Thursday, May 14, 2020


The longlist of the UK and Ireland’s prestigious crime novel award is unveiled with literary legends and dynamic debuts in contention for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year…

Now in its 16th year, the most coveted prize in crime fiction, presented by Harrogate International Festivals, received a record number of submissions and this highly anticipated longlist of 18 titles – 10 of which by women – represents crime writing at its best: celebrating four former winners, a Booker Prize contender, and the fresh new voices taking the genre by storm.

The line-up of returning champions is led by Scottish supernova Denise Mina, vying to become the first author to complete a hat trick with the deeply unsettling thriller Conviction. Mina is joined by fellow Glaswegian bestseller Chris Brookmyre and his psychological suspense Fallen Angel, ‘Queen of Crime’ Val McDermid’s latest masterful Tony Hill and Carol Jordan investigation, How the Dead Speak, and Lee Child CBE, with the final Jack Reacher, Blue Moon, before sharing authorship with his brother Andrew.

The longlist also features several previously nominated authors hoping to go one step further and claim the trophy with Mick Herron securing a fifth pick for his much-lauded Slough House series with Joe Country and a nod for Abir Mukherjee’s new Wyndham & Banerjee instalment, Smoke and Ashes, and fan favourite Vera and Shetland author Ann Cleeves returns with The Long Call, marking the launch of a new North Devon series. Further Theakston alumni in the running include Adrian McKinty with his electrifying thriller The Chain, Helen Fitzgerald and the darkly comic Worst Case Scenario, and outback noir from Jane Harper in The Lost Man.
Rising stars of the genre are celebrated with three debuts on the list. Oyinkan Braithwaite, who was spotlighted in the Festival’s highly respected ‘New Blood’ panel in 2019, has been recognised for her Booker longlisted My Sister the Serial KillerHarriet Tyce is in contention for her electrifying domestic noir Blood Orange that draws on her own experience as a criminal barrister, and Laura Shepherd-Robinson for the deeply atmospheric Blood & Sugar, bringing the 1780s Deptford Docks to life.

Established voices joining the Theakston ranks for the first time include Jane Casey and her latest Maeve Kerrigan instalment Cruel ActsAlex North with his chilling police procedural The Whisper ManLouise Doughtywho is longlisted for the eerily unnerving Platform SevenWill Carver with the mesmerising thriller Nothing Important Happened Today; and Val McDermid’s 2018 New Blood selection: Will Dean and his eagerly awaited follow-up to Dark Pines, the stunning Scandi noir Red Snow.

The full longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2020 is:

-          My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Atlantic Books)
-          Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown Book Group, Abacus)
-          Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver (Orenda Books)
-          Cruel Acts by Jane Casey (HarperCollins, Harper Fiction)
-          Blue Moon by Lee Child (Transworld, Bantam)
-          The Long Call by Ann Cleeves (Pan Macmillan, Macmillan/Pan)
-          Red Snow by Will Dean (Oneworld, Point Blank)
-          Platform Seven by Louise Doughty (Faber & Faber)
-          Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald (Orenda Books)
-          The Lost Man by Jane Harper (Little, Brown Book Group, Little, Brown)
-          Joe Country by Mick Herron (John Murray Press)
-          How the Dead Speak by Val McDermid (Little, Brown Book Group, Little, Brown)
-          The Chain by Adrian McKinty (Orion Publishing Group, Orion Fiction)
-          Conviction by Denise Mina (VINTAGE, Harvill Secker)
-          Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee (VINTAGE, Harvill Secker)
-          The Whisper Man by Alex North (Penguin Random House, Michael Joseph)
-          Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson (Headline Publishing Group, Wildfire)
-          Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce (Pan Macmillan, Mantle/Pan)

Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: “Year on year, I’m astounded and delighted by how this exceptional genre continues to excel – we were deluged with record submissions and these 18 impressive titles demonstrate the quality and power of contemporary crime fiction. From the familiar faces to the new voices, we are immensely proud of this year's longlist and raise a virtual glass of Old Peculier to all the authors, and what will be another fierce contest for this much-wanted award.”

The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback from 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2019 by UK and Irish authors.

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, and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd, the Express, and WHSmith.

The 18 titles will be promoted in a dedicated online campaign from WHSmith, digital promotional materials will be made available for independent bookstores, and the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival’s online community – You’re Booked – will raise a virtual glass to the titles and authors through interviews, features and a variety of further interactive content, as well as giving the opportunity to see a selection of events from the Festival’s extensive archive. This forms part of the Harrogate International Festival virtual season of events, which presents a raft of live music, specially commissioned performances, literary events and interviews to bring a free festival experience to your own digital doorstep. 

