Brutal, bloodied and with a forensic approach to detail, the CWA Daggers shortlist contains a powerhouse of literary talent. For all their detective ability and searing insights, even the authors themselves cannot be expected to work out how these plots will end. The winners for eleven awards will be announced at The Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards on Friday 7 October at the Grosvenor House.
The awards include the CWA Gold Dagger for the Best Crime Novel of the Year, the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the Best Thriller of the Year, and the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for the Best New Crime Writer of the Year, along with the Film and TV Daggers.
Can Man Booker nominee A.D. Miller beat off the competition to take home one the most illustrious prizes in the crime writing world – the CWA Gold Dagger for the Best Crime Novel of the Year? He faces a struggle of Cold-War proportions as Snowdrops, his grim tale of life in Putin's Russia, sizes up to Tom Franklin's Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, set in the Deep South.
It is by no means a two horse race, with The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina bringing a strong female protagonist into the mix. A complex look at the dehumanisation of victims in an increasingly divided society, The End of The Wasp Season suggests that as a society we use 'evil' as a means to disengage from our problems. But could she perhaps lose out to one of the most disengaged characters seen in fiction in recent years – Mike, in Steve Hamilton's The Lock Artist is an elective mute who can pick locks and break safes. The question remains, however, whether Hamilton himself has cracked the code in writing prize winning crime fiction.
The shortlists are as follows:
CWA GOLD DAGGER 2011
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (Pan)
Snowdrops by A.D. Miller (Atlantic Books)
The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina (Orion)
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (Orion)
CWA IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER 2011, SPONSORED BY IAN FLEMING PUBLICATIONS LTD
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson (Doubleday)
Cold Rain by Craig Smith (Myrmidon)
The Good Son by Michael Gruber (Corvus)
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (Orion)
CWA JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER 2011
Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson (Doubleday)
Kiss Me Quick by Danny Miller (Robinson)
The Dead Woman of Juárez by Sam Hawken (Serpent's Tail)
The Dogs of Rome by Conor Fitzgerald (Bloomsbury)
ITV3 PEOPLE'S BESTSELLER DAGGER 2011
David Baldacci - The Sixth Man (Macmillan)
Lee Child - Worth Dying For (Bantam)
Mark Billingham - Good As Dead (Little, Brown)
Peter James - Dead Man's Grip (Macmillan)
Peter Robinson - Before the Poison (Hodder)
These five authors are also the subject of the 2011 season documentary series The A-Z of Crime, which will be shown at 9pm on ITV3 from 1st September.
In the weeks running up to The Crime Thriller Awards 2011, viewers will be encouraged to vote for their favourite by following this link: www.itv.com/crimethrillerawards. The winner will be presented with the ITV3 People's Bestseller Dagger at the awards ceremony on 7th October.
TV and film are the perfect media for crime fiction, and some of the genre's best-loved detectives – from Marple to Morse – have been immortalised in this way. This year's Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards will honour the stars of the small and silver screens, as well as the films and series they feature in. The nominees include actors Idris Elba, last year's Best Actress Dagger winner Maxine Peake, Brenda Blethyn, Rufus Sewell and Rafe Spall, and the shortlists are as follows:
THE FILM DAGGER
True Grit (Paramount Pictures)
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Momentum Pictures)
Brighton Rock (Optimum Releasing)
Source Code (Optimum Releasing)
THE TV DAGGER
Case Histories (Ruby Films, BBC One)
Luther (BBC One)
The Shadow Line (Company Pictures, BBC Two)
Zen (Left Bank Pictures, BBC One)
Vera (ITV Studios, ITV1)
THE INTERNATIONAL TV DAGGER
The Killing, (Arrow Films, BBC4)
Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sky Atlantic)
Castle (ABC Studios, Alibi)
Dexter (Showtime Networks, FX Channel)
Spiral (Son Et Lumiere, BBC 4)
BEST ACTRESS DAGGER
Sofie Gråbøl for The Killing (Arrow Films, BBC4)
Brenda Blethyn for Vera (ITV Studios, ITV1)
Maxine Peake for Silk (BBC One)
Olivia Williams for Case Sensitive (Hat Trick Productions, ITV1)
Sue Johnston for Waking the Dead (BBC One)
Kelly Reilly for Above Suspicion (La Plante Productions, ITV1)
BEST ACTOR DAGGER
Idris Elba for Luther (BBC One)
Lars Mikkelsen for The Killing (Arrow Films, BBC4)
Steve Buscemi for Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sky Atlantic)
Jason Isaacs for Case Histories (Ruby Films, BBC One)
Rufus Sewell for Zen (Left Bank Pictures, BBC One)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR DAGGER
Rafe Spall for The Shadow Line (Company Pictures, BBC Two)
Bjarne Henriksen for The Killing (Arrow Films, BBC 4)
Søren Malling for The Killing (Arrow Films, BBC 4)
John Lithgow for Dexter (Showtime Networks, FX Channel)
Aidan Gillen for Thorne (Stagereel / Cité Amérique, Sky One)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS DAGGER
Ann Eleonora Jørgensen for The Killing (Arrow Films, BBC 4)
Kelly Macdonald for Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sky Atlantic)
Ruth Wilson for Luther (BBC One)
Amanda Abbington for Case Histories (Ruby Films, BBC One)
Tara Fitzgerald for Waking The Dead (BBC One)
The Executive Producer for the Awards and the Crime Season, Cactus TV's Amanda Ross said: "We are absolutely delighted with the success of The Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards last year. With Marcus Brigstocke returning as our presenter and the high quality of this year's Book, Film and TV shortlists I am confident this year's awards will be even better."
Peter James, Chair of the Crime Writers' Association, commented: "To arrive at the shortlist for any award is inevitably a hard and very subjective task. But this year's Daggers shortlists really do represent a very broad cross-section of the highest talents in our beloved genre, and I'm personally feeling very thrilled - and deeply privileged - to have been selected amongst them."
Richard Holmes, Specsavers marketing director, said: "Last year's Crime Thriller Awards were another great success and we're very proud to be involved in this annual showcase of world class writing. It must have been extremely difficult to create this shortlist from the wealth of crime fiction talent out there and I'm really looking forward to hearing the results of the awards. As ever, I can't wait to find out how it all ends."
It would be interesting to hear from you who you think should win in the many categories. I have my favourites for sure.