Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel Of The Year Longlist.





Harrogate, 5 May 2021: Today, the longlist of the UK and Ireland’s most prestigious crime novel award is unveiled with literary legends and dynamic debuts in contention for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.

Now in its 17th year, the most coveted prize in crime fiction, presented by Harrogate International Festivals celebrates crime writing at its best. This year’s longlist transports readers around the worldfrom California to Sweden and Calcutta to a remote Irish island and explores every subgenre from Scandi noir to murderous families.

The line-up of returning champions is led by crime fiction titan Ian Rankin, who has received a nod for his A Song for The Dark TimesMark Billingham, hoping for a third win with his Cry Baby, and Steve Cavanagh looking to beat the competition with Fifty Fifty.

This year’s longlist recognises a number of authors who have previously never been listed by the prize. Hoping to claim the trophy on their first appearance are Lucy Foley with her No.1 Sunday Times Best Seller The Guest List, Chris Whitaker with We Begin at The End, Scottish author Doug Johnstone with The Big Chill and Liz Nugent with Our Little Cruelties, and Jane Casey with herlatest Maeve Kerrigan instalment The Cutting Place.

The longlist also features several previously nominated authors hoping to go one step further and clinch the trophy with Elly Griffiths securing her seventh pick for her much lauded The Lantern Menand Susie Steiner getting her third nod for Remain Silent and Brian McGilloway’s second nomination for The Last Crossing, and best-selling author Louise Candlish hoping to win on her second pick with The Other Passenger.

Joining these outstanding names is the undisputed ‘Queen of Crime’ herself, Val McDermid with her newest Karen Pirie novel Still Life. Celebrated in the industry for her impeccable ability to select emerging talent for the annual New Blood panel at Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, McDermid find herself competing against many New Blood alumni including: Will Dean for his latest Scandi noir Black River; Eva Dolan for the newest instalment of her critically-acclaimed Zigic and Ferreira series, Abir Mukherjee’s new Calcutta and Assam-inspired Death in the East, and finally Trevor Wood – who has gone from the 2020 New Blood panel to longlisted for Crime’s biggest award.

The full longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021 is:

–          Cry Baby by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown Book Group, Sphere)

–          The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish (Simon & Schuster)

–          The Cutting Place by Jane Casey (HarperCollins, HarperFiction)

–          Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh (The Orion Publishing Group, Orion Fiction)

–          Black River by Will Dean (Oneworld Publications, Point Blank)

–          Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan (Bloomsbury Publishing, Raven Books)

–          The Guest List by Lucy Foley (HarperCollins, HarperFiction)

–          The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

–          The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone (Orenda Books)

–          Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton (Penguin Random House UK, Viking)

–          Still Life by Val McDermid (Little, Brown Book Group, Sphere)

–          The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway (Little, Brown Book Group, Constable)

–          Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee (VINTAGE, Harvill Secker)

–          Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent (Penguin, Sandycove)

–          A Song For The Dark Times by Ian Rankin (Orion, Orion Fiction)

–          Remain Silent by Susie Steiner (HarperCollins Publishers, The Borough Press)

–          We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker (Bonnier Books UK, Zaffre)

–          The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said“The way the global obsession with the crime genre continues to grow year on year is simply astonishing and this year’s longlist proves the remarkable talent on offer in crime writing– from legends of the craft to eager-eyed newcomers. The shortlist is already too close to call so we encourage all to get voting! A hearty toast of Old Peculier to all longlisted authors for this coveted award – and we look forward to what we know will be a fiercely fought competition!”

Run by Harrogate International Festivals, the shortlist will be announced in June and the winner on 22 July, at the opening evening of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – with the public able to vote for the winner on

The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with WHSmith and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback 1 May 2020 to 30 April 2021 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 WHSmith. 

The public are now invited to vote for a shortlist of six titles, which will be announced in June. The winner will be revealed on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 22 July, and will receive £3,000, and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.

Death Of A Messenger by Robert B. McCaw – Review.

About The Book

On Hawaii Island, an anonymous 911 caller reports a body at Pohakuloa, the Army’s live-fire training area. Hilo Chief Detective Koa Kane, a cop with his own secret criminal past, finds a mutilated corpse–bearing all the hallmarks of ancient ritual sacrifice. 

He encounters a host of obstacles as he pursues the murderer–an incompetent local medical examiner, hostility from both haoles (Westerners) and sovereignty advocates, and a myriad of lies. Koa races to discover whether the victim stumbled upon a gang of high-tech archaeological thieves, or learned a secret so shocking it cost him his life and put others in mortal danger. 

Will Hilo’s most respected detective stop this sadistic fiend–or will the Pohakuloa killer strike again, with even deadlier consequences?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. My knowledge of Hawaii begins and ends with the remake of the TV series Hawaii 5-0. This book was a lot more detailed, more interesting and more entertaining than that series. As well as knowing little about Hawaii I have no knowledge of archaeology or astronomy, but it didn’t stop me enjoying this novel. 

