Stav Sherez

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award – winner 2018

At the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival the winner of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was announced and from the shortlist of 6 books Stav Sherez took the top spot with The Intrusions. This a book I’ve yet to read but I’ve been extremely impressed by Stav’s previous books (my review of Eleven Days here) which deliver beautifully written, thought-provoking, crime fiction.

In the absence of my own review you can read one from Vicky Newham, I like the tip on a potential award winner at the end of this review by Craig Sisterson, and finally one from Rob on The View from the Blue House.

 

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Eleven Days – Stav Sherez

Title – Eleven Days11 days

Author – Stav Sherez

Published – 2 May 2013

Genre – Crime fiction

This is the second book in the “Carrigan and Miller” series by Stav Sherez and follows on from A Dark Redemption. Set around a year later the book starts “Eleven Days” before Christmas when a fire destroys a convent in a residential square that happens to be home to their own Assistant Chief Constable.

Initially it isn’t clear if the fire is anything other than accidental and the ACC is keen that the matter be wrapped up as soon as possible, certainly before Christmas, but the discovery of multiple bodies inside the convent suggests that this won’t be such a straightforward task.

Undertaking the investigation involves approaching the diocese responsible for the convent and there seems to be an unwillingness to provide the information that the detectives need. It’s not clear what could be the cause of this reluctance, but it prompts the team to take matters into their own hands, producing several potential, and quite disparate, leads to follow.

Sherez’s vivid descriptions not only create the atmosphere you would expect from an excellent crime novel, but transport you to the scene. No sense is neglected. I’m sure that it must be the same in other genres – but in crime fiction there are writers who tell the story so that the reader doesn’t really notice the writing and others – like Sherez – who have obviously carefully crafted each sentence. His writing has a lyrical, almost poetic, quality to it.

This is also a book for which the location plays an important part, perhaps not quite the dark and impoverished London that was the setting for A Dark Redemption, but a city that is both recognisable to those that live or work there with an uglier side that I imagine most of us will hope never to encounter.

Carrigan and Geneva are a solid core to the book. It’s good to see that Geneva appears to be somewhat less dysfunctional than in the previous book and I have started to warm to her. It’s also interesting to see the development of the relationship between Carrigan and Geneva, of which there’s hopefully more to come. Both complex characters they’re reserved with others so there’s still a lot about them that the reader wants to know. During the course of the book we find a little more out about their personal lives, but it just whets the appetite.

As with A Dark Redemption Sherez introduces some very serious political and religious topics in the course of the book, just the sort of thing that will send me off to find out more. In some ways I would have liked to have found out more about the Nuns and their activities, but I can see that providing more background would have detracted from the pace.

Another dark and complex tale that is much more than a simple “whodunit”. Many thanks to Faber & Faber for the review copy. And if you follow @stavsherez you might recognise Carrigan’s coffee habit!

You can see another point of view at Crimepieces.

Score – 4/5