Craig Russell’s novel The Ghosts of Altona (Quercus), has won the fourth annual Scottish Crime Book of the Year, organised by the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival.
The novel is part of Russell’s series about detective Jan Fabel and is set in both modern and 20th century Hamburg.
Judge Magnus Linklater said the decision to give the prize to Russell was unanimous this year. “We were all very impressed with The Ghosts of Altona. Craig Russell is a fine writer and we loved the complex, dark and unpredictable story. The quality of the writing was so strong there was a feeling that this book would stand up against any other literary prize-winning title, with its well-woven plots and sub-plots, thoughtful exploration of the nature of trauma and interesting uses of symbolism.”
Russell was presented with the £1,000 prize at a ceremony at the Bloody Scotland Festival in Stirling on Saturday (12th September) by Linklater and Peter May, author of the 2014 winning book.
He beat off competition from five shortlisted books by Lin Anderson, Matt Bendoris, Chris Brookmyre, Ann Cleeves and Louise Welsh, which were chosen from a longlist of 55 titles.
The Scottish Crime Book of the Year prize, which is sponsored by Deanston Disteillery, was launched in 2012 to recognise excellence in Scottish crime writing. Crime fiction, crime non-fiction and anthologies of short crime stories are all eligible, provided that the author is domiciled or born in Scotland, or that the work is set in Scotland.
The festival also announced Jamie Groves as the winner of this year’s Bloody Scotland International Short Story Competition with The Mystery of the Mallaig Train.