FictionFan Awards 2014 – Crime/Thriller Category – Books in a Series

Drum roll please…


…for this year’s nominees and winners of the annual FictionFan Awards of 2014 in the Crime Fiction/Thriller Category – Books in a Series.

If you’ve been around the last couple of weeks, you might want to skip this bit and go straight to the awards. But for the benefit of new readers, a quick reminder of the rules…


All nominees must be books I’ve read and reviewed between November 2013 and October 2014 regardless of publication date, but excluding re-reads. The books must have received a 5-star rating.


There will be Honourable Mentions and a Winner in each of the following categories

Factual – click to see awards

Genre Fiction – click to see awards

Literary Fiction – click to see awards

Crime Fiction/Thrillers – Books in a Series

Crime Fiction/Thrillers – Standalone Novels



Book of the Year 2014


For the winners!

I guarantee to read the authors’ next book even if I have to buy it myself!

For the runners-up!




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So, without further ado, here are this year’s runners-up and winner in




As usual, there are far more books in contention for this category, and many of them are installments in series that I follow. So, since I found it almost impossible to narrow the entries down, I’ve decided to have two sub-categories of nominees, Series and Standalones, each with a winner, and to split them over today and tomorrow. Here goes then…




the killThe Kill (from the Maeve Kerrigan series) by Jane Casey

When an off-duty policeman is shot dead in his car it looks at first as though the motive must be something to do with his personal life. His widow seems angry rather than grief-stricken and his daughter has some unexplained bruises. But a few days later a team of officers is attacked while out on patrol and it becomes clear that someone is targeting the police in general. But no-one knows why…or do they? This is the fifth book in the Maeve Kerrigan series and continues the high standard that Jane Casey has set herself in the last couple.

Click to see the full review

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Saints of the Shadow Bible (from the Rebus series) by Ian Rankin

saints of the shadow bibleWhen the ‘double jeopardy’ law is relaxed, the Solicitor General asks Malcolm Fox to reinvestigate a case from the ’80s, one involving a young DC Rebus. Meantime, in the present day, Siobhan Clarke and Rebus are back working as a team. With the new rules on retirement age, Rebus has been taken back into CID but has had to take a downgrading to Detective Sergeant, meaning Siobhan now outranks him. They are called out to what looks at first like a straightforward road accident, but a couple of things about the scene make them suspect there may be more to it than that. A fine entry in the series that, as always, has great characterisation, a complex plot and a real insight into modern Scottish life.

Click to see the full review

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the papers of tony veitchThe Papers of Tony Veitch (from the Laidlaw series) by William McIlvanney

Tony Veitch has disappeared and it seems like half the city is looking for him. Laidlaw’s one of the searchers. He knows why he’s looking for Tony – his name’s come up in connection with Eck Adamson, a drunk and down-and-out, now dead; and it seems Laidlaw’s the only man who cares. But Laidlaw doesn’t know why some of Glasgow’s hardest men seem to be wanting to find Veitch too, and the question is – who’ll find him first? Glasgow, as the sum of its people good and bad, is the character that is at the heart of the book and McIlvanney makes us weep and rejoice for it in equal measure. A love letter from a man who sees the violence and darkness of the city, but also sees it as a place of courage and heart and humour – and ultimately integrity. A great book.

Click to see the full review

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A Dark and Twisted Tide (from the Lacey Flint series) by Sharon Bolton

a dark and twisted tideAfter her recent experiences, Lacey has stepped back from her role as a detective and joined the Met’s Marine Unit, patrolling the Thames. She’s also moved to live on a houseboat moored in Deptford Creek and taken up the highly dangerous sport of river-swimming. And it’s when she’s out swimming alone one early morning that she finds the first body…

This is another excellent entry in the Lacey Flint series, with all the regulars back in fine form. By a tiny margin, not the best in the series perhaps, but still one of the best books I’ve read or expect to read this year.

Click to see the full review

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Gallowglass (from the Douglas Brodie series) by Gordon Ferris

Post-WW2 Glasgow. Douglas Brodie is back working at the newspaper and beginning to recover from the psychological after-effects of his recent involvement in the Nazi war-crime trials. But he still hasn’t learned how to avoid danger. So when Lady Gibson asks him for help, he finds himself unable to turn her down. Her husband, Sir Fraser Gibson, the Chairman of the Scottish Linen Bank, has been kidnapped, and Lady Gibson has decided to pay the ransom without involving the police. So Brodie sets off with a briefcase full of cash to make the rendezvous on her behalf. Needless to say, it doesn’t go according to plan..

This is the fourth and, I believe, final entry in the Douglas Brodie series, and the award is as much for the whole series as for this individual book. Now that we have all four books, we can see how Brodie’s character has changed in the few years since the end of the war – at first an all-action man, careless to a degree of his own life and others; then having to face the source of his nightmares and realise the damage that he’d suffered in the war – and finally, in this excellent last instalment, asking himself whether he can find some kind of peace and redemption, and have a future worth living. Although each works as a standalone, I would strongly suggest reading them in order to see the skilful way that Ferris develops Brodie’s character throughout. A great series, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And a very worthy winner.

