It’s getting to that time of year when the bookworm’s equivalent of digging out the red pen and snaffling a copy of the Christmas Radio Times starts. That’s right. It’s 2019 publisher catalogue time. So I’ve undergone the arduous task of sitting down and seeing what bookish offerings we can expect in the first half of next year. First up are the offerings of Transworld whose imprints include Bantam Press, Corgi, Doubleday, Black Swan, Bantam Books and Transworld Ireland.
First up in January Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield is published. Set in the 19th Century, a stranger bursts into an inn with a drowned little girl in his arms. Hours later the girl takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle, magic or science? Also out is The Suspect by Fiona Barton. Two girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand. Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. As the case develops it seems that the danger may be closer to home than Kate realises.
Also out this month are Slow Motion Ghosts by Jeff Noon, and The Angel Maker by Emma Hornby.
February sees the release of I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella. Fixie Farr got her nickname from her habit of fixing things, from a crooked object to a friend. So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees, she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, scribbles her an IOU – but of course Fixie never intends to call in the favour. Until she has to. That leaves her owing Seb and soon IOUS are flying back and forth. Now Fixie has to find out if she can fix things for herself. You’ll also be able to read Written From the Heart by Trisha Ashley.Tina Devino is a middling romance novelist who dreams of writing a bestseller but is increasingly forced to compete with younger (and blonder) debut authors. Feeling forgotten, Tina realises the only way up is to take her career and destiny in hand and create her own happy ending. Fans of The Disclaimer will be pleased to hear that The Secretary by Renee Knight is out in February too. Who holds the most power in the room? Is it the one who speaks loudest, who commands the most respect? Or is it someone like Christine Butcher: a meek, overlooked figure, quietly sitting in the corner of the room. Someone who quietly, perhaps even unwittingly, gathers together knowledge of the people she’s there to serve. There’s a fine line between loyalty and obsession. And when someone like Christine Butcher is pushed to her limit, she might just become the most dangerous person in the room . . .
Also out this month is Kellanved’s Reach by Ian C. Esslemont.
March sees the latest adventure of Bryant & May in The Lonely Hour by Christopher Fowler. In London a cunning killer goes about his grim work – a killer who always strikes at ‘the lonely hour’ – 4am. It falls to detectives Arthur Bryant and John May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit to find the method in his madness. In A Vintage Summer by Cathy Bramley, Lottie Allbright packs up and moves back home – but finds her family in disarray. In need of a new place to stay, Lottie takes up the offer of a live-in job managing a local vineyard. At Butterworth Wines in the rolling Derbyshire hills widowed Betsy is trying to keep the place afloat but is harbouring a debilitating secret. Her interfering grandson, Jensen, is trying to convince her to sell up and move into a home. Lottie’s determined to save Butterworth Wines, but with all this and an unpredictable English summer to deal with, it’ll be a challenge. And that’s before she discovers something that will turn her summer – and her world – upside down. Finally there is The Boy in the Headlights by Samuel Bjork. Winter 1999. An old man is driving home. It is dark and cold. Suddenly his headlights catch an animal up ahead. He hits the breaks furiously. Just in front of his bonnet he finds a young boy with a set of deer antlers on his head. Fourteen years later, a woman is found brutally murdered, her body hidden in the boot of a car. Munch and Krüger investigate and there’s an uncanny resemblance to cases from Krüger;s past. And then one day she sees a familiar face on the bus. It is her sister Sigrid, but she knows that’s not possible, she’s got the death certificate to prove it.
Also out this month is One False Move by Robert Goddard.
April sees Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke published. When Justine Carmichael (Sagittarius, aspiring journalist and sceptic) bumps into her teenage crush Nick Jordan (Aquarius, struggling actor and true believer) it could be by chance. Or it could be written in the stars. Justine works at the Alexandria Park Star – and Nick relies on the magazine’s astrology column to guide him in life. Looking for a way to get Nick’s attention, Justine has the idea of making a few small alterations to the horoscope for Aquarius before it goes to print. After all, it’s only the stars. What could possibly go wrong? Also out is If, Then by Kate Hope Day. In the shadow of a dormant volcano in Oregon lies a small town much like any other – though mistier perhaps, and greener. Four neighbours plague by strange visions. There’s Ginny troubled by a vision of a beautiful colleague in her bed; her husband Mark foresees imminent and devastating natural disaster, who sees a vision of her late mother looking healthy and vibrant; and Cass glimpses an image of herself pregnant all over again, just as she is returning to her game-changing research. When the volcano begins to rumble, it becomes clear that these visions are not what they first seemed, and that the lives of this close-knit community are in grave danger. Finally in April Expectation by Anna Hope is published. Hannah has worked hard to move away from her working class beginnings. She wonders if the thing she’s worked hardest for will always be out of reach. Cate has fought against convention. Now she is a stay at home mum. Lissa chose theatre over family but wonders if she’ll ever be the lead in her own life.
