Friday, 30 September 2022

Winners of the Fingerprint Awards 2022




The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse named Crime Book of the Year 2021

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby named Thriller of the Year 2021

Laura Purcell’s The Shape of Darkness wins Historical Crime Book of the year 2021

Abigail Dean wins Debut Book of the Year 2021 for Girl A

The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor is named Genre-busting Book of the Year 2021

The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jónasson, narrated by Amanda Redman, wins Audiobook Book of the Year 2021

Industry Award of the Year 2021 is awarded to HarperCollins for their Girl A campaign

Lifetime Achievement Award is posthumously awarded to Thalia Proctor

S A Cosby Photograph credit Camilo Queipo.

The winners of the inaugural Fingerprint Awards, celebrating international crime and thriller writing, were announced by actor and author Paul Clayton last night, Thursday 29th September, at Capital Crime, in the shadow of the iconic Battersea Power Station. 

The winners of six out of eight categories were voted for online by crime and thriller fans: Crime Book of the Year 2021; Thriller of the Year 2021; Historical Crime Book of the Year 2021; Debut Book of the Year 2021; Genre-busting Book of the Year 2021 and Audio Book of the Year 2021. 

Ragnar Jonasson & Amanda Redman Photograph credit Camilo Queipo.

Notable winners included Blacktop Wasteland by S.A Cosby for Thriller of the Year 2021; Girl A by Abigail Dean for Debut Book of the Year 2021 and The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jónasson, narrated by Amanda Redman, for Audiobook Book of the Year 2021.

The winners of the Industry Award of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award were chosen solely by the Capital Crime Advisory Board. The Industry Award of the Year was won by HarperCollins for Girl A by Abigail Dean and the Lifetime Achievement Award was posthumously awarded to editor Thalia Proctor. 

Capital Crime Festival Director Lizzie Curle said: “We were honoured to kick off the inaugural Fingerprint Awards with Paul Clayton at the helm. We are grateful for all the support we have received from publishers, authors, and most importantly, the readers, who make these awards possible.”

The Fingerprint Award Winners 

Crime Book of the Year 2021

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse (Transworld)

Thriller Book of the Year 2021

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby (Headline)

Historical Crime Book of the Year - 2021

Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell (Bloomsbury)

Debut Book of the Year 2021

Girl A by Abigail Dean (HarperCollins)

Genre-Busting Book of the Year 2021

The Burning Girl by C.J. Tudor (Penguin)

Audiobook of the Year 2021

The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jonasson & Amanda Redman (Penguin)

Industry Award the year 2021

HarperCollins for Girl A

Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumous)

Thalia Proctor

Photographs credit Camilo Queipo.

Friday, 23 September 2022

Penguin Michael Joseph Launches New Prize


Penguin Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Random House, have today (Friday 23rd September 2022) revealed details of their new writers’ prize, following PMJ MD Louise Moore announcing that it was in the pipeline as part of her keynote speech at London Book Fair earlier this year.

The Penguin Michael Joseph Undiscovered Writers Prize aims to find new authors from underrepresented backgrounds who the division can bring to the widest possible readership. 

The inaugural prize (2022/2023) focusses on the crime and thriller genre, with budding writers being invited to submit tales of mysteries, crimes, jeopardy, action or adventure. 

The prize is aimed at unpublished writers aged over 18 who are currently a resident in the UK or ROI, and who are from a background that’s currently underrepresented in publishing – that includes ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, disability or socio-economic background.

Entries – which initially need to be submitted as a 200 word synopsis and 2000 word extract – will be judged by a panel of judges led by PMJ’s Crime and Thriller publisher Joel Richardson. 

He said,

We’re so excited to be launching this new prize, seeking out the brightest and best new voices in a genre I absolutely love. I hope it inspires people who have always daydreamed about writing a book to finally give it a go, and I also hope it plays a role in broadening the range of voices we see in crime/thriller writing – the UK’s biggest book genre.’ 

Joel’s fellow judges are: bestselling author Amy McCulloch; award-winning freelance crime fiction critic/commentator, moderator and blogger Ayo Onatade; Waterstones’ Head of Fiction Bea Carvalho; award-winning bookseller, owner of Goldsboro Books and MD and agent at D H H Literary Agency, David Headley, and Syima Aslam, the founder and Director of the Bradford Literature Festival - the most socio-economically and ethnically diverse literary festival in the UK.

The winner of the Penguin Michael Joseph Undiscovered Writers Prize will receive a publishing contract with PMJ, worth at least £10,000, and representation by the DHH Literary Agency. All shortlisted writers will also receive one-to-one editorial feedback and guidance from an editor or agent. 

