Books to Look Forward to in 2018
It’s only January but 2018 is already shaping up to be a mighty fine year for publishing. Today I’m going to take a peek forward and share the blurbs from the books that I can’t wait to read. With mermaids, curses, love, murder and Hillary Clinton as president, I think there’s something here for everyone.
In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.
Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.
So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.
Order your copy of The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Polly Vaughan is trying to escape the ravaging guilt of a disturbing incident in London by heading north to the Scottish Highlands. As soon as she arrives, this spirited, funny, alert young woman goes looking for drink, drugs and sex – finding them all quickly, and unsatisfactorily, with the barman in the only pub. She also finds a fresh kind of fear, alone in this eerie, myth-drenched landscape. Increasingly prone to visions or visitations – floating white shapes in the waters of the loch or in the woods – she is terrified and fascinated by a man she came across in the forest on her first evening, apparently tearing apart a bird. Who is this strange loner? And what is his sinister secret?
Pre-order your copy of Swansong
One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid.
As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on… and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.
Where will their ambitions lead? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?
Pre-order your copy of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
The year is 1750. As he makes his way to the capital to pledge allegiance to the new leader of the Buganda Kingdom, Kintu Kidda unleashes a curse that will plague his family for generations. As the centuries pass, the tale moves down the bloodline, exploring the lives of four of Kintu Kidda’s descendants. Although the family members all have their own stories and live in very different circumstances, they are united by one thing – the struggle to break free from the curse and escape the burden of their family’s past.
Pre-order your copy of Kintu
In the city of Ambergris, a would-be suitor discovers a sunlit street can become a killing ground in the blink of an eye. An artist receives an invitation to a beheading and finds himself enchanted. And a patient in a mental institution is convinced he’s imagined a city called Ambergris, invented it’s every last detail, and that he’s really from a place called Chicago. Ambergris is a cruelly beautiful metropolis – a haven for artists and thieves, for composers and murderers. And once there, anything can happen.
These tales of Ambergris include the World Fantasy Award-winning novella, The Transformation of Martin Lake.
Pre-order your copy of City of Saints and Madmen
First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesn’t know anything about that at nineteen. At nineteen, he’s proud of the fact his relationship flies in the face of social convention.
As he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen.
Pre-order your copy of The Only Story
Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and the city’s vulnerable poor are disappearing from the streets. Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.
When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock.
But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking.
Pre-order your copy of The Wicked Cometh
Nell Crane has never held a boy’s hand. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts-an arm, a leg, an eye-Nell has always been an outsider. Her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs that everyone now uses. But she’s the only one with her machinery on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. And as her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good… but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary ideas when she has none of her own? Then she finds a lost mannequin’s hand while salvaging on the beach, and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city-and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.
Pre-order your copy of Spare and Found Parts
‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’
It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.
But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.
The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him from ever escaping Blackheath…
Pre-order your copy of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.
Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.
The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.
Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.
Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.
Pre-order your copy of Force of Nature
Ray is not a bad guy. He mostly did not cheat on his heavily pregnant wife. He only sometimes despises every one of his friends. And though his career as a freelance tech journalist is dismal and he spends his afternoons churning out third-rate listicles in his boxer briefs, he dreams of making a difference. But Ray is about to learn that his special talent is for making things worse.
Pre-order your copy of The Adulterants
‘I killed Joe once, in a manner of speaking. But not twice. Not in the way you mean.’
Twenty-four-year-old Welshman Llew Jones is in jail. All he wanted was to see America and write about it. Then he met the extraordinary Butterfly Joe and his freakish family and got caught up in an adventure that got way, way out of control. Now his friend’s gone and Llew has to give his side of the story . . .
Pre-order your copy of The Killing of Butterfly Joe
Mark Renton is finally a success. An international jet-setter, he now makes significant money managing DJs, but the constant travel, airport lounges, soulless hotel rooms and broken relationships have left him dissatisfied with his life. He’s then rocked by a chance encounter with Frank Begbie, from whom he’d been hiding for years after a terrible betrayal and the resulting debt. But the psychotic Begbie appears to have reinvented himself as a celebrated artist and – much to Mark’s astonishment – doesn’t seem interested in revenge.
Sick Boy and Spud, who have agendas of their own, are intrigued to learn that their old friends are back in town, but when they enter the bleak world of organ-harvesting, things start to go so badly wrong. Lurching from crisis to crisis, the four men circle each other, driven by their personal histories and addictions, confused, angry – so desperate that even Hibs winning the Scottish Cup doesn’t really help. One of these four will not survive to the end of this book. Which one of them is wearing Dead Men’s Trousers?
Pre-order your copy of Dead Men’s Trousers
When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard.
So it doesn’t matter that he’s twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she’s sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him.
Sarah’s friends are worried. Her father can’t understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she’s on the verge of losing her job.
But Sarah can’t help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew.
And love is supposed to hurt.
Pre-order your copy of Almost Love
April (exact date unknown)
In William Gibson’s first novel since 2014’s New York Times bestselling The Peripheral, a gifted “app-whisperer” is hired by a mysterious San Francisco start-up and finds herself in contact with a unique and surprisingly combat-savvy AI. (set in alternate future where Hilary Clinton won the US election)
17-year-old Laura Bow has invented a rudimentary artificial intelligence and named it Organon. At first, it’s intended to be a sounding-board for her teenage frustrations, a surrogate best friend; but as she grows older, Organon grows with her.
As the world becomes a very different place, technology changes the way we live, love and die; massive corporations develop rival intelligences to Laura’s, ones without safety barriers or morals; and Laura is forced to decide whether to share her creation with the world. If it falls into the wrong hands, she knows, its power could be abused. But what if Organon is the only thing that can stop humanity from hurting itself irreparably?
