Into the Night by Sarah Bailey. Published by Grand Central

DS Gemma Woodstock made the move to Melbourne because she didn’t feel she had a choice, and now she finds herself adrift, with no real connection to anyone or anything. Her new job has been miserable and she’s saddled with a partner who makes it clear Gemma is not wanted. Then two murders in quick succession, one of a homeless man, the other a movie star in the middle of making a movie, take precedence in the partnership between Gemma and DS Nick Fleet. Putting personal feelings aside, they have to work together to unravel the mystery of the actor’s death. Bailey is a huge talent, her writing creates rapid fire tension. A nail biter

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Boating with Buster by Alison Alderton. Published by Matador

This memoir has it all – life on a barge, travel to beautiful ports of call, and most importantly, a lovely dog with a larger than life personality. I loved reading about Alison and Richard realizing a dream as they traveled by canal boat through Europe. I laughed along with them at Buster’s escapades and ability to make friends wherever they went, and I cried when he became ill.  Anyone who has ever loved a dog will love this beautiful and moving portrait to one of this planet’s most faithful species. There is no purer soul than that of a dog

Last Light by Helen Phifer. Published by Bookouture

Detective Lucy Harwin is put to the ultimate test as she takes command of a new team just as a woman’s body is found in a derelict church. With no real leads, Lucy and her team are stuck, and then another body turns up, this one belonging to a very religious elderly woman. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the murders are linked to the church, the same church where Lucy’s own daughter volunteers her time. I liked this book because of the attention the author paid to Lucy’s private life and how it intersected and potentially jeopardized her professional life. Strong characters set a fast pace

An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire. Published by Trafalgar Square

In this Australian crime story, 25-year-old Bella Michaels is brutally murdered, leaving the town and her sister wondering how this could have happened. Bella’s sister, Chris works at the local bar, and is a tough, streetwise woman, completely different from her sister. Told through Chris’s first person narrative and the third person narrative of a female journalist covering the crime, this is a look at the aftermath of a brutal crime and how it leaves no one untouched.

Master of His Fate by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Published by St. Martins

Bradford has been a household name since she published A Woman of Substance, I have read all of her books since, but none have compared to that first series. But this book comes close, I’m happy to say. The story of a young boy determined to claw his way to the top in Victorian England has plenty of similarities to Taylor’s first book. James is similar to Emma in that he refuses to let his lowly beginning determine his fate. I was reluctant to try this after Bradford’s last series, which I found to be rather lifeless, but I’m glad I read this and I believe the author’s fans will be delighted as well

The Paris Secret by Lily Graham. Published by Bookouture

The war was unkind to Valerie’s family. She fled Paris at age three, one step ahead of the Nazis. The rest of her family was not so lucky. Now a young woman, Valerie has returned to Paris to help run the bookshop owned by her grandfather, Vincent, her only surviving relative. He is also the only person who knows what really happened to her parents in those dark days, but the secrets he keeps have been long-buried and his wounds are too close to the surface for him to want to share the truth. This is a beautiful story about two people coming to terms with the worst of humanity and finding a light on the other side. Be prepared to shed a few tears