Applications will open on 30th September and should be submitted via All further details and T&Cs can also be found here

The deadline for submissions is 30th November 2022, and the winner of the Prize is due to be announced in August 2023.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Strand Magazine Critics Awards


Strand Magazine Critics Awards were announced on 19th September 2022. 

Best Mystery Debut (2021)

Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka, Translated by Sam Malissa (Harry Abrams) 

Best Mystery Novel (2021)

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron Books) 

Publisher of the Year

Morgan Entrekin, President and Publisher of Grove/Atlantic Inc. in New York City.

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Sandra Brown

Nelson DeMille

Congratulations to all!

Monday, 19 September 2022

Extract From Harm by Sólveig Pálsdóttir

 ‘No!’ she burst out, her hands going to her mouth. The terror that enveloped every fibre of her was so forceful that she could barely draw breath. She stared at the man in the bed, snatched at him and shook him.

‘You can’t do this to me!’ she howled, as she fought to draw long, gasping breaths. ‘Ríkharður, my love, you weren’t supposed to die.’

She let go of him, and rocked herself back and forth in confusion. Her breathing was shallow and she was close to losing control. She told herself to focus, to take deep, long breaths, to stay in control and not to give way to panic that would leave her helpless. She had to be able to think, to do what was needed.

What was she supposed to do? Call 112 and ask for an ambulance? Or a doctor? She looked in desperation at the man in the bed. There was no doubt that he was dead, and she was sure she had heard that if someone died at home, the police would always attend. Would a caravan count as well? She was certain of it. The police would come, there would be an autopsy and the drugs in Ríkharður’s bloodstream would be identified.
Everything would point to her, since he was a doctor and of course would know better than to take that mix of drugs. How could she explain that she hadn’t meant to kill him, but had simply wanted him to fall into a deep sleep while she went out during the night? Who was going to believe that? No, she’d been down that road before, telling the truth to authority. They wouldn’t believe her any more than they had believed her back then. Nobody would take any notice of a woman with a past like hers. No, society would ostracise her. Crazy Diljá would be behind bars, or else locked away in a psychiatric ward. That dreadful place! She trembled with horror at the thought, shivering as if she were standing naked on a glacier.

Being locked in was the worst thing she could imagine. Nothing could be worse. She would lose custody, and she might never get to see María Líf ever again. That couldn’t be allowed to happen. No, not again! He mind was a whirl of thoughts, none of which she could bear to follow to a conclusion. All she knew was that she had to get away from here as soon as possible – get away and give herself space to think logically. The clothes she had worn the night before were in the wardrobe and she hurried to pull them on. She wiped her face with a towel, picked up her sports bag and jammed a baseball cap on her head. She was being stifled here – she had to get away, far from this nightmare.

Harm by Sólveig Pálsdóttir (Translated by Quentin Bates) Corylus Books (Out Now)

When wealthy doctor Ríkarður Magnússon goes to sleep in his luxurious caravan and doesn’t wake up, detectives Guðgeir Fransson and Elsa Guðrún are called to the Westman Islands to investigate what looks like murder. Suspicion immediately falls on Ríkharður’s young, beautiful and deeply troubled girlfriend – but there are no easy answers in this case as they are drawn into family feuds, disgruntled friends and colleagues, and the presence of a group of fitness-obsessed over-achievers with secrets of their own. As their investigation makes progress, Guðgeir and Elsa Guðrún are forced to confront their own preconceptions and prejudices as they uncover the sinister side of Ríkharður’s past. Harm is the third novel featuring the soft-spoken Reykjavík detective Guðgeir Fransson to appear in English. Sólveig Pálsdóttir again weaves a complex web of intrigue that plays out in the Westman Islands, remote southern Iceland and Reykjavík while asking some searching questions about things society accepts at face value – and others it is not prepared to tolerate.

Saturday, 17 September 2022

Ghosts, Shipwrecks and Murder by Guy Morpuss


Vancouver Island is a land of ghosts and shipwrecks.

Hauntings abound: the woman in a white ballgown seen on the stairs at Craigdarroch Castle; a crying girl who floats out to sea each morning; Kanaka Pete, a murderer hanged at Gallows Point, whose restless spirit wanders the beaches at dusk.

The western coast of the island is known as the Graveyard of the Pacific. Hundreds of ships have been wrecked in its treacherous waters, and countless lives lost.

The wreck of the Valencia, in January 1906, was one of the most tragic. En route from San Francisco to Seattle in bad weather, her captain overshot the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and struck a reef near Pachena Bay. As the ship slowly sank, a hundred metres offshore, the screams of the women and children could be heard over the sound of the rain and the wind. Only a handful of men survived.

