The Best Books To Read This August

The Best Books To Read This August

If you want something new to read this month, look no further. From a follow up to one of the biggest thrillers in recent years to a series of laidback holiday reads, August’s selection has something for everyone.

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A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

A Slow Fire Burning is the new thriller from the bestselling author of The Girl On The Train and Into The Water. Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She's seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous. Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn't mean she's a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace? Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged – and some are damaged enough to kill. A brilliant read for anyone who loves a gripping murder mystery.

From the first sentence to the last, this explosive, startling novel grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go.” – Kate Mosse, author of The City of Tears


Everyone Is Still Alive by Cathy Rentzenbrink

It is summer on Magnolia Road when Juliet moves into her late mother's house with her husband Liam and their young son, Charlie. Preoccupied by guilt, grief and the struggle of working motherhood, she can't imagine finding time to get to know the neighbouring families, let alone fitting in with them. But for Liam, a writer, the morning coffees and after-school gatherings soon reveal the secret struggles, fears and rivalries playing out behind closed doors – all of which are going straight into his new novel. Juliet tries to bury her unease and leave Liam to forge these new friendships. But when the rupture of a marriage sends ripples through the group, painful home truths are brought to light. And then, one afternoon at a party, a single moment changes everything. The fiction debut from Sunday Times bestselling author Cathy Rentzenbrink, Everyone Is Still Alive is a novel that explores the deeper realities of marriage and parenthood and the way life defies our expectations at every turn.

Incredibly tender.” – Marian Keyes, author of Rachel’s Holiday


Heatwave by Victor Jestin

Leonard is an outsider, a 17-year-old uncomfortable in his own skin who is forced to endure a family camping holiday in the South of France. Tired of creeping out of beach parties after only a couple of beers, he chooses to spend the final Friday night of the trip in bed. However, when he cannot sleep due to the sound of partying outside his tent, he gets up and goes for a walk. As he wanders among the dunes, he sees Oscar, one of the cooler kids, drunk in a playground, hanging by his neck from the ropes of a swing. Frozen into inaction, he watches Oscar struggle to breathe until finally his body comes loose and falls lifeless to the ground. Unable to think straight, he buries Oscar in the sand and returns to the campsite where, oppressed by the ferocious heat and the weight of what he did and did not do, he tries to spend the remaining hours of the holiday as if nothing had happened. Told over the space of a long weekend, this intense and brilliant novel is the story of an adolescent struggling to fit in and a gripping psychological thriller that poses the existential question: Is doing nothing sometimes the absolute worst thing you can do?

"This is a searingly vivid novel that depicts the torments of adolescence in a sensual, carnal way. But it is also a profound meditation on the mystery of evil, our deadly urges, and the savagery that lies deep within each of us.” – Leila Slimani, author of Lullaby


Jane Is Trying by Isy Suttie

Jane is trying. She's been trying for a baby, with increasing desperation as her 30s sail by. Now, she's trying to make a new start back home with her overprotective parents, having left her career and cheating fiancé behind in London. With an increasing load on her plate, friends and family who think if she only listens to them, she'll have a perfect life, and a brain which questions every decision she's ever made, can Jane conquer her demons and step forward on her own? An ideal read for anyone who loves the warm yet hilarious characters in Marian Keyes’ novels – or anyone who’s still trying to get their sh** together in their 30s.

Very funny and utterly charming. Jane is Trying is tremendous.” – Adam Kay, author of This Is Going To Hurt


Shooting Martha by David Thewlis

This darkly funny novel is set between a London film set and a villa in the south of France. Celebrated director Jack Drake can’t get through his latest film – his most personal yet – without his wife Martha’s support. The only problem is, she’s dead. When Jack sees Betty Dean – actress, mother, trainwreck – playing the part of a crazed nun on stage, he is struck dumb by her resemblance to Martha. Desperate to find a way to complete his masterpiece, he hires her to go and stay in his house in France and resuscitate Martha in the role of ‘loving spouse’. But as Betty spends her days roaming the large, sunlit rooms of Jack’s mansion and her evenings playing the part of Martha over scripted video calls with Jack, she finds her method acting taking her to increasingly dark places. And as Martha comes back to life, she carries with her the truth about her suicide – and the terrible act she committed beforehand. A thriller that Hitchcock fans will love.

A riotously good novel, witty and earnest, brimming with sharply drawn characters and creeping suspense. David Thewlis is a fabulous writer.” – Anna Bailey, author of Tall Bones


The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

It is 1974 on the island of Cyprus. Two teenagers, from opposite sides of a divided land, meet at a tavern in the city they both call home. The tavern is the only place that Kostas, who is Greek and Christian, and Defne, who is Turkish and Muslim, can meet in secret. In the centre of the tavern, growing through the roof, is a fig tree. This tree will witness their hushed, happy meetings and their surreptitious departures; and it will be there when the war breaks out, the capital is reduced to rubble, and the teenagers vanish and break apart. Decades later in north London, 16-year-old Ada Kazantzakis has never visited the island where her parents were born. Desperate for answers, she seeks to untangle years of secrets, separation and silence. And the only connection she has to the land of her ancestors is a fig plant growing in the back garden of their home.

Lovely heartbreaker of a novel centred on dark secrets of civil wars and evils of extremism: Cyprus, star-crossed lovers, killed beloveds, damaged kids.” – Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale



The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

The Plot is thrilling page-turner from Jean Hanff Korelitz, author of HBO’s gripping series The Undoing, which starred Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant. When a young writer dies before completing his first novel, his teacher, Jake (himself a failed novelist) helps himself to its plot. The resulting book is a phenomenal success. But what if somebody out there knows? After many threats, it transpires that it is an actual person’s real-life story. The closer Jake gets to the real people he’s fictionalised, the more violence he unearths. And if he can’t figure out who he’s dealing with, he risks something far worse than the loss of his career. And addictive read.

Remarkable.” – Stephen King, author of It


The Turnout by Megan Abbott

With their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, Dara and Marie Durant have been dancers since they can remember. Growing up, they were trained by their glamorous mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance. After their parents' death in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago, the sisters began running the school together, along with Charlie, Dara's husband and once their mother's prized student. The three have perfected a dance that keeps the studio thriving. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school's annual performance of The Nutcracker – traditionally a season of competition, anxiety and exhilaration – an interloper arrives and threatens their delicate balance.

There's no one who captures the atmosphere of a tight-knit hothouse world, in all its feverish beauty and brutality, quite like Megan Abbott.” – Tana French, author of The Wych Elm


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