The public are now invited to vote for a shortlist of six titles on www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com, which will be announced on 8 June.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Announcing the 2020 Edgar Winners!

This year marks the 74th anniversary of the Mystery Writers of America’s gala celebrating the Edgar Awards—one of the crime fiction world’s highest honours. Under normal circumstances, the mystery community would be convening for a black-tie affair at a midtown Manhattan hotel, but this year—with a deadly pandemic still spreading and countries around the world on lockdown—the event has gone virtual. The winners have been announced on social media, and we’re following all the action here. Let’s take the day to celebrate these authors—and the weeks and months ahead to read their work.
Here are your 2020 Edgar Award winners.

Fake Like Me by Barbara Bourland (Grand Central Publishing)
The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The River by Peter Heller (Alfred A. Knopf)
Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus Books)
Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham (Scribner)


My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (Berkley)
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (Farrar Straus and Giroux)
The Good Detective by John McMahon (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (Alfred A. Knopf)
Three-Fifths by John Vercher (Agora Books)
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson (Random House)


Dread of Winter by Susan Alice Bickford (Kensington Publishing)
Freedom Road by William Lashner (Thomas & Mercer)
Blood Relations by Jonathan Moore (Mariner Books)
February’s Son by Alan Parks (Europa Editions)
The Hotel Neversink by Adam O’Fallon Price (Tin House Books)
The Bird Boys by Lisa Sandlin (Cinco Puntos Press)



Hitchcock and the Censors by John Billheimer (University Press of Kentucky)
Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan by Ursula Buchan (Bloomsbury Publishing)
The Hooded Gunman: An Illustrated History of Collins Crime Club by John Curran (Collins Crime Club)
Medieval Crime Fiction: A Critical Overview by Anne McKendry (McFarland)
The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women by Mo Moulton (Basic Books)

“Turistas,” from Paque Tu Lo Sepas by Hector Acosta (Down & Out Books)
“One of These Nights,” from Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers by Livia Llewellyn (Akashic Books)
“The Passenger,” from Sydney Noir by Kirsten Tranter (Akashic Books)
“Home at Last,” from Die Behind the Wheel: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of Steely Dan by Sam Wiebe (Down & Out Books)
“Brother’s Keeper,” from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Dave Zeltserman (Dell Magazine)

WINNER: “ONE OF THESE NIGHTS,” by Livia Llewllyn
The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster by Cary Fagan (Tundra Books)
Eventown by Corey Ann Haydu (Katherine Tegen Books)
The Whispers by Greg Howard (G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR)
All the Greys on Greene Street by Laura Tucker (Viking BFYR)
Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by Susan Vaught (Paula Wiseman Books)

Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
Killing November by Adriana Mather (Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (Kokila)
The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons (Tor Teen)
Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas (Bloomsbury Publishing)

“Season 5, Episode 3” – Line of Duty, Teleplay by Jed Mercurio (Acorn TV)
“Season 5, Episode 4” – Line of Duty, Teleplay by Jed Mercurio (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – Dublin Murders, Teleplay by Sarah Phelps (STARZ)
“Episode 1” – Manhunt, Teleplay by Ed Whitmore (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – The Wisting, Teleplay by Katherine Valen Zeiner & Trygve Allister Diesen (Sundance Now)

WINNER: “Season 5, Episode 4” 

“There’s a Riot Goin’ On,” from Milwaukee Noir by Derrick Harriell (Akashic Books)
The Night Visitors by Carol Goodman (William Morrow)
One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House)
Strangers at the Gate by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur Books)
Where the Missing Go by Emma Rowley (Kensington Publishing)
The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)


Shamed by Linda Castillo (Minotaur Books)
Borrowed Time by Tracy Clark (Kensington Publishing)
The Missing Ones by Edwin Hill (Kensington Publishing)
The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
The Alchemist’s Illusion by Gigi Pandian (Midnight Ink)
Girl Gone Missing by Marcie R. Rendon (Cincos Puntos Press)


Monday, April 27, 2020

National Crime Reading Month Goes Digital for May Lockdown!

