J K Rowling, McDermid and Cleeves compete on Theakston's longlist

J K Rowling, McDermid and Cleeves compete on Theakston's longlist

For the first time J K Rowling's pseudonym Robert Galbraith has made the longlist for the £3,000 Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, announced today (18th April).

Career Of Evil (Sphere) is the latest in the series of books by Galbraith to feature veteran-turned-private detective Cormoran Strike. It was described by Rowling in an interview with Simon Mayo last year to be "the only book I've ever written that has literally given me nightmares" and her "darkest novel" yet, as well as the most enjoyable she's ever written.

Other "giants of the genre" to feature on this year's 18-strong longlist include two-time winner Mark Billingham, shortlisted for his 13th novel Time of Death (Little Brown); Ann Cleeves, whose novel Moth Catcher (Pan Macmillan) features her iconic detective Vera Stanhope; and 2006's winner of the award, 'Queen of Crime' Val McDermid, who made the longlist for her 29th novel Splinter the Silence (Little, Brown).

Competing with these stalwarts, this year's selection also shines a spotlight on new voices with a total of five debut authors in the running. They are: Disclaimer (Black Swan), pitched as "the new Gone Girl", by Renee Knight, a former TV documentary maker who spent a decade writing film scripts. Since overcoming an initial struggle to get published, overseas rights have now been sold in 25 countries and to a Hollywood studio; Lisa McInerney's The Glorious Heresies (John Murray Publishers), which was also longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016; Ruth Ware’s debut thriller In a Dark Dark Wood (Harvill Secker), a Cold War thriller called Stasis Child, published by Bonnier's digital-first imprint, Twenty7, which was established with a focus on debut authors; and Clare Mackintosh's first thriller I Let You Go (Sphere), one of the fastest selling titles of 2015 and became a Richard & Judy book club winner.

From Thursday (21st April), the longlisted titles will feature in a six-week campaign across all 300 WH Smith stores and 80 library services, representing a total of 1,645 library branches. A shortlist of six will be further announced on 31st May, followed by a seven-week promotion in libraries and WH Smiths stores.

The award, now in its 12th year, is open to crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1st May 2015 to 18th April 2016, and is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WH Smith, and The Radio Times. The longlist was arrived at by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival programming committee and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd and WH Smith. 

The overall winner will be decided by the panel of judges, alongside a public vote, open from 1st - 15th July, with the winner to be announced at an award ceremony hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 21st July, the opening night of the 14th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: “2016’s longlist shows that the crime genre is in incredibly robust health. It’s a showcase of some of the best authors in the world, and shows that the genre is the most influential when it comes to shaping publishing and popular culture. It’s incredibly exciting to see such strong new voices on the list, and it will no doubt be a hotly-contended award.”

Gemma Rowland, literature festivals manager at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “The list demonstrates that even the giants of the genre are constantly kept on their toes, with debut voices as serious contenders. Last year’s winner was a debut from Sarah Hilary. It really shows whoever wins this year will know they’ve been pitted against the biggest talent at work today.”

The full longlist is as below: 

Time of Death, Mark Billingham (Little Brown)

Rain Dogs, Adrian McKinty (Serpent’s Tail)

Career of Evil, Robert Galbraith (Sphere)

Black Eyed Susans, Julia Heaberlin (Michael Joseph)

Disclaimer, Renée Knight (Black Swan)

I Let You Go, Clare Mackintosh (Sphere)

The Moth Catcher, Ann Cleeves (Pan)

Tell No Tales, Eva Dolan (Harvill Secker)

The Ghost Fields, Elly Griffiths (Quercus)

The Missing and the Dead, Stuart MacBride (Harper Fiction)

Every Night I Dream of Hell, Malcolm Mackay (Mantle)

Splinter the Silence, Val McDermid (Little, Brown)

The Glorious Heresies, Lisa McInerney (John Murray Publishers)

The Nightmare Place, Steve Mosby (Orion Fiction)

The Final Silence, Stuart Neville (Harvill Secker)

In a Dark, Dark Wood, Ruth Ware (Harvill Secker)

Death is a Welcome Guest, Louise Welsh (John Murray Publishers)

Stasi Child, David Young (Twenty7)