Found in the Guardian this morning...
Brian McGilloway's top 10 modern Irish crime novels
From police procedurals to satires and even screwball comedies, the
Inspector Devlin author picks the best from a booming genre
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 22 April 2009 12.04 BST
Brian McGilloway is author of the critically acclaimed Inspector Benedict
Devlin series. He was born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1974, where these
days he combines his writing career with his work as head of English at St
Buy it at the Guardian bookshop
His first novel, Borderlands, was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger,
and was followed in 2008 by Gallows Lane. His third Benedict Devlin novel,
Bleed a River Deep, has just been published by Macmillan.
"Crime fiction has taken off in Ireland over the past few years with a
number of our best writers winning awards and making an impact on the
international scene. If anything marks out the movement it's the sheer
diversity of sub-genres, from PI novels to police procedurals, by way of
political satire and screwball comedy. And that's not including John
Connolly's Charlie Parker series which is absent here only because it is set
in the USA. Many of the recent group of Irish crime writers (myself
included) cite Connolly as the inspiration that got them writing. As an
introduction to this recent growth and range in the genre, here are 10 of my
favourites from the past decade."
1. The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes
Declan Hughes has crafted a superb series based on his PI, Ed Loy, winning
the Shamus Award and being shortlisted for this year's Edgar in the US. The
debut novel in the series, The Wrong Kind of Blood, has, among many other
things, a corking first line and an unforgettable scene involving a shed,
some gardening implements and a psychotic hoodlum called Podge that
showcases Hughes's skill in handling dialogue.
2. The Guards by Ken Bruen
Ken Bruen needs little introduction. This novel, the first in the Jack
Taylor series, proved that it was possible to set a crime novel in modern
Ireland successfully. All the trademarks of Bruen's future work are here;
sparse, brutal poetic prose, black humour and a sense of bleak desperation
in the voice of the narrator.
3. Mystery Man by Bateman
He may have lost his Christian name, but Bateman's sense of humour remains
intact. His newest book, Mystery Man, is notable for the setting No
Alibis, a specialist crime bookshop in Belfast that has been supporting
Irish crime writing for more than a decade. There is a huge amount of
enjoyment to be had from author spotting in the book particularly a
certain literary novelist who tries his hand at crime whilst being massively
disparaging about the genre. Plenty of laugh out loud moments too, including
the mention of one fictional, though strangely believable Northern Irish
book title: It Was Fine When It Left Us The Building Of The Titantic.
4. Darkhouse by Alex Barclay
Her recent book, Blood Runs Cold, continues to win rave reviews, but there's
nowhere better to start than with Darkhouse. Merging plot lines on both
sides of the Atlantic, it brought a distinctly American plot onto Irish
soil, while offering a dramatic insight into the minds of both the detective
and crucially, the killer too. Dark, unsettling and compulsive.
5. The Midnight Choir by Gene Kerrigan
Gene Kerrigan's novels carry a weight and depth of knowledge few other crime
writers can match, born from his work as a journalist. There are no simple
answers in his work, no easy demarcations between good and bad. His prose is
superb, his grasp of characters and the desires which drive them
6. The Big O by Declan Burke
Declan Burke is single-handedly supporting Irish crime fiction at his site
www.crimealwayspays.blogspot.com but he is also a terrific crime writer
himself. The Big O charts the relationship of armed robber Karen and her new
lover Ray. Throw in an ex-prisoner looking to set up a support group and a
wolf called Anna and you have some sense of a novel which recalls Elmore
Leonard at his best.
7. Dead I Well May Be by Adrian McKinty
The first in the Michael Forsythe series also boasts one of my favourite
book titles, taken from the song, Danny Boy. Adrian McKinty establishes
Forstythe from the start as a troubled character, struggling to find revenge
and redemption in equal measure. Startlingly violent yet darkly humourous,
this is hard-boiled Irish noir at its best.
8. Undertow by Arlene Hunt
Arlene Hunt's novels, based around QuicK Investigations, examine the darker
side of modern Ireland. In this, the fourth in the series, the treatment of
immigrants, the fate of women forced into employment in the new Ireland, and
the personal implications of an ex-partner's death all criss-cross.
Recalling Dennis Lehane's Gennaro & Kenzie series, Hunt's novels offer a
massively readable insight into the underbelly of Irish society.
9. The Anglo-Irish Murders by Ruth Dudley Edwards
Ruth Dudley Edwards satires have hit many targets academia, the Art world,
and here, in arguably her finest novel, local politics. With a happy
disregard for political correctness in any sense of the word, and a sharp
sense of the ironic in so many aspects of Northern Irish life, her depiction
of, amongst others, The MOPES (Most Oppressed Peoples Ever) would be funny,
even if it weren't true.
10. In The Woods by Tana French
Tana French has enjoyed massive success with both her novels to date,
winning a Best Debut Edgar for this book. Dealing with how the events of the
past impact on the present is a common theme in Irish crime fiction, but one
which French develops in her own way. She is to be applauded too not only
for the manner in which she crafts a cracking crime narrative, but also her
refusal to reveal all the answers in the end.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 22 Apr 2009 EDT