The AU’s Most Anticipated Books of 2024: July – September

We have already sped on past the halfway point of the year and we’re edging ever closer to the busiest time of the bookselling year. As ever there is another bumper selection of books being published in the coming months to comb through. From fantasy to horror, from historical fiction to mythic retellings, and from TV studios to Japanese coffee houses, these are just some of the books that a few of the AU Books Team can’t wait to read over the next three months.


The Briar Club – Kate Quinn

Harper Collins | Pub Date: 31st July | Order HERE

Emily: I have been a massive fan of Kate Quinn’s ever since I read her delightfully refreshing take on the war novel, The Alice Network a few years ago. I remained a devotee, even when The Rose Code made me burst into tears in a coffee shop. And now, in late July, Kate is releasing The Briar Club, which takes us to 1950s Washington DC, in the era of McCarthyism.

I admit that I’m not as much of a fan of American history, but I do relish the newness represented by this direction, and I trust Kate Quinn to make it an entertaining read. We follow Grace March, who lives in an all-female boarding house where someone is not who they say they are… colour me intrigued.

The Deading – Nicholas Belardes

Erewhon/Kensington Books | Pub Date: 23rd July | Order HERE

Jodie: It began with sea snails, washing ashore and attacking anything they could cling to. Then the wildlife on land began to change. And then, finally, the people.

The town of Baywood is being taken over, its residents succumbing to a mysterious infection. They start “deading”; dying only to rise again, fundamentally changed. The government moves to cut off the town and stop the spread, leaving its uninfected residents trapped in a disintegrating society, and brothers Blas and Chango with only one choice – escape or succumb.

The Deading already sounded phenomenal, but getting blurbed by horror icon Stephen Graham Jones on top of that? Oh, you absolutely have my attention.

The Bright Sword – Lev Grossman

Del Rey | Pub Date: 16th July | Order HERE

Simon: Collum, a gifted young knight, arrives at Camelot to compete for a place on the Round Table. Slight problem. The king died two weeks ago and there’s only a handful of knights left… and they’re not even the good ones. Collum and this ragtag bunch of knights, must reclaim Excalibur, rebuild the kingdom and stop Morgan Le Fay.

I’m a sucker for a good reimagining of the Arthurian legend and The Bright Swords sounds so promising. That it’s from the mind of Lev Grossman only adds to the excitement. The usual cast aren’t all here for this one, but there promises to be fairies, old gods, and plenty of magic and sorcery to keep us going.

The Spellshop – Sarah Beth Durst

Pan Macmillan | Pub Date: 9th July | Order HERE

Jemimah: This is the story of a magical librarian and her sentient spider plant assistant who escape a city on the edge of revolution with as many books as they can carry.

Now returned to the island she grew up on, our protagonist must learn to let people in again after years of shutting them out.

A cosy story of magic, personal growth, books, and ordinary people learning to help the world in the best way they can. This looks like a lovely winter warmer of a book!

The Undermining of Twyla and Frank – Megan Bannen

Orbit | Pub Date: 9th July | Order HERE

Jess: Everything about this book just sounds delightful and fun and cute, and I’m so on board for bright fantasy!

Twyla Banneker, middle-aged widow, suprises everyone in the town of Eternity when she teams up with her best friend, Frank Ellis, to join the Tanrian Marshalls. Even after eight years, her career is a welcome change from the domestic grind of mum life.

But when Twyla and Frank find a glitter-covered body near a dragon-sized footprint, they’re ready to jump into action. Dr. Quill Vanderlinden arrives to assist with the investigation and is as delighted by Twyla as he is fascinated by the dragons – much to Frank’s consternation. As they are drawn deeper into a nefarious plot, danger closes in on all sides, and Frank and Twyla’s relationship is put to the test.


The Dead Cat Tail Assassins – P. Djèlí Clark

Tor Books | Pub Date: 6th August | Order HERE

Simon: The Dead Cat Tail Assassins is the latest standalone novella from the Nebula and Alex Award winning author P. Djèlí Clark.

Eveen the Eviscerator (quality assassin name, right there) is skilled, discreet and professional; and with three simple rules. The contract must be just. The Assassin may only kill the contracted. And once a job is accepted, you must carry it out. Though Eveen’s latest mission threatens to turn her life upside down.

Clark’s worldbuilding is always top notch, so I can’t wait to jump into this new fantastical world of gods and assassins that he’s created. Early reviews have suggested it’s a fast paced and surprising caper… so my only concern is that I’m going to be left wanting more by the end of the novella.

The Fan Who Knew Too Much – Nev Fountain

Titan Books | Pub Date: 23rd July | Order HERE

Jemimah: Kit Pelham is a professional fan, interviewer, and podcast host.

When her friend and fellow podcaster is murdered right before revealing information about an extra who disappeared from the set of a cult 1980s TV show, she rallies the fan community to get to the bottom of the decades-long mystery that someone has killed to keep secret.

I love niche murder mysteries and stories of fan culture, so this book looks like a lot of fun!

The Oxenbridge King – Christine Paice

Harper Collins | Pub Date: 31st July | Order HERE

Emily: I have been burned before by an ill-placed comparison to Hilary Mantel, but I have a good feeling about the forthcoming novel from Christine Paice. This one has a bit of an unexpected feel to it, and books that mix elements of other genres have been the highlight of my reading year so far.

