2014 CWA Dagger Winners

2013 CWA Dagger Winners Announced

andrew_taylorCelebrating its 60th year, the British Crime Writers’ Association has announced the first batch of its coveted Daggers Awards. The Gala Awards Dinner was held on Monday 15 July at Kings Place in London and was hosted by television personality and former Tory MP, Gyles Brandreth. The highlights of the Awards (so far announced) are:

  • Andrew Taylor has won his third CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger for his novel The Scent of Death. No one else has won the award three times.
  • The CWA International Dagger has been shared by two French authors, Fred Vargas (for Ghost Riders of Ordebec) and Pierre Lemaitre (for Alex). Fred Vargas has previously won the Award in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
  • The CWA Diamond Dagger 2013 was presented to Lee Child, from last year’s winner, Frederick Forsyth.
  • Finn Clarke was awarded the CWA Debut Dagger for the unpublished novel, Call Time.
  • The 2013 CWA Non-Fiction Dagger was presented to Paul French for Midnight in Peking, which told the story of the murder of a former UK consul in Peking in 1938.
  • Stella Duffy won the CWA Short Story Dagger for her story Come Away with Me, which first appeared in The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime Volume 10, edited by Maxim Jakubowski.
  • The longlists were announced for the CWA Gold, Steel and John Creasey Daggers. They were:

CWA Gold Dagger Longlist

  • Belinda Bauer for Rubbernecker (Bantam/Transworld)
  • Lauren Beukes for The Shining Girls (HarperCollins)
  • Sam Hawken for Tequila Sunset (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Mick Herron for Dead Lions (Soho Crime)
  • Becky Masterman for Rage Against the Dying (Orion)
  • Sara Paretsky for Breakdown (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Michael Robotham for Say You’re Sorry (Sphere)
  • Don Winslow for The Kings of Cool (Heinemann)

 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Longlist

  • Roger Hobbs for Ghostman (published by Transworld)
  • Liz Jensen for The Uninvited (Bloomsbury)
  • Malcolm Mackay for The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter (Pan Macmillan)
  • Stuart Neville for Ratlines (Random House)
  • Mark Oldfield for The Sentinel (Head of Zeus)
  • Andrew Williams for The Poison Tide (John Murray)
  • Robert Wilson for Capital Punishment (Orion)

CWA John Creasy Dagger Longlist

  • Roger Hobbs for Ghostman (Doubleday)
  • Hanna Jameson for Something You Are (Head of Zeus)
  • Malcolm Mackay for The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter (Mantle)
  • Becky Masterman for Rage Against the Dying (Orion)
  • Derek B Miller for Norwegian by Night (Faber and Faber)
  • Thomas Mogford for Shadow of the Rock (Bloomsbury)
  • Michael Russell for The City Of Shadows (Avon)
  • M D Villiers for City of Blood (Harvill Secker)

The CWA Chair, Alison Joseph said:

“The announcement of the Daggers Awards is always an exciting moment in the CWA’s calendar… The Awards Dinner is an opportunity to celebrate the best of our genre, to award our most talented authors and, most important of all, to introduce our ever-growing readership to more books they will enjoy.”

Anthony Awards 2013

2013 Anthony Awards

Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, has announced the 2013 Anthony Award Nominees.

Bouchercon XLIV will be held in Albany, New York, from September 19-22 and the winners will be chosen by the convention’s full time members.

BEST NOVEL
dare_meDare Me – Megan Abbott
The Trinity Game – Sean Chercover
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Beautiful Mystery – Louise Penny
The Other Woman – Hank Phillippi Ryan

BEST FIRST NOVEL
Don’t Ever Get Old – Daniel Friedman
The Professionals – Owen Laukkanen
The Expats – Chris Pavone
The 500 – Matthew Quirk
Black Fridays – Michael Sears

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
Whiplash River – Lou Berney
Murder for Choir – Joelle Charbonneau
And She Was – Alison Gaylin
Blessed are the Dead – Malla Nunn
Big Maria – Johnny Shawbig_maria_johnny_shaw

BEST SHORT STORY
“Mischief in Mesopotamia” – Dana Cameron, EQMM, Nov 2012
“Kept in the Dark” – Shelia Connolly, Best New England Crime Stories: Blood Moon
“The Lord is My Shamus” – Barb Goffman, Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder
“Peaches” – Todd Robinson, Grift, Spring 2012
“The Unremarkable Heart” – Karin Slaughter, MWA Presents: Vengeance,

BEST CRITICAL NONFICTION WORK
Books to Die For – John Connolly and Declan Burke, editors
Blood Relations – Joseph Goodrich, editor
More Forensics and Fiction – DP Lyle, MD
The Grand Tour – Mathew Prichard, editor
In Pursuit of Spenser – Otto Penzler, editor

BestCrimeBooks.com congratulates each and every nominee and wishes them all the very best of luck.

The Anthony Awards are given out annually at Bouchercon. The nominating ballots for the 2013 Anthony Awards have been e-mailed to most registered attendees, as of 3/2/13.  Others will receive ballots as their registration is processed.

The Anthony Awards are named after the esteemed California-based writer and critic, Anthony Boucher (1911-1969). Boucher’s real name was William Anthony Parker White. From 1942 to 1947 he reviewed popular fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle. He became a popular and respected editor,  giving many influential writers their start. He wrote five mystery novels under as Anthony Boucher – starting with teh ground-breaking The Case of the Seven of Calvary in 1937,  and another two under another pseudonym HH Holmes.

Macavity Award Nominees 2012 | Anthony Awards 2012

Anthony Boucher of Bouchercon 2012Mystery Readers International have announced the 2012 Macavity Award Nominees. Also known as the “Anthonies”, these awards are the ultimate accolade in the crime wand mystery reading world.

