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From thrillers to fantasy, with a dash of reality


Roddy Doyle. Photo: Mark Condren

Roddy Doyle. Photo: Mark Condren

Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami

Sarah Baume

Sarah Baume

Dan Browne

Dan Browne

John Boyne

John Boyne

Paula Hawkins

Paula Hawkins

John Hume

John Hume


Roddy Doyle. Photo: Mark Condren

Readers can look forward to 2017 with offerings from firm favourites and new authors alike.


For some, there may be no better way to start a new year free of 2016's feel-bad newsfeed than a new offering from Danielle Steele. The Mistress (Random House) promises a beautiful heroine, Russian mafia bosses and yachts bobbing in the Riviera. Fantasy of another kind is offered by Stephanie Garber's Caraval (Hodder & Stoughton), which tells of two sisters sucked into some carnivalesque intrigue, while newcomer Katherine Arden's The Bear and The Nightingale (Random House) is suggested for fans of Neil Gaiman. Author of the Divergent series and queen of young-adult fiction, Veronica Roth returns with more epic sci-fi adventuring in Carve The Mark (Harper Collins).

In terms of debuts, much is expected of US author Emily Ruskovich's Idaho (Random House), which uses a multi-perspective narrative for its tale of memory and skeletons in the cupboard. In a similar landscape will be Montpelier Parade (Harvill Secker), the debut by Dublin-born screenwriter and actor Karl Geary.

For crime, Lindsey Lee Johnson's debut The Most Dangerous Place on Earth (Random House) targets the high-school thriller sub-genre, and expect slippery murder mystery The Book of Mirrors (Century) by UK-based Romanian EO Chirovici to be a talking point. This month also sees the publication of a long-overdue appraisal of the third Brontë sister, Anne. Take Courage (Chatto), by How To be a Heroine author Samantha Ellis, is being released on January 12, ahead of Anne's birthday on January 17.


"War and Peace meets The Grand Budapest Hotel," was the description we were given for A Gentleman in Moscow (Viking) by Amor Towles, which should work. Great things are also being murmured about The End of Eddy (Harvill Secker) by Edourd Louis, an autobiographical novel about gay persecution in impoverished rural France. John Boyne's latest will also tell of a gay boy trying to stay afloat in life in The Heart's Invisible Furies (Transworld).

Girl of the moment Sara Baume's eagerly awaited follow-up to Spill Simmer Falter Wither, A Line Made by Walking (Tramp Press), arrives this month, as does fantasy thriller Carnivalesque (Bloomsbury) by Neil Jordan, the filmmaker and (clearly) prolific author's first since The Drowned Detective, 12 months previously. Historical crime kicks will come courtesy of Andrew Hughes's The Coroner's Daughter (Doubleday), while John McKenna links a cycle of related stories via a sinister US cult in Once We Sang Like Other Men (New Island).

Australian author Hannah Kent goes for some magical-realism in 1825 Co Kerry in The Good People (Picador, February), whereas best-selling author Joanna Trollope keeps things a bit lighter - fresh starts duelling with old secrets - in City of Friends (Mantle Books). Sisters of the Revolutionaries (Teresa & Mary Louise O'Donnell, Merrion Press) will finally tell the story of Pearse's sisters, Margaret and Mary Brigid, two forgotten cast members of a key point in Irish history.


Brexit, and the osmotic nature of movement through it, has brought the Border back into sharp focus. Bombs, Bullets and the Border: Irish Border Security Policy, 1969-78 (Irish Academic Press) by Paddy Mulroe looks to give a thorough contextual overview. Ahead of a visit to Cúirt in April, Ross Raisin releases A Natural (Jonathan Cape), a much-touted novel about football and young love. Galway scribe Alan McMonagle makes his debut with Ithaca (Picador). Good things are expected of it, as well as Lincoln in the Bardo (Bloomsbury), the debut novel by short-story maestro George Saunders. Horticulture star Philip Lymbery's Dead Zone: Where The Wild Things Were (Bloomsbury) will update us on endangered species, modern farming methods and the scale of the damage we're causing this planet. The talk of the month looks likely to be The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea (Grove Press), a published manuscript of short stories smuggled out of the secretive dictatorship by a writer known only as "Bandi". Our fascination with American politics shows no signs of abating, so John A Farrell's appraisal of one of the Oval Office's darker residents, Richard Nixon: The Life, is bound to be of interest to many.


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Among the non-fiction highlights this month is Eugene Broderick's John Hearne: Architect of the 1937 Constitution (Merrion Press), which biographs the Waterford-born lawyer who oversaw the inception of Bunreacht na hÉireann.

Dr Margaret Ward's Hanna Sheehy Skeffington: Suffragette and Sinn Féiner (UCD Press) will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in the early embers of Irish feminism. In Centaur (Doubleday), jockey Declan Murphy recounts his personal saga of being clinically dead after a bad fall and making a full return to cup-winning glory. Fiction-lovers should also be well served. Enniskillen actor Ciarán McMenamin opens his account with Skintown (Doubleday), which is already drawing comparisons with Irvine Welsh, and Lisa Harding makes her debut with Dublin sex-trafficking saga Harvesting (New Island).

