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New Crime Scene Book Club & The Explosion of Irish Crime Fiction…

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Crime Scene

Louise Phillips

There has been an explosion in Irish Crime fiction recently, and it’s a phenomenon which is still gaining pace. I attended a talk at NUI Maynooth last week discussing this very topic, and it would seem that not only has there been an upsurge in successful Irish Crime Writers/Writing, but the variety of prose within the genre has also been remarkable.

With Irish Crime Writing featuring so highly on the international scene, I got an idea which I hope you will be able to help me with.

Every month or so, I’m going to feature 6 crime novels as part of the Crime Scene Book Club. They will be a mix of Irish and International writers, male & female, debut authors, and well established names, and also novels published  only in digital format. The idea is that you get a flavour of what’s happening within the Crime Scene genre, and are given an opportunity to offer your feedback on the material currently available.

So why not pick just one title, read it, and then over the next month let me know what you think of it. You can send your comments/reviews via the comment option here at the Crime Scene site, or you can email me at phillips.louisem0@gmail.comor via Twitter @LouiseMPhillips -Sounds easy? Well most of the best things are!

Therefore in no particular order, here are the six titles for review:-

The Chosen by Arlene Hunt – On a hot summer’s day in the sleepy American town of Rockville, Jessie Conway, a teacher at the local high school, notices a car driving slowly around the school grounds. Twenty minutes later Jessie is fighting for her life and Rockville is plunged into living nightmare after a gun-toting student unleashes bloody mayhem. For Jessie the horror is just beginning. Traumatized and hounded by the media she retreats to her home and tries to rebuild her shattered life. Caleb Switch watches the developments in Rockville with interest. A skilled and diligent killer, his recent selections have disappointed him, offering challenge to a man of his predilections. Jessie Conway interests him: for she is no ordinary woman and a fine choice for a less than ordinary man. As Jessie struggles to hold onto her marriage and her sanity she has no idea that she has becomeThe Chosen.


“A 5 star review” – “Very pacy, edge of the seat stuff” – “Very clever, very forceful, it builds to a crescendo. I loved it” – Ireland AM – TV3

“A taut, sharp, gripping re-imagining of the serial-killer novel” – Tana French

Link to Author Interview: http://writing.ie/meet-the-authors/crime/394-arlene-hunts-the-chosen.html

Taken by Niamh O’Connor – It’s a cold wet winter night when a car pulls into a service station on Dublin quays. Strapped on to the back-seat is a three-year-old boy – asleep. Five minutes later he’s gone – kidnapped in the time it’s taken his mother to pay for her petrol. Distraught and fearing for his safety, she has only one option. DI Jo Birmingham. One of the few female senior officers on the Dublin police force, Jo has a keen reputation for solving crimes and righting wrongs .Her search for the little boy takes her into a dark world of lies and corruption, where hard cash is king, where sex is a commodity to be bought and sold – and where the lost and vulnerable are in terrifying danger …


“Gripping, terrifying. If you like Martina Cole, you’ll love this.”
Tess Gerritsen

“Niamh O’Connor has written five successful true crime books, and burst onto the burgeoning Irish thriller scene last year with her first Jo Birmingham adventure, If I Never See You Again, which was a best-seller. With Taken, O’Connor has pulled off the elusive feat of delivering a second novel that betters the original.” (Irish Independent)

Link to Author Interview: http://writing.ie/meet-the-authors/crime/229-risky-business.html

Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah – When Amber Hewerdine consults a hypnotherapist as a desperate last resort, she doesn’t expect that anything much will change. She doesn’t expect it to help with her chronic insomnia . . . She doesn’t expect to hear herself, under hypnosis, saying words that mean nothing to her: ‘Kind, cruel, kind of cruel’ – words she has seen somewhere before, if only she could remember where . . . She doesn’t expect to be arrested two hours later, as a result of having spoken those words out loud, in connection with the brutal murder of Katharine Allen, a woman she’s never heard of . . .


“An exploration of memory and the way trauma lives on in the present. Cool, calculating and utterly chilling, KIND OF CRUEL is another compulsive book from Hannah, to be gulped down with all the lights on and someone to grab when the sense of menace grows too great.” (Observer)

“Like Hannah’s previous multilayered thrillers, her seventh offers the unravelling of several mysteries, a rich mix of the dark and diverting, and astute portraits of women falling apart.” (The Sunday Times)

Link to Author Interview: http://writing.ie/meet-the-authors/special-guests/crime-fiction-a-true-crime/504-a-kind-of-cruel-sophie-hannah.html

Absolute Zero Cool by Declan Burke – Absolute Zero Cool is a post-modern take on the crime thriller genre. Adrift in the half-life limbo of an unpublished novel, hospital porter Billy needs to up the stakes. Euthanasia simply isn’t shocking anymore; would blowing up his hospital be enough to see Billy published, or be damned? What follows is a gripping tale that subverts the crime genre’s grand tradition of liberal sadism, a novel that both excites and disturbs in equal measure. Declan Burke’s latest book is an imaginative story that explores the human mind’s ability to both create and destroy, with equally devastating effects.


“Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre, was Declan Burke’s ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL (Liberties Press) … Burke splices insights into the creative process into a fiendishly dark thriller that evokes the best of Flann O’Brien and Bret Easton Ellis.” – Sunday Times’ ‘Best Books of the Year’

Link to Author Interview: http://writing.ie/meet-the-authors/crime/317-declan-burke-absolute-zero-cool.html

Bad Moon Rising by Frances di Plino – Bad Moon Rising is a dark psychological thriller. Brought up believing sex with the living is the devil’s work, a killer only finds release once he has saved his victims’ souls. Abiding by his vision, he marks them as his. A gift to guide his chosen ones on the rightful path to redemption. Detective Inspector Paolo Storey is out to stop him, but Paolo has problems of his own. Hunting down the killer as the death toll rises, the lines soon blur between Paolo’s personal and professional lives.


“I loved this tense, fast-paced and gripping novel. A brilliant debut.”

Amanda Hodgkinson. New York Times Bestselling author of 22 Britannia Road.

Link to Author Interview: http://writing.ie/guest-blogs/crime-scene/entry/guest-blogs/getting-inside-the-killers-head.html (Digital format only – link for ordering within Author Interview)

Threaten to Win by Brian 0’Connor – Ex-jockey Lorcan Donovan is in charge of the bloodstock empire of American billionaire, Jake Weinberger. But behind the big money glamour all is not as it seems. Weinberger’s jockey Mike Clancy is in the pocket of the ruthless gangster Pinkie Duggan who wants to stop the brilliant Derby favourite Kentish Town from winning. With millions riding on the result, the psychotic Duggan does everything to get his way and Donovan becomes a pawn in a vicious game of kidnapping and blackmail. And the only one he can trust is himself.


As this is a new release from Poolbeg – Review of Brian’s debut novel ‘Bloodline’ is below.

“BLOODLINE is a smart, authentic murder mystery set in the Irish racing world, a quietly assured debut that whets the appetite for more.” – Declan Burke 

Link to Author Interview: http://writing.ie/meet-the-authors/crime/528-threaten-to-win-brian-oconnor.html

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