ITV3 crime thriller shortlist announced

Via the Bookseller, 12 novels have been shortlisted for the three fiction prizes at ITV3’s inaugural Crime Thriller Awards. The winners will be announced on 3 October in a ceremony which will be broadcast on ITV3 on 6 October. The 12 novels fall into three categories: breakthrough author award, international author of the year and author of the year. I guess from the shortlist that "international" means "not British". From the shortlist, I'd choose The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but if they'd shortlisted Karin Slaughter's excellent standalone Triptych instead of the far weaker series novel Skin Privilege, I'd have been stuck. The "author of the year" is a hard one: I haven't read Exit Music or The Ghost yet (though I intend to). Lee Child and Peter James have both written books that I've enjoyed more than these two examples. I haven't read any of the "breakthough" shortlist, though I've read Stuart MacBride's first book in the series of which Broken Skin is the fourth. Based on the blogs I read, Michael Robotham must be the favourite. But I don't know what defines "breakthrough" — Heartsick is a first crime novel (previously the author wrote the Nancy Drew parody Confessions of a Teen Sleuth).

The shortlists in full:

Breakthrough Author Award    
Chelsea Cain Heartsick (Pan)
Stuart MacBride Broken Skin (Harper)
Michael Robotham Shatter (Sphere)
Anne Zouroudi The Messenger of Athens (Bloomsbury)

International Author of the Year    
Jeffery Deaver The Sleeping Doll (Hodder & Stoughton)
Stieg Larsson The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Quercus)
Karin Slaughter Skin Privilege (Arrow)
PJ Tracy Snow Blind (Penguin)

Author of the Year    
Lee Child Bad Luck and Trouble (Bantam)
Robert Harris The Ghost (Hutchinson)
Peter James Not Dead Enough (Pan)
Ian Rankin Exit Music  (Orion)

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20: The Shadow in the River

Grytten My twentieth, and last in this series, book-review retrospective is The Shadow in the River, by Frode Grytten, from May. The full review is here.

"In the provincial, decaying Norwegian town of Odda, journalist Robert Bell is a cynical observer, relishing his self-chosen role of outsider, constantly sizing-up and judging his fellow-citizens. He enjoys his lonely job at an outpost for a big newspaper, though has been regularly frustrated at the paper's refusal to publish what he regards as serious investigation, instead having to write frothy pieces.

As the story opens, a nineteen-year-old teenager has driven into the local river and, although no body has been discovered, presumably drowned. Robert is told by his manager, a delightfully accurate portrait of a voice down the phone, a politically correct, bland and smug woman whose composure Robert can never seem to ruffle however hard he tries, to follow the case. He does so, efficiently but upholds his journalistic integrity by refusing to take part in either exploiting the boy's family (however much they may seem to welcome it) or to join in the general condemnation of the Serbian asylum seekers who live in a local hostel and are considered by all to be the obvious culprits. Journalists from other papers and media turn up, including an unpleasant hotshot from Robert's own publication who muscles-in on Robert's area and patronisingly sets out to show Robert how it is done."

As well as the crime investigation, Robert's personal problems – and perhaps his reason for living in a place he seems to despise – come to the fore."