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7:00am Saturday 16th June 2012 in NewsXtra
A look at the latest releases, plus what's new in paperback.
By Kate Whiting.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is published by in hardback Weidenfeld & Nicolson, priced £12.99. Available now.
Gillian Flynn has already impressed Stephen King with her first two thrillers, and he's bound to rave about her third, as chilling as it is clever.
The premise is simple enough - beautiful bubbly blonde Amy Dunne goes missing on the morning of her and husband Nick's fifth anniversary.
For the first half of the novel, the narrative is split between Nick, voicing his reactions and the unfolding crime investigation from the day of Amy's disappearance, and Amy's diary entries about their relationship, leading up to her disappearance.
So far, so predictable, until the police discover the crime scene has been staged and question Nick, who's also having an affair with one of his students, over the murder of his wife.
But then everything flips and what the reader believed was true about this couple and Amy's disappearance is ripped up and replaced with a much darker scenario.
Flynn is a master of character creation - and reader manipulation - and this book, even with the slight loss of pace towards the end, will have you gripped throughout.
8/10 (Review by Kate Whiting) Gold by Chris Cleave is published in hardback by Sceptre, priced £16.99. Available June 7.
There couldn't be a more timely backdrop to Chris Cleave's third novel than the London Olympics and the story of two British female cyclists as they battle it out for a place in the world's most prestigious sporting event.
The unlikely friends and rivals, Zoe and Kate, both have complex issues and different motives.
Zoe is the ruthless, cunning competitor whose raison d'etre is to win, while Kate just wants to do her best for everyone else and has other issues, most significantly a nine-year-old daughter suffering from leukaemia, and a husband who once had a thing for Zoe.
Cleave keeps the pace moving well as he jumps between the personal and psychological dilemmas both women face on and off their bikes and the gruelling physical hardships they endure in their quest for gold, throwing in some heart-rending perspective as the sick little girl fights for her life.
His previous two novels, Incendiary and The Other Hand, were both best-sellers - and there's no reason why Gold shouldn't go the same way.
As one who is not a fan of the Olympics, I was not expecting too much from this novel, but it's a completely riveting read because at the heart of it is the unseen, private world of our greatest athletes, their darkest hours, their hopes, doubts, ambitions and sacrifices, played out long before the world's cameras focus on them. I couldn't put it down.
9/10 (Review by Hannah Stephenson) Strindberg's Star by Jan Wallentin is published in hardback by Corvus, priced £12.99. Available now.
The blockbuster debut of Swedish journalist Jan Wallentin, Strindberg's Star is a sensational globe-spanning thrill ride of a novel.
From turn-of-the-century China to Germany's Second World War concentration camps to present day Sweden, the mystery of two strange artefacts propels protagonist Don Titelman into a breathtaking race against time.
After he is accused of a murder he didn't commit, religious iconography expert Don is forced to flee from the clutches of a shadowy organisation which will stop at nothing to obtain the relics in his possession.
With elements of Jules Verne-style adventure and Stieg Larsson edginess, the book gathers pace rapidly and racks up the tension.
Comparisons to Bond-style adventures and Dan Brown's techno-thrillers are inevitable, but Strindberg's Star stands up pretty well against earlier efforts with a complex intertwining plot and fascinating historical references.
An international best-seller, the combination of intrigue, action and accurate detail forms an engrossing first novel.
7/10 (Review by James Fry) When The Devil Drives by Chris Brookmyre is published in hardback by Little, Brown, priced £17.99. Available June 7.
A private detective's hunt for a long-lost sister steers her to the heart of a 30-year-old horror that's bound its participants together and torn some of them apart inside.
Chris Brookmyre weaves another web of deceit for his latest creation Jasmine Sharp to unravel and in which to entrap his newest establishment targets - bankers.
Nor does he allow Jasmine to escape her own demons - burying the malaise deep in the acting world that tragedy forced her to abandon in favour of reluctant sleuthing.
This is the second outing for the author's more "serious" style - the previous high-octane, body-strewn satire fest swapped for a more sedate and reflective tone.
The result is a rather like a Michelin-starred chef swapping haute cuisine for ready meals - unmistakably the creation of a very talented artist but a ready meal all the same.
6/10 (Review by Joe Churcher) Children's book of the week Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham is published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton, priced £12.99. Available now.
Framed for burgling an electrical store, and the victim of repeated vandalism, Theodore Boone (Kid Lawyer) is having a rough time. Could they be connected, and who would want to attack him, and why?
With the help of his hippy uncle Ike, law-savvy Theo has to identify those responsible and clear his name.
Set in an idyllic small town in America, The Accused isn't as fantastical as some of the books of its age range, and it's that sense of realism that the young audience can relate to.
John Grisham (probably joking) said he wants this series for young adults to equal the success of Harry Potter.
Unfortunately, the lack of urgency and excitement here may not grab the more adult audiences. If the goal was to make it enjoyable, yet introduce simple law to inspire the younger reader, then I feel he has definitely achieved it.
7/10 (Review by Wayne Walls)
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