TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH

Gilly Macmillan

(Arrow, £7.99)

Lucy is a bestselling crime writer, whose central character, Eliza, is a version of her imaginary childhood friend. To finally exorcise Eliza from her thoughts, Lucy has decided to kill her off. Her agent isn’t happy, and neither is her husband, Dan, who enjoys the standard of living brought by Lucy’s success. When Dan disappears, the finger of suspicion points at her. The trouble is, Lucy doesn’t seem to be the most reliable narrator, and we begin to suspect that she may not only have been involved with Dan’s disappearance but also with that of a missing child many years earlier. So we have thriller writer Gilly Macmillan writing in the first person as a thriller writer we can’t fully trust who feels like she’s been plunged into one of her own plots. It’s tangled, but clever and compelling, with loose ends and red herrings right up to the end.

HeraldScotland:

BLOOD IN THE WATER

Silver Donald Cameron

(Swift, £12.99)

Petty criminal Philip Boudreau was a thorn in the side of the people of the Cape Breton town of Petit de Grat. Constantly threatening and stealing from them, he had spent half his adult life in prison but kept coming back. One day in 2013, three fishermen went out to sea to find Boudreau vandalising their lobster traps, shot at him and rammed his boat. His body was never found. Renowned author Silver David Cameron, who died last year, had lived in the area since 1971. He knew Cape Breton and its people well, and in his final book he presents Boudreau’s murder in the context of a community he understood, making it as much an insightful social history as it is a slice of true crime. As such, it will be interesting to see how well it translates to the screen in the forthcoming adaptation by Trailer Boys co-creator Barrie Dunn.

HeraldScotland:

THE HIGH-RISE DIVER

Julia von Lucadou

(World Editions, £12.99)

In a future dystopia, Riva is a “high-rise diver” who leaps off tall buildings in a flightsuit, this being one of the few ways poor people from the peripheries can share in the prosperity of the city-dwellers. But lately Riva has been refusing to train. Her coach and sponsors bring in a psychologist, Hitomi, to study Riva so that her rebelliousness can be curbed and the wayward athlete brought back into the fold. As Hitomi spies on Riva, she realises the extent of the surveillance she herself is under and starts to buckle under the strain. With shades of Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four alongside current concerns about social status and job security being determined by continuous electronic assessment, The High-Rise Diver portrays a chillingly credible world with no place for individuality, with a poignant depiction by von Lucadou of the compassion and humanity that nevertheless refuses to be extinguished.

ALASTAIR MABBOTT