Here are some of the most popular titles borrowed by you in 2022, our book-loving Dublin City library members. It’s great to see the One Dublin One Book choice, the Dublin Literary Award winner and some short-listed titles making the list. And always great to see Irish writers featuring so strongly as well.
Buying a new book at the airport on your way to a beach holiday? Maybe not this year. The library is your next best port of call if you can’t make it to the beach. Organise a trip to the park for a lazy afternoon on a picnic blanket.
A staff member reviews our most borrowed books from the Crimes and Misdemeanours section, one of our most popular sections, and we include links to the catalogue perhaps nudging you towards making an inspired selection. These books can also be found in our Crimes and misdemeanours book displays. If you'd like to borrow any of the books discussed below, simply click on title to be taken to the reservation page. You will need your library card and PIN to request the book.The Alphabet Murders - Lars Schütz No.53☆After a body of a brutally murdered man with an “A” tattooed on him is found in a wildlife park, criminal profilers Jan Grall and Rabea Wyler are thrown into a brutal game of cat and mouse. Later, more people are found with letters tattooed on their skin - it's obvious that this serial killer loves his ABCs and won’t stop till his set is complete.I liked the concept of this story. I thought it was inventive, and I hoped the story reflected that too, but I was sorely disappointed to find out that it wasn’t. Killing is my Business - Adam Christopher No.43 ☆This book is a sequel to “Made to Kill” by Adam Christopher. It's about an alternate universe set in the 1960’s, LA Noir style. Or robot LA Noir style. This is about the last robot left in working order in the world - our protagonist Raymond Electromatic, a former private investigator turned hitman. I liked the mashup of Sci Fi and Noir. If you’re a fan of either one of these genres, this is a good book for you. Murder at Greysbridge - Andrea Carter No.34 ☆Solicitor Benedicta O’ Keefe has been invited to her friend Leah’s wedding, at the newly restored Greysbridge Hotel - the perfect paradise with a private beach and a stunningly beautiful pier. But the festivities are cut short when a young visitor staying at the hotel drowns in full view of the wedding guests. As more and more deaths occur, Ben finds herself and her fellow guests at the center of a murder mystery.I would highly recommend you reserve this if you’re a fan of Agatha Christie’s or love a good old-fashioned murder mystery. A Noise Downstairs - Linwood Barclay No.24☆Eight months ago, Paul Davis discovered two dead bodies in the back of his co-worker Kenneth’s car. After he attends therapy, at night things get much worse, he starts to hear things. Paul thinks he’s losing his mind. Is he? Or does someone want him to believe he is? Gripping and hard to put down. The Death House - Sarah Pinborough No.15☆Taken from his family, our young protagonist Toby now lives in what is now called “The Death House”, an out-of-time existence far away from our own existence, where he and others like him are carefully studied for any sign of sickness by the mysterious and spine-chilling Matron and her team of “nurses”. As soon as they show any sign of sickness, they are taken to the sanatorium. No one returns from the sanatorium. Five stars.
Thirteen may be considered unlucky for some, but not to the thirteen on the Man Booker Prize longlist which includes three Irish authors this year. Donal Ryan’s "From a Low and Quiet Sea" is his second nomination for the prize after "Spinning Heart" in 2013. Anna Burns and Sally Rooney both receive their first nominations for "Milkman" and "Normal People" respectively. Belfast born Anna Burns was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, now the Women's Prize for Fiction, in 2001 for her debut; "No Bones". Sally Rooney, at 27, is the joint youngest author to be nominated this year. She can add that to an already impressive resume that includes being the 2017 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. Upon ditching the requirement of the author to be either from the U.K. or the Commonwealth two years ago, the two most recent winners of the prestigious accolade have both been from the U.S. Ireland can hold its head high to have the same number of nominations as the U.S. this year. There is only one previous winner nominated this year, Michael Ondaatje, whose book "The English Patient" was crowned the best Man Booker Prize winner of the last 50 years. This year he is nominated for his captivating novel "Warlight", set in post Blitz London in 1945. In a departure for the prize, this year sees a graphic novel, "Sabrina" by Nick Drnaso, nominated for the first time. Judges are quoted as being blown away by Drnaso's "oblique, subtle and