Friday, 20 September 2019

Manda Scott Revealed to be the Winner of the McIlvanney Prize Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award 2019.

David Baldacci announced at the opening of Bloody Scotland that the winner of the 2019 McIlvanney Prize is Manda Scott for A Treachery of Spies published by Transworld.

It is only the second time in its 8-year history that the prize has been won by a woman. Two previous winners – Denise Mina and Chris Brookmyre (this time as Ambrose Parry with wife Marisa Haetzman) were amongst the four finalists along with Doug Johnstone – but A Treachery of Spies was the unanimous winner. 

The panel of judges which included Guardian journalist Alison Flood; Chair of Publishing Scotland, James Crawford and former Head of Programmes at Channel 4, Stuart Cosgrove, described A Treachery of Spies as: ‘A powerful, complex and remarkable espionage thriller: a present-day murder links back to Resistance France.  An intricately plotted novel which keeps the reader guessing right to the end.

Lee Child described it as: ‘a beautifully imagined, beautifully written, smart, sophisticated – but fiercely suspenseful – thriller

Born and raised in Scotland, Manda has been, variously a veterinary surgeon, veterinary anaesthetist, acupuncturist columnist, blogger, economist – and author. She began her writing career with a series of crime novels, the first of which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. No Good Deed, the dark, edgy thriller which followed, was nominated for an Edgar Award and hailed as one of the most remarkable thrillers of the year in 2001. 

The McIlvanney Prize recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.

This year Bloody Scotland also introduced the inaugural Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut of the Year and special guest, Richard Osman, presenter of Pointless on TV and soon to be a debut author himself, presented it to Claire Askew for All the Hidden Truths published by Hodder. She is a poet, novelist and the current Writer in Residence at the University of Edinburgh.

Both winners accompanied David Baldacci at the head of the torchlit procession from Stirling Castle to his event at the Albert Halls which begins at 8.30pm. 

Festival Director, Bob McDevitt commented:
I am delighted that a woman has won both the McIlvanney Prize and the Debut Prize. Coincidentally we had already planned a panel on Spy Sisters about how women are beginning to enter the male dominated preserve of spy fiction. When Manda was longlisted for the prize we added her to the panel. Now anyone who had booked to see that event at 2.30pm tomorrow will be lucky to hear from the McIlvanney Prize winner.

Manda Scott was born in Glasgow but now lives in Ludlow, Shropshire. She will be in Stirling until Monday afternoon. If you would like to talk to either of the winners, the judges or the Director of Bloody Scotland Bob McDevitt please contact 07767 431846.

DHH Literary Agency New Voices Award Nominees

We're pleased to announce the shortlist for the DHH Literary Agency New Voices Award 2019. It was an extremely competitive field, so if you weren't shortlisted, please don't lose heart. 

Congratulations to our shortlisted authors Suzy Aspley, Eric Bishop, Patti Buff, Steven Coombs, Gavin Dimmock, Victoria Goldman, Ashley Harrison, Fraser Massey, DC Smith and Nathan Velayudhan. 

The winner will be announced on Thursday 26th September at the Capital Crime opening nights drinks party. 

Good luck to all the shortlisted authors.


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Thursday, 19 September 2019

Crime writers call for climate justice at Bloody Scotland

Top crime writers from around the world will be gathering to support the global call for action on climate change and invite you to join them on Saturday 20 September 1-1.30pm 

At the beginning of the worldwide week of #ClimateStrike (20-27 September), authors attending Scotland’s annual crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland in Stirling, will be gathering to support action on climate change which threatens the lives of people in the poorest countries. 

It has been organised by Jackie McLean, who volunteered at Bloody Scotland in the past and is now a crime writer herself who will be “In the Spotlight” as the support act for Chris Brookmyre and Michael Robotham. The action is fully supported by the Bloody Scotland board: 

Lin Anderson said: “Schoolchildren and students have taken to the streets in huge numbers.  Now they’re asking adults to join them to demand urgent action on climate change.” 

