Could these eight thrillers be the next big hit in the book world for 2018?

In the world of fiction, publishers are elbowing each other in their quest to find the next blockbuster thriller like The Girl On The Train or Gone Girl, says Alice O’Keeffe, books editor of The Bookseller.

“In the past few years domestic noir has been really strong. It kicked off with the success of Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train, so every publisher is still looking for this year’s version. Domestic noir is still where everybody’s at.”

Here are a few to look out for in the coming months…

1. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (Macmillan, Feb 8)

(Macmillan/PA)

“This stand-out debut starts with a narrator who you believe to be a wronged divorcee, whose wealthy ex-husband has traded her in for a younger version, and she talks about the revenge she is going to take,” says Alice. “It’s terrific.”

2. Close To Home by Cara Hunter (Penguin, out now)

(Penguin/PA)

Introducing Oxford-Based DI Adam Fawley, this new police procedural series sees an eight-year-old girl disappear from a summer party at her home. No one at the party notices her leave, and even her parents aren’t sure of the last time they saw her. The detective, who is tortured by his own demons, tries to keep an open mind but knows that in most cases it’s someone close to the victim. This debut also examines how those connected to cases are put on trial by the media and the public. Best-selling crime writer Ian Rankin has described it as a ‘gripping, mazey story’.

3. Lullaby by Leila Slimani (Faber, Jan 18)

(Faber/PA)

This chiller begins with a harrowing scene following the double murder of two children and then rewinds to the story behind it, focusing on the power struggle between a middle class working mother and the nanny she employs. While initially the nanny is everything her employers had hoped for, gradually things start to change, creating an atmosphere of power, jealousy and resentment. It’s Moroccan-born Slimani’s second novel and a bestseller in France, having won the prestigious Prix Goncort. Rights have sold in 36 countries to date.

4. The Woman In The Window by AJ Finn (HarperCollins, Jan 25)

(HarperCollins/PA)

There’s a big buzz around this debut as it’s the most widely acquired novel ever prior to publication and has been sold in 38 territories around the world, while Fox 2000, the makers of Life Of Pi and Hidden Figures, pre-empted the film rights. It’s a gripping psychological thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she has witnessed a horrible crime in a neighbouring house – a sort of contemporary Rear Window. Master of horror Stephen King described it as ‘delightful and chilling’.

5. Need To Know by Karen Cleveland (Bantam, Jan 25)

(Bantam/PA)

Publishers were quick off the mark securing this debut, with Transworld – the team behind The Girl On The Train – acquiring the rights within 24 hours of it landing in their inboxes. Film rights have already been sold, with Charlize Theron set to star in the movie adaptation. Part espionage, part domestic thriller, it centres on Vivian Miller, a CIA analyst assigned to uncover Russian sleeper cells in the US. After accessing the computer of a potential Russian spy, she stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents living in her own country – five seemingly normal people living in plain sight. Soon, her job, her husband and her children are also threatened. Unsurprisingly, the author is an ex CIA operative.

6. Snap by Belinda Bauer (Bantam, May 17)

(Bantam/PA)

A chilling tale about 11-year-old Jack and his two sisters, who wait in their broken-down car while their mother goes to find help. But she never comes back. Three years later, mum-to-be Catherine wakes to find a knife beside her bed and a note that says: ‘I could have killed you’. Meanwhile, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother. Alice observes: “Belinda Bauer is such a reliable crime-writer. She never fails to disappoint.”

7. All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew (Hodder & Stoughton, Aug 9)

Claire Askew (Sally Jubb/Hodder & Stoughton/PA)

This debut starts with a gunman walking into an Edinburgh college and killing 12 women, then himself. As motive is investigated, the story unfolds from the perspective of three women: the killer’s mother, the mother of the first victim and the female detective in charge of the case. As the tabloids and the media swarm, and the world searches for an answer, the truth remains elusive.

8. Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit (Orion, Jan 25)

(Orion/PA)

This highly original, literary thriller centres on a man and his family terrorised by their downstairs neighbour, a stalker who accuses them of abusing their own children. It is based on the true story of the author, who spent six months in a living nightmare when his downstairs neighbour harassed him and his family. It opens with a shooting and asks, what could make a law-abiding family turn to murder?

 

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