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21. Strangeways - Neil Samways

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Neil ‘Sam’ Samworth spent eleven years working as a prison officer in HMP Manchester, aka Strangeways. A tough Yorkshireman with a soft heart, Sam had to deal with it all – gangsters and gangbangers, terrorists and psychopaths, addicts and the mentally ill. Men who should not be locked up and men who should never be let out. Strangeways is a shocking and at times darkly funny account of life in a high security prison. Sam tackles cell fires and self-harmers, and goes head to head with some of the most dangerous men in the country. He averts a Christmas Day riot after turkey is taken off the menu and replaced by fish curry, and stands up to officers who abuse their position. He describes being attacked by prisoners, and reveals the problems caused by radicalization and the drugs flooding our prisons.

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22. The Race to Save the Romanovs - Helen Rappaport

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A major new work of investigative history that will completely change the way in which we see the Romanov story. Finally, here is the truth about the secret plans to rescue Russia’s last imperial family. On 17 July 1918, the whole of the Russian Imperial Family was murdered. There were no miraculous escapes. The former Tsar Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and their children – Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexey – were all tragically gunned down in a blaze of bullets. On the 100-year-anniversary of these brutal murders, historian Helen Rappaport set out to uncover why the Romanovs’ European royal relatives and the Allied governments failed to save them. It was not, ever, a simple case of one British King’s loss of nerve. In this race against time, many other nations and individuals were facing political and personal challenges of the highest order. In this incredible detective story, Rappaport draws on an unprecedented range of unseen sources, tracking down missing documents, destroyed papers and covert plots to liberate the family by land, sea and even sky. Through countless twists and turns, this revelatory work unpicks many false claims and conspiracies, revealing the fiercest loyalty, bitter rivalries and devastating betrayals as the Romanovs, imprisoned, awaited their fate. A remarkable new work of history from Helen Rappaport, author of Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs.

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23. Gloucester Crescent - William Miller

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Gloucester Crescent is a curving, leafy street, tucked between Camden Town and Primrose Hill, filled with the sound of clacking typewriters and children playing. It's unremarkable in many ways, unless you notice the lady in the van outside one house, and the familiar-looking residents crossing the road ... Written through the eyes of a growing child, this is the story of a very particular family and their circle of brilliant, idealistic and intellectual friends in London in the 60s, 70s and 80s. We follow William through the ups and downs of childhood, as he explores the back gardens and homes of his famous neighbours, attends dramatic rehearsals with his dad Jonathan Miller, fails exams and is bullied at school, gets drugs from the philosopher A. J. Ayer's wife, and tries to watch the moon landing with Alan Bennett and a room full of writers. Hilarious, and at times heart-breaking, this is also about how we grow up and move on - and what happens when we come back. Not only a picture of an extraordinary time in Britain's cultural history - and a hitherto unseen portrait of some of the brightest minds of a generation - this book tells the funny, tender and moving story of a young boy trying to find his own identity.

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24. Only to Sleep - Lawrence Osborne

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he year is 1988. The place, Baja California. Private Investigator Philip Marlowe – now in his seventy-second year – has been living out his retirement in the terrace bar of the La Fonda hotel. Sipping margaritas, playing cards, his silver-tipped cane at the ready. When in saunter two men dressed like undertakers. With a case that has his name written all over it. At last Marlowe is back where he belongs. His mission is to investigate Donald Zinn – supposedly drowned off his yacht, leaving a much younger and now very rich wife. Marlowe’s speciality. But is Zinn actually alive? Are the pair living off the spoils? Set between the border and badlands of Mexico and California, Lawrence Osborne’s resurrection of the iconic Marlowe is an unforgettable addition to the Raymond Chandler canon.

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25. The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris

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In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival - scratching numbers into his fellow victims' arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale - a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer - it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too. So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.