The month of May sees the return of National Crime Reading Month (NCRM), a unique, UK-wide literary festival, designed to connect authors and readers and promote the crime genre. The festival, which is a major annual initiative co-ordinated by the Crime Writers’ Association and Crime Readers’ Association, normally promotes live author events up and down the country. During lockdown, the initiative has moved online with crime authors posting vlogs and blogs on the website crimereadingmonth.co.uk

Linda Stratmann, Chair of the CWA, explained: “We’ve – quite literally – created Crime Writers in Residence by asking authors to post films from their homes while in lockdown. It’s a kind of criminally-good Through the Keyhole! Readers love the personal insights from meeting authors in person, and most crime authors love to connect to their readers. With all the major crime writing festivals, as well as author events in libraries and bookshops, cancelled for spring and summer, we felt it was important to step in and offer a digital alternative.”

Festivals allow readers to meet established writers and discover new authors to widen and enrich their reading life. They also play an important role for aspiring authors, as well as help forge new friendships. Linda said: “Reading and writing are of course solitary acts but you’re never alone with a book. There’s a real connection on the page that is passionately celebrated in our festivals and author events. The crime genre is perhaps the most accessible and democratic of all, which makes our community a very sociable and inclusive one. We understand how important those connections are, so we’re encouraging CWA members to join in and submit videos from their homes to reach out to readers in lockdown.”

Although May is the official month for mayhem and murder with NCRM, the CWA began collating vlogs in April in response to lockdown. Featured authors include AJ Waines, a former psychotherapist who has gone on the write ten thrillers selling half a million copies, with her latest psychological thriller Cut You Dead released this April.
Fiona Veitch Smith, author of the Poppy Denby Investigates series, shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger in 2016, also joins the video series to talk about her life under lockdown during the Covid-19 crisis, alongside Holly Watt, who won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger last year for To The Lions.

Holly Watt said: “One thing I am finding weird about writing at the moment is that my characters are meeting up with friends! And having dinner together! And getting on planes! And all these things suddenly seem completely alien. It’s quite hard to write several paragraphs without interjecting ‘and then he washed his hands while singing Happy Birthday’.”

NCRM will also see the launch of short stories that will be free to read on the Crime Readers’ Association website, to provide a public platform for CWA authors wishing to showcase their work.
Readers and authors can join in #CrimeReadingMonth online and subscribe to the Crime Readers’ Association for free to receive the CRA Newsletter and bi-monthly e-zine, Case Files.

Join in #CrimeReadingMonth on Facebook and Twitter @The_CWA or find out more on the Crime Reading Month website.

Friday, April 10, 2020

The writing on hold for a little while longer....

So it turned out my mother of all headaches over the weekend, and the rash that started, were not the result of hitting my head or gardening, but rather the early signs of Shingles.

I am doing okay now, and thanks to my GP who gowned up with his PPE gear to examine me (the only patient who managed to get into the surgery in weeks - drama queen extraordinaire) I have the drugs I need to get better.

I've been told to rest, something I'm not usually inclined to do, but on this occasion, I will.

Thanks for all the gorgeous messages, and wishing you all a lovely Easter whatever life is throwing at you right now.

Remember to light a candle in the window tomorrow night for all those who are unwell and the wonderful health care workers to whom we all owe our gratitude.

Xxx Louise

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I don't have any wise words....

Several weeks ago, as fears about Covid 19 gained pace, like many other people I felt a lot of uncertainly. The first concerns were of course around family, not being able to see our grandchildren for potentially a very long time, alongside the roles some of our family members did on a daily basis, which involved essential services. Small changes in our lives were made at first. Our son whose girlfriend is a trainee nurse moved into the old part of the house, as hubby and I, having turned 60 last year were technically in the higher risk group. The second set of concerns turned to business, safety at work, and how the fear of a potential shutdown would affect our livelihood. Every day there seemed to be something different to deal with, and every day we tried our best.

Two and a half weeks ago I developed a cough. It wasn’t anything too bad and in other times I would have dismissed it completely. Very soon after that I developed a temperature, and generally felt unwell. It happened over a weekend, but immediately I self-isolated. When I rang the GP on Monday, he put me forward for a test. I was to continue the self-isolation, and hubby had to restrict his movements. We both stayed at home. I stayed isolated in my son’s old bedroom. The following weekend they changed the criteria for the testing to having a cough and a fever, which I had, and a requirement to have been in contact with someone with a confirmed case of Covid 19, travelling back from another country, or be in the extreme high risk group. The test was cancelled but we were advised to continue isolating. That isolation ended yesterday. I never had the shortness of breath, so perhaps I didn’t have Covid 19, and in a way it didn’t matter.