Also out this month are The Fire Starters by Jan Carson, Too Close by Natalie Daniels and Sunfall by Jim Al-Khalili.
May sees the publication of How to Find Home by Mahsuda Snaith. Molly finds herself pregnant and in court, her boyfriend nowhere to be seen. She decides she wants better, she wants to start anew. So in a retelling The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Molly travels across the country in search of a place to call home. Accompanied by Luca – wiry, wild and a little weird – and Jules – loud and seemingly fearless – she comes face-to-face with old adversaries and new challenges; her past is never far behind. But the three of them never waver in their pursuit of courage, love, safety and – most importantly –home. There’s also The Forest of Wool and Steel by Natsy Miyashita in which Tomura is startled at the hypnotic sound of a piano being tuned in his school reminding him of the forests, both dark and gleaming, that surround his mountain village. He becomes determined to discover more.Set in a small town in Hokkaido, and roaming between the piano store and the homes of the clients whose pianos he tunes, this is a story of a man finding his way through the forest of life. Another book out this month is Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior. Ellie Jacobs was a librarian and now spends most of her time looking after her husband Clive and their home, apart from the days when she escapes into the wilds of Exmoor to write poetry. Dan Hollis lives alone, in a remote barn and for the past twenty-three years he has been making harps; choosing beautiful local wood, carving and shaping it by hand and inlaying into each harp a ‘signature’ Exmoor pebble. Then while out walking, Ellie stumbles across Dan in his workshop . . . and so begins a story of surprises, unintended complications and life-changing consequences for everyone. In Mind Games by Leona Deakin, four strangers are missing and left at their last-known locations are birthday cards reading YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME. DARE TO PLAY? The police don’t seem to be worried but the families are. Ppsychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom is persuaded to investigate. As she looks into the case, she finds something that binds all of the missing people, something which makes them very dangerous indeed. As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the puppeteer.
Also out this month is Reflections by Marcia Willett and Secret Service by Tom Bradby.
Finally we arrive at June and The Body Lies by Jo Baker. A young mother accepts a creative writing post at a remote university. An escape from a violent assault and a new start. Then a student starts emailing her his work and as she reads it she recognises herself as the main character, and he has written her a terrible fate. Now she must see if she can stop life imitating art. The Second Wife by Rebecca Fleet is another June offering. Alex’s first wife committed suicide. Now though he is living in Brighton with his daughter and new wife Natalie. The domestic calm is broken when they narrowly escape from a fire. Alex soon discovers that Natalie and Jade have different accounts of what happened that terrible night. He needs to find out which of them is lying and why. Also out this month is The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren Nort. After the sudden death of her husband, Tess Clarke is drowning in grief. She will do anything to keep her son Jamie safe. Grief counsellor Shelley she takes control when Tess can’t bear to face the outside world. But when questions arise over her husband’s death and strange things start to happen, Tess begins to suspect that Shelley may have an ulterior motive. Tess knows she must do everything she can to keep Jamie safe but she doesn’t know who to trust. In Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor, Jennifer Cole has just been told that she has a rare and terminal blood disorder. She has 90 days to say goodbye to friends and family, and to put her affairs in order. Focusing on the positives she only has one real regret to address: the relationships she’s lost. So she chooses to stay put and write a letter each to three people – her overbearing, selfish sister, her jelly-spined, cheating ex-husband, and her charming, unreliable ex-boyfriend – finally telling them the truth. After all, what is the worst that can happen to you when you have nothing left to lose? The trouble is once you start telling the truth, it’s hard to stop. And as Jenny will discover, the truth isn’t always as straightforward as it seems.
Also out this month is The Warehouse by Rob Hart and an as yet untitled novel by Laura Madeleine.
So there we are, lots of lovely books to threaten the bank balance. Have you see any you like the sound of?