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. This time I’ve been looking at the offerings of Michael Jospeh.
Starting logically in January the first book that caught my eye was The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup. Copenhagen. A young woman has been killed and dumped at a playground. One of her hands has been cut off, and above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts. Detective Naia Thulin is assigned the case. Her partner is Mark Hess, a burned-out investigator who’s just been kicked out of Europol’s headquarters in The Hague. They soon discover evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead, the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung. A man confessed to her murder, and the case is long since solved. Then another woman is found murdered, along with another chestnut man. Thulin and Hess suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case, the murdered women and a killer who is spreading fear throughout the country. But what is it? I have a copy of this book so keep a look out for my review.
Jane Fallon has an as yet untitled book out this month. Holly is celebrating a new promotion and dying to pop the champagne with her best friend Roz. But is Holly just imagining things, or is Roz – who supported her every step of the way – not as happy for her as she should be? Soon Holly has the sneaking suspicion that there’s a target on her back. Has someone been playing dirty in a war Holly didn’t know she was fighting? And is Roz more tangled up in this than she’ll admit? Only one woman can be left standing – but will the best woman win?
The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz by Jeremy Dronfield tells the true story of Gustav and Fritz Kleinmann. In 1939, Gustav Kleinmann, a Jewish upholsterer in Vienna, was seized by the Nazis. Along with his teenage son, Fritz, he was sent to Buchenwald in Germany. There began an unimaginable ordeal that saw the pair beaten, starved and forced to build the very concentration camp they were held in. When Gustav was set to be transferred to Auschwitz, a certain death sentence, Fritz refused to leave his side. Throughout the horrors they witnessed and the suffering they endured, there was one constant that kept them alive: the love between father and son.
Also out this month is Day of the Dead by Nicci French, The Break Line by James Brabazon and Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher.
Onto February which sees the publication of The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea. 1686, Iceland. Betrothed unexpectedly to Jon Eriksson, Rosa travels to the isolated Stykkisholmur. The villagers are suspicious of outsiders – especially one from the everdark edge of civilisation. But Rosa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He won’t talk of it but gives her a small glass figurine, though Rosa doesn’t know what it signifies. The villagers look on them both not only with suspicion – but dread. Rosa sees the darkness coming. and she fears she will be its next victim . . . I have a copy of this so keep a look out for my review.
The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor is also out this month. An email arrives saying “I know what happened to your sister. It’s happening again.” Annie Thorne disappeared when she was eight, her family thinking it was the worst thing that could happen. But then she came back…
There’s a new Jojo Moyes book out this month. In Still Me, Lou Clark is many miles away from her new boyfriend Sam. She knows her employer is a good man and she knows his wife is keeping a secret from him. What she doesn’t know is she’s about to meet someone who’s going to turn her whole life upside down. Josh reminds her so much of a man she used to know that it’ll hurt. Lou won’t know what to do next, but she knows that whatever she chooses is going to change everything.
February also sees the publication of The Poison Bed by E.C. Fremantle. Autumn 1615. Scandal rocks the country. A celebrity couple are imprisoned on suspicion of murder. She is young, captivating and from a notorious family. He is rich and powerful. Some believe she is innocent; others think her wicked or insane. He claims no knowledge of the crime. Who is telling the truth, who has the most to lose and who is willing to commit murder?
There’s a new David Raker book out this month. In You Were Gone by Tim Weaver a woman walks into a police station. She has no ID, just a piece of paper with the name ‘David Raker’ on it. She says she’s his wife. The woman looks just like her. She knows everything about him and their life together. But David buried his wife eight years ago. The next day the woman vanishes. The prime suspect in her disappearance, David must find out the truth before the police close in.
Still in February and The Pianist of Damascus by Aeham Ahmad is published. One morning on the outskirts of Damascus, two starving friends are walking through their desolate city and come across a familiar street that has been turned to rubble, concrete bridges towering above them like tombs and housesturned inside out. Aeham turns to the only comfort he has left and pushes his piano into the street to play a song of hope to his fellow Syrians. It is a song that will reach far beyond the streets of his home and carry consequences he could never have dreamed of.
Also out is The Wisdom of Wolves by Elli H. Radinger. Love your family, care for your those around you, never give up and always find time to have fun – these are the golden rules of wolves. The Wisdom of Wolves takes a look at these remarkably intelligent animals who take empathetic care of their old and injured, bring up their young lovingly and are able to forget everything when playing.
Feburary is also publication month for the paperback edition of The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, the couple lose their home and their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea- swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset via Devon and Cornwall. They have almost no money for food or shelter and must carry only the essentials for survival on their backs as they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.
Also out this month is Out of the Dark by Gregg Hurwitz, and The Stepney Doorstep Society by Kate Thompson.
