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.
Investigative reporter Ross Hunter nearly ignored the phone call that would change his life, and possibly the world, for ever. The old man on the line sounded cranky, but sincere: ‘Mr Hunter, I’m not a lunatic, please hear me out. I’ve been told you are the man who could help me to get taken seriously. I have absolute proof of God’s existence and I need to come and see you, I need your help.’ What would it take to prove the existence of God? And what would be the consequences? A breathless race against time to prove the greatest mystery of all is told in Absolute Proof (l), from bestselling author Peter James.
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 October, with availability in print this month or in early November. The Hotlist helps readers to plan and budget for book ordering.
Ian Rankin returns with In A House Of Lies (l), a new Rebus novel. The English expression ‘a house of lies’ means a place or situation where everyone has something to hide. A missing private investigator is found, locked in a car hidden deep in the woods in an area that had already been searched. Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is part of a new inquiry, combing through the mistakes of the original case. Every police officer involved must be questioned, and it seems everyone on the case has something to hide, and everything to lose. But there is one man who knows where the trail may lead, and that it could be the end of him: John Rebus.
The Madrid-born author Javier Marias’ novel Berta Isla (l) is about a relationship built on secrets and lies, and the equal forces of resentment and loyalty at its core. The young people Berta and Tomás meet in Madrid and decide to spend their lives together. Eighteen and betrothed, Tomás leaves to study at Oxford in England. His talent for languages quickly catches the interest of a certain government agency, but Tomás resists their offers, until one day he makes a mistake that will affect the rest of his life, and that of his beloved Berta. After university he returns to marry her, knowing he will not be able to stay for long.
In a month when some big names in crime writing enter the joust for seasonal sales, look out too for: The Disappeared (p), by CJ Box; The Reckoning (l), by John Grisham; Greeks Bearing Gifts (p), by Philip Kerr; Elevation (l), by Stephen King; Ambush (l) and The 17th Suspect (p), by James Patterson; and, Holy Ghost (l) and Golden Prey (p), both by John Sandford.
In the general fiction lists, our eye is caught by Bridge Of Clay (l), by Markus Zusak, an epic new novel from the award-winning, bestselling author of The Book Thief. Five Dunbar brothers are living, fighting, loving and grieving in the perfect chaos of a house without grown-ups. Today, the father who left them has just walked right back in. He has a surprising request: who will build a bridge with him? At once an existential riddle and a search for redemption, this tale of five brothers coming of age in a house with no rules brims with energy, joy and pathos.
Others worth considering include: In The Midst Of Winter (p), by Isabel Allende; Red Birds (l), by Mohammed Hanif; The Winter Soldier (l), by Daniel Mason; Killing Commendatore (l), by Haruki Murakami; Shell (l), by Kristina Olsson; Year One (p), by Nora Roberts; and, Winter (p), by Ali Smith.
Simon Schama’s Story Of The Jews: Belonging, 1492-1900 (p) moves into paperback. This second volume of Schama’s magnificent cultural history stretches from Spain’s expulsion of Jews in 1492. It tells the stories not just of rabbis and philosophers but of a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a boxer in Georgian England; a general in Ming China; and, an opera composer in nineteenth-century Germany. The story unfolds in Kerala and Mantua, the starlit hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California.
Biography Of Silence (l), a publishing phenomenon in Spain, is now available in English translation. This essay by the Spanish priest and Zen disciple Pablo D’Ors is a moving, lyrical, far-ranging meditation on the deep joys of confronting the self through silence, which offers an intense engagement with life just as it is.
Among the new cookery books, Vegetables All’Italiana (l), by Anna Del Conte, stands out. Her brand-new collection of recipes serves up Italian vegetable dishes with a modern twist as the stars of the show. Organised in an A-Z format from asparago to zucchina, they are classic dishes as well as Del Conte’s own personalised recipes, many previously unpublished, created throughout her years as a writer.
Vegan Cakes And Other Bakes (l), by Jerome Eckmeier, has 80 easy vegan recipes: cookies, cakes, pizzas, breads, and more. Packed with savoury and sweet ideas for vegan desserts, breads, and main courses such as dairy-free pizza and eggless quiche, each simple recipe uses easily found ingredients, and has a photo to tempt taste-buds.
In Catalan Kitchen (l), Emma Warren lays bare the secrets of one of the richest food cultures in Europe. Catalunya is home to one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-starred
restaurants in the world. This book is beautifully packaged with stunning location and food photography.
Also worth a look are: Modern Baking (l), a ‘baking bible’ of more than 250 recipes from Donna Hay; Baladie (l), Palestinian cuisine from Joudie Kalla; How To Eat (p), a paperback reissue of Nigella Lawson’s 1998 classic; and, Potatoes (l), Jenny Linford’s collection of 65 potato recipes from around the world.
