A mix of writers old and new will do battle in this year's Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the country. Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London which imagines magical mayhem in the Metropolitan police force goes head to head with SJ Watson's smash hit debut Before I Go To Sleep and Tom Rob Smith's Agent 6, the final in the trilogy about a former MGB agent, Leo Demidov. Power-house authors John Connolly, Ian Rankin, Robert Harris, and Val McDermid are represented by The Burning Soul, The Impossible Dead, The Fear Index, and The Retribution respectively and former journalist and screenwriter Belinda Bauer makes the longlist for the second year running with Darkside, following her critically acclaimed debut, Blacklands. Neil Cross, who will be discussing the hit TV series Luther at this year's Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, also makes the list with The Calling.
Now in its eighth year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, in partnership with Asda, and in association with the Daily Mirror, was created to celebrate the very best in crime writing and is open to British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1st June 2011 to 31st May 2012.
The longlist in full:
· Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz)
· Darkside by Belinda Bauer (Corgi)
· Now You See Me by SJ Bolton (Corgi)
· Where the Bodies Are Buried by Chris Brookmyre (Abacus)
· The Burning Soul by John Connolly (Hodder Paperback)
· The Calling by Neil Cross (Simon & Schuster)
· The Hanging Shed by Gordon Ferris (Corvus)
· Bryant and May and the Memory of Blood by Christopher Fowler (Bantam)
· Blue Monday by Nicci French (Michael Joseph)
· The Fear Index by Robert Harris (Arrow)
· The Retribution by Val McDermid (Sphere)
· The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina (Orion)
· Black Flowers by Steve Mosby (Orion)
· Collusion by Stuart Neville (Vintage)
· The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin (Orion)
· Mice by Gordon Reece (Pan Books)
· Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith (Simon & Schuster)
· Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson (Black Swan)
The longlist will then be whittled down to a shortlist of six titles which will be announced on Thursday 5th July.
The overall winner will be decided by a panel of experts which this year comprises of DI Tom Thorne actor David Morrissey, Festival chair Mark Billingham, journalist and crime novelist Henry Sutton, Ruth Lewis, Fiction Buyer at Asda, and Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd; as well as members of the public. The public vote opens on Thursday 5th July and closes on Tuesday 17th July at http://www.theakstons.co.uk/.
The winner of the prize will be announced by broadcaster and festival regular Mark Lawson on Thursday 19th July, opening night of the tenth annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.
Congratulations to all those on the longlist!