Abir Mukherjee said: "Action on climate change may be inconvenient for some - but for the most vulnerable people across the planet, it’s a life or death emergency.” 

Bob McDevitt, Director of Bloody Scotland said: “Crime writing is a powerful way of shining a spotlight on society, and many crime writers are passionate about the fight for social justice and tackling inequalities.  Bloody Scotland is proud to support the call for climate justice, in highlighting the impacts on those living in the poorest countries if we take no action.

The gathering will take place outside the Albert Halls in Stirling from 1-1.30pm on Saturday 20 September and will begin with a rallying call from international bestselling Scottish author and McIlvanney Prize finalist Denise Mina.

Denise Mina said: “Climate change is already affecting us all. It is essential in oil producing countries like ours that everyone strives to maintain loud, strident voices to keep climate change at the forefront of every decision and agenda, for the future of everyone.

Fellow McIlvanney Prize finalist, Manda Scott said: "I am genuinely delighted to be part of this action - I had been feeling raw and grieving at missing the actions in my home area so it’s both a relief and a joy to be able to join my fellow authors in an action of our own so that our voices can join the chorus across the world. We need to say as loudly as possible for as long as it takes for governments to take notice that there is no time left for inaction."

For further information or to arrange an interview with the organiser Jackie McLean or Denise Mina please contact

Monday, 16 September 2019

Urgent, Timely’ Feminist Dystopian Debut VOX Wins 2019 Goldsboro Books Glass Bell

Debut novelist Christina Dalcher has been awarded The Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2019 for her thought-provoking and suspenseful dystopian thriller VOX, which imagines a near future in which an evangelical sect has taken control of the US and women have been limited to speaking just a hundred words a day. 

VOX won against five other novels, including Belinda Bauer’s Booker-long-listed Snap, for the Glass Bell Award, which rewards ‘compelling storytelling with brilliant characterisation and a distinct voice that is confidently written and assuredly realised’ in any genre. Also shortlisted were Dalcher’s fellow debut novelists Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott for Swan Song, a fictionalised account of the rise and self-inflicted fall of Truman Capote, and Heather Morris, author of the million-copy bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz; M.W. Craven for his Gold Dagger-shortlisted Cumbrian thriller The Puppet Show, and Louise Candlish, for ‘property thriller’ Our House, which went on to win the British Book Award Crime & Thriller of the Year. 

Dalcher was awarded the Glass Bell at a party held at Goldsboro Books in central London on the evening of Monday 16thSeptember, receiving £2,000 and a handmade, engraved glass bell. The prize was judged by Goldsboro Books founder David Headley and his team at the bookshop. 

David Headley said: ‘Hard-won rights sometimes feel like a luxury that we can never take for granted, and VOX is an urgent and timely reminder of this. A terrifyingly plausible yet dazzling thriller which prompted passionate discussions during the judging, it’s a story about the importance of communication, the power of language and a lesson that freedom is continually being fought for around the world. I set up the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award to celebrate stories like this – which challenge us, frighten us and stimulate us.

Founded in 2017 by David Headley, Managing Director of Goldsboro Books, the Glass Bell Award is given annually to a compelling novel with brilliant characterisation and a distinct voice that is confidently written and assuredly realised. Now in its third year, the Glass Bell is the only award to reward storytelling in all genres, from romance and crime to historical and speculative. The winner receives £2,000, as well as a beautiful, handmade, engraved glass bell.

The inaugural winner was Chris Cleave, for his extraordinary Everyone Brave is Forgiven (Sceptre), the moving and unflinching novel about the profound effects that the Second World War had on ordinary citizens back at home in Britain. Last year, the award went to John Boyne for his sweeping, poignant and comedic odyssey of post-war Ireland, The Heart’s Invisible Furies (Transworld).

