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Thursday 18 April 2024

‘The Glass Woman’ by Alice McIlroy

Published by Datura Crime,
2 January 2024.
ISBN: 978-1-91552304-4

 Thirty-five-year-old Iris comes to in hospital in pain and not remembering a thing. She struggles to get out of bed, but doctors restrain her, giving her an injection. When she next wakes up a man named Marcus is beside her, he tells her he is her husband, but she does not recognise him at all. He says she had a ‘procedure’ involving A I technology to the brain, which was to help with her depression.  She has no recollection whatever of this.

Later she is told she is being monitored by a machine named PLUTO – a robot. Feeling scared and confused she insists on seeing a doctor, PLUTO refuses and gives her another injection.

Finally, the next day she is allowed to see Doctor Nicholls who tells her she was very sensitive to the ‘procedure’. It was therefore necessary to medically bring on the amnesia. In the night she leaves her room, PLUTO is silent. Along the corridor in another room she finds a man who she seems to know but he is looking very strange. He tells her his name is Teo that his memory has been messed with and he has been in there too long to hope for release.

Next day she tells Marcus about him, but he insists there is no such man. Is he lying or is Iris going insane? He even takes her and shows her the empty room where she said Teo was. Did he really exist?

Iris is soon allowed home and she starts to remember certain things. Marcus now seems more familiar to her, and she insists he tells her more about what has happened to her and why. He however lets her know very little, but he tells her they worked together and she is neuroscientist.

As her memory slowly comes back to her over the weeks, Iris discovers to her amazement that she had given birth to a baby boy. Where was he though? As time goes by she learns of one frightening disclosure after another, including what happened to Charlie their young son.

Will she be able to cope mentally with the terrifying truths that emerge?

An in depth look at one of the rather frightening uses of Artificial Intelligence, especially as the media at the moment is full of this continually advancing technology. I found it very thought provoking and a little disturbing.

I thoroughly recommend it though for readers interested in this advancement in science and how humans will or will not cope with it.
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Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Alice McIlroy attended the Faber Academy's 'Writing A Novel' course in 2018 where she started writing her debut. Since then, The Glass Woman has been long listed for the Stylist Prize for Feminist Fiction 2021 and she is currently undertaking a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

‘Storm Surge’ by Biba Pearce

Published by Liquid Mind Publishing,
12 March 2024.
ISBN: 978-1-68533310-2 (PB)

Storm Surge opens as the coast of Florida is being battered by Hurricane Matteo.  This is big news for staff of the local newspaper The Miami Herald.  Keith, the editor-in-chief has already dispatched a photographer to the local marina and is now receiving video footage of the unfolding chaos.  Several luxury yachts have been violently dislodged from their moorings and are almost certain to be wrecked, among them The Jewel of the Seas owned by Salvatore Del Gatto.  The wealthy businessman has long been suspected of having links with organised crime and Kenzie Gilmore, an investigative journalist with the Herald, has been on his trail for a while.  She is delighted when Keith assigns her to cover the story and immediately makes her way to the scene.  If The Jewel of the Seas breaks up, she may find evidence that will expose Del Gatto’s nefarious dealings and Kenzie can hardly believe her luck when the boat crashes into the marina wall.  Ignoring the tempest raging around her, the indefatigable reporter heads towards the splintered remains – this is too good an opportunity to miss.

Meanwhile, at Sweetwater Police Department, Kenzie’s boyfriend, Lieutenant Reid Garrett, is working out how best to deploy his officers during the maelstrom.  Almost every member of his team is out, and Reid’s priority is command and control.  Then, a member of the public calls to say he has found a dead body.  He can’t redeploy his already exhausted staff, so Reid braves the storm to deal with the incident himself.  First impressions suggest the corpse is a victim of the dreadful weather, but something’s not right and the lieutenant decides to treat the discovery as a suspicious death.  He is still dealing with the situation when Kenzie calls him from the marina.  There is something she needs him to see, and it won’t wait.  The couple have a long night ahead of them.

