Well, I guess you all know that I’m Scottish right? And that I have a wee thing for Scottish Crime Fiction? So, how could I have a #TopReads and not have a list dedicated to some of the best Scottish Crime Writers that I have read this year!
In no particular order (click the book title for my review):
The Jump by Doug Johnstone (published by Faber & Faber)This book has crawled inside of my head and stayed there for such a long time! Doug Johnstone is an extremely talented guy and The Jump is a stunning and intense read. It was a sensitive exploration of suicide in the shadow of the Forth Road Bridge and he created what was probably the best sense of place in a novel that I have read this year. This one is a must read!
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead by Owen Mullen. Owen is one of my all-time favourite Scottish authors; he has had a cracking year, signed by Bloodhound Books and being longlisted for the prestigious McIlvanney Prize. This series follows Charlie Cameron, Private Investigator and provides a tightly knit and enthralling plot, with Glaswegian grit and gallows humour thrown in. Don’t miss it!
Tag: You’re Dead (published by Contraband) from Douglas Skelton is the 2nd in the Dominic Queste series. It’s a dark and twisted, yet humorous journey you will be taken on as Private Investigator, Dominic is on the hunt for missing butcher, Sam, cousin of Dominic’s current love interest, Ginty. The hunt for Sam uncovers some very dodgy dealings and links to some real unsavoury underworld characters.Not just one plot but also other seemingly unconnected murders and burglaries are all cleverly weaved into the novel, taking the reader on a twisted chase until the bitter end.
Och, and then we have Michael J Malone and one of my favourite bad guys, Kenny O’Neill, in Dog Fight. (published by Contraband) Dog Fight is a vicious tale of illegal fight clubs but it also explores the indignity of ex-servicemen thrown onto a scrap heap by a government that doesn’t care; the very real terror of PTSD and mental health faced by these men and the vulnerability that lays them open to exploitation by others. Read this series, you will love it!
Debut author, Claire MacLeary stole my heart with Big Wilma and her shenanigans in Cross Purpose (published by Contraband) earlier this year. Following her husband’s death, Wilma has no idea what she is going to do to make ends meet so she teams up with her posh neighbour to take over the running of her late husband’s PI business and what follows is not only a brilliant crime novel but also a cracking laugh as we follow the antics of Wilma and Maggie. It was also a great year for Claire as she too was longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize.
And of course, sometimes some of my Scottish squad venture out of our dear country with their books! Graham Smith took us across the pond with the release of Jake Boulder. The 2nd book in the Boulder series, Kindred Killers (published by Bloodhound Books)was a cracker and it had me hooked from the very start. Be warned though, Jake is addictive! It ticks all my boxes, shocking yet genius plotting and a cast of characters so expertly developed that they will find their way into your heads and stay there!
Another debut from Ayrshire author Pat Young took us back in time to the aftermath of 9/11 and a twisted thriller looking at stolen identities. Till The Dust Settles (published by Bloodhound Books) Who would have thought that such a disaster would have changed the life of one individual so dramatically? Lucie is certainly not living the American dream, she was living a nightmare with a controlling and violent husband until the day she decided to try to make some changes to her life by getting a job. That day was the 11th of September 2001 and the job interview she was going to was at the World Trade Centre, New York. Lucie never made the interview but she did change her life dramatically when her world collided with another woman caught up in the hell in the streets of New York.
Now, Craig Robertson has written a brilliant series about a Police Photographer, Tony Winter, and the latest in the series, Murderabilia (published by Simon & Schuster) was my absolute favourite in the series! This will take you on one of the sickest and twisted journeys of all times and let’s just say that you wouldn’t want to be looking at Craig Robertson’s search history after this! Plus it probably is my all time favourite cover this year! Check this one out!
Another one from Michael J Malone made my top ten this year. Gothic thriller, House of Spines (published by Orenda Books) was a perfectly chilling and spooky read that gave me the shivers! I’m not going to lie, my wee heart was having palpitations reading this and I had to sleep with the lights on and definitely considered covering up my mirrors!
And to finish off this list it has to be Owen Mullen again with the first in a new series, this time set in New Orleans, Delaney: And So it Began (published by Bloodhound Books) This time around we have PI, Vincent Delaney. A child killer preying on pageant contestants, extortion and police corruption in New Orleans Police Department and an escaped killer who has Delaney in his sights, are all wrapped up into a perfectly crafted novel that will have you hooked. Flashbacks give us the backstory as to why Delaney quit being a detective to become a PI and to the escape of Julien Boutte, the gangster out to seek revenge on him.Each element of the book is carefully considered and brought to a satisfying conclusion that leaves you wanting more from Delaney, and indeed the author.
I hope that has given you just a small taste of my favourite’s in Scottish crime writers; I have many more that I love; follow my blog to keep up with them all!