everything.

 Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…

 

There’s a lump in my throat and the remains of tears in my eyes as I write this review.  That’s testament to the beauty of Louise Beech’s exquisite writing. Like a watercolour painter, her brushstrokes are soft and gentle, her colours strong but subtly blended together to create a work of art that speaks to the heart and ultimately nourishes the soul.

Catherine Maria Hope is a woman with many aspects to her personality. She is difficult, spiky and somewhat foul- mouthed Catherine to her mother. She is a bitchy Catherine to her step-sister, Celine, whom she refers to as ‘Sharleen’ just to wind her up.

To her ex-boyfriend Will, she is the woman he met whilst both were volunteering at the local Crisis Care Centre. In between suicidal and desperate calls they would have sex on the chairs while they waited for the next call to come in. But Catherine did not love Will; she just needed to be needed and to be loved.

When we meet her, she is just about to join the Flood Crisis help line after a period away from volunteering. Flooded out of her own home, Catherine is now renting a grotty flat with her friend Fern, to whom she is both friend and confidante. At Flood Crisis she will be known as Katrina, to distinguish her from another volunteer of the same name.

Catherine can’t remember why the Maria was dropped from her name, or when. Her dad, long deceased when she was 8, used to call her Maria in the Moon. Somewhere along the way, Maria got lost along with any memory of her ninth year, and she has never managed to find her again.

Catherine suffers from eczema and sleeplessness – when she does sleep she has nightmares.  She uses sarcasm and edgy humour to keep those who should be closest to her at a distance. It is clear that Catherine is fractured, perhaps even irretrievably broken, but when we listen to her on the Flood Crisis lines we understand that here is a woman capable of enormous empathy and caring.

Maria in the Moon is the story of how Catherine Maria Hope starts to remember her painful past; the people she connects with along that journey and the hurt she and others experience until she can finally understand both what happened to her and why her memories are so difficult .

There’s a searing truthfulness to this book that can’t help but move you but it is also full of dark humour and warmth as we experience Catherine’s search for her lost ninth year.

A difficult and sometimes heart-rending read, Maria in the Moon is the story of one woman’s personal journey of discovery and how the actions of one can impact and resonate on many for years to come. A story of love and of loathing, of forgiveness and redemption it is sometimes hard to read, but it is so, so worth it.

Maria in the Moon was published by Orenda Books in e-book on 15th August 2017 and in paperback on 30th September 2017

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About Louise Beech

louise

Louise has always been haunted by the sea, even before she knew the full story of her grandfather, the man who in part inspired novel How to be Brave. She lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – where from her bedroom window she can almost see the waters of the River Humber, an estuary that inspired book, The Mountain in my Shoe.

She remembers sitting as a child in her father’s cross-legged lap while he tried to show her his guitar’s chords. He’s a musician. Her small fingers stumbled and gave up. She was three. His music sheets fascinated her – such strange language that translated into music.

Her mother teaches languages, French and English, so her fluency with words fired Louise’s interest. She knew from being small that she wanted to write, to create, to make magic. She’s inspired by life, history, survival and love, and always has a story in her head.

She loves all forms of writing. Her short stories have won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting twice for the Bridport Prize and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Her first play, Afloat, was performed at Hull Truck Theatre in 2012. She also wrote a ten-year newspaper column for the Hull Daily Mail about being a parent, garnering love/hate criticism, and a one year column called Wholly Matrimony about modern marriage.

Her debut novel, How to be Brave, was released in 2015 and got to No 4 in the Amazon UK Kindle chart, and was a Guardian Readers’ pick for 2015. This novel came from truth – when Louise’s daughter got Type 1 Diabetes she helped her cope by sharing her grandad’s real life sea survival story.

Her second novel, The Mountain in my Shoe, was released in 2016 and was inspired by her time with children in care. It explores what family truly means, and how far we will go for those we love. It longlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker Prize.

Follow Louise on Twitter

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah @sophiehannahCB1 @HodderBooks

Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford.
Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl.

A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.

Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?

 

If ever a book was destined to become the No 1 summer holiday bestseller, Did You See Melody? is it. First, there is the spa itself. No travel brochure ever made a spa sound as fabulous as the Swallowtail Spa in this book. Typical American excess meets superlative American service in a 5 star + resort.

I so want to go there!

Cara Burrows has upped and left her home in Hertfordshire for this exclusive resort in Arizona, leaving behind her husband Patrick, and their children, Jess and Olly. We know she has come away to think, but what is troubling her we don’t find out until later.

