Longlist revealed for UK’s most prestigious crime writing award: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2023
Harrogate, Thursday 27 April 2023: The longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2023 has been announced today by Harrogate International Festivals. The search for the best crime novel of the past year gets underway as the public are now invited to vote for their favourites to reach the next stage.
The winner of the prestigious Award will be announced at the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (20 July), which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary. To mark the momentous occasion, for the first time the longlist includes twenty outstanding authors, rather than the traditional eighteen, competing for the UK and Ireland’s most coveted crime fiction writing Award.
With thrilling stories that transport readers from a burnt-out Glasgow under threat, to the hidden backstreets of Paris, from the bustle of 1950s Bombay and a mail ship bound for Philadelphia, the longlist celebrates the very best of the crime genre.
A number of returning champions are hoping to take home the Award once again – Mick Herron defends his 2022 title with the latest Slough House instalment, Bad Actors, alongside Clare Mackintosh’s gripping New Year’s Day murder mystery The Last Party, two-time winner Mark Billingham’s electrifying thriller The Murder Book, and the scintillating 1989, the second in the new Allie Burns series from the doyenne of crime writing Val McDermid.
Several of the crime world’s favourite crime solving protagonists are also in the running for the coveted trophy – Elly Griffith’s penultimate mystery featuring Dr Ruth Galloway, The Locked Room, is in contention, alongside M.W. Craven’s latest Detective Sergeant Washington Poe thriller The Botanist, and Black Hearts, the explosive thriller featuring Doug Johnstone’s Skelf women.
They are joined by fellow Theakston nominees, including Sarah Vaughan with her masterful psychological page-turner Reputation, the unputdownable The It Girl from Ruth Ware, Lucy Foley’s deeply unsettling, locked room mystery The Paris Apartment as well as All I Said Was True, the ticking clock thriller from barrister-turned-author Imran Mahmood. Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2023 Programming Chair Vaseem Khan is vying to win with The Lost Man of Bombay, as is Blue Water – Leonora Nattrass’ atmospheric tale aboard an eighteenth-century ship on route to Philadelphia. Joining them are Liam McIlvanney’s highly anticipated The Heretic, which sees D.I. Duncan McCormack tackling brutal gang warfare on the streets of Glasgow, and the eerily unnerving new thriller Into The Dark from Val McDermid’s 2017 New Blood selection, Fiona Cummins.
A plethora of established voices join the Theakston ranks for the first time this year. The tantalisingly tense Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister and Lisa Jewell’s chilling new domestic noir The Family Remains are longlisted along with Victoria Selman’s nerve-jangling Truly Darkly Deeply, the deftly suspenseful The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett, while chilling police procedural May God Forgive gives star of ‘Tartan Noir’ Alan Parks his first longlisting.
The full Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2023 longlist is:
- The Murder Book by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown Book Group; Little Brown)
- The Botanist by M.W. Craven (Little, Brown Book Group; Constable)
- Into The Dark by Fiona Cummins (Pan Macmillan; Macmillan/Pan)
- The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley (HarperCollins; HarperFiction)
- The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
- The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett (Profile Books; Viper)
- Bad Actors by Mick Herron (John Murray Press; Baskerville)
- The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell (Cornerstone; Century Fiction)
- Black Hearts by Doug Johnstone (Orenda Books)
- The Lost Man of Bombay by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton)
- The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh (Little, Brown Book Group; Sphere)
- All I Said Was True by Imran Mahmood (Bloomsbury Publishing; Raven Books)
- Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister (Penguin Random House; Michael Joseph)
- 1989 by Val McDermid (Little, Brown Book Group; Little Brown)
- The Heretic by Liam McIlvanney (HarperCollins; HarperFiction)
- Blue Water by Leonora Nattrass (Profile Books; Viper)
- May God Forgive by Alan Parks (Canongate Books)
- Truly Darkly Deeply by Victoria Selman (Quercus)
- Reputation by Sarah Vaughan (Simon & Schuster)
- The It Girl by Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster)
Simon Theakston, Executive Director of Theakston, added: “Each year I eagerly await the long list announcement for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and every year I’m reminded of the phenomenal talent in the crime fiction writing world, whether a returning icon or a rising star. I’m looking forward to a celebratory toast of Old Peculier in July, but for now, we raise a glass to all the exceptional nominees as the shortlist vote is taken to the public.”
Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, Sharon Canavar, commented: “We are delighted to announce the 2023 longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, with an exceptional collection of the UK and Ireland’s best crime fiction novels from the past year. The Award is an integral part of the Festival and with a gripping mix of subgenres nominated, from psychological thrillers to murder mysteries, we can’t wait to see how the public vote this year.”
The longlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee, along with representatives from the media partner, Daily Express. The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with Waterstones and Daily Express, and is open to full-length crime novels published in paperback between 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2023 by UK and Irish authors.
The public are now invited to vote to create a shortlist of six titles from 10am on Thursday 27 April at www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com. Voting closes on Thursday 18 May, with the shortlist announced and winner voting opening on Thursday 15 June. The winner will be revealed on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 20 July, receiving £3,000 and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by T&R Theakston Ltd.
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