Rankin leads field in fight for Theakstons crime writing award

Crime writer Ian Rankin.
Crime writer Ian Rankin.

Giants of the genre are pitted against a clutch of new voices in one of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the country. This week the longlist for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2015 was revealed.

The longlist for the 2015 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award sees stalwarts Ian Rankin, Lee Child and John Harvey in the running.

By sheer coincidence, Rankin and Child battle it out, each with their 19th novels in the iconic Rebus and Reacher series.

Lee Child’s number one global bestseller Personal takes on Rankin’s Saints of the Shadow Bible, which brought Rebus back from retirement.

Now in its eleventh year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was created to celebrate the very best in British and Irish crime writing and is open to crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from May 1, 2014 to April 30 this year

Previous winners of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award include Denise Mina, Lee Child, Val McDermid, and Mark Billingham.

The 2015 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and Radio Times.

The long list, comprising 18 titles, is selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd and WH Smith.

As for last year’s winner, 2014, Belinda Bauer, well she ‘s back on the list with The Facts of Life and Death, a chilling story where lone women are terrorised in a game where only one player knows the rules.

Child 44 author Tom Rob Smith appears with his fourth novel, Number One bestseller The Farm, an utterly riveting and hypnotic psychological thriller part-set in Sweden.

Taking on the old guard is the debut that threatens to be “as big as Jo Nesbo”. The electrifying serial killer thriller, Eeny Meeny from MJ Arlidge features the tough, determined and damaged DI Helen Grace. Other debuts include the TV and film scriptwriter Ray Celestin’s The Axeman’s Jazz, a stunning atmospheric crime thriller set in 1919 New Orleans, inspired by a real life serial killer, and Sarah Hilary’s compelling first thriller, Someone Else’s Skin, which received critical acclaim for being superbly disturbing, twisty and tricksy.

Disappeared is Irish journalist Anthony Quinn’s first novel, set in a dark corner of Northern Ireland where the Troubles have never ended.

From May 21 to June 17 , longlisted titles will feature in a four-week campaign across all 600 WH Smith stores and 80 library services, representing a total of 1,645 library branches.

The longlist will be whittled down to a shortlist of six titles which will be announced on June 15.

The overall winner will be decided by the panel of judges, which this year comprises of executive director of T&R Theakston Ltd. and title sponsor Simon Theakston, Festival Chair Ann Cleeves, Radio Times’ TV Editor Alison Graham, Head of Fiction at WHSmith, Sandra Bradley and Producer of the Radio 2 Book Club, Joe Haddow, as well as members of the public.

The public vote opens on July 1 and closes on July 13 at www.theakstons.co.uk

The winner of the prize will be announced by title sponsor Simon Theakston at an award ceremony hosted by broadcaster and festival regular Mark Lawson on July 16 on the opening night of the 13th annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.

The longlist in full

Eeny Meeny, M.J. Arlidge, Michael Joseph

The Facts Of Life And Death, Belinda Bauer, Black Swan

The Ghost Runner, Parker Bilal, Bloomsbury

The Strangler Vine, M.J. Carter, Fig Tree

The Axeman’s Jazz, Ray Celestin, Mantle

Personal, Lee Child, Bantam

The Killing Season, Mason Cross, Orion Fiction

Bryant & May - The Bleeding Heart, Christopher Fowler, Bantam

The Outcast Dead, Elly Griffiths, Quercus

The Telling Error, Sophie Hannah, Hodder & Stoughton

Darkness, Darkness, John Harvey, Arrow

Someone Else’s Skin, Sarah Hilary, Headline

The Devil in the Marshalsea, Antonia Hodgson, Hodder & Stoughton

Entry Island, Peter May, Quercus

Disappeared, Anthony Quinn, Head of Zeus

Saints of the Shadow Bible, Ian Rankin, Orion Fiction

The Farm, Tom Rob Smith, Simon & Schuster

A Lovely Way to Burn, Louise Welsh, John Murray Publishers