From Joyce Carol Oates’ saga to The Seduction by Joanna Briscoe, Louise Candlish’s latest and a debut by L. Annette Binder, this week’s new fiction
The Other Passenger
Louise Candlish S&S £14.99
Jamie is an amiable slacker in his late 40s, working in a coffee shop and enjoying his commute on the Thames river bus, while his estate-agent partner Clare provides the income and the fancy Georgian house.
Life is smooth enough till they meet a disquietingly attractive young couple, Kit and Melia. This brilliantly plotted thriller takes a classic film noir set-up and transplants it to modern London with terrific style and surprising heart.
Joanna Briscoe Bloomsbury £16.99
Beth has a life filled with art and love, all crammed into a topsy-turvy house by Camden Lock. As her only child, Fern, reaches the age that Beth was when her own mother abandoned her, she becomes uneasy, but it’s only when she seeks therapy and falls under the spell of Dr Tamara Bywater that things really start to go awry.
A classy, compulsive tale of desire and obsession, it glitters with menace.
Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars
Joyce Carol Oates Fourth Estate £18.99
In the aftermath of the sudden death of respected small-town mayor ‘Whitey’ McClaren, his grieving widow struggles to come to terms with her loss, as rivalry and unresolved issues between his five children rise to the surface.
This family saga is a thoughtful and spellbinding examination of grief, class, race and inequality that penetrates the darker psychological underbelly of contemporary American life, proving Oates to be at the top of her considerable game.
The Vanishing Sky
L. Annette Binder Bloomsbury Circus £14.99
As the bombs rain down on Germany in 1945, the wife of a retired schoolteacher worries herself sick over her two sons. One has just returned from the fighting, but is so emotionally damaged that he requires hospitalisation; the other is doing his military training at a school for Hitler Youth.
Binder’s debut explores familiar territory from a fresh perspective. The result is an engrossing novel peopled by believable and sympathetic characters.