On the Radar: Do your penance

3 Mins read

Considered to be the one to watch in UK fiction thanks to her literary debut, Boy Parts, it’s exciting to see that English author Eliza Clark has turned her compass towards crime fiction. Her second novel, Penance, satirises the ongoing fascination with true crime and… um… fictional true crime, based around podcasts. This leads our new books report this week, and we’ve also got a debut from Australia, a second book centred on fictional true crime podcasting, a thriller by David Jackson and a puzzle book that spins the notion of Wordle into Murdle. Lots to get your head around, so let’s get started…

Penance by Eliza Clark

Penance by Eliza Clark front cover

It’s been nearly a decade since the horrifying murder of 16-year-old Joan Wilson rocked Crow-on-Sea, and the events of that terrible night are now being published for the first time. Journalist Alec Z Carelli has constructed what he claims is the ‘definitive account’ of the murder – and what led up to it. Built on hours of interviews with witnesses and family members, painstaking historical research and, most notably, correspondence with the killers themselves, the result is a riveting snapshot of lives rocked by tragedy, and a town left in turmoil. But the question is, how much of it is true? Find out when Penance by Eliza Clark is published on 4 July.
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Lowbridge by Lucy Campbell

Lowbridge by Lucy Campbell front cover

Australian debut author Lucy Campbell focuses on a small town still feeling the repercussions of a crime committed decades ago in Lowbidge, published on 6 July. In 1987, 17-year-old Tess Dawes left the local shopping centre in Lowbridge and was never seen again. The crime shook the small community and 30 years on provides the touchstone for a new arrival who is mourning the death of her daughter. Searching for a way to pick up the pieces of her life, Katherine Ashworth joins the local historical society and becomes obsessed with the three-decades-old mystery. As she digs into that summer of 1987, Katherine stumbles upon the trail of a second girl who vanished when no one cared enough to see what was happening in plain sight…
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The Secret Life of Carolyn Russell by Gail Aldwin

The Secret Life of Carolyn Russell front cover

A true-crime podcaster investigates a decades-old suspected abduction in The Secret Life of Carolyn Russell, a new psychological thriller from Gail Aldwin, out 3 July. In 1979, 16-year-old Carolyn Russell has a crush on her maths teacher; then she disappears. In 2014, struggling journalist Stephanie Brett turns the unsolved case into a podcast – and becomes obsessed with solving the mystery once and for all. What really happened to Carolyn? Can a small-time journalist with a shoestring podcast really hope to reconstruct the ultimate fate of Carolyn Russell after all these years, or are some secrets best left buried?
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One Good Deed by David Jackson

One Good Deed by David Jackson front cover

Elliott is just a normal guy, definitely not hero material – until he meets Rebecca, a scared and vulnerable young woman who needs his help. There’s a man following her; would he mind pretending to be her boyfriend, just while she walks home, to put him off? Elliott does just that and thinks no more about it, but then there’s a knock at his door. It’s the man who was following Rebecca. He claims he’s her ex-boyfriend, but it’s clear that he’s been stalking her and will do anything to have her. Elliott tries to explain but the man doesn’t believe his story. Only Rebecca can corroborate it, but she is nowhere to be found and suddenly Elliott is in all kinds of trouble… One Good Deed by David Jackson is out on 6 July.
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Murdle by GT Karber

Murdle by GT Karber front cover

GT Karber, is the creator of Murdle, an online daily mystery game – and fans will be thrilled to learn that a book full of the puzzles is out on 22 June. Join Deductive Logico and pit your wits against a slew of dastardly villains in a killer collection of 100 original murder mystery logic puzzles. Find out whodunit, how, where and why. Examine the clues, interview the witnesses and use the power of deduction to complete the grid and catch the culprit. It’s a book packed with illustrations, codes and maps — enough to uncover the secret sleuth in everyone. Sounds like fun!
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The Wide World by Pierre Lemaitre

The Wide World by Pierre Lemaitre front cover

Passion, greed, murder and revenge inhabit the pages of Pierre Lemaitre‘s The Wide World, a sweeping tale about a prominent French family in post-war Paris, Beirut and Saigon that comes out on 6 July. The Pelletiers live in Beirut, where patriarch, Louis, has built a successful business that he hopes to pass on to his eldest son. But Jean is a disappointment – he nearly runs the company into the ground, then marries a materialistic young woman who insists they move to Paris and join high society. But there’s another reason Jean must leave — he has committed a terrible crime… Meanwhile, his brothers are sent away to make their fortunes elsewhere, but both Etienne and François are destined to make mistakes that could prove fatal.
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Click here to read about last week’s new crime novels.

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