The Killer Reads Team's Top Picks for 2013

Wondering what to read this year? Look no further. The Killer Reads Team have put pen to paper to tell you what we’re most excited about publishing and reading in 2013.


Emad Akhtar, Assistant Editor for Crime and Thriller, says:

The books I’m most excited about publishing:

shining girlsThe Tower by Simon Toyne, marks the end of the Sancti trilogy, and will definitely be an event for all the people who have been following this story from Sanctus. You can read any of them on their own, to be honest – they are just amazing, slick, satisfying thrillers which take you to really unexpected places. I don’t think anyone’s quite doing what he’s doing with the genre; a really special mix of ancient themes and cutting-edge ideas.


And of course, The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. If you’ve been following any of the buzz building around this dark, hypnotic serial killer story, then you’ll know that this is one to put everything on hold for. Lauren is a really rare talent, who can bend her imagination to any genre, shaping and mashing-up stories into highly original novels which no-one else could write. I think she’ll win a lot of new fans this year with The Shining Girls, if the early reviews are anything to go by.


Both these books are out in April and if you don’t read at least one of them, I will hold you in contempt forever.

The books I’m most looking forward to reading:burial rites

In a year where we’re going to have a new Neil Gaiman, a new Stephen King and a new Dan Brown, I’m still going to have to recommend a book which came in, and was hands down one of the best submissions I’ve ever read. Hannah Kent’s obscenely good debut Burial Rites, which won the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award, is out in August. It’s a ridiculously well-written, breathtaking and bleakly beautiful Scandi-Western set in Iceland, covering the final days and nights of the last woman to be executed there. Don’t want to give too much away but – with or without the ‘debut’ caveat – this will be one of the best books out this year.


Sarah Hodgson, Deputy Publishing Director for Crime and Thriller, says:

The books I’m most excited about publishing:

A new Stuart MacBride is always a big event, and this time we’ve waited two years to hear again from Logan and Steel in Close to the Bone, following last year’s excellent standalone, Birthdays for the Dead. After the horrific events 051228-FC3DStuart has forced poor Logan to endure in previous novels, he seems to be getting his life back on track, but of course things are never that simple… Logan, Steel and the rest of Grampian’s finest soon find themselves dealing with a rather horrific and twisty new case that weaves together witchcraft, mental health issues in teenagers and the filming of a Hollywood blockbuster right in the Granite city.


On the heels of a master of the genre, I’m thrilled to be publishing a chilling new debut from an ex murder detective. Luke Delaney spent 20 years in the metropolitan police force before leaving to pursue his boyhood dream of writing. The authenticity of his own experience shines through Cold Killing. The hero is DI Sean Corrigan, a cop with very dark past, which offers him unique insights into the minds of the criminals he’s out to catch. In this first novel of a new series, he’s on the trail of the most dangerous killer he’s ever encountered – one who leaves no forensic trace and has no recognisable MO. But Sean knows it’s the same guy…Cold Killing


Other HC titles I’m looking forward to include The Scent of Death by Andrew Taylor, who is such a wonderful writer and I love the idea of a crime novel set in a very young New York, and The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, about a time-travelling serial killer, which is genius and is going to be HUGE.


The books I’m most looking forward to reading:

I seem to be one of the last people on the planet to get around to it, but I’m currently about a third of the way through Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and can’t wait to finish it so I can talk about it with all my friends who’ve already read it, including my fellow killer readers! Next up, very hard to choose, but I will probably go for either A Dark Redemption by Stav Sherez, which I’ve heard very good things about, or The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood, which has such an intriguing premise I just couldn’t resist it. I’m also hugely looking forward to Dominion by C J Sansom, but I need to set aside a good chunk of time, it’s a real doorstopper! As for yet to be released titles, I’ll be snapping up the new ones by Sophie Hannah (The Carrier) and Kate Atkinson (Life After Life)  as soon as they’re released.  I can’t believe I have so many treats in store!


Laura Deacon, Editor for Blue Door, says:

The book I’m most excited about publishing:

One of the books I am most excited about publishing this year is James Smythe’s The Machine. Billed as a Frankenstein tale for the 21st century, the novel tells the story of Vic, a man who suffered from PTSD but whose painful memories were removed by a machine, designed to keep sufferers free from their nightmares. What seemed like the greatest invention known to mankind eventually robbed Vic of his memory altogether and the machines were destroyed by the government. Some still exist and Vic’s wife, Beth, has managed to procure one. In her tiny flat, there is an ever-whirring black box. She knows that memories can be put back, that she can re-build her husband piece-by-piece. The Machine is already being compared to early Ian McEwan and authors such as Lauren Beukes, Adam Christopher and Will Wiles are already huge fans. We are expecting big things from this novel, out in April.


