Tuesday 31 May 2016

Theakston Festival Rounds up Six Suspects On Crime Novel Award Shortlist

The shortlist for crime writing’s most wanted accolade, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, has been announced.

Celebrating its twelfth year, the Awards feature six titles whittled down from a longlist of 18 crime novels published by British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2015 to 18 April 2016.

The award ceremony will be hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 21 July on the opening night of the 14th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

Also on the night, Val McDermid will receive the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award, joining past winners Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill.

Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd and Judge, Simon Theakston, said: “We’re particularly delighted to be honouring Val McDermid this year. On a personal note, Val had the vision to create this Festival with Harrogate International Festivals back in 2003. Thanks to her far-reaching passion and generosity for crime fiction - for writers and readers alike – it has become the biggest celebration of the genre in the world. As a writer, she is rightfully known as the Queen of Crime. Val is very deserving of this accolade in the pantheon of legendary crime authors.”

The 2016 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Radio Times.

The shortlist in full:

Time Of Death by Mark Billingham (Sphere)
Career Of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Sphere)
Tell No Tales by Eva Dolan (Harvill Secker)

Disclaimer by Renee Knight (Black Swan)
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (Sphere)
           Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty (Serpent’s Tail)
Two debut novels make the shortlist. Renee Knight’s debut, Disclaimer, has been pitched as the new Gone Girl. The former TV documentary maker spent a decade writing film scripts, with her first novel turned down by every publisher, but persisted to write Disclaimer, a Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller, whose overseas rights have been sold in 35 countries and to Fox Searchlight. 

Clare Mackintosh first thriller I Let You Go was one of the fastest selling titles of 2015 and became a Sunday Times bestseller and a Richard & Judy book club winner. Clare spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 and now writes full time.  Praised widely for its astonishing twist, overseas rights have now sold in 30 countries.

Robert Galbraith’s Career of Evil - the third novel in the Cormoran Strike series - was lauded by the critics and a number one bestseller in both hardback and paperback.  With the Cormoran Strike novels in the process of being adapted for a major new television series for BBC One, J.K. Rowling’s crime pseudonym has well and truly made his mark in the genre.

Mark Billingham could make it a hat-trick after winning the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2005 and 2009. A stalwart of the genre, Time of Death is the astonishing thirteenth Tom Thorne novel - a story of kidnapping, the tabloid press, and a frightening case of mistaken identity. The novel is currently in adaptation with BBC Drama North.

Rain Dogs is book five in the critically-acclaimed Sean Duffy Thriller series set in 1980s Belfast by Northern Irish writer, Adrian McKinty. McKinty was shortlisted for the Steel Dagger in 2004 and has since been nominated for multiple awards in the UK, USA, France and Australia. He won the Ned Kelly Award in 2014 for Sean Duffy book three and book four was nominated for an Edgar in 2016. He currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Eva Dolan’s Tell No Tales is the second 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. Tell No Tales focuses on murdered migrant workers and racial tension. 

Simon Theakston, said: “It’s a remarkable shortlist that shows the crime genre shapes our cultural landscape and dominates publishing.”

The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved oak beer cask made by Theakston Old Peculier.

Gemma Rowland, Operations Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, the arts organisation that delivers the festival, said: “2016’s winner will join the list of game changing authors who have won one of the most coveted awards over the last decade, including Denise Mina, Lee Child, and Sarah Hilary. The public’s vote is incredibly important as ultimately readers decide 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.

The overall winner will be decided by a panel of Judges*, alongside the public vote. The public vote opens on 1 July and closes 15 July at www.theakstons.co.uk.

