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Best Books of 2024: A preview of the year’s most exciting reads

A month-by-month guide to the most exciting thrillers, romance novels, literary debuts, and must-read memoirs to fill your shelves.

Image credit: Flynn Shore / Penguin

A new year is traditionally the time for fresh starts – and, for bookworms, a new TBR pile. From literary heavyweights to debut novelists and non-fiction titles with life-changing lessons, 2024 promises to keep your bookshelves full to bursting with exciting must-reads.  



Piglet by Lottie Hazell  
A devastating secret cracks the façade of a couple’s domestic bliss. In the hours before their wedding, the bride-to-be needs to make a decision that could change the course of her life. Described as ‘brilliantly dark’, this debut writer is one to watch.  

The Woman on the Ledge by Ruth Mancini 
A woman falls to her death from a London bank’s 25th-floor roof terrace. The main suspect, however, claims that they were trying to save her.  

Murder on Lake Garda by Tom Hindle  
A wealthy family gather on a private island for their son’s wedding. But as the ceremony begins, a blood-curdling scream brings the proceedings to a devastating halt. This is the third unputdownable murder mystery from Tom Hindle, who has been hailed as a ‘new heir to Agatha Christie’.  


Empireworld by Sathnam Sanghera  
Following on from his bestseller Empireland, journalist and award-winning author Sathnam Sanghera travels the globe to trace Britain’s lasting imperial legacy and impact on the modern world. 

Not the End of the World by Hannah Ritchie 
Data scientist Hannah Ritchie explores the real story of the future of our planet. Presenting the latest research, and busting myths in the process, Not the End of the World promises to transform our view of environmental problems and how we can solve them.  



The Book of Doors by Gareth Brown  
A New York bookseller is given a special book that bestows extraordinary abilities on whoever possesses it. What follows is an epic adventure full of danger, secrets, and magic books – a must-read for fans of The Midnight Library and A Discovery of Witches. 

The List of Suspicious Things by Jennie Godfrey 
Inspired in part by her father’s realisation that he worked alongside Peter Sutcliffe, the man eventually charged with the crimes of the Yorkshire Ripper, Jennie Godfrey’s debut novel follows a young girl’s mission to ensure her family stays put in their Yorkshire hometown.  

The Hunter by Tana French  
Chicago detective Cal Hooper moves to a small town on the west coast of Ireland in search of a peaceful life. But the arrival of two strange men looking for gold – and trouble – threatens to upend the lives of those closest to him.  

Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly  
Siblings Greta and Valdin Vladisavljevic navigate queerness, racial identity, and the mystery of their failed love lives in this witty debut novel full of heart, family, and karaoke.  

The Fury by Alex Michaelides 
An idyllic Greek island getaway turns into a nightmare for Lana and a select group of guests. Among them is a murderer furiously plotting their crime as past secrets begin to surface.  

Jaded by Ela Lee 
Jade is a successful lawyer, dutiful daughter, and beloved girlfriend until she wakes up the day after a work event, unable to remember how she got home, and her world starts to crumble. This debut novel is a hard-hitting exploration of race, identity, and the rippling effects of sexual assault.  

The Husbands by Holly Gramazio
When Lauren finds a random man in her flat, she soon discovers that a generator in the attic has been producing an endless supply of men for her. But will any of them be the one?  

Nightwatching by Tracy Sierra 
A woman is home alone with her young children when she hears the tread of footsteps, unusually heavy and slow, coming up the stairs. In the moments that follow, she must choose between fight and flight. This is an unmissable debut thriller for fans of Sophie Hannah and Ruth Ware.  


Our Island Stories by Corinne Fowler
Colonialism and heritage professor Corinne Fowler takes us on 10 country walks exploring the links between Britain’s colonial activities abroad and the enclosure, land clearances, and dispossession of our rural ancestors – and how their effects are still felt today.  

Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg 
Harvard professor Charles Duhigg offers a practical guide to having better conversations and forging deeper human connections, with insights and lessons that could turn even the worst communicators into the best.



Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera 
Lucy Chase doesn’t remember murdering her best friend – but could a true-crime podcast help unlock what happened that fatal night and determine if there really is another killer on the loose?  

Medea by Rosie Hewlett  
For fans of Circe by Madeline Miller and Stephen Fry’s Mythos trilogy, this retelling of Medea’s bid for freedom, the dashing young hero Jason, and the famed Golden Fleece sees our titular heroine battle monsters, dethrone kings, and fall in love.  

The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden  
From the bestselling author of the Winternight Trilogy comes a sweeping historical novel set in the trenches of World War I, where a Canadian nurse searches for her brother who is presumed dead – despite the chilling signs that suggest otherwise.  

