Thursday, April 29, 2021

US Cozy Review: Two from Amanda Flower

Welcome to another entry in my irregular feature: US cozy review.

Here are my reviews of Assaulted Caramel and Lethal Licorice the first two in the Amish Candy Shop Mystery series by Amanda Flower.
I have to say I enjoyed these two so much, not only have I bought the rest of the series, but also the first book in the spin-off series, the Amish Matchmaker Mysteries, and the first book in the author's new series, published by Hallmark, Dead-End Detective

If you are in the UK you might find Lethal Licorice is available via your library's ebook service, Libby. It certainly is, in Birmingham Libraries.

ASSAULTED CARAMEL by Amanda Flower is the first book in the Amish Candy Shop series which features Bailey King, a New York-based chocolatier to the stars. 

On the eve of an important job announcement which may affect Bailey’s future, she is summoned to her grandparents’ home in the Amish village of Harvest, Ohio as her grandfather is very ill. When she arrives, she finds her grandfather arguing with a property developer who is snapping up all the Amish shops on the main street. Her grandfather will not sell his candy shop and collapses as a result of the argument, combined with his severe heart disease.

Bailey’s first night back in Harvest does not end well. Retrieving her mobile phone from the kitchen -the only place there is electric - she stumbles over the body of the loathsome property developer, killed with her grandfather’s favourite chocolate-slicing knife. A knife she had used the previous day.

Her grandfather and then herself soon become the prime suspects and she is even suspected (though not really) by the dishy Deputy Aiden.

Bailey has to clear her name but more importantly her ill grandfather’s name and soon so she can return to New York for the job announcement due a couple of days later.

I really enjoyed ASSAULTED CARAMEL. I liked the setting, meeting various quirky residents – including Aiden’s mother Juliet who has a small pet pig, as well as learning about the Amish culture and customs. Bailey is a likeable and funny character and I loved when her city-girl best friend Cass came to visit. I didn’t guess whodunnit and I was pleased that Bailey, with help from her new and clever ginger cat, saved herself from the killer. Indeed, I enjoyed this book so much I went straight onto book two, LETHAL LICORICE.

LETHAL LICORICE is the second book in the Amish Candy Shop series by Amanda Flower. After the events in the series debut, ASSAULTED CARAMEL, Bailey King has now left her New York job and friends to help run her grandparents’ Amish candy shop in Harvest, Ohio.

Not being Amish herself, Bailey is struggling slightly to fit in. Various people think she and the Sheriff’s Deputy Aiden belong together, but Bailey’s heart is still sore from her last relationship. In the meantime, she is entering the Amish Confectionery Competition (ACC) on behalf of her grandparents’ shop. The ACC is a huge deal for whoever wins, bringing tourism and income to both the shop and the town it resides in. One of the competitors, Josephine Weaver, is not happy with Bailey entering as she is not Amish, however she is using Amish methodology and has a special dispensation from the organisers.

As well as being shouted at by Josephine, Bailey’s friend Juliet, mother of Aiden, has lost her pet pig and is in a bad way. Bailey and Juliet look around the nearby church and discover a young Amish woman, Charlotte, playing the organ. The organ sounds out of tune and when Charlotte looks inside, she finds the body of Josephine.

Bailey is again a possible murder suspect, this time in the death of Josephine, especially when the cause of death is an allergy to liquorice – which was the very first sweet to be made in the competition. More of a suspect though is Charlotte as she is at odds with her family and district over her wanting to play the organ and them wanting to ban her.

Again Bailey feels she had to clear her own name and also Charlotte’s.

This second book in the series starts almost where most first books in series do - with the protagonist moving somewhere new or back home to start over. So new readers could easily jump in with book two. I have been deliberately quite vague about the events of book one so as to avoid spoilers.

As with book one, ASSAULTED CARAMEL, I enjoyed this very much. It’s a light read with most chapters ending on a cliff-hanger so you want to read just one more. New characters are introduced and the Amish universe is expanded to include neighbouring districts with differing rules. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

In fact, these books, much like sweets, are hard to resist.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

CWA Dagger Awards 2021 - Longlists

The Longlists for the CWA Dagger Awards 2021 have been announced and are listed at the bottom of the press release. I have highlighted the comments on the 'In Translation' Dagger (formerly known as the International Dagger) and the timescales.


CWA Dagger Awards Longlists Announced

The 2021 longlists for the prestigious CWA Dagger awards, which honour the very best in the crime writing genre, have been announced.

The world-famous Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Daggers are the oldest awards in the genre, and have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century.

Past winners of the prestigious Gold Dagger, which is awarded for the crime novel of the year, include Ian Rankin, John le Carré, Reginald Hill and Ruth Rendell. This year sees 2019’s winner of the Gold Dagger, M W Craven, return with The Curator. The former probation officer credited the CWA Debut Dagger competition in 2013 for opening the door to his career as an author.

Amer Anwar, who won the Debut Dagger competition in 2008, makes the list with Stone Cold Trouble. Anwar is up against the mighty JK Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith, alongside multi-award-winning authors including Nicci French, Elly Griffiths and Antonia Hodgson.

The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger is famed for showcasing blockbuster thrillers – past winners include Gillian Flynn and Robert Harris. Robert Galbraith is once more in the running, along with Ian Rankin, Stuart Turton, Catherine Ryan Howard, Ruth Ware and Michael Robotham, last year’s Gold winner.

Holly Watt, who won the Fleming Dagger in 2019, also returns to the longlist with The Dead Line.  Another to watch on the Fleming longlist is Chris Whitaker; his book Tall Oaks won the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger in 2017. Whitaker is long-listed for his latest novel We Begin At The End, which was a Waterstones Thriller of the Month and has sold in 17 territories, with screen rights snapped up by Disney.

