BOOK CLUB

TAKE THE REC­OM­MEN­DA­TION AND WRAP YOUR HANDS AROUND ONE (OR ALL) OF HARPERCOLLINS’ ‘BOOKS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2019’ SHORT­LIST

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE -

HOW TO BE SEC­OND BEST Jes­sica Dettmann Re­leased in Jan­uary – RRP $32.99

What hap­pens when you cast the crown of per­fec­tion aside and dare to aim for sec­ond best? This funny and charm­ing novel fol­lows one woman’s quest to re­claim her life af­ter a du­bi­ous co-par­ent­ing ar­range­ment with her ex leaves her feel­ing like the hired help. Go­ing from one child to two is never easy for a fam­ily but when Emma’s hus­band si­mul­ta­ne­ously fa­thers a third child three doors up the street, things get very tricky, very fast. No longer is it enough for Emma to be the best wife and mother, now she’s try­ing to be the best ex-wife and the best part-time par­ent to her ex’s love child – and that’s be­fore she even thinks about adding a new bloke to the mix. Set in an up­wardly mo­bile, ul­tra-com­pet­i­tive sub­urb, this is a funny, bit­ing, heart-warm­ing, mod­ern com­edy that looks at the roles we play, how we com­pete and what hap­pens when we dare to strive for sec­ond-best. This is Mar­ian Keyes meets Al­li­son Pear­son, with a dash of Caitlin Mo­ran.

NOT BAD PEO­PLE Brandy Scott Re­leased in Fe­bru­ary – RRP $32.99

A com­pelling de­but novel about old friend­ships and the cor­ro­sive power of se­crets, for fans of Liane Moriarty and Robyn Hard­ing. It’s New Year’s Eve. Three 30-some­thing women – Aimee, Melinda and Lou – best friends for decades, let off sky lanterns filled with res­o­lu­tions: for mean­ing, for free­dom, for money. As the glow­ing paper bags float away, there’s a bright flare in the dis­tance. It could be a sign of luck – or the start of a com­plete night­mare that will up­end their friend­ships, fam­i­lies and ca­reers. The day af­ter their cer­e­mony, the news­pa­pers re­port a small plane crash – two vic­tims pulled from the wreck­age, one a young boy. Were they re­spon­si­ble? Aimee thinks they are, Melinda won’t ac­cept it and Lou has prob­lems of her own. It’s a toxic recipe for guilt trips, shame, ob­ses­sion, black­mail and power games.

THE SCHOLAR Dervla Mc­Tier­nan Re­leased in March – RRP $32.99

Dervla Mc­Tier­nan’s de­but novel, The Rúin, be­came an in­stant best-seller that soared up the Aus­tralian charts and be­came one of the top five best-sell­ing Aus­tralian crime nov­els for 2018. Mc­Tier­nan’s sec­ond novel, The Scholar, sees the re­turn of the much-loved DS Cor­mac Reilly in a com­pul­sive new crime thriller that brings his ob­jec­tiv­ity and in­tegrity into ques­tion. Late one night out­side her lab­o­ra­tory at Gal­way Univer­sity, Cor­mac Reilly’s part­ner Dr Emma Sweeney stum­bles across the vic­tim of a hit-and-run. A se­cu­rity card on the dead woman iden­ti­fies her as Carline Darcy, a gifted stu­dent and heir ap­par­ent to Ir­ish phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal gi­ant Darcy Ther­a­peu­tics. The multi-bil­lion-dol­lar com­pany, founded by Carline’s grand­fa­ther, has a fin­ger in ev­ery pie, from spon­sor­ing univer­sity re­search fa­cil­i­ties to fund­ing po­lit­i­cal par­ties to phi­lan­thropy – it has funded Emma’s own ground-break­ing re­search. Cor­mac is thrust into in­ves­ti­gat­ing the high-pro­file and high-pres­sure case and soon ev­i­dence be­gins to mount that the death is linked to the Darcy lab­o­ra­tory and, in­creas­ingly, to Emma her­self.

THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE Felic­ity McLean Re­leased in April – RRP $32.99

A haunt­ing com­ing-of-age mys­tery from a bril­liant new Aus­tralian au­thor. Felic­ity McLean is al­ready an in­ter­na­tional pub­lish­ing sen­sa­tion, with rights to her de­but novel The Van Apfel Girls are Gone al­ready sold to the US, UK, Spain and France. Part mys­tery, part com­ing-of-age story, The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is set in a dis­tant sub­urb on the en­croach­ing bush­land, over the long hot sum­mer of 1992. It’s the sum­mer of the school’s Show­stop­per con­cert. The sum­mer Tikka never for­got. Tikka Mol­loy was 11-and-one-sixth years old dur­ing the sum­mer of 1992 – the sum­mer the Van Apfel sis­ters dis­ap­peared. Han­nah, beau­ti­ful Cordelia and Ruth van­ished dur­ing the night of the school’s Show­stop­per con­cert at the am­phithe­atre by the river, sur­rounded by bush­land. Now, years later, Tikka has re­turned home to try and make sense of the sum­mer that shaped her and the girls that she never for­got. Blackly comic, sharply ob­served and won­der­fully en­dear­ing, this is Pic­nic at Hang­ing Rock for a new gen­er­a­tion.

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