The fifth edition of Berlitz’s pocket-sized travel guide to Tenerife (p) now comes with a bilingual dictionary. It contains ‘Top 10’ attractions and ‘Perfect Day’ itinerary suggestions including Spain’s tallest mountain El Teide, whale-watching, and the hike down the dramatically located village of Masca. Also included are essential practical information on everything from eating out to getting around, and an insightful overview of landscape, history and culture.
The Catalan author and screenwriter Carlos Ruiz Zafón exploded onto the global literary world in 2001 with the publication of La Sombra Del Viento, which would later be translated into the English version, The Shadow Of The Wind. That enthralling gothic mystery set in Barcelona was followed by The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner Of Heaven, two novels building on the plot lines and characters of the first book.
Now comes the translation of El Laberinto De Los Espiritus (2016), The Labyrinth Of The Spirits (l), the fourth and final work featuring byzantine conspiracies in the saga of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, the memorable Barcelona book repository.
The Labyrinth Of The Spirits is the lengthiest novel of the four. It solves all the remaining mysteries in the previous three books, but may also be read as a standalone work as the author fills in enough of the previous plots. 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 September, with availability in print this month or in early October. The Hotlist helps readers to plan and budget for book ordering.
Transcription (l) by Kate Atkinson picks up in 1940 as Juliet Armstrong, 18, is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage in an obscure department of the UK secret service monitoring British fascist sympathizers. When World War II ends, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever. Ten years later, and now a producer at the British Broadcasting Corporation, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. There is a different war now, and a different battleground, but she finds herself once more under threat. A reckoning is due, and she finally realises that there is no action without consequence.
Paris Echo (l) is the latest novel from Sebastian Faulks, the author of Birdsong. At its core lies a question; does an understanding of history and a deep cultural awareness help people to live better and more useful lives? Set in 2006, the plot follows Hannah 31, an American post-doctoral researcher looking into the lives of women during the German occupation of Paris in 1940–44; and Tariq, 19, who has run away from Morocco, searching for sex and adventure. Through their culture clash, Faulks takes us back into the hidden Paris of ‘the Dark Years’, the Algerian war, and the simmering discontents of the city’s suburbs.
In Henki Kawamura’s novel, If Cats Disappeared From The World (p), the narrator’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat, Cabbage, for
company, he was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. But before he can set about tackling his bucket list, the Devil appears with a special offer: in exchange for making one thing disappear, he can have one extra day of life. Thus begins a very bizarre week. How do you decide what makes life worth living? How do you separate out what you can do without from what you hold dear? In dealing with the Devil, the narrator will take himself, and his beloved cat, to the brink.
Other general fiction works worth a look include: Love Is Blind (l), by William Boyd; Three Things About Elsie (p), by Joanna Cannon; The Rules Of Magic (p), by Alice Hoffmann; French Exit (l), by Patrick de Witt; The Rules Of Seeing (l), by Joe Heap; Ghost Wall (l), by Sarah Moss; The Oblique Place (p), by Caterina Soderbaum; and, Wish You Were Here (p), by Graham Swift.
Standouts among the crime fiction and thrillers include: The Tattoo Thief (p), by Alison Belsham; The Rhythm Section (p), a Mark Burnell novel that is soon to be a major movie starring Jude Law and Blake Lively; Fox (l), by Frederick Forsyth; Denial (p), by Peter James; Hallowdene (p), by George Mann; Dead Men Whistling (p), by Graham Masterton; The Clockmaker’s Daughter (l), by Kate Morton; Macbeth (p), by Jo Nesbø; I Invited Her In (p), by Adele Parks; Leverage In Death (l), by JD Robb; and, The Piranhas (l), by Roberto Saviano.
Four new cookery books command attention this month. In Etxebarri (l), John Sarabia delivers the first and highly anticipated book on the Asador Etxebarri restaurant in Atxondo in Spain’s Vizcaya province, which is considered one of the best grills in the world. Employing the oldest culinary technique in the world, fire, chef Bittor Arginzoniz grills food using utensils designed by himself, uses specific woods, and searches obsessively for the best product, revolutionising the way people roast meat, fish or vegetables. He cooks everything over a grill, even pudding, so everything has a unique taste to it. In words and stunning photography, this book describes the chef, his kitchen and his recipes.
Marti Buckley’s cookbook, Basque Country (l), unlocks the mysteries of the País Vasco’s culinary world by bringing together its intensely ingredient-driven recipes with stories of regional customs and the Basque kitchen, and vivid photographs of both food and place. It is not about exotic ingredients or flashy techniques. It is about starting with the right fish or cut of meat or peak-of-ripeness tomato, and then bringing forth its depth of flavour. It is the marriage of simplicity and refinement, and the joy of cooking.
Catalan Food (l), by Daniel Olivella and Caroline Wright, serves historical narratives alongside 80 carefully curated food recipes that are simple and fresh. These traditional dishes and inventive takes on classics are intended to be cooked leisurely and with heart.
The Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini burst upon the literary world in 2003 with The Kite Runner, a lyrical, bittersweet novel set largely in Afghanistan. It subsequently became a major movie. He followed up with two more acclaimed works, again featuring Afghanistan: One Thousand Splendid Suns; and, And The Mountains Echoed.
His latest, Sea Prayer (l), is another moving fiction, but based in a different conflict zone. A father holds his sleeping son as they await dawn and the arrival of a boat. He tells the boy of long summers in the father’s own childhood, remembering the tranquillity of his own father's home in Syria. Then he recalls life in the Syrian city of Homs before the bombs dropped and the family fled. At sunrise, the father, boy, and their fellow refugees will gather up their few possessions and embark on a potentially fatal voyage in search of a new home.
Sea Prayer is aimed at all ages and is beautifully illustrated. As with his previous books, this one is straight from the heart. Hosseini is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation not-for-profit organisation providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
Hippie (l) is Paulo Coelho’s most autobiographical book. The international bestselling author embarks on a journey encouraging readers to revive the dreams of the hippie generation. As a young man who wants to be a writer, Paulo grows his hair long and travels the world searching for freedom and the deepest meaning of existence. The journey progresses from his 1970 arrest as a terrorist by the Brazilian military dictatorship until his encounter with Karla, with whom he decides to go to Nepal on the Magic Bus. Along the way, they are transformed and embrace new values.
Future Popes Of Ireland (l), by Darragh Martin, is a hilarious and sad novel about the messiness of belief, family, and love, and the futility of thinking things will go according to plan. In 1979, Bridget Doyle has one burning ambition. She wants her family to produce the very first Irish pope. Inspired by Pope John Paul II’s appearance in Phoenix Park, Dublin, she sprinkles Papal-blessed holy water on the marriage bed of her son and daughter-in-law and leaves the rest to nature. But when her daughter-in-law dies in childbirth, Granny Doyle must raise four grandchildren. Thirty years later, it is unlikely that any of them will fulfil her dreams; or is it?
The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred Year Old Man (p), is the darkly comedic sequel to Jonas Jonasson’s international bestseller, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared. This time, it all begins with a hot air balloon trip and three bottles of champagne. Allan and Julius are ready for some spectacular views but are not expecting to land in the sea and be rescued by a North Korean ship. Neither could they have ever imagined that the captain of the ship would be transporting a suitcase full of contraband uranium on a nuclear weapons mission for Kim Jong-un.
Other general and historic fiction titles worth considering this month include: The Silence Of The Girls (l), by Pat Barker; The Impostor (p), by Javier Cercas; Washington Black (l), by Esi Edugyan; Rome’s Sacred Flame (p), a Vespasian novel by Robert Fabbri; A Column Of Fire (p), by Ken Follett; The Water Thief (l), by Claire Hajaj; Forest Dark (p), by Nicole Krauss; The Life To Come (p), by Michelle De Kretser; All Among The Barley (l), by Melissa Harrison; Last Of The Summer Moet (p), by Wendy Holden; In The Midnight Room (p), by Laura McBride; The Ninth Hour (p), by Alice McDermott; The Secret Keeper (l), by Susan Lewis; Johannesburg (p), by Fiona Melrose; Secret Books (p), by Marcel Theroux; Sunset Over The Cherry Orchard (p), by Jo Thomas; and, Anatomy Of A Scandal (p), by Sarah Vaughan.
Two standouts in the fantasy fiction list include The Story Of Kullervo (p) and The Fall Of Gondolin (l), both by the late JRR Tolkien of The Lord Of The Rings fame.
The first of these is a previously unknown work. It tells of a doomed young man who is sold into slavery and swears revenge on the magician who killed his father. It is being published with the author’s drafts, notes and lecture-essays on its source-work.
In The Fall of Gondolin, two of the greatest powers in the world clash. Morgoth of the uttermost evil is unseen throughout but rules a vast military power from his fortress. His foe is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwe, chief of the Valar. This earliest tale from the First Age was published posthumously in the second volume of The History Of Middle-Earth series by Tolkien’s son, Christopher. In the words of JRR Tolkien, it was ‘the first real story of this imaginary world’. Together with his works Beren and Luthien and The Children of Hurin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days.
Thrillers worth a look from this month’s extensive list for publication include: Fall Down Dead (l), by Stephen Booth; A Close Run Thing (l), by David Donachie; Y Is For Yesterday (p), by Sue Grafton; The Mystery Of Three Quarters (l), an Hercule Poirot story from Sophie Hannah; Earth Storm (p), by Mons Kallentoft; A Measure Of Darkness (l), by Jonathan Kellerman; Broken Ground (l), by Val McDermid; The Psychology Of Time Travel (l), by Kate Mascarenhas; The Way Of All Flesh (l), by Ambrose Parry; In Bloom (p), by CJ Skuse; Lullaby (p), by Leila Slimani; and, Fatal Sunset (p), a Valencia-based Max Camara mystery by Jason Webster.
Key: (l) hardback or large paperback (p) small paperback