Top Ten UK Books for May 2017

Another exceptional Top Ten, featuring another eclectic collection of writers and titles. While it’s always difficult deciding on the Book of the Month – especially with new novels from Colm Toibin, Arndaldur Indridason, and Joel Dicker – we absolutely could not resist Andrew Wilson’s A Talent for Murder, which places Agatha Christie herself at the heart of a plot filled with murder and blackmail.

It is a wonderful read. Please also look out for one of the most powerful books of the year, Man Alive by Thomas Page McBee. It is timely, important and devastatingly written. Oh, and one last thing. If you’re interested in finding out what went on at the London Book Fair last week, be sure to check out our blog here. Enjoy!

BOOK OF THE MONTH

A Talent For Murder
Andrew Wilson
Simon & Schuster
UK Edition

Of all the mysteries Agatha Christie created, the one that remains unsolved is taken from her own life: what happened when she famously disappeared in December 1926?

Biographer Andrew Wilson has skilfully woven what is known about the case into a brilliantly atmospheric, utterly gripping novel of which Dame Agatha herself would have been proud. The delight of A Talent for Murder is in its ever-shifting plot, its exquisitely drawn inter-war setting, and a central character you won’t forget. Perfectly pitched, this is a crime novel to savour.

House of Names
Colm Toibin
Viking
UK Edition
US/CA Edition

The bestselling and award-winning Colm Tóibín returns with a new novel that is sure to be featured heavily in all the major literary prizes of 2017. Taking us back to Greek legend, Tóibín reframes and retells the shocking and murderous events of Agamemnon’s sacrifice of his own daughter in order to win a battle. Three years later, he returns to find his home beset with anger, grievances and thoughts of revenge. This is a bravura performance from one of our finest writers.

I'll Eat When I'm Dead
Barbara Bourland
riverrum
UK Edition
US Edition

Already described as ‘The Devil Wears Prada meets American Psycho‘ by Louise O’Neill, this fierce, funny and fabulous debut really is one to watch. RAGE Fashion Book is the world’s most dynamic, ambitious magazine. Its influence is unparalleled. Until one of its editors is found, presumed to have starved herself to death. Her friend, Cat Ono, is not convinced however. But to prove it she’ll have to infiltrate a web of drugs, sex, lies and moisturiser that will change her forever.

The Ice
Laline Paull
4th Estate
UK Edition

Laline Paull’s The Bees was one of the most talked about and surprising debuts of recent years; and The Ice is just as engaging and compelling as its predecessor. The melting ice of the Midgard glacier expels the frozen corpse of Tom Cawson into the Barents Sea. He was lost in an accident on the glacier three years before and his best friend, explorer-turned-businessman Hugh Harding, was the last to see him alive. As the inquest begins, choices made by both men – in love and in life – are put on the stand.

The Baltimore Boys
Joel Dicker
MacLehose Press
UK Edition

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair was a phenomenal bestseller, and this part-sequel part-prequel catches up with novelist Marcus Goldman, struggling to write his third novel. Inspiration seems low on the ground until he runs into his first love, Alexandra Neville, now a successful singer. It takes him back to when he and his two cousins were known as The Baltimore Boys. And the burden of the past, its lies, jealousy and betrayal, must now be exposed.

Man Alive
Thomas Page McBee
Canongate
UK Edition

From one of America’s most important and engaging voices comes a powerful, harrowing and thought-provoking memoir that poses the question: what does it mean to be a man. To answer this, Thomas Page McBee confronts his past: his father’s abuse of him, and the violent mugging which almost killed him as an adult. Standing at the brink of the life-changing decision to transition from female to male, McBee seeks to understand these examples of flawed manhood, and reclaim his body on his own terms. 

The Shadow District
Arnaldur Indridason
Harvill Secker
UK Edition

The international bestseller and star of Scandi-crime returns with a major new series that weaves the past and the present. A 90-year-old man is found murdered in his bed, smothered by his own pillows. Konrad, a retired detective, finds press cuttings in the dead man’s room relating to a brutal murder. In wartime Reykjavik, a young woman was found strangled behind the National Theatre, a rough and dangerous area of the city known as ‘the shadow district’. It’s a crime that Konrad remembers. But can he finally find the killer?

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful
Eric Lindstrom
HarperCollins Children's Books
UK Edition

Mel Hannigan is mourning the death of her firework of a brother, as well as the loss of three friendships that used to mean everything. Struggling to deal with a condition that not even her closest friends know about, she has locked away her heart to numb the highs and lows. But things can change. And someone new shows her that it can be worth taking a risk, that opening up to life is what can make it glorious. A heart-breaking yet uplifting novel from the acclaimed author of Not If I See You First.

The Serpent Sword
Matthew Harffy
Aria
UK Edition

In the mould of Bernard Cornwell comes a thrilling, blood-soaked historical adventure – the first book in The Bernicia Chronicles. In the wake of his brother’s almost-certain murder, Beobrand seeks revenge on his killer. It’s a quest that will lead him to the war-torn badlands of Northumbria – a place riven with distrust and violence as warlords attempt to take dominion. Can Beobrand avenge his brother’s death? And can he do so without losing his honour?

Gravel Heart
Abdulrazak Gurnah
Bloomsbury
UK Edition

Abdulrazak Gurnah was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize for Paradise, and Gravel Heart could easily go on to replicate that feat. It tells the story of Salim, who’s always believed his father doesn’t want him. Living in Zanzibar, in a house full of secrets, he is a bookish child, a dreamer haunted by night terrors. But when an uncle offers Salim an escape, the lonely teenager travels to London. Nothing can prepare him for the biting cold and seething crowds – or the devastating truths he will face.

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