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Then and Now: Tales of Troubled Youth win Ngaio Marsh Awards

A trio of fresh crime voices were the culprits in Christchurch on Saturday evening as Dame Fiona Kidman, JP Pomare, and Kelly Dennett were unmasked as winners of the 2019 Ngaio Marsh Awards. 

While being very different kinds of crime stories, all three winning books explored young lives that had gone tragically astray. Dame Fiona, a doyenne of New Zealand literature, scooped the Best Novel prize for This Mortal Boy (Penguin), a haunting recreation of the circumstances surrounding young Belfast immigrant Albert “Paddy” _Black becoming the penultimate person hanged in New Zealand. 

Despite the historical nature of the novel, the spirit still resonates in our time with regards to bigotry and discrimination,” said the judges. “The quality of the writing is extraordinary: a richly textured sense of 1950s New Zealand and an elegant structure and flow creating a harrowing tale full of humanity.” 

This Mortal Boy becomes the first novel to win both the Ngaio Marsh Award and the Acorn Prize for Fiction. The book has also won Dame Fiona the NZ Booklovers Award and NZSA Heritage Book Award. 

JP Pomare grew up on a horse farm outside of Rotorua, surfed the Bay of Plenty coastline, and now lives in Melbourne. He won the 2019 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel for Call Me Evie (Hachette), a mind-bending psychological thriller about Melbourne teenager Kate who is recovering from a traumatic incident in a remote cabin in Maketu. But is the man with her a carer or a captor?  “An interesting take on unreliable narrators” said the Judges.  “Evocative and elegant writing. An intricate story packed with suspense and a fascinating exploration of the concept of false memory.” 

Journalist Kelly Dennett won the Best Non-Fiction prize for her superb exploration of one of New Zealand’s most infamous unsolved cases in The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Jane Furlong (Awa Press). Dennett’s first book takes readers behind the lurid headlines as it explores Jane’s broader life, the impact of her disappearance on those who loved her, and the on-going mystery. 

A tragic story approached with sincerely and compassion” said the judges. “There was a sense of understated rage at the injustice of it all. Dennett has, with compassion and respect, shown us the young woman who was so much more than a ‘teen prostitute’ who went missing from K Road”.  “It’s a little surreal to realise this is now the tenth season of the Ngaio Marsh Awards,” said founder Craig Sisterson. “We’ve been blessed to have some extraordinary books to consider and celebrate over the past decade, and this year has further added to the growing depth and diversity of local crime writing.” 

Dame Fiona received a trophy, special edition of a Dame Ngaio book, and $1,000 courtesy of WORD Christchurch. Pomare and Dennett won a trophy, book, and cash prize from the Ngaio Marsh Awards. 

Decades ago, a remarkable woman from Christchurch was renowned globally as one of the biggest names throughout the storytelling world” said Sisterson.  “So it is only fitting that awards in Dam Ngaio’s name are now showcasing just how world-class many of our modern day Kiwi writers are too.”

You can also now listen to a radio interview with the three winners, who are all absolutely chuffed, here

For more information about the Ngaio Marsh Awards, contact the Judging Convenor: or

Friday, 13 September 2019

Bloody Scotland Reveals Team Captains for Annual Scotland v England Football Match

Bloody Scotland Team Managers, Craig Roberston (Scotland) and Luca Veste (England) today revealed that their teams will again be captained by Chris Brookmyre and Mark Billingham for the annual Bloody Scotland Crime Writers Football Match which will take place at 2pm on Saturday 21 September.

The football match was the brainchild of Craig Robertson in 2014 and the first year Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre and Martyn Waites all signed up to play.  Following a resounding victory for Scotland Craig Robertson said “In a drunken, triumphalist haze we waved our English friends a fond and patronising farewell, sending them homeward to think again. Unfortunately, they did think again and they came back two years later and gubbed us”. 

