Lightning strikes at the Gherkin

On the evening of 28 March, we celebrated the launch of the 2017 list from our fiction imprint Lighting Books. We did so in the splendour of the 38th floor of the Gherkin, the iconic skyscraper in the City of London.

It was a pleasure to host guests from the national media, the book trade, the literary press and the blogosphere, along with our authors Douglas Board, Zoë Duncan, Simon Edge and Abi Silver.

At a time when the media and the book trade are looking to independent publishers as a source of some of the most interesting and creative material, we hope we demonstrated to those who attended that we are an exciting, energetic young player to watch.

The Hopkins Conundrum by Simon Edge blends the real stories of the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins and the nuns from his masterpiece The Wreck of the Deutschland with a comic modern narrative. Harriett Gilbert, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s A Good Read, says: “I love this novel. It pulls off the three-card trick of being entertaining, genuinely touching, and a fascinating insight into Hopkins’ poetry.”

l/r: Sam Graydon and George Berridge from the TLS with Lightning publicist Ruth Killick and Douglas Board

Douglas Board, author of the business school comedy MBA (Lightning Books, 2015), returns with Times of Lies, an explosive political satire set in an all-too-believable near future, after Britain elects its own Donald Trump in 2020. Drawing comparisons with Jonathan Franzen and Dave Eggers, The Guardian's Danuta Kean notes that the novel is in “the vanguard of Brexit fiction”.

Zoë Duncan’s The Shifting Pools is a dark, lyrical fantasy about healing. Fleeing war and the death of her family, Eve is troubled by disturbing dreams that plunge her into a battle for survival. Novelist and broadcaster Emma Jane Kirby calls the novel “a beautiful moving story that skilfully stitches together the fragmented pieces of a brutalised and shattered soul so that it just might fly again”.

l/r: Crime-writer Barry Forshaw with Lightning authors Abi Silver and Zoë Duncan, and Ayo Onatade of Shots magazine

Finally, The Pinocchio Brief is a gripping courtroom thriller by lawyer-novelist Abi Silver. A schoolboy is accused of the brutal murder of one of his teachers. But his veteran lawyer has her own secrets which she risks exposing when it emerges that a lie-detecting device nicknamed Pinocchio will be used during the trial. This remarkable debut has echoes of John Grisham and JG Ballard.

To win uncorrected proof copies (not normally for sale) of all four of their novels, email us at by 1 May, marking your message Lightning Books Draw.

Left to right: Douglas Board, Zoë Duncan, Simon Edge, Abi Silver

Uli Lenart from Gay's the Word and blogger Eric Karl Anderson

Victoria Innell from Amazon with Zoë Duncan

Danuta Kean of the Guardian with Zoë Duncan

Simon Edge and Abi Silver

Lightning publisher Dan Hiscocks with Mike Stotter from Shots
Published on
March 29, 2017