22 February 2019

Bookwise (mostly): Gordon Wise on the ‘crime page-turners on my list’

Gordon Wise agent
by Gordon Wise From the Agents

Gordon Wise is a literary agent at Curtis Brown, representing a variety of brilliant non-fiction authors as well as talented literary and commercial fiction writers, including former Curtis Brown Creative student Janet Ellis.

Gordon will be taking to the CBC blog every once in a while to talk about exciting industry news, and the novels that he is reading and representing, in this new blog series called ‘Bookwise (mostly)’. This week Gordon looks ahead at an exciting array crime thriller publications coming from his stable of authors in the coming months. 

This occasional blog is the fruit of a New Year’s resolution. OK, so it’s late-ish February now, but the publishing year seems to be kicking off a little later than the calendar one did. (Perhaps tellingly coinciding with the end of Dry January – and given that my own cocktail trolley curfew lifted last week after 36.5 days of clean living, neatly taking care of 10% of the year in terms of unit consumption, it’s high time for a fresh start.)

Bookwise, there’s a wealth of intriguing new titles finally being covered in the review pages, a new term’s worth of books refreshing the bestseller lists, and editors and scouts and agents are scurrying firstly after London Book Fair meeting slots then news of The Next Big Things themselves.

When I broke my Christmas and New Year digital detox (it seems like I’ve become addicted to deprivation, doesn’t it?) and took a peek at Twitter in early January, the threads among those I follow were humming with not-entirely-objective forecasts of Ones to Watch, and there’s always a broadsheet or magazine feature or two that takes a stab at the same thing – although usually based on what the journalist happens to have heard about rather than any particularly scientific trawl, it always seems to me.

On the principle of if you don’t speak up for yourself, no-one else will, here are a few highlights from my own list that I think are well worth leaping on, whether or not you’re a publishing pundit or scribbling soothsayer. And if we’re talking about turning over new leaves, I’ll let the first of these posts highlight the crime page-turners currently on my list.

Back while we were still digesting mince pies, the brilliant J.P. Pomare published his debut, Call Me Evie, a superbly dark and creepy psychological suspense novel set in a New Zealand seaside town. A girl has arrived there in mysterious circumstances with an older man – but is he her captor or her saviour, just what is the relationship, and what has brought them there? It’s out in its physical edition in the Southern Hemisphere already, and in ebook so far in the UK, with Sphere ramping things up for their hardback in May.

Also for virtual stocking stuffing was Alex Gerlis’s nailbiting fourth encounter with the career of spymaster Major Edgar, The Berlin Spies, which sees Edgar thrown together with his wartime adversary to confront a common enemy: a Seventies terror cell. Its print publication will also follow shortly, but the five-star Amazon reviews are already building, to join the 900+ of his previous Spies outings. And we hope shortly to be announcing some very exciting news about these adventures coming to a small screen near you.

The criminal intent to my undertakings at the moment, is perhaps crowned by the next eagerly anticipated novel from Simon Beckett, which appears in English in April. I say ‘in English’, because The Scent of Death (as Die ewigen Toten) is already storming the lists in Germany (number 1 on Der Speigel as I write, with a record-breaking 11,000 online preorders released on publication day), as have the tales of the previous cases of forensic anthropologist David Hunter. Stay tuned for more exciting developments in relation to Simon before long, too.

And murderousness isn’t confined to my fiction list: Professor David Wilson, arguably Britain’s best-known criminologist, has his superb professional memoir My Life With Murderers appearing next month, and Howard Sounes takes another look at the crimes of Fred & Rose with a new edition of his true crime classic and on ITV with Trevor McDonald on February 21st.

If you’re writing a book that could join these ranks I’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to read any of the above, your local bookshop can doubtless oblige. And if you want to learn more about writing crime (and more), check out what my colleagues at Curtis Brown Creative have to offer. And I hereby resolve to share with you more news on exciting sales, eagerly-anticipated deliveries, must-see events and my take on client and industry news in posts to follow.

If you’re writing a novel, check out the creative-writing courses – online or in London – currently open for applications or enrolment at Curtis Brown Creative.

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