“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

CAPNYA; Or, The Crime Always Pays Novel of the Year Award

Well, it’s that time of the year again, folks, when we have a look back at the Irish crime titles released in the last twelve months or so, and make a ham-fisted attempt at deciding which was the best of the lot for the not-entirely-coveted Crime Always Pays Novel of the Year Award - or CAPNYA, if you prefer. I say ham-fisted, because all such ‘awards’ are by definition a lottery of subjective opinions, opinion being a polite word for prejudice; the good news there is, opinions are free, and so is leaving a comment in the box beneath this post. So, if you have a few moments to spare, and have an opinion on what might be the best Irish crime title of 2011, please join in the fun.
  To make it (slightly) interesting, and because the real object of the exercise is to bring the titles of great books to the attention of those who might have missed them first time around, I’m going to ask you to name your top three books, in 1-2-3 order, with the person who gets closest to the right 1-2-3 bagging themselves a signed copy of ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL by yours truly (runner-up gets two signed copies, etc.). In the event that two or more contributors tie, the names will go into a bobbly hat.
  The list of books below isn’t so much a longlist as a suggested reading list, and please feel free to include any title that isn’t on it in your 1-2-3. I’m going to run this post for two weeks, with the winner to be announced on Monday, December 19th, and maybe for giggles I’ll post a ‘short-list’ of the most popular books this time next week.
  Incidentally, I’ll be leaving myself and ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL out of the competition. As always, this has less to do with transparency and accountability and the democratic process than it has to do with the horrendous embarrassment that would come with my not winning an award I’m hosting on my own blog. You know it makes sense.
  Anyway, on with the list, which is presented in alphabetical order:
NINE INCHES, Colin Bateman;
A DEATH IN SUMMER, Benjamin Black;
THE POINT, Gerard Brennan;
HEADSTONE, Ken Bruen;
THE RECKONING, Jane Casey;
PLUGGED, Eoin Colfer;
THE BURNING SOUL, John Connolly;
THE FATAL TOUCH, Conor Fitzgerald;
BLOODLAND, Alan Glynn;
TABOO, Casey Hill;
GOODBYE AGAIN, Joseph Hone;
THE CHOSEN, Arlene Hunt;
THE RAGE, Gene Kerrigan;
HIDE ME, Ava McCarthy;
LITTLE GIRL LOST, Brian McGilloway;
FALLING GLASS, Adrian McKinty;
STOLEN SOULS, Stuart Neville;
BLOODLINE, Brian O’Connor;
TAKEN, Niamh O’Connor;
DUBLIN DEAD, Gerard O’Donovan;
THE BLOODY MEADOW, William Ryan;
  So there you have it, folks. Vote early, vote often, and let the games commence …

16 comments:

conmankennedy.com said...

Oh dear...disappointed not to see my The Colour of Her Eyes on your list...ok book is set in UK...but I'm Irish...and you can read reviews of it on prestigious ahm) sites such as A Common Reader, His Futile Preoccupations and Acclaimedbooks.com...admittedly they're all UK based sites...oh well...Best, etc...Conan Kennedy

conankennedy.com said...

why did my identity come up as conmankennedy.com...? my fingers...or something sinister in your workings? It's conankennedy.com !!!

Declan Burke said...

Good to hear from you, Conan (I think I prefer 'Conman', to be honest). I did give a shout-out to THE COLOUR OF HER EYES a month or so back, you can find the link here:
http://crimealwayspays.blogspot.com/2011/09/west-is-awake-and-lethal.html

Cheers, Dec

conankennedy.com said...

You did indeed thanks, my attention was drawn to...but apart from my jocular earlier posting, there is an essential point...many of us Irish writers, because there is a tight little back scratching network of residents here, all reviewing and cover blurbing each others books, we have to export ourselves to a wider field...granted we'll sell more out there anyway...but still...an all...etc...

Maxine said...

I have only read three on your shortlist so should not comment, really, but of those I've read I'd choose The Rage by Gene Kerrigan.

Rob Kitchin said...

Well, if AZC is off limits, I'll go:

1. The Rage, Gene Kerrigan
2. Plugged, Eoin Colfer
3. Bloodland, Alan Glynn

I've only managed to read seven 2011 Irish titles, inc. AZC, so this choice is off a limited base. I'll try a few more of this list next year no doubt once they're out in paperback.

Michael Malone said...

I've only read 4 on your list - so I'm even more limited than Ron. In any case, I'll go for Mr McKinty's excellent Falling Glass.

seana said...

I haven't read enough of these yet to vote, though there are about four already on my radar, but what a great list.

I know a few of you know this already, but for the rest, Falling Glass is the Audible editors pick for best mystery or thriller of the year.

I'd vote for it here too, as well as AZC, but in fairness I haven't read enough of the others to judge.

Declan Burke said...

Conan - I'm not catching your drift, sir. Is the essential point that Irish writers need to make their books available in more markets? Or set their stories in other settings than Ireland (which is the case with roughly half of the entries on the list above)? Or that Irish writers should move out of the 'tight little back-scratching network' represented by this blog?

I'm not trying to be obtuse; your comment just isn't very clear.

If it's the fact that all the books listed here are by Irish authors, well, the whole point of the blog is, for the most part, to promote Irish crime writing.

If you'd like your novels to included on the blog, then the best thing to do is to get in touch with me and let me know who you are and what you do.

It's probably fair to say, though, that stomping in and accusing people of being part of some blinkered mutual appreciation society isn't the best way to go about it.

My advice to you is to google just a handful of the names on that list, realise the extent to which most if not all of them have 'exported themselves to a wider field' (and certainly far beyond this very limited blog), and start all over again.

Cheers, Dec

Pageturners said...

But where's Tana French and her superb 2011 thriller Faithful Place?

Declan Burke said...

Pageturners - Faithful Place is a terrific novel, no doubt about it. But it was published here in 2010, I'm afraid.

Cheers, Dec

Michael Haskins said...

Dec, my choices are: 1)Falling Glass, 2) The Burning Soul, 3) Headstone.

paysan said...

Are you being bashful in not having Absolute Zero Cool up there? In which case I'm voting for John Connolly's The Burning Soul.

And your word verification came up with Irturd, which I took to be a comment on our economy after part 1 of Budget Day: You're Screwed...

lil Gluckstern said...

After AZC;) I liked Stolen Souls, Falling Glass, and Headstone. This is not an easy test you know.

Fiona said...

Interesting longlist. I'd add AZC naturally, and (sparing your blushes) would go
1) The Burning Soul, John Connolly
2) Nine Inches, Colin Bateman
3) Faithful Place, Tana French (if it qualifies?)

Can we nominate a Razzie? :D

Fiona said...

Ah, I posted precipitately about Tana French and how could I forget Chosen, Arlene Hunt?