“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.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Season Of Mists And Mellow Shortlistness

It’s that time of the year again, folks, that time of mists and mellow fruitfulness when I wonder (fruitlessly, for the most part, but in mellow fashion) as to the shape and content of the Ireland AM Irish Crime Novel of the Year - if memory serves, the shortlist for said award was announced in mid-October last year.
  It’s been yet another very good year for the Irish crime novel, even if some of its leading lights - Colin Bateman, Gene Kerrigan, Ava McCarthy, last year’s winner Alan Glynn, Eoin McNamee, Declan Hughes - didn’t publish. It has also been a most extraordinary year for debuts, which - as I understand it, but don’t quote me on this - are more likely to be entered in the Best Newcomer section rather than the Best Crime Novel category. In fact, you’d put together a shortlist of debut Irish crime novels for 2012, it would look something like this:
Conor Brady, A JUNE OF ORDINARY MURDERS;
Michael Clifford, GHOST TOWN;
Claire McGowan, THE FALL;
Matt McGuire, DARK DAWN;
Louise Phillips, RED RIBBONS;
Anthony Quinn, DISAPPEARED.
  That’s impressive enough, but there’s also a number of interesting titles from authors who aren’t considered crime writers, but who have delivered novels steeped in the genre:
Marian Keyes, THE MYSTERY OF MERCY CLOSE;
Joe Murphy, DEAD DOGS;
Keith Ridgway, HAWTHORN & CHILD;
Darren Shan, LADY OF THE SHADES.
  And then, of course, there are those authors who are recognised as crime writers. To wit:
Alex Barclay, BLOOD LOSS;
Benjamin Black, VENGEANCE;
Ken Bruen, HEADSTONE;
Jane Casey, THE LAST GIRL;
John Connolly, THE WRATH OF ANGELS;
Conor Fitzgerald, THE NAMESAKE;
Tana French, BROKEN HARBOUR;
Casey Hill, TORN;
Arlene Hunt, THE CHOSEN;
Brian McGilloway, THE NAMELESS DEAD;
Adrian McKinty, THE COLD COLD GROUND;
Stuart Neville, STOLEN SOULS;
Niamh O’Connor, TAKEN;
William Ryan, THE BLOODY MEADOW.
  So there you have it. If anyone fancies drawing up a six-book shortlist from that little lot, you’re a better man and / or woman than me. For what it’s worth - and bearing in mind that John Connolly’s novels are rarely put forward for consideration, and that e-only titles unfortunately don’t qualify - I’d imagine it’ll come down to a coin toss between Tana French and Adrian McKinty, both of whom produced superb novels this year, although I was particularly fond of Brian McGilloway’s and Alex Barclay’s new offerings too.
  If anyone else has anything to add, including any titles I might have missed, the comment box is now open …

12 comments:

darraghjames said...

Me!

JJ Toner said...

Could Eoin Colfer's excellent novel "Plugged" be included under newcomers? He is a newcomer to adult crime novels...

Declan Burke said...

JJ - Eoin's Plugged is indeed excellent, but it came out in May of last year, so it's not a runner for this year's awards, I'm afraid. Cheers, Dec

Declan Burke said...

Darragh - I didn't realise your book had been published - when did it come out? Cheers, Dec

Richard L. Pangburn said...

I don't think you're permitted to leave yourself off the list, though I haven't yet found a copy of SLAUGHTER'S HOUND in these United States.

I wish I'd read more of these, but it would be tough to beat Adrian McKinty's COLD, COLD GROUND.

I read CITY OF BOHANE, and I think it deserves some kind of an award, though perhaps not this award. It might be good to put it on the first novel list anyway. An SF/Fantasy that looks a lot like an Irish crime novel.

Declan Burke said...

Thanks kindly, Richard.

The Cold Cold Ground is terrific, alright. Broken Harbour is brilliant too.

I haven't read City of Bohane yet, it slipped by. I've heard a few people suggest it could be considered a crime novel, albeit with a sci-fi edge.

Cheers, Dec

lil Gluckstern said...

I nominate Broken Harbor, The Cold, Cold Ground, Slaughter's Hound, Stolen Souls, The Namesake, Taken, and Headstone. Worthy books, and hours of pleasure.

Declan Burke said...

My own aside, Lil, and thanks for the mention, that would be a very strong list indeed. Cheers, Dec

seana graham said...

Richard, you can get your copy of Slaughter's Hound from Book Depository if you're willing to go that route. Mine is here and pretty close to the top of the pile. Actually, I read the opening scene and liked it very much.

I've read a lot of Irish crime fiction, but when I look at such lists, I only see the gaps in my reading. Still, The Cold, Cold Ground is what I'd pick from the contenders.

darraghjames said...

Dec -
Okay, I cheat a little! Out today. :)

Peter Rozovsky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Rozovsky said...

I haven’t read enough to make up a decent-size shortlist. But after reading Cold Cold Ground and Slaughter’s Hound, why would I need to?

Oddly enough, the only reason Stolen Souls was a bit of a fall-off for me from Stuart Neville's first two novels is that it was less political (and he has said as much interviews, so I don't feel bad bringing this up. But anyone reading this should know that his thriller chops are just as sharp in Stolen Souls as in the first two).

But it looks like he'll get political again in Ratlines, which I await eagerly. =============================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com