The reader is irresistibly caught up in this whirlwind of a thriller.  Plotlines merge, separate, seem to resolve and then collide again.  Many of the characters are as unpredictable as the precarious weather that dominates the beginning of the story, misleading investigators and readers alike.  Kenzie and Reid must negotiate challenges in their respective jobs, whilst in the tentative first stages of their romance and this inevitably leads to misunderstandings between them.  At times they seem to dance around each other, trying to protect the other’s professional integrity whilst still nurturing their bourgeoning relationship.

Storm Surge is the seventh book in the Kenzie Gilmore Crime Thriller series.  It works perfectly as a standalone, and helpful snippets from Kenzie’s backstory are included smoothly and sparingly.  I immediately warmed to Kenzie as a character and Reid’s steady personality makes him the perfect foil for his impulsive lover.  Pearce writes with flair and skill to create a tense narrative that leads to an ending that I didn’t see coming.  Highly recommended.
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Reviewer: Dot Marshall-Gent

Biba Pearce grew up on the wild eastern coast of Southern Africa. She now lives in Surrey, and when she isn’t writing, can be found rambling through the countryside or kayaking on the river Thames. She writes gritty police procedurals and is the author of the bestselling DCI Rob Miller series published by Joffe Books. Her latest release, The Marlow Murders, was published in October 2023.  Look out for The Frost Killer, published 9 January 2024. 

 www.bibapearce.com

Dot Marshall-Gent worked in the emergency services for twenty years first as a police officer, then as a paramedic and finally as a fire control officer before graduating from King’s College, London as a teacher of English in her mid-forties.  She completed a M.A. in Special and Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, London and now teaches part-time and writes mainly about educational issues.  Dot sings jazz and country music and plays guitar, banjo and piano as well as being addicted to reading mystery and crime fiction.  

CrimeFest 2014: Friday: A Question of Ethics: Moral Dilemmas and Difficult Choices.

 Friday, 10 May
14:50 - 15:40

The Panel are Liz Fielding, Felix Francis,
Alex Shaw, Alex Stone, 

and the participating Moderator is Michael Stanley
(aka Stanley Trollip) 

Liz Fielding travelled extensively in Africa and the Middle East before finally coming to a halt at her desk in West Sussex. She had written more than seventy romance novels (selling more than 15 million books) and was honoured with the Romantic Novelists’ Association Outstanding Achievement Award before turning to a life of crime. Murder Under the Mistletoe, the latest book in her Maybridge Murder Mystery series, was published by Joffe Books in November 2023.

Felix Francis took over writing the ‘Dick Francis Novels’ from his father. He has recently finished Syndicate, which will be published in September 2024. It will be his eighteenth crime novel. Felix lives in Oxfordshire with his wife, Debbie, and two dogs. A keen cricket supporter, he is a member of MCC and the Lord’s Taverners, as well as of the Crime Writers Association, the International Thriller Writers, the Detection Club and The Garrick. 

www.felixfrancis.com  

Alex Shaw spent the late 1990s in Ukraine, teaching and running his business before joining Siemens to work across the former USSR, and the EMEA. An ITW and CWA member, his Aidan SnowJack Tate and Sophie Racine thrillers are published by HarperCollins and Luzifer Verlag. Total Blackout was shortlisted for the 2021 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Award – Best Published Novel. Alex and his family divide their time between homes in Ukraine, England and Dubai. 

www.alexwshaw.co.uk 

Alex Stone was an accountant from the West Midlands, who uprooted her life to pursue her dream of living by the sea and becoming a writer. She is proof that if you stick at it, anything is possible. Alex is now based in Dorset and is the author of bestselling psychological thrillers, The Perfect Daughter, The Other Girlfriend and The Good Patient. Her latest novel The Quiet Sister will be out in 2024.

www.alexstoneauthor.com  


Michael Stanley
is the pen-name for writing partnership Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Their mystery series, featuring Detective Kubu, is set in Botswana, a fascinating country with magnificent conservation areas, varied peoples, and intriguing backstories. They have won a Barry Award and have been finalists for an Edgar, an ITW, and a CWA award. The latest book in the series is a prequel, titled A Deadly Covenant. They also wrote a thriller about rhino poaching, Dead of Night, set in South Africa, featuring investigative journalist Crystal Nguyen. Stanley also wrote a Crystal Nguyen thriller, Wolfman, set in Minnesota. 

CrimeFest 2024: Friday 10 May : Out With The Old: Crime Fiction: Crime Fiction set in Times of Strife and Change.

