The AU’s Most Anticipated Books of 2024: April – June

We’re already a quarter of the way through the year and the AU Books Team are getting excited for the next round of upcoming releases.

Here are some of the upcoming releases that have caught our attention.


No Church in the Wild – Murray Middleton

Pan Macmillan Australia | Pub Date: 26th March | Order HERE

Simon: Five years after violence erupted between young migrants and local police in Melbourne’s inner west, a police-led trip to hike the Kokoda Trail seeks to rebuild trust. But fresh allegations of racial profiling have the community on a knife edge.

No Church in the Wild is the debut novel from Vogel Award-winner Murray Middleton. The novel is being described as a ‘state of the nation’ novel that explores the fractured relationships in Melbourne’s migrant communities, and the tensions that exist between those communities, the police and other public services.

With early praise from James Bradley and Christos Tsiolkas No Church in the Wild is one title I’ll be keeping an eye out for!


The Redemption of Morgan Bright – Chris Panatier

Angry Robot | Pub Date: 23rd April | Order HERE

Jodie: When her sister dies on the road leading away from the Hollyhock Asylum, Morgan is wracked with guilt. A year passes and with no new leads in the case, she takes matters into her own hands, creating a false identity and checking into the asylum.

But something is deeply wrong at Hollyhock. Shaken by the hospital’s strange routines and beset by strange episodes, Morgan’s new persona – Charlotte – seems to be taking on a life of her own…

Unsolved murders, creepy asylums, and a plot that sounds like it’s going to have no end of twists and turns? And it’s coming straight from the pen of the author of The Phlebotomist? Check me in to Hollyhock, doc, I’m ready!


The Librarians of Rue de Picardie – Janet Skeslien Charles

Hachette | Pub Date: 20th April | Order HERE

Emily: “1918: As the Great War rages, Jessie Carson takes a leave of absence from the New York Public Library to work for the American Committee for Devastated France. Upon arrival, Jessie strives to establish something that the French have never seen — children’s libraries. She turns ambulances into bookmobiles and trains the first French female librarians. Then she disappears.

1987: When NYPL librarian and aspiring writer Wendy Peterson stumbles across a passing reference to Jessie Carson in the archives, she becomes consumed with learning her fate.”

Will I ever get sick of novels about Librarians defending free access to information in times of war? No, probably not. Also, I think Janet Skeslien Charles may be reading my mind, or at least my diaries because she curiously seems to always combine the things I am most fascinated by in her novels… Libraries, war (specifically the First World War this time) and multi stranded historical fiction? Yes please!

The Library Thief – Kuchenga Shenje

Hachette Australia | Pub Date: 9th April | Order HERE

Jemimah: A historical fiction novel about Florence, a young white-passing woman in Victorian London who is disowned by her bookbinding father and talks her way into the remote Rose Hall, where she is hired to restore the rare books in its vast library. The library, owned by Lord Francis Belfield, is old and full of secrets, but none more mysterious than the whispers about his late wife.

Then one night, someone breaks into the library and, instead of stealing anything, tries to burn the secret diary of Lord Belfield’s wife, which may hold the answer to her fate.

I love an ambitious and mysterious historical fiction about unruly women, and Florence and her Victorian library tick all those boxes! The book is also described as ‘of specific gay and lesbian interest’, which raises both red flags and my interest. I want to know what happens!

A Letter to the Luminous Deep – Sylvie Cathrall

Hachette | Pub Date: 30th April | Order HERE

Jess: I have been deeply enjoying magical academia books, particularly the Emily Wilde series by Heather Fawcett recently and Sylvie Cathrall’s A Letter to the Luminous Deep seems like the perfect follow up to these magical fantasies.

The underwater reclusive E. and renowned scholar Henerey Clel had been in correspondence by letter when they both mysteriously went missing after a seaquake. A year later, E.’s sister Sophy, and Henerey’s brother Vyerin are left to solve the mystery of their sibling’s disappearance and what the pair’s discoveries could mean for life as everyone knows it.

The story sounds delightful, the cover is gorgeous, and as the cold weather starts to roll in, I’m ready to snuggle down in the blankets with this book.


Saltblood – Francesca De Tores

Bloomsbury | Pub Date: 30th April | Order HERE

Simon: You can’t go too far wrong with pirates, in my opinion. Saltblood, the debut novel from Francesca De Tores, is the latest in a current spate of pirate fiction that takes its inspiration from real life female pirates – in this case the remarkable Mary Read.

The novel has been described as “Master and Commander meets Thelma & Louise” – which was more than enough to sell me on the premise to be honest.

A hark back to the adventure novels of old, Saltblood promises to be an exciting, gripping and swashbuckler of a historical tale; but one that also explores ideas of identity, sexuality, survival and humanity.

I can’t wait to get stuck into Saltblood and get lost in the story of Mary.


The Lamplighter – Crystal J. Bell

North Star Editions/Flux | Pub Date: 21st May | Order HERE

Jodie: The whaling village of Warbler is known for two things: its lucky ship figureheads and people disappearing into the nightly fog.

The village relies on its lamplighters to combat the darkness, and after her father’s death, Temperance takes up his position.

But the townsfolk are wary of letting a woman take on the role, and as lamps start going out and more people go missing, Temperance finds herself thrust into the centre of an unsettling mystery – one that involves those famous figureheads and her beloved father.

This one promises to be a moody, eerie read, and I couldn’t be more excited.


