Publisher’s Picks – Harvill Secker & Vintage Crime

Here are Alison Hennessey, senior editor at Harvill Secker and Vintage (known to the Twitter community as @Crime_Queen)’s picks of the best crime and thrillers to look out for in 2013…

The 2013 crime and thrillers list at Harvill Secker is an exciting mix of debut authors and new books from old friends. As you’d expect from the specialists in international literature, our 2013 crime fiction spans the globe, with books from Europe, America and South Africa all making their appearance this year. Here’s just a few of the titles you can look forward to seeing a lot more of:

City of Blood – MD Villiers

Out May 2013

A story of survival, revenge and ultimately, redemption, City of Blood marks the arrival of a fresh new voice in crime fiction.

Siphiwe, an eighteen year old orphan, is haunted by memories of the brutal murder of his elder brother. When a woman is stabbed on the street in front of him, Siphiwe rushes to her aid, desperate to stop history repeating itself, but in doing so unwittingly crosses the paths of two very dangerous men. As the violence on the streets intensifies, and the danger to those he loves most increases, Siphiwe is soon forced to seek help amongst criminals and police alike.

MD Villiers’ writing is deceptively simple, her story telling utterly compelling – alive with the heat and the noise of the Johannesburg, City of Blood is perfect for anyone looking for an antidote to chilly Scandinavian snows.


Plan D – Simon Urban

Out June 2013

Imagine a world in which the Berlin Wall never fell…
October 2011. While West Berlin enjoys all the trappings of capitalism, on the crowded, polluted, Eastern side of the city, the GDR is facing bankruptcy. The ailing government’s only hope lies in economic talks with the West, but then an ally of the GDR’s chairman is found murdered – and all the clues suggest that his killer came from within the Stasi themselves. When news of the murder is leaked to the West, the authorities insist that if the crucial talks are to continue the West and East German police forces must collaborate on an investigation that could determine the fate of East Germany.

An atmospheric crime story with a brilliant alternative history premise, if you enjoyed Fatherland then keep an eye out for German author Simon Urban’s inventive debut this summer.


c Dennis Yenmez

Light in a Dark House – Jan Costin Wagner

Out August 2013

Like your crime fiction haunting and ethereal? Then the fourth book in our Finnish set crime series, could be just what you’re looking for!

Light in a Dark House is a gripping psychological thriller in which a woman who has been in a coma following a hit-and-run accident is murdered, the killer’s tears staining her clothes. Her death marks the start of a series of killings but when Detective Kimmo Joentaa is called in, his investigations are complicated by the disappearance of his sometime girlfriend after an awkward encounter at a party thrown by the head of the police force.

One of Jan Costin Wagner’s previous books, Silence, was made into a film recently (the Guardian described it as ‘easy to recommend for fans of The Killing’) and we have very high hopes for his new book


Black Chalk – Christopher J. Yates

c Margi Conklin

Out September 2013

The perfect book to curl up with on an autumn night, Black Chalk is a compulsively readable psychological thriller set in Oxford twenty-odd years ago and modern-day New York.

In the intimidating surroundings of Oxford university a group of six friends, uncomfortable with the privilege and excess they see around them, begin to play a game – an elaborate variation on truth or dare in which the loser has to perform an embarrassing task as a consequence of their failure. But the game quickly assumes a life of its own: the stakes grow higher and the dares more personal, more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results.

Now, years later, one player, who believed he had fled the Game long ago, discovers that it is far from over…

One of my favourite books of next year, I will be pressing copies of Black Chalk into the hands of everyone I come across!

And do keep an eye out for new books from old favourites, including Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason, triple CWA award winning author Fred Vargas and the third book in his Max Camara series from Jason Webster. Happy reading!