1. Now You See Us by Balli Kaur Jaswal is published in hardback by HarperCollins

Credits: PA;

Balli Kaur Jawal takes you into the world behind the glitz and glamour of Singapore’s elite families and introduces a murder mystery involving three Filipina domestic workers who toil as cleaners, maids and caregivers. Used to being in the shadows, Donita, Angel and Cora keep themselves to themselves. But when fellow maid Flor is arrested for murder, the secrets these workers hold start bubbling to the surface – much to the chagrin of their employers, who would rather keep their sordid lives out of the public eye. With the suspicion that there is more than meets the eye, Cora, Donita and Angel start looking for clues. As they get closer to the truth the trio are each under the threat of deportation and personal danger as their superiors try and keep their secrets quiet. Jawal has created an absorbing and subtle mystery via the dark themes of people trafficking, domestic slavery and oppressive power struggles behind closed doors.

2. Whips By Cleo Watson is published in hardback by Corsair

Credits: PA;

Sex scandals, scheming MPs, lies, cover-ups, ambitions to be Prime Minister, parties, drinking. No, not a story about politics today, but a new novel based on life in Westminster. Author Cleo Watson worked in 10 Downing Street under Theresa May and Boris Johnson so had a front-row seat at the heart of government while recent dramas unfolded. Whips starts with Bobby Cliveden trying to enrol her local MP into supporting her campaign against the closure of a mental health unit. She ends up working for him in London, meeting up with university friends Jess, a newly promoted political journalist, and Eva, a junior Downing Street aide. Their lives collide in a complicated web of a leadership contest, back-stabbing politicians, reputations won and lost, dangerous gossip, and a fair sprinkling of sex. The author insists none of her characters are based on real people – but anyone who has worked in Parliament might vaguely recognise some of the storylines. You’ll love the way the novel bursts open some of the goings on in the Westminster bubble.

3. Mister, Mister by Guy Gunaratne is published in hardback by Tinder Press

Credits: PA;

Mister, Mister is the eagerly anticipated second novel by the author of In Our Mad And Furious City, Guy Gunaratne. It follows the main character Yahya Bas from his bleak beginnings in East Ham in London to eventually ending up in a detention centre after he returned from Syria to look for his elusive biological father and how he eventually came to be radicalised. This book is a necessary look at the rise in Islamophobia in post-9/11 and 7/7 Britain. But it is difficult to get into the story because the structure of short numbered passages feels overambitious. This seems like a missed opportunity to really delve into the issues which marked the turn of the century in the UK.


4. Breathe: Tackling the Climate Emergency by Sadiq Khan is published in hardback by Hutchinson Heinemann

Credits: PA;

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s timely new book brings the devastating impact of air pollution on people’s health into focus and challenges the idea that tough climate change policies will bleed votes. Through the story of Ella Roberta Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, a nine-year-old girl who died after having a severe asthma attack caused by air pollution, Khan delivers a clear and powerful message – that pollution can kill. He goes on to relate his personal experience of developing the respiratory condition while training for the 2014 London Marathon and outlines seven obstacles to tackling climate change, including fatalism, apathy, cynicism, deprioritisation, hostility, cost and gridlock. Breathe succeeds in its mission to hammer home the risks of air pollution and almost makes reading about political processes enjoyable. While its reliance on opinion polls to confirm voters’ support for climate change policies and carefully crafted statistics are not always convincing, Khan’s call to action is worth its weight in words.

Children’s book of the week

5. The Sun And The Star (The Nico Di Angelo Adventures) by Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro is published in hardback by Puffin

Credits: PA;

Anyone who is a fan of the brilliant Percy Jackson book series will love this new offering from Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro. The Sun And The Star tells the story of Nico di Angelo, the son of Hades, who is a loner, keeping his feelings to himself and suffering the loss of his mother and sister. It is only through the power of his relationship with Will Solace that life changes for the better and Nico learns how to move beyond the horrors he has witnessed. As the pair journey together, they must face the terrors of Tartarus – the lowest part of the underworld – in order to save a friend. Will their relationship be tested to its core? One thing is for sure, this book is full of teachable moments for pre-teens and teens, including how pain and loss can help us learn and build resilience.