Tuesday 2 June 2020

CrimeFest 2020 Awards Shortlist Announced

Now in its 13th year, the awards honour the best crime books released in 2019 in the UK.
New for 2020, in association with its headline sponsor Specsavers, is the Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award. The winner will receive a £1,000 prize.

Adrian Muller, Co-host of CRIMEFEST, said: “Specsavers are passionate about the crime genre thanks to its founder Dame Mary Perkins, and their support ensures new voices in the genre will be recognised. We have really diverse awards reflecting the depth and breadth of the crime genre. Categories recognise e-books and audiobooks, humour, children and Young Adult crime fiction novels. We aim to be the most inclusive of awards to reflect the values of our convention.

A further £1,000 prize fund is also awarded to the Audible Sounds of Crime Award, sponsored by Audible UK. Eligible titles are submitted by publishers, and Audible UK listeners establish the shortlist and the winning title.

Laurence Howell, Vice President, Content at Audible said: “We are delighted to continue as sponsor of the Audible Sounds of Crime Award. This is a prize that is very close to our heart and important for our members who are passionate fans of crime audiobooks. Crime and thriller remains one of our bestselling genres because of the intimate, immersive nature of audiobooks. Congratulations to all award nominees!

All other category winners, which are judged by panels of leading British crime fiction reviewers, receive a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

The 2020 CRIMEFEST Awards were due to be presented at a Gala Dinner during the convention at the Bristol Grand Mercure Hotel this June. In light of Covid-19, the winners will be announced online at www.crimefest.com and via its social media pages on Tuesday 7 July.

CRIMEFEST was created following the hugely successful one-off visit to Bristol in 2006 of the American Left Coast Crime convention. It was established over ten years ago in 2008. It follows the egalitarian format of most US conventions, making it open to all authors and readers alike.

The convention has grown to become not only one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, but also one of the most popular dates in the international crime fiction calendar, with circa 60 panel events and 150 authors over four days.

Specsavers Crime Fiction Debut Award
One of the most anticipated categories showcases the next big names in the genre.
Shortlisted Holly Watt has already picked up the 2019 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for her debut, To The Lions. Another high-profile debut star is Alex Michaelides with The Silent Patient, which sold over a million copies and was a Richard and Judy book club pick.

Engineer Fiona Erskine’s debut Chemical Detective is also in contention for the best debut, alongside Katja Ivar for Evil Things. Katja who was born in Moscow, lives in Paris and has a Masters in Contemporary History; her debut takes place in Finland at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Carolyn Kirby’s The Conviction of Cora Burns was chosen by The Times as an historical fiction book of the month and was longlisted for the HWA debut crown award. Laura Shepherd-Robinson worked in politics for nearly twenty years before writing her thrilling debut historical crime novel, Blood & Sugar, set in 1781 amidst the British slavery industry also makes the shortlist.

Audible Sounds of Crime Award
The Audible shortlist features bestselling novels including Kate Atkinson’s Big Sky, read by Jackson Brodie actor Jason Isaacs, Lee Child’s Blue Moon narrated by Jeff Harding and The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides featuring Sherlock actress Louise Brealey and Jack Hawkins.

The British-Nigerian actress Weruche Opia narrates Oyinkan Braithwaite’s Booker-longlisted My Sister, The Serial Killer. Also, in contention are Alex Callister’s Winter Dark, The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, T.M. Logan’s The Holiday, and Peter May’s The Man with No Face.

H.R.F. Keating Award
Barry Forshaw, one of the UK’s leading experts on the genre, is shortlisted for the H.R.F Keating Award for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction for his guide to the genre, Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide. He’s up against John Curran’s The Hooded Gunman, a celebration of the 2000 books published by the iconic imprint Collins’ Crime Club. Also on the shortlist is Ursula Buchan with Beyond The Thirty-Nine Steps. Ursula, the granddaughter of John Buchan, who wrote the classic thriller famously adapted to film by Alfred Hitchcock, draws on recently discovered family documents in her illuminating biography.

Last Laugh Award
Previous winners of the Last Laugh Award return on the 2020 shortlist as Christopher Fowler, the author of fifty novels and short stories, is shortlisted for his Bryant & May mystery, The Lonely Hour. Fowler won the Last Laugh Award in 2009. L.C. Tyler also won the award in 2010. He returns with his novel, The Maltese Herring.

Also battling for the best humorous crime novel is the king of Helsinki noir, Antti Tuomainen, William Boyle for A Friend is a Gift you Give Yourself and Hannah Dennison with Tidings of Death at Honeychurch Hall.  Helen FitzGerald joins the shortlist for Worst Case Scenario, a deliciously dark, unapologetically funny psychological thriller by the international bestselling author The Cry.

eDunnit Award
Holly Watt (To The Lions), Helen FitzGerald (Worst Case Scenario) and L.C. Tyler (The Maltese Herring) are all shortlisted in their second category of the CRIMEFEST awards – the eDunnit award for best electronic crime novel. They’re up against Sarah Hilary’s Never Be Broken – her sixth book in the DI Marnie Rome series and Andrew Taylor for The King’s Evil, the hugely successful series from an author considered one of the best historical crime writers today. Also shortlisted is the American giant of twenty-one acclaimed, award winning international bestsellers, Don Winslow, for The Border, the concluding part of his Cartel trilogy.