Whilst I have no knowledge of archaeology I found this aspect of the novel fascinating, I’m not sure I would like to discover some of the finds, they were a little creepy and intimidating but the author did a wonderful job of showing how important they were to those who have an interest. I enjoyed reading about the history of Hawaii, the way of life and the often antagonistic attitude between Hawaii and the United States. It was something I had never considered, but it was believable

Koa, the lead detective in this novel was a character I warmed to straight away. Like many before him he had a skeleton in his closet, but he lived his life trying to make amends for what he did. I found him to be devoted and protective towards his partner, loyal to his friends and respectful of Hawaiian history and culture. 

There were plenty of red herrings, quite a few dubious characters who could have been the murderer and I liked trying to work out who it could be. I was incorrect but the ending worked perfectly. 

My #20BooksofSummer – 2020

About The Challenge

Last year I did a  challenge called #20booksofsummer that was devised by Cathy at 746Books. The plan is to read 20 books between June and September. It was the third time had taken part and the first year that I failed to complete. I hope to do better this year.
If 20 is too many  you could also choose to read 10 or 15 books. I have decided to go for 20 hoping mainly to get the books that are outstanding on my NetGalley shelf down to a manageable level. There are also a few for blog tours that I have committed to.

I have listed all the books I want to read along with their covers. Some may change, but this year I hope to stick to my original list.

My List of Books I Want To Read

  1. Dead Air by Michael Bradley – Review Dead Air by Michael Bradley – Review.

2. Scrublands by Chris Hammer – Review Scrublands by Chris Hammer – Review.

3. Love Until It Hurts by Fiona Blakemore – Review Love Until It Hurts by Fiona Blakemore – Review.

4. Safe by S. K. Barnett – Review Safe by S. K Barnett – Blog Tour Review.

5. Monstrous Souls by Rebecca Kelly – Review- Monstrous Souls by Rebecca Kelly – Blog Tour Review.

6. Cut To The Bone by Roz Watkins – Review – Cut To The Bone by Roz Watkins – Blog Tour Review.

7. You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster – Review- You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster – Blog Tour Review.

8. V For Victory by Lissa Evans – Review V For Victory by Lissa Evans – Blog Tour Review.

9. A Ruined Girl by Kate Simants – A Ruined Girl by Kate Simants – Blog Tour Review.

10. The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter. Review – The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter – Blog Tour Review.

11. Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds – Review – Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds – Blog Tour Review.

12. The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith – Review – The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith – Blog Tour Review.

13. Betray Her by Caroline England – Review – Betray Her by Caroline England – Blog Tour Review.

14. Finders Keepers by Sabine Durrant – Review – Finders Keepers by Sabine Durrant – Blog Tour Review.

15. Winter Of The Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler – Review Winter Of The Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler – Review.

16. The Octopus by Jessica Little – The Octopus by Tess Little – Blog Tour Review.

17. Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry – Review – Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry – Blog Tour Review

18. The Safe Place by Anna Downes – Blog Tour Review – The Safe Place by Anna Downes – Review –

19. Dead To Her by Sarah Pinborough – Review – Dead To Her by Sarah Pinborough – Blog Tour Review.

20. One White Lie by Leah Konen – Review – One White Lie by Leah Konen – Blog Tour Review.

First Monday Crime – May – It’s a Tuesday.

Every month, when I get the email from the First Monday team I want to attend the event. This event, next week, which takes place on the first Tuesday instead of the Monday because of the bank holiday looks great. Maybe one day I will make it.

The authors taking part are:

Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and popular crime writers. A former actor, television writer and stand-up comedian, his series of novels featuring D.I. Tom Thorne has twice won him the Crime Novel Of The Year Award as well as the Sherlock Award for Best British Detective and been nominated for seven CWA Daggers. His standalone thriller IN THE DARK was chosen as one of the twelve best books of the year by the Times and his debut novel, SLEEPYHEAD was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 books that had shaped the decade. Each of his novels has been a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller. 

Chris Carter

I was born in Brasilia, Brazil where I spent my childhood and teenage years. After graduating from high school, I moved to the USA where I studied psychology with specialization in criminal behaviour. During my University years I held a variety of odd jobs, ranging from flipping burgers to being part of an all male exotic dancing group.

I worked as a criminal psychologist for several years, during which I interviewed and worked on over one hundred cases involving serial killers, murderers and serious offenders, before moving to Los Angeles, where I swapped the suits and briefcases for ripped jeans, bandanas and an electric guitar. After a spell playing for several well known glam rock bands, I decided to try my luck in London, where I was fortunate enough to have played for a number of famous artists. I toured the world several times as a professional musician.

A few years ago I gave it all up to become a full time writer.

Deborah O’Connor

Deborah O’Connor is a writer and TV producer. Born and bred in the North-East of England, in 2010 she completed the Faber Academy novel writing course. She lives in London with her husband and daughter.

Vanda Symon

Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has hit number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.

The panel is being moderated by:

Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson is the author of thirteen acclaimed psychological crime novels. Two of her novels have been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger, and the first novel in her historical series, Stratton’s War, won the Ellis Peters Award. She is the Guardian’s crime fiction reviewer, and a member of Killer Women.

May 7th, 20196:30pm College Building, Room A130City University London Come join us for a 'killer' panel, starring bestselling authors Mark Billingham, Chris Carter, Deborah O'Connor and Vanda Symon. ATTENTION: Because of the Bank Holiday, this event will take place on TUESDAY 7th May