Longlist for Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year

I wrote the other day about the shortlist for the CWA's International Dagger prize, which is for a novel first published in another language and then translated into English, during the eligibility period. Another list, this time a longlist, was announced at about the same time for the Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year, the winner to be announced at this year's Harrogate crime writing festival in July. The winner is chosen by readers, rather than by judges; if you want to vote for your favourite, you can do so by visiting this link. Of the 20 novels selected, I have read 10 and reviewed 9 – the links to my reviews are below. Most of the others have been reviewed at Euro Crime. (I didn't review one of the books I read as I did not like it one bit.) 


  1. Crossing places  In The Dark
     – Mark Billingham
  2. If It Bleeds – Duncan Campbell
  3. The Surrogate – Tania Carver
  4. The Business – Martina Cole
  5. A Simple Act Of Violence – RJ Ellory
  6. Until It’s Over – Nicci French
  7. The Crossing Places – Elly Griffiths
  8. Cold In Hand – John Harvey
  9. Skin – Mo Hayder
  10. The Vows Of Silence – Susan Hill
  11. The Dying Breed – Declan Hughes
  12. Dead Tomorrow – Peter James
  13. Target – Simon Kernick

  14. CiHand  A Darker Domain
     – Val McDermid
  15. Gallows Lane – Brian McGilloway
  16. Geezer Girls – Dreda Say Mitchell
  17. Singing To The Dead – Caro Ramsay
  18. Doors Open – Ian Rankin
  19. All The Colours of Darkness – Peter Robinson
  20. Child 44 – Tom Rob Smith

Of the 10 books I have read, I would find it hard to recommend a winner. My own shortlist of these would be Cold in Hand, The Vows of Silence, A Darker DomainDead Tomorrow and, my choice as winner, The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (with Cold in Hand an extremely close second). Cold in Hand is a better crime novel and full of emotion, but The Crossing Places has a protagonist with whom I instantly fell in love. Also, I like the idea of a debut novel winning the prize rather than one of the "usual suspects", as happened the only year I attended the Harrogate festival, when the winner was Stef Penney for The Tenderness of Wolves, a wonderful first (and so far, only, novel).

I have read so many excellent reviews of Child 44 and A Simple Act of Violence, neither of which I have yet read though I have them both gathering dust on my shelves, that it would not surprise me in the least if one of those is the eventual winner. Many of the novels on the list that I haven't read have also received very positive reviews, so there is all to play for. On balance, though, my own preference at the moment is for translated fiction, so if you haven't read many of these or many of the International Dagger shortlist, I would recommend trying the International Dagger selections first!

10 thoughts on “Longlist for Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year

  1. Maxine – Thanks very much for your insights on this. I haven’t yet read The Crossing Places, although it’s on my TBR list after your excellent review and Dorte’s review at DJ’s Krimiblog, too. It’ll be interesting to see who gets on the short list…

  2. Loved The Crossing Places, hands down, would like it to win, although I have many more to read on this list.

  3. Considering Billingham’s IN THE DARK was shortlisted for the Gold Dagger last year, and he is popular at Harrogate (having won several times), I would think his novel will be one of the front-runners. I can’t comment, as it’s the only one of his I haven’t yet read – though I have heard good things.
    I’ve read six of the authors (but not those books from them), and have several more on my bookshelf (including CHILD 44, which I have heard very good things about). So it’s a little hard for me to pick a fave from that list.
    Should be a fun festival, for those heading along. I understand several of the CWA Daggers will be announced at Harrogate this year too (I have my fingers crossed for the sole Kiwi on the list, Bob Marriott – who’s been shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger).

  4. I have only read 3 of these – THE CROSSING PLACES, GALLOWS LANE (though I read that two years ago so not sure how it is on this list but never mind) and CHILD 44. I would be hard pressed to pick between THE CROSSING PLACES and CHILD 44 – both have (very different) protagonists who I fell in love with for very different reasons. Which reminds me I have Tom Rob Smith’s second book here somehwere….
    I would plead with the judging gods that Mark Billingham doesn’t win but that is probably rude of me. I’m sure he is a lovely bloke but I just don’t see the attraction with his books – I haven’t read this one but have read 3 or 4 others of the Tom Thorne books (back when my reading selections were based on what was stocked at the local chain stores) and they bored me rigid.

  5. Not rude as far as I am concerned, Bernadette. I read the first Billingham and though I liked Thorne (the detective) the actual case made me queasy. I read a couple more but they did not continue to appeal – the queasiness quotient did not decrease and the rest of the novels seemed to be not improving. One of many authors that I don’t keep up with.
    Apparently the criteria are books published in paperback in the last calendar year (2009) which accounts for some of these being a lot older than others, I guess.
    If this vote is entirely down to readers (in the UK?) then I think Simon Kernick stands a chance, as his thrillers are very popular, especially since he became a Richard and Judy pick one year. If it were reviewers, then probably it would not win!

  6. I would also love to see Elly Griffiths win.
    Re Billingham I think he writes well, but he is also dangerously close to my queasiness limit.

  7. Sorry. I meant a word to the gods/goddesses of the Theakstons for Elly Griffiths. Bit the bullet and ordered, “The Janus Stone,” and “Hypothermia,” from the Book Depository and will see how this goes. Just bought a Garry Disher and S.J. Rozan’s first at an actual bookstore.

  8. Again, thanks to the recommendations. I was reading, “Cold in Hand,” and couldn’t get into it and was about to close the book, when I read the recommendation here, and continued reading and am glad I did. I’m still for “The Crossing Places” winning.

  9. I think one’s enjoyment of Cold in Hand does slightly depend on whether you’ve read the author’s previous Resnick novels, Kathy. But something happens half way (?) through which shifts it all onto a different plane.

Comments are closed.