Recommended Read: This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan

this is how it endsWhen property developers buy a London tower block and start to force people out of their homes, Ella and Molly start a protest campaign .

But one night, Molly gets a phone call from Ella that throws both of their lives out of kilter.

Eva Dolan’s This Is How It Ends is a gripping, rich,  inventive and powerful 21st century crime thriller that will keep you on your toes.

Highly recommended.

Recommended Read: Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan

watch her disappearDI Zigic and DS Ferreira are called to investigate the murder of a trans woman in Eva Dolan’s fourth novel set in Peterborough police’s Hate Crimes Unit.

Once again Dolan gives us an evenly paced police procudural full of  twists and turns, believeble characters  and a stong sense of place and time.

Engrossing and moving, Watch Her Disappear is another gritty gem from Eva Dolan.

The Best Of Brit Grit 2016

marwick's reckoningWell, 10 of the best, anyway. There were a few other Brit Grit gems I also read in 2016 that I really enjoyed. If I had to pick one book to personify The Best Of Brit Grit this year, it would probably be Marwick’s Reckoning by Gareth Spark. However, in no particular order, here are 10 of the best …

Marwick’s Reckoning by Gareth Spark

Marwick is a broken man. Broken but not shattered. Marwick is a violent London gangster, an enforcer who has moved to Spain for a quieter life and who is eventually embroiled in drug smuggling, murder and more.

Published by Near To The Knuckle, Marwick’s Reckoning by Gareth Spark is fantastic. Like a Brit Grit Graham Greene it’s full of doomed romanticism, longing and shocking violence.

Beautifully, vividly  and powerfully written Marwick’s Reckoning is very highly recommended indeed.

thin iceThin Ice by Quentin Bates

A small-time criminal and his sidekick decide to rob a big-shot drug dealer. But things quickly go pear-shaped when their getaway driver doesn’t turn up. After kidnapping a mother and daughter, things spiral even further out of control.

Quentin Bates’ Thin Ice brilliantly blends a fast-moving crime caper worthy of Elmore Leonard with a perfectly paced police procedural. Great characters and tight plotting abound.

Thin Ice really is marvelous, and is very highly recommended.

after you dieAfter You Die by Eva Dolan

DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are back for a third outing in Eva Dolan‘s marvelous After You Die.

The mother of a disabled child is stabbed to death and the child is left to starve.  Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit are called in to investigate the murder and in the process DI Zigic and DS Ferreira uncover a lot of dirty secrets in a seemingly close-knit community.

Once again, Dolan paints a realistic and uncomfortable picture of the darker sides of British life but with After You Die the pacing is even tighter than in her previous books and she has produced a gripping, contemporary murder mystery that is highly recommended.

APRIL SKIES coverApril Skies by Ian Ayris

In ’90s London, John Sissons – the protagonist of Ian Ayris‘ brilliant debut Abide With Me– is out of the slammer and trying to get by, working at a market stall. When he loses his job, he gets a job at a door factory and his luck starts to change. But is it for the better?

Ian Ayris’ April Skies is marvelous. Full of realistic, well-drawn characters, great dialogue, sharp twists and turns,  and with a strong sense of place and time. Nerve-wracking and heart-breaking, tense and touching – April Skies is a Brit Grit classic.

the death of 3 coloursThe Death Of Three Colours by Jason Michel

Jonah H. Williams is cyber- crook, a wheeler and dealer on the dark web. He awakes from a typically heavy boozing session to find that his precious crucifix has been stolen by the previous night’s pick-up. And things spiral on down from then on as we encounter  Bill – a bent ex-copper, drug smugglers, AK-47s, Ukrainian bikers, suicide, paranoia, betrayal, lust, love, loyalty, friendship, romance, nihilism, more paranoia, The Second Law Of Thermodynamics, Santa Muerte – Our Lady Of Last Resorts, an owl, and a cat called Vlad The Bastard. And then there’s Milton …

Jason Michel’s The Death of Three Colours is just great. It’s a richly written, gripping, noir-tinged crime thriller that is full of lyricism, flights of dark fancy and cruel humour. His best book yet.

the shallowsThe Shallows by Nigel Bird

When naval  Lieutenant Bradley Heap goes AWOL with his wife and son, he stumbles into drug dealing, people smuggling and murder.

Nigel Bird’s The Shallows is a tightly written and well-paced crime thriller that is full of well-drawn, realistic characters.

Tense and involving, The Shallows is great stuff!

for-all-is-vanityFor All Is Vanity by Robert Cowan

Jack is a nice, normal guy with a nice, normal family who records the events of  his day to day life in a diary. Then tragedy strikes and Jack’s life spirals violently out of control.

Robert Cowan’s For All Is Vanity is a gem. Heartbreaking, funny and violent, For All Is Vanity is a gripping look at what happens when a good man who loses it all.

Highly recommended.

dark-heart-heavy-soulDark Heart, Heavy Soul by Keith Nixon

Konstantin Boryakov is back!

In Dark Heart, Heavy Soul, the former KGB anti-hero is reluctantly dragged into taking part in a heist which soon spirals out of his control.

