Continuing on my journey through next year’s catalogues, I give you Head of Zeus, a fairly new publisher which launched this year. They kindly sent me a paper copy of their beautiful catalogue for January – June 2013. At first glance, the line-up is full of crime, history and fantasy but overall is a real mix of genre and literary, a little bit like this blog! Here are some of the books that have caught my interest…

The Twyning by Terence Blacker
December / January: ebook / hardback

It’s about rats! The summary reads very much like a classic fantasy story; the king is dead and the kingdom is in turmoil. But the kingdom is populated by rats and the enemy is humankind. I’m not quite sure if it’s aimed at a younger audience as there are child characters but it still sounds awesome. The ebook is out slightly earlier than the print copy.

The Kingdom. A subterranean land ruled over by the strongest rat amongst us. When the King becomes old, weakened by his years, his final revelation is heard in the minds of every citizen, in every Court, accompanied by the unearthly keening of the Twyning.

Change is life. Movement is life. Every citizen of the Kingdom knows this. Even our halls and passageways of Statue change and move as the Kingdom, like a single beast, pushes forward in time; surviving with every new generation. There will always be a rat to rule, just as there will always be a Kingdom.

This is how our story begins, before the war with the world above. Before Queen Jeniel, and Efren’s defiance. As the old King stood on the Rock of State, before taking his final journey down the river alone.

Doppler by Erland Loe
December / June: hardback / paperback

This one caught my eye tucked away in the paperback section (the hardback is in this year’s catalogue but I’m still counting it). It just sounds like a charming story about a man who moves out into the woods to escape his life and ends up befriending a baby elk.

Doppler has just lost his father. Despite the fact that he has a pregnant wife and two children, he decides to move into the woods . Here he starts a lonely and purposefully boring existence. He has never been so happy.

When Doppler kills a she-elk for meat he can’t feel guilty about it, but he does feel a bit guilty about the calf she left behind. When the baby elk adopts him, Doppler is tempted to knock it down as well. But the little elk is wily and escapes death, and gradually they become friends. He names the little elk Bongo.

Doppler is a charming, absurd and subversive novel with serious undertones and criticism of our modern consumer society.

Kate Shugak Investigation series by Dana Stabenow
January 2013 – June 2014

A whole series of Alaskan crime! January will mark the release of the first three books in paperback; A Cold Day for Murder, A Fatal Thaw and Dead in the Water. Then there will be one released each month until we’re caught up. The 20th book in the series, Bad Blood, will be released in hardback in February 2013. I have my fingers crossed that I’ll love this series as I’m so fed up of waiting a year between books of my favourite crime authors, it’d be nice to have an established series to get my teeth into. Also, they have handy numbers on the covers so you won’t have to look up the reading order. Thanks Head of Zeus!

KATE SHUGAK is a native Aleut working as a private investigator in Alaska. She’s 5 foot 1 inch tall, carries a scar that runs from ear to ear across her throat and owns half-wolf, half-husky dog named Mutt. Resourceful, strong-willed, defiant, Kate is tougher than your average heroine – and she needs to be to survive the worst the Alaskan wilds can throw at her.

Read the first chapter online.

Shooting Victoria by Paul Thomas Murphy
January: hardback / ebook

This just sounds like the sort of history book I like. The lives of the little people, even if insane, often are much more interesting than the sterile history of important dates and family trees.

An astounding seven people attacked Queen Victoria during her long reign.Their pistols either failed to fire or missed altogether, although one assailant – Robert Pate – managed to strike her across the forehead with a finely wrought cane. Remarkably all eight lived to tell their tales, and were incarcerated in mental asylums, deported to Australia, and in a few cases eventually released into society again.

SHOOTING VICTORIA opens up a new window onto Victorian England. In investigating Victorian attitudes to madness, crime and criminals, it reveals new depths to citizens and monarch alike, uncovering cogs and levers that have remained hidden for decades.

Murphy shows how these forgotten, often misguided, always fascinating souls effected a change in history. Their attacks on Victoria galvanised her brave desire to face them down by being a more public-facing ruler than her forebears, and laid the groundwork for the monarchy as we know it.

What Comes Next? by John Katzenbach
June: hardback / ebook

I like the idea of someone with dementia being given the role of hero in a book. It will be interesting to see if it is done with compassion or is just a gimick. I’m pretty sure the online webcam countdown thing has been done in a film but doesn’t mean it can’t be made into something new. We shall see.

After receiving a diagnosis of degenerative dementia, a slow but sure death sentence, Adrian Thomas, a retired professor, decides to go home and shoot himself, but fate intervenes when he witnesses a man and a woman in an unmarked van kidnap 16-year-old runaway Jennifer Riggins.

Jennifer awakes blindfolded and gagged, strapped to a metal bed frame. Her clothes have been removed. The webcam above turns to “live feed” as an email goes out: Victim Number 4 lives today. But what will happen tomorrow? Can the professor save Jennifer?

The Sentinel by Mark Oldfield
October / April: hardback / paperback

I’m in two minds about time-slip novels but sometimes they work really well and I’m drawn to fiction covering Spain’s recent history. The Spanish Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship really wasn’t that long ago. Set across three periods, The Sentinel has a lot of scope and potential to be chilling. Another one from the paperback section; the hardback (and ebook) should be out now.

They didnย’t find the bodies until 2010, 57 years after they were hastily buried in a disused mineshaft. Fourteen had died from a single bullet to the back of the skull. The fifteenth was so viciously garroted that its head was almost severed from its body.

For Ana Maria Galindez, the forensic investigator, it was her first encounter with the work of Comandante Guzman. But not her last.

The Sentinel is the first in an ambitious and enthralling trilogy of novels that explores the Spanish Civil War’s savage legacy. Centre stage is the figure of Leopoldo Guzman, head of the Brigada Especial – Franco’s secret police.

Guzman is one of the more remarkable creations of modern fiction. A monster and an enigma who nevertheless engages the sympathy of the reader. He is also a man who vanishes from history in the winter of 1953… Until Galindez unearths his tracks.

Descriptions are taken direct from the catalogue and do not represent my opinion. I will be popping these on my wishlist though so keep an eye out for my reviews next year. If you’re a fan of historical crime fiction, they do have a lot of interesting sounding titles in that genre so do take a look and for readers of epic fantasy, there is The Grim Company trilogy.

View the PDF.

If you’re a publicist with a catalogue you’d like featured, please send me a link to the PDF or get in touch to send me a paper copy.