This week on Catalogue Spotlight is the ever-expanding independent publisher, Quercus, probably best known for bringing Stieg Larsson to an English speaking audience. As well as books published under Quercus, the catalogue includes several imprints; MacLehose Press for international fiction, Jo Fletcher Books for sci-fi, fantasy and horror and Heron Books. There’s something for everyone and of course that means there are loads of titles that I like the look of!
The Light and the Dark by Mikhail Shishkin
March: hardback / ebook
There’s been a lot of discussion on the lost art of letter writing this year and whilst sometimes their use as a narrative device can be a bit contrived this one just sounds unique. I can’t wait to find out how it all works.
Picture two people, young and in love. Picture them being separated from one another. Picture them keeping their love alive through letters. So far, so simple.
Now imagine they’ve not just been separated geographically, but also historically. Imagine that their love and letters now defy time and place, life and death.
The Investigation by Philippe Claudel
January: hardback / ebook
Last year, when I didn’t flake out on Paris in July, I read Monsieur Linh and His Child and would be interested in reading something else with a little more depth. Hopefully this will be it.
The Investigator is despatched to a provincial town to investigate a disturbing spate of suicides amongst the employees of The Firm.
But from the moment he steps off the train, he finds that everything is against him, from the hostile weather to the town’s bewildering inhabitants. Cold, hungry and humiliated, always one step behind, he finds himself in a recurring nightmare that waking cannot break.
And yet his resolve never falters: he remains determined to find the only man he can hold to account – The Firm’s legendary but elusive founder.
In the Gold of Time by Claudie Gallay
January: paperback / ebook
I loved the coastal setting of Northern France in The Breakers and have been waiting for another book to be translated into English since. An intriguing title, hints of another coastal setting and a Hopi mystery along with my previous experience of Gallay means this is going straight onto my wishlist.
A world-weary young father holidays by the sea near Dieppe with his reproachfully perfect wife and their twin daughters.
A chance meeting with an eccentric old lady leads to intense encounters in her mysterious home, full of old photographs and strange objects – sacred ceremonial masks once belonging to the Hopi Indians of Arizona.
The old woman takes comfort in her new companion, and he, in turn, is drawn by her secrets. As he begins to push his family into the background, her stirring tales of the Hopi become the only salve to his despondent soul.
The Best of all Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
Partly this is pretty cover syndrome, but on closer inspection the idea of a race on the edge of extinction, where women are in sort supply and civil servants go on missions to find mates holds promise. I know a lot of people have also loved Redemption in Indigo (I should really read that too, yes?).
The Sadiri were once the galaxy’s ruling élite, but now their home planet has been rendered unlivable and most of the population destroyed. The few groups living on other worlds are desperately short of Sadiri women, and their extinction is all but certain.
Civil servant Grace Delarua is assigned to work with Councillor Dllenahkh, a Sadiri, on his mission to visit distant communities, looking for possible mates. Delarua is impulsive, garrulous and fully immersed in the single life; Dllenahkh is controlled, taciturn and responsible for keeping his community together. They both have a lot to learn.
Seoul Survivors by Naomi Foyle
February: hardback / ebook
Natural disaster films are one of my guilty pleasures. This sounds like a good old end-of-the-world setting with a more sci-fi twist. How will a bio-engineer save us from destruction by meteor?
A meteor known as Lucifer’s Hammer is about to wreak destruction on the earth, and with the end of the world imminent, there is only one safe place to be.
In the mountains above Seoul, American-Korean bio-engineer Dr Kim Da Mi thinks she has found the perfect solution to save the human race. But her methods are strange and her business partner, Johnny Sandman, is not exactly the type of person anyone would want to mix with.
Drawn in by their smiles and pretty promises, Sydney – a Canadian model trying to escape an unhappy past – is an integral part of their scheme, until she realises that the quest for perfection comes at an impossible price.
Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough
April: hardback / ebook
Another gorgeous cover and who can resist a bit of supernatural, historical crime fiction? Genre mixing for the win!
A new killer is stalking the streets of London’s East End. Though newspapers have dubbed him ‘the Torso Killer’, this murderer’s work is overshadowed by the hysteria surrounding Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel crimes.
The victims are women too, but their dismembered bodies, wrapped in rags and tied up with string, are pulled out of the Thames – and the heads are missing. The murderer likes to keep them.
Mayhem is a masterwork of narrative suspense: a supernatural thriller set in a shadowy, gaslit London, where monsters stalk the cobbled streets and hide in plain sight.
Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter
June: paperback / hardback
I like a bit of genetic engineering in my books as well as science fiction which addresses ethics. I’m not a fan of the cover though and very nearly overlooked it.
For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found – in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems – the line between survival and ethics was radically altered.
Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves. And a conference at which Dr Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom. But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these ‘unholy’ creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose.
Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick
February: paperback / ebook
I have really enjoyed Ilsa’s post apocalyptic books so will be interesting to see how she copes with a different subject; one that is rather topical and controversial at that.
Jenna is sweet sixteen, the age when a girl is supposed to find her prince.
Instead she finds Mr Anderson – intelligent, handsome, married Mr Anderson, who just happens to be her chemistry teacher. With a dark past and a difficult family, Jenna is just happy to have someone to protect her, to worry about her, to love her.
But should she be suspicious of Mr Anderson’s reputation for helping ‘damaged’ students? Why is the most popular girl in school suddenly jealous of her? And where is Mr Anderson’s wife?
Path of Needles by Alison Littlewood
January: paperback / ebook
Combines my interest in fairytales with a modern crime novel that sounds suitably gripping. I do still have A Cold Season to read but I think I would still pick this one up.
Some fairytales are born of dreams… and some are born of nightmares.
A murderer is on the loose, but the gruesome way in which the bodies are being posed has the police at a loss. Until, on a hunch, Alice Hyland, an expert in fairytales is called in. And it is Alice who finds the connection between the body of Chrissie Farrell and an obscure Italian version of Snow White.
Then, when a second body is found, Alice is dragged further into the investigation – until she herself becomes a suspect.
Now Alice must fight, not just to prove her innocence, but to protect herself: because it’s looking like she might well be next.
The Low Road by Chris Womersley
January: paperback / ebook
I absolutely loved the writing of Bereft, the only thing which stopped it getting full marks was the subject matter was a little uncomfortable at times. So I am so excited to see another of his books being published by Quercus.
A suitcase of stolen cash has brought three criminals together.
One has a bullet in his side.
One has blood on his hands.
One has vengeance on his mind.
Each has run from their past. Each will now fight for their future.
A modern noir thriller, The Low Road highlights our desire to outrun our demons, and the dark consequences we face when we are forced to confront them.
The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry
January: hardback / ebook
How could you not want to read a book with that title? Just sounds completely wonderful.
One morning a librarian finds a reader who has been locked in overnight.
She starts to talk to him, a one-way conversation that soon gathers pace as an outpouring of frustrations, observations and anguishes. Two things shine through: her shy, unrequited passion for a quiet researcher named Martin, and an ardent and absolute love of books.
A delightful flight of fancy for the lonely bookworm in all of us…
Descriptions are taken direct from the catalogue and do not represent my opinion. I’m sure you will see plenty of these popping up on the blog next year though. On my first browse of the catalogue I picked out a huge 18 titles, so there’s a lot more in there than shown above and completely worth seeking out.
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.