The shortlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year pits "Queen of Crime" Val McDermid's 30th novel against an espionage thriller by Mick Herron, Chris Brookmyre's "Celtic Gone Girl", Eva Dolan's third Zigic and Ferreira novel and Richard & Judy book club picks by Sabine Durrant and Susie Steiner.
McDermid is shortlisted for Out Of Bounds (Sphere), which helped her to claim her first UK Official number one spot this year, while Herron is in the running for the third book in his Jackson Lamb series, Real Tigers (Soho Crime). Herron's first Slough House novel, about an MI5 department of washed-up operatives, was nominated for the Steel-Dagger prize and his second, Dead Lions, won the 2013 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger.
Dolan, based in Essex, returns to the shortlist for a second year running for her third book After You Die (Harvill Secker), starring crime-fighting duo Zigic and Ferreira. Tell No Tales was shortlisted in 2016.
Brookmyre makes it into the award's top six for Black Widow (Little, Brown), a story of cyber-abuse, featuring long-time character, reporter Jack Parlabane. It won the Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award and was a finalist for the CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger Award.
Sabine Durrant, former assistant editor of The Guardian and former literary editor at The Sunday Times, joins the shortlist for her psychological thriller Lie With Me (Mulholland Books). Set on a Greek island, its twisty plot about a one-hit wonder author, now living off friends and feeding them lies, made it a Richard and Judy book club pick.
Susie Steiner, also a former Guardian journalist, is up for the award for her second novel Missing, Presumed (The Borough Press). It inspired marketers at HarperCollins to run a poster campaign for the book mirroring a real-time police search and was also a Richard & Judy book club pick.
The shortlisted titles will now be promoted in a seven-week promotion in over 1,500 libraries and WH Smith stores nationwide throughout June and July. The prize is run in partnership with Theakston, WH Smith and The Mail on Sunday,
The £3,000 winner will be announced at an award ceremony hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 20th July on the opening night of the 15th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. The awards night will also honour Lee Child with the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award, joining past winners McDermid, Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill.
Theakston executive director Simon Theakston, said: “The shortlist this year highlights the incredible writers at work today. As these novels show, crime novels explore issues at the heart of our society and tap into the zeitgeist. 2017’s winner will join the list of game changing authors who have won this most coveted award over the last decade, including Denise Mina, Lee Child, and Sarah Hilary.”
Theakston said Child was "nothing short of a phenomenon", adding: "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.”