Forthcoming and recent releases

(p) paperback (l) hardback/large paperback depending on availability

Each month, we provide our Hotlist of titles. Some are entirely new, others are moving into small paperback format for the first time or being reissued, sometimes after a long time out of print. All are due for publication on various dates that month, or early in the next one. The Hotlist helps local readers to plan and budget for book ordering. Here are some recent lists.

JULY 2019

Knife (l), by Jo Nesbø, is a brand new detective Harry Hole thriller set in Norway. Harry is about to come face to face with an old, deadly foe just released from the jail where the detective put him. A man like Hole had better watch his back. Following the dramatic conclusion of the number one bestseller, The Thirst, Knife sees Harry waking up with a ferocious hangover following a forgotten night, his hands and clothes covered in someone else’s blood.

It leads off this month’s Hotlist of titles, some entirely new, others moving into small paperback format for the first time or being reissued, sometimes after years out of print. All are due for publication on dates in July, with availability in print to order this month or in early August. The Hotlist helps readers to plan and budget for book ordering.

Our other picks of the month are from the genuinely new fiction titles appearing across various genres.

One Good Deed (l), by David Baldacci, involves murder and family secrets, a touch of romance and revenge, and a very big twist. In 1949, handsome ex-soldier Aloysius Archer arrives in Poca City, Oklahoma, USA. On parole following a stint in prison back east for a crime he did not commit, he is looking for a fresh start and a peaceful life after his wartime experiences in Italy. However, he soon understands that there is a lot more going on in this town than he had bargained for.

In the thriller Hush Hush (l), by James Patterson, former detective Harriet Blue, now inmate 3329, is learning daily that prison is a dangerous place for a former cop. So, following a fight for her life, and a prison-wide lockdown, the last person she wants to see is Deputy Police Commissioner Joe Woods, the man who put her inside. But Woods is not there to gloat. His daughter Tonya and her two-year-old child have gone missing. He is ready to offer Harriet a deal: find his family to buy her freedom.

The Bird King (l), by G Willow Wilson, tells the tale of Fatima, a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last kingdom of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. Hassan has a secret: he can draw maps of places he has never seen, and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate Granada’ surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realising that the Spaniard will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth Of The Faun (l) made for an unforgettable film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, but was not based on a pre-existing book. Now though, Del Toro and Cornelia Funke, the German author best known for the Inkheart Trilogy, have written a novel inspired by that captivating 2006 film. Beautiful, haunting, visceral, gutsy, the book is a vastly inventive, grown-up modern fairy tale, pulsing with the power of stories to shape lives, hearts and minds. Ofelia has been sent to stay with her new stepfather, a ruthless captain of the Spanish army. For him, the dark and eerie forest in which they live is a cage, serving only to hide resistance fighters in the drawn-out and bloody civil war.

Among Spain-interest titles moving into small paperback this month is The Spanish Promise (p), by Karen Swan. This novel of intrigue, romance and escapism is set in the cobbled streets of Madrid and Andalucía. One of Spain’s richest men is dying. But as he prepares his estate, his family is shocked to discover he is making plans to give away his wealth to a young woman they have never even heard of. Who is she and what hold does she have over him? Charlotte Fairfax is asked to travel to the troubled family’s home in Spain to get to the bottom of the mysterious bequest. Looking for clues, she digs into the family’s history and unearths a dark and shocking past.

The romantics among you may recall the book and film One Day, and the novel Us. David Nicholls, the author of those bestsellers, now deliver Sweet Sorrow (l). One life-changing summer, Charlie, 16, meets Fran. What follows is a tragicomedy of ordinary lives, a celebration of the reviving power of friendship and that brief, blinding explosion of first love that perhaps can only be looked at directly once it has burned out.

Live A Little (l), by Howard Jacobson, is a wickedly observed novel about falling in love at the end of your life. In her 90s, Beryl Dusinbery is forgetting everything, even her own children. She spends her days stitching morbid samplers and tormenting her two long-suffering carers, Nastya and Euphoria, with tangled stories of her husbands and love affairs. Shimi Carmelli can do up his own buttons, walks without aid and speaks without spitting. Among the widows of North London, UK, he is whispered about as the last of the eligible bachelors. Unlike Beryl, he forgets nothing, especially not the shame of a childhood incident that has hung over him like an oppressive cloud ever since.

