2017 was a bumper year for books, with gripping new novels from Laura Barnett and Jennifer Egan, and stellar debuts including Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions. But 2018 is hot on its heels, with plenty to get stuck into.

If thrillers are your drug of choice, start off with Anatomy of a Scandal (Simon and Schuster, out now), the latest by former journalist Sarah Vaughan. An intelligently written novel told from multiple perspectives, our heroines are devoted political wife and mother Sophie, and Kate, powerhouse barrister and defender of vulnerable women. When Sophie’s husband is accused of rape, Kate is chosen to take his alleged victim’s case, setting in train an addictive tale of class, social mobility and privilege.

Equally absorbing if not quite as skilfully told is Nick Clark Windo’s The Feed (Headline, 25th January), a dystopian novel in which a couple in a post-apocalyptic society race to save their daughter’s life. Clark Windo’s intriguing premise is that after years of a society where everything is computer based (the ‘Feed’ of the title) humans are being picked off by a mysterious virus that attacks while they are sleeping. It all gets rather silly towards the end, but the author keeps you as hooked as any social media site would along the way.

Stepping back in time is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Stuart Turton, Raven Books, 8th February), a frothy, whimsical mystery set in an Agatha Christie-esque country house that owes something of a debt to Groundhog Day. Our protagonist is Aidan, less a man than a foil, for every morning he wakes up in the body of a different house party guest on the same fateful day – all the better to help him solve the murder of the alluring Evelyn. You have to pay attention, and I’m not sure even then everything hangs together (you can only shudder at the complexity of the author’s outline) but it’s enormous fun getting there.

Further back in British history, two novels this month bring to life gin-soaked, debauched Georgian London. The first, which deserves all the praise it is getting, is The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, by Imogen Hermes Gowar (Harvill Secker, 25th January). The Mrs Hancock of the title starts the story as a high class courtesan; the mermaid begins it in the possession of a humble trader with dreams of advancing his position in the world. It’s a rollicking tale of lust, greed and desire, just brimming with diligently researched period detail and beautifully written. I loved it, and in particular the way it shed light on a society too often neglected by fiction writers.

As gripping, if perhaps not as expansive a novel, is The Wicked Cometh (Hodder & Stoughton, 1st February), a debut by Laura Carlin. Down on her luck heroine Hester finds her life transformed after an injury introduces her to a mysterious doctor and his beguiling sister Rebekah. But 1830s London is a sinister place; men, women and children are disappearing every day, and crime and cruelty is rife. Hester is drawn into this dark underworld and must fight for the truth, just as she begins to understand who she is and what she wants from her future.

Moving away from thrillers, the curious but entertaining The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce (Blackfriars, 1st Feb) will get you thinking about ghosts and the legacy we leave, while two more gently paced books bring to life their individual worlds in a mesmerising way. The Twelve Mile Straight, by Eleanor Henderson (Fourth Estate, 11th Jan), is set in rural Georgia during the Depression, and traces what happens when an impoverished woman gives birth to one white twin and one black one. A horrific lynching is just the beginning; as the pages turn we learn of the secrets and cruelties that led to the birth of Winnifred and Wilson.

Meanwhile Kintu, by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (OneWorld, 25th January) takes a look at past and contemporary Uganda, through the prism of a family line cursed when the titular character accidentally murders his adoptive son. Four characters’ stories are told, ranging from the miserable upbringing of Suubi to the religious fervour of Kanani. Blending magical realism, traditional storytelling and history, this is no easy read and is perhaps longer than it needs to be, but persevere and it will leave you with plenty of food for thought. In short, plenty of novels that deserve a place on your 2018 bookshelf.