PSYCHOPATHS ANONYMOUS by Will Carver (Orenda £8.99, 276 pp)

PSYCHOPATHS ARE NOT ANONYMOUS Will Carver (Orenda £8.99, 276 pp)


by Will Carver (Orenda £8.99, 276 pp)

Maeve Beauman claims that drunks are different from alcoholics because alcoholics meet at AA meetings. Many of the most hilarious and well-written scenes from this book are set at AA meetings. Maeve is the snarky heroine. She has an impressive career as an advertising executive, but she’s also a functional psychopath, who enjoys drinking, drug use, and having sex with men.

Maeve sets up her self-help group to help psychopaths. When the group’s closure is threatened, it becomes a real drama. How can a psychopath solve this problem? Maeve’s solutions are predictably gory and hilariously over the top. Carver, a clever and stylish writer, has given life to a truly frightening persona. Our world is seen through Carver’s eyes. He is just normal enough that we are both amused and perturbed.


THE LOST GIRLS by Heather Young (Verve Books £9.99, 352 pp)

THE LOST GIRLS Heather Young (Verve Books £9.99, 352 pp)

by Heather Young (Verve Books £9.99, 352 pp)

The story explores whether trauma from family members can be passed down through the generations. The story unfolds in front of the beautiful backdrop of a Minnesota remote house, on a quiet lake.

Justine is a struggling mother with two children and seeks refuge from a controlling boyfriend. She moves in to the house she inherits from Lucy, her great-aunt.

She also inherits Aunt Lucy’s journals, and learns of the mysterious disappearance of a six-year-old girl, Emily, back in 1935. Justine quickly discovers that the inheritance she inherits has new complications. Her troubled daughter’s obsession with the story of the missing Emily combines with the dangerous motives of her boyfriend to threaten her chances of ever finding equanimity.

Cleverly told through dual timelines of Lucy’s journals and Justine’s voice, this is sensitive and tense storytelling.

TO THE LAKE by Yana Vagner (Swift £12.99, 432 pp)

TO THE LAKE Yana Vagner (Swift £12.99, 432 pp)


by Yana Vagner (Swift £12.99, 432 pp)

Anya must flee Moscow to escape the deadly flu virus. She then heads for Finland, where she will be reunited with family members and friends. They face many dangers on the treacherous trip, including dealing with an entire population that is constantly making moral decisions about how far they’ll go in order to survive.

It is an eerie, disturbing and insightful look into the human capacity to do what they want under pressure. Although Anya is sometimes annoying and involved, the plot moves quickly and is interesting. Of course, it’s a particularly powerful story in the time of Covid.

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