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The Fiction You Need to Read in 2022

Posted on 23rd December 2021 by Mark Skinner

As we bid farewell to 2021 all booklovers' thoughts drift automatically to the promise of exciting new novels and poetry collections in the forthcoming twelve months. Below you will find our hand-picked guide to the most eagerly anticipated fiction on the horizon; so what are you waiting for? Is your next favourite read a mere scroll away? 


 

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O'Farrell paints as evocative a picture of Renaissance Italy as she did Shakespearean England in the former Waterstones Book of the Year Hamnet, as Cosimo de' Medici's third daughter learns to navigate an opaque Florentine court and an enigmatic new husband.

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Evoking the bohemian atmosphere of Jazz Age London and peppered with unforgettable larger-than-life characters, Shrines of Gaiety finds the award-winning author of Life After Life on peerless form as she recounts the spectacular story of Nellie Croker, queen of the capital's nightlife.
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Tackling themes of ethics, science and haunting family legacies, McCarthy's tour de force - the first of a hugely exciting literary duet - finds Bobby Western attempting to outrun shadowy organisations and the ghost of his atom bomb-inventing father in pursuit of the truth about a sunken jet and its missing passenger.
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Told through the transcripts of its central protagonist's psychiatric sessions, Stella Maris - the companion volume to The Passenger - is another bravura work from the author of Blood Meridian and No Country for Old Men, as Cormac McCarthy deftly unpicks Alicia's mental hinterland and her complex, enigmatic relationship with her brother Bobby in exquisitely-crafted prose.
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Boasting characters of enthralling complexity and emotional truth and page-turning narratives that speak profoundly to the human condition, McCarthy's magnificent literary duet about the complex relationship between two siblings is available in a beautifully presented, collectable slipcase edition.
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Traversing three centuries and three alternative versions of the American experiment, the author of A Little Life returns with a spellbinding chronicle of love, the meaning of family and the excruciating cost of unattainable dreams.
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From the author of the Booker-winning modern classic Shuggie Bain comes another emotionally powerful and compassionate portrayal of sexuality and community set in urban Glasgow, as two young men on either side of a sectarian divide start to develop feelings for each other.
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From the beloved comedian and author of the bestselling memoir And Away comes a debut novel rich in Mortimer's unique brand of surreal whimsy, as nondescript legal assistant Gary seeks a girl he met by chance, through the estates and pie shops of South London.

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Reimagining Dickens' David Copperfield for the modern age, the bestselling author of The Poisonwood Bible spins an utterly immersive bildungsroman rich in characterisation and grand narrative set pieces.

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Coming soon - 28/09/2023
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The master of historical military fiction delivers another unputdownable entry in the mega-selling Sharpe series as Britannia puts her faith in our maverick hero to defend her troops from French forces in early nineteenth-century Spain.
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In the sequel to former Waterstones Book of the Year The Miniaturist, Burton crafts another exquisite story of family and fate set in early 18th-century Amsterdam.
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The author of Ariadne returns with another spellbinding reimagining of Greek myth, this time focused on the origins of the Trojan War and the dreadful curse blighting the House of Atreus.
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The author of the bestselling phenomena The Song of Achilles and Circe returns to the realm of Ancient Greek mythology with this blazing short story that reimagines the tale of Galatea and Pygmalion.
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Charting the story of a remarkable teacher through the recollections of a former student, this stunning novel from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending is both a breathtaking testament to the power of human connection and a deeply-felt love letter to philosophy.
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From the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six comes another irresistible slice of escapist drama as a legendary tennis player steps out of retirement in a determined bid to reclaim her grand slam winning record.

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From all-too-credible dystopian near-futures to profound character pieces brimming with compassion, the titan of the modern short story returns with a collection of wickedly funny, perceptive and subversive miniatures - his first for ten years.
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An epic tour de force that takes in the key political events of the postwar world, Lessons finds the masterful McEwan addressing the interconnectedness of personal motivation and the merciless onrush of the tide of history.
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After providing near-real-time commentary on #MeToo, Brexit, the refugee crisis and a global pandemic in her dazzlingly original Seasonal Quartet, Ali Smith returns with a luminous novel that explores companionship in its innumerable manifestations, as the world continues to change rapidly.
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From the author of The Mercies comes an enthralling, highly atmospheric historical novel set in 16th-century Strasbourg that revolves around the outbreak of a bizarre plague and its repercussions on a small, close-knit group of women.
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad delivers a stunning tale about ‘externalised’ memory, seductive technologies, and the deeply human quest for real connection, ablaze with emotional and intellectual fire and unfolding through a myriad of interlinked narratives.
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From the author of The Book of Two Ways comes a characteristically powerful and engaging story of parent-child relationships as the owner of a beekeeping business confronts the brutal murder of her child's lover.

