NTN: The five best debuts of 2016

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ntn-2016-logo-courier_150Isn’t it exciting when you discover a brilliant new author? One whose book you can tell your friends about, and then wait for their second novel to see if it’s as good as the first. That’s what it’s like with these five authors because our team has chosen their novels to make up our top five crime debuts of 2016. If you think we’ve missed someone, do let us know in the comments below…

Dodgers, Bill Beverly5 – Dodgers by Bill Beverley
This powerful piece of literary crime fiction, which starts in contemporary LA, tells the story of East, a 16-year-old in the employ of a powerful drug lord. It starts off with a deadly police raid on the drug house the gang operates, after which East is given a new mission – go to Wisconsin and kill a man who’s going to testify against his boss. Now East is on a road trip, and you must know how much we love a road trip here at Crime Fiction Lover. Over 2000 miles, four young black men make all sorts of discoveries and there’s plenty of violence too. It’s tempered by Bill Beverley’s outstanding writing. Read the review here.
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Erik Axl Sund Crow Girl4 – The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund
Jerker Eriksson and Håkan Axlander Sundquist are the multi-talented Swedish duo behind The Crow Girl. They’ve done music. They’ve done poetry. Now they’ve done three ever-so-dark crime novels about the detective Jeanette Kihlberg and psychologist Sofia Zetterlund. Kilberg and Zetterlund are dealing with The Crow Girl, an unidentified, sadistic woman who is keeping children captive and, it seams, leaving them dead when she’s done. But how is she linked to mental patient Victoria Bergman? Here, the three original Swedish novels have been combined into one 750-page whopper that will keep you going for a while. Like Jussi Adler-Olsen? Love Jo Nesbo? Then buy this. Read our interview with the authors here.
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ARisingManEarlyCover3003 – A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
A competition staged by publisher Harvill Secker and The Daily Telegraph a few years back has led not just to Abir Mukherjee having his book published, but the author is winning some fine accolades too. Such as appearing on this list. As you might guess from his name, Abir’s family are from India and he decided to set his novel in Bengal just after World War I. Sam Wyndham is a broken man, who has transferred to the colonial police force. Right away, one of the administration’s top bean counters is killed in an alley next to a brothel. Not long after that, there’s fatal train robbery carried out, it seems, by Indian militants. Are the cases linked? Calcutta and its environs are beautifully portrayed and Wyndham’s sidekick Banerjee is one of several stand-out characters. Read our review here.
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Siren2 – Siren by Annemarie Neary
We’ve already told you to watch out for Annemarie Neary in 2017 in this article, and her debut novel Siren is largely the reason for that. It’s a tale of return and redemption, of facing the past and clearing your conscience, and it begins in New York where Northern Irish exile Roisin Burns spots a face from her past. For reasons you’ll discover when you read it, Roisin returns to Northern Ireland where she intends to reveal the truth about the slick politician Brian Lonergan. That is, unless his bully boys get to her first. You won’t be able to put this down. Still not convinced? Then read our review here.
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drifter1 – The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie
So, our list of debuts started with a trip to Wisconsin, and that’s where it ends there too with Nicholas Petrie’s superlative story. Peter Ash is a US veteran suffering from PTSD, and he faces off against a conspiracy that’s seeing former combat soldiers ending up dead for reasons nobody can work out. His friend Jimmie was one of them, but Bell is wondering why Jimmy had a suitcase filled with $400,000 and enough Semtex to blow up half of Milwaukee. Jimmie was being watched and now Ash is being followed and, well, read this book and you’ll practically be able to make a bomb of your own because it’s so realistic and so gripping. The sequel, Burning Bright, is due in January. We reviewed the audiobook version here.
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You can have a look at last year’s top debuts here. If you’ve read a debut you think is hot stuff, tell us about it in the comments below.

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