Lynn Harvey's favourite reads of 2014
Karin Fossum - I Can See in the Dark tr. James Anderson
A beautifully written stand-alone novel, translated from the Norwegian by James Anderson. It is an ingenious, dark tale, told from the point of view of disturbed, care-home nurse “Riktor”. Perpetrator as narrator is not to everyone's taste in crime fiction but this is a masterpiece of empathic story-telling.
Anthony Quinn - Disappeared
Irish writer Anthony Quinn's first crime novel. It is a story of murder and memory, set in present day Northern Ireland and concentrating on a group of ageing survivors of the coercion and violence of the Troubles. Quinn's writing conjures a distinctive, almost supernatural, portrait of a rural Northern Ireland winter landscape and community.
Jason Webster - Blood Med
The political past also suffuses Webster's crime series featuring Valencia's motor-bike riding, anarchist detective Max Camara. This is the fourth in an exciting series, a murder mystery set against a backdrop of the corruption, politics and economic crises of contemporary Spain. A far cry from the bleak, psychological landscapes of Northern Noir, Webster's Spain is full of colour, pace and passion.
M H Baylis - The Tottenham Outrage
Another book packed with vitality, this time in the crowded, multicultural streets of North London, Baylis's second crime novel featuring Haringey journalist Rex Tracey starts with him being witness to the death of a Jewish family picnicking in Finsbury park, thought at first to be an act of racial hatred. Rex's investigations take him deep into the streets and life of the Hasidic community of Stamford Hill whilst the book itself interweaves its modern crime story with one based on the “real” Tottenham Outrage, an anarchist robbery and shooting of 1909. This is a warm and witty crime story, with a masterful grasp of character.
Jan Costin Wagner - Light in a Dark House tr. Anthea Bell
A Nordic Noir fan, my fifth recommendation is set in Finland and is the latest in the writer's “Detective Kimmo Joentaa” series, translated from the German by Anthea Bell. Joentaa is not every crime reader's ideal detective, being as absorbed in his own life and relationships as he is in his criminal investigations, but based on this meeting – I like him. His path crosses that of two Helsinki detectives he has worked with before, drawing him into a multiple murder investigation – a series of mysterious, if not bizarre, deaths across Finland. Interspersed with diary entries, this is a story of damage, loss and consequences.