Three debuts have made the shortlist for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2015.
Antonia Hodgson’s debut The Devil in the Marshalsea (Hodder & Stoughton), a murder mystery set in the Marshalsea prison in 1727, is shortlisted alongside Hachette stablemate Sarah Hilary’s debut thriller Someone Else's Skin (Headline) and TV and film scriptwriter Ray Celestin’s debut, The Axeman's Jazz (Mantle), a crime thriller set in 1919 New Orleans that is inspired by a real life serial killer.
Last year’s winner Belinda Bauer is also shortlisted for The Facts of Life and Death (Transworld), where lone women are terrorised in a game where only one player knows the rules. Two Quercus titles complete the shortlist: Peter May’s Entry Island, which starts in the past in the Hebrides and moves to the French-Canadian Magdalen islands with a murder on Entry Island; and The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths, the sixth novel in the series featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway.
The shortlisted titles were whittled down from a longlist of 18 crime novels published by British and Irish authors over the last year. The 2015 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WH Smith and Radio Times.
The overall winner will be decided by the panel of judges, which this year comprises of: executive director of T&R Theakston Ltd. and title sponsor Simon Theakston; festival chair Ann Cleeves; Radio Times’ TV editor Alison Graham; head of fiction at WH Smith, Sandra Bradley; and producer of the Radio 2 Book Club, Joe Haddow, as well as members of the public. The public vote opens on 1st July and closes on 13th July at the Theakstons website. www.theakstons.co.uk
The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on the opening night of the 13th annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate on 16th July. The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.
Also on the night, American crime writer Sara Paretsky will receive the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.
Theakston, said: “The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was created over a decade ago to celebrate the very best in the genre, as this remarkable shortlist shows. It’s also a great honour to be recognising the extraordinary achievements of Sara Paretsky. Sara’s remarkable legacy has helped perceptions of women in crime fiction, and is truly one of the great crime writers today.”
Previous winners of the award include Lee Child, Val McDermid, and Mark Billingham.