Months later, a local fisherman found a lifeboat containing eight skeletons in a sea-cave next to the bay, the mouth of the cave blocked by a large boulder. There were also several reports of a lifeboat seen on the open sea, rowed by a crew of skeletons.

In late 2019 I had just returned from a trip to Vancouver Island, and my agent was about to put my first novel, Five Minds, out on submission to publishers. He asked me for an idea for a second novel that he could pitch at the same time. I was sitting at my desk with a blank piece of paper on which – for reasons that escape me – I had written a single word: ‘undelete’. As I wracked my brain this turned into an idea for a crime novel: a police officer trying to solve a murder in an isolated community where some members could unwind time. How would it work if whenever they got close to identifying the murderer someone turned back the clock?

For me the three most important parts of a novel are a clever plot, characters the readers want to spend time with, and an interesting location.

I had a plot; the characters would develop as I wrote; so I needed a location.

Vancouver Island has a stark beauty; it is isolated from the world, and frequently battered by fierce storms sweeping in off the Pacific Ocean. It seemed the perfect setting for a classic murder mystery: a group of people trapped in a remote mansion by bad weather, one of them murdered, and one of them a killer.

A friend of mine who comes from the island told me about Black Lake, near Pachena Bay, and the famously tragic shipwreck that had occurred there.

So Black Lake Manor starts with a shipwreck inspired by the story of the Valencia. Mine takes place a hundred years earlier. What follows also draws on the rich mythology of the local First Nations people.

In Black Lake Manor a single lifeboat escapes the sinking of the Pride of Whitby in 1804, but the survivors find themselves trapped in a cave. Only one escapes alive, having survived by eating the flesh of his companions. He is rescued by the Mowachaht, the local First Nations people, who realise that he has been visited by an island spirit and acquired a unique ability, which his descendants will share: once in their lives they can turn back time by six hours.

Two hundred and forty years later, when the locals close ranks around a possible murderer, this presents real problems for the investigating officer. Each time she has almost solved the murder she has to start again, with no recollection of what she discovered last time round – and each time her investigation goes off in a different direction. So, unusually, the reader knows more than the protagonist. But which of her possible solutions is the correct one?

Black Lake Manor features cannibalism, live heart removal, a chess set (which may or may not be a red herring), and a pet octopus.

It draws heavily on its location: the incredible beauty and harshness of the island; and the dark mythology of its people. I hope that I have done justice to it, and perhaps even will inspire some readers to visit the Graveyard of the Pacific.

Black Lake Manor by Guy Morpuss (Profile Books) Out Now

A locked room. A brutal murder. And a killer who can unwind time… In the former mining town of Black Lake, there is an old story about a shipwreck with only one survivor. His descendants have a unique ability: once in their lives – and only once – they can unwind the events of the previous six hours. More than two hundred years later, part-time police constable Ella Manning is attending a party at Black Lake Manor, the cliff-top mansion belonging to the local billionaire. When a raging storm sweeps in from the Pacific, she and several other guests find themselves trapped. And when their host is discovered brutally murdered in his study the next morning, the door locked from the inside, they turn to her to solve the crime. Pushing her detective skills to the limit, against the odds Ella is sure she has identified the killer… but then someone undoes time. With no memory of what she discovered before, her investigation begins again, with very different results. Which of her suspects is guilty? And is there something even more sinister she is yet to uncover? Can she solve the mystery before time runs out… again?

Friday, 16 September 2022

Joffe Books Prize becomes UK’s largest crime fiction award


Joffe Books Prize becomes UK’s largest crime fiction award with £25,000 support from Audible

Joffe Books is thrilled to announce that Audible has committed to supporting the Joffe Books Prize, with a £25,000 audiobook deal for the winner of the prize for the next three years, making it one of the most significant prizes for crime fiction in the UK.

The prize aims to find brilliant unagented crime writers of colour, and to support these authors in their journey to build a sustainable career.

The winner of the prize will now receive a £25,000 audiobook offer from Audible for the first book, in addition to a two-book publishing deal with Joffe Books and a £1,000 cash prize. The winner will additionally receive an editorial consultation with one of the judges and a two-year membership to the Society of Authors.

Audible has also extended the audiobook offer to include Northumberland-based debut novelist Christie J. Newport, winner of the Joffe Books Prize 2021.

In celebration of this partnership, the submission period for 2022 has been extended to midnight on 31 October 2022.

This year, the judging panel includes Oyinkan Braithwaite, critically acclaimed, award-winning author of the bestselling My Sister, the Serial Killer, and Ella Diamond Kahn, co-founder and partner of the Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency.