The winners will be announced at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, which is to be held in Cleveland at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, over the weekend of October 4-7. The award is named after the “mystery cat” in T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats). To be nominated, books and Stories need to have been published in the USA during 2011.

The nonimees are:

Best Mystery Novel

1222 by Anne Holt, translated by Marlaine Delargy (Scribner)
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (Mulholland Books)
The Ridge by Michael Koryta (Little, Brown)
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey (Dutton)
Hell & Gone by Duane Swierczynski (Mulholland Books)

Best First Mystery Novel

 Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry (Crown)
Nazareth Child by Darrell James (Midnight Ink)
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante (Atlantic Monthly)
All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen (Permanent Press)
The Informationist by Taylor Stevens (Crown)
Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson (Harper)

Best Mystery-Related Nonfiction

Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure by Leslie Budewitz (Linden)
Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making: More Stories and Secrets from Her Notebooks by John Curran (HarperCollins)
Wilkie Collins, Vera Caspary and the Evolution of the Casebook Novel by A.B. Emrys (McFarland)
The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge by T.J. English (William Morrow)
The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris (Ace)

Best Mystery Short Story

“Disarming” by Dana Cameron (EQMM, June 2011)
“Facts Exhibiting Wantonness” by Trina Corey (EQMM, Nov. 2011)
“Palace by the Lake” by Daryl Wood Gerber (Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology, Wildside Press)
“Truth and Consequences” by Barb Goffman (Mystery Times Ten, Buddhapuss Ink)
“Heat of Passion” by Kathleen Ryan (A Twist of Noir, Feb. 14, 2011)
“The Man Who Took His Hat Off to the Driver of the Train” by Peter Turnbull (EQMM, March/April 2011)

Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award
Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Narrows Gate by Jim Fusilli (AmazonEncore)
Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains by Catriona McPherson (Thomas Dunne/Minotaur)
Mercury’s Rise by Ann Parker (Poisoned Pen)
Troubled Bones by Jeri Westerson (Minotaur)
A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear (Harper)

Best Crime Books

Best crime books are our passion and we will not countenance anything but the best, you understand. North American readers may be confused by our title: what you call mysteries are what we call crime books. This mighty genre covers a wealth of writing, from thrillers and suspense novels, to survival, hard-boiled noir and Golden Age mysteries. We enjoy such sub-genres as the political thriller, courtroom dramas, the techno-thriller, police procedurals, private dicks, a spot of adventure and even a heist or two.

Best Crime Books: A Study In ScarletBest Crime Books: Some Of Our Favorite Authors

Our favourite authors include (no particular order), James Crumley, James Elroy, Elmore Leonard, Patricia Highsmith, Colin Dexter, James Lee Burke, Alfalfa Burke, George V Higgins, W R Burnett, Agatha Christie, Anthony Boucher, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Andrea Camilleri, Henning Mankell, Steig Larsson, Robert B Parker, Mark Timlin, Lawrence Block, Edmund Crispin, Mary Higgins Clark, Margaret Millar, Elizabeth Peters, William McIlvanney, John Creasey, Ken Follett, Lee Child, Ian Fleming, Ed McBain/ Peter Leonard, Evan Hunter, Loren D. Estleman, Charles Willeford, Reginald Hill, James Follett, David Peace, James Patterson, Ross Thomas, Joseph Conrad, Robert Crais, George P Pelecanos, Frances Fyfield, Colin Bateman, Michael Gilbert, Michael Innes, Ngaio Marsh, Jonathan Latimer, Margery Allingham, Dan Kavanagh, Carl Hiaasen, Michael Crichton, Scott Turow, John le Carré, Gérard de Villiers, Charles Dickens, John D MacDonald, Ross McDonald, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Kyotaro Nishimura, Ira Levin, Mickey Spillane, Irving Wallace, John Dickson Carr, John Grisham, Walter Mosley, John Dickson Carr, Peter Lovesey, Robert Ludlum, Dashiell Hammett, Wilkie Collins, Raymond Chandler, Daphne du Maurier, James M Cain, Mario Puzo, Edgar Wallace, Erle Stanley Gardner, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Georges Simenon, Jim Thompson, Eric Ambler, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, Len Deighton, Dorothy L Sayers, Donald E Westlake, Thomas Harris, Umberto Eco, Tony Hillerman, Edgar Allan Poe and E C Bentley.

Best Crime Books: 5 Great Crime Novels

Sometimes we don’t why the best crime books are our favourites. Sometimes they’re not even classed as proper crime or mystery books.

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon

The Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips

Wobble To Death by Peter Lovesey

Killshot by Elmore Leonard

Those are five wonderful novels but are they really the best crime books of all time. Of course not, but you’ve got to start somewhere. On a different day a different person would pick a totally different list of best crime novels. On a different day the same person would also pick a completely different list.

The thing about crime and mystery novels is that much of it comes down to preference. A big factor is style. Then there’s mood. Some aficionados rate P.D. James as one of our greatest living (or dead) authors; others can’t stand her or her writing. Elmore Leonard is seen by many as the finest author ever to pen a thriller, whereas others can’t see what the fuss is all about. During his lifetime, Edgar Wallace was one of the most read authors on the planet, who could write a novel in a week or less. Now it is hard to see what all the fuss was about. Different times, different styles, different likes and dislikes.

When it comes to the best crime books, everyone has an opinion and every opinion is valid. Happy reading!

