#30Authors: Chris Holm recommends Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville

#30Authors is an annual event connecting readers, authors, and bloggers. Throughout the month of September, 30 authors review their favorite books on 30 blogs in 30 days. The event has been met with incredible support from and success within the literary community. In the six months following the event’s inaugural launch, the concept was published as an anthology by Velvet Morning Press (Legacy: An Anthology). Started by The Book Wheel, #30Authors remains active throughout the year and you can join in the fun by following along on Twitter at @30Authors, using the hashtag, #30Authors, or purchasing the anthology. To learn more about the event and to see the full schedule, please click here.

30 AuthorsBook blogging is an amazing, huge community that works hard to connect books to people who will love them. Last year I got to participate in fellow Denver blogger Allison‘s first #30Authors event and I’m excited to be doing it again. This year I’m lucky enough to be hosting Chris Holm (who wrote The Collector trilogy!) and his review of Stuart Neville’s Those We Left behind.


Those We Left BehindIn 2007, I was a fledgling writer with a lone short story credit to my name. Like a lot of writers, I’d started a blog to document my writing progress. I don’t mean to brag, but I had several thousand hits a week—or, like, two if you subtracted my own obsessive rereading. Point is, visitors were hard to come by back then, so when someone took the time to leave a comment, it was a big deal.

One such commenter was the administrator of a now-defunct critique site called The Crapometer. The idea was, someone would send her a chapter or a short story, and she’d post it so people could give their thoughts in the comments. I’ve never been much for critique groups, so I never sent her anything, but since she was kind enough to comment on my blog from time to time, I’d swing by hers on occasion to leave an encouraging word.

The fact is, most of the work people submitted wasn’t ready for the light of day. That’s not a knock on the authors; they were posting there to hone their craft, after all. But one day, when I popped over to The Crapometer to take a gander, I read a story that knocked me back: a quiet, literary crime tale called “The Last Dance.” The man who wrote it was an unpublished Northern Irish writer named Stuart Neville. I sent him a fan letter.

Stuart’s done pretty damn well since his Crapometer days. “The Last Dance” wound up published in Thuglit, and caught the attention of James Ellroy’s agent, Nat Sobel. His debut novel, THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST, was a gorgeous post-Troubles crime novel. At once thrilling and soulful, it demonstrated a mastery of language and character that’s rare in any author, let alone a debut author. And the several books that followed proved THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST was no fluke.

I tell you all this to establish my credentials as a Stuart Neville superfan—because I want you to understand what a compliment it is when I say his latest, THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND (Soho Crime, September 22), may be his best yet.

THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND is the story of Ciaran and Thomas Devine. Seven years ago, their foster father was brutally murdered. Then-twelve-year-old Ciaran confessed to the crime, which spared his older brother Thomas a hefty sentence—although one of the investigators in the case, Serena Flanagan, had her doubts about the veracity of his confession. Now, as Ciaran is released from juvenile detention—and falls once more under the sway of his sadistic older brother—that investigator’s doubts come to the fore.

Neville is a writer of rare power and grace, and he uses both to devastating effect in THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND. It’s at once a gripping thriller and an unflinching examination of the damage wrought by those closest to us. Rarely have I seen such an honest, unvarnished portrayal of obsession and dysfunction—not just in the novel’s central relationship, but among its ancillary characters as well. Its final beats reverberate long after you turn the final page.

CHAbout Chris: Chris Holm is an award-winning short-story writer whose work has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, and THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2011. His Collector trilogy, which blends fantasy with old-fashioned crime pulp, wound up on over forty Year’s Best lists. David Baldacci called his latest, the hitman thriller THE KILLING KIND, “a story of rare, compelling brilliance.” Chris lives in Portland, Maine.

Find him on his blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

For more information or to purchase The Killing Kind by Chris Holm, check out Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound. For more information on Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville, check out Goodreads, Amazon, or the author’s website.



3 thoughts on “#30Authors: Chris Holm recommends Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville

  1. I don’t know what makes me want to read this book more – the book or the backstory. Either way, it’s going on the list! Thanks so much for participating again this year. I hope I have you next year 🙂


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