The prize, launched in 2021, is a direct response to the paucity of diverse voices being published in crime fiction. It invites submissions from un-agented authors from Black, Asian, Indigenous and minority ethnic backgrounds writing in crime fiction genres including electrifying psychological thrillers, cosy mysteries, gritty police procedurals, twisty chillers, unputdownable suspense mysteries and shocking domestic noirs.

Full Terms & Conditions can be found at

Emma Grundy Haigh, Editorial Director at Joffe Books, says: “I am absolutely thrilled by Audible’s commitment to not just our prize, but to amplifying underrepresented voices in a very real way. Their involvement is utterly gamechanging — it promises to make this one of the most significant crime fiction prizes in the UK. Audible’s enthusiasm and advocacy has been evident right from the start. It’s been a pleasure to work with them so far, and I can’t wait to see what we can achieve.

Aurelie de Troyer, Senior Vice President, International English Content says: “Audible is delighted to be able to offer the winner of the Joffe Books Prize this additional opportunity. We are passionate believers in the power of storytelling and want those stories to come from the widest possible range of people. We hope that our support will help set the winner on the path to a sustainable long-term writing career and look forward to giving them a well-deserved platform in audio.

Thursday, 15 September 2022

2022 Ngaio Marsh Awards Winner Announced

 Giving victims a voice: debut novel sweeps 

2022 Ngaio Marsh Awards

History was made at a special WORD Christchurch event on Thursday night as Taranaki author Jacqueline Bublitz’s first novel was revealed as the winner of both categories of the 2022 Ngaio Marsh Awards

In the thirteenth instalment of Aotearoa’s annual awards celebrating excellence in crime, mystery, and thriller writing, Bublitz scooped both the Best First Novel and Best Novel prizes for Before You Knew My Name (Allen & Unwin). It is the first time any Kiwi storyteller has won both fiction categories.

Beautifully heart-breaking, stylishly written, and boldly pushing the envelope of crime fiction,” said the international judging panels. “Bublitz delivers a beguiling tale with great characterisation: Alice and Ruby are wonderful. This is a tragic but warm-hearted crime novel that gives victims agency and voice.

Ngaio Marsh Awards founder Craig Sisterson noted that while a few excellent debuts have been shortlisted for both categories over the past several years, Before You Knew My Name is the first book to ever win two Ngaio Marsh Awards. Bublitz also joins Christchurch author and international bestseller Paul Cleave, a three-time Best Novel winner, as the only Kiwi storytellers with multiple Ngaios. So far.

It’s a remarkable achievement by Jacqueline,” added Sisterson, “especially given the strength of the Best Novel category this year, which included past Ngaios winners in Cleave and RWR McDonald, a four-time finalist in Ben Sanders, a two-time Ockhams longlistee in Kirsten McDougall, and a many-times New York Times bestseller in Nalini Singh. Our judges really loved many different books, it was a tough decision.

The international judging panels for this year’s Ngaio Marsh Awards comprised leading crime fiction critics, editors, and authors from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Scotland, and the United States.

While Before You knew My Name shares an inciting incident familiar to any viewer of US cop shows – a jogger in New York City finds the body of a young woman – in her debut Bublitz flips the script by taking readers deep into the lives of Alice and Ruby, the victim and the jogger, rather than the detectives.

On Thursday night, Bublitz was presented with the Best First Novel prize by bestselling Australian author Michael Robotham, then the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel by Scottish queen of crime Val McDermid. Before the audience found out whowunnit, Robotham and McDermid had entertained attendees in a thrilling panel with past Ngaios winner JP Pomare, as part of the trio’s Crime After Crime tour of New Zealand.

The two Ngaio Marsh Awards add to a list of accolades for Bublitz’s debut that include winning General Fiction Book of the Year at the ABIA Awards, being shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger in the UK, and winning the Debut Crime and Readers’ Choice prizes at the Davitt Awards of Sisters in Crime Australia.

Before it was published, Bublitz worked on Before You Knew My Name for several years, including living in New York City, “ostensibly for research” in 2015, and persisting through dozens of rejections. She finally completed the novel in the aftermath of her beloved father’s death in 2019, after returning to New Zealand from two decades in Melbourne. “I realised what I was trying to say, which is look at what we lose when this kind of crime happens,” she said. “I was going through my own experience of loss and thinking about mortality, and I changed some of the narrative and became a lot more clear on Alice’s journey.”

Bublitz’s prizes include two trophies, $1,000 courtesy of WORD Christchurch, long-time partner of the Ngaio Marsh Awards, and a cash prize from the Ngaios. Her book is released in US hardcover in November.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

PBS Masterpiece - 7 Fictional Female Detectives to Discover Now

Over on the PBS Masterpiece website you can find a wide range of information on their various shows including schedules, podcasts and special features. Their latest post is about fictional detectives.

