Thursday 29 June 2023

2023 Ngaio Marsh Award Longlist Revealed


Poker, poverty, and the power of storytelling: 2023 Ngaio Marsh Award Longlist Revealed

A poker-playing sleuth, a poet’s gritty take on life on Aotearoa’s poverty line, a rural mystery entwined with heart-wrenching exploration of dementia, and the long-awaited return of a master of neo-noir are among the diverse tales named today on the longlist for the 2023 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel.

Now in their fourteenth season, the Ngaio Marsh Awards celebrate excellence in New Zealand crime, mystery, and thriller writing. They are named for Dame Ngaio Marsh, one of the Queens of Crime of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, who penned bestselling mysteries that entertained millions of global readers from her home in the Cashmere Hills. “I’d like to think Dame Ngaio would be proud of how our modern Kiwi storytellers are continuing her literary legacy, bringing fresh perspectives and a cool mix of fascinating tales to one of the world’s most popular storytelling forms,” says awards founder Craig Sisterson. “In recent years we seem to be going through our own golden age, with our local writers offering a treasure trove of terrific stories for readers at home and all over the world.”

The longlist for the 2023 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel includes a mix of past winners and finalists, several first-time entrants and new voices, and the long-awaited return of one of the leading lights of the early 2000s New Zealand literary scene. “In crime and thriller writing it’s natural for authors to make it really tough on their characters,” says Sisterson, “but our entrants made it tough on our judges too. This year’s longlist is a wonderful showcase of Kiwi creativity, with a great range of stories that explore some deep and very important issues in among the page-turning intrigue and thrills.

The Ngaio Marsh Awards have celebrated the best New Zealand crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense writing since 2010. The longlist for this year’s Best Novel prize is: 

Too Far From Antibes by Bede Scott (Penguin SEA)

Exit .45 by Ben Sanders (Allen & Unwin)

Remember Me by Charity Norman (Allen & Unwin)

Blue Hotel by Chad Taylor (Brio Books)

Poor People With Money by Dominic Hoey (Penguin)

The Darkest Sin by DV Bishop (Macmillan)

The Doctor's Wife by Fiona Sussman (Bateman Books)

Miracle by Jennifer Lane

Better The Blood by Michael Bennett (Simon & Schuster)

In Her Blood by Nikki Crutchley (HarperCollins)

The Pain Tourist by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press)

Blood Matters by Renée (The Cuba Press)

The Slow Roll by Simon Lendrum (Upstart Press)

Paper Cage by Tom Baragwanath (Text Publishing)

The longlist is currently being considered by an international judging panel of crime and thriller writing experts from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Finalists for Best Novel, Best First Novel, and Best Non-Fiction will be announced in August, with the finalists celebrated and the winners announced as part of a special event held in association with WORD Christchurch later in the year.

 A video of the Longlist can be found below.

For more information on this year’s Best Novel longlist, or the Ngaio Marsh Awards in general, please, or founder and judging convenor Craig Sisterson,  

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Capital Crime Launched!


Richard Armitage, Peter James, Richard Osman, Yomi Adegoke, Joanne Harris, Imran Mahmood, Liz Nugent and Nicola Williams are amongst the authors confirmed for Capital Crime, London’s largest celebration of crime and thriller writing, which returns 31st August – 2nd September.

In the Leonardo Royal London, the festival’s exciting new home, over 140 leading voices from crime fiction will be speaking about everything from horror and history in crime to the legacies of Marple, Chandler and Bond, alongside Capital Crime’s social outreach programme which has been in place since 2019, and the second year of the Fingerprint Awards, voted for by readers. Taking place in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral and with a Goldsboro Books pop-up bookshop, it promises to be a brilliantly entertaining and insightful weekend for crime fiction enthusiasts.

 Now in its third year, Capital Crime is proud to be a part of and contributor to the vibrant culture scene with the city, and has quickly established itself as one of the biggest festivals in the UK, with a reputation for originality, innovation, and a focus on creating an incredible reader experience with creatively curated and inclusive panels. Co-founded by Goldsboro Books MD David Headley, it has welcomed readers from around the country to see British authors such as Robert Harris, Anthony Horowitz and Paula Hawkins appearing alongside international talent including Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir and US bestsellers Jeffrey Deaver and Chris Carter.

 Headley and his team at Goldsboro Books have helped launch the careers of so many authors since it opened almost 25 years ago, by uniting incredible writing with their loyal, ever-growing community of passionate readers. Renowned for their thoughtful and impactful new initiatives to engage communities of readers, Capital Crime is a brilliant extension of this vision with an outstanding programme of over 40 entertaining, accessible events that explore all corners of the genre, and the opportunity to meet your literary heroes. 

