Renowned Scottish writers Ian Rankin and Val McDermid are among the contenders to win this year’s most coveted prize in crime fiction.
The Fife duo, along with Irvine-born Doug Johnstone, have been selected in a longlist of 18 for the annual Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.
The award, which is now in its 17th year, features an eclectic book selection, capable of transporting readers around the world from California to Sweden and Calcutta to a remote Irish island, while the different works explore every subgenre from Scandi noir to murderous families.
The line-up of returning champions is led by Cardenden-born Rankin, who has received the nod for his highly-acclaimed A Song for The Dark Times, Mark Billingham, who is hoping for a third win with his Cry Baby, and Steve Cavanagh who is aspiring to beat the competition with Fifty Fifty.
However, the roll call of contenders also features a number of authors who have never previously been in the running for the prize. These include Lucy Foley, Chris Whitaker, Liz Nugent, Jane Casey and Johnstone.
The list is also littered with several previously nominated authors hoping to go one step further and clinch the trophy, including Elly Griffiths for The Lantern Men, Susie Steiner for Remain Silent, Brian McGilloway’s for The Last Crossing, and Louise Candlish with The Other Passenger.
Joining these names is the ‘Queen of Crime’ herself, Val McDermid with her newest Karen Pirie novel Still Life.
As somebody who is 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, the Raith Rovers aficionado finds herself competing against many New Blood alumni including Will Dean, Eva Dolan, Abir Mukherjee and Trevor Wood.
The full longlist is: Cry Baby by Mark Billingham, The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish, The Cutting Place by Jane Casey, Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh, Black River by Will Dean, Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan, The Guest List by Lucy Foley, The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths, The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone, Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton, Still Life by Val McDermid, The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway, Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee, Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent, A Song For The Dark Times by Ian Rankin, Remain Silent by Susie Steiner, We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker and The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood.
Run by Harrogate International Festivals, the shortlist will be announced in June and the winner unveiled on July 22 at the opening evening of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – with the public able to vote for the winner at: harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com