Super-Infinite By Katherine Rundell (Faber £10.99, 352 pp)


By Katherine Rundell (Faber £10.99, 352 pp)

Lawyer, poet, lover, adventurer, scholar and priest, John Donne was a man with a bewildering range of alternative identities.

A contemporary of Shakespeare, he sailed to Spain with Sir Walter Raleigh, married his employer’s teenaged niece, Anne, without her father’s permission, and was thrown into prison. ‘The greatest writer of desire in the English language,’ he lived on close terms with death.

Donne’s wife and six of his 12 children predeceased him, and in February 1631, aged 59 and mortally ill, he preached his last sermon at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Katherine Rundell’s best-selling biography celebrates Donne’s dark brilliance, bringing to vivid life the poet who, as a fashionable young man, sat for his portrait, wearing ‘a hat big enough to sail a cat in’.

Meantime By Frankie Boyle (Baskerville £8.99, 368 pp)


By Frankie Boyle (Baskerville £8.99, 368 pp)

When he’s roused from a drug-addled sleep, it takes Felix some time to realise that the two people yelling through his bedroom door are police.

They want him to accompany them to the station. There he learns his best friend, Marina, is dead.

She was found strangled in a Glasgow park, and he’s suspected of her murder. As the police inquiry proceeds sluggishly in the wrong direction, Felix starts to investigate with the help of his downstairs neighbour and fellow drugs enthusiast, Donnie.

Also enlisting the aid of crime novelist Jane Pickford, Felix finds himself in a world of espionage, radical politics, sex, A.I and drugs.

Boyle’s darkly comic debut unfolds amid vivid scenes of the seamy Glasgow underworld, its hard-bitten humour offset by an unexpectedly tender conclusion.

Escape By James Patterson and David Ellis (Penguin £8.99, 448 pp)


By James Patterson and David Ellis (Penguin £8.99, 448 pp)

An African-American girl is kidnapped in Chicago. She’s the fifth teen to go missing in 18 months, but while the other girls were homeless, Bridget Leone’s parents are prominent citizens, bringing an extra sense of urgency to the response.

With no information beyond a vague impression of the abductor, Detective Billy Harney and his colleague are patrolling the streets when they notice a white van whose driver fits the description.

Their pursuit swiftly takes a fatal turn as the kidnapping leads to a terrifying underworld of gang violence, people trafficking and corruption.

The third thriller in the Black Book series featuring Billy Harney, a hardened cop with a dry wit and a well-hidden soft heart, is a pacy page-turner whose multiple dramatic plot lines converge in a sensational final twist.

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