 On the first day of the festival (Thursday 31st August), the afternoon will start with the Future Generations Afternoon Takeover, a series of events dedicated to Capital Crime’s social outreach programme. This sees sixth form students and their teachers from schools in South London invited to meet authors and publishing professionals, with the aim of demystifying the industry and opening it up to attract new and diverse young voices into publishing. There will also be an industry panel, with Amy Baxter, Christina Demosthenous and Leodora Darlington talking to Manpreet Grewal about their journey in publishing and their goals for future.

The afternoon will also see a discussion on the moral dilemmas of crime writing with Yomi Adegoke, Jack Jordan, Lia Middleton, Nicola Williams and Nadine Matheson; and a panel on the legacy of Miss Marple with Elly Griffiths, Dreda Say Mitchell, Ruth Ware and Lucy Foley. Moderated by Ayo Onatade, Charlie Higson, Bonnie McBird, Katherine Bradley will what it’s like to continue the legacies of James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and 1984, and writing their iconic characters for a modern audience.

The evening will conclude with The Fingerprint Awards, the Capital Crime awards ceremony which allows crime and thriller lovers to select the winner of five categories, including Crime Novel of the Year; Thriller Novel of the Year; and Historical Crime Novel of the Year. 

Friday will see international bestseller Kate Atkinson interviewed by festival co-founder David Headley; top ten bestsellers Lisa Jewell and Adele Parks in conversation with Sarah Shaffi; Louise Candlish and Dorothy Koomson speaking with Lisa Howells and Happy Valley creator Sally Wainwright interviewed by Amy Raphael. 

 Panel highlights from the day include C J Taylor, Olivia Kiernan and Susi Holliday revealing the locations and relationships that create the perfect home for crime fiction with Sam Brownley; and S J Parris, A J West, K J Maitland and Anna Mazzola debating historical inspiration in crime writing with Vaseem Khan, whilst Rob Scragg, Judith O’Reilly, Chris McGeorge and Fiona Erskine of the Northern Crime Writing Syndicate will be challenged to create a bestseller in one hour. In addition, Liz Nugent, Catherine Ryan Howard and Andrea Carter will be speaking to Jane Casey about Irish crime writing, and Anna Motz, Matt Johnson and Donna Freed will discuss society’s obsession with true crime and its influence on crime fiction with Victoria Selman. 

 The first two rounds of Capital Crime’s fun-filled quiz, ‘Whose Crime Is It Anyway’, will also be taking place, featuring teams of debut authors.                                                                          

Saturday will see Fiona Cummins, Mark Edwards and Kia Abdullah speak to Araminta Hall about fictional good characters who end up doing terrible things; J P Delaney, Leye Adenle and Louise Hare in conversation with H B Lyle to talk about crime fiction across the world; and Will Dean, Louise Swanson and Gillian McAllister speak to S J Watson about high concept ideas in the world of crime-fiction. Bestsellers Joanne Harris and Sarah Pinborough will discuss the role of women and gender in thriller-writing; Gareth Rubin, Janice Hallett and Cara Hunter will dissect the importance of structure and form in crime writing; and Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman will talk about misdirection and illusion in crime fiction. 

The day will finish with Peter James speaking about his famous creation Roy Grace; actor Richard Armitage speaking about his debut crime novel Geneva, and Richard Osman in conversation with Miles Jupp. 

There will also be exciting public events throughout the weekend, including proof parties and launch events forVictoria Selman’s exciting new thriller All the Little Liars and David Fennell’s new serial killer thriller The Silent Man, and dancing until the early hours of Sunday morning at Capital Crime’s closing party Murder on the Dance Floor

The full programme can be found here from 10am today (Tuesday 27th June):



Monday 26 June 2023

In The St Hilda's Spotlight - Chris Brookmyre

Name Chris Brookmyre:

Job:- Author


Twitter:- @cbrookmyre


Chris Brookmyre is a Scottish author whose debut novel Quiet Ugly One Morning (1996) established him as a firm favourite of readers who like their books with lots of dark black humour. They mainly have a police procedural frame, mixed with comedy, politics, social comment and action with a strong narrative. Quite Ugly One Morning won the Critics' First Blood Award for Best First Crime Novel of the Year in 1996. Boiling a Frog won the Sherlock Award for Best Comic Detective in 2000.. All Fun And Games until Someone Loses an Eye was the winner of the seventh Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction in 2006.

His novel Black Widow (2016) won the McIlvanney Prize and the and the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award. In 2020 h won the CWA Dagger in the Library for his body of work. 

Chris Brookmyre is a member of the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers,

Current book? (This can either be the current book that you are reading or writing)

The book I'm working on, as yet untitled, is one of the most baffling mysteries I've ever conceived. It revolves around the concept of what would happen if an octogenarian Miss Marple-esque cosy sleuth crossed paths with a hardboiled noirish Harry Bosch figure, playing with how the styles and values of their sub genres would collide.

