Hachette has three titles on the Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year shortlist, while Pan Macmillan has two.
From Pan Mac comes Lin Anderson’s Paths of the Dead, in which forensic expert Dr Rhona MacLeod investigating a murder in spiritualist and Druidic circles, and Ann Cleeves’ Thin Air, which follows a group of old university friends reuniting in Shetland for a wedding when one of them disappears.
Joining them is: Dead Girl Walking by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown), the return of Brookmyre’s protagonist Jack Parlabane, who is tracking down a beautiful and famous musician who has disappeared; The Ghosts of Altona by Craig Russell (Quercus), which sees Jan Fabel haunted by the discovery of a body from his first-ever case, that of a beautiful student obsessed with the gothic; and Louise Welsh’s Death Is A Welcome Guest (Hodder & Stoughton), the second of her Plague Times trilogy, following a comedian through a post-apocalyptic Britain ravaged by a mysterious disease.
Completing the list is DM For Murder by Matt Bendoris, published by Scottish independent Saraband. It sees American cops and British journalists in a race to track down a Twitter killer whose victim is an arrogant television host.
Bloody Scotland director Dom Hastings said: “This year’s shortlist, replete with a number of very successful authors, is testament to the the strength, variety and diversity of crime writing in Scotland. Reading these books, you can travel from a misty midsummer night in Shetland to a high-security prison in the middle of an outbreak; experience the mysteries of a Druidic stone circle and the cut-throat anonymities of cyberspace, go on tour with a famous rock band or track down a long-lost killer.”
He continued: “It’s a bit of a spooky list this year, with several of the novels flirting with the supernatural; also, interestingly, four of the titles are anchored by long-standing protagonists, proving that innovation and excellence still flourish in ongoing series fiction. All in all, it’s a phenomenally strong showing, demonstrating that crime fiction in Scotland is still in rude, bloody health.”
The award is designed to recognise excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1,000 and nation-wide promotion in Waterstones. The shortlist was chosen by an independent panel of readers from a longlist of 55 books. Journalist and former newspaper editor Magnus Linklater, writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson, and Caron Macpherson of Waterstones Argyle Street in Glasgow will form the 2015 panel of judges. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner on Saturday 12th September as part of the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival programme.
Last year’s winner was Peter May with Entry Island (Quercus).
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