The third and final part.
Hanna Jameson wrote the first draft of Something You Are, the first novel in her London Underground series, when she was only seventeen. At twenty-two, she’s in print and shortlisted for the CWA’s John Creasey Dagger. Her creation, Nic Caruana is a man paid to kill people and in the introductory Something You Are he’s hired to track down the daughter of an arms dealer. In exploring the family’s relationships and particularly that of the parents with one another, Jameson displays a maturity approximately twice the number of years she’s clocked up on her passport. This one’s only 79p on Kindle right now too …
Doug Johnstone’s Gone Again is precision engineering in a thriller and packs in great emotional depth. In Edinburgh, Mark Douglas and his young son Nathan are forced to face the sudden disappearance of wife and mother Lauren. And it’s not the first time she’s disappeared …
The very worthy winner of this year’s CWA John Creasey Dagger: Norwegian by Night from Derek B Miller. Deep, seamless and even. Pitch perfect. When I had the privilege of moderating the two Fresh Blood panels at CrimeFest this year I likened Miller’s protagonist Sheldon Horowitz to Grumpy Cat. In the novel’s opening lines we get to know octogenarian Sheldon very well. He’s frustrated and we feel he deserves better. We love him and want to give him a big hug. His age alone presents many challenges but Sheldon swiftly becomes the guardian angel of a young boy when his mother is killed. Norwegian by Night follows their journey in search of safety. But there’s another journey here too: Sheldon’s own, through his inner turmoil. Norwegian by Night is an emotional and very satisfying read.
An obvious and enviable talent earning early high praise and bestowed with the CWA Gold Dagger for her debut novel Blacklands, I still felt there was something missing in Belinda Bauer’s initial work. But in 2013 with Rubbernecker she’s nailed it for me. One of the beauties with this novel is wondering where its disparate strands might lead. Characterisation is strong and deep. The dènouement satisfies. Bauer is an outstanding talent who will be around for a long time. Do not miss Rubbernecker.
More detailed reviews of all these novels will follow, if they are not already up. The next post in this series from me will be “Ones to Watch in 2014” and it will appear near/over the festive break. Similar posts from It’s a crime’s! regular contributors may follow.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting and liking. Enjoy your festive season and your reading!