 Friday, 10 May
13:40 - 14:30

The Panel are Vaseem Kahan, Pam Lecky,
Fiona Veitch Smith, Linda Stratmann, 

and the participating Moderator is Mark Ellis

Vaseem Khan is the author of two award-winning crime series set in India. His debut, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, was a Sunday Times 40 best crime novels published 2015-2020 pick. In 2021, Midnight at Malabar House, the first in the Malabar House novels set in 1950s Bombay, won the Crime Writers Association Historical Dagger. In 2023, Vaseem was elected the Chair of the 70-year-old UK Crime Writers Association. Vaseem was born in England. 

www.vaseemkhan.com

Pam Lecky is published by Avon and Storm Publishing. She is a member of the HNS, The Society of Authors and the CWA. Her WW2 espionage series comprises; Her Secret War (2021), Her Last Betrayal (2022), and The Last Letter from London, (2023). Under A Lightning Sky, a Blitz murder mystery, will be published in July 2024. Storm Publishing will be re-releasing Pam’s previously indie Victorian mystery series, The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries, in July this year. 

Pam Lecky Books – Historical Crime & Mystery

Fiona Veitch Smith writes Golden Age mysteries and historical crime fiction and has been shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger. Her breakthrough series was Poppy Denby Investigates about a reporter sleuth in 1920s London. Her new series, the Miss Clara Vale Mysteries with Embla Books, is set in and around Newcastle in the late 20s & early 30s, featuring a female forensic scientist who inherits a detective agency. The Pyramid Murders is due out in May.  

Linda Stratmann is the author of three crime fiction series with Victorian settings. Linda’s current series The Early Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, shows a youthful Holmes, before he knew Watson, becoming the legendary detective. In the Bayswater mysteries Frances Doughty combats wily criminals and prejudice against lady detectives. In Brighton diminutive Mina Scarletti exposes fraudulent spirit mediums. Linda’s 35 books also include biography and true crime, notably a history of nineteenth century poison murder.  

www.lindastratmann.com 

Mark Ellis is a thriller writer from Swansea and a former barrister and entrepreneur. He is the creator of DCI Frank Merlin, an Anglo-Spanish police detective operating in World War 2 London. His books treat the reader to a vivid portrait of London during the war skilfully blended with gripping plots, political intrigue and a charismatic protagonist

                               www.markellisauthor.com 

Wednesday 17 April 2024

‘The Grand Illusion’ by Syd Moore

Published by Magpie Books,
4 April 2024.
ISBN: 978-0-86154160-7 (HB)

It is June 1940 and Britain’s battle against Germany is on the brink of disaster. Although the valiant small boats that crossed to France managed to save many of the troops after the abortive Dunkirk Landings, nevertheless a large number of men died and much of the army’s stock of armaments and armed vehicles has been abandoned on the other side of the English Channel.

The German invasion of Britain seems to be both inevitable and imminent, but the War Office is developing a unique plan to change Hitler’s intention to carry through with this. Knowing that Hitler and several of his senior officers believe in the occult the British authorities gather together exponents of various spiritualist arts and people proficient in the art of deception. Amongst the latter are stage magician, Jonty Trevelyan, also known as the Grand Mystique and his assistant, Daphne Devine.

Daphne is a patriotic young woman, but she also has a pressing personal reason for doing everything that the authorities want of her: her Italian mother has been interned on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien and her uncle is being deported to Canada. When her uncle’s ship is torpedoed and many of the passengers and crew are reported missing, Daphne has an even more desperate desire to prove her family’s loyalty to Britain and save her mother from a similar fate.

The regimented discipline of the army makes it difficult for the senior officers to assimilate these wildly creative recruits as they try to force them into the army mould, and the attitudes of that time mean that they find it especially challenging when it comes to Daphne, whom they persist in thinking of as Jonty’s secretary. However, as time moves rapidly on and the predicted date for the German invasion moves terrifyingly closer, Jonty and Daphne demonstrate their remarkable skills of subterfuge. Amongst her fellow recruits, Daphne also encounters some new esoteric spiritual practices that may help to deter Hitler from his planned invasion. Daphne is a practical person, and she finds these ideas both exciting and disturbing. Life in wartime Britain is always dangerous and, as she assists Jonty to achieve new heights of trickery, Daphne finds herself in a situation where she needs all her determination and her skills as a magician’s assistant to save her own life.

