Irish Crime Fiction Award Time!
The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards shortlists were announced on Thursday (5th Nov) , and one of the categories I'm delighted to say is crime fiction. I wrote back in October 2013 about how Irish Crime Fiction (was) in a Healthy State, and I think it safe to say that hasn't changed.
Right: Last year's winner, Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent
This year's shortlist is:-
- Even the Dead by Benjamin Black
- After the Fire by Jane Casey
- Are You Watching Me? By Sinead Crowley
- Freedom's Child by Jax Miller
- Only We Know by Karen Perry
- The Game Changer by Louise Phillips
Even the Dead
'Even the Dead' is the 7th title in the Quirke series. When a body is found, Quirke is called in to verify the apparent suicide of an up-and-coming civil servant. But Quirke can’t shake a suspicion of foul play. When the trail eventually leads to Quirke’s own family, the past and present collide
Declan Burke in the Irish Times - "the story is... concerned with the malign power exercised by those who mix politics and religion... the lush prose is underpinned by a brutally noir moral relativism".
Tanya Sweeney in the Irish independent - "Quirke is called in to verify the apparent suicide of a civil servant and he is drawn into the shadowy world of Dublin's elite. Stylish and pacy, as one might expect." Benjamin Black, should you not have known, is the pen name of author John Banville.
After the Fire
'After the Fire' is also the 7th in a series, this time the series features London-based Detective Constable Maeve Kerrigan. A fire rips through a North London tower block resulting in three deaths, two prostitutes and an MP, the latter who either fell to his death or was thrown. The question - what was the politician doing in that particular location?
Decla Burke again - "Casey writes with a deft wit and immense skil... The Maeve Kerrigan books keep getting better and better". This Northern Crime reviewer - "Anyone who hasn’t found this series yet, you simply must READ THEM ALL... Totally recommended. Jane Casey has a stonking good series in this one."
Are You Watching Me
'Are You Watching Me' is Sinéad Crowley’s second novel, and features Detective Claire Boyle, who was pregnant during Crowley's debut novel, 'Can Anybody Help Me?'. Boyle investigates the apparently pointless murder of the ageing, gentle James Mannion in his home, while Liz, a media executive and the face of Tír na nÓg, a drop-in-centre for men who are down on their luck, has acquired a stalker.
I've notes contrasting views on this book, Declan Burke saying - "a compulsively readable thriller... an absorbing variation on the "domestic noir" genre.", while this writing.ie reviewer says - "the narrative is a bit weak... really enjoyed 'Can Anybody Help Me?' and was a little disappointed with this sequel", but she finishes by saying "still a good thriller and an ideal summer read, as it is well paced and is not too demanding".
'Freedom's Child' is the debut novel of US-born but Dublin-based author, Jax Miller.
Freedom Oliver is in witness protection in the US, is a drunk and hard case, and needs to find her daughter. A daughter she only ever held for a brief moment some twenty years before. But the family of her dead husband, whose death she was initially charged with but acquitted, is hell bent on revenge.
Margaret at writing.ie likes it - "Horror, mistrust, deception and a cracker of a female protagonist. A top-notch, right rollicking read". In the words of this Kirkus Review - "a thrilling if excessively plotted debut." Read Jax Miller on Freedom’s Child (Irish Times).
Only We Know
'Only We Know' is the second book by the crime writing duo Paul Perry and Karen Gillece, aka Karen Perry. Previous book was 'The Boy That Never Was.' This latest is a psychological thriller that looks at a child’s death in Kenya thirty years before present day events. The novel moves back and forth between 1982 and the present, between Dublin and Nairobi, and between characters. It is in part about children trying to keep a deadly secret, and the destructive nature of that secret on their adult lives.
Michelle at Eurocrime has this to say - "an interesting novel, but I did find it a little difficult to care too much about the main characters, I had to work quite hard to piece everything together and as a result I wasn’t entirely gripped by the story, in perhaps the way I would have liked to have been." Andre at crimefictionlover says - "for the first 100 pages, Only We Know feels like a pretty formulaic thriller... However, once the action moves from Dublin to Nairobi in the present day, the story settles down and the plot kicks in... the authors’ real strength is gripping prose that is hugely readable. Don’t be surprised if you devour Only We Know in a single sitting".
Should you wonder how a duo deliver a novel in partnership, read this interview with Paul and Karen.
The Game Changer
The Game Changer, the fourth novel by 2013 winner Louise Phillips, is a psychological thriller featuring Dr Kate Pearson who provides suspect profiles to the Gardai. Could the suspected suicide of an ex-headmaster in Dublin and a brutal murder in New York be connected to Kate's own abduction as a child years before? Was her father involved? While Kate delves deeper into the recesses of her memory to uncover the truth, a murderous cult leader is bearing down on her.
Huber at writing.ie is in no doubt when he says that this is "absolute top drawer crime writing by Ireland’s finest crime writer". Sean in the Irish Independent says "Kate and Adam are plausible and well-drawn characters... The dialogue throughout is handled excellently... the author's capacity for descriptive prose is given full expression... (Lousie) is a first-class crime writer".
- 2014 - 'Unravelling Oliver' by Liz Nugent
- 2013 - 'The Doll's House' by Louise Philips
- 2012 - 'Broken Harbour' by Tana French
- 2011 - 'Bloodland' by Alan Glynn.