Five Books with Strong Voices which I’ve Loved Recently by Liz Webb

All the books I’ve especially loved reading recently have very strong distinctive main characters and voices. Like them or loathe them, we are drawn along by their idiosyncrasy and charisma. That’s what I love reading and what I aspire to create with my own writing. In my second novel THE SAVED, the story is told through the eyes of my heroine Nancy, which struggles with long buried guilt from her childhood and more recent guilt from an affair and in this state of insecurity and self-doubt, she doesn’t know who to trust when she and her partner Calder move to a mysterious isolated Scottish slate island, where everyone seems to have a secret.

Here are my five favourite recent reads:

Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent

o A genuinely original quirky voice and I was immediately riveted by the opening scenario in which Sally puts out her dad’s dead body with the rubbish, as if it was a mundane household chore. The plot is so cleverly woven that you genuinely don’t know who to trust or what is going to happen next. Totally engrossing.

Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang

o What writer wouldn’t enjoy reading about a bitter jealous writer called June who publishes a brilliant book written by her dead best friend, but under her own name. I loved the toe-curling descriptions of the agony of career disappointment, the buzz of sudden fake success, and the thrill of finding out whether the thief will ever get caught and who is out to get her. Compulsive.

Wilderness by B E Jones

o A gloriously angry central character and an impossible-to-predict twisting plot. Narrator Liv is such a human relatable character, shattered by the discovery of her husband’s affair, and furious. On a road trip through America’s national parks, she’s secretly testing him to see whether he deserves to survive it. Exhilarating.

When They See Me by Gill Perdue

o This has a wonderfully-observed crime-solving duo in Detective Laura Shaw and her partner, Detective Niamh Darmody, but it’s the horribly charismatic killer’s point of view that makes this novel the unputdownable triumph it is. We see the strange and terrifying workings of his mind, how he became what his is, and watch him carrying out his awful crimes. Engrossing and shocking.

Murder at Holly House by Denzil Meyrick

o All the books I’ve listed so far have great audio readers but I would especially recommend the audio of this. Tom Turner is so funny and dry as hapless Inspector Frank Grasby in this reading of a wonderfully quirky Christmas mystery set in 1952. As soon as a body is found wedged up the chimney of Holly House in the remote town of Elderby and a blizzard descends, you know you’re in for a corker of a listen. Glorious.

The Saved by Liz Webb is published in paperback on 22nd August 2024

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