The Irish are currently writing the best suspense novels on the market and it has nothing to do with luck. While many of their American counterparts are spitting out forgettable characters, formulaic plotlines, and chapters consisting of three pages or less; it's the Irish that -- to paraphrase Thomas Cahill -- are saving our Mystery and Crime civilization.
Take Adrian McKinty for example, whose latest novel Fifty Grand follows a young Cuban detective who smuggles herself into the United States to find her father's killer. McKinty, who was born in Belfast, is a terrific stylist who weaves intricate storylines into his hard hitting prose. Track down a used copy of McKinty's first book, Dead I Well May Be, which is inexplicably unavailable. It's one of the best crime novels written in the past 10 years.
The fourth installment in the brilliant Ed Loy series, All the Dead Voices, is out now and provides a perfect excuse to catch up on all of Declan Hughes' work. A Dublin playwright, Hughes is an eloquent writer who pens tough issues -- and even tougher characters -- and paints them against beautiful, almost mystical backdrops..."Somewhere across the bay, fireworks crackled and shot their plumes of light through the murk; like a relief diagram of nerves and synapses in the body, they seemed to give the falling night scale and dimension."
John Connolly's The Lovers, just published last month, sheds some light on his tragically flawed protagonist Charlie Parker's past and, like all of Connolly's books, it's a nonstop tension filled trip of violence, heartbreak, and redemption. Both his good and bad guys will get under your skin and stay there like an itch that can't be scratched. He's at the top of his game and nobody is writing books like John Connolly.
The Seanchai were the legendary storytellers who passed the fables, folktales, lore, and laws of Ireland down through the generations. Thankfully writers like McKinty, Hughes, and Connolly have upheld this grand tradition and are keeping the lyrical art of crime fiction alive and kicking.