minimal" style in a work that explores the chilling effect of 24-hour news after a girl has disappeared.Farouk's country has been torn apart by war. Lampy's heart has been laid waste by Chloe. John's past torments him as he nears his end. From a Low and Quiet Sea centres around the refugee, the dreamer and the penitent. From war-torn Syria to small-town Ireland, three men, scarred by all they have loved and lost, are searching for some version of home. Each is drawn towards a powerful reckoning, one that will bring them together in the most unexpected of ways.In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with the Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous. "Milkman" is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.Connell and Marianne both grow up in the same town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. But they both get places to study at university in Dublin, and a connection that has grown between them despite the social tangle of school lasts long into the following years. Sally Rooney's second novel is a deeply political novel, just as it's also a novel about love. It's about how difficult it is to speak to what you feel and how difficult it is to change. It's wry and seductive; perceptive and bold. Normal People will make you cry and you will know yourself through it.As a nation that has the most Nobel Laureates per capita in the world, Ireland has always punched far above her weight in the literary world. Donal Ryan, Anna Burns and Sally Rooney continue the hallowed Irish tradition of captivating their readers with their touching and unflinchingly human stories. We wish them the very best of luck and hopefully one of them will be the fifth Irish Man Booker Prize winner.The Man Booker Prize Longlist:Snap, Belinda BauerMilkman, Anna BurnsSabrina, Nick DrnasoWashington Black, Esi EdugyanIn Our Mad and Furious City, Guy GunaratneEverything Under, Daisy JohnsonThe Mars Room, Rachel KushnerThe Water Cure, Sophie MackintoshWarlight, Michael OndaatjeThe Overstory, Richard PowersThe Long Take, Robin RobertsonNormal People, Sally RooneyFrom a Low and Quiet Sea, Donal RyanPress on the Man Booker:Three Irish Authors nominated for Man Booker Prize 2018 (Irish Times)First Graphic Novel nominated for Man Booker Prize 2018 (The Guardian)About the Man Booker:The Man Booker Prize is one of the world's most famous literary prizes for contemporary fiction. From 2014 eligibility for The Man Booker Prize was extended to include novels originally written in English and published in the UK, regardless of the nationality of their author. Previously it was only awarded to the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.
Echoland is Dublin: One City, One Book 2017 Choice!
We are delighted to announce that Echoland by Joe Joyce, published by Liberties Press, is the Dublin: One City One Book choice for 2017. Echoland is the first novel in the Echoland series by Joe Joyce. Set in Dublin in the 1940s, with the threat of British or German invasion hanging over the country, it features young lieutenant Paul Duggan, who is tasked with investigating a suspected German spy. An addictive thriller about the double-dealing world of spies and politics, it shines a light on an exciting period in Ireland’s history.The announcement follows a highly successful Dublin: One City One Book Festival in 2016, when the book choice was Fallen by Lia Mills, and the festival became Two Cities One Book, when it twinned with Belfast for the commemorative year.Lord Mayor Brendan Carr said "I am very pleased that Echoland by Joe Joyce has been chosen for 'Dublin: One City One Book' 2017. I am sure that lovers of thrillers and of history will enjoy this book. I encourage all Dubliners to read this book and participate in the programme of events during the month of April 2017, which offers opportunities to engage with Echoland in a range of contexts.'Dublin City Librarian Margaret Hayes added “Dublin: One City One Book 2017 will be the twelfth year of this annual programme. Echoland is set in the Dublin of 1940, expertly capturing the atmosphere of the city as its citizens cope with the challenges of the Emergency. It's a brilliant opportunity for us to re-imagine our City as it was, while enjoying a thrilling read."Joe Joyce said, "I'm delighted and honoured that Echoland will be Dublin's One City One Book for 2017. The city is an integral part of the book, not just the backdrop to a spy story. As I was writing it, I was very conscious of the hardships and great dangers of the Emergency period, faced - as always by Dubliners - with resilience and wit."Since its inception in 2006, the Dublin: One City One Book Festival has encouraged everyone to read a book connected with Dublin during the month of April. The initiative is led by Dublin City Council's Public Library Service as part of Dublin's UNESCO City of Literature