When she gets there –a mix-up with her room reservation leads her to encounter a man and his teenage daughter and later gives her cause for concern. Who was the mystery man in that room and could the girl possibly be Melody Chapa whose parents are in jail for her murder?

Melody’s body was never found but despite this, her parents were convicted of her murder. The case has gripped America for years. Bonnie Juno, former criminal prosecutor and now an Oprah style figure, has followed the Melody Chapa case from the start of her disappearance and has made a name for herself on TV from the case.
As Cara finds out more about Melody’s disappearance and presumed murder, she gets drawn in further to this mystery.

I really enjoyed the writing in this book. First of all, the book takes you in directions you just didn’t expect to go. Then the characters are vivid and sometimes unexpectedly, very funny – especially Tarin Fry and her daughter Zellie. The narrative is twisty and innovative and overall the book is just the right mixture of light and shade.

Perfect summer reading.

Did You See Melody? is published by Hodder & Stoughton on 24 Aug. 2017

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About Sophie Hannah @sophiehannahCB1

sophie

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of crime fiction, published in 32 languages and 51 territories. In 2014, at the request of Agatha Christie’s family and estate, Sophie published a new Hercule Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which was a bestseller in more than 15 countries. In September 2016 her second Poirot novel, Closed Casket, was published and became an instant Sunday Times top ten bestseller.

In 2013, Sophie’s novel The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of her crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012.

Sophie has also published two short story collections and five collections of poetry – the fifth of which, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A Level and degree level across the UK. From 1997 to 1999 she was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College Cambridge and between 1999 and 2001 she was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. She lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner of Lucy Cavendish College.

More here.

 

Western Fringes by Amer Anwar

A GIRL ON THE RUN. AN EX-CON TASKED WITH FINDING HER. A WHOLE HEAP OF TROUBLE.

Southall, West London… Ex-con Zaq Khan is lucky to land a dead-end job at a builders’ yard. All he wants to do is keep his head down and put his past behind him.

But when he’s called on to find his boss’s runaway daughter it quickly becomes apparent things aren’t quite what they seem and pretty soon he’s caught up in a deadly web of deception, murder and revenge.

With time running out and pressure mounting, can he find the missing girl before it’s too late? And if he does, can he keep her – and himself – alive long enough to deal with the people who want them both dead?

I love it when I pick up a book with absolutely no idea what to expect and it then turns out to be a cracking thriller that I would probably never have discovered if it hadn’t been drawn to my attention.

From start to finish this book had me hooked. Amer Anwar writes with such verve, pace and total authenticity that it is a dream to read.

Zaq Khan lives and works in Southall and has recently been released from prison after serving a full 5 year sentence. He is working as a delivery driver and general dogsbody for a local Sikh businessman in the construction industry, Mr. Brar. The only Muslim in the company, Zaq is looked down on by everyone who works there and his life is no bundle of joy.

We don’t hear until later in the book what Zaq has done to earn his jail time, but Zaq is a cocky and endearing character who is immediately likeable.  He is used to living on his wits and we learn that he survived his time in prison by keeping fighting fit and always being alert and on his toes.

When Mr Brar summons Zaq to his office, he has no idea what is in store for him. Brar tells him that his daughter Surinder, is missing and that he needs Zaq to find her and bring her back. It’s not so much that Brar will reward Zaq for his success; rather he makes it clear that should Zaq fail, he will not hesitate to use lies and deception to have him sent back to jail.

To make matters worse, Mr Brar has two nasty thugs for sons. Parminder and Rajinder, who have a reputation for being violent bullies, are also keen to find their sister, who prefers to call herself Rita, and they make it clear to Zaq in forceful terms that they want to know before Mr Brar, just as soon as he has found her.

With not a great deal of information to go on, Zaq teams up with his pal Jags to try and track Rita down. The Zaq and Jags pairing is a complete delight. Two good pals who spark off each other, their banter is highly entertaining and though this is often a violent and troubling story, the humour and warmth of the dialogue between this pair keeps shining through.

An unlikely investigator, Zaq uses all his contacts to try and locate Rita. It seems that she may have been running away from an arranged marriage and there is also a suggestion that she was involved with someone her parents and brothers did not approve of. But the story isn’t quite as simple as that…

Poor Zaq gets punched and kicked across London in his endeavours to avoid being fitted up for more jail time. But when, as he surely must, he tracks Rita down, he’s going to be between a rock and a hard place when it comes to Mr. Brar and his sons.

Western Fringes brilliantly evokes contemporary Asian life  in west London with fascinating detail and themes of asian culture, arranged and forced marriage and disputes between cultures and religions that resonate throughout this multi layered and intense thriller.

