Looking for some books to take with you on holiday? Andrew Ffrench reviews the latest releases

* The Orphan Choir by Sophie Hannah is published in hardback by Hammer, priced £9.99 (ebook £6.26). Available now.

Along with other die-hard Sophie Hannah fans, I’ve eagerly devoured all her superb crime thrillers, including The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives.

Featuring odd-ball detective Simon Waterhouse and his excruciating but touching on-off relationship with fellow copper Charlie Zailer, they zing along with a mix of wry humour and cool-headed plotting that makes them irresistible.

The Orphan Choir is a foray into the world of Hammer Horror, a ghost story penned in gothic-horror style, complete with feverish writing and hand-wringing.

Louise, living in Cambridge with dull but worthy husband Stuart, is plagued by the next-door-neighbour-from-hell who blasts out rock music at top volume late at night.

She flees to the country, only to find her sleep continues to be disturbed but this time by ghostly singing of a children’s choir – in fact, one that seems horribly familiar.

We are never sure how much is in her mind and how much is real, but this short novel lacks the time and space to develop the plot and characters in enough depth to make it matter.

A brave move for Sophie Hannah, who is amazingly talented, to try something different – but I’m not convinced she quite manages to pull it off.

 * The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes is published in hardback by Harper Collins, priced £12.99 (ebook £5.99). Available now.

Award-winning novelist Lauren Beukes, author of Zoo City, returns with a time-travelling story with a twist. Harper Curtis is a ex-soldier, drifter and serial killer living in 1930s Chicago.

He steals a coat which has a key and discovers a house which is a time-travelling portal, moving from 1929 Chicago to 1993. It helps him stalk his ‘Shining Girls’ – bright young women burning with potential, until he literally cuts the spark out of them.

He visits them as children, taking a memento, then kills them as adults, leaving by their mutilated bodies one of the mementoes taken from another Shining Girl. Moving into another time after each murder, Harper thinks he’s untraceable.

But one of his victims, Kirby, survives and vows to find her attacker. This is a well-written thriller with a clever plot, strong characters and plenty of tension and drama, especially when Harper visits each of “his girls” for the last time.

Be prepared for a gripping read.

* Men Can Do It! The Real Reason Dads Don’t Do Childcare And What Men And Women Should Do About It, by Gideon Burrows is published in paperback by ngo.media, priced £7.99 (ebook £4.11). Available now.

What can be done to ensure modern fathers take a greater role in the upbringing of their children?

The answer, it appears, is to be more like Gideon Burrows, who has drawn up a ‘man manifesto’ designed to confront and resolve all the obstacles that prevent Dad from taking on his fair share of parenting duties.

He takes issue with tactless nurses, unwelcoming playgroups and even the physical limitations of the male body to present a convincing new approach to fatherhood.

Unfortunately, by choosing himself as the perfect example of such a man, he can’t help but come off as a bit of an insufferable bore, too often keen to berate his “exasperating’ friends or offering condescending advice on how best to start a conversation at the school gates.

It’s a pity, because overall he makes some good points. l

* A Wolf In Hindelhelm, by Jenny Mayhew is published in hardback by Hutchinson, priced £14.99 (ebook £8.54). Available now.

Screenwriter and university lecturer Jenny Mayhew makes her debut with A Wolf In Hindelhelm.

The plot begins with the mysterious disappearance of a baby in the quiet and secluded village of Hindelhelm. As Police Constable Theodore Hildebrandt is called, it is up to him and his deputy son, Klaus, to investigate.

The distant and strained relationship between father and son soon becomes clear, and the mutual attraction between Theodore and Ute, the baby’s aunt, proves too much of a distraction for the policeman.

In a post-war setting, the beautiful and intense descriptions show Mayhew’s talent as a screenwriter and are evident throughout her narrative – her story will grip its readers from beginning to end.

* Choose Me, by Kay Langdale is published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton, priced £19.99 (ebook £10.99). Available now.

The social services take a lot of heat in the media. Their mistakes may prove costly at times, but how many people think of the good work the social workers do, and the thousands of lives they change?

Miriam Riley is a good social worker in Choose Me, Kay Langdale’s fourth novel. It centres around her quest to find a ‘forever family’ for Billy, orphaned after his heroin-addict mother died.

He has perfect manners and none of the bad habits you might expect from his less-than-perfect upbringing, but Miriam must face the truth that most prospective families are looking for a baby, not a nine-year-old.

The book is told from multiple perspectives, raising the suggestion of what it would be like being Billy with only a pillowcase of belongings to his name; being Miriam faced with a lovely young boy she must somehow ‘sell’ to families; or being a family wondering how this new child will fit into their existing dynamic.

The novel highlights the situations people find themselves in daily and gives the reader the chance of seeing every point-of-view, questioning what they would choose.