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IN YOUR FACE by Scarlett Thomas (Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 16.99)

Scarlett Thomas's second novel again features sassy heroine Lily Pascale, crime fiction lecturer and accidental sleuth. Three young women have sold their true-life stalking stories to Smile! magazine, but on the day of publication they are all found murdered. Now Lily's best mate, Smile! journalist Jess, has vanished too. Scarlett Thomas tips Miss Marple out of her bathchair and nicks Inspector Morse's Zimmer frame. Who said crime can't be fun? HHHH

CWMIKAZE by Mike Buckingham (Vista, pounds 5.99)

The idea of a witty Welsh farce in the tradition of Tom Sharpe didn't exactly set my pulse racing, but Cwmikaze is surprisingly good. A sleepy Welsh village is up in arms when a property developer threatens to cover their airfield with a leisure centre. WWII flying aces, transvestites and alcoholics join together to fight the forces of capitalism in one last daredevil mission. An unexpected treat, and the funniest thing to come out of Wales since that blond bloke out of Steps. HHH

THE LAZARUS CHILD by Robert Mawson (Bantam, pounds 5.99)

One morning, on the way to school, Jack and Alison Heywood's children are involved in a road accident which leaves daughter Frankie in a deep coma. While the Hewsons struggle to hold their marriage together, Frankie's only contact with the living world is her brother Ben, with whom she communicates on a subconscious level. The Lazarus Child makes even The Horse Whisperer look subtle. Don't believe the hype. HH

LOUSE by David Grand (Quartet, pounds 10)

In a surreal penthouse high above the American desert, a reclusive, eccentric Howard Hughes-type millionaire, has created his own slave colony. His heavily-sedated drones are all gamblers - deprived of their memory in return for payment of their debts. The unlikely hero is Louse, Poppy's obedient valet, who slowly comes to realise the truth about the man he once was. A highly original, atmospheric first novel, and a weird, Kafka- esque allegory for the age of job insecurity. HHH
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 9, 1999
Words:338
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