The Midnight Witch -- A Novel by Paula Brackston, Dunne/St. Martin's 14, $25.99, 339 pages, ASIN #1250006082.
"There's a whiff of Harry Potter in the witchy conflict," reports Kirkus Reviews on Paula Brackston's latest work. "Love and landscape and lyrical writing lend charm, but it's Brackston's full-blooded storytelling that will hook the reader."
For those unacquainted with the author's compelling writing, here's how she begins her riveting book:
"The dead are seldom silent.
"They have their stories to tell and their gift of foresight to share. All that is required for them to be heard is that someone be willing to listen. I have been listening to the dead all my life, and they never clamor more loudly for my attention than at a funeral.
"This is in part due to proximity, of course. Here I stand, beside an open grave, somber in black, quiet, watching, waiting, pain constricting my chest more tightly than the stays of my corset, and all around me souls stir. But they must wait. Wait to be called. Now is not the time. I know they are eager to speak to me, and I value their trust in me, but wait they must."
Author Paula Brackston, who earned a master's degree in creative writing from Lancaster University in the UK, is the bestselling author of The Witch's Daughter and The Winter Witch. She lives in Wales.
Be Careful What You Wish For -- A Novel by Jeffrey Archer, St. Martin's Press '14, $27.99, 387 pages, ASIN #1250034485.
Jeffrey Archer, author of 18 previous novels, 7 short story collections, three plays, 3 volumes of prison diaries, and two screenplays, strikes again with Be Careful What You Wish For, the latest in The Clifton Chronicles, which has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist.
Here's how Jeffrey Archer begins his latest nailbiting work:
"Sebastian tightened his grip on the steering wheel of the little MG. The lorry behind him touched his rear bumper and jolted the car forward, sending its number plate flying high into the air. Sebastian tried to advance a couple more feet, but he couldn't go any faster without running into the lorry in front of him and being squeezed between the two of them like a concertina.
"A few seconds later they were nudged forward a second time as the lorry behind them drove into the back of the MG with considerably more force, pushing it to within a foot of the lorry in front. It was only when the rear lorry hit them a third time that Bruno's words, Are you certain you're making the right decision? flashed into Sebastian's mind. He glanced across at his friend Bruno who was white with fear, clinging on to the dashboard with both hands.
"'They're trying to kill us,' he screamed. 'For God's sake, Seb, do something!'"
Author Jeffrey Archer, educated at Oxford University, served five years in the British House of Commons and nineteen years in the House of Lords. Archer lives in London and Cambridge with his family.