The shortlist for crime writing’s most wanted accolade, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, has been announced.
The most prestigious prize in the
crime genre is now entering its 13th year. The shortlisted six were whittled
down from a longlist of 18 titles published by British and Irish authors whose
novels were published in paperback between 1 May 2016 and 30 April 2017.
The 2017 Award is run in partnership
with title sponsor T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Mail on Sunday.
The shortlist in full:
Chris Brookmyre, Black Widow
Eva Dolan, After You Die
Sabine Durrant, Lie With Me
Mick Herron, Real Tigers
Val McDermid, Out Of Bounds
Susie Steiner, Missing,
Chris Brookmyre beat stiff competition to win the
Scottish crime book of the year award with his novel, Black Widow, a
story of cyber-abuse, where ‘even the twists have twists’. It features his
long-time character, reporter Jack Parlabane. Scotland’s first minister, Nicola
Sturgeon tweeted that she had been given the novel as an early Valentine’s Day
present by her husband, declaring it ‘brilliant’.
Essex-based writer Eva Dolan
returns to the shortlist for the second year; Tell No Tales was
shortlisted in 2016. Her follow-up After You Die is the third book from
the author BBC Radio 4 marked as a ‘rising star of crime fiction’. Shortlisted
for the CWA Dagger for unpublished authors when she was just a teenager, her
debut novel Long Way Home, was the start of a major new crime series
starring two detectives from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit.
Lie With Me, the psychological thriller by Sabine
Durrant was a Richard and Judy book pick. Durrant, also a feature writer,
is a former assistant editor of The Guardian and former literary editor at The
Sunday Times. Full of violent twists, her roguish charmer, Paul Morris, a once
acclaimed author now living off friends and feeding them lies, is invited on a
Greek holiday and events take a sinister turn. The Guardian praised it as a
‘thriller worthy of Ruth Rendell or Patricia Highsmith.’
Mick Herron’s espionage thriller, Real Tigers,
is the third in his Jackson Lamb series. It received critical acclaim,
with The Spectator saying the novel ‘explodes like a firecracker in all
directions’. The series is based on an MI5 department of ‘rejects’ –
intelligent services’ misfits and screw-ups, featuring anti-hero Jackson Lamb.
Herron’s writing was praised by critic Barry Forshaw for ‘the spycraft of le
Carré refracted through the blackly comic vision of Joseph Heller’s
McDermid, acknowledged as the ‘Queen of Crime’ has sold over 15m books to
date. Her latest number one bestseller, Out of Bounds, features DCI
Karen Pirie unlocking the mystery of a 20 year-old murder inquiry. The book is
her 30th novel.
Steiner is also a former Guardian journalist. Her first crime novel
introduces Detective Manon Bradshaw, working on the high profile missing
person’s case of Cambridge post-grad Edith Hind, daughter of Sir Ian and Lady
Hind. Can DS Manon Bradshaw wade through the evidence before a missing person
inquiry becomes a murder investigation? Missing, Presumed, was a Sunday
Times bestseller, a Richard & Judy pick and was praised for its stylish,
witty and compelling writing.
shortlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors,
reviewers and members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival
titles will now be promoted in a seven-week promotion in over 1,500 libraries
and WHSmith stores nationwide throughout June and July.
overall winner will be decided by the panel of Judges, alongside a public vote.
The public vote opens on 1 July and closes 14 July at www.theakstons.co.uk.
The winner will be announced at an
award ceremony hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 20 July on the opening
night of the 15th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.
They’ll receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer
barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.
Last year’s winner was Clare
Mackintosh for I Let You Go, which has sold more than a million copies
Executive director of T&R
Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: “The shortlist this year highlights the
incredible writers at work today. As these novels show, crime novels explore
issues at the heart of our society and tap into the zeitgeist. 2017’s winner
will join the list of game changing authors who have won this most coveted
award over the last decade, including Denise Mina, Lee Child, and Sarah
Gemma Rowland, Operations Manager at
Harrogate International Festivals, the arts organisation that delivers the
festival, said: “The public’s vote is incredibly important. At the Festival, we
value readers as much as the authors who take part; it’s the readers that have
real power when it comes to judging a book’s worth, so I’d encourage everyone
to make their voice heard – it’s free and simple to vote online.”
It’s also been announced that the
awards night will honour Lee Child. The Jack Reacher creator will
receive the Outstanding
Contribution to Crime Fiction Award, joining past winners Val McDermid,
Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and
Child has been dubbed a
‘billion-dollar brand’ for his blockbuster Jack Reacher series, adapted to film
by Tom Cruise.
Simon added: “We’re particularly
delighted to be honouring Lee Child. He is nothing short of a phenomenon. The
Jack Reacher series tops bestseller lists worldwide, with a staggering 100
million books sold. Lee is very deserving of this accolade, and will have
his rightful place in a pantheon of legendary crime authors who have achieved
this honour to date.”
Lee Child said: “It’s an honour -
probably undeserved - to be placed in the same category as the previous
recipients of this prize. In particular I would like to thank Simon
Theakston for his generous and visionary support of the genre.”