"Cold comfort" is the Bookseller's (3 September, p 25) headline about new fiction titles to be published in the UK in December. And boy, are they right! Either something is really wrong with the publishing industry or publishers are failing to submit titles to the magazine for the monthly listing. Or perhaps the Bookseller's explanation is correct: "December offers the slimmest pickings of the year, as everyone concentrates on selling titles published in the previous three months", ie on the run-up to Christmas, which is when by far the most books are sold in the UK, as they are a very popular choice of gift even in this era of Amazon, Book Depository and e-readers.
Be that as it may, there is only one title in the category "crime and thriller" – but it is (I am betting) a good one! 1222 by Anne Holt (Corvus, £12.99). The author is former Norwegian minister for justice and is a bestselling crime writer. I've enjoyed her three novels that have so far been translated into English (Punishment, The Final Murder, Death in Oslo - see also reviews of all three novels by Dorte). 1222 is Anne Holt's first title for Corvus and is first to be published in her series about police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen, paralysed from the waist down. (Hanne appears in some of the previous books, but not as the central character.) Here, she is a passenger on a train en route from Oslo to Bergen when it derails in a storm. The passengers are evacuated to a hotel, but then one is found dead – the ensuing mystery sounds intriguing….. I am definitely going to read this novel between now and its publication date because the publisher has kindly sent me a proof copy, so watch out for my review at Euro Crime. You won't find this out from the Bookseller, but the translator on this occasion is Marlaine Delargy.
The only other novel listed for December that could remotely be of interest to keen crime-fiction readers is Broken Fences by Camilla Noli (Orion, £9.99), a second novel "from the darker shores of maternal love". This one is about Clair, who will do anything to protect her children from any perceived threat, real or imagined. "And what she does has her teetering on the edge of madness." Hmmm. Oh yes, and there is a thriller by Tom Clancy due out in December (Michael Joseph, £20!), Dead or Alive, about Jack Ryan, this time on the trail of a sadistic terrorist called "the Emir". Uncle!!!