The book case

The book case

The book case

First published in NewsXtra

A look at the latest releases, plus what's new in paperback.

By Kate Whiting


New fiction

The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell is published in hardback by Little, Brown, priced £18.99. Available now.

With more than 30 books to her name, US author Patricia Cornwell has no need to prove that she's one of the top crime thriller writers around, yet she continues to keep up her game with her 20th Kay Scarpetta novel, The Bone Bed.

Chief medical examiner Scarpetta finds herself torn between a court case, for which she has been called as a defence witness, and the urgent analysis of a woman's body found tangled underwater with a leatherback turtle.

These become the least of Scarpetta's worries after she receives an email featuring horrific video footage, which somehow is connected to the case of a missing palaeontologist in Canada.

Scarpetta has a race against time to discover the cunning and cruel killer. But how long before they strike again?

Readers familiar with Cornwell will realise that her modus operandi is to build up the story gradually over the chapters, leaving readers on tenterhooks, before its climactic crescendo.

7/10

(Review by Shereen Low)


A Question Of Identity by Susan Hill is published in hardback by Chatto & Windus, priced £16.99. Available now.

Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler is back on the bookshelves in Susan Hill's seventh instalment of the Serrailler crime series. The small cathedral town of Lafferton is once again rocked by a spate of murders.

The targets of these horrific crimes are old women, which takes us back to Alan Keys - a suspect who 10 years ago was charged and tried for several murders in Yorkshire but acquitted on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Enquiries suggest that this person has simply vanished.

Meanwhile, we also get an insight into Serrailler's family, with his father's behaviour taking a turn for the worse, and his sister, Cat Deerbon, fighting to stop the closure of the local hospice.

And Rachel, the love of his life, is showing pangs of guilt about their relationship.

A lot of pages are dedicated to the personal lives of Cat and Simon which, unfortunately, leaves little room for what would have been an intriguing murder mystery.

6/10

(Review by Nilima Marshall)


NYPD Red by James Patterson is published in hardback by Century, priced £18.99. Available now.

Best-selling author James Patterson returns with the addictive police thriller NYPD Red.

Tinseltown's glittering elite have travelled en masse to New York for the Hollywood on Hudson film festival.

Everywhere you look, there are wealthy producers, talented directors and fans mixing with the paparazzi, hoping for a glimpse of someone famous.

NYC is a town of glamour and celebrity, with the best of the best - a special task force codenamed NYPD Red - keeping the A-listers safe.

Detective Zach Jordan is paired with new partner Detective Kylie MacDonald. Lovers from way back when, they have to pull together as industry-savvy serial killer The Chameleon starts targeting the rich and famous.

Can the duo put their past behind them before the killer reaches his final explosive scene?

7/10

(Review by Rachel Howdle)


Christmas At The Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan is published in hardback by Sphere, priced £12.99. Available now.

Christmas At The Cupcake Cafe is best-selling author Jenny Colgan's 13th novel.

In the festive follow-up to Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe, we get reacquainted with Issy and Austin.

The cafe is going strong and Christmas is approaching, but change is beckoning for the young couple.

Austin is in New York, home of the cupcake, and Issy is still in London, baking and organising for the festive period.

Darny, Austin's younger brother, runs into trouble at school and a life-change opportunity presents itself.

A well-balanced, feel-good book, it's the perfect accompaniment to a slice of cake and a hot chocolate on a gloomy afternoon.

9/10

(Review by Rachel Howdle)


Children's book of the week:

Star Wars Origami: 36 Amazing Paper-folding Projects From A Galaxy Far, Far Away by Chris Alexander is published in paperback by Workman Publishing, priced £15.59. Available now.

Keep children (and inner children) occupied for hours over the coming festive holidays with this unique tribute to the Star Wars films.

Buoyed by the recent news about Disney's takeover of the franchise, this gem of a book is bound to sell for years to come.

It's a simple concept, which includes 72 sheets of specially designed paper and step-by-step instructions to make your very own versions of Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and even the Millennium Falcon.

Plus it's interspersed with spot quizzes to test the family's Star Wars knowledge. May the folds be with you indeed...

9/10

(Review by Kate Whiting)


Non-fiction

Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young is published in hardback by Viking, priced £25. Available now.

Canadian rock star Neil Young is frank about his motivation for this memoir - he has renounced drink and drugs for the first time in decades and needs a creative outlet during a break from songwriting.

The 66-year-old's style is rambling, rousing, nostalgic and very readable, even if the exclamation marks scattered liberally around the pages can be distracting.

It is part reminiscence of his long career and part diary of the past year, with many digressions into his obsessions such as classic cars, model trains, music quality and the environment.

Beyond the name-dropping and self-congratulation, Young's intimacy conveys his fear that he has lost the songwriting spark, that he cannot be clean and creative simultaneously, that he is running out of time to make a difference against the spectres of age and dementia.

Like with so much else, Young has done this book his way, and it is excellent.