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After taking TikTok by storm with her heartbreaking tale of lost loves and second chances, Colleen Hoover invites the readers back into the world of It Ends with Us in this unputdownable new story.
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Suffused with jet-black humour, the brilliant debut novel from the author of Women Don’t Owe You Pretty takes the reader on a wild, haunting journey through the world of social media fame and modern womanhood.
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The author of the beloved and bestselling Queenie returns with another winning combination of laugh-out-loud humour and exquisite character-led drama, as Dimple Pennington prepares to get to know her motley assortment of half-siblings.
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Handling its difficult subject matter with grace and striking insight, Ogle’s multi-viewpoint debut novel about the aftermath of a rape trial is a breathtaking meditation on trauma, care and the limits of empathy.
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A must for fans of historical fiction, this addictively readable debut merges the Greek myth of Pandora with the milieu of Georgian London where a frustrated young artisan and an ambitious antiquarian scholar discover a mysterious ancient vase.

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Following on from the bestselling The Wolf Den, this second part of Harper's mesmerising trilogy set in ancient Pompeii sees Amara, now freed from slavery, navigate her new life which transpires to be no less precarious than before.
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Whispers of witchcraft and sinister revelations of an old shipwreck fill the life of Thomas Treadwater – a reluctant soldier and man of reason – with dark unrest in Andrews’ mesmeric historical mystery set amidst the English Civil War.
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The first instalment of the Tudor Rose series from the author of the hugely popular Six Tudor Queens books, Elizabeth of York, the Last White Rose focuses on the tumultuous life of Henry VII's bride.
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The dynamics of a dysfunctional relationship are probed with perfectly judged humour and compassion by the author of Reasons to Be Cheerful and Love, Nina in this hilarious novel of muddling through and making do.
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From the bestselling, Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Brick Lane comes a powerfully humane, hilarious and heartbreaking story of a young couple about to tie the knot as their families from two different cultures try to understand each other.

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£22.00
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Turning his masterly pen to the dramatic manhunt for the murderers of King Charles I, the bestselling author of Munich and V2 delivers a gripping, continent-spanning tale about treason and justice.

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A new triumph from the bestselling author of The Switch and The Flatshare, this immensely witty tale of three women and one triple-timing man marries clever plotting with sweeping romance and countless surprises.
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Sensual and resonant, Free Love's beautifully wrought tale of a suffocatingly conventional family's awakening during the Swinging Sixties confirms Hadley as one of our finest contemporary novelists.
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The long-awaited follow up to Keyes' bestselling Rachel's Holiday finds our titular heroine having hauled her life back on track, only to suffer a spectacular setback when an old flame arrives in her life once more.
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A puzzling inheritance in the form of a wealth of secrets and requests changes the lives of Byron and Benny as they are reunited at their estranged mother’s funeral in Wilkerson’s immersive, stunningly assured debut.
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Foreseeing the death of each person she kisses, Lorelai is faced with difficult choices when she meets the man of her dreams in this unforgettable love story from the bestselling author of All That She Can See.
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The award-winning author of Home Fire delivers a characteristically insightful and compelling examination of identity, friendship and the contradictions of contemporary London as two Pakistani women confront the disturbing ghosts of their past.
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The acclaimed author of Pure delivers a thoughtful and perceptive meditation on guilt and the impossibility of outrunning your past, as a summons to an inquiry reawakens dreadful memories of the Northern Irish Troubles.
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Following a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner with a mother and an army of aunties way too concerned about her matrimonial prospects, Lizzie Damilola Blackburn’s uplifting debut weaves a hilarious and irresistibly witty narrative about love, family and self-acceptance.
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Smart, funny, joyous and powerful, Garmus' 60s set debut featuring an unconventional female scientist with a quiet game-plan to change the world has won the hearts and minds of our booksellers and is undoubtedly one of 2022's most gloriously enjoyable debuts.
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Redhead by the Side of the Road returns with a luminous new novel that paints a joyous and painfully truthful portrait of family life.
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Telling the story of the most pivotal events of the last hundred years through the extraordinary life of one woman, Allende's sweeping epic of human resilience and social history ranks amongst her very finest works.
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From the classicist and author of A Thousand Ships and Pandora's Jar comes another bravura reimagining of Greek myth as the story of Medusa is transformed into a powerful meditation on mortality, betrayal and the cruel limits of beauty.

