The Brave, By Nicholas Evans

Throughout his writing career, Evans has survived life-changing dramas as catastrophic as those faced by his characters. While completing his bestseller, The Horse Whisperer he learnt he was suffering from skin cancer; his latest book was delayed when he and his family became critically ill after consuming a basketful of poisonous mushrooms.

The Brave, unsurprisingly, is about harrowing times. It follows the life story of Tom Bedford, from his years as an anxious English schoolboy to his adult life as a semi-famous writer living in Montana.

Only when his estranged son is charged with murder is he forced to face up to a long-buried family secret. It's a pacy pot-boiler from an author unafraid to treat his readers to a High Noon-style dénouement.