The football has taken place on the Bowling Green at Cowane’s Hospital ever since though following a dispute when Thomas Enger (a Norwegian semi-professional footballer) joined the Scottish team new rules were drawn up. Teams now have to be made up exclusively of Scottish crime writers and English crime writers. No publishers, no editors, no agents, and definitely no professional footballers. One highlight for the English team this year is former Gladiator turned crime writer, Mark Griffin.

It is free to watch and in recent years has had the addition of a pop-up gin bar courtesy of Stirling Gin who provide Bloody Scotland cocktails for the fans – and sometimes for the players!

If you would like to interview Craig Robertson, Luca Veste, Mark Billingham or Chris Brookmyre please contact

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Murder One Ireland's International Crime Writing Festival 1-3 November 2019

Friday 1st November

The Gutter Bookshop 10th Birthday Celebrations @ The Gutter Bookshop
Join Bob Johnston and the Murder One team to celebrate Bob’s 10 years in Temple Bar – an informal evening of chat with some criminally good speeches – rub shoulders with your writer friends and colleagues to celebrate with one of Dublin’s landmark independent bookshops!
The Gutter Bookshop  
Friday 1 November, 6.30pm | Free entry
Booking essential

Saturday 2nd November

Things that Go Bump in the Night: CJ Tudor & Stuart Turton in conversation
with Sinéad Crowley
If you loved The Chalk Man and The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, this is the event for you.  Taking crime fiction in new directions, two incredible authors discuss inspiration, outstanding debuts and spine tingling goings on with bestselling crime author, RTE’s Sinéad Crowley. C.J. Tudor’s debut novel, The Chalk Man, was published by Penguin in January 2018 and was a Sunday Times Bestseller. Her second novel, The Taking of Annie Thorne, was published in February 2019. Stuart Turton’s The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle won the Books Are My Bag Readers Award for Best Novel and the Costa First Novel Award 2018.
Smock Alley Main Space
Saturday 2 November
11.00am -12.00 pm | €12/€10

Destination Murder: Alex Barclay and Lucy Foley with WC Ryan
From a luxury inn on a remote west coast peninsula in Ireland, to a Scottish hunting lodge, these dark stories are told by two of crimes leading female voices. Chaired by WC Ryan, author of House of Ghosts, a man who knows a thing or two about dangerous, lonely places. Lucy Foley’s departure to the dark side is her fourth bestseller, and Alex Barclay, the first lady of Irish crime, brings us her first Irish set standalone in a gripping event that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Smock Alley Main Space
Saturday 2 November
12.30pm-1.30pm | €12/€10

Untold Stories: The Five. Hallie Rubenhold with Joseph O’Connor
Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though
they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders – 1888 – and their murderer, the man known as Jack the Ripper. Historian Hallie Rubenhold talks to Joseph O’Connor and sets the record straight, giving these women back their stories. Set just ten years previously, in his latest novel Shadowplay, O’Connor reveals the hidden stories of Bram Stoker’s life. Enter the dark world of Victorian London with two eminent authors.
Smock Alley Main Space
Saturday 2 November
2.00pm-3.00pm | €12/€10

Sam Blake’s Fresh Blood Meet three stunning debut authors: Holly Jackson, Catherine Kirwan and James Delargy
Three completely different stories, three completely different books but one passion. Find out how these authors got their break and what made the difference for them. How did they get their ideas and how long did it take to go from idea to bookshelf? From ingenious premise, to writing what you know, do good girls really get away with murder?
Smock Alley Main Space
Saturday 2 November                                                                               
3.30pm-4.30pm | €12/€10

Past Crimes: Jess Kidd, Henrietta McKervey and Paddy Hirsch with Declan Burke
From Things in Jars to Violet Hill, London’s only female detective, via Hudson’s Kill and the Irish gangs of New York, three novelists use the past as a backdrop to their page-turning adventures of deception, danger – and detection. Declan Burke, previously Dublin City of Literature’s Writer in Residence is an award winning author whose latest book is due soon from No Alibi’s Press.
Smock Alley Main Space
Saturday 2 November
5.00pm-6.00pm | €12/€10

