Crime novels for the rest of the year

Earlier this month (10 April) in the Bookseller, Maxim Jakubowski picked his favourites from the crime fiction, mystery novels and thrillers due to be published in the UK in the second half of this year. In his preface he notes that the total output from publishers has decreased by 10 per cent compared with last year, with "midlists and backlists" suffering as a result, as publishers put more resources into marketing a smaller number of titles. He believes there are fewer debut authors this year and notes "the recent vogue for crime in translation seems to be calming down somewhat, at any rate on the Scandinavian front, although I feel that French and Italian writers are still criminally overlooked generally." The smaller independents have lost ground, with honourable exceptions Serpent's Tail, Bitter Lemon and one or two others; Quercus and Orion are singled out for "innovative and commercial lists that are allowed to grow organically through a combination of judicious finds and big dollar acquisitions". Conclusion: the genre is still thriving though there are a few clouds on the horizon.

Of the books selected for the preview feature, there is only one translated title in the predicted best sellers, and that is, of course, Stieg Larsson's The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Quercus, October). You can count the translated titles in the rest of the preview on the fingers of two hands:The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Weidenfeld, June), August Heat by Andrea Camilleri (Picador, June), The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum (Harvill, July), The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson (Profile, November) – an author better known for her Moomin children's novels – The Stone Cutter by Camilla Lackberg (HarperCollins, August), and The Gigolo Murder by Mehmet Murat Somer. For more details of these and all European (translated and UK) crime fiction due for publication in the UK between now and the end of the year – check at Euro Crime's regularly updated lists (by date or by author).

Of course there are many titles due for publication in the second half of 2009 that are originally written in English, by authors including Michael Connellly, Ian Rankin, Frances Fyfield, Laura Wilson, Peter James, John Harvey, Val McDermid, Peter Robinson and many more.