The Edgars 2010 – The Winners Of The Edgars

Mystery Writers of America announced the 2010 Award Winners on April 29, 2010 – the 201st anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe
The Edgar® Awards were presented to the winners at the 64th Gala Banquet, 29 April, 2010 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, NYC.
Edgar Awards 2010 - Last ChildBEST NOVEL
The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur Books)
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (Minotaur Books)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
Body Blows by Marc Strange (Dundurn Press – Castle Street Mysteries)
BEST FACT CRIME
Columbine by Dave Cullen (Hachette Book Group – Twelve)
BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL
The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives edited by Otto Penzler (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)
BEST SHORT STORY
“Amapola” – Phoenix Noir by Luis Alberto Urrea (Akashic Books)
BEST JUVENILE
Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books)
BEST YOUNG ADULT
Reality Check by Peter Abrahams (HarperCollins Children’s Books – HarperTeen)
BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY
“Place of Execution,” Teleplay by Patrick Harbinson (PBS/WGBH Boston)
ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
“A Dreadful Day” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Dan Warthman (Dell Magazines)
GRAND MASTER
Dorothy Gilman
RAVEN AWARDS
Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, Pennsylvania Zev Buffman, International Mystery Writers’ Festival
ELLERY QUEEN AWARD
Poisoned Pen Press (Barbara Peters & Robert Rosenwald)
THE SIMON & SCHUSTER – MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 28, 2010)
Awakening by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)

LPN to RN online

RJ Ellory wins 2010 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year

RJ Ellory wins Theakstons Crime Award 2010R.J. Ellory has received one of the most prestigious awards in crime writing after his novel A Simple Act of Violence scooped this year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

Beating off stiff competition from a shortlist that included genre giants Ian Rankin, Peter James and Mark Billingham R.J. Ellory also beat a number of longlisted heavy-weights from the cream of Britain’s crime writers including Val McDermid, Martina Cole and Peter Robinson.

The Birmingham born author was presented the prize at a ceremony hosted by broadcaster and regular festival goer Mark Lawson on the opening night (Thursday 22 July) of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. He receives a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.

Now in its sixth year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was created to celebrate the very best in crime writing, and is open to British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback in 2009.

The judging panel, which included Jenni Murray, BBC Radio 4 broadcaster and author; John Dugdale, Guardian Associate Media Editor; Natalie Haynes, comedian and journalist; Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd; and a public online vote that represented a 20% share of the all-new judging process, was very impressed by Ellory’s novel. Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston, said:

“The standard of the shortlist was particularly high this year and our decision was a tough one. However, R.J. Ellory’s A Simple Act of Violence is a most impressive, fascinating and surprising book and a worthy winner of this year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. A fast-paced thriller, each page seems to bring about a new twist and take you deeper into a world that could only have come from a true master of crime fiction. ”

Ellory was completely stunned upon hearing the news: “I don’t think anyone not in my shoes can understand the definition of speechless. I am utterly speechless. This has really taken me aback. I feel acknowledged for doing something different. Thank you, I’m grateful beyond words.”

The 2010 Shortlist in full

In the Dark by Mark Billingham

The Surrogate by Tania Carver

A Simple Act of Violence by R.J. Ellory

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

Dead Tomorrow by Peter James

Gallows Lane by Brian McGilloway

Doors Open by Ian Rankin

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Shortlisted Announced for 2010 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year

The public has spoken: after three weeks of voting, crime fans have chosen their favourite crime novels for the shortlist of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the country.

This year, crime aficionados have welcomed two debut authors to the crime-writing hall of fame: Tom Rob Smith, author of Booker Prize-nominated Child 44; and Elly Griffiths whose debut The Crossing Places is the first in a new series mysteries following the adventures of forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway.

Despite knocking-out a number of longlisted heavy-weights such as Val McDermid, Martina Cole and Peter Robinson, the newcomers still face stiff competition in the final stage as they go head to head with such genre giants as Ian Rankin, Peter James and Mark Billingham (who has claimed the title on two previous occasions).

The shortlist in full:

In the Dark by Mark Billingham

The Surrogate by Tania Carver

A Simple Act of Violence by R.J. Ellory

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

Dead Tomorrow by Peter James

Gallows Lane by Brian McGilloway

Doors Open by Ian Rankin

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Now in its sixth year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was created to celebrate the very best in crime writing, and is open to British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback in 2009.

The winner of the prize will be announced by radio broadcaster and festival regular Mark Lawson on the opening night of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate on Thursday 22nd July. The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by T&R Theakston Ltd.

Macavity Nominations 2010

Best Novel
Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)
Tower by Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman (Busted Flush Press)
Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie (Wm. Morrow)
Nemesis by Jo Nesbo, translated by Don Bartlett (HarperCollins)
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
The Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan (Minotaur)

Best First Novel
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Delacorte)
Running from the Devil by Jamie Freveletti (Wm. Morrow)
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield (Minotaur)
The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville (Soho Crime)
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (Picador)

Best Nonfiction
L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City by John Buntin (Random House: Harmony Books)
Talking about Detective Fiction by P.D. James (Alfred A. Knopf) Rogue Males: Conversations & Confrontations About the Writing Life by Craig McDonald (Bleak House Books)
The Line Up: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler (Little, Brown & Co)
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo (Penguin Press)
Dame Agatha’s Shorts: An Agatha Christie Short Story Companion by Elena Santangelo (Bella Rosa Books)

Sue Feder Historical
A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell (Forge)
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (Minotaur)
A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd (Wm. Morrow)
Serpent in the Thorns by Jeri Westerson (Minotaur)
Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear (Henry Holt)

Best Short Story
“Last Fair Deal Gone Down” by Ace Atkins in Crossroad Blues (Busted Flush Press)
“Femme Sole” by Dana Cameron in Boston Noir (Akashic Books)
“Digby, Attorney at Law” by Jim Fusilli, (AHMM, May 2009)
“Your Turn” by Carolyn Hart in Two of the Deadliest (Harper)
“On the House” by Hank Phillippi Ryan in Quarry: Crime Stories by New England Writers (Level Best Books)
“The Desert Here and the Desert Far Away” by Marcus Sakey in Thriller 2: Stories You Just Can’t Put Down (Mira)
“Amapola” by Luis Alberto Urrea in Phoenix Noir (Akashic Books).

