3 books to read this summer

PUBLISHED: 10:03 13 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:03 13 June 2017

Crimson Lake, by Candice Fox; Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, by Gail Honeyman; About Last Night, by Catherine Alliott

Crimson Lake, by Candice Fox; Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, by Gail Honeyman; About Last Night, by Catherine Alliott


Discover your escape route this summer. Kate Houghton reviews the newest releases for your summer reading.

Crimson Lake, by Candice FoxCrimson Lake, by Candice Fox


Crimson Lake, by Candice Fox


12.46: 13-year-old Claire Bingley stands alone at a bus stop

12.47: Ted Conkaffey parks his car beside her

12.52: The girl is missing. Six minutes - that’s all it took to ruin Detective Ted Conkaffey’s life.

Accused, but not convicted, of Claire’s abduction, he escapes north, to the steamy, croc-infested wetlands of Crimson Lake. Amanda Pharrell, charged and found guilty of murder, knows what it’s like to be public enemy no.1. Now a private investigator, Ted joins her in her latest case, but the residents of Crimson Lake are watching the pair’s every move. Oh my goodness, this book took me by surprise!

I read a lot of novels in this genre, but the premise here is new to me and adds considerable tension to the tale. With three mysteries running a thread through the book, from opening line to closing words there are absolutely no moments when you’re not wondering what might happen next. The denouement(s) are perfectly timed and judged - and all along the clues are there for us to spot, but it would take a smarter reader than I to see them as they rise. Tightly written, with pace and detail finely judged, this is an excellent read: I can’t wait to see where Fox takes our damaged duo next.

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, by Gail HoneymanEleanor Oliphant is completely fine, by Gail Honeyman


Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, by Gail Honeyman


Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Oh, this is a simply lovely novel. The story draws you in so fast it quickly becomes unputdownable. Ms. Eleanor Oliphant is a very different kind of heroine, one who at first you maintain a careful distance from. However, as we learn more of her history she becomes a heroine we can truly root for.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a tragic tale of human misery and woe; it’s very funny, wonderfully uplifting and sits in your heart long after you turn the final page.

The writing is superb: graceful; eloquent; heart-rendingly beautiful on occasion and, through her skill, Honeyman teaches us not to judge and that kindness is the greatest force on earth.

About Last Night, by Catherine AlliottAbout Last Night, by Catherine Alliott


About Last Night, by Catherine Alliott


Our heroine Molly has moved from London to Ludlow, swapping chic for sheep and a high-flying career for horse-trading. It’s a dream come true, isn’t it? Except it was never her dream, but her husband’s…and he’s, well, he’s dead. An unexpected bequest sends her hurtling back to London, but is she doing the right thing?

Here’s a novel you think will go entirely according to the usual format - and then it doesn’t. Our heroine is revealed to have a rather large and definitely dodgy secret, in addition to the usual hang-ups of a single woman entering her middle years. The consequences of an earlier bad choice inform her every decision, snowballing to a potentially catastrophic conclusion.

An easy, entertaining and enjoyable read, About Last Night raises some modern moral dilemmas... and points out those very human flaws we all carry but could do with being more aware of, perhaps. Vanity, fear, jealousy and greed...it’s all here - and a little lust too!

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