Every book that crosses our desk at the moment seems to be tagged The Next The Girl On The Train. Not all of them live up to the promise, but there are a few high-octane reads we can’t wait to sink our teeth into next year. The first is The Girl Before (Hachette, $32.99) by J.P Delaney, out in February. It’s a smart, sexy thriller about a woman who moves into the perfect house, only to discover that the girl who lived there before her died in mysterious circumstances. We cancelled our plans to stay inside all weekend and read our early copy of this, and you’re going to want to as well, especially with the news that the book will be turned into a movie, directed by Ron Howard.
The Shadow Land (Text, $32.99) by Elizabeth Kostova is a thriller of the historical kind – not as many gruesome murders and killers on the run, and more centuries-old mysteries waiting to be cracked open. Kostova is the author of the bestselling The Historian, but it’s been a long time between drinks (That novel was published more than ten years ago). It was worth the wait: The Shadow Land, following a young American woman, a case of wrong luggage and a mysterious urn. This one’s out on April 18, mark your calendars now.
Hundreds of thousands of people furiously – and surreptitiously – read L.S Hilton’s saucy art heist page-turner Maestra last year. The sequel will be out in March, promising more of secret S&M aficionado Judith Rashleigh’s various and numerous misdeeds.
And then, lastly, there’s British author James Lasdun’s latest: The Fall Guy (Penguin, $35.00). It’s for fans of films like A Bigger Splash and La Piscine, people who like plots that see wealthy people gather on holiday in an idyllic location and allow things to spiral unceremoniously out of control. There’s Charlie, a wealthy banker with a beautiful wife and their troubled cousin Matthew, who gather for a summer vacation at a secluded retreat. When a crime happens, each try to blame the antics on each other. Out January 15
We're decreeing 2017 the year of the funny book, because god knows, we all need them. First cab off the ranks is The Wangs Vs The World (Penguin, $32.99), out in the new year on January 3, following a raucous family road trip across America. There’s echoes of Little Miss Sunshine to this smart, witty book, and we couldn’t put it down.
Then, if you needed a kick in the butt to get your life together, pick up Sarah Knight’s Get Your Shit Together (Quercus, $29.99). You might have read her first self-help book, the similarly tongue-in-cheek titled The life changing magic of not giving a fuck. Where the first book was part memoir, part comic relief, this second title is more of a practical guide to being a BOSS.
In 2015 we couldn’t stop raving about journalist Laura Barnett’s The Versions Of Us. It was a heartfelt, beautifully written romance told in three parts: each hinged upon a different outcome to a meet cute between two students at Cambridge University in the 60s. Her second book – Greatest Hits – is still shrouded in secrecy, but it’s already at the top of our must-read list for next year.
And now for something completely different. When it comes to drama, 2017 is going to deliver in spades. George Saunders – beloved literary world figure and master of the short story – is delivering his first novel, and it’s a doozy: a sweeping historical epic about the death of Lincoln’s son and Buddhist principles of reincarnation. Phew. It’s called Lincoln in the Bardo (Bloomsbury, $24.99) and it’s out on March 9.
Elena Ferrante put female friendship back in fashion in literature, and Kayla Rae Whitaker’s The Animators (Scribe, $32.99) continues the tradition on February 27. This novel, about two best friends who meet at art college, and their attempts to live and work together when they’re older despite long-buried resentments, is getting rave reviews out of America.
Also in the first half of next year is Charlotte (Canongate, $24.99), a stunning novel by French screenwriter David Foenkinos, based on the true story of Charlotte Salomon, a truly gifted musician forced into hiding during World War II because of her faith. Foenkinos is the man behind the heartbreaking story of a wife mourning her dead husband La Delicatesse, which was a sensation in his native France, and was adapted into a movie starring Audrey Tautou. This novel has already sold more than half a million copies in Europe, as well as picking up a brace of French literary prizes.
And, finally, there's The Passenger, a new novel from Cormac McCarthy. Practically nothing is known about this title other than that it’s a science fiction book that the author has been working on for years. The release date has been bumped several times, from late 2015, to mid-2016, to early 2017 and now, it’s looking likely to drop in December, 2017. Will the book live up to the dystopian reputation McCarthy has built for himself, after mega-bestselling titles like The Road, No Country For Old Men and Outer Dark? Stay tuned.