Edgar Awards Nominees 2010

Best Novel Nominees

• The Missing by Tim Gautreaux (Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)

• The Odds by Kathleen George (Minotaur Books)

• The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur Books)

• Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston (Random House – Ballantine Books)

• Nemesis by Jo Nesbo, translated by Don Bartlett (HarperCollins)

• A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)

Best First Novel By An American Author

• The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano (Grand Central Publishing)

• Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley (Simon & Schuster – Touchstone)

• The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf (MIRA Books)

• A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield (Minotaur Books – Thomas Dunne Books)

• Black Water Rising by Attica Locke (HarperCollins)

• In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff

Best Paperback Original

• Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)

• Havana Lunar by Robert Arellano (Akashic Books)

• The Lord God Bird by Russell Hill (Pleasure Boat Studio – Caravel Books)

• Body Blows by Marc Strange (Dundurn Press – Castle Street Mysteries)

• The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice by L.C. Tyler (Felony & Mayhem Press)

Best Fact Crime

• Columbine by Dave Cullen (Hachette Book Group – Twelve)

• Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster)

• The Fence: A Police Cover-Up Along Boston’s Racial Divide by Dick Lehr (HarperCollins)

• Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo (The Penguin Press)

• Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti (Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)

Best Critical/Biographical

• Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James (Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)

• The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives edited by Otto Penzler (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)

• Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King by Lisa Rogak (Thomas Dunne Books)

• The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin’s Press)

• The Stephen King Illustrated Companion by Bev Vincent (Fall River Press)

Best Short Story

• “Last Fair Deal Gone Down” – Crossroad Blues by Ace Atkins (Busted Flush Press)

• “Femme Sole” – Boston Noir by Dana Cameron (Akashic Books)

• “Digby, Attorney at Law” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Jim Fusilli (Dell Magazines)

• “Animal Rescue” – Boston Noir by Dennis Lehane (Akashic Books)

• “Amapola” – Phoenix Noir by Luis Alberto Urrea (Akashic Books)

Best Juvenile

• The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

• The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Beil (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf)

• Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn (Hougton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books)

• Creepy Crawly Crime by Aaron Reynolds (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)

• The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer (Penguin Young Readers Group – Philomel Books)

Best Young Adult

• Reality Check by Peter Abrahams (HarperCollins Children’s Books – HarperTeen)

• If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)

• The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford (Penguin Young Readers Group – Viking Children’s Books)

• Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone by Dene Low (Hougton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books)

• Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)

Best Television Episode Teleplay

• “Place of Execution” – Place of Execution, Teleplay by Patrick Harbinson (PBS/WGBH Boston)

• “Strike Three” – The Closer, Teleplay by Steven Kane (Warner Bros TV for TNT)

• “Look What He Dug Up This Time” – Damages, Teleplay by Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler & Daniel Zelman (FX Networks)

• “Grilled” – Breaking Bad, Teleplay by George Mastras (AMC/Sony)

• “Living the Dream” – Dexter, Teleplay by Clyde Phillips (Showtime)

Robert L. Fish Memorial Award

• “A Dreadful Day” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Dan Warthman (Dell Magazines)

Ellery Queen Award

• Poisoned Pen Press (Barbara Peters & Robert Rosenwald)

Raven Awards

• Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, PA

• Zev Buffman, International Mystery Writers’ Festival

Grand Master

• Dorothy Gilman

The Simon & Schuster – Mary Higgins Clark Award

• Awakening by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)

• Cat Sitter on a Hot Tin Roof by Blaize Clement (Minotaur Books)

• Never Tell a Lie by Hallie Ephron (HarperCollins – William Morrow)

• Lethal Vintage by Nadia Gordon (Chronicle Books)

• Dial H for Hitchcock by Susan Kandel (HarperCollins)

Val McDermid wins the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger

Bestselling author Val McDermid has been named as the recipient of this year’s prestigious CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, which honours outstanding achievement in the field of crime writing. The announcement has been made by the Crime Writers’ Association in recognition of Val’s work over more than 20 years.

Margaret Murphy, chair of the CWA, said: “The CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger award acknowledges the work of an author who has made an outstanding contribution to the genre.

“Val McDermid is a worthy winner whose work has entertained and thrilled millions of readers as well as many more who have enjoyed the TV adaptations her books have inspired.”

The CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger is the latest accolade in a highly successful career which last year saw Val inducted into the Hall of Fame at the ITV3 Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards, whose partners include the CWA.

In 1995 she won the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year for The Mermaids Singing, which first introduced her readership to Tony Hill and Carol Jordan, and went on to become an international bestseller. Fever of the Bone is the sixth novel of this series which inspired the popular ITV series Wire in the Blood.

Val is a top 10 bestseller who has been translated into 40 languages, with more than two million copies sold in the UK and 10 million worldwide. She has written 23 bestselling novels.

Above Suspicion by Lynda La Plante (ITV 1 Drama)

Yet another TV serial killer saga from La Plante, who must have slaughtered more prostitutes in her career than  you or I have had warm goats cheese tarts. ‘Above Suspicion’ features the doziest female copper ever seen on the small screen, in the tightest skirt and tightest blouse ever seen in Scotland Yard, all corseted up like some Victorian heroine who actually dates the prime suspect and puts herself in mortal danger.  A right dodgy boiler in fact, but, who you know in the end will solve the case which much smarter police officers haven’t managed to do after twelve years. The  best acting award surprisingly enough was the ex-copper out of ‘Heartbeat’. Above Suspicion? Beneath contempt, more like it. Elvis McBeth

Best Crime of 2008 by Elvis McBeth

Cold In Hand by John Harvey

Cold In Hand by John Harvey

Here we go again, another year older and deeper in debt, literally, if you believe everything you read in the papers. But there are still a lot of great crime novels out there to keep your mind off the credit crunch this winter, so stick around and check out these winners with me.