We arrive at March which brings A Gift for Dying by M.J. Arlidge. Adam Brandt is a forensic psychologist, used to dealing with the most damaged members of society. Then he meets Kassie. She claims to have a terrible gift. With just one look, she can foresee when and how you will die. A serial killer is terrorising the city. And only Kassie seems to know who his next victim will be. Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her. But he doesn’t realise how deadly his faith might prove…
Also out this month is She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge. On a hot July night in 1983, six school friends go camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and young Aurora Jackson is dazzled to be allowed to tag along. Thirty years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens is called to the scene: Aurora Jackson, found at long last. The friends have all maintained their innocence, but the body is found in a hideaway only the six of them knew about. It seems the killer has always lurked very close to home…
Finally in March His Perfect Wife by Natasha Bell is published. Alexandra Southwood is missing. It isn’t long before the police are searching for a body. But Alexandra is alive – trapped, far away from her family. Desperate, her husband Marc will stop at nothing to find her but he doesn’t realise what he might discover along the way…
Also out this month is Celtic Empire by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler, The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden, The Rising Sea by Clive Cussler, A History of Britain in 12 Maps by Philip Parker, Moss by Ulrica Nordström and Zen: The Art of Simple Living by Shunmyo Masuno.
April sees the welcome return of Don and Rosie Tillman in The Rosie Result by Graham Simsion. Until ten years ago, geneticist Don Tillman had never had a
second date. Then he developed The Wife Project and met Rosie, ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’. Now, having survived 3,653 days of marriage, Don’s life-contentment graph, recently at its highest point, is curving downwards. Don and Rosie’s ten-year-old son, Hudson, is having trouble at school: his teachers say he isn’t fitting in with the other kids. For Don, learning to be a good parent as well as a good partner will require the help of friends old and new. It will mean letting Hudson make his way in the world, and grappling with difficult truths about his own identity. It will also mean opening a cocktail bar.
Also out this month is the second instalment in the Hidden Iceland trilogy, The Island by Ragnar Jonasson. Elliðaey is a collection of isolated islands off the coast of Iceland. It is a beautiful, unforgiving terrain and is an easy place to vanish. Investigator Hermannsdóttir is at the peak of her career and is sent to discover what happened when a group of friends visited the island of Elliðaey, but one failed to return. Could this disappearance have links to the vanishing of a couple ten years previously out on the Westfjords? Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? Hulda must find out.
In Between Breaths by Fiona Neill sees Lily wakes up unable to move, her parents dropping everything to find out why. Fault lines in their marriage soon start to appear, as Lily’s mother Grace begins to unwind the mysteries of her daughter’s life in an attempt to find a cause. Whilst younger daughter Mia is left to her own devices, inventing her own reasons for her sister’s condition. As Grace little does she realise that the uncomfortable truth about Lily lies much closer to home . . .
Also out is the paperback edition of Nine Perfect Strangers by Lianne Moriarty. The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation. Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage. Miles from anywhere, without cars or phones, they have no way to reach the outside world. Just time to think about themselves, and get to know each other. Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission. But quite a different one from any the guests might have imagined. Behind the retreat’s glamorous facade lies a dark agenda. These nine perfect strangers have no idea what’s about to hit them . . . I have a copy of this so keep a look out for my review.
In The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister, Izzy English’s father is about to be released from prison and she is conflicted. He’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother. Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial. But should she give him the benefit of the doubt? Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap?
The paperback The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen is out this month. Inside the Dead Letters depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries: missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain- smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages and forgotten street names. When William discovers letters addressed simply to ‘My Great Love’, his work takes on new meaning. Written by a wistful woman to the soulmate she hasn’t met yet, the missives capture William’s heart in ways he didn’t know were possible, and soon he begins to wonder: Are these letters truly lost? Or might he be the intended recipient – could he be her great love? I have a copy of this book so keep a look out for my review.
Also out is Molly and Me by Colin Butcher. Ex-policeman Colin Butcher had just set up his own pet detective agency. It was running smoothly but he realized he
needed a partner. And that’s when inspiration struck… Enter Molly, an unloved and unwanted cocker spaniel rescued from a classifieds website. Clever and charismatic, she melts Colin’s heart, the two are soon inseparable. With Colin by her side, Molly cracks cases and solve crimes across the country, using her exceptional sense of smell to locate missing pets and reunite them with their grateful owners. Colin and Molly’s work takes them around the country, with plenty of new friends and eccentric encounters along the way.
Finally out in April is Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd. As the country’s top forensic pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd has spent a lifetime uncovering the secrets of the dead. When death is sudden or unexplained, it falls to Shepherd to establish the cause. Each post-mortem is a detective story in its own right – and Shepherd has performed over 23,000 of them. Through his skill, dedication and insight, Dr Shepherd solves the puzzle to answer our most pressing question: how did this person die?But a life in death, bearing witness to some of humanity’s darkest corners, exacts a price and Shepherd doesn’t flinch from counting the cost to him and his family.
Also out this month is The Black Art of Killing by Matthew Hall, Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin, The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles, Only Human: Themis Files Book 3 by Sylvain Neuvel and The Gypsy Code by Mike Woodhouse.
