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Read all about it ... the books you will want to buy in 2018

As another bumper 12 months for publishing draw to a close, we look ahead to some of the most anticipated titles in the first half of the new year and find plenty of big releases, intriguing debuts and non-fiction gems

January: A Damned Serious Business by Gerald Seymour, Hodder & Stoughton, January 4. Veteran thriller writer Gerald Seymour sets his latest novel against the backdrop of the 'new Cold War' being waged by Russian hackers. When an MI6 agent learns about a meeting of the Russian operation, he plans to get explosives couriered from Estonia into Russia - then his courier has to get back out.

In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein by Fiona Sampson, Profile Books, January 4

Fiona Sampson's biography of Mary Shelley coincides with the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein. Drawing on letters, diaries and records, Sampson - an award-winning poet - explores how a 19-year-old girl came to write a novel so dark, profound and compelling it would continue to resonate two centuries later.

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan, Simon & Schuster, January 11

Sexual violence is central to Sarah Vaughan's first thriller. The story of a Cabinet minister accused of rape, Anatomy of a Scandal marks a shift in genre for Vaughan and promises to explore the nature of power and privilege among the country's political elite.

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor, Michael Joseph, January 11

CJ Tudor's debut novel is another of 2018's most anticipated thrillers. As children, Eddie and his friends leave chalk figure messages for each other, but the game grows sinister when the drawings lead them to the body of a girl. Thirty years later, Eddie realises the game never ended.

Turning for Home by Barney Norris, Doubleday, January 11

A playwright as well as a novelist, Barney Norris tends to focuses on the local and intimate. In Turning for Home, he follows his acclaimed, multi-narrative debut novel, Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain, with a story about family, loss and love.

A Long Way From Home by Peter Carey, Faber & Faber, January 16

Foremost among January's crop of literary fiction is the new novel from two-time Booker winner Peter Carey. A Long Way From Home follows three characters as they circumnavigate Australia in a race of 10,000 miles - discovering complex truths about themselves and their country en route.

February

Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith, Penguin Random House

Booker Prize-winner Zadie Smith is no stranger to the expansive and epic tale, but she is also a singular and astute essayist, writing most regularly for the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. Her collection of literary journalism is a contemporary compilation in which pertinent questions will be asked. What is Facebook really about? Why do we love libraries? And what will we tell our grandchildren about our failure to address global warming?

The Hoarder by Jess Kidd, Canongate

Fresh from winning the Costa Short Story Award, Jess Kidd delivers her second novel, The Hoarder. Carer, dogsbody and accidental detective, Maud gets drawn into the filthy and once-grand home of one of her charges, the belligerent Cathal, in this tightly plotted tale.

The Melody by Jim Crace, Picador

Described by John Updike as a "writer of hallucinatory skill", Jim Crace publishes his much-anticipated new novel, The Melody. A meditation on love, grief, music, myth and how society treats its less fortunate, The Melody tells the story of Alfred Busi, a widower living in the old family house by the sea. Lyrical and warm, yet with lively political undertones, The Melody is thought to be the most tender of Crace's novels yet.

The Reading Cure: How Books Restored My Appetite by Laura Freeman, Weidenfeld & Nicolson

On the non-fiction front, this stirring autobiography by Laura Freeman looks set to be a key release. Diagnosed with anorexia at 14, Freeman turned to her love of books as a way to seize control of one aspect of her life. The foods written about so beautifully in literature - Dickens' plum puddings, Robert Graces' greengages, Virginia Woolf's bread and blackberries - gradually helped her to enjoy food again.

Educated by Tara Westover, Hutchinson

Westover's memoir was bought for a six-figure sum - and fittingly so. Hers is a remarkable trajectory; from beginnings in rural Idaho, Westover hadn't entered a classroom until aged 17. Ten years later, she had earned a doctorate from Cambridge.

The Adulterants by Joe Dunthorne, Hamish Hamilton

Feverishly anticipated is the third novel by Submarine author Joe Dunthorne. The Adulterants is a wickedly funny tale set in modern-day Hackney and told via Ray, a tech journalist staring down the barrel of long-deferred adulthood.

