Books to put on your Christmas list

I keep reading that 1 October, though a Thursday, will be a "super Tuesday" of the book publishing world, with a huge post-DB splurge of predicted best-sellers due for publication (not least Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest – as described in the previous post and others, if you'd like to scroll down for more information about this eagerly awaited novel).

However, life goes on – and as I see from recent Booksellers that December is expected to be a "quiet" month for UK book releases, I thought I'd post a few here so you can plan your holiday reading or even drop a few hints to Santa.

There's massive publicity to support publication of Three Weeks to Say Goodbye by Edgar-winner C. J. Box (Corvus, £12.00 HB), his UK debut. The plot: a couple adopt a baby, only to be told a few months later that the father did not sign away his parental rights, and wants her back – very badly. Not so surprising, perhaps, but a sinister motive emerges.

Other December HB releases include Two Tribes by Charlie Owen (Headline, £12.99); Paying Back Jack by Christopher G. Moore (Atlantic, £12.99); A Murder on London Bridge by Susanna Gregory (Sphere, £19.99); and True Blue by David Baldacci (Macmillan, £17.00) – one of those authors with whom I parted company some time ago despite a few exciting early novels, including his cracking debut Absolute Power (made into a film starring Clint Eastwood, not bad in itself but which ruined the plot and the logic by ducking the shock that happened half-way through the book).

Moving on to paperbacks, more my cup of tea (price- and size-wise), of the December crop I am most looking forward to Death in Oslo by Anne Holt (Sphere, £7.99), one of Norway's best-selling authors. This is the first in a series in which the female US president disappears while on a state visit. I liked the two so-far-translated Johanne Vik novels by this author, and am keen to try this one.

Peter James's Dead Tomorrow is out in PB (Pan, £6.99), a super outing in the Roy Grace series, this one about organ and child-trafficking. "It's a sad tale of desperate needs taken to extremes, really very disturbing", according to The Bookseller. You can see what I thought of it in my review (of the HB).

Other December PBs – well, get the megasellers out of the way first, we have Run for your Life by "James Patterson" & Michael Ledwidge (a strangely dry month for James P, only one out by him in Dec); and Girl Missing by Tess Gerritsen (Bantam, £6.99) – warning, this is her debut crime novel, out in the US in 1994, only now getting a UK publication.

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo (Pan, £6.99) has received excellent reviews in the professional media and on blogs, so I shall certainly be reading this one. It is about an Amish community disrupted by murder with, according to The Bookseller, "an amazing hook, sense of place and a terrific twist. It's for the P. J. Tracy market and had my reader totally gripped right from the start". [Not that I am that keen on P. J. Tracy but I will nevertheless give Sworn to Silence a go, based on reviews I've read.]

A few more: The Taken by the controversially named, pseudonymous Inger Ash Wolfe (Corgi, £6.99), second in the Hazel Micallef series, the first not much liked by me; The Fury by Jason Pinter (Mira, £6.99), fourth in the Henry Parker series and much praised by The Bookseller (I must read The Mark, still on my shelf from ages ago); Dishonour by Helen Black (Avon, £6.99), one of the childcare lawyer Lily Valentine series (the third, I think); Mud, Muck and Dead Things by Ann Granger (Headline, £7.99), first in a new series set in the Cotswolds; Playing with Bones by Kate Ellis (Piatkus, £6.99), second in the Joe Plantagenet series (Kate Ellis also writes the well-established Wesley Peterson series, an attractive mix of contemporary and historical crime, based on the one I've read, Bone Garden); and Bad Penny Blues (Serpent's Tail, £7.99) by Cathi Unsworth, a "1960s tale of brutality, police corruption, perverted aristocrats and murdered prostitutes, with a bit of mystic stuff thrown in."