(From the website)

With three separate take-charge women solving crimes and defying stereotypes on MASTERPIECE on PBS this fall, now’s the perfect time to explore the fascinating range of similar protagonists—from books. We asked crime fiction reviewers, authors, and insiders for their favorite female crime fighters, and they delivered a list stretching from an 11-year-old sleuth to a forensic archeologist. Whether you’re interested in cozy mysteries or futuristic police procedurals, there’s plenty to love in these seven recommendations.

Some well known authors, mystery folk and reviewers (Including myself) have contributed to some surprising choices.

The 7 fictional female detectives can be seen here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

2022 Mo Siewcharran Prize shortlist

The 2022 Mo Siewcharran Prize shortlist has been revealed! Please join us in congratulating our shortlisted writers, selected by our judging panel.

The winner will be announced on 28th September 2022

Saturday, 10 September 2022

Anthony Award Winners 2022

The Anthony Awards were presented at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, in Minneapolis. 

The winners are as follows -

Best Novel

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron)

Best First Novel

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley Prime Crime)

Best Paperback/Ebook/Audiobook Oriignal

Bloodline by Jess Lourey (Thomas & Mercer)

Best Anthology

This Time for Sure: Bouchercon Anthology 2021, Edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Down & Out)

Best Short Story

"Not My Cross to Bear" by S.A. Cosby (from Trouble No More: Crime Fiction Inspired by Southern Rock and the Blues, edited by Mark Westmoreland; (Down & Out))

Best Critical/Non-Fiction

How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America edited by Lee Child with Laurie R. King (Simon & Schuster)

Best Children's/Young Adult

I Play One on TV by Alan S. Orloff (Down & Out)

Congratulations to all the winners and the nominated authors.

Friday, 9 September 2022

Deadly Pleasures Magazine:- Barry Awards Announced


Deadly Pleasures Magazine have announced the Winners of the Barry Awards at the Opening Ceremonies at the Minneapolis Bouchercon. 

Best Mystery/Crime Novel
Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)

Best First Mystery/Crime Novel
Sleeping Bear by Connor Sullivan (Emily Bestler/Atria)

Best Paperback Original
The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan (Blackstone)

Best Thriller

Five Decembers by James Kestrel (HardCase Crime)

Congratulations to all the winners and nominated authors.



For works published in 2021

The Macavity Awards are nominated by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal, and friends of MRI.

The winners were announced at the opening ceremonies at the Minneapolis Bouchercon. 

Best Mystery Novel

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)

Best First Mystery Novel

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley)

Best Mystery Short Story

Sweeps Week,” by Richard Helms (EQMM, July/August 2021)

Best Non-Fiction/Critical 

How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America edited by Lee Child with Laurie R. King (Scribner)

Best Historical Mystery: Sue Feder Memorial Award

Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)

Congratulations to all the winners and nominated authors

Wednesday, 7 September 2022



Sept. 7, 2022 — Angry Robot Books announced today the launch of Datura Books, a new crime fiction imprint focused on titles with a strong sense of voice and place that push the boundaries of the genre, while playing with readers’ favourite tropes. 

Datura is founded on what sets Angry Robot apart - direct connection with our readers,” said Publisher Eleanor Teasdale. “As avid readers in this genre, our team all believe that we can offer something special by using our experience with Angry Robot to choose the titles we would be so excited to pick up in a bookshop.

Along with Teasdale, Datura is led by a seasoned team of Angry Robot editors spanning a range of tastes, including Simon Spanton, Gemma Creffield, Daniel Culver and Ella Chappell, who is a judge for this year’s CWA Daggers. They are also supported by author and editor Bryon Quertermous who brings his intimate knowledge of the genre in the US to the team. 

I like well-written psychological horror and literary crime,” said Culver. “I’d also be keen to see an old-fashioned whodunit in the vein of Clue or Knives Out.” 

Teasdale is on the hunt for brilliant translation projects, reinventions of sub genres and classic police procedurals. Spanton’s passion lies in crime set in the American South during the civil rights era, as well as 1930s and 1970s/1980s settings in Britain. Chappell, who says, “A locked-door mystery with a small cast of unforgettable characters never goes amiss!” seeks gripping, modern psychological thrillers. Creffield recently commissioned a title previously set for self-publishing by a popular TikTokker due to enthusiasm on the platform, which exemplifies Datura’s mission of seeking submissions based first and foremost on what readers want.