Favourite book:

Swing Hammer Swing by Jeff Torrington. It’s by no means a crime novel; in fact its author said of its lack of plot, “plots are for cemeteries”. But try to imagine a four hundred page Billy Connolly routine about someone going around his favourite haunts in the Gorbals in the 1960s as the world he knows is demolished around him. It’s the spirit of Glasgow distilled in literature, and quite simply the funniest novel I've ever read and reread and reread.

Which two characters would you invite to dinner and why? 

As I co-write with my wife, Marisa, I would have to invite James Young Simpson. He is a character in our Ambrose Parry novels, but he's also the historical figure Marisa is most fascinated with. He would be uproarious company if history is anything to go by, though we would need to be wary of him plying us with what he called his “special champagne”, which was basically chloroform diluted in soda water.

I'd also like to invite Danny Weir, aka Weird, from Ian Banks’ novel Espedair Street. I’d love to hear him regale us with debauched stories of excess as a Seventies rock star, and maybe he could also get out a guitar and let us hear what Frozen Gold’s songs actually sounded like.

How do you relax?

At the age of 49 I took up the guitar, which remains one of the best decisions I have made in the last five years. I can lose hours playing it, and it is the one activity that keeps my mind from straying back to whatever story I’m working on. I rehearse songs for Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers shows and learn other songs just for the pleasure of playing them.

Which book do you wish you had written and why?

Douglas Adams’ SF time-travel crime caper Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. To be able to write a fast-paced mystery story that is also warmly optimistic and gloriously funny, and to bring it in under 80,000 words would be the apex of my aspirations.

What would you say to your younger self if you were just starting out as a writer.

Don't consider it skiving off to go for a walk around the block. Walking is writing, and sometimes the worst thing you can do is force yourself to sit at the computer.

How would you describe your latest published book?

I would describe The Cliff House as a respectful riposte to And Then There Were None. It’s about seven women invited to a party on a private island, where the consequences of past misdeeds will finally catch up to them, but while Agatha Christie’s is a book about retribution, The Cliff House is a book about forgiveness.

With Celebrations: innocent parties, guilty pleasures being the theme at St Hilda's this year, which are you three favourite psychological books and why?

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. It was the first book to give me a disturbingly authentic perspective into the mind of a serial Killer.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. As disturbing as it is funny, it puts you in the mind of an inventively twisted individual who lives for murder and mayhem, only for you to find out ultimately that they are the victim via the second greatest twist I've ever read. (The greatest twist I’ve ever read was also written by Ian M Banks, in Use Of Weapons.)

The Alienist by Caleb Carr. A pungently atmospheric depiction of Nineteenth Century New York and the pioneering days of criminal psychology.

If you were to rewatch a psychological film whiich film would it be and why?

Inside Man, directed by Spike Lee. In essence, all heist stories are psychological thrillers, as they're all about social engineering and manipulating perception. I can watch Inside Man over and over because it's a Swiss watch of a movie, intricately constructed, perfectly played and directed with such panache.

What are you looking forward to at St Hilda's?

I am looking forward to hearing some great writers offer refreshing perspectives on the work that has inspired them. It’s the kind of experience that tops up your creativity tank.

Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre

One hen weekend, seven secrets... but only one worth killing for. Jen's hen party is going to be out of control. She's rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won't be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone. They think. As well as Jen, there's the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law. It's a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed. Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.

Information about 2023 St Hilda's College Crime Fiction Weekend and how to book tickets can be found here.

Saturday 24 June 2023

Dashiell Hammett Award Winner

The International Association of Crime Writers, North American Branch (IACW), announced the winner of the 2022 Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing:  Samantha Jayne Allen for Pay Dirt Road.

Friday Night Lights meets Mare of Easttown in this small-town mystery about an unlikely private investigator searching for a missing waitress. Pay Dirt Road is the mesmerizing debut from the 2019 Tony Hillerman Prize recipient Samantha Jayne Allen.

Pay Dirt Road by Samantha Jayne Alllen (‎ St Martin's Press )

Annie McIntyre has a love/hate relationship with Garnett, Texas. Recently graduated from college and home waitressing, lacking not in ambition but certainly in direction, Annie is lured into the family business—a private investigation firm—by her supposed-to-be-retired grandfather, Leroy, despite the rest of the clan’s misgivings. When a waitress at the cafĂ© goes missing, Annie and Leroy begin an investigation that leads them down rural routes and haunted byways, to noxious-smelling oil fields and to the glowing neon of local honky-tonks. As Annie works to uncover the truth she finds herself identifying with the victim in increasing, unsettling ways, and realizes she must confront her own past—failed romances, a disturbing experience she’d rather forget, and the trick mirror of nostalgia itself—if she wants to survive this homecoming.

