Giants of the genre are pitted against a clutch of new voices in one of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the country.
The longlist for the 2015 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award sees stalwarts Ian Rankin, Lee Child and John Harvey in the running.
Rankin and Child battle it out, each with their 19th novels in the iconic Rebus and Reacher series. Lee Child’s number one global bestseller Personal takes on Rankin’s Saints of the Shadow Bible, which brought Rebus back from retirement.
John Harvey’s Darkness, Darkness could be a swan song for the gong with Resnick’s last case, 25 years after the Detective Inspector’s first appearance.
2014 winner Belinda Bauer is back on the list with The Facts of Life and Death, a chilling story where lone women are terrorised in a game where only one player knows the rules.
Taking on the old guard is the debut that threatens to be “as big as Jo Nesbo”. The electrifying serial killer thriller, Eeny Meeny from M.J. Arlidge features the tough, determined and damaged DI Helen Grace.
Other debuts include the TV and film scriptwriter Ray Celestin’s The Axeman's Jazz, a stunning atmospheric crime thriller set in 1919 New Orleans, inspired by a real life serial killer, and Sarah Hilary’s compelling first thriller, Someone Else's Skin, which received critical acclaim for being superbly disturbing, twisty and tricksy.
Disappeared is Irish journalist Anthony Quinn’s first novel, set in a dark corner of Northern Ireland where the Troubles have never ended. And Antonia Hodgson’s debut, The Devil in the Marshalsea also makes the list with her medieval murder mystery.
Child 44 author Tom Rob Smith appears with his fourth novel, Number One bestseller The Farm, an utterly riveting and hypnotic psychological thriller part-set in Sweden. Scottish author Louise Welsh delivers with her first apocalyptic thriller in her Plague Times trilogy, A Lovely Way to Burn.
Now in its eleventh year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was created to celebrate the very best in British and Irish crime writing and is open to crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2014 to 30 April 2015. The 2015 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and Radio Times.
The long list, comprising 18 titles, is selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd and WHSmith.
The longlist in full:
Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge, Michael Joseph
The Facts Of Life And Death by Belinda Bauer, Black Swan
The Ghost Runner by Parker Bilal, Bloomsbury
The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter, Fig Tree
The Axeman's Jazz by Ray Celestin, Mantle
Personal by Lee Child, Bantam
The Killing Season by Mason Cross, Orion Fiction
Bryant & May - The Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler, Bantam
The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths, Quercus
The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah, Hodder & Stoughton
Darkness, Darkness by John Harvey, Arrow
Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary, Headline
The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson, Hodder & Stoughton
Entry Island by Peter May, Quercus
Disappeared by Anthony Quinn, Head of Zeus
Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin, Orion Fiction
The Farm by Tom Rob Smith, Simon & Schuster
A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh, John Murray Publishers
From 21 May to 17 June, longlisted titles will feature in a four-week campaign across all 600 WHSmith stores and 80 library services, representing a total of 1645 library branches. The longlist will be whittled down to a shortlist of six titles which will be announced on 15 June
The overall winner will be decided by the panel of Judges, which this year comprises of Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd. and title sponsor Simon Theakston, Festival Chair Ann Cleeves, Radio Times’ TV Editor Alison Graham, Head of Fiction at WHSmith, Sandra Bradley and Producer of the Radio 2 Book Club, Joe Haddow, as well as members of the public.
The public vote opens on 1 July and closes 13 July at www.theakstons.co.uk
Previous winners of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award include Denise Mina, Lee Child, Val McDermid, and Mark Billingham.
The winner of the prize will be announced by title sponsor Simon Theakston at an award ceremony hosted by broadcaster and Festival regular Mark Lawson on 16 July on the opening night of the 13th annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.
For further information please contact Ann Chadwick at Cause UK 07534892715 Ann@causeuk.com
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. KEY AWARD DATES
21st May – 18 longlist titles feature in a 4-week campaign in 600 WHSmith stores nationwide
15th June – shortlist of 6 announced
18th June - 6 shortlist titles feature in a 6-week campaign in 600 WHSmith stores nationwide
1st July – online voting opens to the public at www.theakstons.co.uk
13th July - public voting closes for the shortlist
16th July: winner announced at Award ceremony on Opening Night of Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate (8pm, Thu 16 July)
2. PREVIOUS WINNERS
2005 – Lazy Bones by Mark Billingham
2006 – The Torment of Others by Val McDermid
2007 – Two Way Split by Allan Guthrie
2008 – The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
2009 – Death Message by Mark Billingham
2010 - A Simple Act of Violence by RJ Ellory
2011 – 61 Hours by Lee Child
2012 – The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina
2013 – Beasts and Gods, by Denise Mina
2014 – Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer
3. ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is Europe’s largest event dedicated to the celebration of crime fiction. Taking place annually over four days each July (this year: 16-19 July), the Festival programmes over 80 best-selling UK and international crime authors and over 20 events. It is organised and promoted by the north of England’s leading arts festival organisation, Harrogate International Festivals. Ranked in the top three literary festivals in the UK by The Guardian, it is also featured in the Independent ‘50 Best Festivals’.
2015 Special Guests include Ann Cleeves, Val McDermid, Lisa Gardner, Sally Wainwright, Mark Billingham, Eddie Izzard, MC Beaton, Arnaldur Indridason, Lee Child and Sara Paretsky.
4. ABOUT THEAKSTONS
Title sponsor of the Festival since 2005, Theakstons Old Peculier ale is produced by T & R Theakston Ltd. It is one of the country’s most famous and highly regarded traditional ale brewers. Theakstons was established in Masham, North Yorkshire in 1827 by Robert Theakston. After a brief period in the 1980s when the company was acquired by Scottish & Newcastle plc, the company has been back under family ownership since autumn 2003. It now operates as an independent brewer producing five permanent brands in the Theakstons range including the iconic Old Peculier – its best-known beer with a rich, dark flavour, celebrated by ale enthusiasts all over Britain and around the world. Theakstons Old Peculier is now available in the United States again thanks to an agreement between the brewer and Latis Imports of Connecticut.