5 new books to read this week

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(Composite/PA)
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A page-turning thriller or an exposé of what it’s really like to be a teacher: what new book do you want to read?

Fiction

1. A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins is published in hardback by Doubleday, priced £20 (ebook £9.99). Available now

It must be difficult for a writer whose debut thriller was a blockbuster in print and film to follow that act. But The Girl On The Train novelist Paula Hawkins does a fine job in her third thriller, set on a London canal where a man is found stabbed to death in his houseboat. A local community of suspects is quickly introduced: a bunch of misfits including a busybody neighbour, a troubled one-night stand, and exes with a backdrop of tragedy and a reason to kill. Hawkins cleverly racks up the tension without losing sight of her motley crew of characters and their tangled web of secrets, while the slow fire of jealousy, hatred and lust for revenge gradually emerges. Paying huge attention to detail in the light and shadows of the canal and its surroundings, Hawkins’ atmospheric tale may not enjoy the fanfare of The Girl On The Train, but anyone who loves a good page-turning thriller should consider bagging a copy.8/10(Review by Hannah Stephenson)

2. 1979 by Val McDermid is published in hardback by Little, Brown, priced £20 (ebook £10.99). Available now

Crime writer Val McDermid debuts a new series following ambitious reporter Allie Burns. Set in 1979, the background is the winter of discontent and the sexism of the newsroom. A colleague Danny is trying to expose tax fraud and ropes Allie in. In return, she seeks his help with a story she’s uncovered relating to the Scottish devolution referendum. There are all sorts of reasons to love this book, from the unvarnished truth about newsrooms in the late 1970s, the glimpses into food, fashion and social history of the period together with a music soundtrack. We get to know Allie, what drives her and her strengths. But while there are most definitely thrills and tension, it takes time for the full-adrenaline experience to kick off. If you are wanting a dead body by page five this offers a different – but equally engrossing – kind of read.8/10(Review by Bridie Pritchard)

3. The Women Of Troy by Pat Barker is published in hardback by Hamish Hamilton, priced £18.99 (ebook £9.99). Available now

Picking up after The Silence Of The Girls, Pat Barker’s reimagined tale of the aftermath of the Trojan war captures the brutality and horror of this iconic Greek myth in fresh, contemporary detail. Told from the perspective of Briseis – once the war prize of Achilles – Barker immerses us in the lives of the women who survived the siege at Troy as they assume their role as slaves to the Greek men. The second instalment of Barker’s feminist retelling is just as provocative as the first. Though perhaps not as historically accurate, the lesser recorded storyline grants Barker greater creative freedom, giving her women more complex and rounded characters that take an active role the plot. A worthy sequel and fascinating feminist study – the question now lies, will there be a third?7/10(Review by Scarlett Sangster)

Non-fiction

4. Let That Be A Lesson: A Teacher’s Life In The Classroom by Ryan Wilson is published in hardback by Chatto & Windus, priced £14.99 (ebook £9.99). Available now

Following ex-doctor Adam Kay’s This Is Going To Hurt and Blood, Sweat And Tea by ambulance driver Tom Reynolds, the latest entry to the ‘insider diary’ genre is Ryan Wilson’s recollection of his 10 years as an English teacher. It’s very funny, mainly due to the students – from a swaggering self-styled gangster to one who knows the set text better than he does – but also thanks to the mistakes new teachers inevitably make. The anecdotes are rather superficial, perhaps because it is a recollection, rather than a diary written at the time. Poignancy fills the gap: life’s highs and lows and Wilson’s struggle to accept his sexuality. In this he holds the next generation in awe: one pupil’s casual mention of the fact she is gay and her classmates’ lack of interest, floors him. His reasons for leaving the sector should give all readers pause for thought.7/10(Review by Natalie Bowen)

Children’s book of the week

5. We’re Going To Find The Monster by Malorie Blackman, illustrated by Dapo Adeola, is published in paperback by Puffin, priced (ebook £3.99). Available September 2

It is nearly breakfast time, but first Eddie and Charlie are going on a monster hunt. Their journey takes them over the ocean, up mountains, through jungles and the bubbly bubble lake until they finally come face-to-face with the monster in its lair, but who could the mysterious creature be? Discovering the identity of the monster and the children’s imaginary encounters are the best part of the story, alongside Dapo Adeola’s beautifully illustrated pictures of the characters and the setting. Malorie Blackman’s book is peppered with juicy adjectives and alliteration, making for an adventure story both children and adults will enjoy reading aloud time and time again.8/10(Review by Sharron Logan)

BOOK CHARTS FOR THE WEEK ENDING AUGUST 28

HARDBACK (FICTION)1. The Women Of Troy by Pat Barker2. How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie3. 1979 by Val McDermid4. The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves5. Billy Summers by Stephen King6. The Island Of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak7. A Line To Kill by Anthony Horowitz8. Klara And The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro9. A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris10. Orphans Of The Storm by Celia Imrie(Compiled by Waterstone )

HARDBACK (NON-FICTION)1. Too Many Reasons To Live by Rob Burrow2. And It Was Beautiful by Phil Hay3. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy4. The Comfort Book by Matt Haig5. The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye6. Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman7. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given8. Appetite by Ed Balls9. Jane’s Patisserie by Jane Dunn10. The Power Of Geography by Tim Marshall(Compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIOBOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)1. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman2. Unholy Murder by Lynda La Plante3. Billy Summers by Stephen King4. Atomic Habits by James Clear5. A Line To Kill by Anthony Horowitz6. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig7. The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell8. P.G. Wodehouse Volume 1 by P.G. Wodehouse9. Mythos by Stephen Fry10. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey(Compiled by Audible)

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