Western Fringes won the CWA Debut Dagger Award and rightly so. Amer Anwar is a fresh and original voice with a great ear for dialogue and a brilliant sense of humour. Peppered with Punjabi phrases, this book is also the only thriller I have read where my mouth was constantly watering at the frequent references to fantastic Asian food. I’d love to see some recipes in the back of the book if it gets a reprint!

I really thoroughly enjoyed this book and I’d not hesitate to read another by this highly talented author.

Honestly, go buy it – links below!

Western Fringes was published by  Edurus Books on 31 May 2017

 

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About Amer Anwar – @ameranwar

AmerAnwar03

Amer Anwar  grew up in West London. After leaving college he had a variety of jobs, including; warehouse assistant, comic book lettering artist, a driver for emergency doctors and chalet rep in the French Alps. He eventually landed a job as a creative artworker/graphic designer and spent the next decade and a half producing artwork, mainly for the home entertainment industry. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London and is a winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award.  More here.

Crime in the Spotlight – New Writers at Bloody Scotland

EXCITING NEW WRITERS SELECTED TO APPEAR ON STAGE WITH SOME OF THE BIGGEST INTERNATIONAL NAMES IN CRIME FICTION

Being selected for ‘Crime in the Spotlight’ is like being asked to be the support band on a major stadium tour. A bit like what Travis were to Oasis. Two years ago Graeme Macrae Burnet appeared ‘in the spotlight’ immediately before Ian Rankin, one year later he was shortlisted for The Man Booker. It’s a great opportunity to perform in front of a vast audience of potential fans.The Directors of Bloody Scotland have selected the authors and paired them with the acts they will be supporting this year.

Saturday 9 September

Claire MacLeary with Alex Gray
Claire describes herself as ‘a feisty Glaswegian’. Following a career in Aberdeen and St Andrews she gained an MLitt with distinction from the University of Dundee.

 

 

 

 

 

Owen Mullen with Peter May

Owen went to Strathclyde University then moved to London. He had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name. He now divides his time between Glasgow and the Greek Islands.

 

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Louise Hutcheson with John Simenon and Graeme Macrae Burnet
Poacher turned gamekeeper, Louise is a freelance editor from Glasgow who edits crime fiction. She has a PhD in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow.

 

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GD Harper with Lin Anderson, Ragnar Jonasson & Thomas Enger
He grew up in Stenhousemuir near Stirling & went to University in Glasgow, living in the West End where his books are set.

 

Lloyd Otis with Mason Cross and Chris Carter

Spotlight 2017 - Lloyd OtisSpotlight 2017 - Lloyd Otis Jacket
Lloyd has blogged for The Bookseller and the Huffington Post and was editor of a monthly lifestyle magazine’s book review column. He lives in London.

Fiona Cummins with Ann Cleeves

Spotlight 2017 - Fiona CumminsSpotlight 2017 - Fiona Cummins Jacket
A graduate of Faber Academy, her debut has been published in several languages and optioned for TV. She lives in Essex and is published by Pan Macmillan.

Sunday 10 September

Lucy Hay with Vince Cable and Nicholas Searle

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Lucy lives in Devon and is associate producer of two Brit thrillers starring Danny Dyer.

Pat Young with Louise Welsh, Doug Johnstone and E S Thomson launching Bloody Scotland, the book

Spotlight 2017 - Pat YoungSpotlight 2017 - Pat Young Jacket
Pat was born and still lives in South West Scotland. Her recent book launch in Waterstones Ayr was a sell out.

Rob Scragg with James Oswald and Professor Sue Black

Spotlight 2017 - Rob Scragg Rob was born and bred in North East England. His first novel received four ‘yes’ votes from the Dragon’s Den at Harrogate Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival last year. He lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

 

Charles McGarry with Chris Brookmyre

Spotlight 2017 - Charles McGarrySpotlight 2017 - Charles McGarry Jacket

Charles was born and still lives in Glasgow. Published by Polygon he will also be appearing in The Curly Coo at 2pm for a live recording of the popular podcast series ‘DEBUT: A Crime Writer’s Journey from the Bedroom to the Bookshelf’ – free event.

Tana Collins with Lynda La Plante

Spotlight 2017 - Tana CollinsSpotlight - Tana Collins Jacket
Her books are set in Fife and Anstruther but she lives in Edinburgh where she works as a massage therapist. She was brought up just outside Hastings in South East England.

And…

The only big names appearing at the Albert Halls who are missing from this list are Ian Rankin whose event is immediately after the torchlight procession on the Friday night and Val McDermid whose support act is still under wraps as it will be the winner of the inaugural New Crime Writer Award launched by Virago in association with The Pool.