The Grand Illusion is a compelling story based on a fascinating concept, which successfully captures the urgent need of the British authorities to prevent Hitler’s invasion of Great Britain. The plot is intriguing, and the characters are engaging, especially Daphne, a courageous and resilient young woman who is determined to do all that is required of her. The author has skilfully captured life and attitudes in 1940s Britain, when it was still frowned upon for women to step out of their established roles and although the women may find this irksome, most of them accept it as the natural order of things. Even amongst women serving in the Armed Forces it was declared that ‘Beauty is Duty’ and there was an underlying ethos that a woman’s chief role was still to charm and entertain the men who were fighting for their country. The Grand Illusion is a page turner, which I recommend.
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Reviewer: Carol Westron

Syd Moore is an author inspired by the history and legacy of the 19th Century Essex witch trials. She is also co-creator of Super Strumps, the game that reclaims female stereotypes through the medium of Top Trumps, and was founding editor of Level 4, an arts and culture magazine based in South Essex. She has worked extensively in publishing and the book trade and presented Channel 4's late night book programme, Pulp.

 

Carol Westron is a successful author and a Creative Writing teacher.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  Her first book The Terminal Velocity of Cats was published in 2013. Since then, she has since written 8 further mysteries. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. interview

To read a review of Carol latest book click on the title

CrimeFest 2024: Friday: Twisted Tales: Subverting Expectations

  Friday, 10 May
13:40 - 14:30

The Panel are Blake Mara, Michael Stanley
(aka Michael Sears),
B.P. Water, Nicola Williams, 

and the participating Moderator is Megan Davies

Blake Mara is the author of the cosy crime, the Dog Park Detectives (launching 6 June).  Inspired by her dachshund, it starts with two people out walking their dogs who find a dead body. Determined to get justice for their friend, the dog park Pack band together try to track down the killer. Writing as Mara Timon, she is the author of City of Spies (shortlisted for CrimeFest’s debut of the year 2020) and the sequel, Resistance. 

www.blakemara.com

Michael Stanley is the pen-name for writing partnership Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Their mystery series, featuring Detective Kubu, is set in Botswana, a fascinating country with magnificent conservation areas, varied peoples, and intriguing backstories. They have won a Barry Award and have been finalists for an Edgar, an ITW, and a CWA award. The latest book in the series is a prequel, titled A Deadly Covenant. They also wrote a thriller about rhino poaching, Dead of Night, set in South Africa, featuring investigative journalist Crystal Nguyen. Stanley also wrote a Crystal Nguyen thriller, Wolfman, set in Minnesota. 

www.michaelstanleybooks.com

B.P. Walter is the Sunday Times bestselling author of suspense thrillers. He studied Film & English at the University of Southampton, is an alumnus of the Faber Academy and formerly worked in social media. His novel The Dinner Guest was a Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller and a Number 1 Times bestseller. His most recent books are Notes on a Murder (2023) and The Garden Party (July 2024). His debut horror, Scuttle, publishes this autumn. 

www.bpwalter.com  

Nicola Williams started her career as a barrister in private practice, specialising in Criminal Law. She was a member of the first Independent Advisory Group to the Metropolitan Police Service (following recommendations arising from the Stephen Lawrence Report [1999]). She has been a part-time Crown Court Judge since 2010. She is an active volunteer for the Speakers for Schools programme, a charity which encourages young people from disadvantaged and under-represented communities to achieve their full career potential.

Megan Davis has an MA Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Her debut, The Messenger, won the Bridport Prize for a First Novel as well as the Lucy Cavendish Prize. Megan is a lawyer and was a whistle-blower in London’s financial sector and now works at Spotlight on Corruption, an anti-corruption NGO. Her second novel Bay of Thieves (pub date: June 2024) is set between London and the south of France.  

www.megandavis.co.uk 

CrimeFest: Friday 10 May: A Skeleton in the Cupboard: Keeping Secrets

  Friday, 10 May
10:10 - 11:00

The Panel are Mark Ellis, Felix Francis,
Simon, McCleave, Kaaron Warren 

and the participating Moderator is Caroline England

Mark Ellis is a thriller writer from Swansea and a former barrister and entrepreneur. He is the creator of DCI Frank Merlin, an Anglo-Spanish police detective operating in World War 2 London. His books treat the reader to a vivid portrait of London during the war skilfully blended with gripping plots, political intrigue and a charismatic protagonist.

