Wednesday, 6 June 2007


Last night (5th June)The Crime Writers’ Association announced the shortlists for this year’s Daggers - the prestigious awards that celebrate the very best in crime and thriller writing in 2007. This is the second year of the Duncan Lawrie Dagger - formerly the CWA Gold Dagger for Fiction - with a prize of £20,000. This is now the largest award for crime fiction in the world. Duncan Lawrie Private Bank also sponsor the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger for the best crime novel translated into English, with £5000 going to the author and £1000 to the translator.

The results will be announced on Thursday, July 5 2007

The shortlists, by category, in alphabetical order, are as follows:

£20,000 prize money, sponsored by Duncan Lawrie Private Bank

Giles Blunt - FIELDS OF GRIEF - HarperCollins
Judges’ comments: ‘This is a novel with a great sense of place that intertwines what are apparently disparate plot lines into an unexpected resolution.’

James Lee Burke - PEGASUS DESCENDING - Orion
Judges’ comments: ‘Burke is a master of crackling dialogue and exploration into New Orleans lowlife and corrupt politics, and in the Police Department he creates a steamy world of violence and intrigue. His is unforgiving territory he knows so well in which alcoholic ex-cop, Dave Robicheaux, is drawn inexorably into another tangled story of broken families and revenge.’

Gillian Flynn - SHARP OBJECTS - Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Judges’ comments: ‘Flynn’s novel is a study of evil at the heart of the family set against a background of southern gothic American life. The reader is drawn into the macabre relationship of mother and daughter resulting in physical self harming.’

Craig Russell - BROTHER GRIMM - Hutchinson
Judges’ comments: ‘A compelling police procedural set in Hamburg, Russell’s novel is a horrific modern twist on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. A vividly drawn and believable set of characters.’

C.J. Sansom - SOVEREIGN - Macmillan
Judges’ comments: ‘An historical thriller that brings together and original and multi-layered plot with a rich story set against a royal progress by Henry VIII to York and his dissolution of his marriage to Catherine Howard. Sansom is a masterly story teller and natural plotter.’

Peter Temple - THE BROKEN SHORE - Quercus
Judges’ comments: ‘This is a well written crime novel with excellent characterisation mingled with a subtle exploration of contemporary Australian landscape and mores. This is a first class read with a sympathetic engrossing police protagonist.’

Judging Panel
Geoff Bradley (Chair) - editor of Crime And Detective Stories (CADS) magazine
Lyn Brown MP - committee member on the London Libraries service
Steve Craggs - crime reviewer for The Northern Echo
Heather O'Donoghue - academic, linguist, crime fiction reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement, and keen reader of all crime fiction
Barry Forshaw - reviewer and editor of Crime Time magazine
Elinor Goodman - former political editor for Channel Four
Frances Gray - academic who writes about and teaches courses on modern crime fiction
Margaret Kinsman - senior lecturer in English Studies at London South Bank University
James Naughtie - BBC journalist and Radio Four Today programme presenter

£5000 prize money for the author and £1000 for the translator, sponsored by Duncan Lawrie Private Bank
For crime, thriller, suspense novels or spy fiction which have been translated into English from their original language, for UK publication.

Karin Alvtegan (Sweden) - SHAME - Canongate translated by Steven T. Murray
Judges' comments: ‘A clever psychological study of a small group of people brought together by shared experiences of abuse which they must now, finally, confront.’

Christian Jungersen (Denmark) - THE EXCEPTION - Weidenfeld & Nicolson translated by Anna Paterson
Judges' comments: ‘Something completely out of the ordinary: a thought-provoking novel in which workers in a centre monitoring human rights abuses slide into bullying office politics.’

Yasmina Khadra (Algeria) - THE ATTACK - William Heinemann translated by John Cullen
Judges’ comments: ‘A harrowing psychological novel which explores the motivations of a suicide bomber, and lifts the conventions of the whydunnit.’

Åsa Larsson (Sweden) - THE SAVAGE ALTAR - Viking translated by Marlaine Delargy
Judges' comment: ‘A fine sense of Northern Sweden with a story of mayhem in a small religious community.’

