COP

Valentin Gendrot

Scribe, £9.99

French journalist Gendrot went undercover for two years to infiltrate the Paris police, spending six months in a district where tension between police and public was already high. His account of the racism and violence on the force is disturbing, if not altogether surprising. The climate he found was one in which young people and migrants were particularly dehumanised, an attitude that spilled over into “routine insults to ordinary citizens; the general lack of respect for the public”. Assaults and beatings were commonplace, covered up by a culture of closing ranks and submitting false statements. Coupled with poor pay and conditions, the climate of violence and intimidation took its toll on recruits too, with depression and suicidal thoughts running rife. The terse matter-of-factness of his exposé conveys how desensitised the recruits became – Gendrot, mentally exhausted by the end of his stint, being no exception. Most likely, readers will find Cop both informative and gruelling.

HeraldScotland:

THE LOST GIRLS

Heather Young

Verve, £9.99

On the death of her great-aunt, Lucy, Justine becomes the old lady’s sole beneficiary, acquiring her old lake house in Minnesota. It’s a godsend, enabling Justine to escape San Diego and her manipulative boyfriend and make a fresh start with her two daughters. Lucy has also bequeathed a notebook, which tells of how her younger sister, Emily, disappeared in 1935 at a Minnesota vacation spot. As Justine settles into her new home and starts reading Lucy’s account, she realises that the two sons of the holiday resort owner are still alive and living nearby. What’s more, both her possessive boyfriend and her opportunistic mother have heard about her windfall and want a slice. As old secrets surrounding Emily’s disappearance finally emerge, Justine’s issues with two of the people closest to her are coming to a head. Young’s exploration of the relationships between sisters and daughters makes for a wistful and atmospheric debut.

HeraldScotland:

THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME

Laura Dave

Viper, £8.99

Newly-married Hannah Hall and Owen Michaels have been living on a houseboat in Sausalito, California, for the past year with Owen’s 16-year-old daughter Bailey, when the CEO of the tech firm Owen works for is arrested on fraud charges. Owen suddenly does a runner, leaving a bag of money in Bailey’s school locker and a note for Hannah reading: “Protect her.” Bailey has never been a fan of her new stepmother, but the two have to learn to work together and respect each other if they’re to get to the bottom of Owen’s disappearance – and what they find is nothing that they could ever have guessed. There’s no shortage of intrigue here. And if the stepmother and stepdaughter team’s sleuthing abilities stretch credibility, and Hannah’s ultimate solution is somewhat questionable, Dave’s focus on the growth of her characters and their relationship is nuanced and believable enough to carry it off.