Chris Brookmyre has scooped the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for his novel Black Widow (Little, Brown).
The novel is a story about cyber-abuse, where "even the twists have twists", said the judges. It features Brookmyre's long-time character, reporter Jack Parlabane. Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that she had been given the novel as an early Valentine’s Day present by her husband, declaring it "brilliant".
Brookmyre said: “I’m really quite taken aback. I’ve been shortlisted three times before for this award, always the bridesmaid, today I get to walk up the aisle. A book is not just the work of the author behind it. I’d like to thank my editor, Ed Wood, for his calibre and daring that made a good book greater. I’m mainly just very proud.”
Brookmyre was presented the award by title sponsor Simon Theakston and broadcaster Mark Lawson at the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.
Brookmyre beat off stiff competition from the shortlist of six, whittled down from a longlist of 18 crime novels published by British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1st May 2016 to 30th April 2017. Also shortlisted were Eva Dolan's After You Die (Harvill Secker), Sabine Durrant's Lie With Me (Mulholland Books), Mick Herron's Real Tigers (Soho Crime), Val McDermid's Out Of Bounds (Little, Brown), and Susie Steiner's Missing, Presumed (The Borough Press).
Brookmyre collected a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved oak beer cask made by Theakston Old Peculier.
Simon Theakston presents awards to Chris Brookmyre (left) and Lee Child (right). Photos: © Charlotte Graham
A special presentation was made to Lee Child, the winner of the eighth Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. Child joins Val McDermid, Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill as recipients of the Award.
Child said: “It’s an honour - probably undeserved - to be placed in the same category as the previous recipients of this prize. In particular I would like to thank Simon Theakston for his generous and visionary support of the genre.”
Title sponsor and executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: “We’re particularly delighted to be honouring Lee Child. He is nothing short of a phenomenon. The Jack Reacher series tops bestseller lists worldwide, with a staggering 100 million books sold. Lee is very deserving of this accolade, and will have his rightful place in a pantheon of legendary crime authors who have achieved this honour to date.”
Agent Jane Gregory was also honoured at the festival with a a Special Contribution to Crime Fiction Award, given by author and co-founder of the Festival, Val McDermid. McDermid said: “Jane is known for her integrity and commitment to authors”.
The 2017 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Mail on Sunday.
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