The longlist of the UK and Ireland’s most prestigious crime novel award has been unveiled with literary legends and dynamic debuts in contention for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.
Now in its 16th year, the prize, presented by Harrogate International Festivals, received a record number of submissions and the longlist of 18 titles – 10 of which by women – represents crime writing at its best: celebrating four former winners, a Booker Prize contender and fresh new voices.
Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: “Year on year, I’m astounded and delighted by how this exceptional genre continues to excel.
“We were deluged with record submissions and these 18 impressive titles demonstrate the quality and power of contemporary crime fiction.
“From the familiar faces to the new voices, we are immensely proud of this year’s longlist and raise a virtual glass of Old Peculier to all the authors, and what will be another fierce contest for this much-wanted award.”
The line-up of returning champions is led by Scottish writer Denise Mina, vying to become the first author to complete a hat trick with the unsettling thriller Conviction.
Mina is joined by fellow Glaswegian bestseller Chris Brookmyre and his psychological suspense Fallen Angel, ‘Queen of Crime’ Val McDermid’s latest Tony Hill and Carol Jordan investigation How the Dead Speak, and Lee Child with the final Jack Reacher Blue Moon before sharing authorship with his brother Andrew.
The longlist also features several previously nominated authors hoping to go one step further and claim the trophy with Mick Herron securing a fifth pick for his much-lauded Slough House series with Joe Country and a nod for Abir Mukherjee’s third Wyndham and Banerjee instalment Smoke and Ashes and fan favourite Vera and Shetland author Ann Cleeves returns with The Long Call, marking the launch of a new North Devon series.
Further Theakston alumni in the running include Adrian McKinty with his electrifying thriller The Chain, Helen Fitzgerald and the darkly comic Worst Case Scenario and outback noir from Jane Harper in The Lost Man.
Rising stars of the genre are celebrated with three debuts on the list. Oyinkan Braithwaite, who was spotlighted in the Festival’s ‘New Blood’ panel last year, has been recognised for her Booker-longlisted My Sister the Serial Killer.
Harriet Tyce is in contention for her domestic noir Blood Orange that draws on her own experience as a criminal barrister, and Laura Shepherd-Robinson for the atmospheric Blood and Sugar, bringing the 1780s Deptford Docks to life.
Established voices joining the Theakston ranks for the first time include Jane Casey and her latest Maeve Kerrigan instalment Cruel Acts, Alex North with his police procedural The Whisper Man, Louise Doughty, who is longlisted for Platform Seven, Will Carver with the Nothing Important Happened Today; and Val McDermid’s 2018 New Blood selection: Will Dean and his follow-up to Dark Pines, the stunning Scandi noir Red Snow.
The full longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year is:My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan BraithwaiteFallen Angel by Chris BrookmyreNothing Important Happened Today by Will CarverCruel Acts by Jane CaseyBlue Moon by Lee ChildThe Long Call by Ann CleevesRed Snow by Will DeanPlatform Seven by Louise DoughtyWorst Case Scenario by Helen FitzgeraldThe Lost Man by Jane HarperJoe Country by Mick HerronHow the Dead Speak by Val McDermidThe Chain by Adrian McKintyConviction by Denise MinaSmoke and Ashes by Abir MukherjeeThe Whisper Man by Alex NorthBlood and Sugar by Laura Shepherd-RobinsonBlood Orange by Harriet Tyce
The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback from May 1 2018 to April 30 by UK and Irish authors.
The longlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee, and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd, the Express, and WH Smith.
The 18 titles will be promoted in a dedicated online campaign from WHSmith, digital promotional materials will be made available for independent bookstores.The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival’s online community – You’re Booked – will raise a virtual glass to the titles and authors through interviews, features and a variety of further interactive content, as well as giving the opportunity to see a selection of events fromthe Festival’s extensive archive.
This forms part of the Harrogate International Festival virtual season of events, which presents a raft of live music, specially commissioned performances, literary events and interviews.
The public are now invited to vote for a shortlist of six titles on www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com which will be announced on June 8.
The winner of the prize has historically been awarded on the opening evening of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival as part of Harrogate International Festival Summer Season, which this year was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This year, the winner will be revealed at a virtual awards ceremony on July, 31 and will receive £3,000, and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.