Veterans Lee Child and Mick Herron are vying with debut writers Oyinkan Braithwaite and Harriet Tyce on the longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.
Presented by Harrogate International Festivals, the award's 18-title list features four former winners, a Booker Prize contender and a host of fresh new voices.
The line-up of returning champions includes Denise Mina, vying to become the first author to complete a hat trick with the deeply unsettling thriller Conviction (Harvill Secker). She is joined by fellow Glaswegian bestseller Chris Brookmyre and his psychological suspense Fallen Angel (Abacus), Val McDermid’s latest Tony Hill and Carol Jordan investigation, How the Dead Speak (Little, Brown), and Child with his final Jack Reacher, Blue Moon (Bantam), before sharing authorship with his brother Andrew.
The longlist also features several previously nominated authors with Herron securing a fifth pick for his Slough House thriller Joe Country (John Murray) and a nod for Abir Mukherjee’s new Wyndham & Banerjee instalment, Smoke and Ashes (Harvill Secker). Cleeves returns with The Long Call (Pan), marking the launch of a new North Devon series, alongside Adrian McKinty with kidnap thriller The Chain (Orion), Helen Fitzgerald for Worst Case Scenario (Orenda), and outback noir from Jane Harper in The Lost Man (Little, Brown).
There are three debuts on the list, including Braithwaite, who was spotlighted in the Festival’s New Blood panel in 2019, and has been recognised for her Booker longlisted My Sister the Serial Killer (Atlantic). Tyce is in contention for her domestic noir Blood Orange (Wildfire) that draws on her own experience as a criminal barrister, and Laura Shepherd-Robinson for Blood & Sugar (Mantle), 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 (Harper Fiction), Alex North with his police procedural The Whisper Man (Michael Joseph), Louise Doughty, who is longlisted for Platform Seven (Faber), Will Carver with the thriller Nothing Important Happened Today (Orenda) and Will Dean and his Scandi noir Red Snow (Point Blank).
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 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 T & R Theakston, the Express, and W H Smith.
The 18 titles will be promoted in a dedicated online campaign from W H Smith, digital promotional materials will be made available for independent bookstores, and the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival’s online community You’re Booked will feature interviews, features and a variety of further interactive content.
The public are now invited to vote for a shortlist of six titles on, which will be announced on 8th June. This year, the winner will be revealed at a virtual awards ceremony on 31st July, receiving £3,000 and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.
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