Kicking off the list in fine style is the latest D.I Faraday novel, The Price Of Darkness by Graham Hurley (Orion H/B £9.99) It all starts off with what looks like a professional hit on a property developer with an interest in an M.O.D. site in Portsmouth which could yield rich pickings if turned into residential homes.  Then a government minister is assassinated. What’s the connection? Also, there’s a problem with ex-copper and Faraday’s old sparring partner Paul Winter who is now working for Bazza Mackenzie, Pompey’s leading crime lord. But has he really left the side of the angels? As I’ve said before, Hurley just gets better and better, and this book is his best so far.

Another writer who rarely disappoints is Jonathan Kellerman, and his new novel , Obsession (Michael Joseph H/B £14.99) featuring psychologist Alex Delaware is no exception. A patient from the past shows up at Alex’s office to try and discover what terrible  secret her mother tried to divulge on her death bed. With the assistance of cop buddy Milo Sturgis, Alex delves deeply into what turns out to be a plot involving the great and the good of Los Angeles high society and the dregs of the city’s low life. A read-in-one-go book.

The same could be said for Eye Of The Beholder by David Ellis (Quercus H/B £14.99) where, again, the past throws up secrets that were better hidden, as attorney Paul Riley discovers that the case that he has built his career on may not have been all it seemed. A serial killer brought to justice fifteen years previously could have had accomplices, as more grisly murders in his style are perpetrated, and the killer has Riley in his sights. Edgar Award winner Ellis delivers the goods from the first to the last page.

Twenty-five years ago, fourteen year old Cynthia Bigges’ family just vanished one night, and twenty-five years later she’s none the wiser as to what happened to them. It was a cause celebre for a while, then forgotten, but not by her, or the man she subsequently married. Then a cold case TV show  highlights her story and suddenly it’s front page news again. People are being murdered left, right and centre, and that’s not all. Mystery piles up on mystery in a striking debut, No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay (Orion H/B £9.99) If you admire the novels  of Harlen Coben, then this book should be top of your Christmas list.

When Joe Denton, disgraced ex-cop gets out of prison, he finds he’s not welcome back in the town he used to police. His wife and daughter have fled. His mother and father can barely stand him near them, and his old colleagues want him dead or gone, or preferably both. He’s attacked, and then wrongly accused of rape, but Joe just won’t leave things alone, as his life appears to resemble a car crash in slow motion. Violent, but with an edge of graveyard humour, Small Crimes by David Zelserman (Serpents Tail P/B £7.99) shows the author to be the natural successor to Jim Thompson, which as far as I’m concerned can be no greater accolade.

Fans of John Harvey, and there are many, will celebrate the resurrection of Charlie Resnick in Cold In Hand (William Heinemann H/B £12.99) Charlie is now living in harmony with D.I. Lynn Kellogg,until she gets shot and is blamed for the death of a young black girl. Resnick is called into the case which causes some aggro at home, but worse is to come. Much worse, and he goes into decline. Understandably. But eventually all comes clear and he manages to find some peace in a far-off country. Harvey writes what are definitely in the top three police procedurals in the UK, filled with humanity and understanding of the human condition, plus a few sharp words on our immigration policy. No wonder he’s collecting so many awards these days. 

What could be a better time to disappear off the face of the earth than in New York in the aftermath of 9/11? This is the premise of the latest, and finest novel so far featuring Detective-Superintendent Roy Grace by Peter James (Dead Man’s Footsteps -Macmillan H/B £16.99) as the Brighton based copper travels to the Big Apple to investigate the last days of a local businessman who just doesn’t seem to be as dead as he wants the world to believe. Cracking, with a real sting in its tail. 

As Los Angeles burns around them, Elvis Cole and his buddy, Pike roam the city, looking for proof that, seven years ago, the pair didn’t provide tainted evidence that freed  a guilty man on a murder charge, leaving him able to kill and kill again. Crais is among the best of the best, and Chasing Darkness (Orion H/B £12.99) proves it once again. Elvis (Crazy name, crazy guy) has definitely not left the building!

And finally, a reprint that’s been a long time coming but has been well worth the wait. Homicide-A Year on The Killing Streets by David Simon (Canongate P/B £12.99) first published in the early nineties is the big,  fat true crime masterpiece featuring the Baltimore police force that begot the wonderful TV series Homicide-Life On The Streets that begot The Wire. Need I say more?

Happy new year.

Book Review: The Prince of Darkness by Graham Hurley

The latest D.I. Faraday novel, The Price Of Darkness by Graham Hurley starts off with what looks like a professional hit on a property developer. The dead man was involved in an M.O.D. site in Portsmouth with potentially rich pickings. Then a government minister is assassinated. What’s the connection? Also, there’s a problem with ex-copper and Faraday’s old sparring partner Paul Winter who is now working for Bazza Mackenzie, Pompey’s leading crime lord. But has he really left the side of the angels? Hurley just gets better and better, and this book is his best so far. Elvis McBeth

My Favourite Novel by Mark Timlin

 

The Big SleepTHE BIG SLEEP by RAYMOND CHANDLER

The Big Sleep is Raymond Chandler’s masterpiece. The best crime novel ever written bar none. Almost single handedly Chandler invented the genre of the hard drinking, hard smoking, hard loving, sharply dressed, first person, private detective, with a wisecrack for every occasion, and a bullet for every bad guy and gal. Over the last seventy years his hero Philip Marlowe has been the template for dozens of crime writers. Just think Ross Macdonald, John D. MacDonald, Robert B. Parker,  Derek Marlowe, Alan Sharp, Timothy Harris, Roger L. Simon, Robert Crais, and yours truly, plus loads more. (Not all first person I admit, but well in the Chandler groove, and if you don’t know any of these authors, Google them)

The novel opens with a paragraph that has been quoted time and time again as a classic of the genre. I don’t intend to reprint it here, just read the book if you haven’t already. And if you haven’t shame on you.

