I've taken advantage of a wet weekend to read a proof of Brian McGilloway's latest novel, The Rising. It's great, and I'm in mid-draft of my review for Euro Crime. Apparently, The Rising is published in the UK on 2 April, so you have plenty of time (!) to discover this author by reading his first three novels about Garda Inspector Ben Devlin: Borderlands, Gallows Lane and Bleed a River Deep. You can watch a video of the author talking about his new novel at Vimeo or YouTube.
I also read the 26 February issue of The Bookseller (delivered on Saturday instead of Thursday, as I am growing to expect!). There's a feature on page 27 about the self promotion that authors have to do now that publishers' "ever-tightening marketing budgets are increasingly being earmarked for the big names". One of these initiatives, mentioned in the Bookseller article, is the airport tour undertaken by the Curzon group, a self-organised number of crime-fiction authors. They started at 5 a.m. (I don't know when they finished!) because they reckoned that this is when many people have time on their hands and are browsing in airside branches of W H Smiths. Another author, Katy Moran, says that she sets up as many school visits as possible (she writes the "Bloodline" series of children's historical fiction); she has set up a Facebook page, a Wikipedia entry and so on. She says "Trying to get reviews in national newspapers is like flogging a dead horse. Review space is so small now, especially for children's literature. Authors are reduced to grass roots methods. We've got to become literate in social media."
Robert Muchamore, who writes the popular Cherub spy series for teens, chats daily on his website with readers; Matt Lynn (one of the Curzon group) recommends book festivals and bookstore signings/events, and of course, blogs and other online platforms allow authors not only to communicate with their readers but also to reach potential new readers. The article doesn't mention this, but encouraging readers to post reviews on Amazon and other large bookselling platforms is another way to spread the word. Overall, I found this feature a bit quaint, as many authors have been doing lots of these activities for many years.
This edition of The Bookseller has a paperback preview for June (UK). June – will it ever arrive, bringing sunshine, warmth and dryness? Sarah Broadbent, editor of this section of the magazine, writes briskly that the quantity of new titles for June is substantially less than previous months this year: "Those categories deemed dwindling – clogs, shawls and chick lit – have precious little." Instead it is all supernatural and a few futuristic thrillers (Tim Powers' Declare and Mat Frei's The Stranger are the most highly recommended of this last category, which I suspect is not for me – I can't see into the future so I can't be sure).
For crime-fiction enthusiasts, we can look forward to Play Dead, an early Harlan Coben from 1990 that only had a very limited release in the UK at the time (I haven't read it); Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott – start of a new series about a CIA agent; Ice Hunt by James Rollins; The Twelve by Stuart Neville, which was very well-received when it was first published (in hardback) and very highly recommended by The Bookseller; The Fate of Katherine Carr by Thomas H Cook, about a girl's disappearance 20 years ago; My Last Confession by Helen Fitzgerald– "chick lit noir" to quote one reviewer; Dark Places by Gillian Flynn; and I Kill by Giorgio Faletti (Constable) – a "major Italian crime writer with a detective and FBI agent hunting a deranged killer in Monte Carlo".
There are lots of other titles due for paperback publication in June (if we ever get there), so it seems to me that the crime fiction/thriller genre is alive and well, even if clogs, shawls and chick lit aren't. I also do not (yet) spot the promised/threatened avalanche of books about angels and dogs combined with misery memoirs.