Books: Anthony Horowitz is back with his latest version of James Bond…

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1. Fight Night by Miriam Toews is published in hardcover by Faber & Faber, priced at £14.99 (ebook £8.99).

Fight Night is absurd, overwhelming, traumatic, touching – and utterly delicious. It’s a love letter to the women of a family, with nine-year-old narrator Swiv recounting life with her heavily pregnant actress mother Mooshie and elderly grandmother Elvira. It moves at a fast pace – which might make your head spin at first, as Swiv jumps from topic to topic, going on mini-adventures with his extremely fun grandma (who is a brilliantly written character and a badass). Although it doesn’t always have a clear plot, it deals with big issues – like suicide, alcoholism and depression – with realism, dark humor and levity. It’s a joy to read, and the colorful, beautifully drawn characters will stick with you long after you’re done.

9/10

2. With A Mind To Kill by Anthony Horowitz is published by Jonathan Cape, priced at £20 (ebook £9.99).

With A Mind to Kill is the third Bond book by Anthony Horowitz. It’s a fast-paced thriller centered around a dangerous mission that even our hero isn’t sure he can complete. It opens with the funeral of M, head of the intelligence service, with Bond in custody charged with the murder of his boss. The plot thickens when Bond goes behind the Iron Curtain to join a group of former Soviet intelligence agents, who want to enlist the British spy in a daring plan that will change the balance of world power. Bond fans are in for a treat as he enters the lion’s den, having to use all of his powers to defeat the enemy. Readers will love how Horowitz stays true to Bond creator Ian Fleming’s winning formula, taking on an old foe with new energy.

8/10

3. You Made A Fool Of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi is published in hardcover by Faber & Faber, priced at £14.99 (ebook £8.99).

Anyone who has read Akwaeke Emezi’s previous books – the beautiful and harrowing Freshwater and The Death Of Vivek Oji – will be surprised by their latest offering. While You Made A Fool Of Death…covers similar themes to the other books – including violent loss and love – at its core, it’s much more of a popcorn romance novel. Feyi is a young artist with a sad past, which means that a new romance is difficult for her – she tries to move on by going with a potential suitor to her native island, staying at her wealthy father’s house. Things get complicated when she finds herself falling in love with the wrong man – a pretty classic romantic trope, which means the book feels pretty predictable. While Emezi’s striking style is there, the content isn’t – they spend a bit too much time discussing the beauty of the main characters, which can get a bit boring. It’s undoubtedly readable and you connect with the characters, but Emezi perhaps suffers compared to their previous books – and You Made A Fool Of Death… probably won’t stick with you that long.

6/10

nonfiction

4. Managing Expectations by Minnie Driver is published in hardcover by Manilla Press, priced at £20 (ebook £9.99).

Celebrity autobiographies are always a very mixed bag, but that of the actress who made her name in Circle Of Friends and Good Will Hunting is a shining star among them. It’s a collection of essays about key moments in Minnie Driver’s life, written with sharp wit and heartbreaking pathos, from her parents’ breakup to her wayward hair and her experiences as an actress, so that she was diving from a blockbuster movie, which she believed would secure her career, to faking orgasms for a chocolate commercial to keep the wolf out. His Oscar nomination for Good Will Hunting was robbed of his joy because of his ex Matt Damon, who arrived at the event with his new girlfriend. But the self-pity never washed away with his mother, a stoic, funny, positive figure who wouldn’t tolerate complaints that life was unfair, which makes the final chapter so heartbreaking, as the news of his terminal cancer diagnosis leaves Driver literally on his knees in front of his caddy at Waitrose. You’ll want to read this book twice, laughing at the extremely pointed observations and fighting back tears as the final chapter draws to a close. We hope this actress writes more.

10/10

Children’s book of the week

5. Clarice Bean: Hurry up! by Lauren Child is published in hardcover by HarperCollins Children’s Books, priced at £12.99 (ebook £7.99).

Lauren Child knows what goes through a child’s head and how to transfer those thoughts onto the page. In her latest installment in the Clarice Bean series, she delivers another snapshot of the main character’s upside-down world. Clarice and her extended family adopt a stray dog, with the young girl forming alliances with siblings and somehow manipulating situations to her advantage to make it all work out in the end. Child made a name for herself with the Charlie and Lola picture books, and Clarice became a new favorite. You’ll be left to try and figure out if Clarice and her family ate horrible spaghetti or something else entirely – see for yourself as you read this entertaining tale.

9/10

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