Martina Cole in conversation with Breda Brown
Martina Cole’s first novel Dangerous Lady caused a sensation when it was published, and launched one of the bestselling fiction writers of her generation. Twenty-seven years later, Martina has gone on to have more No.1 original fiction bestsellers than any other author. She won the British Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year with The Take, which then went on to be a hit TV series for Sky 1.  Her new novel No Mercy was published by Headline in October.
Smock Alley Main Space
Saturday 2 November
7.00pm-8.00pm | €12/€10

Sunday 3rd November

All About Agatha: John Curran and Andrew Wilson with Anna Carey
John Curran is one of the world’s leading experts on Agatha Christie and author of Agatha Christie’s Complete Secret Notebooks; Andrew Wilson brings her to life as the protagonist in his fiendishly plotted 1920’s mysteries – as AJ Finn put it, ‘Andrew Wilson’s Christie novels do Dame Agatha proud’. The latest, Death in a Desert Land takes Christie to 1928 Baghdad. Journalist and author Anna Carey discusses the living legend that is Agatha Christie, one of the world’s greatest crime writers with two authors whose lives she has influenced.
Smock Alley Main Space
Sunday 3 November
11.00am-12.00pm | €12/€10

Steve Cavanagh in Conversation with Andrea Carter
Multi award winning author of the phenomenal international bestseller Thirteen, Steve Cavanagh is back this year with Twisted. Barrister turned bestselling crime writer Andrea Carter discusses life, the law and stunning plot twists with one of Ireland’s most brilliant writers.
Smock Alley Main Space
Sunday 3 November
12.30pm-1.30pm | €12/€10

Watching the Detectives: John Banville, Jane Casey and Roz Watkins with
Brian Cliff
Creating brilliant detectives is never easy, especially when so many great writers have left their mark on history. Mutli award winning authors John Banville (Benjamin Black), Jane Casey and Roz Watkins reveal who their fictional favourites are and why, and how they make their own characters stand out.  Brian Cliff is an Assistant Professor of English at Trinity College, Dublin. His most recent book is Irish Crime Fiction (2018), and he has published essays on authors including Emma Donoghue, John Connolly, Tana French, Paul Muldoon, and Deirdre Madden.
Smock Alley Main Space
Sunday 3 November
2.00pm-3.00pm | €12/€10

Staring Death in the Eye: Unnatural Causes, Pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd in conversation with Paul Carson
As the UK’s leading forensic pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd has faced serial killers, natural disaster, ‘perfect murders’and freak accidents, all in the pursuit of the truth. And while he’s been involved in some of the most high-profile cases of recent times, it’s often the less well-known encounters that prove the most perplexing, intriguing and even bizarre. In or out of the public eye, his evidence has put killers behind bars, freed the innocent and turned open-and-shut cases on their heads. In his bestselling memoir, Richard Shepherd gives a unique insight into a remarkable profession, and above all a powerful and reassuring testament to lives cut short. In conversation with international bestselling crime writer Dr Paul Carson, Shepherd will take you into his world where he stares death in the eye.
Smock Alley Main Space
Sunday 3 November
3.30pm-4.30pm | €12/€10

The Killer Pitch with Literary Agent Simon Trewin
Sam Blake chats to Simon Trewin about what catches an agent’s eye, famous hits and misses and his top ten tips for writing a killer pitch. Giving examples of pitches that worked, find out how to make your book irresistible to a literary agent.
Smock Alley Main Space
Sunday 3 November
5.00pm-6.00pm | €12/€10

CrimeHawks: Three Must-Reads Before You Die

Rick O’Shea quizzes bestselling authors Catherine Ryan Howard, Louise Phillips and Liz Nugent on the three books they each recommend as lifetime must reads, bring your notebooks!
Smock Alley Main Space
Sunday 3 November
6.30pm-7.30pm | €12/€10

More information and how to buy tickets can be found here.