Mrs Quinn's Rise to Fame by Olivia Ford
At 77, Jenny Quinn is enjoying her new found fame after being a contestant on the hit TV show Britain Bakes. But being a household name comes with a price when old secrets come to light. A heartwarming debut and the perfect read for Bake Off fans.

Until August by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
The extraordinary lost novel from the author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera is set to be one of the most exciting publishing events of 2024. If you’re new to the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, find out where to begin with this handy guide.  


Learning to Think by Tracy King
The story of an ordinary family trapped in a broken system, Tracy King’s memoir explores the everyday realities of living in poverty and the power of education in helping her escape.  

Nuclear War by Annie Jacobsen    
From the New York Times bestselling author of Area 51 comes a detailed look at what would happen within a matter of minutes if a nuclear missile was launched. Based on dozens of interviews with military and civilian experts who have been involved in the planning of what a nuclear exchange would look like, this is a book that reads like a thriller as well as being a powerful argument to rid ourselves of these world-ending weapons forever.  

Weathering by Ruth Allen  
Outdoor psychotherapist and geologist Ruth Allen explores the rocks and mountains that have withstood aeons on our planet and considers how a deeper understanding of these ancient landscapes can better serve ourselves and the world we live in.  

The Trading Game by Gary Stevenson
Described by Irvine Welsh as ‘The Wolf of Wall Street with a moral compass’, Gary Stevenson’s journey from the streets of East London to becoming the youngest trader in the city is an eye-opening exposé on a world of excess and dysfunction that changed his outlook on life forever.  

Who’s Afraid of Gender by Judith Butler  
A vital examination from one of the world’s foremost gender scholars confronts the attacks on gender identity that have become central to right-wing movements today. 



My Favourite Mistake by Marian Keyes 
A middle-aged woman finds herself having to start again. This latest work by beloved writer Marian Keyes is a must-read standalone novel, but fans of her previous work will be pleased to know that it sees the return of one of the Walsh sisters.  

Holmes, Margaret and Poe by James Patterson 
Three New York detectives, each with apt monikers, solve a series of seemingly impossible crimes – art theft, kidnapping, and decades-old unsolved murders – that expose the dark underbelly of the city. 

Funny Story by Emily Henry  
Bestselling author Emily Henry is back with tale of two dumped fiancés devising a plan to deliberately mislead their exes with a summer adventure together. It’s all fun and games – until someone falls in love.  

The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo 
From the bestselling author of Ninth House comes a bewitching novel set in the Spanish Golden Age, brimming with peril, dark deeds, and magic.  

Sweetness in the Skin by Ishi Robinson 
A coming-of-age story that follows 13-year-old Pumpkin who dreams of escaping Kingston, Jamaica to live with her Aunty in France. Using her talents for baking to raise money for her new life, Pumpkin’s dream is at risk when her overbearing mother discovers her plans.  


An African History of Africa by Zeinab Badawi 
The award-winning broadcaster, journalist, and filmmaker guides us through the spectacular history of a continent – from the very origins of our species to the elation of post-colonial independence – told through interviews with countless historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, and local storytellers.  

Rural Hours by Harriet Baker  
In this absorbing study, writer Harriet Baker examines the impact of country life on three of literature’s most beloved writers. Rural Hours covers Virginia Woolf’s convalescence on the Sussex Downs, Sylvia Townsend Warner's Dorset workman’s cottage where she found creative freedom, and Rosamond Lehmann’s Berkshire home, which became a refuge from war.

Knife by Salman Rushdie 
Speaking out for the first time since the traumatic events of August 2022, Salman Rushdie delivers a deeply personal account of enduring and surviving an attempt on his life, some 30 years after he had a fatwa ordered against him.  

Every Body Should Know This by Federica Amati 
Medical scientist and ZOE Head Nutritionist Dr Federica Amati explains how we can make the most beneficial decisions for every stage of life with this simple, jargon-free guide to the food we eat and how it affects us.  



Table for Two by Amor Towles  
From the bestselling author of The Lincoln Highway and A Gentleman in Moscow comes a collection of six short stories set in New York City and a novella set against the backdrop of Golden Age Hollywood – all told with his trademark wit and sophistication.  

The Road to the Country by Chigozie Obioma 
In 1960s Nigeria, Kunle is desperately searching for his missing brother. As he becomes conscripted into a breakaway army, fighting in a civil war he hardly understands, Kunle must find a way to survive and bring his brother home. This is a heartfelt novel by the booker-shortlisted author of The Fishermen and An Orchestra of Minorities.   