On Saturday last, I ventured out to the back garden. I wanted to feel somewhat normal again. I did. It felt good. I felt I was getting part of what was normal back again even though I still greatly missed seeing our children and our grandchildren, and with the lockdown in place, business concerns loomed too. I decided the garden like myself needed some TLC, and in my stupidity while trimming back a low bush, I hit my head off a jagged branch. It was really painful, but thankfully there was no tear. Sunday, I got the mother of all headaches. It wouldn’t go away. I took paracetamol but it only took the edge off it. I rang the GP again. Over the last few weeks, it’s probably the most we have talked to each other in years. During the phone call we worked out I didn’t have concussion, but I was to come back to him if things got worse. Yesterday, I wanted to get back to writing, because I hadn’t written in four weeks, but I couldn’t because my head wouldn’t allow me. I was put on stronger painkillers and finally last night the pain eased.I had obviously damaged my head somehow, and possibly had an allergic reaction too as small hive-like bumps began appearing on my scalp, but like Covid 19, that too would soon pass.

This morning the pain is a lot less than yesterday, and hopefully tomorrow it will be better again. Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt all the normal fears most people might have felt at this time, and sometimes, like others, I’ve seen both the negative and the positive side of things. I know I am lucky. I know there are people out there who have suffered badly and others who fear what the future holds. I don’t have any wise words. I don’t think many of us have. All I know is the buds are coming out on the trees, the daffodils are bright yellow, and a robin has nested in a tree box outside my son’s bedroom window. These are good things to cling onto, as is the love of the people we hold dear. We are each doing our best. Tomorrow, after a month, hopefully, I will pick up my unfinished manuscript. It will probably feel like an alien document, but I will start again, no doubt badly at first, no doubt slow, but fingers crossed I will get there.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2020



Bestselling author, Louise Phillips, is holding an 8-week course on successful Crime Fiction writing, commencing March 2020 IRISH WRITERS CENTRE



Learn the secrets of successful crime-fiction writing with bestselling and award-winning crime author, Louise Phillips.

On this course, participants will receive in-depth analysis of all aspects of great crime fiction, including the creation of memorable characters, planning, pace, dialogue, and narration.

Many of Louise’s students have achieved great publication success, with some becoming International Bestsellers.


Louise Phillips is the bestselling author of five psychological crime thrillers. All five novels have been nominated for Best Crime Novel of the Year in the prestigious Irish Book Awards. Her second novel, The Doll's House, won the award. Louise’s work has formed part of many literary anthologies, and she has won both the Jonathan Swift Award and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice platform, along with being shortlisted for the Molly Keane Memorial Award, Bridport UK, and many others. In 2015, she was awarded a writing residency at Cill Rialaig Artist Retreat, and she was also a judge on the Irish panel for the EU Literary Award. In 2016, she was longlisted for the prestigious CWA Dagger in the Library Award in the UK, and her first two novels, Red Ribbons and The Doll's House, were published in the US. Her latest novel, The Hiding Game, was published in September 2019 to critical acclaim, and was nominated in the An Post Irish Book Awards for Best Crime Novel of the Year 2019. 

For Booking Details etc click HERE

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Small Paperback Cover of THE HIDING GAME revealed!!!

I absolutely adore the new cover of THE HIDING GAME small paperback which is due out in May! I hope you like it too!! 

Lynda La Plante, Laura Lippman and Robert Goddard to headline 2020 CrimeFest!

Lynda La Plante, Laura Lippman and Robert Goddard to headline 2020 CrimeFest.