Guardian writer's Paula Cocozza's first novel will be called How to be Human (Hutchinson) and tells of a woman's obsession with an urban fox. Her colleague Xan Brooks also arrives with a "dark, social-realist fairytale" in The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times (Salt Publishing). The Girl on the Train fans are advised to keep an eye out for Emerald noir doyen Stuart Neville, who will release standalone thriller Here and Gone (Harvill Secker) under "Haylen Beck".

Also much-anticipated will be the publication of a collection of unpublished stories, I'd Die for You: And Other Lost Stories (Scribner), by The Great Gatsby author F Scott Fitzgerald.


The Girl on The Train author Paula Hawkins is one of a handful of high-profile thriller writers returning just in time for the beach-holiday season. Hawkins' feverishly awaited new offering will be Into The Water (Doubleday), crime heavyweight Jo Nesbo is back with The Thirst (Knopf), a Harry Hole instalment, and not to be outdone, Fiona Barton follows up her huge-selling debut The Widow with The Child (Transworld).

Dun Laoghaire crime queen Julie Parsons makes a most welcome return with The Therapy House (New Island). Man Booker long-listed author of My Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout, goes back to tell the stories of the characters left behind in the town Lucy fled in Anything is Possible (Viking). That thing about all writers inevitably circling their parents for years at last strikes Richard Ford in Between Them (Bloomsbury) as the Pulitzer-winner writes about his parents and a lost America. Matters parenting also crop up in Without a Doubt: One Couple's Struggle with Infertility, IVF, the Irish Adoption Process and Surrogacy in India (Merrion Press), where Fiona Whyte and Seán Malone give the Irish adoption system both barrels. My Left Foot screenwriter Shane Connaughton is set to drop his sequel to A Border Station, Married Quarters (Transworld).

This month will also see the publication of JRR Tolkien's Beren and Lúthien (HarperCollins), a love story between a man and an elf set in Middle Earth. Written in 1917, the book will be edited by the author's son, Christopher. And Japanese literary superstar Haruki Murakami will release his much anticipated new collection of stories, Men Without Women (Harvill Secker).


UVF: Behind the Mask (Merrion Press) will see Aaron Edwards talk face-to-face with leaders and rivals to present a fresh analysis of that organisation. The late, great John Montague will be honoured alongside Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Paul Durcan in a trio of titles under The Poet's Chair: Writings from the Ireland Chair of Poetry (UCD Press) series. Michael Longley's new poetry collection Angel Hill (Jonathan Cape), meanwhile, promises to drift ruggedly between Mayo and the Scottish highlands. Alison Jameson also puts down roots in the West with This Family of Things (Doubleday), a rural portrait of three Connemara siblings.

There's a new thriller to look forward to from Ruth Ware (The Lying Game, Harvill Secker). If long evenings inspire you to get out the notebook, Colum McCann's Letter to a Young Writer (Bloomsbury) has thankfully collated the Let The Great World Spin author's weekly advice posts from his website. And after a 20-year gap, The God of Small Things author, Arundhati Roy, is back. The Indian novelist's second tome is titled The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Hamish Hamilton).


Rachel Joyce's follow-up to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is titled The Music Shop (Doubleday), and should be filled with harmony and warmth - basically the exact opposite of Final Girls (Ebury Press), Riley Sager's gruesome murder-mystery debut. Harrowing but redemptive real-life catharsis is hinted at in I Found My Tribe (Chatto & Windus), in which Ruth Fitzmaurice finds solace to cope with her husband's Motor Neuron Disease via sea swimming in Greystones.


Terry Hayes caused something of a stir with his 2013 debut I Am Pilgrim. Hype will build in the run up to The Year of The Locust (Bantum Press). Powder kegs and religious persecution will be the order of the day in AD Swanton's historical novel Incendium (Corgi). Explosions are also due in James Patterson's Wall Street terrorism yarn Black Market (Arrow). Katie Khan's Hold Back The Stars (Black Swan) appears to place lovers in peril in outer space. To wallow in the narrative banal, look no further that Joff Winterhart's Keith & Sam (Jonathan Cape).


Unless Dan Brown's new Robert Langdon jog-about Origin (Bantum Press) hogs the limelight, Roddy Doyle will be prominent with Smile (Jonathan Cape). The phrases "blackly funny" and "heart-breaking" have been overheard.

Dublin takes more of a starring role in The Civil War in Dublin, 1922-1924 (Merrion Press) by John Dorney, who will use eyewitness testimonies to paint a portrait of that key conflict.


Non-fiction titles to keep an eye out for will include Maurice Fitzpatrick's John Hume in America (Irish Academic Press), a treatment of the great peacebroker's transatlantic dealings and why they ultimately mattered so much.

From heroes to villains we then go. Furtive Exile: The Michael Lynn Story (Michael O'Farrell, Merrion Press) will trace the hunt for the disgraced lawyer while Cardinal Desmond Connell and the Crisis in Irish Catholicism (Merrion Press) sees John Cooney biographing the former Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland who fell from grace following the Murphy Report.


George RR Martin has promised to wrap up his A Song of Ice and Fire saga in 2017. November would be a fine time in which to finally release The Winds of Winter (Harper Collins).

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