Monday, 9 September 2019

An Evening with Martina Cole

For fans of Martina Cole


An exclusive evening with Martina Cole at the Phoenix Artist Club to celebrate the launch of her new book No Mercy




Tickets are going fast!

Ticket details can be found here.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Call for Papers - Detecting the Margins: New Perspectives on the Critical History of Detective Fiction

Detecting the Margins: New Perspectives on the Critical History of Detective Fiction

Since its emergence from the periodical press into the first mass-market novelistic craze, detective fiction has occupied a liminal position in the margins of aesthetic legitimacy—and critical study. Detection is a popular genre, a “literature of escape,” that nevertheless seems to make a claim to, and find purchase in, more rarefied aesthetic and intellectual precincts. Michael Holquist styles detection as a guilty pleasure of the reading classes: “The same people who spent their days with James Joyce were reading Agatha Christie at night.” This panel asks what that liminal position might show us about both the genre and the conditions—theoretical, professional, material—of its study. 

Because of this tenuous position, academic critics of detection often experience themselves as operating in a critical vacuum, obliged to defend their object of study—as a result, there are more beginnings than middles in the scholarship of the genre, and its two most frequent themes are 1) the generic origins and parameters of the detective genre, and 2) whether or not it counts as literature. But the critical history of detective fiction is far from sparse: beyond the (persistent) debate over its literary status, the genre has galvanized generalists (Barzun, Haycraft, Symons); attracted the attention of scholars working from materialist, historical, and cultural-studies approaches; supported major critical work (D.A. Miller’s The Novel and the Police, Mark McGurl’s The Novel Art); and fascinated theorists (Lacan, Hartman, Jameson, Boltanski, Moretti). It has also amassed a body of scholarly and parascholarly work from outside the campus gates, foregrounding institutional, methodological, and professional margins as both an obstacle to and an object of study. And as detection proliferates into new media, styles, hybrid forms, and diasporic territory, it shows no sign of going away. 

To move beyond the received sense of critical absence that hamstrings its study, then, the genre’s scholars must play detective: gather the clues, match story against story, synthesize a narrative that matches and contextualizes the facts. This panel solicits new understandings of the critical history of detective fiction. What are its consensuses and its controversies, its conceptions and misconceptions, its crucial terms, lacunae, and stakes? What can reconstructing its critical history make visible about the genre? What can that reconstruction, and the fact of its necessity, make visible about criticism, its institutional contexts, its methods and practices, and its margins? 

Sites of interest include but are not limited to:
Detection and empiricism
The pedagogy of popular culture
Detection, mass culture, and the Frankfurt School
Detection and the canon wars
Detection and deconstruction
Detection and modes of readership: close reading, symptomatic reading, distant reading, "just reading"
Genre and economies of academic prestige
Networks and methods of critique: lay criticism, fan criticism, professional criticism, and academic criticism
Detection and neoliberalism
Detection and the humanities crisis

Please submit abstracts through NeMLA's submission portal here by September 30:

Friday, 6 September 2019

Four Finalists for the McIlvanney Prize Revealed


Winner to be presented at the opening reception of Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival at the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling on Friday 20 September

A panel of judges including Alison Flood, James Crawford and Stuart Cosgrove today reveal the finalists for The McIlvanney Prize 2019.

They include the multi-talented Doug Johnstone who has a PhD in nuclear physics and moonlights as the manager and drummer for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, Manda Scott who studied veterinary surgery before turning to crime writing, a former McIlvanney winner Denise Mina and half a former winner in the form of Ambrose Parry – aka husband and wife writing team Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman.

The winner of the Scottish Crime Book of the Year will be awarded The McIlvanney Prize in memory of William McIlvanney at the opening reception on Friday 20 September and will lead a torchlight procession - open to the public – with David Baldacci on their way down to his event. The award recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.