Jo Nesbø (Norway) - THE REDBREAST - Harvill Secker translated by Don Bartlett
Judges' comments: ‘Secrets from Norway’s discreditable wartime past resurface when a lone terrorist threatens an assassination.’

Fred Vargas (France) - WASH THIS BLOOD CLEAN FROM MY HAND - Harvill Secker translated by Sîan Reynolds
Judges' comments: ‘A stylish return to the shortlist for last year’s inventive winner with another unconventional police procedural.’

Judging Panel:
Adrian Muller (non-voting Chair) - freelance journalist and an events organiser specialising in crime fiction
Peter Guttridge - crime writer and the crime fiction reviewer for the Observer
Ruth Morse - has written about post-colonial crime fiction, and is a reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement
Susanna Yager - the crime fiction reviewer for The Sunday Telegraph

£2000 prize money, sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd

‘Out of the many exciting submissions received this year, from established names and newcomers alike, the judges were particularly pleased to see some powerful fresh explorations of the genre. Themes ran from present day spies and terrorism to a focus on psychological edge, and we read explosive storylines alongside those with harrowing personal repercussions for the protagonists. The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger judges are looking for the best in any of these fields.’

Alex Berenson - THE FAITHFUL SPY - Random House
Judges’ comments: ‘A very assured first novel, exciting, well-informed and engrossing with the most mature take on the threat of terrorism from Al Qaeda in this year's crop of thrillers. An excellent read.’

Harlan Coben - THE WOODS - Orion
Judges’ comments: ‘Gripping. This departure from his usual series crackles along with excellent dialogue and fast-paced plot. A really good blend of past intrigue and present dangers.’

R.J. Ellory - CITY OF LIES - Orion
Judges’ comments: ‘Told in a unique style, peopled with highly believable characters with dialogue that is evocative of 1940s’ classic noir. New York City lives and breathes in this distinctive thriller.’

Gillian Flynn - SHARP OBJECTS - Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Judges’ comments: ‘A very good debut, atmospheric and creepy, with a complex and convincingly drawn female protagonist. The claustrophobia of small-town America in the south is portrayed exceptionally well in this dark psychological thriller.’

Michael Marshall - THE INTRUDERS - HarperCollins
Judges’ comments: ‘A book that is impossible to put down. It has pace, a marvellously believable lead character, and a plot that grips all the way through to a surprising conclusion.’

Michael Robotham - THE NIGHT FERRY - Little, Brown
Judges’ comments: ‘Very involving and accomplished, especially in the portrayal of the female Sikh lead character. Robotham handles his subject with great deftness and perception in this modern take on people smuggling.’

Karin Slaughter - TRIPTYCH - Random House
Judges’ comments: ‘Compulsive reading. Slaughter has moved away from her series to produce a skilfully and confidently written analysis of a killer and how his crimes over time have affected him and those around him. Utterly convincing and hideously believable.’

Judging Panel
Corrine Turner (Chair) - Managing Director of Ian Fleming Publications
Seraphina Granelli - head of retail with Millivres Prowler, Europe’s biggest gay and lesbian publisher and retailer, and former manager of Waterstone’s, Piccadilly
Mike Jecks - founder member of Medieval Murderers, author of the Templar series, former Chair of the CWA.
Mike Stotter - editor of Shots e-zine, award-winning children’s author
Zoë Watkins - Publishing Manager of Ian Fleming Publications
Gordon Wise - former bookseller and publisher with Pan Macmillan and John Murray, now a literary agent

For first books by previously unpublished writers, sponsored by BBC Audio Books. Formerly the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger
£1000 prize money

The judges remarked on the interesting, well written novels they had read. ‘There was a great deal to enjoy on the list.’

C.J. Emerson - OBJECTS OF DESIRE - Allison & Busby
Judges’ comments: ‘This is a tale of lost children, child murder and change of identity with wonderfully tense scenes.’

Gillian Flynn - SHARP OBJECTS - Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Judges’ comments: ‘This was a novel characterised by its vivid and poetic writing. A superb sense of character with an imaginative treatment of the reasons for and the problems of self-harm.’

Declan Hughes - THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD - John Murray
Judges’ comments: ‘This fast pacy novel portrayed a family of convoluted relationships with a secret at its heart. Evocative of Dublin, the novel showed great splashes of humour.’