The books I’m most looking forward to reading:

One of the books I’m most looking forward to reading is Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach. I read this book on submission and alas, Picador were eventually the lucky publishers! I loved it so much that I want to re-read it and recommend it to you now. It’s not a million miles away from The Machine; it too deals with the subject of identity. Its concept is simple: how far can one person go to assume the identity of another online? Leila is a computer whizz and agrees to adopt the identity of Tess, a young girl who wants to end her life whilst making her friends and family believe she is still alive. All Leila has to do is continue her online persona, respond to emails and keep people posted on how she is doing. But how long can they keep the lie alive? A haunting read which will stay with you long after the last page.


Helen Bolton, Assistant Editor for Avon, says:

HelenThe books I’m most excited about publishing:

I am most excited about publishing two books by a brand new author of ours, Paul Finch. He’s flippin’ brilliant and I can’t recommend him highly enough! A scriptwriter and horror author by trade, this is Paul’s first foray into crime/thriller writing. And he ain’t half good. He’s writing high-concept crime, with storylines you won’t be able to forget. First up, Stalkers publishes in February, where the hero of our series, Detective Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenberg, takes on a gang that no one will talk about. The gang – the so-called Nice Guys Club – stalk and kidnap women to order. Why? So their clients can fulfil their very darkest desires…


StalkersAnd if you like that, you won’t have long to wait for the second book in the series which hits the shelves in July. When a man is found blocked into a chimney alive at Christmas, two lovers are shot through the heart on Valentine’s Day and three victims are crucified at Easter, Heck knows he’s got a ‘calendar’ killer on his hands. The only question is how will the next victims die? It’s heart-stopping stuff, and just the thing to keep you on the edge of your seat for the whole of 2013.
The books I’m most looking forward to reading:

I’m most looking forward to reading The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I don’t know a thing about baseball, but apparently this will tell me all I need to know and be a great read besides. It’s had many many recommendations and that’s good enough for me – it’s going straight to the top of my to-read list in 2013.


Kate Stephenson, Editorial Assistant for Crime and Thriller, says:Kate

The books I’m most excited about publishing:

I’m excited about so many of our books that it’s impossible to pick a front-runner. But I will tell you about a very exciting debut author we are launching soon. We launch debut author Luke Delaney with Cold Killing in March. Luke is an ex-murder squad detective who has investigated murders ranging from those committed by fledgling serial killers to gangland assassinations. His real-life experience lends his novels a chilling authenticity that leaps off the page. His lead character, DI Sean Corrigan is brilliant and complex, with a dark past that allows him a unique understanding of the offenders he investigates. This book is absolutely terrifying, and completely addictive. Luckily, we are publishing the The Keeper in September, so you won’t have to wait long for your next Sean Corrigan fix.

the lost boy


After the cliff-hanger ending of The Drowning, I’m sure fans are desperately awaiting Camilla Lackberg’s next book, The Lost Boy. And it won’t disappoint. With part of the story set on a spooky and atmospheric island, known to Fjällbacka locals as Ghost Isle, this is Camilla at her best – Scandi fiction owes a lot to its icy landscapes, but the overwhelming sense of unease felt throughout this book is what really chills to the bone. Of course, we have Lackberg’s warm, domestic touch to offset the darker narrative, but I can’t say too much without giving away what happened after the final devastating scene of The Drowning


The books I’m looking forward to reading:

A Delicate Truth by John le Carré; Life After Life by Kate Atkinson; Indiscretion by Charles Dubow; The Ghostman by Roger Hobbs; and as many more as I can find the time to read…


Hannah Gamon, Marketing Executive, says:

Hannah KRThe books I’m most excited about publishing:

I feel rather inadequate sat here at my desk, when I can only type and I can’t push these books into your arms so that you know I really, really mean that you have to read them because I am desperately excited about them, but there you go. We all have our annual favourites here at HC, and I have to say that Stuart MacBride’s brand new Logan, Close to the Bone and Lars Kepler’s The Fire Witness, definitely tick that box. You just have to read this snippet of Close to the Bone to understand why I am utterly in love with Logan and his relationship with Steel, pure genius.

indiscretionI swallowed The Fire Witness whole on an eight hour train journey (some of it read by torch light) and I could not put it down, even for a second. For anyone who enjoys their Scandi Crime, this has to go on your list. A murder in a home for troubled girls and a medium who swears she is witness to a murder it is impossible for her to have seen – it was love at first read.

As for what I’m most excited about that’s new for us at Harper, there are three titles that bag that honour – Indiscretion (deliciously full of dark and dangerous desire), The Shining Girls (oh, the ingenuity!), Cold Killing (fantastic police procedural with a twist) and The Shock of the Fall (heart breaking). I know that many of these have already been mentioned, but they are truly exceptional and deserve to be credited at least twice.