Pre-order your copy of I Still Dream
1954, the South Pacific islands. When Beatriz Hanlon agreed to accompany her missionary husband Max to a remote island, she knew there would be challenges. But it isn’t just the heat and the damp and the dirt. There are more insects than she could ever have imagined, and the islanders are strangely hostile. And then there are the awful noises coming from the church at night.
Yet as the months go by, Bea slowly grows accustomed to life on the island. That is until an unexpected and interminably humming guest arrives, and the couple’s claustrophobic existence is stretched to breaking point.
Events draw to a terrible climax, and Bea watches helplessly as her husband’s guilt drives him into madness. It’s not long before Bea finds herself fighting for her freedom and her life.
Pre-order your copy of Things Bright and Beautiful
Mara’s island is one of stories and magic, but every story ends in the same way. She will finish her days on the cliff, turned to stone and gazing out at the horizon like all the islanders before her.
Mara’s parents – a boxer and a ballerina – chose this enchanted place as a refuge from the turbulence of their previous lives; they wanted to bring up their children somewhere special and safe. But the island and the sea don’t care what people want, and when they claim a price from her family, Mara’s world unravels.
It takes the arrival of Pearl, mysterious and irresistible, to light a spark in Mara again, and allow her to consider a different story for herself.
Pre-order your copy of The Gloaming
Jasper is not ordinary.
In fact, he would say he is extraordinary…
Synaesthesia paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder.
He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no-one else seems to be taking it as seriously as they should be. The knife and the screams are all mixed up in his head and he’s scared that he can’t quite remember anything clearly.
But where is Bee? Why hasn’t she come home yet? Jasper must uncover the truth about that night – including his own role in what happened…
Pre-order your copy of The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder
For Selvon, Ardan and Yusuf, growing up under the towers of Stones Estate, summer means what it does anywhere: football, music, freedom. But now, after the killing of a British soldier, riots are spreading across the city, and nowhere is safe.
While the fury swirls around them, Selvon and Ardan remain focused on their own obsessions, girls and grime. Their friend Yusuf is caught up in a different tide, a wave of radicalism surging through his local mosque, threatening to carry his troubled brother, Irfan, with it.
Pre-order your copy of In Our Mad and Furious City
The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
Deep beneath the sea off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of being human… but at what terrible price? Hans Christian Andersen’s dark original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world-building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, storytelling at its most spellbinding.
Pre-order your copy of The Surface Breaks
Who the f*ck is Tori Bailey?
There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. She’s inspired millions of women to stick two fingers up at convention with her bestselling memoir, and she has the perfect relationship to boot.
But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.
Everyone around her is getting married and having babies, but her long-term boyfriend won’t even talk about getting engaged. And when her best friend Dee – her plus one, the only person who understands the madness – falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in terrifying danger of being left behind.
When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path.
It’s time for Tori to practice what she’s preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?
Pre-order your copy of How Do You Like Me Now
Sometime in the near future, thanks to medical technology HealthTechTM, immortality is now within humanity’s grasp. But faced with declining economic productivity, falling birth rates and a severely ageing population, the Ministry has become the all-powerful arbiter of how healthcare resources are allocated.
Resources accrue to ‘lifers’, those predisposed for a life expected to be lived healthily well beyond a hundred years old. Some factors that determine lifer status are genetically incidental – but there are other, more intangible factors that are within individuals’ control: the degree to which they are ‘life-loving’ and self-caring. Non-lifers are known as ‘sub-100s’: individuals with no potential for longevity and deemed a waste of HealthTechTM resources.
The Suicide Club hasn’t always been an activist group. Initially, it was a group of disillusioned lifers, gathering to indulge in forbidden, hedonistic activities: performances of live music, traditional meals of the most artery-clogging kind, irresponsible orgies . . . You name it. Now branded terrorists, anyone found guilty of wanting the right to die as they choose will find themselves fast-tracked to the Third Wave and condemned to immortality. . .
Pre-order your copy of The Suicide Club
Jósef Loewe enters the world as a lump of clay – carried in a hatbox by his Jewish father Leo, a fugitive in WWII Germany.
Taking refuge in a small-town guesthouse, Leo discovers a kindred spirit in the young woman who nurses him back to health and together they shape the clay into a baby. But en route to safety in Iceland, he is robbed of the ring needed to bring the child to life. It is not until 1962 that Jósef can be ‘born’, only to grow up with a rare disease. Fifty-three years on, it leads him into the hands of a power-hungry Icelandic geneticist, just when science and politics are threatening to lead us all down a dark, dangerous road.
Pre-order your copy of CoDex 1962
Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
Imagine a world where all humans must hibernate through a brutally cold winter, their bodies dangerously close to death as they enter an ultra-low metabolic state of utterly dreamless sleep. All humans, that is, apart from the Winter Consuls, a group of officers who diligently watch over the vulnerable sleeping citizens.
Charlie Worthing is a novice, chosen from the academy by a high-flying hero Winter Consul to accompany him to the Douzey, a remote sector in the middle of Wales, to investigate a dream is somehow spreading amongst those in the hibernational state, causing paranoia, hallucination and a psychotic episode that can end in murder. Worthing has been trained to deal with Tricksy Nightwalkers whose consciousness has been eroded by hibernation, leaving only one or two skills and an incredible hunger; he’s been trained to stay alive through the bleakest and loneliest of winters – but he is in no way prepared for what awaits him in Sector Twelve. There are no heroes in Winter, Worthing has been told. And he’s about to find out why…
Pre-order your copy of Early Riser
Juliet Armstrong is recruited as a young woman by an obscure wartime department of the Secret Service. In the aftermath of war she joins the BBC, where her life begins to unravel, and she finally has to come to terms with the consequences of idealism.
Pre-order your copy of Transcription