New Book News: The Shadowing

I see I haven’t posted since February! I’ve had a busy few months and things will be getting even busier over the summer and the autumn. I’ve a good few crime reads stacked up to review which I’m going to get cracking on next week. In the meantime, here’s some book news from me.

My next novel, The Shadowing, is published on the 16th September. It’s another Rhiannon Ward book set this time in the 1830s.

When Hester, a Quaker living in Bristol, learns of her sister Mercy’s death at a Nottinghamshire workhouse, she travels to Southwell to find out how her sister ended up at such a place.

Haunted by her sister’s ghost, Hester sets out to uncover the truth, when the official story reported by the workhouse master proves to be untrue. Mercy was pregnant – both her and the baby are said to be dead of cholera, but the workhouse hasn’t had an outbreak for years. 

Hester discovers a strange trend in the workhouse of children going missing. One woman tells her about the Pale Lady, a ghostly figure that steals babies in the night. Is this lady a myth or is something more sinister afoot at the Southwell poorhouse? 

As Hester investigates, she uncovers a conspiracy, one that someone is determined to keep a secret, no matter the cost…

I hope you enjoy another slice of gothic. The Shadowing can be pre-ordered here.

Recent Reads

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed my reading but I’ve been busy working on various projects, more news of which soon. However, I’ve been powering through books on my kindle which has been a godsend during this lockdown.

Sound of the Sinners is the latest book by Hull author Nick Quantrill. Private eye Joe Geraghty is back in Hull to attend the funeral of his old friend and colleague, Don Ridley. The city has changed during his stint in Amsterdam and Geraghty becomes convinced that his friend’s death was no accident. A cold case, it appears, is coming back to life and it’s Geraghty who feels honour-bound to finish what Ridely started. As usual, the city of Hull leaps from the page in Quantrill’s novel and I’m always impressed by the author’s clear and compelling prose.

Hell Gate by Jeff Dawson is another well-written and compelling thriller set in New York. After the sinking of the steamship General Slocum which killed over a thousand souls, mainly from the German immigrant community, a populist senator preys on his voters’ grief. It’s 1904 and alliances haven’t yet been formed, the senator reminding people that, except for one vote in the House of Representatives, the nation would be speaking German. British spy Ingo Finch arrives in Manhattan to infiltrate and expose the new political movement and is soon under attack from all sides. I loved the historical detail in this book, genuinely feeling I’d learnt something about the period and the pace never lets up. A very strong spy story.

Barbara Copperthwaite writes psychological thrillers with interesting themes and empathetic characters. In her latest book, The Girl in the Missing Poster, Stella plasters posters around the town looking for news of her twin sister Leila who disappeared twenty five years earlier. It attracts the notice of a TV company who feature her quest on Netflix. Stella receives a letter from someone claiming they took Leila and, as a reunion is organised for those who were present on the night her sister disappeared, old secrets begin to emerge. It was great, after a gap, to read a new Barbara Copperthwaite and I found it to be a page-turning read.

I haven’t been reading as much Scandinavian crime fiction recently but I was reminded of how much I love the genre after reading The Therapist, the debut novel from Helene Flood. Sara’s husband, Sigard, leaves early one morning for a trip to a holiday cabin. A phone call from his friends waiting for him reveals that he never arrived. As she tries to interest the police in her husband’s disappearance while running her therapy practice, she begins to notice that objects are being moved around her house. Does she have an intruder and is it connected to Sigard’s disappearance? This is an excellent thriller with sharp insights into how people behave and how not everyone is how they present themselves. It was, as I always expect from Maclehose, a high-quality read. The translation was by Alison McCullough.

The Ormering Tide is the debut novel from Mercury Prize-nominated musician Kathryn Williams. Rozel lives with her three older triplet brothers on a small island. When one brother goes missing, Rozel is forced out of her comfortable existence to see the community as it actually is. Secrets, odd behaviour and repressed truths are explored with beautifully evocative language. A truly stunning read.