2022 Shirley Jackson Awards

In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, The Shirley Jackson Awards, Inc. has been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.

Nominees for the 2022 Shirley Jackson Awards


Beulah by Christi Nogle (Cemetery Gates Media)

The Dead Friends Society by Paul Gandersman and Peter Hall (Encyclopocalypse Publications)

The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias (Mulholland Books)

Jackal by Erin E. Adams (Bantam)

Unwieldy Creatures by Addie Tsai (Jaded Ibis Press)

Where I End by Sophie White (Tramp Press)


The Bone Lantern by Angela Slatter (PS Publishing)

Bound Feet by Kelsea Yu (Cemetery Gates Media)

Catastrophe by Deirdre Danklin (Texas Review Press)

Lure by Tim McGregor (Tenebrous Press)

Pomegranates by Priya Sharma (PS Publishing)

The Wehrwolf by Alma Katsu (Amazon Original Stories)


Azeman or, the Testament of Quincey Morris by Lisa Moore (Black Shuck Books)

“Challawa” by Usman T. Malik (Dark Stars:  New Tales of Darkest Horror)

“Sweetbaby” by Thomas Ha (Clarkesworld, October 2022)

“This Place is Best Shunned” by David Erik Nelson (

What the Dead Know by Nghi Vo (Amazon Original Stories)


“Brother Maternitas” by Viktor Athelstan (Your Body is Not Your Body)

“The Church of Divine Electricity” by Emily Mitchell (The Southern Review)

“Dick Pig” by Ian Muneshwar (Nightmare Magazine, Issue 112)

“Halogen Sky” by Wendy N. Wagner (VASTARIEN:  A Literary Journal, vol. 5, issue 1)

“Pre-Simulation Consultation XF007867” by Kim Fu (Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century)


And At My Back I Always Hear by Scott Nicolay (Word Horde)

Breakable Things by Cassandra Khaw (Undertow Publications)

Hell Hath No Sorrow Like a Woman Haunted by RJ Joseph (The Seventh Terrace)

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu (Tin House)

Splendid Anatomies by Allison Wyss (Veliz Books)

We Are Here to Hurt Each Other by Paula D. Ashe (Nictitating Books)


Chiral Mad 5, edited by Michael Bailey (Written Backwards)

The Hideous Book of Hidden Horrors, edited by Doug Murano (Bad Hand Books)

Other Terrors, edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Rena Mason (William Morrow)

Screams From the Dark:  29 Tales of Monsters and the Monstrous, edited by Ellen Datlow (Tor Nightfire)

Your Body is Not Your Body, edited by Alex Woodroe and Matt Blairstone (Tenebrous Press)


The 2022 Shirley Jackson Awards will be presented in-person on Saturday, July 15 at 8pm at Readercon 32, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Quincy, Massachusetts. 

Friday 23 June 2023

On Trial with Rob Rinder

 My debut novel, The Trial, is a legal thriller set in the Chambers of London’s Temple District.

The inspiration behind the book was twofold. First and foremost, I wanted to write something that would entertain and provide escapism for readers. And perhaps even more importantly, having practiced law for over twenty years, I wanted to relive my own experiences of the Bar and give readers a real insight into the somewhat closed-off and mysterious world of Chambers – to highlight the murkier aspects of the British legal system, and to explore a question I have never been able to answer fully: ‘What is justice?’.

As the book opens, we become witness to the poisoning of hero policeman, Grant Cliveden, and his shocking death inside the Old Bailey. We then meet Adam Green, a trainee barrister who works on the defence case. All the evidence points to Jimmy Knight, who has been convicted of multiple offences before. But as Adam digs deeper, he realises the case is not as clear-cut as had first been assumed.

The book is, at its heart, a page-turning whodunnit aimed at keeping readers on their toes. And as the narrative unfolds, we are also exposed to the inner workings of the British justice system too. This is done through the eyes of Adam Green, a slightly socially awkward young man from a working-class background. Sitting outside of the usual barrister stereotype, Green must learn to fit in with the glamour of chambers and deal with colleagues whose priorities are not always focussed (to his surprise!) on upholding the highest standards of the law. His pupil master, Jonathan Taylor-Cameron, for example, is often more concerned with pursuing his multiple mistresses than acquitting his clients.

Adam is an echo of my younger self, insofar as he is from a non-traditional legal background and must work tirelessly to prove himself as a worthy member of this new world. He is also discernibly Jewish, and the book is punctuated with telephone calls to his mum who is constantly trying to invade his house and work out why he has not yet married a nice Jewish girl. Through these interactions, we learn about the small cases Adam takes on (including his representation of an 82-year-old sex worker named Gloria), as well as the high-profile trials that come to define his career.