JUNE 2019

Celestial Bodies, by Dr Johka Alharthi, recently became the first Arabic book to win the prestigious Man Booker International Prize. The award was made jointly to Alharthi, the first woman novelist in Oman to have a book translated into English, and to Marilyn Booth, the translator.

Celestial Bodies (p) is set in the village of al-Awafi in Oman, home to three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who weds from a sense of duty; and, Khawla, who rejects all offers while waiting for her beloved, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families witness Oman evolve from a traditional, slave-owning society slowly redefining itself after the colonial era, to the crossroads of its complex present. The novel tells of Oman’s coming-of-age through the prism of one family’s losses and loves.

It leads off this month’s Hotlist of titles, some entirely new, others moving into small paperback format for the first time or being reissued, sometimes after years out of print. All are due for publication on dates in June, with availability in print to order this month or in early July. The Hotlist helps readers to plan and budget for book ordering.

Our other picks of the month are from the genuinely new fiction titles appearing across various genres. Big Sky (l), by Kate Atkinson, finds private investigator Jackson Brodie relocated to a quiet seaside village, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son and an ageing Labrador dog, both at the discretion of his ex-partner Julia. The village is picturesque, but something dark lurks behind the scenes. Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, is fairly standard, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network — and back across the path of his old friend Reggie. Old secrets and new lies intersect in this novel by one of the most dazzling and surprising writers at work today.

The latest Cole & Pike novel from Robert Crais is A Dangerous Man (l). When Isabel Roland, the lonely young teller at his bank, steps out of work on her way to lunch, Joe Pike witnesses her attempted abduction. Thanks to his quick thinking, the two men are arrested. But the men soon make bail, and not long after are found murdered. The police suspect Pike and Isabel had a hand in it, especially when Izzy disappears. Convinced that she has been abducted again, Pike realises it is time to call on Elvis Cole to discover the truth. And then all hell breaks loose.

Among the romantic and historic fiction titles, City of Girls (l), by Elizabeth Gilbert, starts in the summer of 1940 when Vivian Morris, 19, arrives in New York, US, with her suitcase and sewing machine. She has been exiled by her despairing parents. Although her quicksilver talents with a needle and commitment to mastering the perfect hair roll have been deemed insufficient for her to pass into her sophomore year of Vassar, she soon finds gainful employment as the self-appointed seamstress at the Lily Playhouse, her unconventional Aunt Peg’s charmingly disreputable Manhattan revue theatre. There, Vivian quickly becomes the toast of the showgirls, transforming the trash and tinsel only fit for the cheap seats into creations for goddesses.

With the TV saga Game of Thrones now wrapped up, the author of the books on which it was based shows no sign of relaxing. The publication of Texas Hold ‘Em (l) sees the return of the famous shared-world superhero books created and edited by George RR Martin, author of A Song of Ice and Fire. For decades, Martin has collaborated with a changing ensemble of science fiction and fantasy icons to create the amazing Wild Cards universe. In the aftermath of World War II, the Earth’s population was devastated by a terrifying alien virus. Those who survived were changed for ever. Some, known as Jokers, were cursed with bizarre mental and physical deformities; others, granted superhuman abilities, are known as Aces. Wild Cards tells the stories of this world.

MAY 2019

Fernando Aramburu is one of the most lauded writers in Spanish, and one of his novels is now available in English. Homeland (l) is a heart-tugging tale of two best friends whose families are riven by loyalties in a charged political atmosphere including terrorism. The friends, Miren and Bittori, have been inseparable while growing up in a small town in northern Spain. The two women have little interest in politics, and the threat posed by the Basque terrorist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) does not seem to affect them. Then Bittori’s husband starts receiving menacing letters from ETA. The missives demand money, and accuse him of being a police informant. Bittori asks Miren for help, but the latter’s loyalties are torn because Miren’s son has just joined ETA. In his mother’s code of honour, denouncing the group would be tantamount to condemning her own child.

