Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Irish Times’ Crime Fiction ‘Best Of’ 2018

The Irish Times published a ‘Best of Crime Fiction 2018’ column last weekend. My two cents runs as follows:
Mick Herron’s London Rules (John Murray), the fifth in his blackly comic ‘Jackson Lamb’ spy series, got the year off to a cracking start as it filleted the pretensions of Britain’s contemporary intelligence forces. Dirk Kurbjuweit delivered a gripping account of domestic terror in Fear (Orion), in which a family comes to terms with living cheek-by-jowl with its stalker. Alafair Burke’s 12th novel, The Wife (Faber), surfed the #metoo zeitgeist in a psychological thriller about a woman forced to second-guess her instincts and principles.
  Set in the Australian Outback, Jane Harper’s brilliant second novel, Force of Nature (Little, Brown), proved her award-winning debut The Dry was no fluke. Olivia Kiernan’s Dublin-set police procedural debut, Too Close to Breathe (riverrun), immediately established her as the heir to Tana French’s throne. Another debut, Cormac O’Keeffe’s Black Water (Black and White), was set on Dublin’s Grand Canal and delivered the darkest noir Irish crime fiction had to offer this year.
  John Connolly’s The Woman in the Woods (Hodder & Stoughton) was the 16th in his Charlie Parker series of Maine-set private eye novels, which reliably wove supernatural chills through a classic hardboiled set-up. Meanwhile, in Memento Mori (Bloomsbury), Ruth Downie’s series investigator, the Roman medicus Ruso, sets out to disprove a supernatural element in a murder in the spa town Aquae Sulis, aka modern Bath. Megan Abbott’s Give Me Your Hand (Picador) was a gripping psychological thriller which drilled down through the genre’s conventions to get to the biochemistry of sociopathy.
  Under the Night (Faber) by Alan Glynn was a thrilling ride through the darker pages of recent American history, and served as a prequel to, and sequel of, his debut The Dark Fields. Michael Connelly’s Dark Sacred Night (Orion) brought together Harry Bosch and Renée Ballard to investigate the cold case of a teenage girl murdered some decades ago. Eoin McNamee’s The Vogue was a lyrical, darkly poetic account of historical abuse and cold-blooded murder in small-town Northern Ireland. Liz Nugent’s third novel, Skin Deep (Penguin), blended reimagined Irish folktales and the contemporary psychological thriller to spectacular effect. Finally, Kevin McCarthy’s Wolves of Eden (W.W. Norton) was an epic account of a murder investigation conducted in the Old West as Fort Phil Kearny finds itself besieged by Chief Red Cloud. ~ Declan Burke
  This feature was first published in the Irish Times. For Declan Hughes’ ‘Best Of’, clickety-click here

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