Monday 30 May 2016

Books to Look Forward to from Simon and Schuster


Television journalist Delaney Wright is on the brink of stardom after she begins covering a sensational murder trial for the news. She should be thrilled, yet her growing desire to locate her birth mother consumes her thoughts. On trial for murder is Betsy Grant, widow of a wealthy doctor who has been an Alzheimer's victim for eight years. When her once-upon-a-time celebrity lawyer urges her to accept a plea bargain, Betsy refuses: she will go to trial to prove her innocence. Betsy's stepson, Alan Grant, bides his time nervously as the trial begins. His substantial inheritance hangs in the balance-his only means of making good on payments he owes his ex-wife, his children, and increasingly angry creditors. As the trial unfolds, and the damning evidence against Betsy piles up, Delaney is convinced that Betsy is not guilty and frantically tries to prove her innocence, before time runs out... As Time Goes By is by Mary Higgins Clark

The Lost Swimmer is by Ann Turner. Rebecca Wilding, an archaeology professor, traces the past for a living. But suddenly, truth and certainty are turning against her. Rebecca is accused of serious fraud, and worse, she suspects - she knows - that her husband, Stephen, is having an affair. Desperate to find answers, Rebecca leaves with Stephen for Greece, Italy and Paris, where she can uncover the conspiracy against her, and hopefully win Stephen back to her side, where he belongs. There's too much at stake - her love, her work, her family. But on the idyllic Amalfi Coast, Stephen goes swimming and doesn't come back. In a swirling daze of panic and fear, Rebecca is dealt with fresh allegations. And with time against her, she must uncover the dark secrets that stand between her and Stephen, and the deceit that has chased her halfway around the world.

Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery has always been different. She's never been able to control the things that happen to her - not even the pain of a new tattoo or the roar of her motorcycle can drown out the chaos. When she moves to her grandmother's house in the small town of The Hollows in upstate New York, Finley is hoping to a fresh start. Then a detective shows up. He knows about Finley's unusual gifts and he wants her help. There's a little girl missing and the police investigation has gone cold. Now, time is running out. Only Finley can uncover the truth - but can she find the answers before it's too late? Ink and Bone is by Lisa Unger.

Tim Johnson took his baby daughter out for a walk and she never made it home. Johnson claims he was assaulted and the girl was snatched. The police see a different crime, with Johnson their only suspect. A year later, Sam Bryne is on course to be elected as one of the youngest MPs in Westminster. He's tipped for the very top ...until he vanishes. Detectives Murphy and Rossi are tasked with discovering what has happened to the popular politician - and in doing so, they unearth a trail that stretches into the past, and crimes that someone is hell-bent on avenging.  Then She Was Gone is by Luca Vesta


Clyde Barr has been on the run for sixteen years. Now he's back in the Colorado wilderness, hoping for some peace and quiet. Then Clyde receives a frantic phone call for help from his sister Jen. But the line goes dead. She's been taken. Clyde doesn't know where Jen is. He doesn't know who has her. He doesn't know how much time he has. All he knows is that nothing short of dying will stop him from saving her... Nothing Short of Dying is the debut novel by Erik Storey.

This is about three deaths. Actually more, if you go back far enough. I say deaths but perhaps all of them were murders. It's a grey area. Murder, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. So let's just call them deaths and say I was involved. This story could be told a hundred different ways.  For Penelope Sheppard, university offers an escape from her trouble past.  Running from a life weighed down with scandal and tragedy, Pen sees this as the ideal place to reinvent herself among perfect strangers.  Life in her new halls of residence feels like a wonderland of sex, drugs, and maybe even love.  But all too soon Pen realises flawed narration and tantalising diary entries, secrets, truths and lies come to light and a dangerous dilemma unfolds, twisting and turning until the very last page.  All These Perfect Strangers is by Aoife Clifford.

