Jeremiah’s Bell

Denzil Meyrick

Polygon, £8.99

The latest in Meyrik’s successful crime series, Jeremiah’s Bell picks up from where its predecessor, A Breath on Dying Embers, left off. A shaken DCI Jim Daley must prove to his boss that he’s sufficiently recovered to return to his old job, and his loyal DS, Brian Scott, is ordered to file regular reports on his fitness. The first test of his abilities comes with the arrival in Kinloch of former disappeared teen Alice Wenger after many years in the USA, now much wealthier than when she left and, it seems, with a score to settle. Throw in a sinister family of off-grid loners, an ageing Mafia hitman and the mystery cargo of an old wrecked ship, and you’ve got the recipe for a character-driven yarn with plenty of intrigue, but also humour and warmth amidst the murky goings-on. Meyrick proves once again that rural policing can be every bit as captivating, and gritty, as its urban equivalent.

Make, Think, Imagine

John Browne

Bloomsbury, £10.99

A former CEO of BP, and now able to list Fellow of the Royal Society among his distinctions, John Browne is a fervent believer in the centrality of engineering to human progress. What’s more, he appreciates “the beauty to be seen in every great piece of engineering”. However, we can never anticipate all the consequences of new developments, which kindles a widespread public fear of innovation. Here, drawing on interviews with more than 100 professionals in disciplines ranging from architecture to medicine, he recounts the crucial importance of engineers to civilisation and argues that governments should not be afraid to plan out their infrastructure on a grand scale, giving a engineers a leading role, while striking a balance between the drive to innovate and “the need to preserve a stable society”. His views are always interesting, and sometimes provocative, though one occasionally gets the impression that his irrepressible optimism allows him to handwave away arguments for greater caution and reflection.

Night Train

David Quantick

Titan, £7.99

A woman wakes up in a dark room with no idea how she’s got there or who she is. The room turns out to be a carriage on a train moving through an endless night punctuated by random explosions. She meets a man, his memory also wiped, and they explore the carriages, encountering dead people, bear-like creatures, iridescent turtles and an unusually strong young woman clutching a headless teddy bear, each discovery stranger and more disorientating than the last. Are they in a dream, a virtual world, Hell? Night Train isn’t without humour, but, given Quantick’s stellar TV comedy CV, his tongue spends less time in its cheek than you might expect. But it’s still worth it, thanks to a succession of unexpected, bizarre occurrences keeping us intrigued and off-guard in what could have been a tedious, claustrophobic setting.