The intrusion of somewhat deranged but alluring young botanist Kitty Finch into a holiday in Nice heralds a warning to the two middle-aged couples renting a holiday home there. Levy sets up her Booker-shortlisted tale of family trauma and betrayal in the sun superbly, flitting between perspectives and not wasting a word.
The Art Of Cruelty: A Reckoning by Maggie Nelson (Norton, £12.99)
How does cruelty figure in art? What is it supposed to do? Nelson asks these questions in a brave and intellectually fascinating critique of the world around us and how we depict it. The sight of cruel acts can move us, horrify us or titillate us, which means they have power, and it's this power that Nelson wants to address.
by Carol Ann Duffy
These surprisingly romantic poems rise above the level of wish fulfilment, even if Last Post, which imagines the fallen of the First World War going backwards in time to when they were alive, could be characterised that way. Often mythical, often earthy, Duffy's bees signify what we are in danger of losing.
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (HarperCollins, £7.99)
Jordan's sharply written dystopia is about a woman, in prison for aborting her child, who refuses to divulge the identity of the child's father. She is marked with a red sign on her skin, in a deliberate recall of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, but Jordan favours the narrative style of a superior thriller to that of a religious debate.