Simply, the plot of the novel is that a rich old man with two beautiful daughters who make Paris Hilton look tame, is being blackmailed. Enter Marlowe, who cuts a swathe through the Los Angeles demi monde, and solves the case quick fast.

Great plot, great characters, great atmosphere. Just the greatest.

Rarely out of print, Penguin put out a new paperback edition in 2005.

Macavity Award Nominations 2008

Mystery Readers International (Mystery Readers Journal) announces the Macavity Award nominations for works published in 2007. The awards will be presented during opening ceremonies at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention (Baltimore, October 2008).

MACAVITY NOMINEES:

Best Mystery Novel
o Soul Patch by Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House)
o The Unquiet by John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton*/Atria)
o Blood of Paradise by David Corbett (Ballantine Mortalis)
o Water Like a Stone by Deborah Crombie (Morrrow)
o What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman (Morrow)

Best First Mystery
o In the Woods by Tana French (Hodder & Stoughton*/Viking)
o Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (Morrow)
o The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster)
o Stealing the Dragon by Tim Maleeny (Midnight Ink)
o The Collaborator of Bethlehem by Matt Beynon Rees (Soho)

Best Mystery Short Story
o “A Rat’s Tale” by Donna Andrews (EQMM, Sep-Oct 2007)
o “Please Watch Your Step” by Rhys Bowen (The Strand Magazine, Spring 2007)
o “The Missing Elevator Puzzle” by Jon L. Breen (EQMM, Feb 2007)
o “Brimstone P.I.” by Beverle Graves Myers (AHMM, May 2007)
o “The Old Wife’s Tale” by Gillian Roberts (EQMM, Mar-Apr 2007)

Best Mystery Non-Fiction
o Rough Guide to Crime Fiction by Barry Forshaw (Penguin Rough Guides)
o Chester Gould: A Daughter’s Biography of the Creator of Dick Tracy by Jean Gould O’Connell (McFarland & Company)
o Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters, edited by Jon Lellenberg, Daniel Stashower & Charles Foley (HarperPress*/Penguin)
o Police Procedure and Investigation: A Guide for Writers by Lee Lofland (Howdunit Series, Writers Digest Books)
o The Essential Mystery Lists: For Readers, Collectors, and Librarians, compiled and edited by Roger Sobin (Poisoned Pen Press)

Sue Feder Memorial Historical Mystery
o Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen (Penguin)
o Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (Putnam)
o The Snake Stone by Jason Goodwin (Faber & Faber*/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
o Consequences of Sin by Clare Langley-Hawthorne (Viking*/Penguin)
o The Gravediggers Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates (HarperCollins Ecco)
*UK publisher (first edition)

2008 CWA Daggers Short-Lists

Shortlists for the 2008 CWA / Duncan Lawrie Daggers were announced at a reception at the British Library on 3rd June.

The authors shortlisted for the £20,000 Duncan Lawrie Dagger, the world’s largest prize for a crime novel, are James Lee Burke (The Tin Roof Blowdown), Colin Cotterill (Coroner’s Lunch), Frances Fyfield (Blood From Stone), Steve Hamilton (Night Work), Laura Lippman (What the Dead Know) and RN Morris (A Vengeful Longing).

There are five authors in the running for the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger: Andrea Camilleri (The Patience of the Spider), Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Dominique Manotti (Lorraine Connection), Martin Suter (A Deal with the Devil) and Fred Vargas (This Night’s Foul Work). This prize is worth £5000 to the winning author and £1000 to the translator.

In all there are eight awards in contention, the others being the Steel, Non-Fiction, New Blood, Library, Short Story and Debut Daggers.

Book Review: The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke

Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke
There is an eternal debate about whether the best Crime Fiction can ever hold its head up as the equal of the literary novel. Just as ‘proper’ authors like Martin Amis, William Boyd and even Charles Dickens can and have turned their hand to mystery fiction, so there exists a strata of ‘crime’ novelists who really can be counted among the great and the good of the literary world. Let’s not pretend that the average Christie/ Rendell/ PD James pot-boiler is anything other than (in Graham Greene’s words) an ‘entertainment’, but the boundaries surrounding the writing of those writers of the calibre of John Harvey, George Pelecanos, Elmore Leonard, David Peace and Raymond Chandler are blurred to say the least. A good crime novel can be a good novel and this by James Lee Burke falls very much into both categories.
When the stink of destruction and death lifts off the page and you can practically hear the cries of anguish, you know that the author is a novelist to be reckoned with, whatever the genre. That’s what James Lee Burke has done with ‘The Tin Roof Blowdown’.
This powerful post-Katrina novel, features his main series policeman, Dave Robicheaux, who is called out of his own police district of New Iberia to help out in the beleaguered Big Sleazy. Along the way he gets caught up in the disappearance of a Catholic Priest, a seemingly random shooting and looting unexpectedly rich pickings from the home of old-school mobster and florist, Sidney Kovick. In Burke’s skilled hands, there are more shades of gray than you’ll find in an eye-specialists’ wall-chart. No one is all bad –  nor is anyone (Robicheaux and the Priest included) – beyond reproach.
At the centre of the action are Otis and Melanie Baylor, middle class whites with a daughter who had previously been raped by young black men. These men themselves, admittedly no angels, show up unwittingly to loot the houses in Baylor’s street and Otis – whose background included watching his father and uncle attend Ku Klux Klan burnings in Alabama – is driven to anger. Shots are fired but the Baylors deny any involvement. Robicheaux is ordered to check it out.
One of the looters, Bertrand Melancon, sees his brother shot and seriously wounded and a young friend killed. He also soon becomes aware that the diamonds and cash they’ve stripped out of Kovick’s walls are likely to get him tortured and disposed of, as a couple of psychopaths take up his trail. As Robicheaux’s ex-partner, renegade bail-bondsman Clete Purcel tells him: ‘Hey, kid, if you stole anything from Sidney Kovick, mail it to him COD from Alaska, then buy a gun and shoot yourself… With luck, he won’t find your grave.’
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina  came as a devastating blow to a country that thought its racial divide was largely behind it. To remember how deep the racism was in New Orleans back in the ‘old days’ one only has to recall the 1965 Football Boycott of New Orleans that occurred after numerous black players were refused service by a number of hotels and businesses in the Big Easy, and white cabdrivers refused to carry black passengers. The treatment of the poor black population in the aftermath of the Hurricane’s devastation recalled these days and Burke puts a fictional but very insightful spin on real life events and emotions.
‘The Tin Roof Blowdown’ is James Lee Burke’s masterpiece. He’ll be hard-pressed to equal it.
Jim Driver 

