Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Bad Blood: A Lucy Black Thriller (DS Lucy Black #4) by Brian McGilloway

"As a police procedural this is a good read, there are enough twists to the plot to keep a reader interested and keep them guessing as to what may happen. There are some incredibly well created characters that will delight readers. DS Lucy Black is a refreshing change from the usual detective, she does not appear to be damaged or have a horrendously sordid backstory and instead works well with others to do her job well." - Kate, Goodreads


Published: June 13th, 2017

A young man is found in a riverside park, his head bashed in with a rock. One clue is left behind to uncover his identity—an admission stamp for the local gay club.

DS Lucy Black is called in to investigate. As Lucy delves into the community, tensions begin to rise as the man’s death draws the attention of the local Gay Rights group to a hate-speech Pastor who, days earlier, had advocated the stoning of gay people and who refuses to retract his statement.

Things become further complicated with the emergence of a far-right group targeting immigrants in a local working-class estate. As their attacks escalate, Lucy and her boss, Tom Fleming, must also deal with the building power struggle between an old paramilitary commander and his deputy that threatens to further enflame an already volatile situation.

Hatred and complicity abound in McGilloway’s new Lucy Black thriller. Compelling and current, Bad Blood is an expertly crafted and acutely observed page-turner, delivering the punch that readers of Little Lost Girl have grown to expect.

The Crime Novels that made me want to Write Crime. 

I became a teacher because a brilliant English teacher who sparked my passion for the subject taught me. Similarly, I suspect all writers are inspired to write by certain books that spark that passion. Certainly, long before I was a crime writer, I was a crime reader. So, while it would be impossible to name my top ten crime novel of all time, for the list changes too often. I can be more precise in naming the top ten books which influenced me to be a crime writer: 

10. I first read Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone during my final year at University in 1995. So many of the features of the novel still stand out: the epistolary narrative, made up of so many different narrative voices; the inventive use of the Fallen Woman trope; the use of 19th century social and racial assumptions to bluff the reader and offer in fact the most archetypically British character as ultimately the villain; and the introduction of Sgt Cuff, melancholy, brilliant and deeply empathetic. 

9. The Name of the Rose was another university text, this time as part of the post-modernism course. I’d seen the film years earlier, but my first encounter with the book was mind blowing. The self-referential nature of the text, the use of language itself as a form of detection, unravelling the clues of words and symbols, and of course, the greatest killer in fiction: a book. 

8. Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow showed long before Girls with tattoos that Scandinavia was the perfect location for crime. If a detective is someone who has access to every level of society, so Miss Smilla did too. The ending is a little out there, but the atmospheric build up and the deep emotions Hoeg draws from his characters made this book unforgettable. 

7. Continuing my love of snowy landscapes in crime fiction (I’ve used it in both Borderlands and Little Girl Lost) Snow Falling on Cedars was a beautiful title for a sublime novel. A reworking of sorts of To Kill a Mockingbird, the central mystery of the story plays second fiddle to the mysteries of the human heart. A novel of visceral loss, it remains one of my favourite books. 

6. In 1997, a new bookshop opened in Belfast – No Alibis. In July of that year I wandered into the shop and bought a handful of books. Among them was a collection of Colin Dexter novels, inspired by the fact that my dad and I had been huge fans of the Inspector Morse TV show when I was growing up. While any of the Dexter novels might feature here, The Remorseful Day really pushed me into wanting to write crime. The characterisation of Morse, and the evocation of the world he inhabits were first rate, but it was Morse’s death, and the finality of the story that sticks in my head. 

5. Ian Rankin’s Black and Blue is the novel which I most often cite as inspiring me for a number of reasons. It is, in many ways, a novel more about Scotland than Rebus; the first time I’d seen that idea of an explicit state of the nation analysis in crime fiction. The connection of past and present is something which particularly resonated for me, living in Northern Ireland where the past and the present are inextricably intertwined. In fact, it’s only now with Bad Blood that I’ve written a story where the distant past doesn’t really impact on the present case. 

4. If Rankin showed that a crime writer could create a state of the nation novel, John Connolly paved the way for so many Irish crime writers in terms of showing that a local writer could create an internationally appealing series. Added to that, John’s support for the writers who have come after him is well known. I remember reading The Killing Kind in about 4 hours, mesmerised by it. Elmer Pudd is a fantastic creation. 

3. A friend introduced me to Michael Connelly’s writing with Angels Flight, so although any of the Bosch novels could feature here – and I have a particular fondness for City of Bones and Lost Light, Angels’ Flight was my entry point. The clarity of Bosch’s moral compass is brilliant – a plumb-line that runs throughout the series. Another state of the nation novel. 

2. My wife, Tanya, bought me the Hannibal Lector series for Christmas one year. I’d seen the movies when I was younger and remember being terrified by Manhunter when I was a teen, but the books are something very special. Red Dragon is perhaps the perfect thriller and in Lector, chilling and unknowable at this stage in the series, Harris achieved perfection in characterisation. 

1. James Lee Burke is, without question, my favourite crime writer. The Robicheaux books are just stunning, the prose lyrical, the characterisation subtle and wholly believable. But it was in reading Last Car to Elysian Fields, when Robicheaux is jogging in the park at dawn and thinks he is taking a heart attack. He sits down and reflects on all that he has survived. I recall being deeply saddened at the thought of losing this friend whose voice I’d allowed into my head throughout each book. It was that which convinced me to write my own character and every Burke book since which has convinced me to keep trying harder, to keep refining the craft, to keep raising my game in an unwinnable attempt to be even half as good as JLB.

About the author:
Brian McGilloway was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. After studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast, he took up a teaching position in St Columb’s College in Derry, where he was Head of English. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling Lucy Black series, all to be published by Witness. Brian lives near the Irish borderlands with his wife and their four children.

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1 comment:

CMash said...

I put his list of books on my TBR list. They must be awesome reads if that is why he decided to write. Great post!