designation and is supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.Check the availability of 'Echoland' in the library catalogue. | Download Echoland eBook.Listen to Joe Joyce reading from Echoland (recorded in the Central Library, 3 October 2013)A full programme of events will be announced in early 2017.About the BookJune, 1940.France is teetering on the brink of collapse. British troops are desperately fleeing Dunkirk. Germany is winning the war. Its next target is Britain . . . and Ireland? In neutral Dublin, opinions are divided. Some want Germany to win, others favour Britain, most want to stay out of the war altogether.In this atmosphere of edgy uncertainty, young lieutenant Paul Duggan is drafted into G2, the army’s intelligence division, and put on the German desk. He’s given a suspected German spy to investigate, one who doesn’t appear to do much, other than write ambiguous letters to a German intelligence post box in Copenhagen. Before Duggan can probe further, however, he is diverted by a request from his politician uncle to try and find his daughter, who’s gone missing, possibly kidnapped.Enlisting the help of witty Special Branch detective Peter Gifford, the two lines of inquiry take Duggan into the double-dealing worlds of spies and politics, and lead him back to a shocking secret that will challenge everything he has grown up believing. An addictive thriller that will keep you glued to the page, traversing the City of Dublin, right through to its heart-pounding finale.About the AuthorJoe Joyce is the author of five thrillers: Echoland, Echobeat and Echowave (all set during the Second World War in Dublin); The Trigger Man (set during the Irish 'Troubles' in the late 1980s) and Off The Record (set in the 1970s world of Irish journalism); a history/biography of The Guinnesses and a critically acclaimed play, The Tower, about James Joyce and Oliver St John Gogarty.He is co-author with Peter Murtagh of The Boss, the classic account of Irish politician Charles Haughey in power, and Blind Justice, about a celebrated miscarriage of justice in Ireland in the 1970s.He has worked as a journalist for The Irish Times, The Guardian, and Reuters news agency. He lives in Dublin.D1C1B on Twitter | #1city1book | #Echoland
Crime fiction books are forever popular, as a look at any weekly bestsellers list will demonstrate. Think 'The Girl on the Train' (which I've just finished reading, and enjoyed), it's been a bestseller for umpteen weeks. Liz Nugent was topping the Irish bestsellers for a number of weeks recently with 'Lying in Wait', while James Patterson's name features regularly on such lists, albeit with books penned by other authors.Right: Donna Leon in Dubray Bookshop, Dublin, April 2013. (See larger image)Most of my reads are of crime novels in translation, as I like to travel the world a bit, at least in print. This literary journey recently took me even as far as Argentina and new-to-me author Claudia Pineiro (see below), an author I might not have discovered if it weren't for the International Dublin Literary Award. The inclusion of novels in translation adds greatly to the standing of this Award and differentiates it from most other book awards, and you could do worse than visit the Award site where you will be presented with hundreds of books to choose from, many in translation.Without further ado, here are five more crime fiction reads worthy of your consideration, four of which have been translated into English. Can you guess which one of the five was written in English? (answer at the bottom)The star ratings are mine, but I also include the ratings from two of the big book sites.A Climate of Fear by Fred VargasThe murder of a woman, made to look like suicide, is soon followed by another. A strange symbol is found near both bodies, and both victims were members of a doomed party that travelled to Iceland ten years before. The victims also seem to have had an association with a secretive society for the study of Maximilien Robespierre. Plenty of mystery here then!Commissaire Adamsberg and his team are really challenged in their efforts to solve the growing number of related murders with evidence at first pointing one way and then another. While the Icelandic connection seems to lose traction with most of the team, with Adamsberg is does not, resulting in friction and loyalties being called into question. The reader too is challenged to decide if clues are real or merely false trails.I can't say this delighted me as much as previous books by French writer Vargas. I rate her very highly so maybe I had high expectations, however the whole Robespierre angle just didn't grab me I'm afraid and at times I found it a bit tedious. But there is still enough here for me to recommend it, if not heartily; maybe you will think more of it than I did.Ratings: Amazon UK - 4.1/5 Goodreads - 3.9/5A Crack in the Wall by Claudia