I learnt last year that the UK book trade's equivalent to Super Tuesday is the second of September – this is when the publishers publish their hoped-for bestsellers as most books in the country are sold in the run-up to Christmas. The 4 June issue of the Bookseller reveals that about 30 leading authors should result in around 50 million book sales between September and the end of the year. These titles include, deeply unexcitingly, autobiographies or biographies of Tony Blair (at least he's done something!), Michael Caine (at least he's old!), and assorted boring-sounding "re-re-memoirs" of "celebrities" such as Russell Brand, Jo Brand, Paul O'Grady, Stephen Fry; re-churned-out nonfiction by the likes of Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater and others I haven't heard of or could not care less about (or both).
On a more positive note, I turned to the crime fiction due to be published in this period and there are definitely some seasonal crackers among them – including several translated novels. The biggest seller among these will undoubtedly be The Postcard Killers by Liza Marklund and some coauthor or other (Century, 2 Sept), in which NYPD detective Jacob Kanin is touring Europe hunting his daughter's killer. Young couples are killed in various European cities, with the only link being a postcard to the local paper.
Sounds a bit grim but it is far too long since I was able to read a new book by Liza Marklund so I'll definitely be in line for this one.
Another translated novel (also originally written in Swedish) coming out on 2 Sept is Daniel by Henning Mankell (Harvill). In 1875, Hans Bengler leaves Sweden for the Kalahari Desert to search for a previously undiscovered insect. (I love it already.) Instead he finds a small boy with no family and takes him back to Sweden. But the boy finds life there intolerable, with tragic consequences.
Yet another Swedish novel is Three Seconds by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom (Quercus, 2 Sept). I very much liked The Vault (aka Box 21) so will be up for this one, which is about an undercover policeman whose drug deal goes horribly wrong. It won the Swedish Academy's prize for best crime novel of 2009.
Moving countries, Maclehose Press, an imprint of Quercus, is having its 2 September moment with River of Shadows by Valerio Varesi, first in a new series featuring Commissario Soneri. In this book, he's
investigating the apparent deaths of two brothers, one in the Po valley and the other in Palma, where both served in the Facsist militia 50 years ago.
Finally on the translated front is He Lover of Death, the new Erast Fandorin mystery by Boris Akunin following on from She Lover of Death (honestly!) (W&N, daringly publishing on 9 September). There are lots of English-language original crime novels coming out on 2 September also. Among them I am looking forward to Trick of the Dark by Val McDermid (Little Brown), a standalone thriller; A Capital Crime by Laura Wilson (Quercus), the third Stratton book set in 1949; Someone Else's Son by Sam Hayes (Headline); a debut by Jonathan Lewis called Into Darkness (Preface) in which a blind actor is found dead and his guide dog has disappeared; Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay (Orion) about a depressed wife who disappears on a family day out in an amusement park (obvious comment – she escaped to the library for a bit of peace and quiet — presumably does not apply); and Saints of New York by R. J. Ellory (Orion) about a NYPD cop under investigation by Internal Affairs. There are loads of others, too, for example new novels by Andrew Taylor, Sara Paretsky, John Le Carre, Alex Kava, Jill Paton Walsh, Alexander McCall Smith, Lee Child, Jeb Rubenfeld and quite a large number of others.
PS It seems that to qualify to be listed in these "upcoming bestseller" features in the Bookseller, an author has to have sold a certain number of his or her previous title. Therefore, there are probably loads of other crime novels being published by the independent presses such as Bitter Lemon, Serpent's Tail or Arcadia, which would not get a look-in here, more is the pity.