The judges explained why each book made the final four:

Breakers by Doug Johnstone (Orenda)
A tightly written and compelling exploration of two sides of Edinburgh, touching on social topics rarely examined in crime fiction. A brilliant and moving portrait of family dynamics and loyalty as a young boy struggles to break out of his powerlessness.

A Treachery of Spiesby Manda Scott (Bantam Press)
A powerful, complex and remarkable espionage thriller: a present-day murder links back to Resistance France. An intricately plotted novel which keeps the reader guessing right to the end.

Convictionby Denise Mina (Harvill Secker)
A highly original and timely rollercoaster of a read, a caper which takes the reader on an unforgettable journey from central Glasgow to the Highlands, France and Italy. The novel fizzes with energy and brims over with a love of storytelling.

The Way of All Fleshby Ambrose Parry (Canongate)
Intensely and brilliantly researched piece of writing, casting back to 19th century Edinburgh when the art of surgery was just emerging at the same time as body snatchers were at large on the streets. Vivid, original, compelling, playful.

This year’s judges are Alison Flood, books reporter for The Guardianand a former news reporter for The Bookseller; James Crawford, chair of Publishing Scotland and presenter of BBC series, Scotland from the Sky and Stuart Cosgrove, writer and broadcaster who was formerly a senior executive at Channel 4.

Previous winners are Liam McIlvanney with The Quaker in 2018, Denise Mina with The Long Drop in 2017, Chris Brookmyre with Black Widow in 2016, Craig Russell with The Ghosts of Altona in 2015, Peter May with Entry Island in 2014, Malcolm Mackay with How A Gunman Says Goodbye in 2013 and Charles Cumming with A Foreign Country in 2012. The 2019 winner will be kept under wraps until the ceremony itself.

Five authors are also shortlisted for the inaugural Bloody Scotland Debut Scottish Crime Book of the Year:

All the Hidden Truths by Claire Askew (Hodder)
From the Shadows by G R Halliday (Vintage)
Black Camp 21 by Bill Jones (Polygon)
In the Silence by M R Mackenzie (Bloodhound)
The Peat Dead by Allan Martin (Thunderpoint)
The winner will be revealed on the opening night of the Festival.
If you would like to talk to any of the finalists, the judges or the Director of Bloody Scotland Bob McDevitt please contact 07767 431846.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Holidays from Hell: 5 Crime Novels that Will Make You Want to Stay Home

Vacations are a chance to relax, unwind and re-set, but in the thriller genre, things don’t ever go as planned. In my novel, The Retreat, a former child star, her best friends and soon-to-be sister-in-law travel to upstate New York to attend a wellness retreat. While they start the weekend seeking inner peace and relaxation, they soon find themselves wondering if they’ll survive it. 

Here are five must-read crime novels about getaways that go dangerously awry and will make you want to cancel your next vacation. 

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Lo Blacklock is a journalist at a travel magazine. The novel opens with Lo being the victim of a home invasion. When, following the attack she gets the opportunity to take an assignment on a luxury cruise with only a handful of other wealthy travellers, she jumps at the chance. Soon after the cruise sets sail, Lo witnesses a murder on board, yet all the guests are accounted for and no body is found. Now Lo must not only try to solve the crime but also convince others that a crime even occurred. This is a well-paced, satisfying thriller that made me glad I can’t afford luxury cruises.  

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Like my own book, Nine Perfect Strangers is set on a wellness retreat. Each person is there to lose weight, deal with past trauma and generally undergo a spiritual transformation. The proprietress of the retreat, Masha, was once an over-stressed, over-worked corporate devotee until she suffered a heart attack. Now her mission to help others achieve their ‘best’ selves, but there’s a dark side to her cool, Zen-like surface much to the detriment of her guests. 

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
While on their luxurious honeymoon in Bora Bora, Erin and Mark discover something in the water during a scuba diving excursion. Suddenly, the newlyweds must make a decision: do they keep their secret or turn it over to the police? Their decision will trigger a shocking chain of events. 