Enlightenment by Sarah Perry  
Sarah Perry shot to literary fame with her historical novel The Essex Serpent and is now back with a new novel about astronomy, faith, friendship, and love.  

When We Were Silent by Fiona McPhillips 
A story of power, corruption and retribution set in an exclusive private school in Dublin.  


Embrace the Chaos by Jason Fox  
Drawing on his experience in the Special Forces, Jason Fox sets out a revolutionary programme of personal challenges designed to help you reboot, disrupt your thinking, and grow your capabilities with 52 tactics to make every day count.  

Somebody Told Me by Danny Wallace 
Sunday Times bestselling author Danny Wallace delves into the world of conspiracy theorists, fake news, and faceless trolls on the other side of our screens to discover how disinformation and well-told lies can ruin lives, tear families apart, and destroy communities. In this eye-opening book, Wallace explores the ways we can stop it.  

You Don’t Have to Be Mad to Work Here by Benji Waterhouse 
Dr Benji Waterhouse is not only a front-line NHS doctor, but also an award-winning stand-up comedian who performs sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival. In You Don’t Have to Be Mad to Work Here, he recounts anecdotes from life on the psychiatric ward, its patients, and employees – the perfect read for fans of This is Going to Hurt.  



The Suspect by Rob Rinder  
ITV’s very own Judge Rinder delivers yet another fun and fiendish whodunnit. This time, the UK’s favourite breakfast TV presenter has died live on air, but her death was not an accident. Celebrity chef Sebastian Brooks is in the frame and it’s up to junior barrister Adam Green to uncover the truth.  

Scripted by Fearne Cotton 
Broadcaster and author Fearne Cotton’s fiction debut follows the story of Jade, who has lost control of her life until she discovers a script left on her doorstep that – upon reading – becomes her living reality.  

Eruption by James Patterson and Michael Crichton 
Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton had finished his research and began drafting a new novel before his death in 2008. After discovering the unfinished manuscript in her husband’s archive, Crichton's wife Sherri personally invited bestselling author James Patterson to complete the project. Eruption tells the story of a history-making volcanic eruption that is about to destroy Hawaii. But the military is harbouring a decades-long secret that is far more terrifying than any volcano — and it’s about to come to light.  

Sandwich by Catherine Newman   
An annual holiday to Cape Cod is the ideal escape for Rocky, who is finding the balance between her adult children, who are still young enough to need her, and her parents, who are thankfully young enough to be healthy. But the carefully balanced seesaw of Rocky’s life is tipping towards change.   

Freakslaw by Jane Flett 
Described as a queer punk masterpiece, Freakslaw revolves around a traveling funfair’s electric characters and neon charms, which offer the possibility of escape for local teenagers.   

How to Age Disgracefully by Clare Pooley   
A Senior Citizen’s Social Club is threatened with closure by the local council but the members plan to fight back. The latest novel from the author of The People on Platform 5 and The Authenticity Project is described as ‘uplifting, heartwarming and joyful’ by actress and author Ruth Jones.  


Love Triangle by Matt Parker 
Join Matt Parker, maths expert, stand-up comedian, and author, as he uncovers the secrets of trigonometry and the history behind the humble triangle – a shape that has been used by humans for thousands of years to do everything from measure the Earth to take a selfie.  



The Missing Family by Tim Weaver 
A family has disappeared in the middle of a remote lake in Dartmoor; meanwhile, a killer has escaped his locked cell. As two detectives delve into the two mysteries, deadly secrets surface which puts their own lives in danger.  

Bad Tourists by Caro Carver   
The perfect read for summer holidays, Bad Tourists follows a group of friends on their dream getaway in the Maldives. But all is not all it seems, and old wounds are already reopening. 



Precipice by Robert Harris  
Based on the true story of 26-year-old aristocrat Venetia Stanley's affair with then-Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, this novel by the bestselling author of An Officer and a Spy weaves fact and fiction to tell the thrilling story of an event that altered the course of British political history.  

Everyone On This Train Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson 
An idyllic trip onboard the Ghan, the famous train travelling to a crime-writing festival in Adelaide, turns deadly for six authors when one is found dead. As the remaining five turn detective, they attempt to solve the case. But who can you catch a killer when all the suspects know how to get away with murder? The perfect read for Agatha Christie fans. If you like the sound of this then look out for Everyone This Christmas Has a Secret publishing in October.  

Slow Dance by Rainbow Rowell  
From the New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park comes a novel exploring love and friendship which follows Shiloh and Cary from their teen years through to adulthood and motherhood as they try to work out what they’re supposed to be to each other.  