Best Crime Fiction Novel for Children
Dark deeds, piratical plots and dastardly villains feature in the shortlist for the best children’s crime novel.

Welsh author P.G. Bell is shortlisted for The Great Brain Robbery, the second in his Train to Impossible Places Series. Acclaimed children’s author Vivian French is in contention for her adventures of a family theatre-troupe touring Victorian England by train in The Steam Whistle Theatre Company. 

Librarian and author Sophie Green makes the list with her unusual investigative duo chasing ghostly goings-on in Potkin and Stubbs. Also shortlisted is A.M. Howell whose The Garden of Lost Secrets set in 1916 on a country estate was a Times Children’s Book of the Week.

The Haven, an adrenalin-fuelled adventure by top thriller writer Simon Lelic, also makes the shortlist, along with Malamander by Thomas Taylor, a quirky fantasy with a cast of characters in pursuit of a sea monster. An illustrator and writer, Taylor’s first job was the cover for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Best Crime Fiction Novel for Young Adults
An icon of the crime genre synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham, makes the shortlist for his Young Adult novel Theodore Boone: The Accomplice featuring a nosy thirteen-year-old half-boy, half-lawyer.

Grisham is up against last year’s winner for the best crime fiction novel for young adults, Nikesh Shukla. Shukla hopes to hold onto the title with The Boxer, the story of seventeen-year-old Sunny who takes up boxing to protect himself after a racist attack.

Simon Mason, who won the CRIMEFEST Best Young Adult novel in 2017 for Kid Got Shot is also back with Hey Sherlock! which stars teen slacker and crime-solving genius Gavin Smith.

Kathryn Evans is no stranger to awards as her debut More of Me won the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award – the first Young Adult novel to do so. Her latest, Beauty Sleep, a dark thriller that plunges a pre-tech girl into a futuristic world, makes the shortlist. Also, in contention is the dark, twisty, fairy tale world of Samuel J. Halpin’s The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods and Heartstream, a taut thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal by Tom Pollock.

The Shortlists (as a list in full)
The Chemical Detective by Fiona Erskine (Point Blank)
Evil Things by Katja Ivar (Bitter Lemon Press)
The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby (No Exit Press)
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Orion Fiction)
Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson (Mantle)
To The Lions by Holly Watt (Raven Books)

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson narrated by Jason Isaacs (Penguin Random House Audio)
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite narrated by Weruche Opia (W F Howes)
Winter Dark by Alex Callister narrated by Ell Potter (Audible Studios)
Blue Moon by Lee Child narrated by Jeff Harding (Penguin Random House Audio)
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell narrated by Tamaryn Payne, Bea Holland, Dominic Thorburn (Penguin Random House Audio)
The Holiday by T.M. Logan narrated by Laura Kirman (Zaffre)
The Man with No Face by Peter May narrated by Peter Forbes (Quercus, Fiction)
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides narrated by Louise Brealey, Jack Hawkins (Orion)

Beyond The Thirty-Nine Steps by Ursula Buchan (Bloomsbury Publishing)
The Hooded Gunman by John Curran (HarperCollins Crime Club)
Crime Fiction: A Reader's Guide by Barry Forshaw (No Exit Press)

A Friend is a Gift you Give Yourself by William Boyle (No Exit Press)
Tidings of Death at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison (Constable)
Worst Case Scenario by Helen FitzGerald (Orenda Books)
Bryant & May - The Lonely Hour by Christopher Fowler (Transworld)
Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen (Orenda Books)
The Maltese Herring by L.C. Tyler (Allison & Busby)

Worst Case Scenario by Helen FitzGerald (Orenda Books)
Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary (Headline)
The King's Evil by Andrew Taylor (HarperFiction)
The Maltese Herring by L.C. Tyler (Allison & Busby)
To The Lions by Holly Watt (Raven Books)
The Border by Don Winslow (HarperFiction)
The Great Brain Robbery by P.G. Bell (Usborne Publishing)
The Steam Whistle Theatre Company by Vivian French (Walker Books)
 Potkin and Stubbs by Sophie Green (Bonnier Books)
The Garden of Lost Secrets by A.M. Howell (Usborne Publishing)
The Haven by Simon Lelic (Hodder Children's Books)
Malamander by Thomas Taylor (Walker Books)

Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans (Usborne Publishing)
Theodore Boone: The Accomplice by John Grisham (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods by Samuel J. Halpin (Usborne Publishing)
Hey Sherlock! By Simon Mason (David Fickling Books)
Heartstream by Tom Pollock (Walker Books)
The Boxer by Nikesh Shukla (Hodder Children's Books)

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