                               www.markellisauthor.com 

Felix Francis took over writing the ‘Dick Francis Novels’ from his father. He has recently finished Syndicate, which will be published in September 2024. It will be his eighteenth crime novel. Felix lives in Oxfordshire with his wife, Debbie, and two dogs. A keen cricket supporter, he is a member of MCC and the Lord’s Taverners, as well as of the Crime Writers Association, the International Thriller Writers, the Detection Club and The Garrick.  

www.felixfrancis.com  

Simon McCleave was born in South London. When leaving University, he worked in television and film development. He was a Script Editor at the BBC, a producer at Channel 4 before working as a Story Analyst in Los Angeles. He worked on films such as ‘The Full Monty’ and television series such as ‘Our Friends In The North’. He then became a script writer for television and film. He wrote on series such as Silent Witness, Murder In Suburbia, Teachers, Attachments, The Bill, Eastenders and many more.  

 

Kaaron Warren is an award-winning Australian writer based in Canberra, Australia. Kaaron was a Fellow at the Museum for Australian Democracy, where she researched prime ministers, artists and serial killers. Her novel The Underhistory, from Viper Books, came from this Fellowship. Her other novels are Slights, Mistification, Walking the Tree, The Grief Hole and Tide of Stone. She has seven short story collections. Her writing podcast Let the Cat In showcases ideas, objects, and inspirations.  

www.kaaronwarren.wordpress.com 

Caroline England (aka C.E. Rose) is the CWA Short Story Dagger shortlisted author of six multi-layered, dark and edgy domestic noir novels, Beneath the SkinMy Husband’s LiesBetray HerTruth GamesThe Sinner and The Stranger Beside Me. As C.E. Rose she has written four gothic-tinged psychological thrillers, The House of Hidden SecretsThe House on the Water’s EdgeThe Shadows of Rutherford House and The Attic at Wilton Place. 

www.carolineenglandauthor.co.uk 

CrimeFest 2024: Thursday 9 May : A Genre For All: Crime Fiction's Appeal For All Ages

  Thursday, 9 May
15:50 - 16:40

The Panel are Holly Jackson, Janet McLoughlin,
Fiona Veitch Smith, Teri Terry 

and the participating Moderator is Tracy Darnton,

Holly Jackson
is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling series A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series, and Five Survive, all having sold millions of copies worldwide. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder has been adapted for TV and will be coming to BBC 3 and iPlayer in July 2024, starring Emma Myers. She enjoys playing video games and watching true-crime documentaries so she can pretend to be a detective. She lives in London. 

Jane McLoughlin was born and raised in the USA, but has spent most of her adult life in the UK. A former teacher, she has previously published novels for young people, which were nominated for various awards, including the Carnegie Award and the Branford Boase Prize. She has two grown up children, and lives in Brighton. The Perfect Couple is her debut novel for adults. 

janemcloughlinwriter.com 

Fiona Veitch Smith writes Golden Age mysteries and historical crime fiction and has been shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger. Her breakthrough series was Poppy Denby Investigates about a reporter sleuth in 1920s London. Her new series, the Miss Clara Vale Mysteries with Embla Books, is set in and around Newcastle in the late 20s & early 30s, featuring a female forensic scientist who inherits a detective agency. The Pyramid Murders is due out in May.  

http://fiona.veitchsmith.com/

Teri Terry is a new voice in psychological thrillers. The Patient is a medical thriller published with Bookouture earlier this year. She is also an award-winning, international bestselling author of over a dozen young adult thrillers, including Slated and, most recently, a ghost story, Scare Me.

 www.teriterry.com

Tracy Darnton is the author of three YA psychological thrillers: Ready or NotThe Rules and The Truth About Lies, shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and a World Book Night title. Her first picture book My Brother is An Avocado is out with Simon & Schuster. A former solicitor, she has an MA in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa Uni. Tracy lives near Bath where she dreams up her killer endings. 

