First Thoughts

The Yard

Alex Grecian

Michael Joseph, £12.99;

ebook, €8.99

Review: James Fry 

From the critically acclaimed author of the graphic comic book series Proof comes a debut novel about one of the most torrid and popular periods in British history.

Alex Grecian, formerly an advertising executive for household names such as Harley-Davidson, depicts a city in lawless agony. In the aftermath of the Ripper murders, London is in the throes of a violent crime wave. The newly minted Murder Squad of Scotland Yard must do all they can to stem the flow of blood. When a Yard detective is found dead in a steamer trunk with his eyes and lips sewn shut, the Murder Squad’s newest recruit Walter Day must contend with a brutal and complex case.

With the aid of Dr Bernard Kingsley, the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Day delves into the crime with shocking results.

Wonderfully evocative and artfully introducing the science of criminology, The Yard is a gripping page-turner.

The Hunter

John Lescroart

Headline, €18.60;

ebook, €8.49

Review: Julie Cheng

The New York Times best-selling author returns with another crime thriller set in San Francisco.

Forty-something private investigator Wyatt Hunt owns a company with a healthy caseload.His comfortable life takes an unexpected turn when he receives an anonymous text message: “How did your mother die?”

From an early age, Hunt knew he was adopted, enjoying a happy existence with his only known family. So who sent the text and ultimately, who was his birth mother?

Calling on his contacts from his former workplace the Child Protective Services, Hunt searches for his parents.

Shocked by the findings that his birth mother was murdered when he was three years old, Hunt seeks the help of his friend Inspector Devin Juhle to investigate further.

As the pair trawl through old police reports they uncover more than a murder, but also betrayal, greed, conspiracy and cults. A fast-paced book with an intricate plot.

Whatever It Takes

Adele Parks

Headline Review, €26.40;

ebook, €8.49

Review: Lauren Turner

How far would you go to secure your family’s happiness? Or even to create that perfect family in the first place? That’s the question that Adele Parks poses in this, her 12th novel.

Eloise and her husband Mark have a privileged, content home life with their three young daughters in London, which they leave behind for a change of pace in Dartmouth.

While Mark has dreamed of living in the countryside for years, Eloise struggles with being farther away from her best friend Sara and closer to her mother-in-law Margaret.

We hear how intent Sara is on having a baby — and how she will stop at nothing to achieve her goal.

While not always entirely sympathetic, Parks’s characters are authentically flawed human beings and she has given us a gripping, heart-wrenching story.

The Flame Alphabet

Ben Marcus

Granta, €22.45;

ebook, €19.06

Review: Ben Major

Ben Marcus is an editor and associate professor at Columbia University, with three previous works of fiction to his name, including Notable American Women and The Age Of Wire And String.

His fourth, The Flame Alphabet, explores what happens to people’s relationships when communication fails, because in the novel, children’s speech becomes lethal to adults.

Sam and Claire find it difficult to leave their daughter Esther as other people flee from their loved ones, leaving gangs of children ruling the streets, their speech deadly.

Sam desperately searches for a cure while becoming fascinated with the theories and misinformation — but faces a heart-breaking decision.

It’s an engrossing story that is both an intelligent exploration of what is left of life when verbal communication breaks down, and a thrilling story about survival at all costs.

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