We are delighted to be expanding our fiction publishing into the world of crime and thriller with Datura,” said Deputy Managing Director Vicky Hartley. “The launch list is an exciting mix of styles, authors, and most importantly, fantastic writing.”

Datura also aims to speak to an emerging younger readership. The imprint’s debut release Death Of a Dancing Queen is the adult debut by YA mystery author Kimberly G. Giarratano on February 14, 2023. Six titles are already committed to publish over the next year and will be distributed internationally by Penguin Random House, as well as sales, design and production support from Watkins. Find more at

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Finalists Revealed for The McIlvanney Prize 2022

Sponsored by The Glencairn Glass

Winners to be presented on Thursday 15 September 2022

In Bloody Scotland’s 10th Anniversary year, the judges are delighted to reveal the finalists for The McIlvanney Prize 2022:

Liam McIlvanney – The Heretic (HarperCollins)

Alan Parks – May God Forgive (Canongate)

Ambrose Parry – A Corruption of Blood (Canongate)

Louise Welsh – The Second Cut (Canongate)

A hat trick for Canongate and indeed for Scottish independent publishing! The McIlvanney Prize judges are Ayo Onatade, winner of the CWA Red Herring Award and freelance crime fiction critic, Ewan Wilson, crime fiction buyer from Waterstones Glasgow and Jacky Collins, otherwise known as the podcaster, Dr Noir and programmer of Newcastle Noir. They were unanimous in their praise for all four finalists:

Liam McIlvanney – The Heretic (HarperCollins) The masterful rendering of a richly layered plot makes you want to read this novel again as soon as you’ve finished it. It’s a warts and all tale with memorable characters and a great setting.

Alan Parks – May God Forgive (Canongate) This expertly handled and morally ambiguous novel paints a dark and mesmerising portrait of 1970s Glasgow. The skillfully written and complex plot builds to a thrilling and highly unconventional denouement.

Ambrose Parry – A Corruption of Blood (Canongate) A real slow burner of a novel which is a marvellous tale of murder and deception in Victorian Edinburgh. It handles some difficult subject matter with sensitivity and care and has a real feeling of authenticity

Louise Welsh – The Second Cut (Canongate) The raw, tight prose of this novel delivers an edgy glimpse into the underbelly of 21st century Glasgow. The novel feature the welcome return of Rilke from Louise’s classic debut The Cutting room in a witty and sometimes sordid tale of a rank outsider.

The winner will be revealed in Stirling on Thursday 15 September. All of the shortlisted authors will be invited to a VIP reception at the Church of the Holy Rude at 7pm and to lead the torchlit procession from Stirling Castle to The Albert Halls where the winner of both the McIlvanney and the Bloody Scotland Debut Prizes will be revealed at approximately 8.30pm. They will then be interviewed on stage by BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth.

Saturday, 27 August 2022

Durham Book Festival - 13th - 16th October 2022


The Durham Book Festival programme has been announced.

The programme can be found here.

What will be of interest is that there are a number of events involving crime writers.

14th October 2022 Gala Theatre – 5:30pm – 6:30pm

An Audience with Alexander McCall Smith

15th October 2022 Gala Theatre – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Murder and Mystery: Lucy Foley and Janice Hallett

15th October 2022 Gala Theatre – 3:00pm – 4:00pm

LJ Ross: The Big Read

16th October 2022 Gala Theatre Studio – 11:30am – 12:30pm

Baskerville Proof Party

The full festival programme and tickets will be available from Thursday 10th September 2022, at

Friday, 26 August 2022

Shortlist for The Fingerprint Award 2022 announced


Crime novelists including Val McDermid, Janice Hallett and Abir Mukherjee have been shortlisted for the inaugural Fingerprint Awards.

The awards, which recognise the best titles in the crime genre and most of which are voted for by readers, are held as part of the Capital Crime Festival co-organised by Goldsboro Books owner and agent David Headley.

Shortlisted for the Crime Book of the Year is McDermid’s 1979 (Little, Brown), Mick Herron’s Slough House (John Murray Press) and Hallett’s debut, The Appeal (Viper), which won the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger earlier this year. Also in the running is fellow debut novelist Sarah Pearse with The Sanatorium Transworld) and Eva Björg Ægisdóttir for her second novel, Girls Who Lie (Orenda).

Lisa Jewell and Paula Hawkins have made the cut for Thriller Novel of the Year with The Night She Disappeared (Cornerstone) and A Slow Fire Burning (Transworld) respectively, while Gold Dagger-winning M W Craven is in the running for Dead Ground (Little, Brown).