CrimeFest 2024: Friday: Far From the Madding Crowd: Crime Fiction in Splendid Isolation

  Friday 10 May
13:30 - 14.20

The Panel are Heather Critchlow, James Delargy,
Mary Grand, Leixie Eliott 

and the participating Moderator is Sarah Ward,

Heather Critchlow is a crime writer and business journalist. Her debut novel Unsolved was published in May 2023 by Canelo and was shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize. Unburied, the second book in the Cal Lovett series, was published in January 2024, and the third is out later in the year. Heather’s short stories are featured in the Afraid of the Light anthologies of fiction written by crime writers.  

www.heathercritchlow.com 

James Delargy
was born and raised in Ireland and lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland before ending up in England. He incorporates this diverse knowledge of towns, landscapes and cultures into his writing. His first novel, 55, was published in 2019 and sold to over twenty territories. It was followed in 2021 by the standalone thriller Vanished. His third book, Into the Flames, set during a bushfire In NSW, will be published in Summer 2024. 

www.jamesdelargy.com


Mary Grand is the author of eight novels. Her first crime novel The House Party, an Amazon best seller, was followed by more two stand-alones. Her most recent books Death At Castle Cove and Death At St Jude’s started a series, The Isle of Wight Killings, featuring amateur detective Susan Flynn. Her crime books are all murder mysteries in the classic whodunnit style and are published by Boldwood Books. 

www.marygrand.net

Lexie Elliott is the London-based Scottish author of Bright and Deadly Things, Richard & Judy Book Club pick How To Kill Your Best FriendThe Missing Years and The French Girl. When not writing, Lexie is often running or swimming whilst thinking about writing. In 2007 she swam the English Channel solo. She won't be doing that again. In 2015 she ran 100km, raising money for Alzheimer Scotland. She won't be doing that again either. 

www.lexieelliott.com

Sarah Ward is a crime novelist who writes gothic historical thrillers as Rhiannon Ward. The Birthday Girl, the first book in her new Welsh based series, was published in 2023 and described in the FT as 'channelling Christie-esque tropes' and was followed by The Sixth Lie. She has also written Doctor Who audio dramas. Sarah is Vice-Chair of the Crime Writers Association and Treasurer of Crime Cymru, the Welsh crime writing collective. 

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Shortlist Announced for 2024 CrimeFest Awards


CrimeFest, one of Europe’s leading crime writing conventions, has announced the shortlists for its
annual awards.

The awards began 16 years ago when CrimeFest launched in 2008; they honour the best crime books released in the UK in the last year, and feature the hotly-contended Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award which offers a £1,000 cash prize.

Authors in contention for the £1k prize include the Times Radio presenter and former editor of the Times Literary Supplement, Stig Abell, for his fiction debut, Death Under a Little Sky. 
Jo Callaghan is nominated for her BBC Between the Covers Book Club pick, In the Blink of An Eye, a daring, original debut featuring an AI detective. Jo Callaghan works as a senior strategist researching the future impact of AI and geonomics.

Also, up for the debut award are
Megan Davis described by Waterstones as an ‘eclectic, cut throat new voice in thriller writing’ with The Messenger
Jenny Lund Madsen with her darkly funny 
Thirty Days of Darkness,
the critically acclaimed historical crime debut 
Needless Alley by Natalie Marlow;
and the pitch-black Death of a Bookseller, by Alice Slater.

Adrian Muller, Co-host of CrimeFest, said: “The Specsavers Debut Novel Award has become one of the most highly anticipated awards of the genre, and we’d like to thank Specsavers for their on-going support in celebrating new talent.”

The shortlist for the CrimeFest H.R.F. Keating Award for the best biographical or critical book includes explorations of icons of the genre including
Steven Powell for Love Me Fierce in DangerThe Life of James Ellroy
Nicholas Shakespeare for Ian Fleming: The Complete Man, and
Adam Sisman for The Secret Life of John Le CarrĂ©.

CrimeFest’s Last Laugh Award for best humorous crime novel sees bestselling authors in contention, including
Mark Billingham for The Last Laugh
Mick Herron with The Secret Hours; and
Elly Griffiths for The Great Deceiver.
They’re joined by authors Mike Ripley, Jesse Sutanto and
Antti Tuomianen.