Val will introduce the winner live on stage immediately before her event on Saturday.

Crime in the Spotlight is the brainchild of board member and crime writer Gordon Brown, himself well used to support bands having been involved with the early years of T in the Park.

Previous spotlighters are all very supportive of each other on social media and even have spotlight reunions.

Which of the Class of 2017 will go on to great things? Fiona Cummins is definitely in with a fighting chance as the Ann Cleeves event has sold a record breaking number of tickets and filled all 700 seats in the Albert Halls.

Two of the spotlighters – Claire MacLeary and Owen Mullen – are also on the longlist for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award.

You can see the whole Bloody Scotland programme here.

Yesterday by Felicia M Yap

There are two types of people in the world: those who can only remember yesterday, and those who can also recall the day before.

You have just one lifeline to the past: your diary. Each night, you write down the things that matter. Each morning, your diary tells you where you were, who you loved and what you did.

Today, the police are at your door. They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

Can you trust the police?

Can you trust your husband?

Can you trust yourself?

 

For reasons that become clear during the course of the book, Yesterday is set with a 24 hour time period. When you read as much crime as I do, you are always on the lookout for something different, challenging and that sets your thinking, as they say, outside the box.

Yesterday does all that and is hugely enjoyable into the bargain. Set in the contemporary parallel world of monos and duos; monos can only remember the past 24 hours, duos have 48 hour recall and those very few who can remember further back are labelled mentally ill. Everyone keeps a searchable iDiary in order to remember the ‘facts’ they need to live their lives.

This is a society where duos are considered superior, mixed marriages between duos and monos are frowned upon and it is fertile ground for Felicia M Yap to play with the idea of unreliable narratives within this context.

Mark Evans is a duo and when he married mono Claire, his family disinherited him. When we first meet him he is in the midst of transitioning from a successful novelist to aspiring elected politician in Cambridge. But Mark has secrets that he is keeping from everyone, including Claire.

When Sophia Ayling’s body is discovered in the River Cam, the police find Mark’s name in her diary and he is brought in for questioning by D.C.I. Hans Richardson.  The narrative moves between past and present and back and forth among Mark, Claire, Sophia’s iDiary entries, and the detective, D.C.I. Richardson.  This 4 person narrative told through iDiaries and internal monologues is a rather nice way to set out the events of the book and the different characters perspectives.

As Claire struggles with the idea that Mark could be a suspect in Sophia’s murder, she knows that she has to have answers, but when you can only remember yesterday, what hope is there of ever finding the truth?

I enjoyed this book a lot, thanks to its unique perspective and it is certainly an accomplished debut novel. I particularly enjoyed the complex and struggling character of D.C.I. Richardson, a different kind of detective I’d like to read more of.

Yesterday has some very intriguing ideas and is not without its own killer twists. Overall it is a different and very satisfying read.

Yesterday was published by Wildfire on 10 August 2017

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About Felicia M Yap

felicia

Felicia with Anne Cater at Theakston’s International Crime Festival, Harrogate

Felicia Yap grew up in Kuala Lumpur. She has been a cell biologist, a war historian, a university lecturer, a technology journalist, a theatre critic, a flea-market trader and a catwalk model. Felicia lives in London and is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy’s creative writing programme. Yesterday is her debut thriller.

The House by Simon Lelic

THE PERFECT COUPLE. THE PERFECT HOUSE. THE PERFECT CRIME.

Whose story do YOU believe?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered outside their back door. And now the police are watching them.

THIS STORY IS THEIR CHANCE…

TO PROVE THEY'RE INNOCENT.

OR TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER.

I'm very happy to be on the blog tour for this excellent novel.

I was about a quarter of the way into this book when a fellow blogger, noticing the striking cover, asked me what kind of book The House is. At that point I wasn’t entirely sure, but now that I have finished it, it is clear that it is a modern Gothic novel.

Imbued throughout with an eerie, creepy, haunted feeling, this is more than a psychological thriller, more than a crime novel and so much moe than a horror story, though it has elements of all of these.

Syd and Jack are a pretty ordinary couple. They’ve been together for ages, but have struggled to get anywhere at all on the London housing ladder. Their housing wish list has gone from a list of desirable assets like a garden and location to just one thing – a place in London.

So when they go and see an old house in a decent neighbourhood, which the owner has walked away from to start a new life in Australia, Syd immediately sees the potential. Sure, the house is stuffed to the gunnels with the owners hoarded belongings; endless photographs, a somewhat creepy taxidermy collection and loads of other stuff that the couple neither want nor need.