The world I have created is inspired by what I experienced at the Bar – and is intended to be a mirror of what it was like when I first arrived on the law scene, though it has become slightly more serious and professional since I joined.

Revisiting old tales from my time as a junior barrister made writing The Trial a total delight and took me on a wonderful trip down memory lane. I hope I have been able to create an authentic account of what living, and working, within this world looks like.

The Trial was also inspired by one of my favourite writers, John Mortimer, whose brilliant Rumpole series has a special place in my heart. Not only do these books approach the legal system with a sense of warmth and wit, but they are the very thing that encouraged me to train as a lawyer all those years ago. When I began writing The Trial, I knew I wanted to embody Rumpole’s rich tapestry of humour but make it relevant and exciting to a contemporary audience. And, who knows, perhaps it will inspire a budding young student to embark on their own legal career too!

As someone who loves to read, I have been delighted with early reactions to The Trial. What I love the most is that readers feel as though they have been invited into an otherwise alien world that is slightly outside the reach of most people’s understanding. But beyond shining a light on the inner workings of the legal system, readers have responded to themes surrounding class, the “importance” of fitting in and, at the very core of it, the idea of what justice itself really means.

The Trial by Rob Rinder is published by Century on 22 June. £20 Hardback, £9.99 Ebook and £13 Audiobook. 

One murder, one impossible case, who is guilty? When hero policeman Grant Cliveden dies from a poisoning in the Old Bailey, it threatens to shake the country to its core. The evidence points to one man. Jimmy Knight has been convicted of multiple offences before and defending him will be no easy task. Not least because this is trainee barrister Adam Green's first case. But it will quickly become clear that Jimmy Knight is not the only person in Cliveden's past with an axe to grind. The only thing that's certain is that this is a trial which will push Adam - and the justice system itself - to the limit . . .

Hear Rob in conversation about The Trial at one of his events: 

You can also find him on Twitter @RobbieRinder and on Instagram @robrinder

Thursday 22 June 2023

A Chance Remark by Jane Corry

©Jerry Bauer

It was a chance remark in the gym, which inspired my new Penguin mystery ‘Coming To Find You’.

I happened to overhear somebody talking about how locals had ‘set fire to their weapons’ at the end of the Second World War on the top of a nearby hill.

My husband and I had only recently moved to the area – in the south-west of England – and my ears pricked up with writerly curiosity.

What weapons?’ I asked.

They were members of Churchill’s secret army,’ I was told

Seriously? I’d never heard of it. But I did some research and discovered that to my amazement, non-service men and women in the area had been recruited by Churchill’s people to be trained in guerrilla warfare in case our seaside town and those around it were invaded during the Second World War

The reasoning was that locals had far more detailed knowledge of the area than the army which had been drafted in. Men and women who held ‘ordinary’ jobs (such as working in the post office or ‘simply’ being a housewife) were targeted as recruits because their lives provided a plausible cover

I didn’t write my story then and there. Instead, as often happens, the seed took time to grow. I proceeded to write other novels. But I never forgot that conversation in the gym.

After lockdown, I did some more research by talking to the local museum staff. Then I found the author Andrew Chatterton who had written ‘Britain’s Secret Defences’. He put me in touch with the handful of living relatives.

I discovered all kinds of things about these brave people who were trained to use guns and knives against the enemy; how to leave messages in split tennis balls underground; and how to raise the alarm in case of invasion. They were given cyanide pills in case of capture. They weren’t allowed to tell their families which meant sneaking out at night and indeed, were asked to sign the Official Secrets Act. Many went to their graves without telling a soul about their hidden roles in the war. (However, a couple who met when one pointed a rifle at the other by mistake, ended up by getting married. I interviewed their son, now in his sixties.)

My husband and I live in an old house. I’ve often wondered about the people who have lived here over the years. So I got out the deeds, and my imagination began to run riot.

Supposing someone in a house like this had been recruited into the secret army? Our place used to be a bed and breakfast – in those days known as a Boarding House. Supposing the owner had been recruited? What if she was a woman who had taken in evacuees? And so Elizabeth was born.

At the same time, my work as a writer in residence of a high security prison has never left my head.

I worked there for two days a week for three years. You can take the girl out of the prison but you can’t take the prison out of the girl.

One of the phrases that I often heard in prison was ‘the silent sentence’. This was the mental sentence of shame that families of criminals have to live under.

Of course, it’s a very different horror from the relatives of those who have been hurt. But it must be terrible to discover that a loved one had committed a crime. I met some of the relatives of prisoners during open days in the prison. Some were not the ‘kind of people’ one might expect. One had been a former mayoress.

On another occasion, one of my prison students came up to me just before class. ‘I need to tell you what I’ve done,’ he said.

Please don’t,’ I said because it was actually much easier to run a writing workshop if you didn’t know you were teaching a murder or a rapist how to structure a paragraph.