To Sing of War – Catherine McKinnon

Harper Collins | Pub Date: 1st May | Order HERE

Emily: “December 1944: In New Guinea, a young Australian nurse, Lotte Wyld, chances upon her first love, Virgil Nicholson, a soldier in the Allies’ hard-fought jungle campaign. At Los Alamos in the US, physicists Miriam Carver and Fred Johnson join Robert Oppenheimer and a team of scientists in a collective dream to build a weapon that will stop all war, while Kitty Oppenheimer wrestles with restrictions on her freedom. And on the sacred island of Miyajima in Japan, Hiroko Narushima is doing her best to protect her family

Each of these people yearns to belong, yet each fiercely protects their independence… They are caught in a moment of history, both enthralled and appalled by actions they must undertake.”

I’m excited to see more and more authors exploring what the Second World War was like outside of Europe and the conflict with Germany. It’s been a while since we’ve had a book from the Miles Franklin-shortlisted Catherine McKinnon but her book Storyland was extremely popular with booksellers and book clubs; so I think we could potentially have a big Australian novel on our hands with this one.

When Among Crows – Veronica Roth

Titan Publishing | Pub Date: 14th May | Order HERE

Jemimah: An urban fantasy novella inspired by Slavic folklore. This story follows Dymitr and Ala as they set out on a quest.

Dymitr is one in a long line of hunters who sacrifice their souls to slay monsters, and he has been tasked with the deadly mission of finding the legendary witch Baba Jaga. Ala is a fear-eating zmora who carries a curse to witness horrors committed by the Holy Order.

Dymitr offers to cure Ala’s curse in exchange for her help, and together they must fight against the wrath of the Chicago underworld in a race against time to find what they seek.

Recently I’ve cultivated a particular love of gritty urban fantasy based on different folklore traditions, and this sounds like a brilliant, intense, and unique take on the genre.

Psykhe – Kate Forsyth

Vintage Australia | Pub Date: 28th May | Order HERE

Jess: Yes I’m still on the mythological retellings train and no you can’t stop me, especially when it’s Kate Forsyth!

This time, it’s the love story of Psyche and Eros told from Psykhe’s point of view.

When Psykhe unwittingly falls in love with young Ambrose, she discovers he is not who seems. He is a man whose face she is forbidden to see, and she must risk the journey through the Underworld to face Proserpina, queen of the dead, if she wants to save him.


The Heart in Winter – Kevin Barry

Canongate | Pub Date: 4th June | Order HERE

Simon: Butte, Montana, October 1891. A hard winter approaches across the Rocky Mountains.

The city is rich on copper mines and rampant with vice and debauchery among a hard-living crowd of immigrant Irish workers. Here we find Tom Rourke, a young poet and ballad maker of the town. Polly Gillespie arrives in town as the new bride of the extremely devout mine captain Long Anthony Harrington. An illicit romance sparks between Tom and Polly and before too long they’re striking out west on a stolen horse with men in pursuit.

The Heart in Winter is the latest novel from award-winning author Kevin Barry. I absolutely loved Barry’s novel Night Boat to Tangier; and I’m a bit of a sucker for a Wild West tale too so this is well and truly on my radar. Barry has a fantastic eye for character so I can’t wait to find out more about Tom, Polly and the posse of pursuing deranged cornishmen.

The Eyes Are the Best Part – Monika Kim

Kensington Books | Pub Date: 25th June | Order HERE

Jodie: Ji-won’s life is falling apart. Her father has had an affair and left the family. Her grades are failing. And her nightmares are horrifying… yet enticing.

And then there’s George. Her mother’s obnoxious new boyfriend. Condescending and arrogant, he’s long since outstayed his welcome in their claustrophobic apartment.

George has got to go. And Ji-won will make sure he does.

At its core, The Eyes Are the Best Part is a novel about a family breaking down – but it’s also about a serial killer, which is cool too.


Private Rites – Julia Armfield

Harper Collins | Pub Date: 5th June | Order HERE

Emily: “It’s been raining for a long time now, so long that the land has reshaped itself and arcane rituals and religions are creeping back into practice. Sisters Isla, Irene, and Agnes have not spoken in some time when their father dies. An architect as cruel as he was revered, his death offers an opportunity for the sisters to come together in a new way. In the grand glass house they grew up in, their father’s most famous creation, the sisters sort through the secrets and memories he left behind, until their fragile bond is shattered by a revelation in his will…”

Julia Armfield is known for doing this blend of literary fiction and horror fiction, where the mix is so well done that you might not even realise that you’re immersed in a nightmare. Her collection, Salt Slow, was every bit as exciting as it was experimental in its themes and I think it’s a real shame that more people didn’t read it. Now on to her second novel, I can’t wait to see what Armfield does next.

The Cautious Traveller’s Guide to the Wastelands – Sarah Brooks

Hachette Australia | Pub Date: 25th June | Order HERE

Jemimah: A historical fiction novel about a cast of strange characters taking a dangerous journey across a vast and dangerous wasteland.

At the end of the 19th Century the only thing that touches the abandoned wilderness between Beijing and Moscow is the Great Trans-Siberian Express. A group of oddball characters gathers to board the train and make the journey, but there are whispers that the train is no longer safe. As the trains passes through the wasteland, secrets begin to unravel, and the crew and passengers must survive the journey together, “even as something uncontrollable seems to be breaking in”.

I love stories set on trains, especially mysteries. Something about the locked-room aspect, the collection of otherwise strangers, the mix of claustrophobia inside the vehicle but overall freedom as passengers move rapidly from place to place, the heady mixture of boredom and wonder – it creates an excellent atmosphere for Things To Happen, and I want to know what they are!

Thanks to Jemimah Brewster, Simon Clark, Emily Paull and Jodie Sloan for their contributions to this article.

You can read our picks for January to March HERE

Header Photo: Sylvie Cathrall

Jess Gately

Jess Gately is a freelance editor and writer with a particular love for speculative fiction and graphic novels.