DIARY OF SOMEBODY by Brian Bilston, Picador, £14.99 (ebook £12.99) ★★★★ ★
FAILING at his deadend job and dealing with the breakdown of his relationship, Brian Bilston challenges himself to write a poem every day while he attempts to patch his life back together. What follows is a diary and collection of around 150 poems that develop into a tale of murder mystery.
Bilston has the ability to make the mundane both funny and beautiful – whether that’s taking out the bins or procrastinating on Twitter.
THE WHISPER MAN by Alex North, Michael Joseph, £12.99 (ebook £7.99) ★★★ ★★
ALEX North’s tightly plotted crime thriller presses all the right buttons for the genre:
A world-weary detective with a failed marriage and a drink problem, an ambitious younger officer, departmental politics within the Force – all set in a carefully deracinated Anytown.
In this highly structured environment we find the courage to look upon evil. However, I was not entirely convinced by a novel that depends in places, for its chill factor, upon the protagonist’s inability to remember if he has locked the front door.
THE BODY LIES by Jo Baker, Doubleday, £12.99 (ebook £7.99) ★★ ★★★
A RANDOM act of city violence on a pregnant woman by a stranger, opens this sinister tale. From then on, death stalks its pages.
In an attempt to escape the reminders of her assault in London, a young novelist moves north with her son to take up a creative writing university post. She finds herself in the thrall of a mysterious student who claims to only write the truth. But as their lives entwine, she realises there may be a more troubling reality lurking within his fiction.