But this young man clearly needed to get it off his chest. He had, he told me, been driving at 40 miles an hour instead of 30 when a car suddenly came out of a side road. He went into the driver who died.

My sentence is knowing that I’ve caused someone’s death,’ he said. ‘My mother has been unable to leave the house since it happened.’

This is an example of the silent sentence.  Enter my second heroine - Nancy.  At the beginning of the novel, her brother has just been sent to prison for Life for murdering their parents. The press is after Nancy. She is deeply ashamed of what he has done – but could she also be involved? 

I’ve always been fascinated by the Second World War. I was born just 10 years after it ended. Yet when I was growing up, it seemed like ancient history.

It’s only as I’ve got older that I realise what a mark it left on my parents‘ generation and thereby on mine. In turn, I have passed on many hopes and fears from previous generations to my children, and even my grandchildren.

What a huge responsibility.

Yet it is also positive and strengthening.  Take the story my mother often told of how she saved her little brother from a doodle bug bomb by pushing him under a bridge.

I’ve re-told the tale to my children. It’s even more special to them because they’re short of family memories (their grandmother died when they were young).

When my 99-year-old father passed away just before Christmas, he asked me what I was writing. I asked him if he’d heard of Churchill’s Secret army. ‘Of course I have,’ he scoffed.

Yet in all those years of telling us stories about the war, he had never once mentioned its existence. It was as though he felt able to talk about something that had been secret, now that he was on the cusp of another stage of his life.

The older I get, the more I feel the urge to show how the past makes its mark on each generation in different ways. I hope that ‘Coming To Find You’ does just that.

My two heroines Elizabeth and Nancy have their faults and hidden crimes, but they are brave women. They wear their courage like the secret pin awarded to those in Churchill’s secret army. Their cloak of bravery and selflessness is made up of many layers of fortitude, strengthened by generations. It is a shield against the inevitable terrors to come. But most of all, it is a tribute to resilience, determination to protect families and make the world a better place.

Coming to Find You by Jane Corry

You can run away from your life.  But you can't run away from murder. When her family tragedy is splashed across the newspapers, Nancy decides to disappear. Her grandmother's beautiful Regency house in a quiet seaside village seems like the safest place to hide. But the old house has its own secrets and a chilling wartime legacy . . . Now someone knows the truth about the night Nancy's mother and stepfather were murdered. Someone knows where to find her. And they have nothing to lose . . . So what really happened that night? And how far will she go to keep it hidden?

COMING TO FIND YOU by Jane Corry is published by Penguin Viking on June 22 (and from June 15 as an eBook). Available from supermarkets, booksellers and online.

Follow her on Twitter@JaneCorryAuthor

Photography ©Jerry Bauer


Thursday 15 June 2023

Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the year award announced



Harrogate, 15 June 2023: The shortlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2023, produced by Harrogate International Festivals, has been announced today, with six bestselling authors competing to win the UK’s most wanted crime writing prize.

The public is now invited to vote for the winner at

The prestigious award – now in its 19th year – celebrates crime fiction at its very best, with this year’s shortlist taking readers on spine-tingling journeys of murder, stalking, ghosts, mysterious disappearances and much more.Selected with help from a public vote from a longlist of twenty novels to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, the list features newcomers and previous prize contenders alike – but none of this year’s shortlisted novelists have ever taken home the coveted award before, making this year’s competition even more tense…

Challengers for the trophy include Elly Griffiths, former Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Chair in 2017, who is in the running for an impressive sixth time for The Locked Room: the penultimate mystery in the series featuring Norfolk’s favourite forensic archaeologist, Dr Ruth Galloway.

Fellow award alumni on the shortlist are: Ruth Ware with her deliciously dark The It Girl, which unpicks the secrets of university friends in an unputdownable story of suspense and shock; Doug Johnstone’s latest instalment in the much-acclaimed ‘Skelfs’ series – which has been optioned for TV – also makes the list, with the heart-racing twists and turns of Black Hearts featuring an obsessive stalker, a faked death and a devastating spectre from the past; and best-selling author M.W. Craven is shortlisted for the latest DS Washington Poe thriller The Botanist, where the  disgraced detective is tasked with catching a poisoner sending the nation's most reviled people poems and pressed flowers.

Two novelists have made the shortlist for the first time: Gillian McAllister with her Sunday Times Thriller of the Year, Wrong Place Wrong Time, the jaw-dropping, plot twisting, mind bending Groundhog Day style murder mystery and Fiona Cummins – who was selected by Val McDermid for New Blood in 2017 – takes the final shortlist spot for her eerily unnerving thriller Into The Dark. The novel follows DS Saul Anguish as he aims to uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of a whole family that takes the reader on a journey through revenge, greed, ambition, and the true cost of friendship.