Jack is a little less enamoured of the house, but knows they can’t afford to be choosy. Besides, there’s a lot of interest from buyers, and they can’t afford a massive bid, so what the hell…

This then, is where the novel begins. Told in alternate voices and in the form of a first person written narrative, we learn from the story that Jack and Syd are telling just what occurs after they discover that, against all the odds, they have been successful in their bid for the house.

The written narrative is a fascinating device – they are writing for an audience, and so they correct and clarify each other in succeeding chapters until layer upon layer, we find out more about Jack and Syd and others in their lives. These are characters that spring to life from the page – engaging, witty and irreverent. Not without troubles and secrets of their own, you know this is a couple you just have to root for.

As we read, we begin to understand that this house has secrets of its own; secrets that Jack will at first seek to hide from Syd, but which are deeply troubling.

There are strange smells, noises in the night and then one day, clearing out the attic, Jack makes a truly chilling discovery.  Something is really not right with this house and as Jack tries to delve deeper, chilling events begin occur.

The House cleverly takes the elements of a contemporary thriller and plays with them, ramping up the suspense, injecting a deeply spooky feel to Jack and Syd’s lives whilst creating a mesmerising psychological thriller. Causing us to question whether one or both are reliable narrators, this novel keeps you guessing right up to the end.

There are themes here, too of tragedy, abuse and revenge. All in all, The House is a heady cocktail of gripping contemporary gothic mystery and misdirection.

 

The House is published in e-book by Penguin on 17th August 2017

 

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About Simon Lelic

simon lelic

Simon Lelic was born in Brighton in 1976 and, after a decade or so living in London moved back to Brighton with his wife and three young children.

He studied history at the University of Exeter. After graduating, Simon did an MA. After that he took a post-grad course in journalism. After working freelance and then in business-to-business publishing, he now writes novels.

As well as writing, he runs an import/export business. His hobbies include reading, golf, tennis, snowboarding and karate.

See other reviews of The House here :

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.’
The girls of the Roanoke family – beautiful, rich, mysterious – seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them that’s never spoken.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke Girl. Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

At just 15 years old, Lane Roanoke finds herself alone in New York following the suicide of her seriously depressed mother. She’s not had a great life so far – indeed Lane feels as if her mother didn’t really like her.

So when an NYC social worker tells her that she has grandparents in Kansas who want her to come and live with them she is astonished. Lane’s mother had always refused to talk about her family, so she really has no knowledge or history of them.

When she gets to Kansas, what she finds is the Roanoke mansion in Osage County where her grandparents Lillian and Yates Roanoke live with their other granddaughter, 16 year old Allegra.

Allegra is a bit of a kindred spirit, full of life and mischief, who loves nothing better than a bit of fun. Lane finds that there is significance in being a Roanoke in a poor town where the Roanokee’s can play the wealthy benefactors and for the first time in her life, Lane finds that she is loved, wanted and that she can buy whatever she likes.

Yet, when we first meet Lane, she is on her way back to Roanoke after a series of dead end jobs in Los Angeles. She doesn’t really want to go back, but her cousin Allegra is missing and she feels a deep sense of guilt for having left Allegra behind when she went. So when her grandparents call her back, she reluctantly returns.

Amy Engel beautifully intertwines the past and present Roanoke, with a 10 year gap between the two. So we learn how the two teenage girls grew up together and how Allegra was yearned after by the young and straightforwardly handsome Tommy, now the local policeman. Lane was attracted by the dark and sultry Cooper; a town bad boy destined to inherit his father’s car repair workshop.

It isn’t long into the novel before we learn that Roanoke has a dark and horrible secret. It is this secret that causes the Roanoke Girls either to run or to die.

Tommy isn’t having much luck finding Allegra, but Lane knows her better than anyone and she is tenacious about finding out what happened to her cousin, helped by that knowledge and the carvings that Allegra made whenever she was upset.

What makes this novel work so well is the strong focus on characterisation and the very clear atmosphere of repression, dust and depression and the secrets that hold this family together.

Oddly Yates Roanoke is the least fleshed out of these characters, even Lillian Roanoke comes across more clearly – in her case as a cold, bitter shrew – devoid of warmth or hope.

There’s no doubt that The Roanoke Girls is a well written, dark, disturbing and grippingly compelling novel. But for all that I was left uncomfortable about what it says about women and that unsettles me more than anything.

The Roanoke Girls was published in paperback by Hodder Books on 10th August 2017

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About Amy Engel


Amy is the author of the young adult series The Book of Ivy. A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family. The Roanoke Girls is her first novel for adults.

More about Amy

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