Cold Killers is by Lee Weeks. Eddie Butcher, one of four brothers from a notorious East
End family, is tortured and brutally murdered while visiting London from his home in Marbella. SIO Carter and DI Willis monitor his extravagant funeral in case Eddie's violent brother Terry, under house arrest in Spain, tries to make an appearance. Terry is wanted for robbery, drug trafficking and murder - and the police strongly suspect he is even prepared to kill his own family to maintain his power. What Carter hasn't told all of his colleagues is that this family's history is personal to him. More than ten years earlier, he was part of an operation that tried to trap Terry as he made his first big drugs deal. Carter was an undercover agent then, along with a female operative, Della. She and Carter were an item until she fell for Eddie Butcher and the case collapsed. She became Della Butcher - and now, a widow at the mercy of the remaining Butcher brothers, her life is in danger. When Della offers Carter a chance to finally catch Terry, he knows he cannot refuse. But his reunion with Della comes at a heavy personal, and professional, cost - and Willis must protect them all as the Butcher family's enemies close in, wanting money and revenge.


Murderabilia is by Craig Robertson. The first commuter train of the morning slowly rumbles away from platform seven of Queen St station. Everyone on board is sleepy, avoiding eye contact, reluctant to admit the day has begun. And then, as the train emerges from a tunnel, the screaming starts. Hanging from the bridge ahead of them is a body. Placed neatly on the ground below him are the victim's clothes. Why? Detective Narey is assigned the case and then just as quickly taken off it again. Winter, now a journalist, must pursue the case for her. The line of questioning centres around the victim's clothes - why leave them in full view? And what did the killer not leave, and where might it appear again? Everyone has a hobby. Some people collect death. To find this evil, Narey must go on to the dark web, and into immense danger …

In New York, in the late 1880s, the miracle of electric light is still in its infancy and untold riches and glory await the man who can power the nation with this new technology. Thomas Edison has won the race to the patent office for his electric light bulb and is now suing his one remaining rival, George Westinghouse, for infringement for the unheard-of sum of a billion dollars. To defend himself, Westinghouse makes a surprising choice in his attorney: he hires untested 26-year-old Paul Cravath who is fresh out of law school. The task facing Cravath is truly daunting - win. And the stakes are immense: the winner of the case will illuminate America. 'If Paul could not break the patent claim, Thomas Edison would have a monopoly on light itself...'  The Last Days of Night is by Graham Moore

Jefferson Hinkley, undercover investigator, is off to America to embark on his most dangerous case yet.   Triple Crown is by Felix Francis.


Jane Tennison, a young, inexperienced WPC, learns the hard way never to take anyone, or anything, at face value, whether in her dealings with her police colleagues or when confronted by seemingly innocent suspects. Hidden Killers sees Jane acting as a 'decoy' prostitute, with the hope of capturing a suspect wanted for numerous sexual assaults. The attacker is drawn in and put under arrest. Commended for bravery in the case, Jane is given CID status and moves from Hackney to Bow Street Station as Detective. Her first call-out is to a non-suspicious death. The victim is a young mother, drowned tragically in her bath, leaving a bereft and doting husband and a young child. The two storylines interweave as Jane begins to doubt the evidence against her assailant in East London, and becomes certain that the young woman in the bath did not drown in tragic circumstances. Two entirely different cases but one common thread - the lingering doubt in Jane's mind around the evidence, and around her colleagues... Hidden Killers is by Lynda La Plante.

Mercy Killings is by Lisa Cutts. The death of a local sex offender places the police officers at East Rise incident room under immense pressure - they must treat this case like any other murder, but they know what Albie Woodville did and can feel little sympathy. Except, as the investigation progresses, it becomes clear this isn't just a one-off killing - someone is out for revenge...

Casey Carter was convicted of murdering her fiancĂ© – famed philanthropist Hunter Raleigh III – fifteen years ago. And Casey claims – has always claimed – she’s innocent.  Although she was charged and served out her sentence in prison, she is still living ‘under suspicion’.  She hears whispers at the grocery store.  She can’t get a job.  Even her own mother treats her likes she’s guilty.  Her story attracts the attention of Laurie Moran and the Under Suspicion news team – it’s Casey’s last chance to finally clear her name, and Laurie pledges to exonerate her.  With Alex Buckley taking a break from the show – cooling his potential romance with Laurie – Under Suspicion introduces a new on-air host named Ryan Nichols, a young legal whiz with a Harvard Law degree, Supreme Court clerkship, experience as a federal prosecutor, and regular stints on the cable news circuit.  He’s got a big reputation and the attitude to match it. Ryan has no problems with steering – and stealing – the show, and even tries to stop Laurie from taking on Casey’s case because he’s so certain she’s guilty. An egomaniacal new co-host, a relentless gossip columnist who seems to have all the dirt (and a surprising informant), and Casey’s longstanding bad reputation: Laurie must face this and more to do what she believes is right, to one and for all prove Casey’s innocence – that is, if she’s innocent….. The Sleeping Beauty Killer is by Alafair Burke and Mary Higgins Clark