Brian McGilloway - BORDERLANDS - Macmillan New Publishing
Judges’ comments: ‘A wonderfully written novel with rhythmic prose. An easy and fluent style which suits the format of a fast moving crime thriller. It portrays scenes of violence among outsiders in society and reveals the seamier side of the detective’s private life which intrudes on his work.’

Andrew Pepper - LAST DAYS OF NEWGATE - Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Judges’ comments: ‘A pre-Victorian bow-street runner hunts the killer of a young family. This was a novel of complex characters and sweeping themes of both persecution and religion which are as true to contemporary life as they were then.’

Camilla Way - DEAD OF SUMMER - HarperCollins
Judges’ comments: ‘A lean, pacy novel, simply but powerfully written which saw crime from the point of view of an adolescent. An excellent portrayal of a charismatic leader.’

Judging Panel
Marion Arnott (Chair) - short story writer, winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger, 2001 and shortlisted twice
Dreda Say Mitchell - winner of the 2005 CWA John Creasey Dagger
Peter Walker - who also writes as Nicholas Rhea, author of the ‘Heartbeat’ series

Nominated and judged by librarians and awarded to an author for a body of work, not one single title.
£1500 prize money, sponsored by the Random House Group

Kate Atkinson
Judges’ comments: ‘With her offbeat and eccentric stories, Kate Atkinson is taking the crime genre in a new direction. Jackson Brodie is a fine addition to the league of flawed but successful detectives. We can’t wait to read more.’

Susan Hill
Judges’ comments: ‘Her novels leave a deep impression on our readers, as sinister events seep into everyday life. Simon Serrailler is a cultured detective in the Adam Dalgleish mould, and the supporting characters are equally well drawn. But be warned, there are a few shocks along the way.’

Stuart MacBride
Judges’ comments: ‘His books tell of life in all its grim reality, but this only adds to the appeal of this truly impressive new author … the grimmest of subjects, but leavened (thankfully) with dashes of humour. He’s bad news for the Aberdeen tourist industry, but great news for crime readers.”

Barbara Nadel
Judges’ comments: ‘Well researched and with lots of added extras, plus some wonderful imagery … Sympathetic heroes, and a whole new world is exposed through her descriptions of life in Istanbul. All human life is there!’

Courttia Newland
Judges’ comments: ‘Well crafted stories and an immersion into inner-city London life … There are no certainties here, no absolute rights or wrongs, we found his books riveting and would love to read more - if you’re fond of cosy reading these aren’t for you, but this is definitely an author to push further into the limelight.’

C.J. Sansom
Judges’ comments: ‘Brilliantly researched stories about turbulent Tudor England, we like his hero Matthew Shardlake - he’s an impressive sleuth and a good man, a thoroughly likeable character. Authentic settings, entertaining and enjoyable stories - they satisfy on so many levels.’

Judging Panel
Will Cooban (Chair) - Bexley Libraries
Mark Benjamin - Northumberland Libraries
Miriam Bennett - Liverpool Library
Jonathan Gibbs - City of London Libraries
Muriel Waldt - Bedfordshire Libraries
Kim Wallis - Leicestershire Libraries

£500 prize money, sponsored by Orion
For unpublished novels by unpublished authors.

Martin Brackstone (UK) - MALESTKI’S MOTIVE
Synopsis: Emotionally fragile homicide cop Larry Kurtin and his alluring new partner Louisa Silver investigate a bizarre, seemingly motiveless murder during San Francisco’s morning commute.

Synopsis: Flavia is barely eleven, but her passion for poisons would make Lucrezia Borgia cringe.

Nesta Brzozowski (UK) - WITH A VIEW TO DEATH
Synopsis: With a View to Death is set in the Lake District and introduces DCS Jack Runcie. New to the area, Runcie heads a small team investigating a lakeside murder which has been linked to a terror campaign, waged against holiday-home owners and tourists, which threatens to destroy the local economy. Runcie is under pressure to solve this case quickly but is not helped by the tensions and conflicts within his investigating team, nor by his own position as ‘offcomer’.