March

Tangerine by Christine Mangan, Little, Brown

Mangan's world is set to change drastically with the release of this apparently "nail-biting" debut, which is set in 1950s Morocco and carries a palpable whiff of Daphne du Maurier. Film rights have already been acquired for a production starring the talented Scarlett Johansson.

The Cow Book by John Connell, Granta

Connell's short stories have marked him as a writer of great sensitivity as well as economy in the tradition of greats like John McGahern and Donal Ryan. The Cow Book, which is a family memoir that weaves in our ancient relationship with this fundamental livestock species, promises soul-searching and country wisdom from the newcomer. This is one to keep an eye on.

Coal Black Mornings by Brett Anderson, Little, Brown

Suede's excellent 2016 LP Night Thoughts was proof that reforming was not only a wise move, but that the London quintet still had much to offer a post-Britpop landscape. Anderson has had a colourful life (to say the least) and it is hoped that he divulges all in this autobiography, which is mooted to be an intense emotional account of his early years.

The Great Shame by Alison O'Reilly, Gill Books

Bridget Dolan arrived to the Tuam Mother and Baby Home in 1946 under a veil of shame. The son she gave birth to shortly afterwards died from neglect two years later. Her second was taken from her and never seen again. O'Reilly is said to be the first journalist to cover the horrors of Tuam, and here uses Dolan's case to illustrate one of the most shameful periods in Irish history.

The Line Becomes A River by Francisco Cantu, Bodley Head

Great things are expected from this gripping and beautiful memoir by former US-Mexico Border Patrolman Francisco Cantu, who will bring to life the stark realities of monitoring the most hotly discussed barriers in the western world.

Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi Henry, Holt & Company

This highly anticipated fantasy novel earned its 23-year-old Nigerian-American author a seven-figure deal. The first instalment of a three-part young adult trilogy, it draws on African myth and folklore and was reportedly inspired by the Black Lives Matters movement. The film rights were snapped up before the book was even published.

April

Voices from the Rust Belt by Anne Trubek, Picador

After Donald Trump's shock election victory last year, the benighted people of America's so-called rust belt were simultaneously hailed as their nation's saviours or decried as hateful rednecks, depending on one's perspectives. The truth, of course, lies in between those extremes. Trubek's book sets out to "refute stereotypes, explore a vastly varied series of experiences and provide a valuable history lesson" in the post-industrial Mid-West. Mandatory reading for anyone interested in understanding US politics and society.

The Woman in the Woods by John Connolly, Hodder & Stoughton

Incredibly, this is the 16th entry in Connolly's award-winning, and sales-busting, series of Charlie Parker thrillers. He took a break of sorts with last year's imagined life of Stan Laurel. Now he returns to Parker country (also known as the state of Maine) with The Woman in the Woods, in which the body of a young woman is discovered, bearing signs that she gave birth just before her death, but the baby is nowhere to be seen.

Macbeth by Jo Nesbo, Hogarth Shakespeare

The clever, entertaining Hogarth Shakespeare series continues as Norwegian megastar Jo Nesbo joins the ranks of Margaret Atwood, Jeanette Winterson et al with this crime novel based on "the Scottish play". Macbeth has been transformed into "the best cop they've got" in a "1970s industrial town". After a drugs bust turns into a bloodbath, Inspector Macbeth must investigate - while dealing with bad dreams of his addict past and frightening hallucinations in a troubled present.

The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy, Hamish Hamilton

Another Booker nominee (for 2012's Swimming Home), this is the second part of Levy's "living autobiography", following the acclaimed Things I Don't Want to Know. A life in letters, womanhood and "what it means to live with value and meaning and pleasure" are among the themes explored in this beautifully-crafted piece of work.

Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion by Michelle Dean, Grove Press

Legends such as Dorothy Parker, Hannah Arendt, Susan Sontag and Nora Ephron are among the "brilliant women" lionised in Dean's cultural and intellectual history of 20th-century America. She explores their wit and attitude, their talent and courage, not to mention their constant battles against institutionalised chauvinism, in a wide-ranging and accessible blend of biography and criticism.

