This month our editors give you the chance to read one of six pre-release Kindle books for £0.00as a benefit of your Amazon Prime membership.
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Who We Were Before
by Leah Mercer
From the Editor
I read the opening chapters of Who We Were Before on my commute almost a year ago, and I still remember it as vividly as if it was yesterday—I was left reeling from the sheer force of the story, the clarity of the author’s prose and the poignancy of her words.
The novel starts two years after an unspeakable tragedy befalls a married couple. Zoe has let grief overcome her, and Edward is at a loss as to how to pick up the fragments of their relationship. The narrative spans two days, during which they travel to Paris in an attempt to find each other again.
Intense and haunting, the story switches back and forth between Zoe’s and Edward’s points of view and is interspersed with moments of light and tenderness in flashbacks to their life before, when they first met and fell in love. The alternating points of view are handled with confidence and sincerity, and I found myself marvelling at how every gesture, every look and silence rang true. As they are both left to deal with the rawness of their emotions, I couldn’t help but feel sympathetic to each character’s perspective, and it struck me that there is no right or wrong in situations like this, no best way to cope and no judgement to be cast.
Who We Were Before is a remarkable portrait of modern love and a couple’s journey through the most shattering of losses. I won’t forget it any time soon.
— Emilie Marneur, Editor
Exhume (Dr. Schwartzman Series Book 1)
by Danielle Girard
From the Editor
We’ve all had that moment: you see a face across a room and do a double take. For a second you could swear it was your own reflection staring back at you. Encountering your double—a stranger who looks just like you—can be jarring even in the best of circumstances. But for Annabelle Schwartzman, the encounter isn’t at a party or the supermarket. That unsettlingly familiar face that’s looking blankly at her belongs to a corpse on her examining table.
As I read Danielle Girard’s forensic thriller Exhume, I feared for Annabelle. Seven years after leaving her abusive ex, she’s buried her past and settled into her life as a medical examiner in San Francisco. But then she’s confronted by the sickening familiarity of this dead body. The woman on her table not only looks like Annabelle, but the victim’s life mirrors the life Annabelle was sure she left behind.
Following in the footsteps of Kathy Reichs’s Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan and Tess Gerritsen’s Maura Isles, Annabelle is a well-drawn character who is driven by a passion for her work and justice for the victims she encounters. I gasped more than once when reading this book, a testament to Danielle Girard’s ability to deliver a story that surprised me and create characters about whom I cared deeply.
A taut and suspenseful thriller that kept me turning pages until the very end, Exhume uncovers the pains and triumphs of obsession, love and life.
— Jessica Tribble, Editor
Historical Women's Fiction
The Unbroken Line of the Moon (The Valhalla Series Book 1)
by Johanne Hildebrandt, Tara F. Chace
From the Editor
As an avid Game of Thrones fan and someone with an abiding interest in Vikings, I was mesmerized by the story of Sigrid and her scheming relatives, riveted to see how she’d navigate the intrigues of medieval kingmaking and how her Norse gods and goddesses would fare in their struggle against encroaching Christianity.
What the story lacks in dragons it makes up for in deities, Fates and vengeful spirits, all of whom conspire to bring Sigrid together with a man who not only is her true love, but is also destined by the gods to father future kings and queens.
By turns dramatic, magical, violent and shocking, The Unbroken Line of the Moon thoroughly transported me to a time we know little about but which was seminal in the foundation of Northern Europe. Author Johanne Hildebrandt’s well-researched world shimmers on the page, history made living and unforgettable, with a mystical sheen. I hope that you’ll want to finish the book in one sitting, as I did, and that you’ll be excited to read the next instalment of The Valhalla Series, arriving in 2017.
— Elizabeth DeNoma, Editor
Blood on the Tracks (Sydney Rose Parnell Series Book 1)
by Barbara Nickless
From the Editor
There’s not much that beats the thrill of discovering a great new writer, character or story. Reading Blood on the Tracks was one of those lightning bolt experiences that made me want to share this book with everyone I know. From the electrifying first pages, I was completely enthralled by Special Agent Sydney Rose Parnell, her investigation into the disturbing murder of a young woman, and the gritty yet close-knit community created by Barbara Nickless in this astounding debut.
An orphan and former Marine turned railroad cop who is still coming to terms with her time at war, Sydney is complicated, rough around the edges and singly dedicated to giving a voice to the voiceless, from the dead soldiers she tended in Iraq to the homeless rail riders whose Denver camps she now patrols. Sydney’s extraordinary history and her relationships, particularly with her K9 partner, Clyde, also an Iraq War veteran, give this mystery a rare emotional depth and kept me riveted as her murder investigation veers into dangerous and very personal territory.
Blood on the Tracks is so well written, so engrossing and so startling that it’s very difficult to believe it’s Barbara Nickless’s first novel. Luckily for us it won’t be the last we see of Sydney and Clyde. I absolutely can’t wait for their next case.
— Gracie Doyle, Editor
The Special Power of Restoring Lost Things
by Courtney Elizabeth Mauk
From the Editor
Another body. There have been five, though it has been six months at least since the last. But unlike the others, this one bears a striking resemblance to Jennifer, the Bauers’ missing daughter. Atmospheric and unsettling at times, The Special Power of Restoring Lost Things is told from the alternating perspectives of Jennifer’s mother, father and younger brother a year after Jennifer’s disappearance.
How does one deal with unspeakable grief? Courtney Elizabeth Mauk sets out to answer this question in her poignant novel. Set against the backdrop of New York City, the Bauers’ collective silent anguish culminates in the fateful thirty-hour period after the detectives disclose their findings. As they all spiral in different and dangerous directions, their distress drives them so far away from each other that they may never come back together as a family again. Equally meditative and enthralling, this novel is one of the most jolting portraits of grief I’ve ever read.
— Vivian Lee, Editor
The Age of Daredevils
by Michael Clarkson
From the Editor
At first it seemed the stuff of myth—that men and women once routinely risked death by barrelling over the breathtakingly beautiful Niagara Falls, just for the sheer thrill of it. But the remarkable story The Age of Daredevils tells is true: at the dawn of the twentieth century, a small but determined band of barrel jumpers made the leap, and only a few survived.
This extraordinary work of nonfiction landed on my desk a year ago, the product of three decades of research by a Niagara Falls journalist who knew the families of these risk-takers. His epic reporting has resulted in a story that resembles The Boys in the Boat in its historical sweep. Tension pours from every page as we observe the painstaking preparations for these leaps of faith, and the perils of these jumpers’ passions as they pursued the limits of human fear.
The Age of Daredevils is many things: a love story, an adventure tale and a powerful portrait of danger. But most of all it’s an eloquent and thrilling story of human desire to live life to its fullest and to survive against all odds.
— David Blum, Editor