The HWA Crowns 2018

Update: the shortlists have been confirmed and the shortlisted titles are highlighted in bold below.
Update to the update: winners announced on 7th November, winners in red below.

The longlists for the three HWA (Historical Writing Association) Crowns – their annual awards – have been announced. It’s not clear what the shortlisting process or when a shortlist announcement will be but the winners will be announced in November.

What has surprised me is that as I’ve read two of the books which I think it’s more than I’ve read from any of the crime fiction award longlists.

HWA Debut Crown
This award is for the best historical novel by a first-time fiction author first published in the UK in English.

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin – review here

Estoril by Dejan Tiago-Stankovic (winner)

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson

The Lightkeeper’s Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol

The Woolgrower’s Companion by Joy Rhoades

The Parentations by Kate Mayfield

Deposed by David Barbaree

The Optickal Illusion by Rachel Halliburton

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

Bitter by Francesca Jakobi

The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

The judges include Ayo Onatade who did a Q & A for me on the subject of judging awards.

HWA Sharpe Books Gold Crown
This award is for the best historical novel first published in the UK in English.

To Die in Spring by Ralf Rothmann, translated by Shaun Whiteside (winner)

Sugar Money by Jane Harris

The Last Hour by Harry Sidebottom

Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase

The Zoo by Christopher Wilson

Pilgrim’s War by Michael Jecks

The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey

Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr

Blood’s Game by Angus Donald

The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements – review here 

The Tyrant’s Shadow by Antonia Senior

The Valentine House by Emma Henderson

HWA Non Fiction Crown
This award is for the best non-fiction work published in the UK in English.

Houses of Power: The Places that Shapes the Tudor World by Simon Thurley

White King: Charles I – Traitor, Martyr, Murderer by Leanda de Lisle (winner)

Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister by Nicholas Shakespeare

Napoleon: The Spirit of the Age by Michael Broers

The Fear and the Freedom: How the Second World War Changed Us by Keith Lowe

The Women Who Flew for Hitler: A True Story of Soaring Ambition And Searing Rivalry by Clare Mulley

Lady Fanshawe’s Receipt Book: An Englishwoman’s Life During the Civil War by Lucy Moore

Black Tudors: The Untold Story Hardcover by Miranda Kaufmann

The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England by Graham Robb

Hearts And Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote by Jane Robinson

A History of Rome in Seven Sackings by Matthew Kneale

Pie and Mash Down the Roman Road by Melanie McGrath

Have you read many from these lists? What would be your tip for the winner(s)?


The Dead Good Reader Awards 2018

Update: the winners have been announced and I’ve marked them on the shortlists. Congratulations to all the authors.

In April readers were offered the opportunity to nominate their favourite books and authors from the past year, the most popular forming the shortlists for the Dead Good Reader Awards which then go to a public vote. To qualify, books must have been published in any format within the past year. The winners will be announced at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate in July.

The shortlists are out and the vote is currently open to the public and closes on 18th July –

While I do have some firm favourites in the more general awards (such as Best Duo or ‘Wringer’ award) I’ve read very few of the specific books that have been shortlisted. More surprisingly for shortlists that have come from reader nominations there are a number of books and authors that I’ve not heard of at all.

The categories and shortlists are:

The Holmes and Watson Award for Best Detective Duo

Arthur Bryant and John May – Christopher Fowler
Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles – Tess Gerritsen
Ruth Galloway and Harry Nelson – Elly Griffiths – winner
Marnie Rome and Noah Jake – Sarah Hilary
Rosie Strange and Sam Stone – Syd Moore
Gino Rolseth and Leo Magozzi – P J Tracy

The Whodunnit Award for the Book That Keeps You Guessing

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards
Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh – winner
Skin Deep by Liz Nugent
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

The Cabot Cove Award for Best Small Town Mystery

A Murder to Die For by Stevyn Colgan
Dark Pines by Will Dean
The Devil’s Claw by Lara Dearman
Hell in a Handbasket by Denise Grover Swank
The Dry by Jane Harper
The Chalk Man by C J Tudor – winner

The Wringer Award for the Character Who’s Been Put Through It All

Jack Reacher – Lee Child – winner
Frieda Klein – Nicci French
Lottie Parker – Patricia Gibney
Ruth Galloway – Elly Griffiths
Michael Devlin – Tony Kent
David Raker – Tim Weaver

The House of Horrors Award for Most Dysfunctional Family

Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown
Blood Sisters by Jane Corry
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell – winner
Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land
Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh
The Good Samaritan by John Marrs

The Dead Good Recommends Award for Most Recommended Book

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths – winner
Killer Intent by Tony Kent
Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister
The Fear by C L Taylor
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

So if you have favourites from this list it’s time to get voting. Just one or two categories that I’ll be voting in.

Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award for Contemporary Fiction 2018

Update: the winner was announced on 27th September and Irish author John Boyne has scooped the Award for his “sweeping, poignant and comedic odyssey” of post-war Ireland in The Heart’s Invisible Furies. 

Announced during Independent Bookseller’s Week this prize is awarded annually to an outstanding work of contemporary fiction, rewarding quality storytelling in any genre. The jury of ten consists of team members from Goldsboro Books, DHH Literary Agency and The Dome Press.

Longlist below (shortlisted novels in bold)

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (winner)
American War by Omar El Akkad
The Nix by Nathan Hill
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land
The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd
You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
The Ice by Laline Paull (I’ve read this but am yet to write my review)
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

The longlist will be reduced to a shortlist, due to be announced on 30th August and the winner will be awarded £2,000, and a beautiful, handmade, engraved glass bell, at a party at the bookshop on 27th September 2018.

I’m starting to think I need to set up my own award – the only way I’ll manage to read a decent proportion from any list!

Have you read any of these? Who would you have your eye on as the winner?

The McIlvanney Prize longlist 2018

Further update: the winner was announced at Bloody Scotland as Liam McIlvanney and The Quaker.

Update: shortlist announced and those titles now shown in bold.

Following the launch of the Bloody Scotland programme for 2018 the longlist for the McIlvanney Prize has been announced. The award recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1,000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones. The initial longlist has been compiled by an independent panel of readers from eligible books which must have been first published in the UK between 1st August 2017 and 31st July 2018 and either written by someone who is born or domiciled in Scotland or set in Scotland.


Lin Anderson for Follow the Dead
Chris Brookmyre for Places in the Darkness
Mason Cross for Presumed Dead
Charles Cumming for The Man Between
Oscar De Muriel for The Loch of the Dead
Helen Fields for Perfect Death
Alison James for Now She’s Gone
Liam McIlvanney for The Quaker (winner)
James Oswald for No Time to Cry
Caro Ramsay for The Suffering of Strangers
Andrew Reid for The Hunter
Craig Robertson for The Photographer

The next stage is a formal judging process and the panel comprises of chair Craig Sisterson, journalist and book reviewer, alongside Susan Calman, comedian and crime fiction fan, and journalist Alison Flood.

I’ve only read one book on the list (another woeful contribution from me) but The Photographer is really excellent, so perhaps I’ve managed to read the winner! What about you – any tips for a winner from this list?

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award – shortlist 2018

Hot on the heels of last week’s CWA Dagger longlists, the shortlist for the Theakston’s crime novel of the year has been published. The 2018 Crime Novel of the Year Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, The Mail on Sunday and WH Smith. The prize was created to celebrate the very best in crime fiction and is open to UK and Irish crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2018.

The longlist of eighteen books has now been reduced to a shortlist of six titles:

Mick Herron for Spook Street
Denise Mina for The Long Drop
Abir Mukherjee for A Rising Man
Stav Sherez for The Intrusions
Susie Steiner for Persons Unknown
Val McDermid for Insidious Intent

The overall winner will be decided by the panel of Judges, alongside a public vote. The public vote opens on 1 July and closes 14 July at The prize will be awarded on the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. (You can now find out who won here.)

I’ve only read the one title so far and it was a book that I didn’t particularly enjoy. Have you read more? Which would be your tip for the prize?

The 2018 CWA Daggers – longlists announced

As has become traditional the CWA Dagger longlists were announced at Crimefest in Bristol on Friday evening. One  Dagger has already been confirmed and the shortlists for the remainder will be announced in July. The winners of all the CWA Daggers will be announced at the Dagger Awards Dinner to be held on 25 October, when Michael Connelly will be awarded the Diamond Dagger.

Each year I think ‘I’ll read a whole longlist shortlist’ but each year I seem to have read fewer and fewer of the books that find their way onto the lists. I am also always surprised about the proportion of books that I have never heard of – great coverage for these authors to get onto the long or short lists. This year I’m a little disappointed to find that I’ve not read a single book on the longlists. I do have ‘Bluebird, Bluebird’ to read as it came highly recommended on a lot of ‘best of 2017’ round ups and I also have Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir on my TBR . I’m particularly disappointed that I’ve only heard of two ‘new blood’ titles (The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton and Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic). Publishers tend to push debuts towards bloggers as a way to increase the marketing before an author becomes established, I’m not sure what conclusion to draw from the fact that the bulk of these have passed me by.

The Diamond Dagger – selected from nominations provided by CWA members – 2018 winner is Michael Connelly and the award will be presented at the CWA Dagger Awards Dinner in October.

The longlists for the following daggers were announced during Crimefest and the shortlists will be announced in July.

