We have a bumper crop of contemporary novels, crime and thrillers for you this issue, including a good batch of paperbacks, and a sprinkling of other fare. Despite this imbalance we’re sure something will catch your eye…
Contemporary Novels: Asking for It by Louise O’Neill is a YA novel for older teens that every mother should read; the superb Katherine Carlyle by Rupert Thomson follows a young woman who is haunted by having been a frozen embryo for eight years. There is no sign of Edna O’Brien’s pen fading in The Little Red Chairs and we stay in Ireland for Dublin 7 by Frankie Gaffney and The Lives of Women by Christine Dwyer Hickey. Two novels are full of dark humour – we head to the Deep South with an unconventional priest in Sophia by Michael Bible, but stay at home for The Last of the Bowmans by J Paul Henderson.
Short Stories: Just one collection this issue but it’s a good one – American Housewife by Helen Ellis.
Crime and thrillers: The New Year is a good time for crime novels in all formats. Brand new is Peter May’s latest, Coffin Road, while debut In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward is now in paperback, as is the second volume in Louise Welsh’s Plague Times trilogy. Fans of Italian crime novels will enjoy The American by Nadia Dalbuono, and if the Alaskan tundra gets you going, Rosamund Lupton’s psychodrama The Quality of Silence is worth a look in paperback. Spy and thriller fans will like Spy Out the Land by Jeremy Duns and will be interested in ‘former civil servant’ Nicholas Searle’s debut The Good Liar. Francesca Kay’s new novel is a very thoughtful kind of spy story – The Long Room.
Translated fiction: We go to Burkina Faso for Dry Season by Gabriela Babnik, and back to Europe for Umberto Eco’s Numero Zero. The Invisible Guardian is a Spanish crime novel by Dolores Redondo, and The Great Swindle is Pierre Lemaitre’s epic novel set in the aftermath of WWI.
Historical lives: Us Conductors by Sean Michaels is based on the life of Leon Theremin, inventor of the eponymous musical instrument. Playthings by Alex Pheby takes it’s inspiration from a noted case from the turn of the century.
Shakespeare celebrations: This year will see a lot of the Bard and we’re joining in, firstly with Jeanette Winterson’s retelling of The Winter’s Tale in The Gap of Time.
Annabel, Fiction editor