Sunday 29 May 2016

Mike Ripley’s “Sorry I haven’t a Cluedo” at Crimefest

L-R : Peter Guttridge and Mike Ripley

The Crimefest weekend closed with a most amusing final session, managed admirably by writer, critic, editor, publisher, raconteur and Shots “Getting Away with Murder” Columnist, the Talented Mr Ripley.

The session that closed Crimefest 2016 was entitled “Sorry I Haven’t a Cluedo” - a panel quiz that Mike Ripley devised, and was last performed before the Millennium.

Mike Ripley had arranged two teams to battle their collective knowledge of Crime, Mystery and Thrillers, aided by Peter Guttridge.

Laura Wilson captained the Female Crime-Writers with her colleagues Susan Moody and Alison Bruce, while Ian Rankin captained the Male Crime-Writers Andrew Taylor and Thomas Mogford.

The recording was not planned, but as I found myself sitting right at the front with a great view, I decided it might be fun to record the event, but as I laughed so much, the filming is a tad gonzo, especially when Award winning crime-writer and journalist, Ruth Dudley Edwards appeared as a surprise guest, heavily disguised.

Life can be tough for us from time to time, and I find laughter at the absurdities of reality a coping mechanism, so we hope you enjoy these videos, which indicate the surreal and quintessential nature of British humour. They also indicate that these tremendous British writers of Crime Fiction are very grounded, and indeed are brave to find themselves at the mercy of, the man who we all know as, The Talented Mr Mike Ripley.

Note : The “Sorry I Haven’t a Cluedo” presentation is split into sections, I’ve stabilised the picture and sound as well as I can, though I was laughing a lot during the quiz, and part 2 is not as sharp [in terms of picture clarity] compared to the other sections.

And if you missed Mike Ripley [with Barry Forshaw and Peter Guttridge] and their humorous presentation on the Golden Age of British Thrillers, which they hosted at Crimefest in 2014, click here because absurdity and laughter are indeed the best medicine as evidenced at the clapping when the presentation concluded.

Shots Ezine would like to pass our thanks to Mike Ripley, Peter Guttridge, Ian Rankin, Laura Wilson, Andrew Taylor, Susan Moody, Thomas Mogford and Alison Bruce, Myles Allfrey and Adrian Muller for allowing us to feature this closing session of Crimefest 2016

The Shots Team hope to see you at 2017’s Crimefest, with full details available from www.crimefest.com because as Friedrich Nietzsche once said –

A good writer possesses not only his own spirit, but also the spirit of his friends.” 

Photo and Video 
(c) 2016 A Karim

Ian Rankin at Crimefest 2016

It was great seeing Ian Rankin come to Crimefest as a special guest. Quoting The Talented Mr Ripley at the start of his “Sorry I haven’t a Cluedo” quiz [when turning toward arguably Great Britain’s biggest selling writer of Police Procedurals] he said mischievously, tongue planted firmly in his cheek “…and we come to Ian Rankin, a writer who needs no introduction……”

We’ve all known Ian for some time now, though due to his popularity, when he makes an appearance he is much in demand from his readers and fans; so Mike Stotter [who has known Ian from way, way back] and I usually only get to say “hello” and have a brief chat as we pass in stairwells. This year we were fortunate as we managed to get to really chat in detail with the creator of John Rebus.

