I’d argue that John Connolly is now writing the best fiction of his career. THE BURNING SOUL, especially, struck me as a very special novel, so I’m delighted to see that it has been recognised as such, and long-listed for the ‘Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year (a much-coveted title, despite (cue pedantic harrumph) the criminal absence of an apostrophe in the title of a writing competition. If you tolerate this, then your children will be unpunctuated, etc.
COLLUSION, which is to my mind the finest of his three novels to date, notwithstanding the fact that everyone else seems to prefer his debut, THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST (aka THE TWELVE). COLLUSION has previously been nominated for the LA Times Crime / Mystery Novel of the Year, an award Neville won with THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST, so the book has pedigree in this kind of thing.
Either book has a very strong claim to actually winning the prize, although they’ll have to survive the shortlist cull first, which takes place on July 5th, I think; but they’re up against some very strong opposition, including novels from Val McDermid, Robert Harris, Denise Mina and Ian Rankin, not to mention last year’s most wildly overrated crime novel, BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by SJ Watson.
For the full long-list line-up, clickety-click on the venerable It’s A Crime (or a Mystery) …
“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.