Now the longlist of 20 novels has been whittled down to a shortlist of eight, and again readers around the world can vote for their favourite online. The eventual winner will be decided by combining the result of this public vote with the votes of a panel of expert judges: Jenni Murray, BBC Radio 4 broadcaster and author; John Dugdale, Guardian Associate Media Editor; Natalie Haynes, comedian and journalist; and Simon Theakston, Executive Director of sponsor T&R Theakston Ltd. The eight shortlisted books are:
- 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
You can vote here. I've also added a Crime Watch poll (see sidebar), so we can see how the Crime Watch readership feels, and whether this ends up matching up with the judges' and wider voting public's opinions.
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. As such, the shortlisted books may not seem that recent to some (as they may have been first published in hardcover way back in 2008, and the authors featured have often published another book or two since).
The winner will receive £3,000 in cash, plus a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier. See a photo of last year's winner Mark Billingham with his Award to the left.
So which is your favourite of the eight finalists? Which of the 12 books that failed to make the cut (see the full list of 20 longlisted books here) was the unluckiest? What are the glaring omissions? Does your favourite book come from your favourite author, or has a newbie caught your eye? Thoughts and comments appreciated.