Ian arrived on Saturday morning, and I managed to have a brief chat as he waited for his room to be prepared. Naturally I was interested in the new book, “Rather be the Devil” due out this autumn. Ian would only reveal that he’d finished it, but was waiting for his wife to come back to him with her comments, and then he’d go back to re-writes. He did say that he was happy with the narrative structure and story, so here’s a tease, before November –

John Rebus, now a couple of years into his retirement, finds himself drawn into a cold case from the 1970s involving a female socialite, found dead in a bedroom in one of Edinburgh’s most luxurious hotels. It’s a crime over forty years old, but no one was ever found guilty.

Now, Rebus has his own reasons to investigate . . . but it is going to set him against some very dangerous people.

Ian had two major events planned at Crimefest, the first being an interview on Saturday with The Telegraph’s crime fiction critic Jake Kerridge and Sunday’s appearance on Mike Ripley’s Sorry I haven’t a Cluedo” and with little surprise both these events would be standing room only.

Ian Rankin and the Crimefest team allowed Shots Blog to record an edited version of the interview with Jake Kerridge which we present here. Please note it was recorded ‘gonzo style’, and from my position I was unable to capture Jake, due to a lectern being in the way, though the sound is good. We’ve edited out the first fifteen minutes due to sound quality issues, and as the sound for the Q & A with the audience was poor, we only have presented one of the questions.

So we hope you enjoy this presentation of Jake Kerridge in conversation with Ian Rankin

Shots has archived more video footage from Crimefest 2016 here including footage of Ian Rankin.

We will be uploading video form Mike Ripley’s his “Sorry I haven’t a Cluedo” quiz shortly.

Shots would like to thank Angela McMahon of Orion Publishing and Ian Rankin, as well as Adrian Muller and Myles Allfrey of Crimefest for allowing us to make this recording available to Shots Readers.

Shots Ezine has available for pre-order, copies of Ian Rankin’s next novel RATHER BE THE DEVIL at a 50% discount from our online bookstore - click here

Observations from Crimefest 2016

 Photos © 2016 A Karim, Peter Rozovsky & Jo Evans

“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit, but also the spirit of his friends.” 
Friedrich Nietzsche

Prior to a full report of the Crimefest 2016 event, which will appear in due course at the CWA Member Publication Red Herrings Magazine, [as well as in Jeff Peirce’s The Rap Sheet]; I thought I’d share some of my observations of this wonderful weekend.

Jeff Peirce kindly posted an array of photos I took earlier here, as well as the results from the 2016 CWA Dagger Longlist Nominations here and the Crimefest Awards from the Gala Dinner here.

I have compiled these series of video observations [and a few photos] from the Crimefest weekend for our readers, and those unable to make the event, to get a flavour of what went on.

Like many of us in the world of Crime, Mystery and Thrillers, I just love reading the dark side of Literature and have many colleagues, and friends within publishing, writing, editing, promotion, reading and reviewing, many scattered around the world.

I find great enjoyment in discovering insightful and page-turning fiction, in a world that appears to get dumber by the day, it provides me insight and escape from our existence. I also find the atmosphere within the Crime, Mystery and Thriller community to be collegiate, hence my use of the Nietzsche quote [above], as we all support one another in a business that is getting tougher and tougher by the day, due the economy, technological change, our shortening attention spans, dwindling time, and the distractions that circle us like vultures in a Mike Stotter western.

These videos are captured using my Iphone as well as my trusty Canon Camera, and were not planned. They are short clips, filmed in gonzo style and purely for fun. Please bear in mind there was a great deal of good natured banter, socialising, laughter and drinking going on.

L- R Clockwise : Mike Stotter,,Scott Turner, Mason Cross, Mike Stotter, Mark Billingham, Ali Karim and Peter Rozovsky [with camera]

The Presentation of the 2016 CWA Dagger Longlists occurred on Friday Night, and managed by the Chair of the Crime Writers Association, Len L.C. Tyler, assisted by judging chairs / judges.

