Deciding our Top Ten each month is always a tough yet hugely enjoyable process – but this month has proved to be the most difficult so far. There were so many exciting titles it took us much longer than usual to finalise the list – and even now it’s a shame that some titles didn’t quite make it.
That said, we really love these books and hope you’ll feel the same way. You’ll probably already recognise Ragdoll and The Girl Before – but do request if you haven’t before as they’ll be some of the most talked about thrillers in 2017. We’re also very keen on The Lonely Hearts Hotel and t hink it could go on to be something of sleeper hit. Do also look out for Pachinko which we think will be one of the books fighting for all the big literary prizes later in the year.
BOOK OF THE MONTH
Already a massive hit with NetGalley members, Ragdoll is shaping up to be the high-concept thriller of 2017. Its combination of suspense, gore and well-drawn, engaging characters is a real winner. This is mystery writing at its most intense.
When a body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, the press quickly name the horrific discovery the ‘ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter. The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer with the eyes of the world watching their every move?
Yiyun Li’s fiction is marked by telling details, acute insight into the human experience, and sublime sentences – all of which she brings to this searing and luminous memoir of a life lived with books and haunted by depression. Growing up in China, Li watched her mother suffer from mental health issues, and years later, as an immigrant in another country, she battles her own. Through it all she is sustained by her deep connection to literature, and by two central questions: why write? And why live?
My Sister's Bones
In a year that will be dominated by psychological thrillers, My Sister’s Bones already stands out as a complex and intriguing take on the genre. War reporter Kate Rafter is back from Syria, plagued by dreams of the horrors taking place there. But there are other painful memories, ones that her sister and Kate cannot quite escape. When their mother dies, they are forced back to the family home. A home full of deadly secrets waiting to be exposed. Twisty, compelling and consistently surprising.
The End of Eddy
On first publication in France, The End of Eddy became a sensation, winning plaudits for its writing, and provoking national debates on social inequality, sexuality and violence. Édouard Louis’s fictionalised account of his life escaping from his unbearable childhood is incendiary yet tender, compassionate yet visceral, and written with startling clarity and vigour. This is vital, unflinching and thought-provoking fiction – a novel that confronts the issues of our time head on .
The Girl Before takes domestic terror to a new level, in this spellbinding Hitchcockian thriller. Jane has found the rental opportunity of a lifetime. It’s a beautiful ultra-minimalist house, but it comes at a cost. She can live there so long as she abides by a long list of exacting rules created by the house’s architect. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before…
HarperCollins Children's Books
Taking all his experience from his award-winning radio show, Christian O’Connell’s first children’s book is a funny and sweet story of a boy who becomes a star in his own back yard. Spike’s an average 11-year-old, but after becoming the first person ever to be sacked from hospital radio, he sets up – with some help from his friends – a studio in the garden shed and starts broadcasting as Radio Boy. Week by week, word gets around and soon Spike is a star… if only people knew it was actually him…
The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Already lauded by the likes of Helen Oyeyemi, Miranda July and Emily St John Mandel, The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a riot of invention, love and fairytales. From the underbellies of war-time Montreal and Prohibition New York to a theatre of magic where anything is possible, this is the story of two orphans, Rose and Pierrot, who dreamt as children of a whole invented world, and as adults are determined to make it real. Dazzling, glittering and bursting with imagination, this is a true spectacle of a novel.
An epic story that encompasses eight decades and four generations, Pachinko is a novel to immerse yourself in, to follow the lives of these exceptionally drawn characters as they traverse the world and the brickbats that come their way. It begins with an unlikely marriage in early-Twentieth Century Korea, and the birth of a beloved daughter, Sunja. It is the beginning of a life that will take in war, immigration, love, death – and everything else life has to offer.
We Come Apart
Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan
Bringing together two of YA’s hottest new properties – Sarah Crossan (One) and Brian Conaghan (When Mr Dog Bites) – We Come Apart is a heart-breaking, beautifully told tale of love, identity and dreams of better lives. When Jess meets Nicu, she can’t imagine she’d ever fall for him. But as they get closer, their secrets come to the surface like bruises. The only safe place they have is with each other. But they can’t be together, forever, and stay safe – can they?
An international bestseller, Charlotte is based on the heart-breaking true story of an exceptional woman living through terrifying, deadly time. Charlotte Soloman is born into a family stricken by suicide, and in a country beset by war. She escapes through her gift for painting, and later through her love for a brilliant musician. But clouds are forming, not just in her own mind, but over the whole of Europe. And when the Nazi Party come to power, she knows she will have to flee…