8/10

(Review by Natalie Bowen)


The Victorian City: Everyday Life In Dickens' London by Judith Flanders is published in hardback by Atlantic Books, priced £25. Available now.

The crowded, filthy and deafeningly noisy streets of Victorian London burst back into life in this entertaining social history.

Historian Judith Flanders is the author of the well-received The Victorian House and her successor volume follows the same meticulously detailed approach.

The new book focuses on every aspect of street life and the London poor feature prominently. They were much in evidence as they tried to earn a few pence by selling trinkets, busking, or performing menial tasks such as sweeping up horse manure.

In the absence of a welfare state, their lives were wretched and the slum conditions in which they had to live were appalling.

The distances walked by so many people in London every day, because they could not afford transport, will astonish modern readers.

"Eating on the hoof" is one thing we have in common with Victorians, although the latter had the unusual privilege of taking their own meat to certain restaurants, to be cooked and served to them there.

8/10

(Review by Anthony Looch)


Rod: The Autobiography by Rod Stewart is published in hardback by Century, priced £20. Available now.

Rock superstar Rod Stewart CBE has led an eventful life, and following a brush with cancer in 2000, the 67-year-old decides to tell his side of his story in his long-awaited autobiography, where the former footballer tackles his career, life and loves.

With hits such as Maggie May, Sailing and Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?, the London-born singer - who refers to himself as the "hero" throughout the book - traces his tale from the very beginning, when he was welcomed into the world as Roderick David Stewart.

In his own inimitable and humorous style, he corrects claims that he was an apprentice footballer with Brentford Football Club, that he "hated" famed guitarist Jeff Beck, and dishes on his strong friendships with Ronnie 'Woody' Wood and Sir Elton John, while being open about his romances with Britt Ekland, Kelly Emberg and Dee Harrington among others and three marriages: to Alana Hamilton, Rachel Hunter and present wife Penny Lancaster, who he describes as "love and happiness personified".

It's an intriguing read for music fans.

8/10

(Review by Shereen Low)


Slap And Tickle: The Unusual History Of Sex And People Who Have It by Tom Cutler is published in hardback by Constable, priced £12.99. Available now.

As the son of a sex therapist, Tom Cutler's upbringing appears to have instilled a frank and unabashed attitude to human intimacy, or so it would seem from this sly, humorous look at the history of sexual relations.

His third book follows on nicely from his earlier tongue-in-cheek publications, such as A Gentleman's Bedside Book, and the text is peppered with sarcasm and dry wit - very much the nudge-nudge, wink-wink style of stereotypical British humour.

As a result, it is a gloriously funny read, taking nothing seriously and inserting ribald insinuations about everything from Baden Powell's enthusiasm for scouts and rumours of how Victorian doctors calmed down women to Roman orgies and the science of sexual attraction.

There are also quirky tit-bits of information, such as the fact the first couple to be shown in bed together on US primetime TV was Fred and Wilma Flintstone. It's guaranteed to make you titter.

8/10

(Review by Natalie Bowen)


Cheryl: My Story by Cheryl Cole is published in hardback by HarperCollins, priced £20. Available now.

She may not even have hit 30, but Cheryl Cole has already been through more than others.

We all know Cole from the headlines - the Girls Aloud star and X Factor judge, who was previously married to England footballer Ashley Cole, and had a brush with death in 2010 when she was diagnosed with malaria.

But behind the scenes, the Newcastle-born entertainer is frightened of the paparazzi - to the point where she wouldn't go out for fear of being followed or photographed - suffered from depression and shed an immense amount of tears when her marriage broke down.

In her autobiography, she also spills the beans on her relationships with Will.i.am, dancer Derek Hough, Simon Cowell and, of course, her Girls Aloud bandmates - all without mincing her words.

The 29-year-old also opens up about her relationship with her ex-husband, amid allegations that he cheated on her, and what really happened with The X Factor USA.

Fascinating, fun and feisty, this shows why Cole is fearless and a true fighter.

8/10

(Review by Shereen Low)


Best-sellers for the week ending November 3

Paperbacks

1 Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel

2 The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson

3 The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year, Sue Townsend

4 Reflected In You: A Crossfire Novel, Sylvia Day

5 Thinking, Fast And Slow, Daniel Kahneman

6 A Street Cat Named Bob, James Bowen

7 The House Of Silk: The New Sherlock Holmes Novel, Anthony Horowitz

8 Billionaire Boy, David Walliams

9 The Perks Of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

10 Mr Stink, David Walliams


Hardbacks

1 Jamie's 15-Minute Meals, Jamie Oliver

2 Is It Just Me? Miranda Hart

3 Bring Up The Bodies, Hilary Mantel

4 Guinness World Records 2013

5 Dominion, CJ Sansom

6 The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling

7 Ratburger, David Walliams

8 Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration, Nigella Lawson

9 Citadel, Kate Mosse

10 Oh Dear Silvia, Dawn French

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