So after the Longlists were announced, there was a surprise for writer / critic & Crimefest’s official quiz-master Peter Guttridge who after presenting the John Creasy New Blood Dagger Longlist for best Debut, was caught by surprise by being presented with the CWA Margery Allingham Award from former Dr Who, Peter Davison [who also played Allingham’s Albert Campion on TV] for his short story Heart Shaped Box. The Judging panel described Guttridge’s story as -

A clever and unusual story where Margery Allingham’s definition of a mystery – ‘box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge’ – is explored by the narrator. It becomes rather more than the fascinating intellectual exercise the reader first takes it for, as a man aims to murder his wife and her lover in such an extraordinary way that his obvious motive won’t be enough to incriminate him.”

Another highlight was catching up with 2009 CWA Diamond Dagger awarded writer Andrew Taylor in conversation with the 2016 CWA Diamond Dagger awarded writer Peter James. The event understandably was standing room only as both Taylor and James are not only bestselling writers but have won numerous awards and accolades due to their narrative skill; with Peter James holding the current No 1 position in the UK hardcover charts with Love You Dead.

At the Gala Dinner on Saturday, Peter James was presented with his Diamond Dagger, and he gave a very amusing, though poignant speech which should give a boost to writers everywhere, who dream of a career as a novelist.

Earlier in the afternoon, Crimefest Special Guest, Ian Rankin was interviewed by The Telegraph’s Crime Fiction Critic Jake Kerridge. During their exchange Ian discussed the role of the author in trying to make sense of the reality that surrounds him/her and the reader - via the detective. Because when it comes to making sense of the reality we find ourselves in, we are the Detective, piecing together what is really going on, and perhaps why?

Ian also was asked by the audience about how he comes up with character names, including Malcolm Fox, John Rebus as well as the names from charity auctions.

And Ian Rankin also talked about the link between the reality and the fictional portrayal of the changing face of law enforcement in Scotland.

Later at the Gala Dinner, Ian Rankin gave a very interesting and amusing speech, balancing the reality of the judicial process against the fictional one, indicating the surreal nature of life.

Another surprise was Martin Edwards receiving the HRF Keating Award for his Mystery Writers of America [MWA] Edgar Awarded ‘The Golden Age of Murder’

A real-life detective story, investigating how Agatha Christie and colleagues in a mysterious literary club transformed crime fiction, writing books casting new light on unsolved murders whilst hiding clues to their authors’ darkest secrets.

This is the first book about the Detection Club, the world’s most famous and most mysterious social network of crime writers. Drawing on years of in-depth research, it reveals the astonishing story of how members such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers reinvented detective fiction.

Other highlights included a rare appearance from writer / critic and Shots ‘Getting Away With Murder’ columnist The Talented Mr Mike Ripley to Bristol, where he participated in a panel discussion chaired by Journalist and Award-Winning Crime Writer Ruth Dudley Edwards on the Comic Crime Novel, with James Runcie, Nev Fountain and Douglas Lindsay.

We present some short amusing clips from that panel -

It was apt that Adrian Muller and Myles Allfrey closed Crimefest 2016, with Mike Ripley’s “Sorry I haven’t a Cluedo” aided by Peter Guttridge, where two teams battled in an amusing quiz related to Crime Fiction. Laura Wilson captained the Female Crime-Writers with her colleagues Susan Moody and Alison Bruce, while Ian Rankin captained the Male Crime-Writers Andrew Taylor and Thomas Mogford

Shots Blog will feature the full video of Mike Ripley’s “Sorry I haven’t a Cluedo” as well as an edited video of Ian Rankin in conversation with Jake, with The Rap Sheet Report to follow in due course.

The Shots Team hope to see you at 2017’s Crimefest, with full details available from www.crimefest.com

L-R TOP : Mike Stotter, Ayo Onatade, Mike Ripley, Mike Ripley & Ian Rankin, 
L-R BOTTOM : Mike Ripley, Peter Guttridge and Ali Karim