Inspired by the discovery of the bones of King Richard III, The Oxenbridge King is about what happens when past and present (ok, so recent past, it’s 2012), collide. We follow the lost soul of King Richard, and the metaphorically lost soul of a young woman named Molly Stern.

Who knows what might happen?

The Girl With No Reflection – Keshe Chow

Penguin | Pub Date: 6th August | Order HERE

Jess: I’m so excited that this book is finally coming to Australia! I feel like I’ve waited forever since it’s beautiful cover and blurb was revealed. Also it’s blurbed by Vanessa Len so of course I’m on board.

Ying Yue is chosen by the royal matchmaker to wed the crown prince, but Ying’s dreams quickly disintegrate when the prince turns out to be cold, stoic and utterly infuriating. When she discovers a mirror world through the palace mirrors where the prince instead loves her, she quickly falls for him.

But there is darkness in this new world, and the brides who have disappeared before her… well Ying has to figure out what her role is in the long and bloody history between the two worlds if she wants to avoid being one of them.

Come Out, Come Out – Natalie C. Parker

Penguin Random House | Pub Date: 27th August | Order HERE

Jodie: It’s never been safe for Fern, Jaq, or Mallory to come out to their families. Driven into the woods, they find a sanctuary – an old abandoned house that offers some safety. But one night, Mallory doesn’t return home and Fern and Jaq must move on, their memories of what happened that night, and of the secrets they so desperately wanted to keep simply… gone. Until one day, five years later, when they see something. Or, rather, someone. Mallory has returned, and she’s seeking revenge.

Come Out, Come Out tackles a wealth of subjects – the erasure of LGBTQ+ identities, the power of found family and friendship, the teenage struggles of getting to know yourself – and wraps them up in a spine-tingling horror story. This one has “potential Mike Flanagan adaptation” written all over it.


The Last Dream – Pedro Almodóvar

Harry Hartog | Pub Date: 24th September | Order HERE

Simon: You could never accuse Pedro Almodóvar of lacking in imagination. So I can’t wait to see what this short story collection from the legendary and iconic film director has in store for us all. The Last Dream collects twelve previously unpublished stories from the director’s personal archive. The stories were written between the late sixties and the present day, and offer a glimpse into Almodóvar’s creative mind.

For those who’ve followed Almodóvar’s work over the years, many of the recurring obsessions and themes from his cinematic work pop up in this collection, and like his film catalogue it spans the genres from autofiction to comedy, parody, pastiche and gothic. With an introduction from the author as well, this is certainly one for Almodóvar fans, and for those readers who don’t mind a bit of mischief and weirdness in their short stories. I for one, can’t wait!

We Kept Her in the Cellar – W.R. Gorman

Penguin Random House | Pub Date: 24th September | Order HERE

Jodie: There are two sides to every story. And Cinderella is no exception.

Eunice lives her life by three simple rules. 1. Always refer to Cinderella as family. 2. Never let Cinderella gain access to rats or mice. And 3. Never look upon Cinderella between midnight and three a.m.

After years of watching over the powerful being in the cellar, a rare night of freedom presents itself. Eunice has secured a ticket to Prince Credence’s ball, and her sister Hortense has agreed to watch over Cinderella. But when Cinderella escapes, and reveals the true extent of her dark powers, Eunice must determine what she is willing to sacrifice to stop her.

A horror twist on a classic fairytale is guaranteed to pique my interest, and with this one promising carnage and eldritch powers? Yeah, I’m in. Does Uber have a pumpkin carriage option, because I’m gonna need a ride to this ball.

The Full Moon Coffee Shop – Mai Mochizuki

Hachette Australia | Pub Date: 27th August | Order HERE

Jess: I have been right into cosy stories recently and the premise for this book is about as cosy as it gets. The Full Moon Coffee Shop is a peculiar cake cafe run by talking cats which has no fixed location and materialises unpredictably on the night of a full moon.

When a successful femail scriptwriter in crisis, a heartbroken tv director, and two male entreprenuers enter the shop one night, a charismatic tortoise-shell cat interprets his guests’ astrological chart to offer them life-changing advice on love, work and relationships.

I was sold when the blurb included that guest are served drinks and sweet treats tailor to their needs – where do I sign up to go to this cafe. It sounds beautiful and I want in!

The Empusium: A Health Resort Horror Story – Olga Tokarczuk

Text Publishing | Pub Date: 24th September | Order HERE

Jemimah: Set in 1913, a young student with tuberculosis attends a health spa in what is now western Poland.

The other guests are patriarchal and status-obsessed guests, but something – or someone – seems to be infiltrating their world, and may have even chosen its next target.

This book is described as a blend of ‘horror story, comedy, folklore, and feminist parable’, which sounds like an excellent combination for this unique-sounding book.

In the Margins – Gail Holmes

Ultimo Press | Pub Date: 1st September | Order HERE

Emily: Call me basic but I’m a sucker for anything Shakespeare adjacent at the moment. In the Margins is a historical novel based on the real life of a woman bookseller who was responsible for preserving the bard’s legacy in the 1640s.

Part of my interest in this one also comes from the fact that it’s an Ultimo book and they still continue to be the publishers discovering the most exciting new voices in Australian fiction—that being said, Gail Holmes is originally from Scotland, but now lives in Australia so I think that counts.

Regardless – the book sounds like a wonderful, rediscovered tale of feminist heroism and I am looking forward to diving into a historical period I haven’t read much from recently.

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; and for April to June HERE.

Jess Gately

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