The Cutting Edge by Jeffrey Deaver, Hodder & Stoughton

Another Lincoln Rhyme thriller lands from prolific crime fiction overlord Jeffrey Deaver of The Bone Hunter fame. Deaver is supreme at the police-procedural and forensic detail, so this latest - which sees Rhyme hunting a serial killer who targets young couples - will be eagerly anticipated by his legions of fans.

May

Making Oscar Wilde by Michele Mendelssohn, Oxford University Press

New archive material and documentation is said to be woven into Mendelssohn's biography, making for what will hopefully be a fresh insight into the life of the literary icon. A possible non-fiction talking-point in 2018.

Till The Cows Come Home: Memories of a Rural Childhood by Lorna Sixsmith, Black and White

Workaholic blogger and author Lorna Sixsmith is perhaps as close as a dairy farmer can get to celebrity status. She releases her latest memoir about rural life, which could make for an amusing and gentle elixir as the summer evenings announce themselves.

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, Jonathan Cape

'Mysterious' is a word being bandied about the place in relation to Ondaatje's upcoming novel that centres around two young teenagers being raised by strangers in post-war London. The English Patient titan has a knack for blending sweeping beauty with slippery discomfort, so maybe the hype is warranted.

A Shout In The Ruins by Kevin Powers, Sceptre

Kevin Powers' experiences of serving in the US Army fed into his brilliant debut, The Yellow Birds. It distilled the scarred internal monologue of an Iraq War veteran with a nightmarish poeticism, and similar things are eagerly expected from this Civil War saga set in his native Virginia. No pressure, then.

The Shoemaker and His Daughter by Conor O'Clery, Transworld

One-time Moscow correspondent O'Clery tells the story of his wife Zhanna's family and the background to her father's incarceration in 1962 by Stalin's regime. O'Clery's familiarity with the region and its history will surely lend itself very well to what could be an engrossing saga.

The Lido by Libby Page, Orion

This debut has been snapped up in 20 territories and has apparently already been optioned for a film adaptation. A bright, uplifting tale of friendship and community resilience - centred around a pool threatened with closure - is promised.

June

The Outsider by Stephen King, Hodder & Stoughton

A Stephen King release is always cause for celebration and already the buzz has been building steadily on this switch-and-bait novel. When the corpse of an 11-year-old is found in a town park, the fingers point unanimously to Little League coach Terry Maitland. Detective Ralph Anderson orders a very public arrest, yet as the investigation expands and more questions are raised, no one is sure of anything anymore. Suspenseful, unsettling and shocking, as only King can do.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, Chatto & Windus

With the epic novel The Interestings and the finely honed The Wife, Wolitzer proved herself a writer of impressive wit and elan. Here, the story follows shy college student Greer Kadestky as she meets Faith Frank, a pillar of the women's movement for decades. When Faith offers Greer a career opportunity, it propels her towards a dazzling new future, if away from her old life and her boyfriend, Cory.

Promising Young Women by Caroline O'Donoghue, Virago

Anyone who enjoyed Jami Attenberg's All Grown Up, or Sally Rooney's Conversations With Friends, will find much to like in journalist Caroline O'Donoghue's darkly funny novel. At 26, Jane is single and professionally flailing, but she has come to the attention of Clem, her much older, married boss. A zippy, astute read.

How To Be Famous by Caitlin Moran, Ebury

After the brilliant and endearing How To Build A Girl comes Caitlin Moran's equally vivid second novel. We reunite with Johanna Morrigan (otherwise known as music journalist Dolly Wilde) as she navigates her way around the boozy, hedonistic Britpop scene. She endures unrequited love, one-night stands with comedians and having Liam Gallagher bum cigarettes from her.

Love Will Tear Us Apart by Holly Seddon, Corvus

Kate and Paul have been married for 10 years. He has a high-flying job while she looks after their two adorable children. On paper, at least, everything looks perfect. A rich and complex snapshot of family life, Seddon has delivered a true page-turner that's by turns moving and compelling.

Skulduggery Pleasant (Book 11) by Derek Landy, HarperCollins

The 11th book in the million-copy bestselling series has Skulduggery and Valkyrie facing yet more horrors. With the help of new sidekick Omen Darkly they wisecrack their way through the story in a way that will delight Landy's legions of fans. With 1.5 million copies of the series sold so far, Landy's tales enthral young and old alike.

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