By Anna Robinson, Annie Ku, Steph Carroll and Georgia Wells
Penance by Eliza Clark
6 July, Faber & Faber
Following her thrilling debut novel, Boy Parts, Eliza Clark is here with another twist on the traditional mystery novel, exploring the industry created by online fandoms interested in true crime and the effects such groups can have on individuals. Hailing from Newcastle, Clark once again returns to the North in Penance, as her novel takes us on an investigation into the shocking murder of a sixteen-year-old in a rundown seaside town.
Nearly ten years after Joan Wilson was murdered in Crow-on-Sea, the story is just now being told, with the quest for the truth becoming difficult to navigate. As true crime podcasts, YouTube videos and photos of the crime are published online, discussed at length and sought by viewers, journalist Alec Z. Carelli constructs a "definitive account" of the murder and what led up to it. Built upon hours of interviews with witnesses and family members, research and correspondence with the killers themselves, the resulting novel and investigation is a deep dive into the tragedy that rocked a small town and changed lives.
But how much of it is true? An unreliable investigator combined with unruly teenage female friendship and the backdrop of a post-truth digital world culminate in a powerful, masterfully constructed novel that brings to light true crime as an industry and its impact on victims and their loved ones.
Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong
18 July, Hodder & Stoughton
Chloe Gong’s epic adult fantasy debut reimagines Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Set in San-Er, the palace hosts deadly games every year in which hopeful competitors who are skilled at the ability to body jump vie for unimaginable riches with life-or-death stakes.
Princess Calla Tuoleimi has been in hiding for five years, ever since her family was killed. Who was the treasonous murderer? She was. Only her uncle remains before the job is complete and the people of Talin are free from her own family’s tyrannical reign. Calla knows that her uncle will personally greet the victor of the games, so this is her best shot.
Since they were exiled from the palace, Anton Makusa is debt ridden from trying to keep his comatose childhood love alive. One of the best body jumpers in the city, he knows that the only chance he has left to pay off the debts and keep his promise to his love is to win the games. He proposes an alliance with Calla, and their partnership quickly escalates into romance. However, there can only be one winner left alive. Calla and Anton must choose if they are fighting for victory or for love.
The Summer Girl by Elle Kennedy
18 July, Little, Brown Book Group
Elle Kennedy brings us back to Avalon Bay for another addictive romance. This third instalment follows Cassie Soul and Tate Bartlett as they walk the line between friends and lovers, but Avalon Bay is still full to the brim with secrets that are ready to be spilled.
After years away from Avalon Bay, Cassie returns after news of her grandmother selling the boardwalk hotel that has been in their family for decades. As well as looking forward to spending time with her family, Cassie is set on finding herself a summer fling, and she has her eyes set on golden boy Tate, who is no stranger to a good time. Although he turns her down, a friendship forms between the two, with Tate even set on helping Cassie find the passionate fling she so craves.
It isn’t long before Tate begins to regret his decision and finds himself desiring something with Cassie – maybe just some fun, maybe something more. But being stuck between friends and lovers is the least of their worries, as Avalon Bay doesn’t keep secrets for long. And those secrets could tear their whole relationship apart before it even begins.
Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead
18 July, Little, Brown Book Group
New York City, 1971. The streets are plagued with trash, crime rates are soaring and bankruptcy is imminent. The NYPD and the Black Liberation Army are struggling through a fierce battle of conflict. Amidst this chaos, Ray Carney – a furniture-store owner with a shady past – strives to maintain a low profile, sustain his business and lead a law-abiding life. His biggest worry is getting Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter, May, which leads him to get in touch with former police contact and master fixer, Munson.
But his attempt to stay out of trouble is suddenly threatened as he becomes entangled in a web of danger. When one of Ray’s tenants suffers a severe injury in a suspicious fire, he enlists the help of the relentlessly violent Pepper to investigate its origins. Their pursuit leads them through a crumbling city governed by shadowy figures, rampant violence and absolute corruption.
With surgical precision and captivating prose, Colson Whitehead depicts a city fuelled by cronyism, intimidation, arrogance, ambition, ineptitude and even pride. Crook Manifesto unveils a kaleidoscopic portrait of Harlem as it explores family resilience in the face of apathy, turmoil and hostility.