September 2023 books

What’s new and good to read this month? Dan Coombes has a look at what’s on offer and chooses The Last Devil To Dieby Richard Osman, The Fraud by Zadie Smith and Holly by Stephen King

The Last Devil To Die – Richard Osman

A man who at this point needs no introduction, but here I am writing one anyway. A national treasure, one of the most successful crime writers of all time, a local legend who can occasionally be seen walking past the shop (but still hasn’t been in to sign his books yet…Hi, Richard.) The fourth instalment of the Thursday Murder Club series…well, if you’ve read the others you’ll know what a clever, witty and warm-hearted joy it’ll be, and if you haven’t you still have a couple of weeks before this one comes out to read the last three, and then you’ll know what a clever, witty and warm-hearted joy it’ll be.

Shocking news reaches the Thursday Murder Club. An old friend in the antiques business has been killed, and a dangerous package he was protecting has gone missing. As the gang springs into action they encounter art forgers, online fraudsters and drug dealers, as well as heartache close to home.

With the body count rising, the package still missing and trouble firmly on their tail, has their luck finally run out? And who will be the last devil to die?

Images above: Front cover of The Last Devil To Die, Author Richard Osman

The Fraud – Zadie Smith

The first novel in seven years from the author of On Beauty, White Teeth and NW, Zadie Smiths first ever historical novel is both thrillingly engrossing and powerfully relevant to the present day, a spectacular novel about truth, fiction, lies and manipulation and the history between Britain and Jamaica.

Kilburn, 1873. The ‘Tichborne Trial’ has captivated the widowed Scottish housekeeper Mrs Eliza Touchet and all of England. Readers are at odds over whether the defendant is who he claims to be – or an imposter.

Mrs Touchet is a woman of many interests: literature, justice, abolitionism, class, her novelist cousin and his wives, this life and the next. But she is also sceptical. She suspects England of being a land of facades, in which nothing is quite what it seems.

Andrew Bogle meanwhile finds himself the star witness, his future depending on telling the right story. Growing up enslaved on the Hope Plantation, Jamaica, he knows every lump of sugar comes at a human cost. That the rich deceive the poor.

And that people are more easily manipulated than they realise. Based on real historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about how in a world of hypocrisy and self-deception, deciding what’s true can prove a complicated task.

Images above: Front cover of The Fraud, Author Zadie Smith

Holly – Stephen King

Another author that needs no introducing whatsoever you’d think, but here I go again. One of the most talented and skilful writers ever, the author of over seventy novels across four decades and creator of some of the most iconic and terrifying horror tales of all time, a new Stephen King novel is always something to look out for. Holly Gibney has grown across numerous books into easily one of his best characters in a while, and here she matches wits with some really, really, really horrible people in a chilling and properly heart-in-mouth suspenseful thriller.

When Penny Dahl calls the Finders Keepers detective agency hoping for help locating her missing daughter, Holly Gibney is reluctant to accept the case. Her partner, Pete, has Covid.
Her (very complicated) mother has just died. And Holly is meant to be on leave. But something in Penny Dahl’s desperate voice makes it impossible for Holly to turn her down.

Mere blocks from where Bonnie Dahl disappeared live Professors Rodney and Emily Harris. They are the picture of bourgeois respectability: married octogenarians, devoted to each other, and semi-retired lifelong academics. But they are harbouring an unholy secret in the basement of their well-kept, book-lined home, one that may be related to Bonnie’s disappearance.

And it will prove nearly impossible to discover what they are up to: they are savvy, they are patient, and they are ruthless. Holly must summon all her formidable talents to outthink and outmanoeuvre the shockingly twisted professors in this chilling new masterwork.

Images above: Front cover of Holly, Author Stephen King