Paul Henderson has selected the paperbacks due to come out in the UK in the second half of 2007 that he thinks will sell the best (Bookseller’s Paperback Preview, Autumn). He defines "giant" as a book that will be in the top 100 paperbacks of the year and sell more than 100,000 copies (total consumer market); "bestseller" as in the top 10 for at least a week and sell more than 50,000; "bubbling under" as not quite top 10 but selling around 30,000; and a few "breakthroughs", either an author who is making a mark or one who is selling at a higher level than previously. He points out that his predictions are by volume, so he hasn’t included books from many small publishers. He also made his selection before the Richard and Judy summer reads were announced, which will have a huge effect — last year’s six sold 2.5 million between them and were in the charts for many weeks.
I am picking out just a few of Paul’s selections that I recommend, either because I’ve read them already or because they are on my list to be read, or because they just look good.
Giants: The Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin It’s Rebus, possibly for the last time (I don’t believe that myself, but others do). Can’t wait.
One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson A second outing for Jackson Brodie of Case Histories. Being repackaged to look more like a crime novel.
Bubbling under: In the Evil Day by Peter Temple. A standalone, not a Jack Irish novel.
Giants: Atonement by Ian McEwan. His masterpiece. The film is due for UK release in September. A deeply wonderful book.
Bestselling: The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson. I enjoyed her Crow Lake. I didn’t know she’d written another until I read a discussion on a blog the other day. Sounds good from that.
Bubbling under: The Moment you were Gone by Nicci Gerrard. Can’t wait! One, or should I say two?, of my favourite authors. I keep gazing at the hardback when I’m in a bookshop, but am enforcing self-restraint.
The Judas Heart by Ingrid Black. I read her first novel, which wasn’t what I was expecting (not that I was expecting anything, but it was a bit different). I haven’t read the second yet, though I do have it, somewhere. So I’ll keep an eye on this one, pending my verdict on number two.
Giants: Echo Park by Michael Connelly. The wait for this one seems interminable. I’m desperate to read it, especially as his next is now being advertised (in hardback). He is one of the very few authors I usually buy in hardback as I just have to read his books the instant they are published, but the size and quality of my bookstacks has put the brake on this time round.
Breakthroughs: Blood Ties by Sam Hayes. Said to be in the style of Harlan Coben so might be worth checking out.
Sharp Objects by Gillan Flynn. I recently bought this via Amazon after reading a very good review of it on Material Witness. Amazon said that the format was paperback, and the price was a paperback price, but when it arrived, it was a hardback. They’ve done this to me before several times when a book is about to come out in paperback, getting rid of overstocks I suppose. So this is one I won’t have to wait for.
Bubbling under: The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo. I’ve read The Devil’s Star, which I liked but not as much as other Scandinavian noir I’ve read this year. The Redbreast is set before the events of The Devil’s Star so I’m not sure if I’ll read it, but it certainly comes highly recommended by my favourite crime-fiction blogs.
Let the Northern Lights Erase your Name by Vendela Vida. Another one I have recently bought from Amazon in paperback format, though the large format rather than mass market, I presume (good price, though). This book received fantastic reviews when it was first published.
Giants: The Woods by Harlen Coben. Like the Michael Connelly, I seem to have been waiting forever for this. I’m so impatient.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Stetterfield. I have got this in hardback but not read it yet. I must do so before the paperback is out! The cover of the hardback is lovely, but apparently this is being held responsible for the book not having met its expectations (code for marketing budget?) in hardback, so the jacket will be receiving a lot of design attention for the paperback. It has been reviewed by Frank Wilson in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Books, Inq. (liked it), and by Debra Hamel of the deblog (
not so keen). (Sorry not to provide links to the reviews but you can find their blogs in the favourites section on the right.) [Later correction and addition: Debra was keen on the book. She’s provided the link to her review in the comments to this post, or you can go to it here. The Philadelphia Inquirer page for Frank Wilson’s review states that the article was online only for seven days, but you can see an extract here.]
Breakthroughs: In the Woods by Tana French. Confusingly, out in paperback the same month as the Coben. Lots of people have recommended this since Adele Geras first tipped me off to it, so it has been in my Amazon list for a while. I’ll definitely be reading this one.
Giants: Not Dead Enough by Peter James. I’ve read this, and reviewed it on Euro Crime. Plot-wise, not quite up to the standard of his previous two, but just as much of a rattling good read.
Bubbling under: The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill. This is one you simply must read. Brilliant. More on that later.
I have missed out lots of temptingly good books: the above is about 10 per cent of the whole, the "whole" being just the books that Paul thinks will sell at high volume, and restricted to the UK. Would that there were more time in the world.