Homeland has won picked up prizes including the National Prize for Literature and the National Critics Prize in Spain, and the Strega Europeo Prize and the Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa International Literary Prize in Italy. It leads off this month’s Hotlist of titles, some entirely new, others moving into small paperback format for the first time or being reissued, sometimes after years out of print. All are due for publication on dates in May, with availability in print to order this month or in early June. The Hotlist helps readers to plan and budget for book ordering.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo (l), by Christy Lefteri, is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is reminding readers of the power of storytelling. Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo, until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls.

The Shape Of The Ruins (p), by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, takes the form of personal and formal investigations into two political assassinations. They are the murders of Rafael Uribe Uribe in 1914, the man who inspired Gabriel García Márquez’s General Buendia in One Hundred Years Of Solitude; and, of the charismatic Jorge Eliecer Gaitán Ayala, who might have been Colombia’s John F Kennedy but was gunned down on the brink of winning the presidential elections of 1948. Separated by more than 30 years, these two slayings initially seem unconnected, but as the tale unfolds, Vásquez reveals how between them they contain the seeds of the violence that has bedevilled Colombia ever since.

Dead At First Sight (l), is the latest thriller from Peter James. A man waits at a London airport for the arrival of Ingrid Ostermann, the love of his life. Across the Atlantic, a retired New York cop waits in a bar in Florida’s Key West for his first date with the lady who is beyond doubt his soulmate. The two men are about to discover they have been scammed out of almost every penny they have in the world, and that neither woman exists. Meanwhile, a wealthy divorcee plunges in suspicious circumstances from an apartment block in Munich. In the same week, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace in Brighton, UK, is called to investigate a suicide that is clearly not what it first seems.

Thomas Harris, of ‘Hannibal Lecter’ fame, hits the book racks again with Cari Mora (l). Twenty-five million dollars in cartel gold lies hidden beneath a mansion on the Miami Beach waterfront. Ruthless men have tracked it for years. Leading the pack is Hans-Peter Schneider. Driven by unspeakable appetites, he makes a living fleshing out the violent fantasies of other, richer men. Cari Mora, caretaker of the house, has escaped from the violence in her native country. She stays in Miami on a wobbly Temporary Protected Status, and works at many jobs to survive. Beautiful, marked by war, Cari catches the eye of Hans-Peter as he closes in on the treasure. But she has surprising skills, and her will to survive has been tested before.

In the thriller The Never Game (l), by Jeffery Deaver, a killer is changing the rules, one murder at a time. You wake up alone, in the middle of a forest, miles from anywhere. Beside you are five objects — a lighter, some grease, picture-frame wire, a piece of silk, and a bottle of water. You will need to use them if you want to survive. You have been taken by the Whispering Man, and there is no escape. He makes the rules: nobody ever gets out alive. Investigator Colter Shaw is fighting to stop him.

The Woman Inside (p), a much-praised thriller by E G Scott, moves into paperback. Rebecca had no idea love was possible before meeting Paul, a man with a past as dark as her own. Their demons drew them together irresistibly. Twenty years later, they are drowning as the damage and secrets that ignited their love begin to consume their marriage. When Paul catches the attention of the police after two women go missing in quick succession, Rebecca discovers Paul’s elaborate plan to build a new life without her. She hatches a devastating plan of her own to get revenge. With the TV rights snapped up, this is a bold thriller with a Shakespearean twist.

In the crime novel The Neighborhood (p), by Mario Vargas Llosa, a high-profile businessman is blackmailed by a notorious magazine editor. While attempting to deal with the scandal, the businessman’s wife seeks comfort secretly in the arms of the wife of his best friend. Then the editor is found murdered, and the two couples have no choice but to descend into the murkiest depths of Peruvian society, while the magazine’s staff embark on the publication’s greatest revelation yet. From the Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa comes a thrilling detective story exploring the seedy underbelly of privileged Peru.