Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Theakston: And then there were six

Back in 2012 I had the pleasure and privilege of attending the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, England. A truly wonderful event in a terrific little historic town, there really is something special about this crime writing festival that was started around a decade ago by a group of keen crime writers and other enthusiasts. Authors mix pretty freely with readers in a way I haven't seen at many other festivals, and there's a great vibe amongst all those who love some page-turning murder and mystery.

When I attended, Denise Mina won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for her terrific book THE END OF THE WASP SEASON (see my less than stellar photo of the moment right). Mina made it two in a row last year, winning for GODS & BEASTS, and now, with the finalists for this year's award just being announced this week, it seems the superb Scotswoman could perhaps be in line for a remarkable hat-trick.

Mina has been nominated for THE RED ROAD, the latest in her DI Alex Morrow series. I am a big fan of Mina's writing, even though for me, her debut Morrow book, STILL MIDNIGHT, didn't quite live up to the well-deserved hype of her excellent Garnethill series (I found it more good than great, though the Morrow series has grown ever-stronger since). The full list of finalists is: 
  • The Red Road - Denise Mina
  • The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter - Malcolm Mackay
  • The Chessmen - Peter May
  • Rubbernecker - Belinda Bauer
  • Dying Fall - Elly Griffiths
  • Eleven Days - Stav Sherez

I have read three of the six authors before (Mina, Bauer, and Sherez), and really enjoyed all of their work, but I haven't read any of these specific titles yet. You can check out some reviews of the finalists on the excellent Eurocrime website, run by Karen Meek.

Have you read any of the finalists? Or attended the Theakston festival in the past? Please feel free to share your thoughts about the books, festival, or other related topics.

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