Crime novel of the year long-list announced

19 April 2016

Giants of the genre are pitted against a clutch of new voices in one of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the country.

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

Renee Knight’s debut, 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, whose overseas rights have been sold in 25 countries and to a Hollywood studio.

Lisa McInerney The Glorious Heresies, was longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016 and was described as a ‘spectacular’ debut by the Telegraph.

In a Dark Dark Wood was Ruth Ware’s debut thriller about a hen party with a murderous twist. It became an instant bestseller in the States and was snapped up to be a major motion picture under development by Reese Witherspoon.

David Young’s Stasis Child also became a bestseller, aimed at fans of Child 44 and Deutschland 83. Young’s first novel was published by Twenty7 imprint, which was established with a focus on debut authors.

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.

The debut novels will compete with those from stalwarts of the genre, including one of the biggest names in books – JK Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith. Other blockbuster names in the running include Mark Billingham, Ann Cleeves and Val McDermid.

Time of Death is the 13th in Billingham’s much-loved Tom Thorne series; his detective was played by David Morrissey for Sky One. Time of Death has been commissioned by BBC TV, due for broadcast in autumn, 2016. Ann Cleeves shot to fame with her Vera (ITV) and Shetlands (BBC) series. The Moth Catcher features her iconic detective, Vera Stanhope.

Now in its twelfth year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was created to celebrate the very best in crime writing and is open to crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2015 to 18 April 2016.

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

The long list, comprising 18 titles, is selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd and WHSmith.

The longlist in full:

  • Time of Death by Mark Billingham, Little Brown
  • Rain Dogs, Adrian McKinty, Serpent’s Tail
  • Career of Evil, Robert Galbraith, Sphere
  • Black Eyed Susans, Julia Heaberlin, Michael Joseph
  • Disclaimer, Renée Knight, Black Swan
  • I Let You Go, Clare Mackintosh, Sphere
  • The Moth Catcher, Ann Cleeves, Pan
  • Tell No Tales, Eva Dolan, Harvill Secker
  • The Ghost Fields, Elly Griffiths, Quercus
  • The Missing and the Dead, Stuart MacBride, Harper Fiction
  • Every Night I Dream of Hell, Malcolm Mackay, Mantle
  • Splinter the Silence, Val McDermid, Little, Brown
  • The Glorious Heresies, Lisa McInerney, John Murray Publishers
  • The Nightmare Place, Steve Mosby, Orion Fiction
  • The Final Silence, Stuart Neville, Harvill Secker
  • In a Dark, Dark Wood, Ruth Ware, Harvill Secker
  • Death is a Welcome Guest, Louise Welsh, John Murray Publishers
  • Stasi Child, David Young, Twenty7

From 21 April, longlisted titles will feature in a six-week campaign across all 300 WHSmith stores and 80 library services, representing a total of 1645 library branches.

The shortlist of six titles will be announced on 31 May, followed by a seven-week promotion in libraries and WHSmiths.

The overall winner will be decided by the panel of Judges, alongside a public vote. The public vote opens on 1 July and closes 15 July at

Previous winners of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award include Denise Mina, Val McDermid, and Sarah Hilary.

The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.

Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said:

2016’s longlist shows that the crime genre is in incredibly robust health. It’s a showcase of some of the best authors in the world, and shows that the genre is the most influential when it comes to shaping publishing and popular culture. It’s incredibly exciting to see such strong new voices on the list, and it will no doubt be a hotly-contended award.


Gemma Rowland, Literature Festivals Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, said:

The list demonstrates that even the giants of the genre are constantly kept on their toes, with debut voices as serious contenders. Last year’s winner was a debut from Sarah Hilary. It really shows whoever wins this year will know they’ve been pitted against the biggest talent at work today.

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