Victorians loved a freak. Think of Joseph Merrick. Think of The Bearded Lady and The Crocodile Woman at traveling funfairs. Are we any better today? Think of Dylan Mulvaney, and I guess not. However, to the book. Twin sisters Keziah and Tilly Lovell are far from identical. They are both fifteen years old, but Tilly hasn’t grown an inch since she was five. Their father uses the pair to promote a fake elixir at his traveling show, but then he sells them to a mysterious Italian impresario, known as ‘Captain’, who senses an opportunity to make money. All roads lead to London, where within Dr Summerwell’s Museum of Anatomy, the twins meet a young man called Theo, and are drawn into a web of intrigue, deceit and criminality. This is published by Orenda Books, and will be out on 22nd June.

TO DIE IN JUNE by Alan Parks

The blurb says, “ONE LOST CHILD. TWO MEN DEAD. A MIDSUMMER NIGHTMARE. This is the sixth in the Harry McCoy series, which is new to me, but the book sounds a cracker. A word-association test using the word ‘Glasgow’ would, certainly among crime fiction fans, produce obvious results. Hashtags might include:

#grit #violence #deprivation #noir #murder #drugs #gangs #extortion #hardman

McCoy investigates the disappearance of a boy, whose parents are devotees of a a bizarre cult, The Church of Christ’s Sufferings. At the same time, reports come in of unexplained poisonings among the city’s down-and-out community. McCoy has a dog in this fight. His own father is one of the dispossed. Throw into this toxic mix a case of police corruption which McCoy cannot ignore, and you have a spellbinding police thriller. Published by Canongate Books, this will be available from 25th May.