29-Jul-2016 • Literary
The Judges have convened and the shortlist of 5 entries have been narrowed from the longlist of 10 for Ian Fleming's Steel Dagger Award 2016. Here they are, in alphabetical order by author’s surname:
Make Me, Lee Child – Bantam Press
In the twentieth book of a series, it’s difficult to do new things. But Lee Child keeps the franchise fresh as his invincible protagonist Jack Reacher finds himself adrift in a small town on the prairie. After a disquieting, sinister, noir-esque opening, Child’s novel builds into a modern neo-gothic humdinger which can be read and enjoyed on multiple cognitive levels.
Real Tigers, Mick Herron – John Murray
Witty, sardonic, fast-paced, lethally comic thriller satirising politics, conspiracy theories and introverted intelligence. It is satisfying at every turn, a beautifully written combination of clever commentary and sincere, even bleak, narrative peaks. Always significant: Real Tigers has a genuinely thrilling denouement.
Rain Dogs, Adrian McKinty – Serpent’s Tail
Post-Troubles Northern Irish crime fiction is one of the most intriguing new sub-genres and McKinty is a star of it. Rain Dogs powerfully reflects a sense of the contemporary crisis of authority in the establishment, rendered darkly enjoyable through the author’s sharp wit. The well-realised protagonist Sean Duffy shines amidst a conspiracy that is not only believable but nastily authentic.
The English Spy, Daniel Silva – HarperCollins
A rollicking international espionage caper, this royal conspiracy thriller is violent and intense, though not without class. Silva pits his legendary spy Gabriel Allon against a truly villainous opponent and excels in delivering a worldwide tour de force; escapist entertainment of the very highest order.
The Cartel, Don Winslow – William Heinemann
A viscerally realistic report from the drug wars in early 2000s Mexico. Brutally authentic and immersive, this thriller is a powerful enough achievement as a gripping fact-driven narrative, but transcends as fiction through Winslow’s taut portrayal of a violent revenger’s tragedy.
The winner will be announced at the CWA Dagger Awards Gala Dinner event in London on October 11th, 2016.