Multi-award winner author Mukherjee is among those shortlisted for the Historical Crime Novel of the Year for The Shadows of Men (Vintage), his latest Wyndham & Banerjee novel, alongside Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson (Pan Macmillan).

Two other categories will be selected solely by the Capital Crime advisory board, comprised of authors, bloggers, journalists and industry figures. The categories are the Industry Award of the Year, recognising the best marketing campaign, editorial work, or publishing strategy, and the Thalia Proctor Lifetime Achievement Award, marking an outstanding contribution to the crime-writing industry.

"My vision for Capital Crime was always to make it a festival for readers and what better way to celebrate the readers who make it all worthwhile than to give them the power to decide the winners of the Fingerprint Awards?" Headley said. "Narrowing down the incredible body of work published last year to six categories of five books [each] was no mean feat but with the well-informed advisory board we’ve gathered together, I’m confident that these shortlists represent the very best of crime and thriller writing from around the world."

Readers can vote for their preferred winners here by 19th September. The winners will be announced at 7.30pm on 29th September.

Capital Crime will be hosting pitch-an-agent sessions with David Headley (D H H), Emily Glenister (DHH), Camilla Bolton (Darley Anderson) or Phillip Patterson (Marjaq).The slots are open to all unrepresented ticket holders working on their crime novel (completed novels or full synopsis preferred) as part of the Next Generation of Voices afternoon takeover at the festival this autumn. To apply for a slot, contact

The shortlists in full:

Crime Book of the Year 2021

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse (Transworld)

1979 by Val McDermid (Little, Brown)

The Appeal by Janice Hallett (Viper)

Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdottir (Orenda Books)

Slough House by Mick Herron (John Murray Press)

Thriller Book of the Year 2021

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins (Transworld)

Dead Ground by M W Craven (Little, Brown)

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell (Cornerstone)

Knife Edge by Simon Mayo (Transworld)

Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean (Hodder & Stoughton)

Historical Crime Book of the Year 2021

A Net for Small Fishes by Lucy Jago (Bloomsbury)

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell (Bloomsbury)

Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd Robinson (Pan Macmillan)

The Shadows of Men by Abir Mukherjee (Vintage)

A Comedy of Terrors by Lindsay Davis (Hodder & Stoughton)

Debut Book of the Year 2021

Girl A by Abigail Dean (HarperCollins)

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner (Bloomsbury)

Welcome to Cooper by Tariq Ashkanani (Amazon Publishing)

How to Kidnap the Rich by Rahul Raina (Little, Brown

Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison (Pan Macmillan)

Genre-Busting Book of the Year 2021

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris (Bloomsbury)

How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie (HarperCollins) 

The Burning Girls by C J Tudor Penguin Books)

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi (Penguin Books)

What Abigail Did That Summer by Ben Aaronovitch (Orion)

Audiobook of the Year 2021

People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd (Pan Macmillan)

The Girl Who Die by Ragnar Jónasson (Orenda Books

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox (Transworld)

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz (Cornerstone)

I know what I Saw by Imran Mahmood (Bloomsbury)

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

2022 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards


2022 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards.

 Winners were announced at Killer Nashville.

Best Action Adventure

The Pilate Scroll by M.B. Lewis

Best Attendee Action Adventure

Killers!: A Natalie McMasters Mystery by Thomas A. Burns, Jr.

Best Comedy

Big Fat F@K Up by Lawrence Allan

Best Cozy

Suitable for Framing by Lori Roberts Herbst

Best Attendee Cozy

Murder in the Master – A Chesapeake Bay Mystery by Judy L Murray

Best Historical

After Alice Fell by Kim Taylor Blakemore

Best Investigator

Girl Missing by Kate Gable

Best Attendee Investigator

10 Days: A Dee Rommel Mystery by Jule Selbo

Best Juvenile / YA

Leisha’s Song by Lynn Slaughter

Best Attendee Juvenile / YA

Leisha’s Song by Lynn Slaughter

Best Mystery

An Ambush of Widows by Jeff Abbot

Best Attending Mystery

Bluff by John De Dakis

Best Nonfiction 

The Home for Friendless Children by C.L. Olsen

Best Sci-fi / Fantasy

Tomb of the Queen by Joss Walker

Best Short Story Collection / Anthology

House of Crows by Lisa Unger

Best Southern Gothic

A Curse of Silver and Blood by Kimberly A Banks

Best Attendee Southern Gothic

A Curse of Silver and Blood by Kimberly A Banks

Best Supernatural

Our Trespasses by Michael Cordel

Best Suspense

The Reunion by Kiersten Modglin

Best Attendee Suspense 

The Next Wife by Kaira Rouda

Best Thriller

The General's Briefcase by Ray Collins

Best Attendee Thriller

Fallen Star: The Divine Devils Book 2 by R Weir

Hat tip: Janet Rudolph and Mystery Fanfare

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

When real crimes ‘spark’ novel ideas by Sherryl Clark


I often wonder how many crime writers, like me, turn to the pages of the newspaper first that deal with crime reports and investigative articles on real life murders. One of my longtime favourite crime reporters is John Silvester, at The Age in Melbourne, who has a weekly column called “The Naked City” (and a fascinating podcast as well).

