Entering Spooky Season
By Georgia Wells, Anna Robinson, Maisy Twaddle and Charlotte Barber
Jackal by Erin E. Adams
4 October, Penguin Random House USA
As a Black woman from a predominantly white town in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Liz Rocher is not excited about returning home. However, she couldn’t miss out on her best friend’s wedding. After an eventful day of celebration and awkward reunions, the night draws to a close. But as the darkness settles, they realise something – the couple’s daughter, Caroline, is missing, the only clue being a piece of white fabric covered in blood.
A search breaks out in a desperate attempt to find the missing girl. During the search, Liz realises an unnerving truth: this isn’t the first time a girl has gone missing in these woods. The only other Black girl in Liz’s high school disappeared into the woods with a strange man years ago. She was later found with her chest torn in two, her heart missing.
As she digs further into the past, Liz notices a pattern. For years, children have been going missing in these woods. All of them girls. All of them Black. Now she must work to expose the truth of these disappearances and find out what is lurking in the darkness of the woods.
Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
4 October, Little Brown Book Group
From the author of Little Fires Everywhere comes a dystopian novel about life in a society governed by fear. Our Missing Hearts follows twelve-year-old Bird Gardner, who lives with his father in a world governed by laws written to preserve ‘American culture’ in the aftermath of years of economic instability and violence.
To ensure peace, authorities are allowed to relocate children of dissidents – especially of Asian origin – and libraries have been forced to remove unpatriotic works, including that written by Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family before the novel begins. Bird knows little of his mother and nothing of her poems, but, when he receives a letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is compelled to find her and the truth. His journey will transport him through his heritage and his childhood as he searches for truth in a world of secrets.
Our Missing Hearts brings to the forefront the idea of social injustices being ignored by society, the power and limitations of art in a restricted world and how dystopian the modern world can become in an instant. Culture, art and race play big roles in this novel as Bird attempts to discover the truth about his family and the life he never knew.
Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth
6 October, Atlantic Books
After a harrowing childhood, Abby Lamb has the perfect life with her husband Ralph. She loves her job at a long-term care home and she and Ralph are planning to start a family. When her mother-in-law Laura’s depression becomes so bad that she can no longer live alone, Abby hopes that this will be a chance for them to bond. After the couple move in with her, it becomes clear that Laura has no intention of connecting with Abby, and it becomes her purpose to terrorise her.
After Laura takes her own life, Abby hopes she will be free from the venomous cruelty of her mother-in-law and resume her happy life with Ralph… but Laura has other plans. Her ghost continues to haunt them, threatening to rob Abby of everything she holds dear. With Ralph sinking deeper into depression and her favourite resident from the care home considering moving away, Abby is completely alone against Laura’s force. She must resort to drastic measures to save Ralph and sever the ties that Laura holds over her family.
Chillingly humorous and gory, Motherthing is an irresistibly sinister novel that is perfect for your autumn reading list.
The Socialite’s Guide to Murder by S.K. Golden
13 October, Crooked Lane Books
Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy has not left her father’s hotel in 14 months due to her agoraphobia, preferring to live her life away from other people. Yet when the work of famous artist Billie Bell is stolen, Evelyn seeks to uncover the culprit. However, before she can prove the innocence of her accused best friend, she finds Billie dead.
With the hotel thrown into disarray over the supposed murderer in the building, the staff must work together to uncover the truth before the murderer kills again. As they snoop through the hotel, they discover more secrets may be hidden inside than they previously thought, and now Evelyn must face her biggest fear and venture outside of its walls to solve the mystery.
With her need to catch the murderer becoming increasingly desperate, Evelyn throws a glamourous ball – a ball where every guest is a suspect. But will they reveal themselves before Evelyn finds herself next in line to be murdered?