They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall 
Miriam Macy receives a surprise invitation to a luxurious private island off the coast of Mexico. Along with six other strangers, she finds herself in a mansion in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by miles of forest and open water. Cell service is spotty. Soon strange things start happening and one by one, the strangers are killed off, leaving the survivors to wonder who’s responsible and who’s next. 

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
A group of thirty-something friends from Oxford gather to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students. For this vacation, they chose an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands. Soon after their arrival, a blizzard hits and seals the lodge off from the outside world. The roads become impassable and claustrophobia quickly sets in. When New Year’s Day rolls around, one of the guests turns up dead. Tensions rise, past resentments and grudges surface. Which of the friends is the killer?

The Retreat by Sherri Smith (Titan Books) Out Now
Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction. Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those click bait "Where Are They Now?" articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother's too-good-to-be-true fiancée invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie's two best friends-one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship-Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with. Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

2019 Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction

Megan Abbott and Sarah St. Vincent are the recipients of the 2019 Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction. The prizes will be presented October 10, 2019, at Louisiana Humanities Center, 938 Lafayette St., in New Orleans. This event is open to the public.

The prizes honours two women writers. Winners receive both a financial award of $2,500 and a trip to New Orleans to accept their prize.

The Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work honours an established woman writer who has created a significant body of work in crime fiction. The winner is nominated and selected by a jury of WNBA-NO members.

The Pinckley Prize for Debut Novel honours a woman writer with a first-time published novel in adult crime fiction. The winner is selected from the submissions by a three-judge panel.

The Pinckley Prizes partner with the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans, of which Diana Pinckley was a founding member.  More information about the Pinckley Prize can be found here and information about the winners here.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

2019 Davitt Awards winners

Sisters in Crime Australia announced the winners of the 2019 Davitt Awards, named for Ellen Davitt (1812-1879), Australia’s first crime novelist, who wrote Australia's first mystery novel, Force and Fraud (1865).

Best Adult Crime Novel:
The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan (HarperCollins Australia)
Best Young Adult Crime Novel:
Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein (Walker Books)
Best Children’s Crime Novel:
Wakestone Hall by Judith Rossell (ABC Books)
Best Non-fiction Crime Book:
The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper (Penguin Random House)
Best Debut Novel:
Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee (Allen & Unwin)
Readers’ Choice:
The Lost Man by Jane Harper (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Monday, 2 September 2019

Bestselling crime authors Vaseem Khan and Abir Mukherjee launch new podcast, Red Hot Chilli Writers

A new podcast is being launched by bestselling crime authors Vaseem Khan (the Baby Ganesh Agency series) and Abir Mukherjee (the Wyndham and Banerjee novels) alongside four other British Asian writers: Ayisha Malik, Amit Dhand, Imran Mahmood and Alex Khan, with cameo appearances by Abir’s mum.
The Red Hot Chilli Writers will discuss books and writing, as well as the creative arts, pop culture, risqué humour and Big Fat Asian weddings. The podcast will feature big name interviews, alongside offering advice, on-air therapy and lashing of cultural anarchy: they dare to explore the parts that other podcasts cannot react.

Red Hot Chilli Writers will be available fortnightly via all podcast subscription platforms.

An introductory clip of the podcast can be heard here on SPOTIFY, iTunes and Spreaker

A video welcome from the hosts can be seen on the podcast website:

Vaseem Khan said: “This podcast is about building a cultural bridge between different communities within the creative industries, from readers and artists to publishers and agents.

Abir Mukherjee added: “Our aim is to have fun, be informative and create dialogue around topical issues. Diversity is a big deal in the arts right now, but who says we can’t tackle it with humour?

Vaseem Khan’s most recent publication is Bad Day at the Vulture Club (Hodder and Stoughton, £16.99)

Abir Mukherjee’s most recent publication is Smoke and Ashes (Vintage, £8.99)

For further information, or to enquire about guest booking, please contact Steven Cooper at Hodder: / 0203 122 7016