The six novels shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2023 are:

The Botanist by M.W. Craven (Little, Brown Book Group; Constable)

Into The Dark by Fiona Cummins (Pan Macmillan; Macmillan/Pan)

The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)

Black Hearts by Doug Johnstone (Orenda Books)

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister (Penguin Random House; Michael Joseph)

The It Girl by Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster)

 Sharon Canavar, Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, commented: “We are delighted to announce this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year shortlist, featuring six gripping reads that celebrate the best of the crime genre. With an array of subgenres spanning gripping thrillers to murder mysteries, the public have a tricky task ahead choosing only one from this talented bunch – we can’t wait to unmask the winner at the 20th anniversary of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival on 20th July!”

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd, added: “What an exceptional line-up of crime writers in this year’s shortlist! We raise a glass of Theakston Old Peculier to all of the shortlistees and look forward to awarding the coveted beer cask trophy during the opening night ceremony!”

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year is run by Harrogate International Festivals and sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with Waterstones and Daily Express, and is open to full-length crime novels published in paperback between 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2023 by UK and Irish authors.

The public is now invited to vote for a winner at

Monday 12 June 2023

Louise Jensen on The Fall

Newly published, ‘The Fall’ is my 8th Psychological thriller, my 11th published book. It’s a story about the unravelling of a seemingly tight-knit family and the shocking, dark secrets they are keeping from each other.

The book opens with Kate Granger feeling like the luckiest woman alive at her surprise birthday party that she is sharing with her twin sister, Beth. Just hours later her teenage daughter, Caily, is found unconscious under a bridge, miles away from where she should have been at school. 

The police, who don’t believe it was an accident, question Caily’s family and it soon becomes apparent that not everyone in the family was where they claimed to be at the time of her fall, nor who they claimed to be with. While the investigation takes place Caily should be safe in hospital but not everyone wants her to wake up. Someone is desperate to protect the truth and it isn’t just Caily’s life that is in danger.

From the moment I thought of the concept I knew that Caily and her cousin Tegan would be central to the plot. The relationship between cousins is one I’ve wanted to write about for a long time. 

Growing up, my cousins were an integral part of my childhood. They, along with my sister, feature in many of my happiest childhood memories. Then, life seemed less complicated for us growing up, than it is today for young people now. In a time before the internet, smartphones and social media, our world may have seemed a lot smaller but was, perhaps, in a way, larger as we had more freedom to play outside. Everywhere was deemed safter than it is today, perhaps because it was, perhaps because we didn’t have the constant stream of bad news that we do now giving rise to that low-level fear many of us carry without being entirely sure why.

I wanted to give Caily and Tegan the same sense of freedom that I had and this was made possible by the farm they live on. Although during the book it has, in parts, a claustrophobic, chilling feel, they were free to roam and play in the vast open space. Not knowing of course, then, that, for years, there had been somebody watching them all along…

The relationship between cousins is, I think, unique. Both family and friends the bond is a strong one. They are confidants, keepers of secrets. Someone who understands because their family history is entwined with yours. It’s been really interesting to unpick the Granger family dynamics, not only between Tegan and Caily but also their parents and Grandparents.

To explore how far Caily and Tegan would go to protect one another.

I don’t see my cousins nearly as much as I’d like to anymore but if any one of them needed me I’d be there in a heartbeat. But that would be another story…

The Fall by Louise Jensen (Harper Collins) Out Now 

She promised not to tell. They made sure she couldn't... At her surprise 40th birthday party, Kate Granger feels like the luckiest woman in the world but just hours later her fifteen-year-old daughter, Caily, is found unconscious underneath a bridge when she should have been at school. Now, Caily lies comatose in her hospital bed, and the police don't believe it was an accident. As the investigation progresses, it soon becomes clear that not everyone in the family was where they claimed to be at the time of her fall. Caily should be safe in hospital but not everyone wants her to wake up. Someone is desperate to protect the truth and it isn't just Caily's life that is in danger. Because some secrets are worth killing for... She promised not to tell. They made sure she couldn't... At her surprise 40th birthday party, Kate Granger feels like the luckiest woman in the world but just hours later her fifteen-year-old daughter, Caily, is found unconscious underneath a bridge when she should have been at school. Now, Caily lies comatose in her hospital bed, and the police don't believe it was an accident. As the investigation progresses, it soon becomes clear that not everyone in the family was where they claimed to be at the time of her fall. Caily should be safe in hospital but not everyone wants her to wake up. Someone is desperate to protect the truth and it isn't just Caily's life that is in danger. Because some secrets are worth killing for...

More information about Louise Jensen and her writing can be found on her website. You can also find her on Twitter @Fab_fiction and on Instagram @fabricating_fiction.  She can also be found on Facebook.

