31 December 2016

Our crime fiction books and shows of 2016

2016 was another bumper year for Irish crime fiction, from a wide range of newcomers to the latest offerings by the likes of Tana French and Adrian McKinty. It also saw the publication of Trouble Is Our Business, a terrific anthology of short stories edited by Declan Burke. Here are our picks of the year.

1. Best Irish Crime Novel


A down-at-luck war veteran becomes obsessed with his doppelgänger, a rich tech entrepreneur. Alan Glynn's standalone novel is a brilliant rags-to-riches conspiracy thriller.

2. Best Irish True Crime Book

The Secret

Dentist and born-again Christian Colin Howell hatches a plan with his secret lover Hazel Buchanan to murder their two spouses (one who happens to be an RUC officer). Howell then makes the double murder look like a suicide pact.

Journalist Deric Henderson's book was originally published as Let This Be Our Secret, then republished as a media tie-in to the ITV drama starring Genevieve O'Reilly and James Nesbitt as the creepy murderer.

3. Best Irish Crime Movie

The Young Offenders

Hilarious road movie as two teenagers steal bicycles and ride off in search of bales of cocaine that have washed up on the coast of Cork.

4. Best Irish Crime TV Show

Red Rock

Only one contender again. In 2016 TV3's police procedural series also went out in BBC 1's afternoon schedules and became available on Amazon Prime.

5. Best International Crime Novel

A Climate of Fear

Among all our favourites, from Claire Mackintosh's debut I Let You Go to Megan Abbott's You Will Know Me, in the end our vote had to go to Fred Vargas. She returned to form with her ninth Commissaire Adamsberg novel, a murder mystery that could be read as a standalone.

6. Best International Crime Film

The Night Manager

From the opening sequence to the final showdown, this six-part series was a very stylish adaptation of John Le Carré's spy novelt. Good guys Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Colman stalk evil arms dealer (Hugh Laurie) and his beautiful wife (Elizabeth Debicki) .

Honourable mention: the Icelandic drama Trapped (Ófærð). A headless corpse is found in the water in a remote port just after an international ferry arrives, then a blizzard cuts the town off. A second series is already in the pipeline.

7. Best TV Police Series

Line of Duty

Jed Mercurio's gritty police complaints series simply got better and better in its third season, with a great cast led by Adrian Dunbar, Martin Compston, Vicky McClure and Keeley Hawes.

Honourable mention: New Blood. Yet another BBC winner, this is a fast-paced series about two rookie investigators in modern London, created by Anthony Horowitz (he also used to do Foyle's War).

8. Best Actor

Sarah Lancashire

Lancashire as the Halifax copper Sgt Catherine Cawood in Sally Wainwright’s series Happy Valley.

9. Best channel for crime fiction

Walter Presents

While BBC 4 was an early champion of European noir, Channel 4's new online project Walter Presents stole the show in its first year. It showcases world drama, mostly crime series, often in box sets, and it's completely free.