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Time to get excited about the hot new books for next year


Riveting read: new novels are on the way from a host of famous names

Riveting read: new novels are on the way from a host of famous names

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Riveting read: new novels are on the way from a host of famous names

Ready for the next Girl On The Train? Looking for a new dystopian fantasy? Or perhaps you want to dip into a debut you'll devour in one sitting?

Next year is looking promising for both fiction and non-fiction fans, as both new and established authors come to the fore.

There'll be new novels from famous names, including Wilbur Smith, Bernard Cornwell and Jo Nesbo, as well as a raft of female fiction from Jane Fallon, Katie Fforde, Sophie Kinsella and Joanna Trollope.

Celebrities entering the mix include Brooklyn Beckham, who is releasing his debut photography book What I See; a book on ageing called The Joy Of Big Knickers by Kate Garraway; and I Am Distracted By Everything, an "annual for grown-ups" by Liza Tarbuck.

There'll be a flurry of new books to mark 100 years since the Russian revolution, while gardening books are likely to be blooming in popularity, says Caroline Sanderson, associate editor of trade magazine The Bookseller.

"Gardening, in terms of publishing, has been in the doldrums, as people look online for information, but it's due for a resurgence, particularly for urban gardeners. They're classing this as a 'hygge' for spring," Sanderson notes.

Sanderson predicts the following non-fiction titles could be big:

Centaur, by Declan Murphy and Amy Rao (Doubleday, Apr 27, £16.99)

It's a real triumph-over-tragedy story about a champion jockey who had a terrible fall in the Nineties, and went from near death to riding again 18 months later.

Fathers & Sons, by Howard Cunnell (Picador, Feb 9, £14.99)

Sanderson describes this as "a really outstanding memoir about what it means to be a man". It's about a boy growing up without a father and finding his way to be a father himself, while his transgender step-daughter becomes his son.

A Manual For Heartache, by Cathy Rentzenbrink (Picador, Jun 29, £10)

Following the heartbreaking memoir The Last Act Of Love, in which Rentzenbrink laid bare the effects of an accident which left her brother in a permanent vegetative state, this book explores how to live with grief and loss and find joy in the world again.

Utopia For Realists: And How We Can Get There, by Rutger Bregman (Bloomsbury, Mar 9, £16.99)

Given the current political turmoil, Sanderson reckons there will be a focus on current affairs and this short book by Dutch historian Bregman reveals how we need new utopian thinking. It's a thought-provoking read. "People are in the market for new thinking post-Brexit and post-Trump," she concludes.

Chris White, fiction buyer for Waterstones, continues: "People think that because of the political climate, we're all going to delve into escapism such as cosy crime, historical fiction or fantasy, just ways of not thinking about the world, or utopia rather than dystopia.

"All these things have a place, but my honest view on trends, especially in fiction, is that they tend to be led by one book. Look at 50 Shades Of Grey, which sparked a follow-on of others."

He says that following The Girl On The Train and Gone Girl, psychological crime novels have become more popular, but adds: "The only thing about trends is that no one ever predicts them accurately."

White says there's been a buzz in the industry about the following titles, which he predicts could be big sellers:

Sirens, by Joseph Knox (Doubleday, Jan 12, £12.99)

Transworld's big crime debut set in Manchester, launching a series featuring DC Aidan Waits. "It's Raymond Chandler meets Get Carter; procedural, but noir fiction and UK-based," says White. "Ian Rankin is the model for the kind of fiction he's writing."

Little Deaths, by Emma Flint (Picador, Jan 12, £12.99)

This impressive debut is based on a real-life historical crime in 1960s New York, where a mother was accused of strangling her children. "Psychological crime has been a trend - this is in that mould and is extremely well-written and the psychological depth of the characters is probably more developed than a lot of things. There's a lot of buzz around this one," says White.

In The Name Of The Family, by Sarah Dunant (Virago, Mar 2, £16.99)

The sequel to her last book, Blood & Beauty, is set among the House of Borgias in 16th century Florence. Dunant holds up a mirror to this turbulent moment of history. "She has that Hilary Mantel touch," says White.

Lincoln In The Bardo, by George Saunders (Bloomsbury, Mar 9, £18.99)

This debut from the acclaimed short story writer and essayist tells the story of Abraham Lincoln and the death of his son, in multiple voices. "It's getting a huge amount of attention already," says White.

4 3 2 1, by Paul Auster (Faber & Faber, Jan 31, £20)

In a similar vein to Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, in which the author imagines a life turning out in different ways, the acclaimed American writer's whopping 880-page tome focuses on a boy born in New Jersey in 1947, whose life takes four simultaneous and independent fictional paths.

The Nix, by Nathan Hill (Picador, Jan 26, £16.99)

This debut novel sees a once-promising literary figure now languishing as a teacher at a private college. When his editor demands the return of an advance for a debut novel he hasn't delivered, he resorts to writing about his mother who abandoned him and has now been arrested for a politically motivated crime.

Others to look out for include:

Into The Water, by Paula Hawkins (Doubleday, May 2, £20)

Following the success of The Girl On The Train, there's huge anticipation around Hawkins' second novel, another psychological thriller centring on the discovery of the body of a mother and her daughter in a river, and the investigation in the local town.

Origin, by Dan Brown (Bantam, Sep 26, £20)

Fans of The Da Vinci Code and its follow-ons will be awaiting the latest Robert Langdon adventure as the Harvard professor investigates the brutal murder of an elderly curator in the Louvre museum, and tries to crack the codes found next to the body.

Carve The Mark, by Veronica Roth (HarperCollins, Jan 17, £14.99)

She may only be 28, but American Roth is already a force to be reckoned with for her massive dystopian Divergent trilogy (adapted into hit films). She has a new sci-fi page-turner, the first in a duology set in space, where each person has a gift that sets them apart.

The Doll Funeral, by Kate Hamer (Faber & Faber, Feb 16, £12.99)

In the wake of Hamer's hugely successful debut The Girl In The Red Coat, this second novel is set in the Forest of Dean and begins in the summer of 1983, when Ruby has turned 13. Her parents reveal she was adopted and so she sets out to find her biological family, encountering all sorts of twists and turns along the way.

Ragdoll, by Daniel Cole (Trapeze, Feb 21, £12.99)

Snapped up by publishers in 34 countries and with TV rights already sold, Ragdoll could be the British breakout thriller of 2017. A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the Press as the "ragdoll". Two London detectives are assigned to the case, as the "Ragdoll Killer" taunts police with a new list of names of people he intends to kill.

Belfast Telegraph