Gold Dagger

Head Case by Ross Armstrong
The Liar by Steve Cavanagh
London Rules by Mick Herron
Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
Sunburn by Laura Lippman
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

The Spy’s Daughter by Adam Brookes
The Switch by Joseph Finder
London Rules by Mick Herron
If I Die Before I Wake by Emily Koch
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
The Chalk Man by C J Tudor
The Force by Don Winslow

 John Creasey (New Blood)

Gravesend by William Boyle
I.Q. by Joe Ide
Soho Dead by Greg Keen
Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka
Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love
East Of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman
Ravenhill by John Steele
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic

International Dagger

Zen and the Art of Murder by Oliver Bottini Tr. Jamie Bulloch
The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indriðason Tr. Victoria Cribb
Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre Tr. Frank Wynne
After the Fire by Henning Mankell Tr. Marlaine Delargy
The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet Tr. Don Bartlett
Offering to the Storm by Dolores Redondo Tr. Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garzía
Three Minutes by Roslund & Hellström Tr. Elizabeth Clark Wessel
Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir Tr. Quentin Bates
The Accordionist by Fred Vargas Tr. Sian Reynolds
Can You Hear Me? by Elena Varvello Tr. Alex Valente

Non-Fiction Dagger

Black Dahlia Red Rose by Piu Eatwell
The Story Of Classic Crime In 100 Books by Martin Edwards
Killers Of The Flower Moon by David Grann
Blood On The Page by Thomas Harding
The Fact Of A Body  by Alexandria Mariano-Lesnevich
A False Report by T. Christian Miller & Ken Armstrong
Operation Chaos by Matthew Sweet
Rex v Edith Thompson by Laura Thompson
Getting Carter by Nick Triplow
Past Mortems by Carla Valentine

CWA Short Story Dagger

The Corpse on the Copse by Sharon Bolton
from “The Body” Killer Women Crime Club Anthology 2 Edited by Susan Opie ( Killer Women Ltd)

The Last Siege of Bothwell Castle by Chris Brookmyre
from Bloody Scotland ( Historic Environment Scotland)

Too Much Time by Lee Child
from No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories (Bantam Press)

Second Son by Lee Child
from No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories (Bantam Press)

Authentic Carbon Steel Forged by Elizabeth Haynes
from Deadlier: 100 of the Best Crime Stories Written by Women Edited by Sophie Hannah (Head of Zeus)

Smoking Kills by Erin Kelly
from “The Body” Killer Women Crime Club Anthology 2 Edited by Susan Opie (Killer Women Ltd)

Nemo Me Impune Lacessit by Denise Mina
from Bloody Scotland (Historic Environment Scotland)

Accounting for Murder by Christine Poulson
from Mystery Tour: CWA Anthology of Short Stories Edited by Martin Edwards (Orenda Books)

Faking a Murder by Kathy Reichs and Lee Child
from Match Up Edited by Lee Child (Sphere)

Trouble is a Lonesome Town by Cathi Unsworth
from Deadlier: 100 of the Best Crime Stories Written by Women Edited by Sophie Hannah (Head of Zeus)

Debut Dagger (unpublished writers)

Bill Crotty – The Eternal Life of Ezra Ben Simeon
Nicole Wells – The Infant of Prague
Chris Dixon – Sharps and Flats
Martin Ungless – Orange612
Peter Lewenstein – Grabbed
Luke Melia – The Last Googling of Beth Bailly
Joseph James – Riverine Blood
Coleen Steele – Death Be Drammed
Linda McLaughlin – Original Sins
Sherryl Clark – Trust Me, I’m Dead

Historical Dagger

A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
Death in the Stars by Frances Brody
Fire by L. C. Tyler
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen
Merlin at War by Mark Ellis
Money in the Morgue by Ngaio Marsh & Stella Duffy
Nine Lessons by Nicola Upson
Nucleus by Rory Clements
Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr
The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellows

Dagger in the Library longlist

Simon Beckett
Martina Cole
Martin Edwards
Nicci French
Sophie Hannah
Simon Kernick
Edward Marston
Peter May
Rebecca Tope

So how’s your reading going – will you have read enough to judge a category for yourself?

The 2017 CWA Daggers

Just a short update to my earlier post on the 2017 Daggers. The winners were announced last week and the results are:

  • The CWA Gold Dagger – The Dry (Little, Brown) by Jane Harper
  • The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger – Spook Street (John Murray) by Mick Herron
  • The CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger – Tall Oaks (Twenty 7) by Chris Whittaker
  • The CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction – Close But No Cigar: A True Story of Prison Life in Castro’s Cuba (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) by Stephen Purvis
  • The CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger – A Rising Man (Harvill Secker) by Abir Mukherjee
  • The CWA International Dagger – The Dying Detective (Doubleday) by Leif G W Persson, Tr Neil Smith
  • The CWA Short Story Dagger – The Trials of Margaret by L C Tyler in Motives for Murder (Sphere) Edited by Martin Edwards
  • The CWA Debut Dagger – Sherry Rankin for Strange Fire

I’ve managed to miss reading any of these! Do you think they were well-deserved winners?