Sunday, May 19, 2019

McIlvanney and McDermid among outstanding Theakstons shortlist

This morning (BST) the shortlist for the prestigious Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was revealed, with six outstanding crime reads chosen from a very strong 18-book shortlist.

Among the shortlisted authors is Liam McIlvanney, a University of Otago professor and past winner of the Ngaio Marsh Award (in 2014 for Where The Dead Men Go), for THE QUAKER, a tale which "uses a lightly fictionalised version of the real-life Bible John killings as a launch-pad for a textured, nuanced crime novel with a vivid sense of time and place" (New Zealand Listener, 100 Best Books).

The full shortlist is:

Bauer is a previous winner of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award (RUBBERNECKER, 2014) was also longlisted for last year's Man Booker Prize for SNAP. 

Inspired by the murder of a pregnant woman, Marie Wilks, on the M50 in 1988 (the real-life crime remains unsolved), SNAP became one of the very few crime-genre novels ever to be considered for the Man Booker prize. The judges described it as “an acute, stylish, intelligent novel about how we survive trauma.”

THIRTEEN is the latest Eddie Flynn courtroom thriller by Steve Cavanagh, hailed by Ian Rankin for “plotting that takes the breath away.” Cavanagh is an Irish lawyer and author born and raised in Belfast. Thirteen offers an original twist on the courtroom thriller, where the serial killer isn’t on trial – he’s on the jury.

Both Mick Herron and Val McDermid were shortlisted for last year's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year (won by Stav Sherez for THE INTRUSIONS). McDermid last won Crime Novel of the Year in 2006. The No 1 bestseller and ‘queen of crime’ could reclaim the title with her latest, BROKEN GROUND. The Karen Pirie thriller digs up a secret buried for 70 years in a Highland peat bog and has been praised for its "masterly handling of pace and plot". McDermid has won many awards including in the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award in 2016.

Mick Herron’s widely acclaimed Jackson Lamb novels have been shortlisted twice for the Crime Novel of the Year and LONDON RULES puts him back in the running: the fifth outing for the misfit disgraced band of spies at Slough House with the backdrop of Brexit Britain and a terror plot. 

Dubbed ‘the UK’s new spy master’ by the Sunday Times, Herron’s writing was praised by critic Barry Forshaw for, “the spycraft of le CarrĂ© refracted through the blackly comic vision of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.”

THE QUAKER by Liam McIllvanney has already scooped the 2018 McIlvanney Prize which was named to honour his father, the late ‘godfather of tartan noir’, William McIlvanney. Liam, an author and a professor of Scottish studies in New Zealand, set THE QUAKER in Glasgow in 1969 drawing on the real-life, never-caught serial murderer Bible John.

The only debut author on the list is that of Senior IT Officer turned novelist, Khurrum Rahman, with his first novel, EAST OF HOUNSLO.  Mixing edgy humour and pulse-racing tension, Khurrum was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Debut Dagger Award 2018. East of Hounslow follows his young hero Jay, a dope dealer who ends up reluctantly working undercover for MI5 while undergoing radical Islamist training. Khurrum lives in Berkshire with his wife and two sons.

Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: 
“All shortlisted authors are deserving of the title, but there’s only one Novel of the Year. The public vote will be invaluable, readers have real power, so I’d encourage everyone to make their voice heard - it’s free and simple to vote online. It will be fascinating to see which of these remarkable titles prevails, all are simply outstanding.”

Shortlisted titles will feature in a dedicated online campaign with WH Smith and a nationwide library promotion. The overall winner will be decided by the panel of judges, alongside a public vote that opens on 1st July and closes on 14th July at

The winner of the award, run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WH Smith, and the Mail on Sunday, will be announced on the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival on 18th July. The awards ceremony, hosted by Mark Lawson, will also reveal the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.

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