Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What book/author deserves the 2010 CWA Gold Dagger?

Well it was pretty full-on this past weekend in terms of crime writing in Britain, thanks to the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

Along with all the magnificent events being held (including events with NZ-based authors Paul Cleave and Liam McIlvanney), soon-to-visit-New Zealand author RJ Ellory scooped the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, the winners of several of the 2010 CWA Daggers were announced (including Johan Theorin winning the International Dagger), and the shortlists for three of the biggest Dagger Awards were announced: the CWA Gold Dagger; the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; and the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger.

Today I wanted to focus on the shortlisted authors and books for the CWA Gold Dagger, being:

  • Blacklands, Belinda Bauer (Corgi)
  • Blood Harvest, S J Bolton (Bantam Press)
  • Conman, Richard Asplin (No Exit Press)
  • Rain Gods, James Lee Burke (Orion)
  • Shadowplay, Karen Campbell (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge, Patricia Duncker (Bloomsbury)
  • Still Midnight, Denise Mina (Orion)
  • The Way Home, George Pelecanos (Orion)
According to the CWA press release, "the finalists in each category will be announced on Monday 9th August to coincide with the launch of the completely integrated Crime Thriller promotional period which will see posters and stickered books in shops and supermarkets, coverage in the press, and trailers on ITV1 and ITV3" in the leadup to the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards on ITV3 later this year. ITV3 will also start a six-week run of brand new crime and thriller documentaries on Tuesday 31st August. These hour-long documentaries will focus on TV’s greatest detectives and showcase the shortlisted books in the other categories.

In this major new TV campaign, in the six weeks leading up to The Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2010, the British public will get the chance to vote for their favourite TV detective of all time. Over the six-week season of documentaries on ITV3, twelve different fictional detectives will be profiled - each of them a nominee for ‘The People’s Detective’ Dagger, which will be presented at The Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards.

I will of course be blogging more about this latter point in future. It should be interesting, especially to compare the results with the 'World's Favourite Detective' competition run by Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts earlier this year (won by Harry Bosch).

But for now, who do you think should win the CWA Gold Dagger (considered by some to be the Oscar of crime writing)? Which books have you read? Which do you intend to read? Who would you like to see win? Please share your thoughts...


  1. I'm not qualified to have an opinion. Have read only one, THE WAY HOME. I liked it very much.

  2. Craig - Thanks for this focus on the Gold Dagger awards. I shouldn't comment, because I haven't read them all. Still, it'll be interesting to see who wins...

  3. I have only read BLACKLANDS, STILL MIDNIGHT and THE WAY HOME. Of those my tip would be for BLACKLANDS but THE WAY HOME would also be a worthy winner - both do something innovative with their very different stories. The Denise Mina one didn't quite live up to her other works for me. I doubt I'll read any of the others - I want to like Burke but can't seem to so am not going to try any more :)

  4. I can't believe that Deon Meyer's "13 Hours" isn't on the list and that it was beaten in the translation stakes by a Swedish ghost story!
    Nor is James Ellroy's difficult but awesome "Blood's A Rover".

  5. Maybe Meyer's wasn't eligible because it was in the CWA International Dagger category Mike? I'm not sure, but wasn't the International Dagger introduced in part because Indriadsen won the Gold Dagger with a translated book, so they created a separate award (ie the translated books wouldn't be up for the Gold Dagger anymore)?

  6. Oh, go on guys - give me a go! I'm quite nice really, when you get to know me! All best wishes
    Karen Campbell. www.karencampbell.co.uk

  7. Thanks for dropping in Karen. I'm sure we'd all love to give SHADOWPLAY a try - I'll have to see how I can get my hands on it in New Zealand.