READY OR NOT by Alex Lake (HarperCollins £7.99, 416 pp)

READY OR NOT Alex Lake (HarperCollins £7.99, 416 pp)


by Alex Lake (HarperCollins £7.99, 416 pp)

Alice becomes too involved in reporting on a story concerning a local serial killer and it soon becomes clear that the case is threatening her perfect marriage with Tom.

The couple are both exhausted from caring for their baby, who is always crying and sleeps poorly. Lake’s skill at injecting menace into the mundane details of everyday life accounts for much of the book’s constant tension. Writing from the perspective of multiple protagonists has become something of a tedious trope among thriller writers, but Lake’s plot survives this cliche because the author creates such well-crafted characters.


THE SCORPION¿S HEAD by Hilde Vandermeeren (Pushkin £9.99, 320 pp)

THE SCORPION’S HEAD by Hilde Vandermeeren (Pushkin £9.99, 320 pp)

by Hilde Vandermeeren (Pushkin £9.99, 320 pp)

A contract killer suddenly changes his mind about a target when he experiences the reemergence or suppression of a 30 year-old memory.

This happens as he watches a young mother who was a successful athlete worry about her asthmatic child while on a walk in the woods of Germany. Later, the mother will be able to come out of a coma and be accused for trying to harm her son.

Meanwhile, in Poland, a mysterious woman called Dolores Bartosz, the contract killer’s boss, floats around in a minimalist, bullet-proof bunker watching her blind butler tending a unique single rose which, we are told, flourishes by being fertilised by the ashes from a human corpse.

These extraordinary situations would be impossible to link, but Hilde Vandermeeren is a trained psychologist and has created a small masterpiece full of tension, menace, and truly original characters.

Every aspect of the story is first-class writing. The only problem is that you will be impatient for her next novel.

To purchase any book reviewed here Visit Call 020 3176 297