The Waste Land Simon Acland (Charlwood Books, £10.99) Oxford is the backdrop for this first novel by Acland, a former venture capitalist. The book begins in St Lazarus College, Oxford, where a group of Oxford professors invite a best-selling author to read an old manuscript they have discovered in their college library. They hope the resulting book, written in the style of Dan Brown, will save the college from bankruptcy. The manuscript chronicles the adventures of Hugh de Verdon, monk turned knight, during the First Crusade. This is not the end of the story — a sequel is due to appear next year.

Death Row Mark Pearson (Arrow, £6.99) This is a riveting read, one of a series featuring detective Jack Delaney. This one concerns child sex abuse and is set in residential Harrow, which seems to have its fair share of oddballs and misfits, including some at the famous school on the hill.

The Dealer and the Dead Gerald Seymour (Hodder, £16.99) Arms dealer Harvey Gillot failed to supply guns to a Croatian village during the war with the Serbs, and now someone is out for revenge. Seymour, who lives near Wallingford, is a former journalist and his meticulous research shines through in his latest thriller.

The Scarpetta Factor Patricia Cornwell (Sphere, £7.99) You know what to expect with Cornwell and her 17th thriller does not disappoint, 20 years after the first appearance of forensic scientist Kay Scarpetta.