With the first snowdrops will come ever-more books – for those of us in the UK or able to buy UK paperbacks, quite a selection will be available, according to The Bookseller (22 October issue). On the translated front, Three Seconds by Roslund and Hellstrom (Quercus, £7.99) is one to look forward to – a blistering thriller covering drug dealing, an undercover prisoner, government corruption, police investigations and more. The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell (Vintage, £7.99) seems to be the only other translated crime novel in this listing, and it, too, is Swedish. "Links China and the US in the 1860s with present international issues" states the Bookseller entry – it's also set in Sweden, and has three very strong female characters.
Other treats in store are Where the Shadows Lie by Michael Ridpath (Corvus, £7.99) – another fast-moving thriller, this one set in an Iceland of sagas, folklore and volcanoes. A good holiday read, I'd suggest. Open Season by C. J. Box (also Corvus, £7.99) is the first in the author's Joe Pickett series, well-established in the USA but being published for the first time in paperback in the UK (some have been published as Robert Hale hardbacks previously). Corvus plans to bring out 10 Joe Pickett books between February and November 2011. I haven't tried this series yet.
Tom Bale's follow-up to Skin and Bones, this one called Terror's Reach (Arrow, £6,99) is due out, as is Elena Forbes's Evil in Return (Quercus, £7.99), the third in her London (Barnes)-based DI Mark Tartaglia novel (I have so far only read the first, Die With Me.) One I shan't be reading is The Sword of the Templars by Paul Christopher, about which the Bookseller writes "Penguin believes any book with "Templar" or "Code" in the title scores." (£6.99). Perhaps looking up from that period of history is Jeremy Duns's second novel, Free Country (S&S, £7.99), in which it is 1969 and Cold War territory for agent Paul Dark. (His debut is called Free Agent.) And Stephen Booth has another Fry and Cooper Peak District novel out, Lost River (Harper, £7.99), apparently his last before he moves publisher (to Little, Brown).
Among the predicted top sellers and blockbusters are Caught by Harlan Coben (Orion, £7.99), which I enjoyed; Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson (Black Swan, £7.99), a series in which I am woefully behind; This Body of Death by Elizabeth George (Harper, £7.99) and The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith (Abacus, £7.99), the eleventh outing for Mma Precious Ramotswe.
These aren't the only books due out in the UK in February. I keep spotting interesting ones, for example Two for Sorrow by Nicola Upson (Faber, £7.99), third in the series that started with An Expert in Murder, in which Josephine Tey researches two women who were hanged for murder. On that topic, and last for this post, is The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley (Orion, £7.99), "the second in the Christie-esque country house murder series featuring precocious 11-year-old sleuth Flavia. They really are charmingly silly books and Orion is having trouble getting the right look – hence the delay." This is not to mention new paperbacks from Faye Kellerman, Louise Penny, Beverly Barton, Quintin Jardine, Lindsey Davis, Andrew Taylor…. the list seems endless, and that's just February paperbacks!