Nominated for the best crime fiction e-book published in 2023 for the
E-Dunnit Award are
Rachel Abbott’s Don't Look Away;
Jane Casey for The Close; 
Marin Edwards’ Sepulchre Street;
 Christina Koning for Murder at Bletchley Park;
 Laura Lippman’s Prom Mom; and 
The Devil's Playground by Craig Russell.

This nominees for the CrimeFest Best Crime Novel for Young Adults (aged 12-16) include
Jennifer Lynn Barnes for her TikTok sensation, The Brothers Hawthorne, which combines puzzles, plot twists, and romance.

She’s up against the bestselling author Ravena Guron, the ‘trailblazing’ blockbuster Promise Boys by Nick Brooks; the international bestseller
Karen M. McManus for One of Us is Back; and Elizabeth Wein’s 1937 murder mystery featuring solo female pilot Stella North, Stateless.

Adrian Muller said: “We are proud to be one of the few genre awards that recognise and celebrate children, and young adult crime fiction. This category has really boomed in recent years. The top-selling female author of crime fiction in the UK last year was Holly Jackson, and we’re thrilled to host Holly and fellow author, Robin Stevens, at talks for state schools in Bristol this May. The genre is a fantastic gateway into reading.”

Robin Stevens is also shortlisted for the CrimeFest Award for Best Crime Novel for Children (ages 8-12) for The Ministry of Unladylike Activity 2: The Body in the Blitz, published by Puffin, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of the bestselling series that has sold 2 million copies in the UK to date.

She’s up against a strong shortlist that includes J.T. Williams,
Lis Jardine, Beth Lincoln, and the footballer Marcus Rashford for The Breakfast Club Adventures: The Ghoul in the School,
co-written by Alex Falase-Koya.

Leading British crime fiction reviewers and reviewers of fiction for children and young adults, alongside the members of the School Library Association (SLA), form the CrimeFest judging panels.

The winners of the 2024 CrimeFest Awards will be announced at a gala dinner hosted during CrimeFest on
Saturday 11 May at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel.

Hosted in Bristol, CrimeFest is one of the most popular dates in the international crime fiction calendar, with circa 60 panel events and 150 authors attending over four days,
from 9-12 May.

This year also features the CrimeFest Best Adapted TV Crime Drama Award, which celebrate dramas based on a book screened in 2023.

Shortlisted shows include Amazon’s Reacher, based on books by
Lee Child; the BBC’s Shetland, and ITV’s Vera, based on the books by Ann Cleeves; Apple TV’s Slow Horses, adapted from Mick Herron’s series; The Serial Killer’s Wife on Paramount by Alice Hunter; and Dalgliesh, based on the books by P.D. James.

The convention will feature a panel that pays homage to P.D. James with author Frances Fyfield, the Sunday Times chief fiction critic Peter Kemp, playwright and crime author, Simon Brett, and PD James’ granddaughter, Dr Beatrice Groves.

Featured Guests for 2024 are author of the international hit Murdle - G.T. Karber - who will host a live Murdle event in a rare UK appearance; Diamond Dagger winners James Lee Burke and Lynda La Plante, the acclaimed American author Laura Lippman; and the seminal Scottish author, Denise Mina.

The line up also features Ajay Chowdhury, Cathy Ace,
Janice Hallett, Abir Mukherjee, Vaseem Khan, Holly Jackson, Kate Ellis, Ruth Dudley Edwards,
and Martin Edwards.

CrimeFest was created following the hugely successful one-off visit to Bristol in 2006 of the American Left Coast Crime convention. Established in 2008, it follows the egalitarian format of most US conventions, making it open to all commercially published authors and readers alike.

All category winners will receive a
Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

The 2024 CrimeFest Award Shortlists in full:

SPECSAVERS DEBUT CRIME NOVEL AWARD

In association with headline sponsor, the Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award is for debut authors first published in the United Kingdom in 2023. The winning author receives a £1,000 prize.

