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).