Short-list announced for Crime Novel of the Year 2016

The short-list for crime writing’s most wanted accolade, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, has been announced.

Celebrating its twelfth year, the Awards feature six titles whittled down from a long-list of 18 crime novels published by British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2015 to 18 April 2016.



The award ceremony will be hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 21 July on the opening night of the 14th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

Also on the night, Val McDermid will receive the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award, joining past winners Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill.

Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd and Judge, Simon Theakston, said:

We’re particularly delighted to be honouring Val McDermid this year. On a personal note, Val had the vision to create this Festival with Harrogate International Festivals back in 2003. Thanks to her far-reaching passion and generosity for crime fiction – for writers and readers alike – it has become the biggest celebration of the genre in the world. As a writer, she is rightfully known as the Queen of Crime. Val is very deserving of this accolade in the pantheon of legendary crime authors.

The 2016 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Radio Times.

The shortlist in full:

  • Time Of Death – Mark Billingham, Sphere
  • Career Of Evil – Robert Galbraith, Sphere
  • Tell No Tales – Eva Dolan, Harvill Secker
  • Disclaimer – Renee Knight, Black Swan
  • I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh, Sphere
  • Rain Dogs – Adrian McKinty, Serpent’s Tail

Two debut novels make the short-list. Renee Knight’s début, Disclaimer, has been pitched as the new Gone Girl. The former TV documentary maker spent a decade writing film scripts, with her first novel turned down by every publisher, but persisted to write Disclaimer, a Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller, whose overseas rights have been sold in 35 countries and to Fox Searchlight.



Clare Mackintosh first thriller I Let You Go was one of the fastest selling titles of 2015 and became a Sunday Times bestseller and a Richard & Judy book club winner. Clare spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 and now writes full time.  Praised widely for its astonishing twist, overseas rights have now sold in 30 countries.

Robert Galbraith’s Career of Evil – the third novel in the Cormoran Strike series – was lauded by the critics and a number one bestseller in both hardback and paperback.  With the Cormoran Strike novels in the process of being adapted for a major new television series for BBC One, J.K. Rowling’s crime pseudonym has well and truly made his mark in the genre.

Mark Billingham could make it a hat-trick after winning the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2005 and 2009. A stalwart of the genre, Time of Death is the astonishing thirteenth Tom Thorne novel – a story of kidnapping, the tabloid press, and a frightening case of mistaken identity. The novel is currently in adaptation with BBC Drama North.

Rain Dogs is book five in the critically-acclaimed Sean Duffy Thriller series set in 1980s Belfast by Northern Irish writer, Adrian McKinty. McKinty was shortlisted for the Steel Dagger in 2004 and has since been nominated for multiple awards in the UK, USA, France and Australia. He won the Ned Kelly Award in 2014 for Sean Duffy book three and book four was nominated for an Edgar in 2016. He currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Eva Dolan’s Tell No Tales is the second book from the author BBC Radio 4 marked as ‘a rising star of crime fiction’. Shortlisted for the CWA Dagger for unpublished authors when she was just a teenager, her debut novel Long Way Home, was the start of a major new crime series starring two detectives from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit. Tell No Tales focuses on murdered migrant workers and racial tension.

Simon Theakston, said:

It’s a remarkable shortlist that shows the crime genre shapes our cultural landscape and dominates publishing.

The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved oak beer cask made by Theakston Old Peculier.

Gemma Rowland, Operations Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, the arts organisation that delivers the festival, said:

2016’s winner will join the list of game changing authors who have won one of the most coveted awards over the last decade, including Denise Mina, Lee Child, and Sarah Hilary. The public’s vote is incredibly important as ultimately readers decide when it comes to judging a book’s worth, so I’d encourage everyone to make their voice heard – it’s free and simple to vote online.

The overall winner will be decided by a panel of Judges, alongside the public vote.


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