- Stig Abell Death Under a Little Sky 
(Hemlock Press/HarperCollins)

- Jo Callaghan In The Blink Of An Eye (Simon & Schuster)

- Megan Davis The Messenger (Zaffre)

- Jenny Lund Madsen Thirty Days of Darkness 
translated by Megan Turney (Orenda Books)

- Natalie Marlow Needless Alley (Baskerville)

- Alice Slater Death of a Bookseller (Hodder & Stoughton)

H.R.F. KEATING AWARD

The H.R.F. Keating Award is for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction first published in the United Kingdom in 2023. The award is named after H.R.F. ‘Harry’ Keating, one of Britain’s most esteemed crime novelists, crime reviewers and writer of books about crime fiction.

 - M, J, F & A Dall'Asta, Migozzi, Pagello & Pepper 
Contemporary European Crime Fiction: Representing History and Politics 
(Palgrave)

- Lisa Hopkins Ocular Proof and the Spectacled Detective in British Crime Fiction (Palgrave)

- Kate Jackson How To Survive a Classic Crime Novel 
(British Library Publishing)

- Steven Powell Love Me Fierce In Danger: The Life of James Ellroy (Bloomsbury Academic)

- Nicholas Shakespeare Ian Fleming: The Complete Man (Harvill Secker)

- Adam Sisman The Secret Life of John Le CarrĂ© (Profile Books)

LAST LAUGH AWARD

The Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the United Kingdom in 2023.

 - Mark Billingham The Last Dance (Sphere)

- Elly Griffiths The Great Deceiver (Quercus)

- Mick Herron The Secret Hours (Baskerville)

- Mike Ripley Mr Campion's Memory (Severn House)

- Jesse Sutanto Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers (HQ)

- Antti Tuomianen The Beaver Theory (Orenda Books)

eDUNNIT AWARD

For the best crime fiction ebook first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format in the United Kingdom in 2023.

- Rachel Abbott Don't Look Away (Wildfire)

-Jane Casey The Close (HarperCollins)

-Martin Edwards Sepulchre Street (Head of Zeus)

-Christina Koning Murder at Bletchley Park (Allison & Busby)

-Laura Lippman Prom Mom (Faber & Faber)

-Craig Russell The Devil's Playground (Constable)


BEST CRIME FICTION NOVEL FOR CHILDREN

This award is for the best crime novel for children (aged 8-12)
first published in the United Kingdom in 2023.

- A.M. Howell Mysteries At Sea: Peril On The Atlantic 
(Usborne Publishing)

- Lis Jardine The Detention Detectives 
(Penguin Random House Children's UK)

- Beth Lincoln The Swifts (Penguin Random House Children's UK)

- Marcus Rashford (with Alex Falase-Koya) 
The Breakfast Club Adventures: The Ghoul in the School 
(Macmillan Children's Books)

- Robin Stevens The Ministry of Unladylike Activity 2: The Body in the Blitz 
(Penguin Random House Children's UK)

- J.T. Williams The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Portraits and Poison
illustrated by Simone Douglas (Farshore)

 BEST CRIME FICTION NOVEL FOR YOUNG ADULTS

This award is for the best crime novel for young adults (aged 12-16) first published in the United Kingdom in 2023.

- Jennifer Lynn Barnes The Brothers Hawthorne 
(Penguin Random House Children's UK)

- Nick Brooks Promise Boys (Macmillan Children's Books)

- Ravena Guron This Book Kills (Usborne Publishing)

- Ravena Guron Catch Your Death (Usborne Publishing)

- Karen M. McManus One of Us is Back 
(Penguin Random House Children's UK)

- Elizabeth Wein Stateless (Bloomsbury YA)

THALIA PROCTOR MEMORIAL AWARD FOR BEST ADAPTED TV CRIME DRAMA

This award is for the best television crime drama based on a book, and first screened in the UK in 2023.

- Dalgliesh (series 2), based on the Inspector Dalgliesh books
by P.D. James (Channel 5)

- Reacher (series 2), based on the Jack Reacher books
by Lee Child (Amazon Prime)

- Shetland (series 8), based on the Shetland books
 by Ann Cleeves (BBC)

- Slow Horses (series 3), based on the Slough House books
 by Mick Herron (Apple)

- The Serial Killer's Wife, based on the Serial Killer books
by Alice Hunter (Paramount+)

- Vera (series 12), based on the Vera Stanhope books
by Ann Cleeves (ITV)

CrimeFest - Bristol's Annual Crime Fiction Convention