NORTHERN SPY by Flynn Berry (W&N £16.99, 304 pp)


by Flynn Berry (W&N £16.99, 304 pp)

Two sisters working in Belfast — one a producer for the BBC who has an infant son, the other a paramedic — lie at the heart of this elegantly wrought story about the perils of not being what you seem.

Tessa is at work at the BBC when footage of an IRA robbery at a petrol station comes in. She is astonished to see her sister Marian pulling on a black mask and taking part.

She cannot believe it. Both girls were brought up to oppose Republicanism and, besides, she’s supposedly on holiday by the sea, miles away from Belfast.

The police, however, are convinced that Marian is an active member of the IRA, even now, years after the Good Friday agreement.

Tessa confronts her, only to discover that there are secrets within secrets in Marian’s life, and so she, too, is dragged into the sinister and dangerous world of terrorism, with nerve-shredding suspense.

VANISHED by James Delargy (Simon & Schuster £14.99, 496 pp)


by James Delargy (Simon & Schuster £14.99, 496 pp)

This second novel from the promising Delargy demonstrates just how good a storyteller he is. The Kane family, Lorcan and Naiyana, as well as their six-year-old son Dylan, suddenly abandon their comfortable life in Perth, Western Australia, and relocate to an abandoned gold mining town, Kallayee, in the middle of the Great Victoria Desert.

But their new life in the wilderness does not turn out the way they might have hoped.

The old town has been deserted for years, but the gold might not have disappeared and three men are secretly looking for it.

So begins an enthralling confrontation between the covert miners and the Kane family living above them — only for the family to disappear into thin air, leading to the arrival of a female detective from their previous home in Perth to investigate.

Full of twists and abrupt surprises, the pace never flags as the ugly truth begins to emerge.

THE HIT LIST by Holly Seddon (Trapeze £8.99, 352 pp)


by Holly Seddon (Trapeze £8.99, 352 pp)

Exactly a year ago, teacher Marianne Heywood’s husband, Greg, was knocked off his bike and killed on his way to work and she’s still struggling to cope with the loss.

There is a new man in her life, but she can’t forget her husband and so on the anniversary night she cross-examines his laptop for memories of him. But what she finds terrifies her.

Apparently, Greg had hired a hitman from the dark web to assassinate her and he is out there right now.

So begins a captivating game of cat-and-mouse, with Marianne desperately trying to work out why her beloved husband would do such a monstrous thing, and how she can save herself. Or was he trying to protect her in some way from his own misdeeds?

Meanwhile Sam, the hitman, stalks ever closer as Marianne discovers unpalatable truths about the respectable world she and Greg appeared to inhabit: compelling and supremely well-told.

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