Pineiro Pablo Simó is a married, middle aged architect in a Buenos Aires practice, living a rather ordinary life, neither happy nor unhappy, and with no great expectations of life. But together with his two work colleagues, he harbours a secret that resurrects itself with the appearance one day of a young woman called Leonor who arrives at their practice asking about a certain Nelson Jara. Keeping the secret under wraps becomes more difficult when he strikes up a relationship with Leonor who has asked him to accompany her around the city on an architectural journey. As the day unfolds and details of the three-year old secret become known to us, one thing seems certain: Pablo's life in so many ways is about to change for ever.Not your typical crime story this, it is as much about one individual looking at his life and finally deciding to do something to change its course. In that regard the ending might surprise a little. I liked this.Ratings: Amazon UK - 3.7/5 Goodreads - 3.34/5The Waters of Eternal Youth by Donna LeonCommissario Guido Brunetti is back, this time attempting to discover if, some 15 years before, then 16-year old Manuela Lando-Continui fell into the canal or was pushed. The incident left her brain damaged and forever with the mind of a six year old. Her now elderly grandmother, the Contessa, is keen to discover the truth or otherwise of the outcome of the original police investigation, which concluded, with little or no actual investigation, that she fell.The 25th book in the series starts with a dinner party at which Brunetti is present together with his wife Paolo and her parents. Food always plays a part in the Brunetti series, which I welcome, as I do the home scenes involving Paolo and their children Chiara and Raffi. Ever present also are computer whizz Signorina Elettra, and officers Vianello, Patta and Scarpa, the latter two being as ever less than sympathetic to Brunetti but who the Commissario invariably outwits and out manoeuvers. No different here.An enjoyable enough read enhanced as ever by insights into Venetian life and Venice itself.(Ratings: Amazon UK - 4.7/5 Goodreads - 4.07/5).Midnight Sun by Jo NesboJon, going under the name Ulf for most of the story, is a hapless criminal on the run from his Oslo drug boss known as the Fisherman. His criminal involvement is driven by his desire to pay for his dying child's medical treatment. He somehow becomes the Fisherman's fixer but as an assassin he is an abject failure. As a result he heads for the north of Norway above the Arctic circle where he hides out in a small town. Here he befriends some of the locals including 10-year old Knut and his widowed mother Lea while he waits for the inevitable arrival of the fisherman's henchmen.This differs in so many ways from Norwegian Nesbo's Harry Hole crime series, being shorter (a novella), less violent, having a far simpler plot line and a likable criminal as the central character. It is more about the characters than the crime, it is about second chances. Nesbo is a storyteller first and foremost, thus the prose is simple and you will find this an easy and quick read.(Ratings: Amazon UK - 3.9/5, Goodreads - 3.61/5)Blade of Light by Andrea CamilleriInspector Salvo Montalbano is here investigating an armed robbery that ends with a kiss, and strange goings on at a shed with a disappearing door. Throw in a body that has all the hallmarks of a mafia hit and the involvement of the anti-terrorist police and you have the makings of yet another intriguing and entertaining Camilleri novel.This is the 19th in the Montalbano series and ever present too is the eclectic mix of characters, the beautiful Sicilian backdrop, and Salvo's love affair with food and women, though he has more success with one than the other. Should I maybe mention the presence of yet another love interest to challenge Salvo's long term, long distance relationship with the lovely Livia? If only Livia would come back to live on Sicily instead of making her sad to say brief appearances, sometimes only on the phone at that!Camilleri's crime mystery books are invariably clever, full of twists and humour, and always a great pleasure to read.(Ratings: Amazon UK - 4.6/5, Goodreads - 3.96/5)Below: Donna Leon and myself in Dubray Bookshop in Dublin , 11th April 2013, when she was talking about her work and signing copies of her book 'The Golden Egg' (Commissario Brunetti, #22).And the book written in English is... 'The Waters of Eternal Youth' by Donna Leon. American Donna Leon lives in Venice where her books are based, and all the novels in the Brunetti series (25 to date) have been written in English. Although they have been translated into many languages, she refuses to have them translated into Italian, her explanation being that she doesn't want to be famous where she lives, preferring a certain level on anonymity in her own back yard. Now you know!
