What will be arrayed in the UK bookshops (what is left of them) to distract us from our Christmas shopping this year – or perhaps instead to provide some ideas for our own lists for Santa? Not a huge amount, I have to say. According to The Bookseller (20/27 August edition) the big sellers for December will be books by Tami Hoag, Richard Montanari and a "Clive Cussler"-like novel called Polar Quest by Tom Grace. I have not read either of the second two authors and although I did once read Tami Hoag's books I've now given up, not least because I can't distinguish between what is a reissue and what is new, but also because they are somewhat formulaic and shallow, if readable. However, if you are interested, Deeper than the Dead (Orion) is her first (new!) novel for three years. There are no details in The Bookseller apart from their opinion that it is good, "bloody" and is being published simultaneously with four backlist reissues. Too confusing for me to sort it all out.
In the "crime" category is Jodi Compton's Hailey's War (Pocket). I enjoyed the author's first two novels some years ago – The 37th Hour and Sympathy Between Humans, about an attractively flawed cop, Detective Sarah Pribeck. I had read that this author found it hard to get subsequent novels published, so now has come up with a new approach, "introducing a feisty new crime heroine and set between San Francisco, Los Angeles and Mexico." Based on some good reviews of her new book, I might give this one a go though it isn't my usual cup of tea, because I enjoyed her previous two.
Perhaps of more direct interest is Shadow Sister by Simone van der Vlugt (HarperPress), author of The Reunion, which I liked a lot, and a title eligible for the 2011 CWA International Dagger award. However, this one does feature twins, not one of my favourite topics as it tends to encourage cliche. Other December crime paperbacks include Five Ways to Kill a Man by Alex Gray (I was underwhelmed by her first DI Lorimer novel, of which this is one), The Godfather of Kathmandu by John Burdett (praised in various blog reviews on its first publication), Malice by Lisa Jackson, Pray for Silence by Linda Costello, Dead Ringer by Mary Burton, Paying Back Jack by Christopher G. Moore, Wait for Dark by Scott Frost, Broken English by P. L. Gaus, Skeleton Hill by Peter Lovesey and a few others (I have never heard of quite a few of these books/authors). According to The Bookseller, the biggest selling December paperback in the UK will be The Other Family by Joanna Trollope (Black Swan) which I have on my shelf somewhere so really must read. I usually enjoy her novels but am one or two behind.