Click to see the full review

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Tomorrow: The Standalone Award and Book of the Year 2014

55 thoughts on “FictionFan Awards 2014 – Crime/Thriller Category – Books in a Series

  1. Ah, I like the fact that you have two separate categories for crime/thriller! (And have it apart from genre fiction…) All of the above series are wonderful, so I can quite understand your dilemma in choosing a favourite!


    • Yes, when I tried to find an overall winner, I realised I love the series books in quite a different way from the standalones – the difference between meeting an old friend and an exciting new stranger… 😉

      I’m horrifed at how parochial I am though – all British, and three Scottish. There’s a thesis in there somewhere…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent! These awards are very exciting. I am paying particular attention to this section, as it is my favourite genre. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s event already! 🙂


  3. FictionFan – Some fabulous entries here!!! And I’m not at all surprised at your choice, difficult as it was. Reminds me I must put Gordon Ferris in the spotlight one of these days soon.


    • I much prefer mystery or police procedural to thrillers myself, so most of these aren’t too over-the-top thrillerish. Most of them have great characterisation and a bit of humour amidst the murders, and the Laidlaw series in particular is so beautifully written it could easily count as literary fiction…


  4. Oh Fiction Fan what a wonderful selection of books and the winner is one that is sat on my TBR already. Last night while socialising someone asked me for recommendations of crime series and I mentioned both Jane Casey and Sharon Bolton as ones to look out for so it is great to see them both on your honourable mentions.


  5. I haven’t read the Bolton, but all the rest were excellent, and “Toby Veitch” is an old favourite. I think I would have put it ahead by a hair, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the Ferrises, which I read on your recommendation.


    • I think it’s probably a better book too, but Laidlaw won last year, and this was the last chance for the Brodie series to be a winner… to be honest, it was a really difficult decision. If you enjoyed the Caseys I’m sure you’d enjoy the Boltons…


  6. Swimming in rivers with dead bodies? Ew…aside from that, these do look interesting, but I’ve got to keep myself focused on my true loves—or potential true loves, “Nora Webster,” for example. Although your powers of persuasion are mighty, I’m wearing my Teflon titanium kryptonite shield today.


    • I was more horrified by the crabs! I’ll do my best to catch you tomorrow then – but “Nora Webster” will be a hard one to beat, I admit…

      (The Brodie series is a bit special though…and it’s about Glasgow…)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Michael Bolton! Okay, I just thought about that when I saw the name “Bolton.” You know, FEF, I’m thinking I should probably get more into Thrillers…and Crime! Like WOB. He needs to, too, apparently. He reads drier books than you do!


  8. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never read any of the Douglas Brodie books! I think I thought of them as too similar to Craig Russell’s enjoyable Lennox series – although from reading your reviews I suspect they’re actually superior! So that’s another one for the TBR pile – but I’ll start at the beginning of the series. And doubtless they’ll be more to add to it tomorrow too!


    • I haven’t read any of the Lennox books so can’t say how they compare, but I love the Brodie books, especially the third and fourth ones. The first couple I loved because of the Glasgow setting and the dialect, but by the third one the whole theme of the aftermath of the war had really developed too. Hope you enjoy them!


      • The Lennox ones are very good – they’re set, I think, in the early ’50s, and he’s a Canadian who stayed in Glasgow when he was demobbed, and set himself up as a PI. You get the sense of an outsider observing the city – there are some great one-liners! There are of course gangsters, and “enforcers”, and glamorous women, as well as nefarious shenanigans which he inevitably becomes involved in. I’d imagine fans of the Brodie books would enjoy Lennox, and vice versa – the setting and the timeline probably make them appeal to the same audience.


        • Hmm…from what you say they do sound similar to the first couple of Brodies, but I think the third and fourth in that series take a different approach…I’ll be interested to see what you think, if you get around to reading the Brodies.


          • Good news! I got the first two last night, in a kind of Kindle “double pack” for £1.85 – a bargain – then realised I already had no 3 on my Kindle – so I’ll be looking forward to reading them. I was also looking for a missing Lennox at 2am – it has to be in one of the two fairly big boxes of books I’ve not unpacked yet, as I’ve nowhere to put them, but it would have been utterly ridiculous to unpack them at that hour, only to have to re-pack them afterwards. It irritated me all.night though…


            • That’s great! The series started as a Kindle sensation, back when Kindle was new, so it seems appropriate somehow that you should get them as a Kindle deal. Hope you enjoy – and hope you find the Lennox book! 🙂


            • Thanks! And I hope I find it too – really irritates me not knowing where it is, as I used to know exactly where every book was – but still having some in boxes is spoiling that! Of course, if I unpack them, who knows how many “hidden gems” I’ll find?!

              Liked by 1 person

  9. I will have to check out all those titles tomorrow! I was just looking for some new crime/thriller novels to read so your post comes exactly at the right time. 😀


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