2018 CWA Dagger Winners | Mystery Authors

The 2018 CWA Dagger winners were announced on Thursday 25th October 2018, at a ceremony at the Grange City Hotel in central London. For a complete list of 2018 CWA Dagger shortlisted titles and authors, click here.

Martin Edwards, Chair of the Crime Writers Association (CWA), introduced the ceremony and the Master of Ceremonies was Barry Forshaw.

Gold Dagger

The Liar by Steve Cavanagh (Orion) / details at Amazon.co.uk: The Liar: Eddie Flynn Book 3

2018 CWA Dagger Winners | Nucleus by Rory ClementsThe CWA Historical Dagger

Nucleus by Rory Clements (Zaffre Publishing) / details at Amazon.co.uk: Nucleus: the gripping spy thriller for fans of ROBERT HARRIS (Tom Wilde 2)

The CWA International Dagger

After the Fire by Henning Mankell tr. Marlaine Delargy (Harvill Secker) / details at Amazon.co.uk: After the Fire

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

2018 CWA Dagger Winners | Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica LockeBluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (Serpent’s Tail) / details at Amazon.co.uk:

The CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger2018 CWA Dagger Winners | Lola by Melissa Scrivener Love

Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love (Point Blank) / details at Amazon.co.uk: Bluebird, Bluebird (Highway 59)

The CWA Short Story Dagger

Nemo Me Impune Lacessit by Denise Mina from Bloody Scotland (Historic Environment Scotland)/ details at Amazon.co.uk: Bloody Scotland

CWA Debut Dagger

The Eternal Life of Ezra Ben Simeon by Bill Crotty / details at Amazon.co.uk: Bestsellers

CWA ALCS Gold Dagger For Non-Fiction

Blood on the Page by Thomas Harding (Heinemann) / details at Amazon.co.uk: Blood on the Page

CWA Dagger In The Library

Selected by nominations from libraries.
Martin Edwards / details at Amazon.co.uk: Miraculous Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics)

CWA DIAMOND DAGGER 2018

Michael Connelly / details at Amazon.co.uk: Dark Sacred Night: The Brand New Bosch and Ballard Thriller (Harry Bosch Series)

Red Herrings Award

Special award to Mike Stotter, Ali Karim, and Ayo Onatade (all of Shots Magazine); and David Stuart Davies (editor of Red Herrings, the monthly in-house publication of the CWA) for services to Crime & Mystery fiction.

Thank you for reading the 2018 CWA Dagger Winners on bestcrimebooks.com. We will soon be initiating an email list. Please check back regularly for updates.

CWA Dagger Shortlists 2018

Martin Edwards, chair of the CWA

Winners will be announced on Thursday 25th October 2018, at a ceremony in East London

Martin Edwards Chair of the Crime Writers Association (CWA), together with Master of Ceremonies Barry Forshaw, will be hosting the evening.

Gold Dagger

The Liar by Steve Cavanagh (Orion)
London Rules by Mick Herron (John Murray)
Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane (Little Brown)
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (Serpent’s Tail)
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic (Pushkin Vertigo)

The CWA Historical Dagger

A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen (Little Brown)
Money in the Morgue by Ngaio Marsh & Stella Duffy (HarperCollins)
Fire by L. C. Len Tyler (Constable)
Nine Lessons by Nicola Upson (Faber & Faber)
Nucleus by Rory Clements (Zaffre Publishing)

The CWA International Dagger

Zen and the Art of Murder by Oliver Bottini tr. Jamie Bulloch (MacLehose)
Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre tr. Frank Wynne (MacLehose)
After the Fire by Henning Mankell tr. Marlaine Delargy (Harvill Secker)
The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet tr. Don Bartlett (No Exit Press)
Offering to the Storm by Dolores Redondo tr. Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garzía, (HarperCollins)
The Accordionist by Fred Vargas tr. Sian Reynolds (Harvill Secker)

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

London Rules by Mick Herron (John Murray Publishers)
If I Die Before I Wake by Emily Koch (Harvill Secker)
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (Serpent’s Tail)
An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth (Wildfire)
The Chalk Man by C J Tudor (Michael Joseph)
The Force by Don Winslow (HarperFiction)

The CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger

Gravesend by William Boyle (No Exit Press)
I.Q by Joe Ide (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka (Picador)
Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love (Point Blank)
East Of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman (HQ)
Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic Pushkin Vertigo

The CWA Short Story Dagger

The Last Siege of Bothwell Castle by Chris Brookmyre from Bloody Scotland (Historic Environment Scotland)
Second Son by Lee Child from No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories(Bantam Press)
Smoking Kills by Erin Kelly from “The Body” Killer Women Crime Club Anthology 2 Edited by Susan Opie (Killer Women Ltd)
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit by Denise Mina from Bloody Scotland (Historic Environment Scotland)
Accounting for Murder by Christine Poulson from Mystery Tour: CWA Anthology of Short Stories Edited by Martin Edwards (Orenda Books)

CWA Debut Dagger

The Eternal Life of Ezra Ben Simeon by Bill Crotty
The Last Googling of Beth Bailly by Luke Melia
Riverine Blood by Joseph James
Original Sins by Linda McLaughlin
Trust Me, I’m Dead by Sherryl Clark

CWA ALCS Gold Dagger For Non-Fiction

Black Dahlia Red Rose by Piu Eatwell (Coronet)
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (Simon & Schuster)
Blood on the Page by Thomas Harding (Heinemann
The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Mariano-Lesnevich (Macmillan)
A False Report by Christian Miller & Ken Armstrong (Hutchinson)
Rex V Edith Thompson by Laura Thompson (Head of Zeus)

CWA Dagger In The Library

Selected by nominations from libraries.
Martin Edwards
Nicci French
Simon Kernick
Edward Marston
Peter May
Rebecca Tope

CWA DIAMOND DAGGER 2018

Michael Connelly

2017 CWA Dagger Winners

26 October 2017

The winners of the 2018 CWA Daggers were announced at a dazzling Dagger Awards Gala Dinner, held at the Grange City Hotel, London on 26th October.

