With 2013 already well underway, am I correct in thinking it is high
time to focus on some of the most anticipated new books of the year?
Why yes, of course I am! This is in no way a definitive list, seeing
a) how new releases tend to keep popping up throughout the year, b)
how some of the best reads of the year will be dark horses; titles and
authors that somehow have managed to slip under my radar, and c) how
there is something to be said for spontaneity. It is, however,
somewhat consistent with my current literary cravings. So, without
further ado I give you...


Jennifer Haigh - News from Heaven: The Bakerton Stories Linwood Barclay - Never Saw It Coming Joyce Carol Oates - Daddy Love

First of all, a book that is already out: Jennifer Haigh's News from
Heaven: The Bakerton Stories. Ever since I accidentally stumbled over
The Condition five years ago, I have considered Haigh one of the most
promising voices of contemporary US fiction, as deeply readable as she
is stylistically elegant and thought-provoking. This short story
collection, set in the coal mining town of Bakerton, is another
must-read for me.

Also out already are Linwood Barclay's Never Saw It Coming, a further
exploration of 2011 Quick Read Clouded Vision (more from Barclay to
look forward to this summer!), and – shocker – a new novel by Joyce
Carol Oates, the very creepy-sounding Daddy Love.


Jodi Picoult -The  Storyteller

There is something eerily soothing about authors so punctual you can
set your watch to their publishing rhythm, isn't there? For instance,
I take great solace in knowing that every February for the last few
years – bleak, dreary, draining February! – have seen the publication
of a new Jodi Picoult novel. This year's Picoult is called The
Storyteller and the plot, at least to me, bears echoes of Stephen
King's excellent novella Apt Pupil. Whenever someone slams Picoult –
which happens on a regular basis, particularly after her and Jennifer
Weiner's public reaction to The New York Times favouring male authors
– I kind of want to punch them. No, she may not be receiving the Nobel
Prize anytime soon, but she does make you think about complex moral
dilemmas and she always, always makes me cry and feel deeply about her
characters. There is undoubtedly something to be said for cathartic
reading, especially when there is that trademark Picoult "what would
YOU do?" aspect of it. Bring on the Kleenex and ethical pondering, 26


Joyce Carol Oates - The Accursed Andrew Pyper - The Demonologist Harlan Coben - Six Years

5 March marks the publication of Joyce Carol Oates new, delightfully

gothic novel The Accursed, which I have been oohing and aahing over
for quite some time now. Granted, the ever prolific Oates has produced
some less than stellar efforts recently, and the sheer effort of
trying to keep up with everything she writes can at times be draining.
This, though, seems worth it.

Already looking mighty fine on my nightstand, but not technically out
until 5 March is Andrew Pyper's The Demonologist. I loved his previous
books, which successfully blended horror and thriller in a bleak,
literary landscape, and this one is blurbed by the likes of Gillian
Flynn, S.J. Watson, and Michael Koryta.

March is also a good month for thriller buffs as the always reliable
pageturner king Harlan Coben has a new standalone, Six Years, out on
19 March. Like many a Coben novel before this one, it deals with
betrayals and mysteries of the past coming back to haunt us.


 S.J. Bolton - Lacey Flint thriller; Like This Forever Douglas Kennedy - Five Days Claire Messud - The Woman Upstairs

Okay, let me just say straight away that April looks like a GREAT
month! First of all, we have a new Lacey Flint thriller from S.J.
Bolton out on 11 April – yay! Like This Forever, it is called, and
there is no doubt in mind that Bolton will scare me senseless once
again. Can't wait.

Having read and enjoyed the literary pageturners of Douglas Kennedy
for well over a decade, I can't help but enjoy the blissful
serendipity of his new novel, Five Days, being published the day after
my birthday (30 April – that's the pub date, not my birthday). Happy
birthday, Helena! (Aww, you shouldn't have, Doug. Although of course,
you really, really should.)

More serendipity: on the very same date, the highly anticipated new
novel by Claire Messud, her first since her magnificent The Emperor's
Children, which was published in 2006, will be out. The protagonist of
The Woman Upstairs has been described as "a feminine counterpoint to
the rantings of Dostoevsky's Underground Man". This is definitely one
of the books I'm most excited about so far this year, seeing how I
rate The Emperor's Children as one of the finest novels I read in the


Bizarrely, I haven't been able to find any particularly fetching new
releases for May. Surely just a matter of time, though.


Curtis Sittenfeld - Sisterland

Another top contender for this year's most anticipated new release
from a fave author is Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland (25 June) and get
this: it's about identical twin sisters!


Julia Heaberlin - Playing Dead

Julia Heaberlin's debut novel Playing Dead was a pleasant surprise for
me last year, so I will most definitely pick up Lie Still, due out 9
July. If you're into dark, literary thrillers of the Gillian Flynn-ish
breed, do give Heaberlin a try.


Is it...? Why yes it is! All Linwood Barclay fiends can look forward to
yet another standalone thriller, the evocatively titled A Tap on the
Window, on 6 August. I've devoured each and every one of his books –
having said that, I thought last year's standalone was particularly
captivating, so I have equally high hopes for this one.


Ever wondered what Danny Torrance, the young clairvoyant boy of
Stephen King's horror classic The Shining, may be up to in that
alternate fictional reality we all fantasize of every now and then? On
24 September, King brings Danny into the 21st century, teaming him up
with a tribe of semi-immortal mind vampires feeding off young people
who, like once Danny, have "the shining". Oh, and there is also a
prescient cat. Doctor Sleep sounds like fun, doesn't it? (Might be
slightly out there, though, but then again the best King books are.)

September also marks the publication of the dead lovely Helen
Fitzgerald's latest novel, The Cry, which she was writing during our
chat at Kulturnatten 2011. I'm anticipating heaps of dark, twisty
brilliance of that wickedly funny, slightly morbid Fitzgerald variety.


We have waited – oh my, how we have waited. Grey hairs have been
discovered in the process, children have been born, empires have
fallen... and now, finally, what we've all been waiting for looks like
it actually will happen. No, I'm not talking about the second coming
of Jesus Christ; this is something far, far better. Last week, it was
revealed that Donna Tartt's third novel, her first since 2002's The
Little Friend, is to be published this October. Set for publication on
22 October, The Goldfinch is the tale of orphan Theo Decker, who as a
young boy miraculously survives an explosion. Roaming the streets of
New York, he becomes fixated with a small, mysteriously captivating
painting that soon draws Theo into the art underworld. I don't know
about the rest of you, but I already have "THE GOLDFINCH!" written
down in my calendar with indelible ink. 22 October – save the date!

November and December seem so very far away at the moment – not to
mentioned cold, dark, and dreary in a "too close to home" sort of way
– so I will get back to you regarding late 2013 book releases. All in
all, though, I have to say we're looking at a pretty solid year,
sometimes (OMG DONNA TARTT) verging on the spectacular. Let's just
hope that in terms of highly anticipated books, everything really is
as good as it seems. Fingers crossed and all that.