One of the really exciting things about having this blog is that I’ve been introduced to many new authors, a high proportion of whom have been making their crime fiction debut. These usually crop us during the year from publishers, or as purchases when I’ve had recommendations from other bloggers. Unusually I already have a list of ‘must reads’ for 2015.
My list must start with a number of friends that I’ve made through my blog & twitter who will be seeing their debuts published this year. Taking them in alphabetical order:
SJI Holliday – Black Wood – out 19 March and published by Black & White
Although Susi has already had a number of short stories published in anthologies this is her first novel.
The blurb says: “Something happened to Claire and Jo in Black Wood: something that left Claire paralysed and Jo with deep mental scars. But with Claire suffering memory loss and no evidence to be found, nobody believes Jo’s story. Twenty-three years later, a familiar face walks into the bookshop where Jo works, dredging up painful memories and rekindling her desire for vengeance. And at the same time, Sergeant Davie Gray is investigating a balaclava-clad man who is attacking women on a disused railway, shocking the sleepy village of Banktoun. But what is the connection between Jo’s visitor and the masked man? To catch the assailant, and to give Jo her long-awaited justice, Gray must unravel a tangled web of past secrets, broken friendship and tainted love. But can he crack the case before Jo finds herself with blood on her hands?”
James Law – Tenacity – out late 2015 and published by Headline
The publication date for this one is a way off – but with a particularly unusual premise I am really looking forward to seeing how he will draw on his own experience to create crime fiction.
From The Bookseller in October 2014:
“The first novel is called Tenacity, and introduces Lieutenant Danielle ‘Dan’ Lewis, a female investigator in the Royal Navy’s Special Investigation Branch, who is looking into the suicide of a Chief Petty Officer stationed aboard a naval submarine.
Law served in the British Submarine Service for 21 years and recently completed the Portsmouth University MA Creative Writing Course.”
TR Richmond – What She Left – out 23 April and published by Michael Joseph (Penguin)
TR Richmond is an award-wining journalist who’s written for local, regional and national newspapers, magazines and websites. The strapline is “Everyone’s life leaves a trace behind. But it’s never the whole story.”
The blurb on the agent’s website is: “February 2012: 25-year-old Alice Salmon returns to her university town for a night out with friends. Seven years ago in this same spot she was on the brink of adulthood – wide-eyed, curious, insatiable. Seven years on and Alice is about to unravel a secret that pulls that past into dangerously sharp focus – but it’s too late. The next morning her body is found washed up by the river and it’s someone else who is intent on picking up the pieces.
Professor Jeremy Cooke’s career is over and the prospect of long, empty days terrifies him. Alone in his office he embarks on a research project that will bring him back into contact with his students and focus his dwindling mind. Jeremy is documenting Alice’s life. He pores over the internet, diaries, letters; he talks to friends, family, boyfriends and bit by bit he unravels a deeply disturbing version of a girl he actually knows better than anyone.
A modern day epistolary novel exposing dark obsessions and painful secrets that date back generations, offering a fresh twist on the contemporary unreliable narrator. In this haunting coming-of-age novel our methods of communication are brought under sharp scrutiny as the distinction between our personal and digital identities become ever more blurred.”
Sarah Ward – In Bitter Chill – out in July and published by Faber and Faber
No blurb as yet but the strapline is “Family comes first … always” and Sarah’s own brief description is “the story of the kidnapping of two young girls in the late 1970s and the legacy it leaves for one of the children who is later found alive.”
If you follow Sarah’s blog you will know that she’s an exceptionally well-respected crime fiction reviewer so it will be interesting to read her own work.
Since mentioning the above on twitter I’ve had a few suggestions to add to my list. The first was really an oversight on my part as I really did mean to include Ragnar – I’ve been waiting to be able to read one of his books for a while!
Ragnar Jónasson – Snowblind – out in English (translated by Quentin Bates) on 15 June and published by Orenda Books.
Ragnar is an Icelandic author, fan of Agatha Christie and one of the founders of Iceland Noir. He is the author of the Dark Icealnd series which currently stands at 5 books – Snowblind was the fist in the series and this will be the first English translation.
The blurb: Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors – accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik – with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theatre, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life. An avalanche and unremitting snowstorms close the mountain pass, and the 24-hour darkness threatens to push Ari over the edge, as curtains begin to twitch, and his investigation becomes increasingly complex, chilling and personal. Past plays tag with the present and the claustrophobic tension mounts, while Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness – blinded by snow, and with a killer on the loose. Taut and terrifying,
The other suggestions were:
Paula Hawkins – The Girl on the Train – published in January by Transworld
This is a debut which reviewers have filled my timeline on twitter raving about and I hate to feel as if I’m missing out!
The blurb says: “Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…”
The final title is Alice and the Fly by James Rice, which is due for publication later this month by Hodder and Stoughton. Although not strictly speaking a crime novel, has also garnered a lot of positive comments on twitter / blogs and I must see what all the fuss is about!
So are there any debuts you’ve heard about that you are looking forward to reading?