Ann Cleeves was awarded the Diamond Dagger, and Mari Hannah was presented with the Dagger in the Library award. The after-dinner speaker was Robert Thorogood, writer and creator of Death in Paradise, and master of ceremonies was noted crime fiction buff, Barry Forshaw.

CWA Gold Dagger

2018 CWA Dagger Winners | The DryThe Dry (Little, Brown) by Jane Harper

Also shortlisted:
The Beautiful Dead (Bantam Press) by Belinda Bauer
Dead Man’s Blues (Mantle) by Ray Celestin
Spook Street (John Murray) by Mick Herron
A Rising Man (Harvill Secker) by Abir Mukherjee
The Girl in Green (Faber & Faber) by Derek B. Miller

The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

Spook Street (John Murray) by Mick Herron

Also shortlisted:
You Will Know Me (Picador) by Megan Abbott
The Killing Game (Bookouture) by J S Carol
We Go Around in the Night and Are Consumed by Fire (Myriad Editions) by Jules Grant
Redemption Road (Hodder & Stoughton) by John Hart
The Constant Soldier (Mantle) by William Ryan

The John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger

2017 CWA Dagger Winners | Tall OaksTall Oaks (Twenty 7) by Chris Whitaker

Also shortlisted:
The Pictures
(Point Blank) by Guy Bolton
Ragdoll (Trapeze) by Daniel Cole
Distress Signals (Corvus) by Catherine Ryan Howard
Sirens (Doubleday) by Joseph Knox
Good Me, Bad Me (Michael Joseph) by Ali Land
The Gold Dagger For Non-Fiction

CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction

Close But No Cigar: A True Story of Prison Life in Castro’s Cuba (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) by Stephen Purvis

Also shortlisted:
A Dangerous Place (The History Press) by Simon Farquhar
The Scholl Case: The Deadly End of a Marriage (Text Publishing) by Anja Reich-Osang
The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer (Bloomsbury Publishing) by Kate Summerscale
A Passing Fury: Searching for Justice at the End of World War II (Jonathan Cape) by A. T. Williams
Another Day in the Death of America (Guardian Faber Publishing) by Gary Younge

The CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger

2017 CWA Daggers | A Rising ManA Rising Man (Harvill Secker) by Abir Mukherjee

Also shortlisted:
The Devil’s Feast (Fig Tree) by M J Carter
The Ashes of Berlin (No Exit Press) by Luke McCallin
The Long Drop (Harvill Secker) by Denise Mina
By Gaslight (Point Blank) by Steven Price
The City in Darkness (Constable) by Michael Russell

The CWA International Dagger

The Dying Detective (Doubleday) by Leif G W Persson, Tr Neil Smith

Also shortlisted:
A Cold Death
(4th Estate) by Antonio Manzini, Tr Antony Shugaar
A Fine Line (Bitter Lemon Press) by Gianrico Carofiglio, Tr Howard Curtis
Blood Wedding (MacLehose Press) by Pierre Lemaître, Tr Frank Wynne
Climate of Fear (Harvill Secker) by Fred Vargas, Tr Siân Reynolds
The Legacy of the Bones (HarperCollins) by Delores Redondo, Tr Nick Casiter & Lorenza Garcia

The CWA Short Story Dagger

2017 CWA Dagger Winners | Sushine Noir‘The Trials of Margaret’ by LC Tyler in Motives for Murder (Sphere) Edited by Martin Edwards

Also shortlisted:
‘The Assassination’ by Leye Adenle in Sunshine Noir (White Sun Books) Edited by AnnaMaria Alfieri & Michael Stanley
‘Murder and its Motives’ by Martin Edwards in Motives for Murder (Sphere) Edited by Martin Edwards
‘The Super Recogniser of Vik’ by Michael Ridpath in Motives for Murder (Sphere) Edited by Martin Edwards
What You Were Fighting For’ by James Sallis in The Highway Kind (Mulholland Books) Edited by Patrick Millikin
‘Snakeskin’ by Ovidia Yu in Sunshine Noir (White Sun Books) Edited by AnnaMaria Alfieri & Michael Stanley

CWA Debut Dagger

Sponsored by Orion Publishing Group | For the opening of a crime novel from a writer with no publishing contract.

Strange Fire by Sherry Rankin

Also shortlisted:
The Reincarnation of Himmat Gupte by Neeraj Shah
Lost Boys by Spike Dawkins
Red Haven by Mette McLeod
Broken by Victoria Slotover

 

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 calenda. 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 by Megan Abbott
The Trinity Game by Sean Chercover
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
Whiplash River by Lou Berney
Murder for Choir by Joelle Charbonneau
And She Was by Alison Gaylin
Blessed are the Dead by Malla Nunn
Big Maria by 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 edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke
Blood Relations edited by Joseph Goodrich
More Forensics and Fiction by DP Lyle, MD
The Grand Tour edited by Mathew Prichard
In Pursuit of Spenser edited by Otto Penzler

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 the ground-breaking The Case of the Seven of Calvary in 1937, and another two under another pseudonym H.H. 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)

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 (ITV1 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

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 deathbed. 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 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 demimonde, 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