Friday 9 June 2023

James Lee Burke and Lee Child take home Strand Lifetime Achievement Awards


Quarterly crime-fiction and mystery magazine The Strand has announced its list of nominees for the annual Strand Magazine Critics Awards.

Authors Louise Penny, Michael Connelly, and John Searles headline this year’s nominees for best novel, while Dan Smetanka of Counterpoint Press receives the Publisher of the Year Award. James Lee Burke and Lee Child are both honored with Strand Lifetime Achievement awards.

Recognizing excellence in the field of mystery fiction and publishing, The Strand Critics Awards are judged by an ever-changing group of book critics and journalists. This year’s judges were chosen from The Boston Globe, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, USA TODAY, and The Associated Press.

The 2022 Strand Critics Awards nominees for Best Novel and Best Debut are …


Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris (William Morrow)

Back to the Garden by Laurie R. King (Bantam)

Desert Star by Michael Connelly (Little Brown)

Her Last Affair by John Searles (Mariner Books)

A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny (Minotaur)

Secret Identity by Alex Segura (Flatiron Books)



Jackal by Erin E. Adams (Bantam)

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham (Minotaur)

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz (Atria/Emily Bestler)

Don’t Know Tough by Eli Cranor (Soho)

Shutter by Ramona Emerson (Soho)

Past recipients of The Strand Critics Awards include Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman, Richard Price, John Banville, Megan Abbot, Sheena Kamal, and William Landay.

It’s great to see new faces for the best novel award this year,” said Andrew F. Gulli, managing editor of The Strand Magazine. “And Counterpoint Press is an unstoppable publishing house, always releasing interesting and eclectic books. It’s also wonderful to see James Lee Burke and Lee Child getting the recognition they deserve. Both have contributed to the genre in a way that’s unparalleled, and on a personal level they are among the most generous and supportive authors around.

Adding to an already impressive list of awards, James Lee Burke receives The Strand’s Lifetime Achievement Award. After finding early publishing success in the 1960s and early 70s, Burke’s works were largely ignored for over a decade. However, thanks to his undeniable versatility and talent, and the persistence of his legendary literary agent, Philip Spitzer, Burke’s 1986 novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was finally published to critical acclaim and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. Since then, he hasn’t looked back. In a career spanning six decades, he has received continuous praise and comparisons to an illustrious set of authors ranging from Sartre to Hemingway.

“I’m very honored to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Strand and its publisher Andrew F. Gulli,” Burke said in response to the news. “The term ‘light bearer’ may seem a reach, but it is not. Every good writer has one raison d’etre for his or her art. It is the compulsion to describe a piece of the firmament in a perfect way, one that the reader will never forget. … I cannot tell you how nice it is to receive such a fine award from such a nice group of literary people.

After writing for television for many years, Lee Child turned his talents to novels. The result? A highly successful career as one of the most popular thriller authors of the last 25 years. His very first novel, The Killing Floor (1997), hit the best-sellers lists and marked the debut of Jack Reacher, who quickly became one of the most iconic action heroes of the thriller genre. The Jack Reacher books have sold millions of copies in dozens of languages around the world and have been successfully adapted into blockbuster films.

The Strand Magazine has been an absolute icon in our genre since its first issue in 1890,” Child said. “Its history is our history. To be recognized by it for my body of work is an unparalleled honor, which I accept with gratitude—and, to be honest, a touch of imposter syndrome.

Past lifetime achievement award-winners include Walter Mosley, Heather Graham, Joyce Carol Oates, J.A. Jance, Sandra Brown, Nelson DeMille, Jeffery Deaver, Alexander McCall Smith, and Elmore Leonard.

This year’s recipient of The Strand Magazine’s Publisher of the Year Award is Dan Smetanka, Vice President and Editorial Chief of Counterpoint Press. During his tenure with Counterpoint Press, Smetanka has presided over record growth and distribution, launched critically acclaimed books by authors such as Tod Goldberg, Peter Houlahan, Dana Johnson, and John Verdon, and has also been instrumental in reviving the works of Eve Babitz. Based in Southern California and describing themselves as “an author-driven publishing house” centering on new literary voices, the team at Counterpoint is part of a movement of publishers like Blackstone, Sourcebooks, Bancroft Press, and Camcat Books that are helping to transform and diversify the industry. Moreover, Smetanka has been described as an editor’s editor. Unafraid to take risks, he is beloved by his authors for his hands-on approach and sharp attention to even the smallest details.

Thank you so much for this incredible recognition of our work here at Counterpoint,” Smatenka said.

We are all so grateful to you and the Strand for your support of writers and their work and I look forward to celebrating with the finalists this year.”

Past recipients of the Strand Publisher of the Year Award include Tom Doherty, Morgan Entrekin, Josh Stanton, and Bronwen Hruska.

The Strand Critics Awards will be held virtually in September 2023.