Laura Purcell has won the £10,000 Thumping Good Read Award for her "chilling" novel The Silent Companions (Raven Books).
The prize, which re-launched this summer after a 15-year gap, was judged by authors Jojo Moyes and Peter James. With their joint decision representing half of the vote, Moyes and James selected The Silent Companions as their favourite title. With the second half of the vote in readers hands, The Silent Companions was chosen in unanimous agreement as the clear winner.
Purcell will take home the prize money of £10,000 and her novel will be promoted in all W H Smith stores throughout summer. The Silent Companions will also be available at half price in High Street stores for one week from 19th to 25th July.
Purcell said: "It's a delight and an honour to win this award in the year of its return, particularly against such a wonderful shortlist. I'm over the moon that The Silent Companions managed to hook both the prestigious judges, whom I greatly admire, and readers alike."
James said: “Such a smart and varied group of books, over a range of genres, gave us great pleasure but made judging very hard. But it was The Silent Companions that ultimately shone, for originality, for the sheer quality of the writing, the characters and some masterly chills. A great ghost story for all seasons. A thumping good read!”
“I loved getting to read the Thumping Good Reads, and, like Peter James, felt The Silent Companions was an extraordinary, memorable and truly haunting book. I’m so glad the public thought so too.” added Moyes.
The campaign, exclusive to W H Smith and originally launched in the early 1990’s, aims to provide readers with a selection of books they "simply can’t put down".
The full list of titles in this year’s ‘Thumping Good Read’ award are: Capture Or Kill by Tom Marcus (Pan Macmillan), Sail Away by Celia Imrie (Bloomsbury), The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell (Raven Books), Guess Who by Chris McGeorge (Orion), Here and Gone by Haylen Beck (Vintage), The Other Woman by Sandie Jones (Pan) and One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus (Penguin).