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The unforgettable protagonist of My Name is Lucy Barton and Oh William! finds herself reluctantly agreeing to spend lockdown with her ex-husband in a house by the sea in Strout’s masterful, pin-sharp yet comforting meditation on relationships, isolation and change.
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From the author of the award-shortlisted The Death of Vivek Oji comes another novel rich in psychological insight and exquisitely crafted prose as Feyi prepares to open her heart to a wholly inadvisable suitor.

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The author of Insatiable delivers another caustically funny take on modern womanhood in this hilarious dark comedy about two magazine employees who stage a chaotic rebellion against the jobs that have sucked them dry.
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From the author of Never Greener and Us Three comes a heartwarming and compassionate novel of mothers, daughters and final chances as nonagenarian Grace seeks to heal a decades long family rift.
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Three mixed-race friends navigate frustrated hopes and thwarted love in modern London, as a single terrible act threatens to spin their lives out of control in this darkly funny and scalpel sharp debut perfect for fans of Queenie and Expectation.
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Tackling vital contemporary issues such as nationalism, censorship and the irrepressible power of literature, this beautifully wrought dystopian novel from the author of Little Fires Everywhere is essential reading for our times.
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Imbued with the same beautifully evoked strangeness and yearning as her short story collection Salt Slow, Armfield's debut novel finds the relationship between two women transformed by a deep dive onto a mysterious underwater vessel.
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The broadcaster and acclaimed author of Home Stretch returns with another nuanced, funny and emotionally uplifting novel probing unlikely relationships and meddlesome gossip in small-town Ireland.
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The award-winning author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves delivers a mesmerising nineteenth-century saga of a thespian family whose six siblings come to adulthood in the shadow of the American Civil War.

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Tender, compassionate and rich in psychological truth, Gale's period novel of a child genius' path through life and the secret desires he must keep hidden resounds with thrilling emotional complexity and multilayered characterisation.
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A timely, twisty new thriller from the author of After the Silence, Idol explores the duplicitous world of online influencers and celebrity lifestyle cults through a disputed account of a teenage sexual awakening that goes viral.
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Richly evocative of the heat haze of youth and the traumas of growing up and growing apart, this febrile exploration of the relationship between three old friends is another unputdownable marvel from the author of Tigers in Red Weather.
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The debut novel from the popular broadcaster brings a quartet of unsatisfied women together in a newly established pottery class in tender-hearted and warmly hilarious prose.
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Upping the ante on the sparkling wit and sweeping romance of her phenomenal bestsellers Beach Read and You and Me on Vacation, Henry's addictive tale of a literary agent and an editor thrown together in a small North Carolina town is a classic slice of enemies-to-lovers fun.
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Exploring the devastating aftermath of the death of his mother, the second, prescient poetry collection from the award-winning author of Night Sky With Exit Wounds and On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is an intimate but inclusive exploration of grief and time, aglow with feeling and candour.
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Mixing personal testimony and pop culture references together in her effervescent debut collection, the Somali British poet and Beyonce collaborator illuminates the experiences of migrants, mothers and many more marginalised figures.
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A simply breathtaking long-form poem written in the Dorset dialect, Orlam is a mesmerising coming-of-age tale from acclaimed songwriter and musician PJ Harvey.
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Boasting work by Linton Kwesi Johnson and Salena Godden amongst many others, this handsome reissue of the seminal late 90s anthology is a must-own for all fans of innovative, powerful poetry.
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With immense ambition and even greater skill, the author of the bestselling phenomenon The Appeal weaves another completely unique and addictive mystery, revolving around a secret code found in a famous children’s author’s work by an English teacher who subsequently disappears, and her former pupil who years later decides to discover what happened to her.
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Osman's beloved ageing investigators return in another captivating mystery that blends wry wit and deft characterisation with fast-paced, intricate plotting.

