Best Read: The Valley of Lost Stories by Vanessa McCausland
Four women and their children are invited to the beautiful but remote Capertee Valley, west of the Blue Mountains. Once home to a thriving town, only an enigmatic Art Deco hotel remains – and an unsolved mystery. In 1948, Clara Black walked into the night, never to be seen again. As the valley beguiles these four friends, and haunts them in equal measure, each has to confront secrets of her own: Nathalie, with a damaged marriage; Emmie, yearning for another child; Pen, struggling as a single parent; and Alexandra, hiding in the shadow of her famous husband. But as the story of what happened seventy years earlier unravels, one of the women also vanishes into this bewitching place, forcing devastating truths to the surface.
Crime: Daylight by David Baldacci
FBI Agent Atlee Pine’s search for her twin sister, Mercy, coincides with military investigator John Puller’s high-stakes case, leading them both into a global conspiracy from which neither of them will escape unscathed. Ever since Mercy was abducted after a brutal incident when the girls were just six years old, Atlee has been relentless in her search for the truth. Now, just as time is running out on her investigation, she finally gets her most promising breakthrough yet — the identity of her sister’s kidnapper: Ito Vincenzo. Last known location: New Jersey. As Atlee and her assistant, Carol Blum, race to track down Vincenzo, they run into Pine’s old friend John Puller, who is investigating Vincenzo’s family for another crime involving a military installation. Working together, Pine and Puller pull back the layers of deceit, lies and cover-ups that strike at the very heart of global democracy. And the truth about what happened to Mercy is finally revealed.
Australian Author: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
After her true-crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall has become a household name – and the last hope for people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help. The new season of Rachel’s podcast has brought her to a small town being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. A local golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season 3 a success, Rachel throws herself into her investigation – but the mysterious letters keep coming. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insist she was murdered – and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody in town wants to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases – and a revelation that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.
General: The Freedom Circus by Sue Smethurst
Written by award-winning author and journalist Sue Smethurst, whose husband is Mindla and Michael’s grandson, The Freedom Circus is an epic story of courage, hope, humanity, survival and, ultimately, love. When Sue Smethurst first sat down with her grandmother-in-law and asked how she survived the Holocaust, she was shooed away. By that time Mindla was in a Melbourne Jewish nursing home with other survivors, her body ageing but mind still razor sharp. ‘Vhy do you vant to know?’ she’d ask. ‘My story is nothing special.’ As death began approaching Sue became a little more pushy. She knew Mindla’s life had to be recorded and they were running out of time. Each week she’d bring cake from her favourite shop in St Kilda, a bottle of the brightest nail polish she could find, a handful of old pictures and her tape recorder. They’d chat and paint Mindla’s nails, and with each ‘chat’ her story unfolded. It was beyond anything Sue could have imagined. The tale of how Mindla and her husband Michael Horowitz, a circus performer for the famous Staniewski Brothers, escaped from Poland with their young son and embarked on a terrifying journey through the USSR and Middle East to Africa and ultimately to safety in Australia, is nothing short of extraordinary.
Thriller: Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
LONDON – On a fine avenue of grand houses, big cars and electronic gates, lies a neglected urban wasteland. It is nearly midnight, and very cold. Yet in this dark place of long grass and tall trees where cats hunt and foxes shriek, a girl is waiting… When Saffyre Maddox was ten something terrible happened and she’s carried the pain of it around with her ever since. The man who she thought was going to heal her didn’t, and now she hides from him, invisible in the shadows, learning his secrets; secrets she could use to blow his safe, cosy world apart. Owen Pick is invisible too. He’s thirty-three years old and he’s never had a girlfriend, he’s never even had a friend. Nobody sees him. Nobody cares about him. But when Saffyre Maddox disappears from opposite his house on Valentine’s night, suddenly the whole world is looking at him. Accusing him. Holding him responsible. Because he’s just the type, isn’t he? A bit creepy? INVISIBLE GIRL- A story of secrets and injustices, and of how we look in the wrong places for the bad people while the real predators walk among us in plain sight.