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26. Finisterre - Graham Hurley

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Germany, September 1944: Dozens of cities lie in ruins. Enemy armies are at the gates. For the Thousand Year Reich, time is running out. Desperate to avoid the humiliation of unconditional surrender, German intelligence launch Operation Finisterre - a last-ditch plan to enable Hitler to deny the savage logic of a war on two fronts and bluff his way to the negotiating table. Success depends on two individuals: Stefan Portisch, a German naval officer washed ashore on the coast of Spain after the loss of his U-boat, and Hector GOmez, an ex-FBI detective, planted by Director J. Edgar Hoover in the middle of the most secret place on earth: the American atomic bomb complex. Both men will find themselves fighting for survival as Operation Finisterre plays itself out.

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27. A Long Island Story - Rick Gekoski

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It is 1953, a heat wave is sweeping across America and the Grossmans - Ben, Addie and their two children -are moving their lives from the political heart of Washington DC to suburban Long Island. Benny was a successful lawyer in the Department of Justice, but all that has come tumbling down. With the McCarthy era of paranoia, persecution and propaganda at its height, his past has come back to haunt him, forcing him to pack up his family and leave the capital behind.

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28. The Girl in the Photograph - Kirsty Ferry

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Staying alone in the shadow of an abandoned manor house in Yorkshire would be madness to some, but art enthusiast Lissy de Luca can't wait. Lissy has her reasons for seeking isolation, and she wants to study the Staithes Group an artists commune active at the turn of the twentieth century. Lissy is fascinated by the imposing Sea Scarr Hall but the deeper she delves, the stranger things get. A lonely figure patrols the cove at night, whilst a hidden painting leads to a chilling realisation. And then there's the photograph of the girl; so beautiful she could be a mermaid ... and so familiar. As Lissy further immerses herself, she comes to an eerie conclusion: The occupants of Sea Scarr Hall are long gone, but they have a message for her and they're going to make sure she gets it.

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29. The Hanging Tree - Ben Aaronovitch

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30. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - JK Rowling

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At the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured in New York with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his former Hogwarts student, who agrees to help once again, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.

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31. Melmoth - Sarah Perry

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Twenty years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory. But her sheltered life is about to change. A strange manuscript has come into her possession. It is filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black, with unblinking eyes and bleeding feet: Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world. Condemned to walk the Earth forever, she tries to beguile the guilty and lure them away for a lifetime wandering alongside her. Everyone that Melmoth seeks out must make a choice: to live with what they've done, or be led into the darkness. Helen can't stop reading, or shake the feeling that someone is watching her. As her past finally catches up with her, she too must choose which path to take. Exquisitely written, and gripping until the very last page, this is a masterpiece of moral complexity, asking us profound questions about mercy, redemption, and how to make the best of our conflicted world.

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32. Magical Mystery Paws - Mandy Morton

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Meet Hettie Bagshot, a long-haired tabby cat whose whiskers twitch at the first sign of a mystery, and her best friend Tilly Jenkins. Together, they run the No. 2 Feline Detective Agency, and nothing will stop them from untangling each brain-teasing case that comes their way. In scorching temperatures, Hettie Bagshot and her sidekick Tilly set out on a road trip to catch a killer cat amid a sea of entertainers. As Psycho Derek s bus lurches from one venue to the next, the killer strikes again. The big question for The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency is who will be next? Will it be Patty Sniff, the ageing punk star? Or Kitty O Shea from the Irish dance troupe? Or perhaps Belisha Beacon s days are numbered. As the fur flies and the animosity builds, Hettie and Tilly become embroiled in a world of music, mayhem and murder. As matters draw to a terrifying conclusion, will Magical Mystery Paws finally top the bill?

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33. The Hour of Separation - Katharine McMahon

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March 1939. Estelle is the headstrong daughter of Fleur, a Resistance legend who disappeared during the Great War, supposedly killed while helping Allied soldiers to escape. Christa, an only child, longs to break free from the constraints of London suburbia, and fantasises about the ethereal Belgian heroine who saved her father. When Estelle comes looking for the truth about the mother she believes deserted her, an intense friendship grows between the two young women. Estelle invites Christa to De Eikenhoeve, her family's idyllic country estate. There, Christa encounters Estelle's two brothers - brooding, tempestuous Robbe and dependable, golden-haired Pieter - and during that long hot summer, passions run high. When war breaks out Christa is forced to return home, but not before she has done something she will regret for the rest of her life. Christa arrives back in England a changed woman, while Estelle decides to follow in her mother's footsteps and join the Resistance. Little do they dream that Fleur was betrayed by someone close to them, and that the legacy of this betrayal will have heartbreaking consequences for them all.

