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This month I have gone for a Bloody Scotland/McIlvanney triple!! Both Author of the Month and Fresh Blood were recipients of the Best Crime Novel and Debut Crime Novel at this year’s Bloody Scotland event. I have also included in Classic Crime the godfather of Scottish crime fiction, William McIlvanney, celebrating the first of his trilogy, Laidlaw. And just to round everything off, we also review The Dark Remains, the Laidlaw prequel by McIlvanney and completed by Ian Rankin.

Author of the Month is Craig Russell with his new novel, Hyde. Firstly, I loved this story bringing Robert Louis Stevenson’s creation to reality, so to speak. Then, Russell won the McIlvanney Best Novel Award (for the second time) in Sept 2021. Plus, the paperback is now out, so it felt like the stars were aligned. Russell was the first ever Fresh Blood for Crimesquad back in March 2005, and he has appeared as Author of the Month a few times already, such is his high standard of writing and story-telling. ‘Hyde’ combines the macabre and mythology with a crime story, producing one of the most haunted detectives I have read about in years. Russell delivers a ‘what if…’ scenario and brings Hyde to life. This is one of my books of 2021 and no wonder it won the McIlvanney Best Novel.

Fresh Blood is Robbie Morrison and his wonderfully dark and moody debut, Edge of the Grave and won the Bloody Scotland Debut Crime Novel. Glasgow 1932 is not a good time for this city. Years after the Great War, there are still a lot of broken people forced back into the community. Dreghorn and McDaid are given the case of a man found in the River Clyde with his throat slit. Unbeknownst to both detectives, this case has its origins deep in the past. Morrison brings to dark life this time period in an engaging and mesmerising way. Highly recommended and worthy of the award it won.

Reviews this month includes Elly Griffiths, S.D. Sykes, Ann Cleeves, Claire Douglas and many more including a few classics from Georges Simenon, P.D. James and Colin Dexter. Also reviewed is the new William McIlvanney/Ian Rankin book The Dark Remains.

On Classic Crime is William McIlvanney and his book Laidlaw which has become the touchstone for many crime writers, especially from Scotland. In his honour, the Best Crime Novel award at Bloody Scotland has been renamed ‘The McIvanney Best Crime Novel Award’. McIlvanney won many awards with his novels, but his crime trilogy has become a huge bestseller in recent years which is why it is now celebrated on our Classic Crime page.

Events reverts back to Agatha Christie as I have more reviews coming up, having read many of her books in 2021. It is quite surprising reading them with adult eyes as many I haven’t read since a teenager. Many crime readers and writers name Christie’s books as their first foray into the crime arena, and I was no different. Re-reading them now, I can see why she still holds readers spellbound even to this day.

Top Ten will soon change to the (dare I say it…) Christmas Top Ten. Each Christmas seems to come round quicker every year, but there are always a wonderful plethora of crime goodies to get us through the festive season.

To check out all our past reviews use the Review Archive. Search under author surname and author Christian name if you can’t recall the surname. And for good measure you can also search under the title of the book. Simply click on the box at the top of the page and then click on to the letter of the author/title you would like to find. As you will see, we have reviewed a huge number of books during Crimesquad.com's thirteen years. Have a wander round our archives and I hope you will find something you might have missed first time around!

If you have any comments or have a particular author you would like to see highlighted on this website please e-mail me at chrissimmons@crimesquad.com.

Chris Simmons
Online Editor.

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