Novels by début authors Alex Michaelides and Harriet Tyce will join Lisa Jewell on Richard & Judy's Winter Book Club list, with W H Smith.
Jewell returns to the book club for a third time with “intense psycho-thriller” The Family Upstairs (Century). The novel follows Libby Jones as she discovers the identity of her birth parents. Richard Madeley said: “Lisa Jewell, a highly experienced and successful novelist, reaches new heights with this dark, tangled, sophisticated thriller... We both loved it.”
Screenwriter Michaelides' début novel, The Silent Patient (Orion) also makes the book club list. The Silent Patient tells the story of Alicia Berenson who lived a perfect life until the day she shot her husband five times. She hasn’t spoken a single word since. Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist, is determined to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she murdered her husband. Judy Finnegan describes the novel as “Hitchcock-ian in its claustrophobic suspense”. Madeley adds: “The book has already topped the bestseller lists in the US, and it’s also being made into a hotly anticipated movie. We’re both sure it’ll be a massive hit.”
Ex-lawyer and début author, Tyce, joins the Richard and Judy Book Club with Blood Orange (Wildfire). Alison, a successful criminal lawyer with a doting husband and daughter, has a serious drinking problem and is having an illicit affair with a colleague. With her career on the rise and her first murder case to defend, she starts to receive threatening messages from someone who knows her dark secret and wants to make her pay. “Fans of Apple Tree Yard, and The Girl On The Train, will love this take of a flawed woman escaping intolerable pressures in her home life,” said Madeley.
The Whisper Man by Alex North (Michael Joseph) also makes the list, with Madeley describing the book as “one of the creepiest, most unsettling, keep-the-light-on novels either of us have read for years”. In the sleepy village of Featherbank, a twisted serial killer terrorised the town by abducting and murdering five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was notoriously called “The Whisper Man”. Fifteen years later, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to town, just as another boy goes missing... and Jake begins to hear whispering at his window.
She Lies In Wait by début novelist and award-winning playwright Gytha Lodge does the double for Michael Joseph. Summer 1983; a group of teenage school friends go down to the woods for a night of dancing and drinking. But by morning, Aurora, the youngest, has disappeared. Thirty years later, Aurora’s body is discovered in a hideaway that only her friends knew about and Detective Jonah Sheens is determined to finally get to the truth of what happened that night. Finnegan said: “This is a really superior crime story... Gytha Lodge is one to watch.”
Fellow début novelist Delia Owens rounds off the book club selections with Where The Crawdads Sing (Corsair). Using her expertise in nature writing to describe the painfully beautiful life of Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl, Owens' novel is set in a North Carolina marsh. Having survived alone for years in the marsh land of Barkley Cove, Kya now yearns for love and a new life, but then the unthinkable happens. Popular Chase Andrew is found dead and Kya is the prime suspect. “Reese Witherspoon says she didn’t want this story to end. Neither did we,” said Finnegan.
The Richard & Judy Book Club will launch with another series of podcasts from 12th December, providing an introduction to all the featured titles as well as an exclusive interview with each of the authors. W H Smith customers can enjoy exclusive special editions of the Book Club titles filled with bonus content, including book club discussion points, author Q&As and more recommended reads.