Thriller: Final Cut by S.J.Watson
Blackwood Bay. An ordinary place, home to ordinary people. It used to be a buzzing seaside destination. Now, ravaged by the effects of dwindling tourism and economic downturn, it’s a ghost town — and the perfect place for film-maker Alex to shoot her new documentary. But the community is deeply suspicious of her intentions. After all, nothing exciting ever happens in Blackwood Bay — or does it? Blackwood Bay. An ordinary place, home to an extraordinary secret.
Saga/Romance: The Mothers by Brit Bennett
The Mothers asks whether a ‘what if’ can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.
“All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.”
One in Three by Tess Stimson [BorrowBox]
Both of them loved him. One of them killed him . . .Louise has had to watch her husband, Andrew, start a new family in the four years since he left her. The ‘other woman’ is now his wife – but Louise isn’t ready to let Caz enjoy the life that was once hers, or to let go of the man she still loves.
As Louise starts to dig into Caz’s past, the two women’s pretence of civility starts to slip. But in trying to undermine each other, they discover more about the man they both married.And when Andrew is murdered at a family party, both women are found standing over the body.It’s always the wife. But which one?
Beware of Dogs by Elizabeth Flann [BorrowBox]
Not much daylight left now.
So begins the field diary of Alix Verhoeven, whose impulsive acceptance of an offer to spend Easter on a remote island has turned into a terrifying ordeal. Hiding in a tiny cave, she carefully rations out her meagre supplies, while desperately trying to figure out how to escape the men hunting her. She is determined not to be a victim.
What do they want with her? She knows it’s nothing good – she overheard enough on that first night to flee. But now she’s got little food or water, no way of calling for help, and only her skills as an exploration geologist and memories of Atkinson’s Bushcraft Guide to survive. By day she is disciplined and lives by strict plans, but at night she finds herself haunted by questions about her life that she has never wanted to face. And her time is running out.
Watching from the Dark by Gytha Lodge [Indy Reads]
Aidan Poole logs on to his laptop late at night to Skype his girlfriend, Zoe. To his horror, he realises that there is someone else in her flat, and Aidan can only listen to the sounds of a violent struggle – and then the chilling sound of silence. Aidan is desperate to find out if Zoe is OK. But then why is he so hesitant to call the police? When his messages finally reach them, DCI Jonah Sheen’s and his team take the case – and discover the body. They soon find that no-one has a bad word to say about Zoe, a big-hearted young woman at the centre of a curious web of waifs and strays, every one relying on her for support. Each of these so-called friends is hiding dark secrets and buried resentments: has one of them been driven to do something unspeakable? Or might Aidan have the biggest secret of them all?
One Split Second by Caroline Bond [BorrowBox]
By 2.30am the whereabouts of most of the kids was known. Most – but not all. Because, for a small handful of parents, there was no response to their frantic calls and messages. No wordless reunions and fierce hugs. These parents – the truly unlucky ones – plunged headlong into the awful realisation that their child had been involved in the night’s events ? The final goodbye is the hardest ? When a car carrying five teenagers home from a party crashes into a brick wall, the consequences are devastating – not just for the young people directly involved, but also for their families, their friends and the wider community. No one escapes unscathed, but some are more deeply scarred than others and one of the group will not survive. In their grief and confusion, those left behind question who was to blame for the accident – and what price they will pay. A haunting and emotionally affecting story about love and loyalty, grief and forgiveness.
The Wife and the Widow by Christian White [Libby]
Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, ‘The Wife and the Widow’ is a mystery/thriller told from two perspectives: Kate, a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband’s secret life; and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside down when she’s forced to confront the evidence that her husband is a murderer. But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives.
The Silent Listener by Lyn Yeowart [indyreads]
‘Propelling the reader back and forth between the 1940s, 1960s and 1980s, The Silent Listener is an unforgettable literary suspense novel set in the dark, gothic heart of rural Australia’.
In the cold, wet summer of 1960, 11-year-old Joy Henderson lives in constant fear of her father. She tries to make him happy but, as he keeps reminding her, she is nothing but a filthy sinner destined for Hell . . .
Yet, decades later, she returns to the family’s farm to nurse him on his death bed. To her surprise, her ‘perfect’ sister Ruth is also there, whispering dark words, urging revenge.