Saturday 20 July 2019

Thrillers, romances and tragedies... this year's selection will keep you turning the pages into the night

FICTION: Anne Cunningham offers her top tips for the first half of the year

Cathy Kelly has a new title out in February. Photo: David Conachy
Cathy Kelly has a new title out in February. Photo: David Conachy
Pat McCabe returns in April

The new year, as always, promises great new works of fiction. Here is my selection of stories to keep you turning the pages.


Peter Carey's A Long Way from Home (Faber) is the story of a brutal road race across Australia in the 1950s. One to watch from the twice-winner of the Booker prize.

Two debuts getting attention are Sarah Vaughan's Anatomy of a Scandal (Simon & Schuster) and Tony Kent's Killer Intent (Elliott & Thompson). The former is about a high profile political marriage containing secrets that threaten to "rock Westminster", while the latter involves a plot to kill a former US president in London.

Another new writer attracting attention is Imogen Hermes Gowar, author of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock (Harvill Secker). This novel is set in Georgian London, where a shipping merchant discovers he has lost his entire fortune in the purchasing of a mermaid.

Two Irish authors have new books this month. Jo Spain's latest thriller, The Confession (Quercus) follows the aftermath of the brutal murder of a disgraced banker in Dublin, while Alison Walsh's third novel The Weekend Dad (Hachette) involves a Dublin father travelling to London to meet the daughter he didn't know he had.


Julian Barnes' The Only Story (Jonathan Cape) is about the enduring love affair between a 19-year-old boy and a married woman almost three times his age. A novel about memory, love and regret.

David Mamet's Chicago (Harper Collins) is a thriller set in the mob-riddled Chicago of the 1920s.

New Irish writer Dan Sheehan's debut, Restless Souls (Weidenfeld & Nicholson) is described as "a novel about war and loss, male friendship and the power of home" and is endorsed by, among others, Colin Barrett and Colum McCann.

Cathy Kelly's latest is The Year that Everything Changed (Orion) and depicts three women, three birthdays and three lives in sudden crisis. Emma Hannigan's Letters to my Daughters (Hachette) is about important letters written by a recently deceased grandmother that have inexplicably gone missing.

Crime fiction fans have Chris Carter's latest to look forward to. Gallery of the Dead (Simon & Schuster) sees the LAPD join forces with the FBI to track down a serial killer with a difference.

Forgotten Irish writer Nora Hoult is being reintroduced to the public with a volume of her short stories, Cocktail Bar (New Island). Introduced by Sinead Gleeson, this coincides with the relaunch of The Long Gaze Back anthology for Dublin's One City, One Book festival.


Joyce Carol Oates' Beautiful Days (Harper Collins) is a new collection of 13 short stories from one of America's finest living writers.

Louise O'Neill's Almost Love (Quercus) is a cautionary tale of a secret love affair, while SA Dunphy's sequel to his thriller After She Vanished, about an abducted child, is When She Was Gone (Hachette). John Connolly's The Woman in the Woods (Hodder & Stoughton) concerns the discovery of a woman's body who has recently given birth. But there's no baby. Catherine Ryan Howard's new thriller The Liar's Girl (Corvus) traces the emergence of a copycat killer in Dublin.

Donal Ryan's From a Low and Quiet Sea (Doubleday) mixes small-town Ireland and war-torn Syria, with three central characters, all desperate to call somewhere home. Mia Gallagher's Shift (New Island) promises a volume of short stories from Ireland's boomtime to bust and back again, as narrated by a rich diversity of voices.


Jeffrey Deaver's new Lincoln Rhyme thriller The Cutting Edge (Hodder & Stoughton) is about a killer who targets young couples, while Tony Black's new DCI Bob Valentine volume explores the world of Satanists in Her Cold Eyes (Black & White). The latest in the hugely popular Hogarth Shakespeare series is Jo Nesbo's Macbeth (Penguin Random House). This retelling of the play is set in the 1970s, amidst a vicious drugs war in a rundown industrial town.

Closer to home, broadcaster Rachael English's The Night of the Party (Hachette) is a mystery rooted in the Big Freeze of January 1982.

A new Patrick McCabe novel is always an event and Heartland (New Ireland) sees two Monaghan fugitives on the run in the Irish midlands.

Liz Nugent's latest, Skin Deep (Penguin) begins with washed-up Cordelia Russell returning home to her grimy flat on the Cote D'Azur, only to find a decomposing body there.

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