Racing pulses

The terrain in the movie Beast is all too familiar since it’s set in South Africa, and there’s a reason that park staff tell visitors NOT to get out the car – as Idris Elba discovers! Similarly, the books require rapid page turns and the latest tracks from familiar musicians get the heart beating a little faster.

Black Adam

Nearly 5000 years after he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the ancient gods – and imprisoned just as quickly – Black Adam is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.

Black Adam is the latest movie in the DC comics universe – and the impressively muscled Dwayne Johnson is in the main role of Teth-Adam/Black Adam. As Pierce Brosnan asks while in character as Kent Nelson/Dr Fate of the Justice Society of America “Is he a saviour of the universe, a villain or an anti-hero? It’s up to you to decide.”

He catches missiles in his bare hands and outpaces F-18 jets and still has time to raise his eyebrows at the pilots ... What are the odds that the humorous touches in the movie gets the audience laughing in between the action?

Hot Seat

Imagine being seated in an office chair that’s rigged with high explosive that could detonate at any time? But that’s not all … someone is remotely watching your every move and wants you to pull off an outrageous computer hack on a bank. In the hot seat is a former hacker, Orlando Friar, played by Kevin Dillon, while Mel Gibson portrays a crusty old bomb squad vet, Wallace Reed who has to come to his aid, avoiding clever booby traps along the way.

The action is fast-paced with tense twists and turns and a lot of surprises.


A recently widowed husband (Idris Elba) returns to South Africa, where he first met his wife. This time, he’s accompanied by his – somewhat estranged – two teenage daughters to a game reserve managed by an old family friend and fellow wildlife biologist played by Sharlto Copley.

Soon, however, a ferocious, man-hunting lion begins attacking the locals and devouring anyone in its path. The family’s journey of healing turns into a fight where their resilience will be tested.


Autofiction – Suede 

Tagged with the title of Best New Band in Britain by Melody Maker in 1992, Suede is credited with having launched the age of Britpop, alongside Oasis and Blur.

Autofiction will be the group’s ninth studio album, following the 2018 release, Blue Hour, which went to the top five album charts and was critically and commercially acclaimed.

Frontman Brett Anderson described the new release as “ our punk record – no whistles and bells. Just the five of us in a room with all the glitches and stuff-ups revealed; the band themselves exposed in all their primal mess … Autofiction has a natural freshness, it’s where we want to be.”

The debut song, “She Still Leads Me On”, is written to Anderson’s late mother and lyrically Autofiction is described as “one of Anderson’s most personal records yet”.

Pixies – Doggerel

“On a foul day, finding a new cool Pixies song on YouTube when you don't expect it, is like finding a bottle of clean, fresh water in the desert ... ” is how one fan welcomed the drop of the first track of the new album from the Pixies.

Due out in September, Doggerel is the new album and the previewed release track “There’s a Moon On” has already gained traction among the band’s legion of fans.

Guitarist Joey Santiago and Pixies founder (and singer, songwriter) Black Francis detailed how this new album differed from their others.

“This time around we have grown,” Santiago said. “We no longer have under two-minute songs. We have little breaks, more conventional arrangements but still with our twists in there.”

Black Francis added: “We’re trying to do things that are very big and bold and orchestrated. The punky stuff, I really like playing it but you just cannot artificially create that. There’s another way to do this, there’s other things we can do with this extra special energy that we’re encountering.”

Doggerel was recorded with producer Tom Dalgety, and, in addition to drummer David Lovering, bassist Paz Lenchantin returns on the new album.

Direction of the Heart – Simple Minds 

Forty years on and Simple Minds are still producing great music.

Direction of The Heart, their 18th studio album, finds the band at their most confident and anthemic best and is an inspired celebration of life, most evident on the captivating lead single “Vision Thing” Infused with the synth washes, pounding drums and dance-floor vibes. It sets the pace for the nine-track record which follows. Composed by Charlie Burchill and Jim Kerr, the song is a tribute to Kerr’s father who passed away in 2019.

Band members, bassist Ged Grimes (who co-wrote two of the new songs, “First You Jump” and “Solstice Kiss”), drummer Cherisse Osei and vocalist Sarah Brown joined them on some of the tracks, recording their parts separately in London.

All of this disparate work is belied by an album which sounds like a cohesive record – one of the most exciting and invigorating of Simple Minds’ career to date.


My Name is Yip – Paddy Crewe

It is 1815 in the small town of Heron's Creek, Georgia, when Yip Tolroy – mute, medical anomaly and social outcast – is born. His father has disappeared in mysterious circumstances, so he is raised by his mother: a powerful, troubled, independent woman who owns and runs a general store. She struggles to manage his needs, leaving Yip to find the means of asserting himself in an unforgiving, hostile environment. With the help of a retired doctor, he begins to transform his life by learning to read and write, his portal into the community a piece of slate and a supply of chalk.

And then at the age of 15, Yip's life is altered irrevocably. In the space of a few days he witnesses the discovery of gold, meets his faithful friend and comrade Dud Carter, and commits a grievous crime. Thrust unwittingly into a world of violence and sin, Yip and Dud are forced to leave town and embark on an odyssey that will introduce them to the wonder and horror of the American frontier until the revelation of a secret means they must return to Heron's Creek and the fate that awaits them.

Wilder than Midnight – Cerrie Burnell

Silverthorne is a place of secrets and stories. A forest full of twisting paths and tangled thorns. A castle with locked towers and murmurs of tragedy. A village trapped between terrors known and whispered. And something is stirring in the leaves . . .

Saffy is a good girl, tired of being told to stick to the forest paths, and always follow the rules.

Aurelia is a hidden girl, locked in a castle tower, dreaming of escaping the fate she's told awaits her.

Wild Rose is a fearless girl, raised by wolves, full of spells and cunning.

Together, they will change Silverthorne forever.

No Less the Devil – Stuart Macbride

“'We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.”

It's been 17 months since the Bloodsmith butchered his first victim and Operation Maypole is still no nearer catching him. The media is whipping up a storm, the top brass are demanding results, but the investigation is sinking fast.

Now isn't the time to get distracted with other cases, but Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh doesn't have much choice. When Benedict Strachan was just 11, he hunted down and killed a homeless man. No one's ever figured out why Benedict did it, but now, after 16 years, he's back on the streets again – battered, frightened, convinced a shadowy “they” are out to get him, and begging Lucy for help.

It sounds like paranoia, but what if he's right? What if he really is caught up in something bigger and darker than Lucy's ever dealt with before? What if the Bloodsmith isn't the only monster out there? And what's going to happen when Lucy goes after them?