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Perfect for fans of The Thursday Murder Club, this brilliant crime debut from The Reverend Richard Coles sees the sleepy parish of Champton descend into unexpected chaos, setting Canon Daniel Clement on a hunt for a murderer.
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Rebus may well have run out of second chances as the disappearance of a corrupt cop casts suspicion on the maverick detective in this characteristically gritty and unputdownable instalment in Rankin's bestselling series.
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The third scintillating Jack Reacher thriller co-written by Lee Child and his younger brother Andrew finds our charismatic hero probing the expansive conspiracy behind an apparent suicide.
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Another epic crime mystery featuring the magnetic detective duo of Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott, The Ink Black Heart is a compelling instalment in what has become a seminal series.
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From the bestselling author of two former Waterstones Thrillers of the Month, The Hunting Party and The Guest List, comes an atmospheric and utterly addictive murder mystery set deep in the heart of Montmartre.
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The country music legend and the bestselling crime writer join forces to craft an unputdownable thriller of glamorous dreams and deadly pasts as a young singer determines to make it big in Nashville.
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Horowitz's third James Bond thriller is a typically high-octane affair, as 007 - accused of M's murder - is smuggled across the Iron Curtain in a deadly game of subterfuge and double cross with the lethal SMERSH.
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Alternating between the perspectives of a brutal serial killer and the forensic pathologist on their trail, the debut crime thriller from the co-host of the chart-topping true crime podcast Morbid is a chillingly authentic page-turner par excellence.
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Featuring huge names from across the literary spectrum - including Leigh Bardugo, Lucy Foley and Val McDermid - this irresistible collection of short mysteries reimagines Agatha Christie's seminal sleuth through a dozen different pairs of eyes.
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Combining a wire-taut military thriller with a searching examination of the horrors of the First World War that continued even after the Armistice, Two Storm Wood finds a resourceful officer and a determined widow on the hunt for a psychopath.
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The author of the cult phenomenon I Am Pilgrim ratchets up the stakes in an eagerly-awaited follow-up that promises the same calibre of high-octane tension and plenty of unexpected twists besides.
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Imbued with the same exquisitely wrought darkness as Ward's The Last House on Needless Street, Sundial sees a possessive mother bring her two daughters back to the Mojave Desert of her youth for a dreadful reckoning.
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A trio of gripping legal stories from the bestselling author of The Judge's List that features old favourite Jake Brigance alongside compelling new characters and engaging, unputdownable plotlines.
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Boasting a formidable amateur sleuth in Molly the maid, Prose’s captivating whodunit is a page-turning tour around the Regency Grand Hotel in search of a cold-blooded killer.
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When a slippery billionaire claims he can reverse the climate crisis and James Bond has been captured by enemy forces, a trio of MI6's finest agents are sent to investigate in this pulsating spy thriller set in the world of 007.

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The author of the critically acclaimed This Lovely City wraps a searching examination of race, class and gender in interwar Europe in a brilliantly plotted and compulsively readable whodunit set aboard the Queen Mary.
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Published posthumously, this richly atmospheric murder mystery from the much-loved author of the Seven Sisters series investigates a suspicious death in a highly secretive boarding school.
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Robert Hunter returns in another visceral thriller from the hugely popular Chris Carter, as a series of sinister poems are found inside the corpses of seemingly unconnected murder victims.
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From the author of The Trouble With Goats and Sheep comes another compellingly crafted mystery featuring an unfulfilled woman fleeing a dark past and a spate of sinister crimes in suburbia.
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Turning the serial killer narrative on its head, Kukafka's searing and intelligent second novel focuses on three women whose lives are irrevocably changed by their contact with a brutal murderer on death row.

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Set in Glasgow in the aftermath of the Independence referendum, Frankie Boyle’s gritty, sharply funny and utterly gripping debut thriller follows an unlikely trio hellbent on bringing the killer of Marina Katos to justice.

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Following up the sensational The Waiter, Chowdhury's enthralling literary thriller merges subtle social comment with a rollicking murder mystery that stretches from Lahore to London.
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Taking Agatha Christie's 11 day disappearance in 1926 as a jumping-off point, de Gramont's deftly constructed mystery is a delight for fans of both the Queen of Crime and Golden Age whodunits in general.
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The author of bestselling phenomenon The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue serves up a gloriously gothic extravaganza centred on a girl summoned to a mysterious estate - and the dangerously seductive lure of the world beyond its boundaries.
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Following up House of Earth and Blood with another smouldering instalment of the Crescent City series, Maas throws Bryce and Hunt into a rebel war from which they will be lucky to escape alive.
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The master storyteller returns with a spellbinding story of mysterious houses, parallel worlds and reluctant heroes as an ordinary high school kid discovers a portal to a universe populated by classic fairy tale archetypes.
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Beginning the Celestial Kingdom duology, Tan's evocative fantasy is a sweeping story of magic, romance and mythology that takes the legend of the Chinese moon goddess as its jumping off point.
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Suffused with African folklore and exquisite, lyrical prose, the incandescent sequel to Marlon James' Black Leopard, Red Wolf revolves around the formidable witch Sogolon and the riddle of a lost child.
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Aveyard's pulsating follow-up to Realm Breaker finds Corayne forced to raise an army to defeat the evil machinations of Queen Erida and her lethal campaign of opening nightmarish portals.

