Super-Infinite by Katherine Rundell (Faber £10.99, 352 pp)
By Katherine Rundell (Faber £10.99, 352 pages)
Lawyer, poet, lover, adventurer, scholar and priest, John Donne was a man with a bewildering array of alternate identities.
A contemporary of Shakespeare, he sailed to Spain with Sir Walter Raleigh, married his employer’s teenage niece, Anne, without her father’s permission, and was thrown into prison. “The greatest writer of desire in the English language”, he lived in close relationship with death.
Donne’s wife and six of his 12 children predeceased him, and in February 1631, aged 59 and mortally ill, he preached his last sermon at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Katherine Rundell’s best-selling biography celebrates Donne’s dark glow, bringing to life the poet who, as a fashionable young man, sat for his portrait, wearing “a hat big enough to fit a cat through “.
Waiting by Frankie Boyle (Baskerville £8.99, 368 pp)
In the meantime
By Frankie Boyle (Baskerville £8.99, 368pp)
When awakened from a drug-related sleep, it takes Felix a while to realize that the two people shouting through his bedroom door are police officers.
They want him to accompany them to the station. There, he learns that his best friend, Marina, is dead.
She was found strangled in a Glasgow park and he is suspected of her murder. As the police investigation slowly moves in the wrong direction, Felix begins to investigate with the help of his downstairs neighbor and drug addict, Donnie.
Also enlisting the help of crime novelist Jane Pickford, Felix finds himself in a world of espionage, radical politics, sex, artificial intelligence and drugs.
Boyle’s darkly comic debut is set amid vivid scenes of Glasgow’s sleazy underworld, its harsh humor balanced by a surprisingly tender conclusion.
Escape by James Patterson and David Ellis (Penguin £8.99, 448 pp)
By James Patterson and David Ellis (Penguin £8.99, 448pp)
An African-American girl is kidnapped in Chicago. She is the fifth teenager to go missing in 18 months, but while the other girls were homeless, Bridget Leone’s parents are prominent citizens, bringing an added sense of urgency to the response.
With no information other than a vague impression of the kidnapper, Detective Billy Harney and his colleague are patrolling the streets when they notice a white van whose driver matches the description.
Their pursuit quickly takes a fatal turn as the kidnapping leads to a terrifying underworld of gang violence, human trafficking and corruption.
The third thriller in the Black Book series starring Billy Harney, a hardened cop with a dry wit and a well-hidden tender heart, is a fast-paced page-turner whose multiple dramatic storylines converge in a sensational final twist.