Fay Cunningham (UK) - CRY BABY

Synopsis: Gina Cross is a forensic artist with a special talent, she can see the faces of the dead. Pregnant teenagers are being targeted by an agency selling babies abroad, one young girl has already been found dead just after giving birth, and now a friend’s teenage sister has gone missing.

Synopsis: Rome Was Never Like This explores two fundamental issues: What is the role of the individual in a society - our society - in which civil liberties are increasingly threatened? And in such a society, how far must a man go to get the attention of a government that has murdered his child?

Synopsis: When he finds himself on the run from a phoney murder rap, Gouvernor Ness, a young, street-smart thief, is cast down a path that will lead him from the dark corners of skid row to the shiny marble halls of power, a journey that will force him to confront not only a desperate killer but the painful secrets that lie buried in his past.

David Jackson (UK) - PARIAH
Synopsis: Where do you turn when your very presence is the kiss of death to those around you? Detective Cal Doyle is about to discover just how low he is prepared to sink.

D.J. McIntosh (Canada) - THE WITCH OF BABYLON
Synopsis: As John Madison sets out on a search to recover stolen Iraqi antiquities, an even darker secret casts a long shadow over his quest.

Gerard O’Donovan (UK) - WHITE LION
Synopsis: White Lion is a novel about lust, murder and bad, bad timing in a tight-knit Suffolk community. It is a story of wholly different lives that collide for only an instant - but with horrific consequences.

James Oswald (UK) - NATURAL CAUSES
Synopsis: Someone is killing Edinburgh’s elder statesmen, cutting them open and removing bits, and it is up to Detective Inspector Anthony McLean to find whoever is responsible. But how are these deaths linked to the remains of a young girl, ritually murdered and walled up in a long-forgotten basement? And what has that to do with a series of violent suicides across the city?

Peter James Peacock (UK) - TOWERS OF LONDON
Synopsis: Two ambitious East Enders take on gangland London as they strive to rebuild their shattered city after the war.

Martie de Villiers (UK) - SOLITAIRE
Synopsis: Two women, Ingrid, a diamond thief hoping to make a fresh start, and Amanda, a cop determined to make her pay for her crimes are thrown together in a chase through the Namib desert as they attempt to escape an armed gang after 10 million dollar's worth of diamonds that Ingrid has hidden and fully intends to keep.

Judging Panel:
Philip Gooden (Chair) - author of historical mysteries and reference books on the English language, and Chair of the CWA
Emma Hargrave - Managing Editor, Tindal Street Press
Bill Massey - Editorial Director, Orion
Sara Menguc - Literary Agent
Keshini Naidoo - Assistant Editor, HarperCollins (Avon)
Sarah Turner - Senior Commissioning Editor, Transworld Publishers

THE CWA SHORT STORY AWARD - to be presented at a later date
Formerly the CWA Short Story Dagger
£1500 prize money

‘The judges debated this list with great enthusiasm, finding all four stories worthy of high commendation.’

J.A. Konrath - EPITAPH
From ‘Thriller’ edited by James Patterson, Mira UK
Judge’s comments: ‘A terminally ill hit man takes revenge in a brutal act of violence. A story with a dash of the macabre, as well as humour. Good characterisation, and good fun.’

Peter Lovesey - NEEDLEMATCH
From 'Best British Mysteries' edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Allison & Busby
Judges’ comments: ‘Set during the Wimbledon fortnight in 1981, with the Cold War raging, and a Russian tennis player's mysterious death leading to potentially global consequences. Excellent writing, evocative setting.’

James Siegel - EMPATHY
From 'Thriller' edited James Patterson, Mira UK
Judges’ comments: ‘A clever story featuring an ex-police officer, a seductive woman and a murder. Brilliantly unpredictable and original.’

From 'Best British Mysteries' edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Allison & Busby
Judges’ comments: ‘A wartime photographer takes the last photograph of his career in Palestine, and uses it to save his own life. Raises issues of media responsibility in times of war. A thoughtful, character-driven story.’

Judging Panel:
Ayo Onatade (Chair) - reviewer
Ali Karim - reviewer
Jerry Sykes - novelist and short story writer

The Ellis Peters Historical Dagger - now the Ellis Peters Award - will be announced and presented later in the year.

1 comment:

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