It was from Silvester’s early books, co-written with fellow journalist Andrew Rule, that the first ideas and sparks came for my crime novel, Trust Me, I’m Dead. They wrote extensively about the Melbourne Gangland Wars in which over 20 people were murdered, but the ones that stuck with me the most were those where innocent women and children were killed or were witnesses.

One of these was Jane Thurgood-Dove, shot in her driveway in front of her kids – for no apparent reason. She had no gangland connections at all. It took a long time before police discovered the actual hit was supposed to be on another woman, wife of an underworld gangster, who lived up the street. And who in Melbourne could forget the brazen shotgun and pistol murders of Jason Moran and Pat Barbaro in a van in which five kids were sitting in the back seat? Two of them were Moran’s twin children.

Up until then, many people in Melbourne figured if crims were knocking each other off in a war, who really cared? But after these killings, things changed, not least the intensity of police actions to quell the war. In my novel, this idea that innocent women and children get caught up in violence through no fault of their own plays out through Judi Westerholme’s brother, who is murdered despite appearing to have changed his life and started again. Answering the question of why becomes vital so Judi can save her own life and that of her niece.

When it came to writing Mad, Bad and Dead, another crime against a woman and child was like a nagging tug at the back of my mind. Vicki Jacobs, who was living in country Victoria in 1999, was shot in the head and body while lying in her bed. Police said it was a cold-blooded execution. The most horrific part of this was that Ms Jacob’s six-year-old son was asleep next to her when it happened. As well, a young niece was sleeping in another room. That callous murder and trying to imagine what the children went through sparked the initial chapters of Mad, Bad and Dead.

It was believed that Ms Jacobs’ murder was in retaliation for her testifying against her ex-husband who had murdered two mechanics in South Australia. The court was told the murders were ordered on behalf of the Hells Angels motorbike club. Ms Jacobs had been offered police protection, but felt she didn’t want her young son to grow up away from family and friends.

For my novel, rather than follow the realities of this case, I used it as an inspiration. It meant I needed to come up with my own motive for the murder of my character, Kate, which of course included finding a credible villain and plenty of red herrings. I sometimes feel like a magpie, with a huge box of cuttings from newspapers and a number of true crime books to delve into for sparkers (I find the ones that are collections of newspaper articles the best. 

In looking for good villains this time, it was a saying that nagged at me – “mad, bad and dangerous to know”. I discovered a criminal, Christopher Binse, who called himself “Badness” (a nickname given to him in jail) and at one point, put a public notice to police in the newspaper saying, “Badness is back”. He also used to send Christmas cards to police signed Badness. Binse is an intriguing subject, seeming to have no qualms about enjoying himself while he robbed banks and carried out other armed robberies. He was put in a boys’ home when he was 14, deemed “uncontrollable”, and abused and beaten while there. Now 53, he’s been inside for 36 of the last 40 years, often in solitary confinement and at one point, in shackles.

Binse doesn’t feature in Mad, Bad and Dead at all, but he partly inspired my hitman, as have others who kill for money. That chilling ability to murder or commit crimes with no regret or compunction is something that sends a shudder through us all. One police officer said of Binse, “I would be genuinely frightened if I saw him on the street.”

As for “mad, bad and dangerous to know”? It’s believed to have first been said by Lady Caroline Lamb to describe Lord Byron. The mind works in mysterious ways!

Mad, Bad and Dead by Sheryl Clark (published by Verve Books) Out Now

A dead employee. A missing child. Anonymous phone calls in the dead of night. Judi Westerholme's troubles aren't over yet...  Already struggling to juggle co-running the local pub along with her new childcare responsibilities for her orphaned niece, Judi does not need her life to become any more complicated. Yet, as usual, complications arrive in spades: she starts receiving threatening, late-night phone calls before discovering one of her employees, Kate, shot dead. Judi finds herself caught up in a murder investigation, as well as the hunt for the Kate's fourteen year-old daughter, who has been missing since the murder. Add in the uncertainty of her relationship with Melbourne-based D.S. Heath and the fact that her estranged mother's nursing home keeps urging her to visit, and Judi might finally be at breaking point.