Heart, Be at Peace by Donal Ryan 
A lyrical novel told in 21 voices, exploring life for different generations living in a small rural town in Ireland. As the community begins to rebuild after the storms of economic collapse, there is a new enemy threatening the peace and stability. Heart, be at Peace can be read independently or as a companion to the multi-award-winning novel, The Spinning Heart.  

Death at the Sign of the Rook by Kate Atkinson   
Fans of Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series are in for a treat as the former soldier turned private investigator returns for his sixth outing. This time, Jackson is investigating the theft of a painting in a grand country manor house when a snowstorm leaves him, and a group attending a murder mystery party, marooned overnight. Will he solve the mystery, find the missing housekeeper, and avoid a killer prowling the area? 

The Voyage Home by Pat Barker  
In this exhilarating follow-up to The Women of Troy and The Silence of the Girls, Booker Prize winning author Pat Barker picks up the story after 10 bloody years of war, when the city of Troy lies in ruins and the Greeks have returned home with their spoils. Among them is Cassandra, war wife to King Agamemnon, who is plagued by visions of their ill-fated future and the horrors yet to come.  

There Are Rivers in the Sky by Elif Shafak 
Set between the 19th Century and modern times, the international bestselling author of The Island of Missing Trees returns with a sweeping novel exploring the lives of three enchanting characters living on the banks of the River Thames and River Tigris.  



By Any Other Name by Jodi Picoult 
Moving between present-day New York City and Elizabethan England, the bestselling author of My Sister’s Keeper explores the lives of two young women: a playwright, living a lie to see her work performed, and Emilia Bassano, the first woman in England to establish herself as a professional poet and – according to some – the true author of several of William Shakespeare’s works.

We Solve Murders by Richard Osman  
The bestselling author of The Thursday Murder Club returns with a brand-new series. We Solve Murders follows Amy and Steve Wheeler, an iconic detective duo with a puzzling new murder to solve.   

Tell Me Everything by Elizabeth Strout 
A hopeful, healing novel about new friendships, old loves and the very human desire to leave a mark on the world. Pulitzer prize-winning Elizabeth Strout takes us back to Maine where we find Lucy Barton, who has found a new friendship with lawyer Bob Burgess and has finally been introduced to the formidable Olive Kitteridge who now lives in a retirement community on the edge of town.  


A Yard of Sky by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Richard Ratcliffe 
This is the extraordinary full account of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's journey to freedom after being jailed in Iran for almost six years. Told by Nazanin and her husband Richard, their story of an ordinary family becoming the centre of an international diplomatic dispute is at once eye-opening and heartbreaking.

The Art of Danish Living by Meik Wiking  
The bestselling author who helped make Hygge huge is back. This time, he’s bringing Danish wisdom to the world of work and unpacking what we can stand to benefit from this way of life. 


Everyone This Christmas Has a Secret by Benjamin Stevenson 
Benjamin Stevenson's flair for ensemble murder mysteries gets the festive treatment. This time it's a locked-room mystery with a murder suspect who has no memory of how he came to be covered in blood. Described as ‘Deliciously dark, funny and intriguing’ by Alex Pavesi, author of Eight Detectives, this is one to curl up with at Christmas.  

The Blue Hour by Paula Hawkins  
Fans of Paula Hawkins won’t have much longer to wait for another tour de force from the author who brought us The Girl on the Train. Set on a Scottish tidal island, which is home to only one inhabitant, questions are raised when a small bone at the centre of a famous sculpture is revealed to be human.  

Gliff by Ali Smith 
The first of two new, interconnected novels from award-winning author Ali Smith. The title Gliff is a Scots or Northern word for a glimpse, a shock, a glance, and will tell its own story but also contain within it a hidden story which will be revealed in a second novel Glyph, to be published in 2025.  


England by John Lewis-Stempel  
Described as ‘Britain’s finest living nature writer’, John Lewis-Stempel returns with an exploration of England’s natural history from coast to moor, downs to field, park to village, in his trademark lyrical prose.  



Ink Ribbon Red by Alex Pavesi 
A group of friends gather in a country house to celebrate a birthday when, at their host’s request, they each write a short mystery. It’s only natural that they use what they know, and soon secrets, grudges, illicit love and even murder turn from fiction into realty. From the sensational author of Eight Detectives 

The Christmas Stocking Murders by Denzil Meyrick   
Christmas, 1953. In the sleepy village of Uthley Bay, two detectives are investigating the suspicious death of a fisherman with a stocking wound tight round his throat. Then hundreds of pairs of stockings wash up on the shore in neat cellophane bags. And with the villagers refusing to talk, everyone is a suspect. This is the latest festive murder mystery from the author of Murder at Holly House.  

Bookmark this page and check back soon for more book highlights of 2024

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