Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award – longlist announced

Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year logo

Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year logo

The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award celebrates the very best in crime writing. Run in partnership between Harrogate International Festivals and WHSmith, the award is open to British and Irish authors. The 2013 award is open to novels which have been published in paperback between 1 May 2012 – 30 April 2013.

And the 2013 long-list is …

  • The Guilty One – Lisa Ballantyne (Piatkus)
  • Finders Keepers – Belinda Bauer (Transworld)
  • Rush Of Blood – Mark Billingham (Little Brown)
  • Dead Scared – S J Bolton (Corgi, Transworld)
  • The Affair – Lee Child (Transworld)
  • A Foreign Country – Charles Cumming (Harpercollins)
  • Safe House –  Chris Ewan (Faber and Faber)
  • Not Dead Yet – Peter James (Macmillan)
  • Siege – Simon Kernick (Bantam Press)
  • Prague Fatale – Philip Kerr (Quercus)
  • The Rage – Gene Kerrigan (Vintage)
  • Birthdays for the Dead – Stuart MacBride (Harper)
  • The Dark Winter – David Mark (Quercus)
  • The Lewis Man – Peter May (Quercus)
  • Gods And Beasts – Denise Mina (Orion)
  • Stolen Souls – Stuart Neville (Vintage)
  • Sacrilege – S. J. Parris (Harper)
  • A Dark Redemption – Stav Sherez (Faber and Faber)

For the next stage, a shortlist of six will be announced on 1st July 2013.

Then, to decide the winner, a public online vote will open on 4th July 2013 at along with the deliberation of an expert judging panel.

The winner will be announced at the 2013 award ceremony on 18th July at the opening night of the fabulous Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate, England.

Many congratulations to all of the long listed authors, and best of luck for the next round.

CrimeFest announce their 2013 Awards Shortlists



There’s not long to go before the annual CrimeFest crime writing convention running from 30th May – 2nd June in Bristol, England.

A highlight of the event is the CrimeFest Awards, and this week the shortlists for 2013 have been announced.

First up, is The Audible Sounds of Crime Award. This award celebrates the best crime audiobook published in both print and audio in 2012. Shortlists and winning titles are selected by, the UK’s leading producer of downloadable audiobooks.

And the shortlist is:

– Michael Connelly for The Black Box read by Michael McConnohie (Orion Audio)

– John Grisham for The Racketeer read by J.D. Jackson (Hodder & Stoughton)

– Peter May for The Lewis Man read by Peter Forbes (Quercus)

– Jo Nesbø for Phantom read by Sean Barrett (Random House with Isis Publishing)

– Ian Rankin for Standing In Another Man’s Grave read by James MacPherson (Orion Audio)

Next up is The Goldsboro Last Laugh Award. This award is for the best humorous crime novel of 2012. The shortlist and winning title are selected by a team of British crime fiction reviewers.

The shortlist is:

– Colin Bateman for The Prisoner of Brenda (Headline)

– Simon Brett for The Corpse on the Court (Severn House)

– Declan Burke for Slaughter’s Hound (Liberties Press)

– Ruth Dudley Edwards for Killing The Emperors (Allison & Busby)

– Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May and the Invisible Code (Doubleday, Transworld)

– Hesh Kestin for The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats (Mulholland Books, Hodder & Stoughton)

The next up is the eDunnit Award. This award recognises the best crime fiction ebook published in 2012 in both hardcopy and in electronic format. The shortlist and winning title are selected by a team of British crime fiction reviewers.

The shortlist is:

– Andrea Camilleri for The Age of Doubt (Mantle, Macmillan)

– Ruth Dudley Edwards for Killing The Emperors (Allison & Busby)

– Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May and the Invisible Code (Transworld)

– C.J. Sansom for Dominion (Mantle, Macmillan)

And finally, the H.R.F. Keating Award. This award is for the best biography/critical book related to crime fiction ebook published between 2008 and 2012. Again, the shortlist and winning title has been selected by a team of British crime fiction reviewers.

