Thursday, 29 December 2011

McDroll's Hot List 2011

If you follow my tweets and blog at all, and let's be honest who doesn't, then I'm sure you already know who is going to be on my hot list for sure. However, I am going to attempt to surprise you as well so here goes!

Moving Fast at Number 10

No One to Hear you Scream by Julia Madeleine
Here's an author that I will definitely be returning to! Great story, interesting characters and enough violence to keep me happy. Madeleine takes you on a trip to a beautiful house in the remote countryside - the most beautiful spot imaginable and in this amazing setting she creates the home to die for (hehe...there's a pun there folks).

Bubbling under at Number 9
Blind Eye by Stuart MacBride
There's nothing's ever simple in a MacBride tale, and in this tale the plot eventually takes McRae to Poland to help track down the gangsters. That's all I'm sharing about the plot, other than there's lots of shooting, punching, gouging, burning and explosions that McRae has to deal with. This gritty, unpleasant, stomach churning story tracks the unravelling of McRae, as his mental state begins to implode, while consuming ever increasing amounts of ice cold, finally culminating in a terrifying crescendo of violence and betrayal.

Getting Hot at Number 8
Dead Money Ray Banks
I always like crime stories with dogs. They add a certain smell to the crimes being committed, especially if the dog is dead, so I was delighted to discover that a dead dog plays quite a large part in DEAD MONEY by Ray Banks. In fact, the section with the dog is one of the best parts in the book and actually made me squeal out loud. Now there's something that doesn't happen very often these days!

Sizzling Away at Number 7
Witness To Death  Dave White
Witness to Death is the third novel by crime thriller writer Dave White. In this exciting tale of chance events and betrayals, White jumps on board a speeding getaway vehicle, tyres smoking and screaming, whilst taking every corner on two wheels. If you like an exciting ride, you will travel with him and as you struggle to hold on tight, White will expertly steer with one hand on the wheel while firing at the gangsters closing in behind.

Scintillating Number 6
Wee Rockets Gerard Brennan
Just sneaking in at the end of the year when I've not even finished reading it, I have to include this. I know how much I like it because I'm dreading getting to the last page. The Wee Rockets are a gang of 14 year old neds in a Belfast estate. The story follows the ever increasing violence that they get up to and the downfall of the people caught up in the wake. Don't miss this one, Gerard Brennan is a name to look out for in 2012.

Fabulous Number 5
Smoke - Nigel Bird
If you want to understand what is happening in contemporary society in Scotland then Bird is handing it to you here on a plate; kids who have been failed by the education system, bad housing, poor employment and training opportunities, teenage pregnancies, alcohol and drug misuse and a criminal sub culture. Sounds bleak but for many youngsters growing up today, this is their reality and Bird moves into this world with such ease and makes these characters real instead of government statistics.

Formidable Number 4
Out There Bad - Josh Stallings
To be handed such a volatile second novel where one wrong move will lead this ticking time-bomb to explode into a million razor sharp shards of violent energy in
your hands, is more than I could ever have hoped for from the brilliant Stallings. This is not a tale for the feint-hearted. There are some scenes of the most heartbreaking depravity as Stallings describes the life the young girls in captivity endure and he doesn't hold back as Moses is forced to face an evil that he will never recover from in his life; that will be there everyday as he looks into the mirror and sees his soul.

Bronze Medal (spot my Olympic theme)
The End of Days - Douglas Lindsay
Great fun! The references to contemporary culture and lampooning of British political life are fired at you faster and harder than Andy Murray's tennis balls, laying bare the pomposity and corruption of Westminster. Like me you must back track and start at the beginning of the Barney Thomson series, and I promise you will
not be disappointed with Lindsay’s first class writing.

Silver Medal
All the Young Warriors - Anthony Neil Smith
ALL THE YOUNG WARRIORS is one of the few books that I will read again as there is so much more to gain than one reading can deliver. It's like a juicy orange that needs squeezed more than once or a single malt that can be appreciated not just for its taste but for its aroma and the changing sensations on the palate.
The story moves between Minnesota and Somalia and surely that should be enough to prick your interest. The two places are polar opposites and Smith certainly makes the most of this fact as the changes in temperature and scenery can be physically felt as you read; the icy cold and biting wind in a white landscape followed by the blinding heat of the sun and the dust in your mouth. Go read it - you must.

Gold Medal
Beautiful Naked and Dead - Josh Stallings
Beautiful, Naked and Dead is a first novel by Josh Stallings. It is a rough, bleak yet heart warming tale of hopelessness, evil and love. Moses McGuire is a tough,
tattooed and scarred bouncer at a downtown strip club in LA. He has done his time behind bars where he learnt how to survive in the violent alcohol and drug fuelled
world that he now inhabits. Stallings exhorts us to remember that below our thin skins, we all share the same humanity; the same hopes and desires for love and acceptance. We are all trying to keep our own personal gun barrel from our mouth.

Hope you enjoy my list! Really there is nothing between the top 4 - pretty much all equal favourites in my eyes.

Thanks to all of the writers that I've enjoyed reading this year, appologies to the ones I just didn't get round to, and a special thanks to Trestle Press for publishing my own little stories and the phenomenal (to pinch an irn bru word) Blasted Heath who seem to have the magic touch!

Good luck to everyone in 2012 and thanks for stopping by throughout the year to have a gander at my reviews!


Ben said...

I wholeheartedly agree with those I've read in there. The Stallings books, the AMAZING Ray Banks novel, the new A.N Smith (althought I liked his January publication CHOKE ON YOUR LIES a little better). Great books. I'm keeping an eye out for those Douglas Lindsay novels.

Paul D Brazill said...

Great selection. I would have put No One To Hear You Scream in my list but i thought I read it last year!

Julia Madeleine said...

Thanks for including me on your list Fiona, and in such magnificent company! Thanks too Paul, for the mention. Have a great new year! :)

Josh Stallings said...

Thank you for championing Moses. When no one had heard of him or me you were out making everyone one and their mother read BN&D. Now look what you started! I am both proud and incredibly grateful to find myself stand beside so many amazing writers. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

McDroll said...

Julia - I'm delighted to have you in my top ten & I look forward to read more of your work in 2012.

josh - the pleasure has all been mine and if I've done a little bit to help then that makes me very pleased but with a talent like yours, you weren't going to be able to hide it for very long! Keep flying high in 2012!

Andrez Bergen said...

Great round-up, mate.