The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2016 Shortlist

The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2016 Shortlist

Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty

Rain Dogs is the fifth book in the gritty series starring Sean Duffy, a character held in particularly high regard among members of the crime genre community. As fans of Duffy might expect, he tackles this latest case in his usual incorrigible, substance-fuelled way; but this locked-room case proves even more challenging than that of the third book in the series, In The Morning I’ll Be Gone.

Rain Dogs features everything you could possibly want from a good mystery novel: murder, intrigue, a castle, and plenty of twists and turns, all set against the tension of the ‘Troubles’ in 1980s Belfast. The Guardian calls it “fast-paced, intricate and crime to the core,” and we think Adrian McKinty just seems to be getting better with each book he writes.

Disclaimer by Renee Knight

The debut novel that everyone’s talking about, Renee Knight’s Disclaimer was being compared to the smash hit Gone Girl before it had even made the shelves. But whether or not you buy into the hype that surrounds a novel like this, the inventive premise, emotive narrative and skilful character development make it a truly worthwhile read.

There’s a lot going on in this book-within-a-book, with two families’ stories being told from different points of view and gradually intertwining. What makes this novel truly exciting though is the opening, which the New York Times has described as “something special”. Protagonist Catherine discovers a book called The Perfect Stranger next to her bed, but as she reads she recognises herself in the story, particularly when it describes a harrowing moment from her own past. This truly sinister premise drives the narrative as Catherine’s world begins to fall apart – and you’ll be hooked every step of the way.

A tense, well-plotted psychological thriller that we say is well deserving of the hype.

Tell No Tales – Eva Dolan

Eva Dolan was revealed as a breath of fresh air for the crime genre when she released her debut – Long Way Home – back in 2014. Tackling Far Right political movements, racism, community, multiculturalism, migration and more, Dolan doesn’t shy away from delving into current affairs whilst still creating an entertaining and gripping read.

Tell No Tales is Dolan’s second book, continuing the series with DI Zigic, DS Ferreira and Peterborough’s Hate Crimes Unit. The team is investigating a series of murderous assaults on immigrants around the city when a car ploughs into a bus stop where a number of Polish workers are waiting. Ethnic tensions within the community are steadily rising and right-wing politician Richard Shotton is gaining increasing popularity as the pressure increases for Ferreira and Zigic to get to the bottom of this case.

A dark story with a frightening take on current issues, Dolan will keep you on your toes until the very end of this gripping crime thriller.

Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith

2016 marks the first time that Robert Galbraith, J.K. Rowling’s alter-ego, has been named as a finalist contender for the Theakstons Old Peculier award. This third instalment of the series about everybody’s favourite crime-fighting rogue, Cormoran Strike, is an intelligently-written mystery with all the plot twists you’d expect; but alongside this, Galbraith further explores Strike and Robin’s intense relationship and individual backstories.

While it may have less gore than Galbraith’s earlier books, such as The Silkworm, this sensitive exploration brings additional depth to the characters as well as the overall narrative. It also has you rooting for the duo as they search for a serial killer on an epic cross-country caper without, as usual, any help from the disobliging police. We think Robert Galbraith is truly finding ‘his’ feet as a crime author, and the critics seem to agree – The Independent calls Career of Evil “a refreshing change to the genre,” adding, “Let’s hope the sardonic Cormoran Strike is here to stay.”

Time of Death – Mark Billingham

As a previous winner of the award, all eyes will be on Mark Billingham to see if he can claim the title again with his thirteenth addition to the Tom Thorne series, Time of Death. This time, the DI is uprooted from his familiar London habitat and placed in a small town in Warwickshire, where his partner Helen grew up and where two girls have recently been abducted. Even though he’s technically on holiday and shouldn’t really be getting involved, Thorne of course can’t resist a good case to sink his teeth into – particularly one where he thinks the police have got the wrong man.

This engrossing story of mistaken identity, and a community being torn apart by the predatory tabloid press, truly immerses the reader – devoted Billingham fans won’t be disappointed.

I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh

As a Sunday Times bestseller and a winner of last year’s Richard and Judy’s Book Club, Clare Mackintosh’s debut psychological thriller doesn’t need too much introduction. Richard called the novel “powerful and mesmerising,” while Judy defied anyone to foresee the “astonishing twist” that comes towards the end; and what do we think? Well, we’d have to agree!

Following the tragic death of her five-year-old son Jacob, Jenna Gray seeks solace in a remote village on the Welsh coast; but Mackintosh explores the trauma of losing a child and Gray soon finds that running away from the reality of her past is impossible. Inspired by Mackintosh’s own experiences – both a hit-and-run that took place in her hometown, killing a nine-year-old-boy, and the death of her own new-born son, caused by meningitis – this is a deeply emotional read that’s more than worthy of its place on the shortlist.

You can vote for the book you think should be the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year on the official website.
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Visit the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Festival website to find out more about this year’s festival, including which authors are attending and how to buy tickets.

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