The shortlist is:

– Declan Burke & John Connolly for Books to Die For (Hodder & Stoughton, 2012)

– John Curran for Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks (HarperCollins, 2009)

– Barry Forshaw (editor) for British Crime Writing: an Encyclopaedia (Greenwood World Publishing, 2008)

– Christopher Fowler for Invisible Ink (Strange Attractor, 2012)

– Maxim Jakubowski (editor) for Following the Detectives (New Holland Publishers, 2010)

– P.D. James for Talking about Detective Fiction (The Bodleian Library, 2009)

Now the shortlist has been announced, the nominees have to wait it out until the winners of each award are  announced at CrimeFest’s annual Gala Dinner on Saturday 1st June. With so many great books on the shortlists it’s going to be a tough call.

I’ve got my ticket and I can’t wait to find out who the winners are.

To find out more about CrimeFest hop on over to

Just Finished Reading: Hamelin’s Child by DJ Bennett

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What the blurb says: “Michael Redford died on his seventeenth birthday – the night Eddie picked him up off the street, shot him full of heroin and assaulted him. 

Now he’s Mikey and he works for Joss. With streaked blond hair and a cute smile, he sleeps by day and services clients at night. Sometimes he remembers his old life, but with what he’s become now, he knows there is no return to his comfortable middle-class background.

Then he makes a friend in Lee. A child of the streets, Lee demands more from friendship than Mikey is prepared to give. But the police are closing in on them now and Mikey’s not sure anymore who he really is – streetwise Mikey or plain Michael Redford.”

Set in the seedy world of London’s drug and prostitution rings, this is a harrowing and gritty story. However, as brutal as parts of this novel are, I found that I kept reading on, wanting to find out if Mikey could turn things around, get out of the horrendous situation he found himself in, and get some of his old life back.

This is a well written, fast paced thriller with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. It’s gritty and has adult content, but is never gratuitous.

If you’re looking for hard-hitting realism, this could be well worth a read.

[With thanks to the author DJ Bennet for my copy of Hamelin’s Child]

Review: Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly

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What the blurb says: “She’s gone and it’s your fault. You were supposed to be watching your best friend’s 13-year-old daughter, and now she’s missing. But you know she’s not just missing – she’s been taken. Because Lucinda is the second girl to be abducted within a fortnight. And the first was found on a busy high street, naked and severely traumatized. No one expects the next to be so lucky. You’re going to have to figure this out – who did it. Because if you don’t, then Lucinda will be next. And you’ll never forgive yourself.”

Lisa’s life is beyond hectic. With her family, her job at the animal shelter, and the demands of her friends she rarely has a minute to herself. It’s easy to empathize with her, and it’s easy to understand how she might overlook the odd detail. An odd detail that leads to her worst nightmares coming true.

Alternating point-of-view characters – Lisa, DC Joanne Aspinall, and the child abductor – show the situation from three different angles. Like all the characters in this book, they don’t feel like characters in a story, they feel like real live people.

As DC Aspinall investigates the case as part of her job, Lisa sets out to find the truth herself as a way to try and make amends to her friend. As a reader you get a real sense of the close-knit community in Troutbeck – a small ‘typically English’ village near Lake Windermere in the Lake District. But the close knit-ness can be a blessing and a curse, and some residents’ lives are not exactly as they might have seemed, as Lisa discovers.

From the outset, the story sets off at a rapid pace. For me it was a real page turner with plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep me hooked. High stakes and high tension equalled high speed reading – I finished this book in 24 hours, unable to put it down until it was finished. It also made me want to go and adopt another animal from the local shelter.

What Kind of Mother Are You? Is a stunning debut novel.

If you enjoy fast-paced psychological thrillers with an emotional kick, then this is for you. Read it. Now!

Highly recommended.


[With thanks to the publishers, Bantam Press, for my copy of Just What Kind of Mother Are You?]