Now that Professor Petrona's extremely generous Christmas present, a subscription to the Bookseller, has started arriving, I shall be more reliably informed than hitherto about what books will be appearing in the next few months. So without further ado, here is what to look out for this spring (April 2009):
Long Lost by Harlan Coben (Orion), a new Myron Bolitar novel. Myron is a sports agent, and here a former girlfriend gets in touch out of the blue (i.e. we have probably not heard mention of her in previous titles). She's a suspect in a murder case, and only Myron can help.
Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child (Bantam): Jack Reacher is on a subway at 2 a.m. in New York, and becomes suspicious of a fellow passenger who is exhibiting "all the signs of a would-be suicide bomber". Let's hope he's better at this activity, and what to do about it, than the Metropolitan Police.
The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith (Simon and Schuster) is the second novel by the author of the phenomenally successful and highly-regarded Child 44. In this book, it is 1956 in the Soviet Union: Stalin is dead and Khrushchev is promising transformation of the whole country. But there are many who cannot forget the Stalin years and former KGB officer Leo Demidov and his family are in danger from someone who bears a grudge.
About Face by Donna Leon (Heinemann) is the new Commissiario Brunetti novel – this outing being accompanied by a practical walking guide to Venice by Toni Sepeda (same publisher). I have often hoped that "placeist" crime-fiction (and other) novels could be accompanied by travel guides to the relevant literary scenes, so maybe this is the start of a welcome trend.
My Soul to Take is the eagerly awaited second title from Yrsa Sigurdadottir (Hodder), again featuring lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir, this time investigating a murder at a health resort. The author will be attending CrimeFest at Bristol in May, I'm delighted to say.
The Kill Call by Stephen Booth (HarperCollins) is the ninth in the DS Diane Fry/DC Ben Cooper series set in Derbyshire. This time they become entangled in the violent world of hunting and hunt saboteurs.
Bleed a River Deep (Macmillan) is Brian McGilloway's third Inspector Devlin novel, a superb series set in the borderlands between Northern Ireland and Eire.
Another eagerly-awaited Irish novel is Dark Times in the City by the extremely talented Gene Kerrigan (Harvill), this one set in the Dublin underworld. Danny Callagan is having a quiet drink in the pub when two men with guns enter. On impulse Callagan intervenes to save a man's life, an action that will have vicious consequences.
Comfort to the Enemy is the latest from master Elmore Leonard (Weidenfeld and Nicholson), this one a novel comprising three linked stories charting the career of lawman Carl Webster.
War Damage by Elizabeth Wilson (Serpent's Tail) is set in the aftermath of the Second World War, when a body is discovered on Hampstead Heath after one of socialite Regine Milner's legendary Sunday house parties.
Henning Mankell, better known for his Wallendar crime novels, has a "literary" novel coming out. In Italian Shoes, a man living in self-imposed exile on a Swedish island is visited out of the blue by the only woman he ever loved, whom he abandoned 40 years earlier. They drive to a lake in northern Sweden, where he discovers she has a surprise in store. There is a chance the author will visit the UK when the book is published.
Among the rest of April's crime fiction are Black Out by Lisa Unger; debut novel Daemon by Daniel Surarez; Fatal Cut by June Hampton; Mystery Man by Bateman; The Edge by Chris Simms; The Black Monastery by Stav Sherez; The Little Victim by R. T. Raichev; Close-up by Esther Verhoef; Bone Man's Daughters by Ted Dekker; and The Devil's Bones by Jefferson Bass.
As a postscript, three new Doctor Who novels are also scheduled: The Slitheen Excursion by Simon Guerrier; Judgement of the Judoon by Colin Brake; and Prisoner of the Daleks by Trevor Baxendale.
That's just April.