Waterstones’ ‘Fresh Blood’ campaign, currently in its second year, aims to showcase ‘some of the best new crime writers around’. The fact that one quarter of this year’s list is taken up by Irish writers is a sign of just how healthy 2009 was for Irish crime writing: step forward Alan Glynn (WINTERLAND), Gene Kerrigan (DARK TIMES IN THE CITY) and Stuart Neville (THE TWELVE, aka THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST).
Unsurprisingly, all three novels finished in the top four (along with John Connolly’s THE LOVERS) in the inaugural ‘Crime Always Pays Irish Crime Novel of the Year’, with THE TWELVE topping the poll - no mean feat for a debut novel. Mind you, and as I said at the time, the fact that WINTERLAND was published in November worked against it, voting-wise, and I have no doubt it would have polled even better had it had a longer shelf-life.
Anyway, the bottom line is that all three are terrific novels. Clickety-click here for a review of THE TWELVE, and here for a review of WINTERLAND, and here for DARK TIMES IN THE CITY. Or better still, go out and buy them, all three.
Oh, and if anyone reading this has read any (or all) of the titles, don’t be shy about telling us what you thought about them. You know what to do …
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.