Mick Herron – Dead Lions, £8.99 paperback
Jackson Lamb is on his way to Oxford, where a former spook has turned up dead on a bus. Dickie Bow was a talented streetwalker once, good at following people and bringing home their secrets. He was in Berlin with Lamb, back in the day. But he’s not an obvious target for assassination in the here and now. On Dickie’s phone Lamb finds the last message he ever left, which hints that an old-time Moscow-style op is being run in the Intelligence Service’s back-yard. Once a spook, always a spook, and even being dead doesn’t mean you can’t uncover secrets. Dickie Bow might have tailed his last target, but Lamb and his crew of no-hopers are about to go live.
Mark Hodgkinson – No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy, £10.99 paperback
Mark Hodkinson grew up among the terrace houses of Rochdale in a house with just one book. Today, Mark is an author, journalist and publisher. He still lives in Rochdale but is now surrounded by 3,500 titles, at the last count. No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy is his story of growing up a working-class lad during the 1970s and 1980s. It’s about the schools, the music, the people – but pre-eminently and profoundly the books and authors that led the way and shaped his life. It’s about a family who didn’t see the point of reading, and a troubled grandad who taught Mark the power of stories. It’s also a story of how writing and reading has changed over the last five decades.
Sarah Winman – Still Life, £8.99 paperback
As bombs fall around them, two strangers meet in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa and share an extraordinary evening. Ulysses Temper is a young British soldier, Evelyn Skinner a 64-year-old art historian living life on her own terms. She has come to salvage paintings from the wreckage of war and relive memories of her youth when her heart was stolen by an Italian maid in a particular room with a view. Ulysses’ chance encounter with Evelyn will transform his life – and all those who love him back home in London – forever. Uplifting, sweeping and full of unforgettable characters, Still Life is a novel about beauty, love, family and friendship.
Kate Atkinson – Shrines of Gaiety, £9.99 paperback
1926, and in a country still recovering from the Great War, London has become the focus for a delirious new nightlife. In the clubs of Soho, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time. At the heart of this glittering world is notorious Nellie Coker, ruthless but also ambitious to advance her six children, including the enigmatic eldest, Niven whose character has been forged in the crucible of the Somme. But success breeds enemies, and Nellie’s empire faces threats from without and within. For beneath the dazzle of Soho’s gaiety, there is a dark underbelly, a world in which it is all too easy to become lost. With her unique Dickensian flair, Kate Atkinson brings together a glittering cast of characters in a truly mesmeric novel that captures the uncertainty and mutability of life; of a world in which nothing is quite as it seems.