Nails, Axes, Mirrors. And Love! Much ado about Crime
It is all too infrequent these days that I get a chance to post here on the blog regarding my crime fiction reads. It's not to say that I haven't been reading of late, far from it, but it does mean that I can struggle a little to recall the story line details of the many books I have read since my last post and how exactly I felt about them. But let me try at any rate. The following five books are either of an Italian, Thai, French or South African flavour, and I'm glad to say that none of them will disappoint. So read on!Icarus by Deon Meyer Icarus (published 2015) is the latest from South African crime writer Deon Meyer featuring Detective Captain Benny Griessel of the elite investigative team known as the Hawks. Griessel is investigating the high profile murder of Ernst Richter, MD of a new Internet startup company, whose body is discovered buried in the sand dunes north of Cape Town. But Benny has his own troubles, falling off the wagon as he does after 602 days dry. This has consequences both for his private life and work life, and he is challenged to remain focused and sharp at what he does best and to avoid being discovered and chucked out of the force. Richter's company, Alibi, is involved in providing false alibis to people; that and his trying to extract money from clients when his company is strapped for cash, means that there could be any number of possible suspects. There is a parallel story running throughout the book involving the confession of a wine maker under investigation, and the inevitable link between the two does not become clear until near the end.The investigative interviews with winemaker Francois de Toit that punctuate the story throughout were an aspect of the book I found a bit tedious, even if eventually everything does come together. This book also does not have the pace of Meyer's previous titles, however the plot line is as ever intricate and well thought out. His characters too are as ever well developed and interesting to boot. By and large this latest from Meyer is on a par with his previous books, which is another way of saying I can well recommend.Falling in Love by Donna Leon This is the twenty-fourth title in Donna Leon's Venice-based crime series featuring Commissario Brunetti. In this the opera singer Flavia Petrelli is uncomfortable with the level of attention she is getting from a supposed admirer, and when another singer is seriously injured having been pushed down some steps, Brunetti's concern for Flavia is heightened as he thinks both events may be related. The investigation is stepped up therefore before anyone comes to more serious harm. This story has an association with Leon's first book in the series, 'Death at La Fenice' where the soprano Flavia was a suspect in the death of a conductor. It therefore entails a revisit to the opera house La Fenice and the world of opera beloved by both Brunetti and Leon.An improvement on her previous (By Its Cover), but otherwise unremarkable; there is little real mystery, the outcome predictable. I have seen more of the streets and sights of Venice in previous books, but Brunetti's wife Paola and in-laws do feature somewhat, which I welcome, as does the ever resourceful secretary Signorina Elettra, her involvement invariably adding some humour and comedy to proceedings. This time she is on strike against her boss Vice-Questore Patta and his sidekick Lieutenant Scarpa!Game of Mirrors by Andrea Camilleri Game of Mirrors is the 18th in the Salvo Montalbano series from Andrea Camilleri, one of Italy's leading crime writers. Like all the others it is a joy to read and you will surely enjoy as I have Camilleri's style, the humour, the clever plot line, the Sicilian landscape and the culinary delights. I miss though, as I have done with many of the books, the presence of Salvo's longtime girlfriend Livia, living as she does in northern Italy and thus making only brief appearances at the end of a phone line. Their chemistry when she does visit Sicily adds so much to the books, so may she soon return.Summary - When Montalbano comes to the aid of his new neighbour, Liliana Lombardo, after the engine of her car is interfered with, the inspector can little imagine where this innocuous event will lead. It soon transpires that the young woman - beautiful, intelligent and rather vague about the whereabouts of her husband - is being targeted by someone with a grudge against her. But is Liliana's growing interest in Montalbano simply a product of the detective's innate charm? Or is she trying to lead him astray - and into trouble?The Axe Factor by Colin Cotterill This is the third and latest in the Jimm Juree series, following as it does 'Killed at the Whim of a Hat' and 'Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach'. These are humourous, witty reads with quirky characters and comic events, and murder too (!), all set in exotic rural Thailand. The plot is clever too and be certain things are not always as they might appear. The perfect light read for that sunny summer evening.Summary - On the gulf of Thailand, the Juree family are managing their run-down beach resort for the second year - still stalked by disaster. Daughter Jimm has a new love in her life, but finds herself pursued by another man with a markedly different agenda in mind. Meanwhile, Jimm's new case is that of Dr Somluk, a champion of the rights of rural mothers, who is missing following a run-in with the marketeers of infant formula. As ever, there is blood, brine and bedlam aplenty at the Gulf Bay Lovely Resort.Bed of Nails by Antonin Varenne This is the debut crime novel of French writer Antonin Varenne, and what a compelling, powerful debut it is. It can also be described as bleak and dark, but don't be put off by such descriptions. Inspector Guérin of the Suicide Division is investigating an apparent suicide during an S&M act, but things may not be as they appear. Plus also too events in people's past lives have a huge influence on their present state of being. Varenne is very strong on character development and human relationships, though unsympathetic so many of the characters might appear. There is too plenty of suspense and tension. The ending, without giving anything away, will do little to settle you or cheer you up! A must read. Another strong French crime writer to rank alongside the likes of Fred Vargas and Pierre Lemaitre.Summary - It's as if he's being mocked from beyond the grave. When John Nichols arrives to identify the body of an old friend, he is immediately caught up in the detritus of Alan Musgrave's life, the side of Paris the tourists don't see, where everyone has a past but very few count on a future.Happy reading!