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

The Kill (Maeve Kerrigan 5) by Jane Casey

the killAnother excellent instalment…

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

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. It might be possible to read this as a standalone, but there has been a developing story arc which comes to a head in this one, so I would strongly recommend that new readers should read the series in order (starting with The Burning).

Maeve and Josh Derwent are still working as a team and, despite their constant bickering, it’s obvious they’ve learned to respect and trust each other. Derwent is the ultimate male chauvinist pig, but he’s also loyal to the people he cares about and has a strong moral code of his own, not to mention being very funny on occasion – so, like Maeve, the dedicated reader has learned to put up with his sexist taunting, and has grown to like him despite his awfulness. Maeve’s long-term boyfriend Rob plays a small but important role in this one, but in general he’s faded rather into the background in the last couple of books as Derwent has come more to the fore.

Maeve is the same strong and stubborn officer we have grown to love, still with that wicked streak of humour that comes through in the first-person narrative when we get to hear her opinions of those around her. It’s Maeve’s normality that makes her so refreshing – she works well as a team-player, is loyal to her colleagues (sometimes too loyal, perhaps) and tries hard to stay within the rules. One touch that I’ve always enjoyed about these books is her relationship with her mother, carried out mainly over the phone. Although Maeve spends most of her time trying to avoid unwanted maternal advice, it’s still her mother that she turns to when she needs some emotional support, and these occasional little interactions help to show Maeve as a rounded character with strong family roots.

Jane Casey
Jane Casey

The storyline in this one is strong and well plotted, with different strands that overlap in the investigation. The running plotline about Superintendent Godley is brought to what looks like a possible conclusion, for which I’m not sorry since it’s the one aspect of the books that I’ve had some serious credulity issues with. There are some dark and unsettling moments in the story and Casey writes these very well – she’s great at getting the balance right between the grittiness of the plot and the humour that is such a trademark feature of Maeve’s relationship with Derwent. And there are enough twists along the way to keep the reader guessing till near the end. Altogether, another excellent instalment that ensures this series remains one of my strong favourites. Highly recommended.

NB This book was provided for review by the Amazon Vine UK.

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

TBR Thursday 27…

Episode 27


Oh, dear! Teetering on the edge with a horrifying 99 on the TBR, so I absolutely refuse to be tempted by anyone for at least the next month. (No, I don’t believe me either.) Here’s a few that are already on the list…

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the killThe next instalment of one of my favourite series, the Maeve Kerrigan novels…courtesy of Amazon Vine UK.

The Blurb saysWhen a police officer is found shot dead in his car, DC Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent take on the investigation. But nothing about the case prepares them for what happens next: a second policeman dies . . . and then another . . .

The Metropolitan Police struggle to carry out their usual duties, but no one knows where or how this cop killer will strike again. While London disintegrates into lawlessness Maeve’s world starts to fall apart too. For if the police can’t keep themselves safe, how can they protect anyone else?

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ten citiesThe Empire seems to be fascinating me at the moment – maybe it’s because of the Scottish Independence debate – so thanks to NetGalley for this one…

The Blurb says “Ten Cities that Made an Empire presents a new approach to Britain’s imperial past through the cities that epitomised it. The final embers of the British Empire are dying, but its legacy remains in the lives and structures of the cities which it shaped. Here Tristram Hunt examines the stories and defining ideas of ten of the most important: Boston, Bridgetown, Dublin, Cape Town, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Bombay, Melbourne, New Delhi, and twentieth-century Liverpool.Rejecting binary views of the British Empire as ‘very good’ or ‘very bad’, Hunt uses an exceptional array of primary accounts and personal reflection to chart the processes of exchange and adaptation that collectively shaped the colonial experience – and, in turn, transformed the culture, economy and identity of the British Isles.

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Summer HouseOh dear! I really intended to read Koch’s big hit, The Dinner, before this one, but the best laid plans…thanks again to NetGalley for this one.

The Blurb saysIt all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy.

Featuring the razor-sharp humor and acute psychological insight that made The Dinner an international phenomenon, Summer House with Swimming Pool is a controversial, thought-provoking novel that showcases Herman Koch at his finest.

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the very best of fantasy and science fictionCourtesy of NetGalley again – the Very Best, huh? Sounds just the thing for Transwarp Tuesday!

The Blurb saysThe magazine Fantasy & Science Fiction continues to showcase some of the most famous authors writing in any genre. Now drawing upon F&SF’s impressive history of classic and contemporary tales, this extraordinary companion anthology revisits and expands upon sixty-five years’ worth of top-notch fiction. These broad-ranging, award-winning tales appeal to readers of genre fiction and beyond, exploring alternate history, time travel, urban fantasy, cyberpunk, modern myth, horror, interstellar travel, epic fantasy, mystery, space opera, and much more.

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NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads or NetGalley.

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And here’s one I resisted…


clooney book

*FF sobs bitterly*

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So…what do you think? Do any of these tempt you?