Now I've read the books, I can confirm they were both worthy finalists in the UK's most prestigious crime competition.
THIRTEEN by Steve Cavanagh
THIRTEEN won the CWA award for the best novel of the year and although I don’t usually enjoy books where the murderer shares the narration with the sleuth, I have to confess this one is an exception.
Primarily a courtroom drama, it has an original premise in that an innocent man stands trial in the dock – while the murderer sits on the jury. Our hero is defence lawyer, Eddie Flynn, who slowly comes to realise that someone on the jury is manipulating the trial and has a hidden agenda. Even reading back those sentences sends a shiver down my spine.
Fast paced and written with wit and punchy dialogue, 'Thirteen' is a roller coaster of a story and utterly compelling reading.
SNAP by Belinda Bauer
SNAP is an intriguing book - and different. Unlike many police procedural novelists, Bauer has an amazing ability to create characters about whom the reader really cares.
Fourteen-year-old burglar, Jack, is full of rage, and makes questionable choices in his bid to provide for his two little sisters. But Bauer handles this uncomfortable subject matter with elegance and empathy.
As Jack’s quest to reveal the truth about his mother’s murderer intensifies, danger threatens the three children and the reader is left desperate to find out what happens to them.
It’s a wonderful plot with amazing twists and turns, tension and humour – and a thoroughly satisfying ending.