Four recommended reads this week

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan. Bloomsbury, £12.99 (ebook £6.02). Review by Georgina Rodgers

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan, published by Bloomsbury
Beside Myself by Ann Morgan, published by Bloomsbury

The subject of twins and their relationship seems to be a popular one in fiction at the moment and this debut thriller follows the story of twin sisters, Ellie and Helen, who swap places aged six. At first, it is a game, but Ellie – the more submissive twin who has lived in her sister’s shadow – refuses to swap back and Helen is forced into a new identity. Helen goes on to develop a range of behavioural problems and while Ellie flourishes, she spirals into a self-destructive path of mental illness and addiction. This is an accomplished read with an excellent plot and a brilliant, multi-layered narrative voice, but for me, at times it felt a bit too like a misery memoir.

In The Cold Dark Ground by Stuart MacBride. HarperCollins, £16.99 (ebook £9.99). Review by Catherine Small

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When a body is found in the woods outside Banff – naked, hands tied behind its back and a bin bag duct-taped over its head – the Major Investigation Team, led by Logan McRae’s ex-boss DCI Steel, charges up from Aberdeen. As usual, Steel wants McRae to do her job for her while she takes the credit, but it’s not going to be easy. A new superintendent has been brought in over her head, Steel is being investigated by Professional Standards and Hamish Mowat, the godfather of Aberdeen’s criminal underbelly, is on his deathbed. If you like your crime fiction gritty, unsparing and violent, MacBride’s your man. He’s an accomplished storyteller.

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle. Viking, £12.99 (ebook £7.99). Review by Jade Worsley

Author Nicholas Searle developed his debut novel at the Curtis Brown writing school – and it begins with an old couple on a seemingly ordinary first date, in a well-known pub. But all is not as it seems since Roy is addicted to scamming vulnerable women who he targets through online dating websites. The book is written in alternating sections, switching from the present tense about Roy’s excitement at the thought of financially deceiving Betty, and past-tense, telling the backstory of Roy and how he came to be a fraudster. As soon as you think you’ve figured out the twist, the story takes a completely different turn. The story however did lose pace in the middle.

The Maverick Mountaineer: The Remarkable Life Of George Ingle Finch: Climber, Scientist, Inventor by Robert Wainwright

Allen & Unwin, £17.99 (ebook £8.03). Review by Natalie Bowen

Mount Everest is associated with many famous names but here biographer Robert Wainwright focuses on a lesser-known member of the 1922 British expedition to reach its summit: anti-Establishment chemist George Finch, the disputed Australian father of Hollywood actor Peter Finch. The bulk of the book concerns his forward-thinking approach to mountaineering; as an early supporter of oxygen, prominent members of London’s Alpine Club and Royal Geographical Society apparently mounted a campaign to discredit him. Wainwright’s extremely readable style is largely linear, with tantalising references to future events.