Keith Nixon’s Dark Heart, Heavy Soul is the best Konstantin Boryakov novel yet. Nixon smoothly blends high-octane thrills with gritty crime fiction. Dark Heart, Heavy Soul is packed full of tension, action, humour, great characters, sharp dialogue and a hell of a lot of warmth too.

An absolute belter!

summoning-the-deadSummoning The Dead by Tony Black

The mummified corpse of a young child is found in barrel that had been buried in a field years before. DI Bob Valentine digs deep to unearth’ corruption, cover-ups and murder.

Tony Black’s Summoning The Dead is an atmospheric, engrossing, lyrical and  sometimes harrowing police procedural that packs a powerful emotional punch.

The characters are well drawn and believable, the plot is involving,  the pace is whip-crack and the result is eminently satisfying.

Fantastic stuff.

the dead can't talkThe Dead Can’t Talk by Nick Quantrill

Power, corruption and lies would be a suitable sub-heading for Nick Quantrill’s hard-hitting crime novels. In The Dead Can’t Talk, as in his cracking Joe Geraghty trilogy, Quantrill tells the story of a criminal investigation which digs below the city of Hull’s surface to reveal a dirty underbelly.

The Dead Can’t Talk introduces us to two new protagonists – cop Anna Stone and ex- soldier Luke Carver. They are brought together to look into a murder, and an apparent suicide but all is not as it seems, of course.

Quantrill again gives us a perfectly paced criminal investigation but the tension is greater and the twist and turns are tighter this time. The characters are all typically well drawn, most notably the city of Hull itself. This is a novel of deceptive breadth and scope.

The Dead Can’t Talk is the start of what is sure to be another great social-realist crime fiction series from Nick Quantrill. Highly recommended.

Recommended Read: After You Die by Eva Dolan

after you dieDI Zigic and DS Ferreira are back for a third outing in Eva Dolan‘s marvelous After You Die.

The mother of a disabled child is stabbed to death and the child is left to starve.  Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit are called in to investigate the murder and in the process DI Zigic and DS Ferreira uncover a lot of dirty secrets in a seemingly close-knit community.

Once again, Dolan paints a realistic and uncomfortable picture of the darker sides of British life but with After You Die the pacing is even tighter than in her previous books and she has produced a gripping, contemporary murder mystery that is highly recommended.


Recommended Read: Tell No Tales by Eva Dolan

tell no tales eva dolanDetectives Zigic and Ferreira are back, and a welcome return it is, too.

As in Eva Dolan‘s marvelous debut novel,Long Way Home, the prickly duo investigate a murder which leads them to dig deeply into Britain’s immigrant communities.

Tell No Tales is an engrossing, marvelously well-written and perfectly paced police procedural that takes an uncomfortable look at the lives of those at the bottom of British society.

Zigic and Ferreir are strong and very likable protagonists and, like the rest of the characters in Tell No Tales, are completely believable.

Tell No Tales confirms Eva Dolan‘s position as one of the the UK’s most powerful social-realist writers.

Short, Sharp Interview: Eva Dolan Can you pitch LONG WAY HOME in 25 words or less?

The murder of a migrant worker exposes a world of slum landlords, right-wing extremists and sadistic gangmasters who believe they are above the law.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

My musical find of 2013 is The Budapest Cafe Orchestra, who soundtracked the editing of Long Way Home perfectly. Bookwise – where to start? I’ve been reading lots of proofs lately and spring 2014 is looking strong; great crime debuts from Sarah Hilary (Someone Else’s Skin) and Emma Kavanagh (Falling) and a cracking psychological police procedural by Luca Veste, Dead Gone. Away from crime I’m hooked on Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series. I seem to have fallen behind on film watching but TV wise I’m loving the new series of Boardwalk Empire – so stylish – and eagerly awaiting season 2 of House of Cards.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

I think writers are probably the least objective readers going but we’re the most appreciative when we find a beautifully crafted sentence or an intricate piece of plotting, so it balances out.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

It’s a long held ambition of mine to write a story for Radio 4, because it would be such a challenge stylistically, but I don’t really see myself moving away from books any time soon. How much research goes into each book?

There was quite a lot of research involved in Long Way Home, simply because I didn’t know the location very well and the world it takes place in was completely new to me. I was lucky enough to know people who were prepared to help out though, sharing their experiences and war stories, telling me things I would never have found through Google. A lot of what happens in migrant communities doesn’t filter into the mainstream, despite the close proximity, and I am immensely grateful for all the advice.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?

When it comes to putting words on the page you’re on your own, but when the nth round of edits is grinding you down or the postman’s just been judgemental because you’re still in your pjs at two p.m social media is where you can vent in full knowledge that you are not alone in that experience. It’s a great source of support and distraction too, and I loved having the opportunity to interview authors I admired while I was blogging. Probably the best thing about the online crime writing community is meeting up at events though – that lot know how to have a good time.

PDB: What’s on the cards for 2014?

Long Way Home is released on January 2nd and I’m hugely looking forward to getting out and promoting it. The second Zigic and Ferreira book is on the way to being finished – or the first draft is anyway. I’m really superstitious about discussing my work in progress, but I will say that it’s a darker, more violent book, which delves into the politics around immigration.

Bio: Eva Dolan is a freelance copy writer and intermittently successful poker player.  Long Way Home is her debut crime novel, out January 2nd.