 

Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2008

2008 Longlist Announced

The longlist was announced today for one of the most prestigious awards in the international crime writing calendar – the 4th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, the only literary prize of its kind to be voted for by the general public.

 This year’s list is a vibrant and diverse mix of titles featuring the work of both established authors and emerging talents. This blend goes to demonstrate the current vitality of the genre and the exceptional standards to be found there. 

Votes for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year can be cast at any Waterstone’s branch in England, Scotland and Wales,/

The List   

Simon Beckett, The Chemistry of Death

When the bizarrely mutilated and long-dead body of a young woman is found in a ditch in Manham, an isolated and insular village in the Norfolk marshlands, former high-profile forensic anthropologist Dr David Hunter is reluctant to get involved. Hunter has a secret past which he hopes will remain buried, but soon Hunter realises it will take all his knowledge and expertise if the killer is to be stopped. But not even he is prepared for the terrible cost that will exact – or the awful price that failure threatens to bring…

Mark Billingham, Buried

Luke Mullen, sixteen year-old son of a former, high- ranking police officer has disappeared, presumed kidnapped. A list of villains with a grudge against Luke’s father quickly emerges, but Detective Inspector Tom Thorne discovers that ex-DCI Tony Mullen has omitted the name of the most obvious suspect; a man who’d once threatened him and his family. Is this a simple oversight, or is it something more telling?

Benjamin Black, Christine Falls

A Dublin pathologist follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of a conspiracy among the city’s high Catholic society. It’s not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It’s the living. One night at the morgue Quirke stumbles across a body that shouldn’t have been there – and his brother-in-law, eminent paediatrician Malachy Griffin – altering a file to cover up the corpse’s cause of death. It turns out the body belonged to a young woman named Christine Falls.

Christopher Brookmyre, A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil

Put on your uniform and line up in an orderly fashion for the funniest and most accurate trip back to the classroom you are likely to read, as well as a murder mystery like nothing that has gone before it. Forget the forensics: only once you’ve been through school with this painfully believable cast of characters will you be equipped to work out what really happened decades later. Even then, you’ll probably guess wrong and be made to stand in the corner.

 Sophie Hannah, Hurting Distance

When Naomi Jenkins’s married lover vanishes without trace, Naomi knows he must have come to harm. But the police are less convinced, particularly when Robert’s wife insists he is not missing. In desperation, Naomi has a crazy idea. If she can’t persuade the police that Robert is in danger, perhaps she can convince them that he is a danger to others. Naomi knows how describe in detail the actions of a psychopath. All she needs to do is dig up her own troubled past

 John Harvey, Darkness and Light

Former cop Frank Elder is once more drawn out of retirement to investigate the disappearance of  his ex-wife’s sister, Claire. When Claire is found dead at home – unmarked and carefully dressed – it is Elder who is surprised by the similarities to an old case. In a case in which neither memories, confessions, nor instincts can be trusted, Elder struggles with the weight of the past and Harvey delivers another psychologically trenchant page-turner.

Reginald Hill, The Death of Dalziel

Reginald Hill returns with a stunning new novel featuring his popular Yorkshire policemen Dalziel and Pascoe. Caught in the full blast of a huge explosion, Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel lies on a hospital bed, with only a life support system and his indomitable will between him and the Great Beyond. His colleague, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Pascoe, is determined to bring those responsible to justice.

Susan Hill, The Risk of Darkness

In her third crime novel, Hill explores the crazy grief of a widowed husband, a derangement that turns to obsession and threats, violence and terror. Meanwhile, handsome, introverted Simon Serrailler, whose cool reserve has broken the hearts of several women, finds his own heart troubled by a feisty female priest with red hair. It hinges on a terrific twist that comes as a complete surprise to the reader.

 Graham Hurley, One Under

A man, chained inside a tunnel and then dismembered and scattered along the tracks by the early morning train from Portsmouth to London. The beginning of DI Joe Faraday’s most gruesome case yet. With his trademark realism and his focus on two very different policeman; one awkward and by the book, the other bolshy and walking the thinnest of lines, Hurley’s Faraday and Winter novels are earning ever more spectacular reviews, and building readership.

Peter James, Not Dead Enough

On the night Brian Bishop murdered his wife, he was sixty miles away, asleep in bed at the time. At least, that’s the way it looks to Detective Superintendent Roy Grace who is called in to investigate the kinky slaying of beautiful young Brighton socialite, Katie Bishop. Soon, Grace starts coming to the conclusion that Bishop has performed the apparently impossible feat of being in two places at once.

Simon Kernick, Relentless

John Meron, a happily married father of two, who’s never been in trouble, receives a phone call that will change his life forever. His friend, Jack Calley, a high-flying city lawyer, is screaming down the phone for help. As Meron listens, Calley is murdered. His last words, spoken to his killer, are the first two lines of Meron’s address. Confused and terrified, Meron scoops up his children and hurries out of the house. He’s being hunted and he has no idea why.