May sees the publication of My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing. A serial killer is on the loose in your small town, preying on young women. Fear is driving your well-behaved young daughter off the rails, and you find yourself in bed late at night, looking at the woman who lies asleep beside you. Because you thought you knew the worst about her. The truth is you know nothing at all.
Another month, another David Raker novel. The as yet untitled novel by Tim Weaver sees four households gather for a party on Halloween in the tiny Yorkshire village of Black Gale. Three hours in, they head outside, onto the darkened moors, to play a drunken game of hide and seek. None return. There’s no trail, no evidence and no answers. An entire village has just vanished. With the police investigation dead in the water, the families of the disappeared ask missing persons investigator David Raker to find out what happened. But nothing can prepare him for the truth.
There’s a follow up to Beartown out this month in Us Against You by Fredrik Backman. Tucked in a forest in the frozen north, Beartown is full of tough and hardworking residents. They don’t expect life to be easy, but they do expect it to be fair. Which is why the sudden loss of their hockey players to the rival town of Hed hurts. So when a new star player arrives, Coach Peter sees an opportunity to rebuild the team – to take on Hed and restore Beartown’s fortunes. But as the big game between both towns approaches, the rivalry turns bitter and all too real. Once the stands rumbled with threats to ‘kill’ and ‘ruin’ each other, but the residents didn’t mean it. Now they do. By the time the last goal is scored, someone in Beartown will be dead . .
In Down to the Woods by M.J. Arlidge, the last thing Tom Campbell remembers is camping in the New Forest with his girlfriend, Melissa. Now he is helpless, alone and consumed by fear, hunted through the woods by a sinister, masked figure…When Tom’s body is found, displayed with grisly relish, Helen Grace takes the case. But before she can catch her breath, a second victim is taken – a serial killer is on the loose. Helen and her team must race against time to catch the perpetrator, before more blood is shed.
Still in May which sees the publication of Tomorrow by Damian Dibben. A 217-year-old-dog is searching for his lost master. So begins the journey of Tomorrow, a dog who must travel through the gilded courts of kings and the brutal battlefields of Europe in search of the man who granted him immortality. But Tomorrow’s journey is also a race against time. Danger stalks his path, and in the shadows lurks an old enemy. Before his pursuer can reach him, he must find his master – or lose him forever.
Also out is The Copycat by Jake Woodhouse. Jaap Rykel is on the brink, his dark past driving him to breaking point – and ending his police career. Visiting the station one last time, he stumbles across an investigation into a particularly violent murder. A murder where the details exactly match a case he solved years earlier. But that killer was caught – and is still in prison. Is there a copycat killer on the loose or did he get it wrong, and send an innocent man to prison? Is this his last chance to make things right or is it the blow that finally takes him over the edge?
A follow up to Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling! is The Importance of Being Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen, with the paperbck edition out this month. Aisling is a country girl learning to love the city sophistication of unlimited Pinot Greej and brunch, though smashed avocado still mystifies her. She can plan anything, from Secret Santa for her ungrateful colleagues to a hen party for not one but two brides. But she thrown off course when her job and relationship suddenly go up in smoke. All at once she’s heading home to live with her mother. (Not without a detour to Vegas first – she’s unemployed and single, not dead.) But between making new friends and rivals, and finding her eye caught by a very handsome but very unavailable new man, going home is full of surprises. Could small town life actually hold the answers Aisling is missing? You can read my review of Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling! here.
A Modern Herbal by Alys Fowler is a miscellany which celebrates everything there is to know about herbs and their significance in our gardens, kitchens, medicine cupboards and daily lives. Alys explores the abundance of uses of these incredible plants and writes beautifully about how herbs have become entwined in our lives past and present.
Lastly in May, East of Croydon by Sue Perkins is published. Sue was asked if she’d like to make a documentary on the Mekong River, travelling from the vast delta in Vietnam to the remote and snowy peaks of Tibet. Up until that point, the farthest East she’d been was Torremolinos, in the Costa Del Sol. The thing was she is scared of flying. She has zero practical skills and can’t survive if I am more than a three minute walk from a supermarket. For the last seven years she has suffered with crippling anxiety she bolt’s when panicked, cannot bear to witness humans or animals in distress, has no ability to learn languages, is am a terrible hypochondriac. And is no good with boats. So she said yes.
Also out this month is , Fugituve Six by Pittacus Lore, Heatwave by Kate Riordan, The House on the Edge of the Cliff by Carol Drinkwater, If You’d Let Me Finish by Jeremy Clarkson and The House Across the Street by Lesley Pearse (read an extract here).
Finally we arrive at June which sees the publication of The Whisper Man by Alex North. Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start. But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. The killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’. Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.
Also out this month The Grey Ghost by Clive Cussler, an as yet untitled novel by Elizabeth Enfield, Tom Clancy’s Line of Sight by Mike Maden, The Playgroung by Jane Shemilt, an as yet untitled novel by Jack Grimwood, Generation One – Book 3 by Pittacus Lore, he House Across the Street by Lesley Pearse (read an extract here)
So there we have it, lots more tempting books to pile onto the already overburdened bookshelves. Which ones have caught your eye?