Library staff recommendations
People Person by Candice Carty-Williams
Five children, four mothers, three daughters, two sons but only one father.
A day long past when Cyril Pennington brought his five children together is the only shared memory of siblings (there is no such thing as halves where blood is concerned) Nikisha, Danny, Dimple, Lizzie, and Prynce. That day, unceremoniously collected from their four mothers in Cyril’s gold Jeep, was the only occasion all five were brought together until one evening when Dimple has a problem and does not know who to call.
The siblings reunite and the ensuing story is compulsive reading. As they navigate Dimple’s problem, we discover more about the siblings along with their lives and relationships with each other and the father who drifts in and out of their orbit with a careless recklessness.
An amazing novel that breathes the bonds of family whatever form that family takes.
A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz
Daniel Hawthorne and Anthony Horowitz return in the latest of their investigation series. If you have not yet read the first two books, these crime novels are stand-alone investigations where ex-detective, Hawthorne, is joined in the novel by the author. They are paired up for Horowitz to observe and write books about Hawthorne’s investigations and the result is a great angle on detective fiction.
‘A Line to Kill’ finds the pair invited to participate in a literary festival on the island of Alderney. As the good folk of the island keep informing Horowitz – there has never been a murder on Alderney – but as Horowitz himself comments in the book – if there was no murder then he would not be writing the book! After all, you cannot have a whodunnit without the who and the doing.
Horowitz wonders how the usually reticent Hawthorne would respond to the request to attend the festival and is surprised when he charms the publishing team behind their books. Furthermore, he is stunned to hear Hawthorne’s willingness to share details about himself to the festival audience when it is so at odds with his usual demeanour. Might Hawthorne have an ulterior motive to be on the island?
The premise for this series is so clever and each of the books in the series thus far are just so readable. ‘A Line to Kill’ may seem like a sedate mystery on a picturesque island but the twisty, turny plot just keeps twisting and turning. The gradual reveal of Hawthorne’s backstory arches over each book’s distinct investigation and he is a puzzle himself, one that will keep you wanting the next book to find out more about his character. Horowitz has said he hopes to write ten or eleven Hawthorne and Horowitz investigations so there are going to be some more brilliant investigations and backstory to come!
Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes
Twenty-five years after ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ we again meet up with Rachel Walsh in ‘Again, Rachel’. In re-joining Rachel, we find she got her life together; she is an addiction counsellor, has a house that she shares with her dog Crunchie and her niece Kate, she enjoys gardening, and has a gorgeous fella called Quin. Life is good. Or is it?
When Rachel attends the funeral of her ex-mother-in-law she, not unexpectedly encounters her ex-husband Luke Costello and thoughts and feelings from the past are stirred up demanding attention in the present. Rachel must face the tragedy of losing her baby, her subsequent relapse into addiction and the breakdown of her marriage. For the first time since their break-up Rachel must acknowledge and confront some uncomfortable realities but in doing so may find a contentment and happiness that she didn’t realise was missing.
‘Again, Rachel’ includes several difficult, distressing, and traumatic topics but Marian Keyes has a lightness of touch and writes incredibly sensitively about these issues. There is humour and the hubbub of the Walsh clan means there’s little time to dwell as they’re onto the next thing before the last has finished. Marian Keyes is always recommended.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Malibu Rising transports readers back to the sun-washed, glamorous summer days and neon-lit nights of 1980’s California. This effervescent novel comes from one of America’s hottest authors, Taylor Jenkins Reid, who also wrote the fabulous music-centred 'Daisy Jones & The Six', which covered the rise of a 60’s rock band.
Malibu Rising is a long, hot summer of a book and makes for a perfect vacation read, evoking the tropical days and humid nights of California. Readers can hear the tranquil surf from the Pacific Ocean as it washes onto the shore and feel the echoes of a July breeze as it travels along the beach. Underneath the Californian vibes, Malibu Rising is an intoxicating novel on celebrity, high life, and the darker sides to family.
On the West Coast of the USA, eccentric hairstyles, roller skates, malls, and bubble gum pop were all in vogue. Surf and skate culture was prevalent, and music had recently arrived on television screens with the emergence of music videos and dedicated channels. Music, the ecstasy of love, the complexities of family and relationships, and the crushing depths of heartbreak are all rubbed like sun cream into the pages of Malibu Rising.
Nostalgia for the decade beams into the book and soaks into its pages like warm sunshine. No matter how extravagant a lifestyle, or the amount of fame or money to their name, Reid’s characters still display emotions that we all experience; their aspirations, insecurities, and dreams are universal.
At a fiery end-of-summer party, four Malibu surfer siblings will have their lives turned upside down, forcing them to face up to their pasts, and no amount of partying can cover up the truth. The consumerism, materialism and excess of the decade is brought back into focus as skeletons slowly emerge from the closet. In one explosive night, the secrets of one star-studded family will be exposed. With devastating consequences on the horizon, their decadent lifestyles and life as they knew it is in danger of washing away, like footprints on a sandy beach.
The Second Cut by Louise Welsh
The return of Louise Welsh’s brilliant antiques auctioneer Rilke. This second book about the Glasgow based auctioneer was a while in coming – there was a 20-year gap between 'The Cutting Room' and this second book – but it was certainly worth the wait!
Refreshingly, unlike so many books in a series, there is a nod to the time lapse between events in the first book. We find Rilke routinely getting on with life and working hard with his friend and boss, Rose, at Bowery auctions to keep the business and themselves afloat in a post-Covid world. He encounters an old friend, Jojo, at the wedding of the two Bobbys. Jojo is a bit worse for wear, so Rilke takes him off for a drink nearby, no need to upset the wedding celebrations. In his intoxicated state Jojo browses available Grindr hook-ups and encourages Rilke to give it a go. Rilke declines and, after handing Rilke a small phial of dubious liquid to pass to the two Bobbys as a wedding gift and giving a tip off for a big house clearance, Jojo heads off. It is the last time Rilke sees him alive.
Jojo is found dead in an alleyway and, while the police attribute it to his reckless lifestyle, Rilke is not convinced. Something is not right, and Rilke cannot let it drop. Despite their loose connection, Rilke is drawn in when he is persuaded to help arrange Jojo’s funeral. Naturally this isn’t as simple as it sounds and when another body is found in similar circumstances Rilke finds himself unable to walk away.
In addition to the web of complications of Jojo’s passing, Rilke, Rose, and the Bowery crew follow-up Jojo’s tip off on the house clearance. The house offers a good sale and commission, but all is not as it seems. Is there a connection between the events in Glasgow and the big house in the country?