Crime Awards – the Daggers

This is the first year where I’ve really been aware of the CWA awards and had high hopes of managing to read the bulk of at least one of the lists in advance of the announcement of the winners. When the first tranche of shortlists were announced at Crimefest in May earlier this year things didn’t look promising. Of the awards where I was likely to have read any or some of the books (the International and  Ellis Peters Historical Daggers ) I had read one title which had the good fortune to be on both lists – I Will Have Vengeance.

So I decided that to read the rest of either list was too much to manage in the time between the announcement & the awards.  Which means that I must now look to the second set of awards (the Gold Dagger, the Steel Dagger, and the John Creasey Dagger) for a better opportunity. So where should I concentrate my efforts?

It looks like it will be the Gold Dagger. Of the 8 long-listed titles I have read three:

A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash
The Flight by M.R. Hall
The Child Who by Simon Lelic

With just The Child Who by Simon Lelic on the Steel list, and Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne and A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash on the John Creasey.

So if I want to have a go at reading a complete list I will need to crack on with:

Vengeance in Mind by N.J. Cooper
Grandad, There’s a Head on the Beach by Colin Cotterill
The Rage by Gene Kerrigan
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
Bereft by Chris Womersley

by, er, whenever the winners are announced. I guess I may be some time!

Any tips on where I should start?


  1. Ive only read two of those and would highly recommend Alice LaPlante’s TURN OF MIND which is outstanding…told from the point of view of a woman who has alzheimer’s whom the police think probably killed her best friend but doesn’t remember – it’s sad but funny too – a bit of a tough read in places but worth it

    Womersley’s BEREFT is beautifully written but possibly the bleakest book I’ve read in a decade…not even the merest hint of anything other than sadness in that one.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion Bernadette – I’ll look out the Alica LaPlante. I might leave Bereft until I see how I’m getting on – I’m in no rush to read something sad.

  2. Of your gold dagger possibles, I’ve recently read Vengeance in Mind, which is #4 in a series but I don’t think you need to have read the earlier ones. It is a good book – a B+ rather than an A, I’d say. By a woman with a strong woman protagonist, which is good. The Rage is fantastic, an excellent Irish police procedural with politics and economics in the background…I loved it. As Bernadette says, Turn of Mind is outstanding (I sent her my copy!) and it is as good as last year’s winner, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, in a different way. My reviews of these are on Petrona (my blog) if you are interested to check out.

    I wasn’t as impressed as you with The Flight or The Child Who. Both of these authors wrote great first novels (The Coroner and Rupture, respectively) but these don’t live up to them, in my view.

    On the other (new blood) list I’ve only read Good People by Ewart Hutton (my review is at Euro Crime)- excellent until the slightly mad ending. (Turn of Mind is also on that list so you get two for the price of one by reading that!)

    1. Thanks Maxine – perhaps if I’d read the earlier Lelic & Hall books I might not have been as impressed as I was. Having said that I do have a soft spot for the Wiley Cash title anyway.
      Looks like The Rage should be high up the list too. I’ll check out your reviews.

    1. I enjoyed Heart-Shaped Bruise, quite an unusual way of telling a story, but it was just a little too YA for me. The main character is 18 and I felt a bit long in the tooth to identify with her enough.

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