Patrick Lennon, Corn Dolls

When Inspector Tom Fletcher investigates a series of deaths in a fenland village, he uncovers the presence of a gang of criminals intent on avenging an ancient grudge. As Tom Fletcher works against time to prevent a massacre of the whole community, he comes to realise that the old policeman’s cliché is true. The police really are your family. Tom’s problem is, they’re not the kind of family that any sane person could ever live with.

Stuart MacBride, Dying Light

It’s summertime in the Granite city: the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and people are dying! It starts with a prostitute, stripped naked and beaten to death down by the docks – the heart of Aberdeen’s red light district. For DS Logan MacRae, it’s a bad start to another bad day. Despite Logan’s best efforts, it’s not long before another prostitute turns up on the slab! Stuart MacBride’s characteristic grittiness, gallows humour and lively characterization are to the fore in his second novel.

Alexander McCall Smith, Blue Shoes and Happiness

In this seventh instalment in the internationally bestselling, universally beloved series, there is considerable excitement at the shared premises of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. A cobra has been found in Precious Ramotswe’s office. Then a nurse from a local medical clinic reveals to Mma Ramotswe that faulty blood pressure readings are being recorded there. It all means a lot of work for Mma Ramotswe and her inestimable assistant, Grace Makutsi, and they are, of course, up to the challenge.

Val McDermid, The Grave Tattoo

A superb psychological thriller in which present-day murder has its roots in the eighteenth century and the mutiny on The Bounty Imagine an undiscovered manuscript by William Wordsworth. The manuscript has remained hidden for generations, its significance unknown. Until now. Graduate student Jane Gresham’s inquiries stir up long-forgotten memories. And before long, murder stalks the manuscript as ruthlessly as a hidden killer.

Mark Mills, The Savage Garden

A beautiful Tuscan villa, a mysterious garden, two hidden murders – one from the 16th century, one from the twentieth – and a family driven by dark secrets, combine in this evocative, intriguing mystery set in post-War Italy. Past and present, love and intrigue, intertwine in an evocative mystery which vividly captures the experience of an innocent abroad in an uncertain world.

Stef Penney, The Tenderness of Wolves

1867, Canada – As winter tightens its grip on the isolated settlement of Dove River, a man is brutally murdered and a 17-year old boy disappears. In an astonishingly assured debut, Stef Penney deftly weaves adventure, suspense, revelation and humour into a panoramic historical romance.

Peter Robinson, Piece of my Heart

As volunteers clean up after a huge outdoor rock concert in Yorkshire in 1969, they discover the body of a young woman wrapped in a sleeping bag. She has been brutally murdered. It looks as if the victim was somehow associated with the up-and-coming psychedelic pastoral band the Mad Hatters. In the present, Inspector Alan Banks is investigating the murder of a freelance music journalist, who was working on a feature about the same band. Banks finds he has to delve into the past to find out exactly what hornets’ nest the journalist inadvertently stirred up.

C.J. Sansom, Sovereign

The third Shardlake novel, set in autumn 1541 during the reign of Henry VIII. When a York glazier is murdered, things get a little more complicated as the murder seems to be not only connected to a prisoner under Shardlake’s ward but also to the royal family itself. A chain of events unfolds that threatens Shardlake with the most terrifying fate of the age: imprisonment in the Tower of London.

Chris Simms, Shifting Skin

‘The Butcher of Belle Vue’ has struck again. Like the first two victims, the third has been partially skinned and dumped on waste ground, her muscles, tendons and ligaments exposed to view. Only this time, her face has also been removed. Jon Spicer and his new partner, Rick Saville, are on the investigating team. Jon’s investigation takes him into the twilight world of Manchester’s escort agencies and the unscrupulous cosmetic surgery industry.

The Awards Ceremony

This year’s winner of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year will be annouced at an award ceremony on the opening night of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate on Thursday 17th July.

Previous winners of the award include Val McDermid (2006) and Allan Guthrie (2007).   

Book review: Exit Music by Ian Rankin

Exit Music by Ian Rankin
What is loudly heralded as the final case for Edinburgh Detective Inspector John Rebus sees Ian Rankin returning to the form that established his name as one of Britain’s keenest crime writers back in the mid-1990s. Although the most recent outings lacked the vigour and richness that elevated the series’ undoubted highlight, Black and Blue, far above the opposition, Exit Music ends on a genuine high.
Before DI John Rebus’ scheduled retirement in November 2006, he and Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke are attempting to clear up a batch of unsettled cases. Their progress (or lack or it) is interrupted when a dissident Russian poet is killed after an apparent mugging goes badly wrong.
Edinburgh is playing host to a Russian delegation and the powers that be are keen that the case should be wrapped up as quickly and discretely as possible. But Rebus and Clarke aren’t too sure, especially when a second, seemingly connected, death occurs. Then local gangster and Rebus’ long-term nemesis, ‘Big Ger’ Cafferty, is brutally attacked and the Inspector finds himself the prime suspect.
Exit Music is pretty much a book of two halves. In an unacknowledged homage to John Updike’s ‘Rabbit’ series, the first line on the first page repeats the opening sentence in the very first Rebus book, Knots and Crosses: ‘The girl screamed once, only the once.’ After that, the novel clip-clops along without too much sparkle. Rebus looks back on his life and on his ‘career’ and we are taken along for the journey. For a while there’s the fear that there’s just too much navel-gazing and too little investigation.
Then Rankin’s professional mastery kicks in and the final half of Exit Music entertains, surprises and ultimately satisfies. Anyone who thought they had the solution licked by page 100 will certainly be admitting defeat before they hit the last page.
Along the way Rankin drops hints as to what the next move will be. Who will be Siobhan’s CID partner and will she take over the series, with Rebus perhaps acting the part of a weird, whiskey-sodden Mycroft Holmes? Or maybe Rebus will be reluctantly invited to join the Serious Crimes Review Unit looking – in the style of BBC TV’s New Tricks at cold, unsolved cases? Perhaps both; maybe neither? Jim Driver