The UK’s Top Ten Books . . . coming in May 2015
With many of the fiction big-hitters releasing titles in March and April, May is often one of the most interesting months in the literary year – and this May is no exception. Perhaps the most exciting debut novel of the year – certainly the one that’s been causing the most interest at NetGalley – is our book of the month, The Gracekeepers. We’re all fans of Kirsty’s first book, The Rental Heart and Other Stories, and this is the perfect follow up. It’s sure to be a contender for novel of the year!
There are three great crime titles this month, with the most intriguing coming from Saul Black, the pseudonym of a well-known, non-thriller writer, and one of the hottest new YA books, Bad Bones. Finally, there’s a book from a name that might be familiar from your inbox: NetGalley’s own Stuart Evers!
Kirsty Logan’s first book, a collection of stories called The Rental Heart, introduced a huge talent – and earned her comparisons with the genius of Angela Carter. Her debut novel is everything you could want from a follow up: superb characters, a consistently compelling narrative and a vivid, brilliantly realized fantasy realm which is mainly under water. On first reading the bare bones of the plot – the magical story of a floating circus and two young women in search of a home – it’s easy to see why this is being compared to The Night Circus, but The Gracekeepers is entirely its own fabulous beast. Exquisite.
The Green Road
Anne Enright won the Man Booker Prize in 2007 for her startling The Gathering, and The Green Road sees her again on scintillating, brilliant form. A dark, brooding novel set on Ireland’s Atlantic coast, The Green Road centres on the Madigan family, who are spending one final Christmas at the family home. It’s a time of upheaval, of the past rubbing against the future – and a novel that casts an enormous emotional hold over its readers.
Your Father Sends His Love
The third book from Stuart Evers – who is also NetGalley’s UK Community Manager – is a collection of twelve stories exploring parental love and parental mistakes. Set in the past, present and future these ‘thrillingly inventive’ tales have already been acclaimed by authors Eimear McBride, Jenny Offill and Teju Cole – while Stylist magazine said, ‘These spare, haunting stories are set to catapult Evers into the big time.’ Perfect for fans of Haruki Murakami, Lorrie Moore and George Saunders.
The Harder They Come
T.C. Boyle is one of America’s most celebrated and garlanded writers, but he remains somewhat under-rated here in the UK. This is set to change with this charged and emotionally wrought tale of Vietnam vet Sten Stenson, his wife Carolee and their unstable son, Adam. A deep and disturbing meditation on the roots of American gun violence, it explores the fine line between heroism and savagery, between protection and barbarity. This is an exceptional novel from a true master.
The Slaughter Man
The Murder Bag was Tony Parsons’ first foray into the crime genre – and was one of the standout crime novels of 2014. Now, DC Max Wolfe ris back in another tense, gripping and violent mystery, this time trailing a pitiless killer through the streets of London. The Slaughter Man was the nickname given, thirty years before, to a killer who used a cattle gun to dispatch his victims. Then the same crimes begin again, even though the Slaughter Man is dying. Can he really be back?
Fall of Man in Wilmslow
David Lagercrantz has been given the responsibility of continuing Steig Larsson’s Millennium series, and on this evidence, Lisbeth Salander is in good hands. This brilliantly realized reimagining of the death of visionary mathematician Alan Turing – he died eating a poisoned apple – is both convincing and utterly unputdownable, with an atmosphere that is palpable. This will be one of the most talked about historical crime novels of the year – and deservedly so.
There has been a slew of ‘literary’ writers entering the world of genre writing of late – some rather more successfully than others. Saul Black, pseudonym for a highly regarded literary writer, is absolutely one of the successes. This is a crime novel that could easily have come from the likes of Jeffrey Deaver and Linwood Barclay – both of whom are championing this tale of bloody violence, a child’s innocence and the broken psyche of detective Valerie Hart.
Already compared to James Dawson’s Say Her Name, Bad Bones is the taut and chilling story of Gabe – a young man who is feeling the pressure. His family has money troubles, he’s hardly talking to his dad, plus lowlife Benny is on his case. Needing some space to think, he heads off into the hills surrounding LA. And he suddenly stumbles across a secret that will change everything. A shallow grave…
The Confectioner's Tale
Combining evocative descriptions of early 1900s Paris with the smells and tastes of a decadent patisserie, and with a devastating love story at its heart, The Confectioner’s Tale is a slice of exquisite elegance, perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Victoria Hislop. The framing device of a grandchild discovering a photograph with ‘Forgive me’ written on the back gives the story an unusual narrative arc, and one that works delightfully.
Things We Have in Common
Described by Sophie Hannah as ‘A striking and highly enjoyable debut’ Things We Have in Common is an unusual and often very funny exploration of friendship, loneliness and jealousy. Yasmin would give anything to have a friend . . . and do anything to keep one. Overweight and unpopular, she feels far away from her classmates, but then something happens. Something changes. And Yasmin realizes she has a purpose. She is there to save Alice…