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34. The Thief's Daughter - Victoria Cornwall

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Eighteenth-century Cornwall is crippled by debt and poverty, while the gibbet casts a shadow of fear over the land. Yet, when night falls, free traders swarm onto the beaches and smuggling prospers. Terrified by a thief-taker’s warning as a child, Jenna has resolved to be good. When her brother, Silas, asks for her help to pay his creditors, Jenna feels unable to refuse and finds herself entering the dangerous world of the smuggling trade. Jack Penhale hunts down the smuggling gangs in revenge for his father’s death. Drawn to Jenna at a hiring fayre, they discover their lives are entangled. But as Jenna struggles to decide where her allegiances lie, the worlds of justice and crime collide, leading to danger and heartache for all concerned …

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35. The Sunday Lunch Club - Juliet Ashton

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Every few Sundays, Anna and her extended family and friends get together for lunch. They talk, they laugh, they bicker, they eat too much. Sometimes the important stuff is left unsaid, other times it's said in the wrong way. Sitting between her ex-husband and her new lover, Anna is coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy at the age of forty. Also at the table are her ageing grandmother, her promiscuous sister, her flamboyantly gay brother and a memory too terrible to contemplate. Until, that is, a letter arrives from the person Anna scarred all those years ago. Can Anna reconcile her painful past with her uncertain future?

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36. The Evacuee Summer - Katie King

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Far from home, an adventure they’ll never forget… June 1940. Evacuee twins Connie and Jessie are reminded every day of the differences between a Yorkshire summer and what they had previously known in London’s Bermondsey. Life at Tall Trees vicarage, Harrogate, is full of adventure, with the arrival of a mischievous pony called Milburn who soon sets about showing who’s boss. But Auntie Peggy is bracing herself for bad news – since the birth of their beautiful baby Holly, something has been very wrong between her and husband Bill and an unexpected visitor soon makes clear exactly what that is…In this heart-warming tale of evacuees far from home, Katie King returns with a novel full of nostalgia and delight.

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37. An Orphan's War - Molly Green

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LIVERPOOL, 1940 When her childhood sweetheart Johnny is killed in action, Maxine Grey loses more than her husband – she loses her best friend. Desperate to make a difference in this awful war, Maxine takes a nursing job at London’s St Thomas’s hospital. A BROKEN HEART She takes comfort in the attentions of a handsome surgeon, but Edwin Blake isn’t all he seems. And as the Blitz descends on the capital, Maxine faces more heartache. When she returns to Liverpool, she harbours a secret. A BRAVE SPIRIT When Maxine is offered a job at a Dr Barnardo’s orphanage, she hopes this is the second chance she has been looking for. Do the orphans know that she needs them as much as they need her?

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38. The Queen of Wishful Thinking - Milly Johnson

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When Lewis Harley has a health scare, he takes it as a wake-up call and opens the antique shop he has always dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business. She isn’t happy there, and when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her. As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. Secrets are about to be uncovered, but can they find the happiness they both deserve?

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39. Bad Luck - Linwood Barclay

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Journalist, family man, and paranoid writer Zack Walker visits his father's lakeside fishing camp. But the fresh air, childhood memories and peaceful contemplation are ruined when a body is found. Locals say the mutilated corpse must have been the victim of a random bear attack. But Zack Walker, as always, fears the worst. When another body is discovered, it seems there is a more deadly predator on the prowl. A Lone Wolf killer who is hell-bent on laying siege to the idyllic town. The fuse is lit and time is running out. Zack must face down a madman - or find out first-hand what the grand finale is…

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40. Winchester Quarantine - Carter Travis Young

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Jase Jepson was away from the homestead for seven years, and his fame as a gun-slinger became legendary. When he returned with revenge in mind for the murder of his father and brother, he found the ranch under Winchester quarantine.

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