Headline authors for CrimeFest - one of Europe’s biggest crime fiction conventions - have been announced. 
The 2020 convention sponsored by Specsavers is hosted from 4 to 7 June at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel and will feature icon of the genre, Lynda La Plante, the award-winning author of more than 30 internationally bestselling novels.
La Plante was a pioneer with her 1980’s series, Widows. The show received the Hollywood treatment with a movie adaptation by director Steve McQueen in 2018.
The BAFTA award winning screenwriter and former RADA trained actress went on to create one of television’s greatest characters, DI Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect. Played by Helen Mirren in a career-defining performance, the hugely influential character transformed the TV landscape.
She’ll be discussing her career in her debut appearance at CrimeFest alongside Buried - the first novel in her much-anticipated new series featuring DC Jack Warr.
Laura Lippman is one of America’s most admired crime writers. The New York Times bestselling author of acclaimed standalones and the award-winning Tess Monaghan series, is lauded by readers, critics and writers alike.
A reporter for twenty years, Laura worked with the Baltimore Sun before becoming a novelist, hailed by the Washington Post as, “one of the best novelists around, period.” Along with her fiction, Lippman will be discussing her latest book of essays, My Life As A Villainess.
Robert Goddard will also feature after the author was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association’s highest accolade in 2019, the Diamond Dagger, for a lifetime achievement in crime writing.
Goddard's first novel, Past Caring, was an instant bestseller and his books went on to captivate readers worldwide with their edge-of-the-seat pace and their labyrinthine plotting. His books have been translated into over thirty languages. His 28th novel, One False Move, was published last year.
Specsavers co-founder, Dame Mary Perkins, said: “As a personal fan of the crime genre and with my own personal connection to Bristol, it’s fantastic to be involved in this annual showcase of world-class crime fiction. It’s also great to see CrimeFest developing its community activity to help make reading accessible to everyone.”
CrimeFest, now in its 11th year, is a hotbed for readers who dip into the occasional crime novel alongside die-hard fans, as well as drawing top crime novelists, editors, publishers and reviewers from around the world. It runs a series of educational and community outreach events alongside the convention.
Director and co-founder of CrimeFest, Adrian Muller, said: “CrimeFest is the most democratic of crime conventions as it’s open to all authors to take part. As such, it’s not just established names but offers an exciting and fertile ground for aspiring and new talent. There’s a friendly energy for readers and attendees, fitting the independent, vibrant spirit of our host town, Bristol.”
Up to 150 authors will descend on Bristol appearing in over 50 panels delving into diverse topics from politics to historical crime, the Golden Age of crime fiction to police procedurals, serial killers to cosy crime. There’ll also be a panel on crime fiction reviewers, honouring the late Marcel Berlins, and a ‘Ghost of Honour’ remembering Dick Francis.
Highlights include the coveted ‘Pitch an Agent’ for aspiring writers and the annual CrimeFest Awards featuring the inaugural Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award.
Other big names include award-winning bestselling crime writer and broadcaster Dreda Say Mitchell, and Sarah Pinborough, the New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes, adapted by Netflix for broadcast this year.
The no. 1 bestselling Icelandic writer, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir also features with an appearance by the writer, broadcaster, dramatist and journalist Lynne Truss, famed for Eats, Shoots and Leaves alongside her comic crime novel, A Shot in the Dark.
Joining them as the Toastrix at the Gala Dinner is Zoë Sharp, creator of the Charlie Fox series of crime thrillers.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Crimefest 2020!!

If you’re looking for a Black Friday style deal for the crime fiction aficionado in your life, there’s only a few days left for the Early Bird offer for CrimeFest tickets.

Delegates have until 16 December to book a full pass for the four-day convention for just £165, when the price then goes up to £185.

The crime writing fraternity’s biggest convention, styled on the American model, returns 4-7 June, 2020. CrimeFest attracts hundreds of authors, readers and book lovers for a criminally good time in buzzing Bristol, hosted at the Bristol Mercure Grand.

Featured guest authors announced to date at CrimeFest 2020 are Laura Lippman, talking about her upcoming collection of essays My Life as a Villainess. Also featuring is Robert Goddard, this year’s winner of the Crime Writers’ Association’s most prestigious award: the Diamond Dagger lifetime achievement award for authors whose careers are marked by sustained excellence.

The Full Pass includes a programme book, a delegate bag and admission to all events (with exception of the Gala Dinner, Crime Writing Day and Pitch an Agent). By securing a full, Friday or Saturday CrimeFest pass, delegates will have the option of securing a coveted place on the popular Pitch an Agent.

Pitch an Agent is your chance to pitch your novel idea to three superstar agents. 2020’s agents are Pitch originator Camilla Bolton from the Darley Anderson Agency, Sandra Sawicka from the Marjacq agency, and Hannah Sheppard from DHH Literary Agency. These agencies represent giants of the genre including Lee Child and Martina Cole. If you are looking for an agent, have not previously participated, and are not commercially published, then this is for you.

The CrimeFest website is updated with participating authors and attendees, so do check it out to see who you’ll be hanging out with - and the friends you’ll no doubt make!

Visit PITCH AN AGENT for more information or buy TICKETS.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Top Books for Christmas!

I'm very happy to see THE HIDING GAME as one of Easons Top Books for Christmas!!
See listing HERE
#books #christmas #TheHidingGame #reading #gifts
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