The books I’m most excited about reading:

I started the year with Gone Girl, a book I had pressed into my hands dozens of times and which had me gripped to the page throughout (although I wasn’t totally convinced by the ending), then picked up The Good Father which I am enjoying tremendously. I still haven’t read Nesbo’s The Leopard, which has been patiently waiting for me to go on holiday, as has Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. There are thousands of others all burning away at my conscience, so those are just a few!


Katie Sadler, Digital Marketing Manager, says:

The books I’m most excited to be publishing:

The Game Trilogy by Anders de la Motte isn’t coming out until the end of 2013, but I’m already getting excited about working on it. It’s so different, really gripping and a LOT of fun.

The books I’m most looking forward to reading:

I desperately want to read the Courtney Love autobiography. I find her absolutely fascinating and was a big fan of Hole. If anyone in HarperCollins non-fiction is reading this, PLEASE MAY I HAVE A COPY?


Shock of the FallCassie Browne, Assistant Editor for Historical and Literary Fiction, says:

 The books I’m most excited about publishing:

I am so excited about two very different debuts we are publishing this year: Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall and Rosie Garland’s The Palace of Curiosities.

The Shock of the Fall is the story of one man’s journey through the spinning vortex that is mental illness. It is a searing account; raw, honest, original and deeply moving but which manages to be warm and funny at the same time. Once you begin Matthew’s story you will not be able to put this book down and it will transform your understanding of schizophrenia forever.

Set in Victorian London, Rosie Garland’s The Palace of Curiosities follows the fortunes of Eve, the Lion-Faced Girl and Abel, the Flayed Man who meet as performers in a Victorian freak show. It is a magical, mesmerizing story and a breathtaking debut which I will be pushing into people’s hands!

Extraordinary and deeply affecting, but in very different ways, these stories announce two very exciting voices in fiction, who I know will be widely talked about this year.

The books I’m most looking forward to reading:Palace

I can’t wait to read INDISCRETION!! Again another very exciting debut coming from our friends at Blue Door and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into this intriguing story about the three great themes: love, friendship and betrayal. There is has been incredible energy surrounding this book. It sounds delicious and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!


Amy Winchester, Publicity Assistant, says:

The books I’m most looking forward to publishing:

If I’m honest, we’re having an insanely good year in Fiction, so this is a hard one. The past few months have seen me scurrying off each night with a smug look of glee and an ever growing bag of proofs (well, until I invested in a Kindle, that is). The Golem and the Djinni got me through the more tedious moments of the Christmas break, and even threatened to distract me from festive drinks with friends a couple of times. It’s huge in scope, almost overwhelming in detail and plot, and it’s the only book that’s ever come close for me to the sublime Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I’m hugely jealous of everyone yet to discover it when it lands in August – but I plan to make up for that by reading it five more times before then.


The books I’m most looking forward to reading:

Next on my list is definitely Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls. Lauren has an incredible writing record, and her Lit Mash twitter challenge was just incredible – so fast, and so so funny. A weird, wonderful, and by all accounts deliciously creepy cross between sci-fi and thriller, everybody is talking about The Shining Girls in-house. In fact, this seems to be the year for excellent cross-over, genre-transcending fiction – James Smythe’s tense and claustrophobic account of isolation in space, The Explorer, is another big title on my TBR pile. Too many books, too little time!

Natasha Hughes, Assistant Editor for Tolkien and Christie Estates, says:

The books I’m most excited about publishing

fall of arthurFirstly, I’ve never felt more excited than to be working on a brand new children’s illustrated Hobbit, with a very talented artist called Jemima Catlin. We have been working on the project for over two years already, so it’s very exciting to finally be able to put together a beautiful package, with a brand new take on a work that we know and love. The Tolkien calendar featuring her work is publishing in August, and the illustrated Hobbit publish in September.


There’s also a previously unknown work by J.R.R. Tolkien himself, The Fall of Arthur which tells the story of the last days of King Arthur: ‘of Arthur’s expedition overseas into distant heathen lands, of Guinevere’s flight from Camelot, of the great sea-battle on Arthur’s return to Britain, in the portrait of the traitor Mordred, in the tormented doubts of Lancelot in his French castle.’ – there’s nothing to not be excited about! I am so looking forward to May when all of the other huge Tolkien fans will get to read his beautiful verse.


Lastly, but by no means least, I can’t wait to publish The Visual Companion: The Desolation of Smaug by Jude Fisher. I love working with the design team to come up with some really fascinating and creative spreads, and the project is always changing as new pictures from the film become available. It’s also so rewarding to see the many co-editions being produced from all around the world. The Visual Companion publishes the beginning of November.


The books I’m most looking forward to reading:

I can’t wait to read Revenge Wears Prada in June, and a proof copy of The Queen’s Gambit that my friend from Penguin has kindly sent to me!




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