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Immerse yourself in the history of one of Westeros' most notorious dynasties with this sumptuous, full-colour companion to the intrigues, adventures and dragons of House Targaryen, from the creative powerhouse behind A Song of Ice and Fire.
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A poignant, richly imagined tale about family, betrayal and the price of loyalty, Dean’s spellbinding debut about six old families subsisting on a diet of stories and legends is an irresistible slice of dark fantasy.

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Another tour de force of imagination and dazzling construction from the author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel, Mandel's audacious time travel novel intertwines the stories of an Edwardian exile in British Columbia and an Earth-hopping writer two centuries later.
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Another sumptuous adventure full of passion, intrigue and forbidden magic awaits Evangeline Fox and the Prince of Hearts in the sequel to Stephanie Garber’s bestselling Once Upon A Broken Heart.
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Ablaze with secrets, betrayal and romance, the seductive closing part of the bestselling Kingdom of the Wicked trilogy presents Maniscalco’s fearless heroine with the final, dark mystery – and one that might end up costing Emilia her heart.
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Persephone and Hades must contend with new challenges to their burgeoning love in the fresh and funny second volume of the WEBTOON sensation which reimagines one of the most popular Greek myths in a vibrant contemporary setting.
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Novik's superlative Scholomance trilogy concludes in spectacular style as the dark school of magic begins its final assault against its terrified yet resourceful students.
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The ninth compelling instalment of Aaronovitch's brilliantly realised genre-bending fantasy/crime series sees an impossible killing in the London Silver Vaults spell jeopardy for Detective Constable Peter Grant and the rest of the Special Assessment Unit.

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The exciting, kaleidoscopic debut fiction collection from the beloved singer, rapper and actress Janelle Monáe, The Memory Librarian explores identity, technology, time and love through mesmeric tales set in the futuristic universe of her bestselling album Dirty Computer.
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Opening the doors to a world of magic, ancient wisdom and secret societies, this slice of richly imagined and unputdownable fantasy follows six uniquely talented young magicians as they are invited to an initiation that will change their lives forever.

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From the author of the bestselling Mexican Gothic comes a masterful reimagining of H.G. Wells' classic SF novel, as an unexpected visitor spells danger for the sinister Doctor Moreau - and his questioning daughter Carlota.
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Breathlessly original and charged with Moore’s distinctive brand of urbane mysticism, the stories collected in Illuminations range from the four horsemen of the apocalypse to the Big Bang and are guaranteed to astound and intrigue.
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The first in a supernatural new series from the author of Wonderland, Her Majesty's Royal Coven follows a top secret government department of witches and the deadly threat to the nation that they must confront.

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One of the leading lights in the visceral grimdark fantasy genre, Kuang's stunningly wrought novel is a compulsive dystopia about the power of language and the evils of authoritarianism, represented by the looming titular tower of translation.

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Penned by the much-missed Theo Clare - a.k.a. crime writing legend Mo Hayder - The Book of Sand is a captivating and disturbing account of two worlds thrown together and the dark forces unleashed that threaten to destroy them both.
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The author of the bestselling Six Crimson Cranes returns with the magical new saga of a cursed pearl and true love truly tested, set in an evocative land full of dragons and political intrigue.
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Gloriously entertaining and drenched in magic and illicit passions, this spellbinding fantasy debut novel follows a young woman in the wake of the First World War as she becomes sucked into the glittering but deadly world of an infamous society hostess.
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A prescient warning of an all-too-plausible future and a spellbinding mosaic of characters who stand as a testament to human inventiveness in the face of catastrophe, Nagamatsu’s ambitious, haunting debut announces the arrival of an astonishing new voice in science fiction.
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Perfect for fans of Erin Morgenstern and Leigh Bardugo, the adult fantasy debut from the YA titan pitches reckless Charlie into a world of gloamists, backstabbers and doppelgangers with a potentially world-changing secret up for grabs.
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Lucy Sampson

Quite shocked that you've omitted Sunday Times bestselling author, M.W.Craven, from the list of crime/thrillers. The fifth book in the Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw series, The Botanist, comes out in June. Tut, tut Waterstones! View more

Lucy Sampson
29th December 2021
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