Linda Stratmann, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, said: “The CWA Dagger awards are unparalleled for their reputation and longevity. The longlists showcase authors – established and new – at the top of their game. It’s not surprising that sales of crime fiction have been so strong during Covid-19. Both fiction and non-fiction have proven to be a great escape for many as we have been stuck at home. As our longlists show, these stories and insights take readers all over the world and through time, from Bombay of the 1950s to ancient Athens to modern-day California and many points between. 

“Crime books can be thrilling mysteries, but they can also provide social commentary, insights into true crime, or explore big questions in life. The vast and diverse talent in these longlists show why it’s the UK’s most popular and enduring genre. We are proud to provide a platform for debut, emerging and established authors, and to honour the very best in crime writing.”

The much-anticipated John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger highlights the best debut novels. Among the rising stars of 2021 is Susan Allot with her Australian-set debut, The Silence, praised by the Wall Street Journal as ‘emotionally wrenching’.

New writing duo Chris Rickaby and Barney Thompson, writing under the pseudonym Ben Creed, also feature with their debut, City of Ghosts, a tense historical novel set in 1951 Russia. The global theme continues with Stephanie Scott’s accomplished debut, What’s Left of Me Is Yours, set in modern day Japan, exploring romantic and familial love, duty and murder.

Booker prize winner John Banville is a heavyweight contender on the Sapere Books Historical Dagger longlist. The prizewinning novelist and literary polymath, considered Ireland’s greatest living novelist, is in the running for Snow, his first murder mystery published under his real name rather than his nom de plume, Benjamin Black.

This Sapere Books Historical Dagger longlist also includes Nicola Upson, who was shortlisted for the award in 2018, and S J Parris, whose Giordano Bruno books, Heresy, Sacrilege and Treachery have all been previously shortlisted. Vaseem Khan also features on the list as he swaps his contemporary light-hearted Baby Ganesh Agency series with his historical crime novel Midnight at Malabar House, set in 1950s Bombay.

The Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger sees the bestselling Jo Nesbo on the list with his stand-alone thriller, The Kingdom, translated by Robert Ferguson. Joining the Norwegian is Swedish writer Mikael Niemi with his sumptuous blend of historical fact with fictional intrigue, To Cook a Bear, centred around the Laestadian revivalist movement of the 1850s, translated by Sarah Death.

From one of Israel’s most beloved writers is Three by D A Mishani, translated by Jessica Cohen, and from South Korea, Yun Ko-eun’s original and inventive thriller The Disaster Tourist makes the longlist, with translator Lizzie Buehler.

The CWA Daggers are one of the few high-profile awards that honour the short story. Christopher Fowler, the award-winning author of the Bryant & May mystery novels, has written over 50 novels and short story collections. Fowler, who won the CWA Dagger in the Library in 2015, is longlisted for his short story, Head Count. The list also features acclaimed authors Clare Mackintosh and Stuart Turton. Founding member of the North East Noir crime writers’ group, Robert Scragg, also dominates the category as an editor and writer of short stories.

The ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction features the 2020 CWA Diamond Dagger winner, Martin Edwards, with Howdunit. A renowned editor, prolific novelist, and leading authority on crime fiction, Howdunit offers a masterclass in crime writing by leading exponents of the genre.

Dan Smith also features with The Peer and the Gangster which tells the incredible story of one of the largest-scale political cover-ups in British history – the 1964 scandal of an alleged homosexual affair between Lord Boothby, a well-known member of the House of Lords, and London’s most notorious mobster Ronnie Kray.

The Dagger in the Library is voted on exclusively by librarians, chosen for the author’s body of work and support of libraries. This year sees firm favourites from the genre including Nicci French, Lisa Jewell, Margaret Murphy, Erin Kelly, Peter May and Denise Mina on the longlist.

The Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year Dagger, which celebrates publishers and imprints demonstrating excellence and diversity in crime writing, pits big publishing houses Harper Fiction and Faber & Faber against independent publishers such as No Exit Press. 

The CWA Dagger shortlist will be announced in May with the awards ceremony taking place at the start of July. The 2021 Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement, the highest honour in British crime writing, has already been announced, awarded to Martina Cole.

The Longlists in Full:


Amer Anwar: Stone Cold Trouble (Dialogue Books, Little, Brown Book Group)

S A Cosby: Blacktop Wasteland (Headline, Headline Publishing Group)

M W Craven: The Curator (Constable, Little, Brown Book Group)

Ben Creed: City of Ghosts (Welbeck Fiction, Welbeck Publishing Group)

Garry Disher: Peace (Viper, Profile Books)

Mick Finlay: Arrowood and the Thames Corpses (HQ, HarperCollins)

Nicci French: House of Correction (Simon & Schuster)

Robert Galbraith: Troubled Blood (Sphere, Little, Brown Book Group)

Elly Griffiths: The Postscript Murders (Quercus)

Antonia Hodgson: The Silver Collar (Hodder & Stoughton)

S G Maclean: The House of Lamentations (Quercus Fiction, Quercus)

C D Major: The Other Girl (Thomas & Mercer)

Thomas Mullen: Midnight Atlanta (Little, Brown, Little, Brown Book Group)

S J Parris: Execution (Harper Fiction, HarperCollins)

Tade Thompson: Making Wolf (Constable, Little, Brown Book Group)

Nicola Upson: The Dead of Winter (Faber)

Chris Whitaker: We Begin at the End (Zaffre, Bonnier)

Rebecca Whitney: The Hidden Girls (Mantle, Pan Macmillan)



Charles Cumming: Box 88 (HarperFiction, HarperCollins)

Robert Galbraith: Troubled Blood (Sphere, Little, Brown Book Group)

Ryan Gattis: The System (Picador, Pan Macmillan)

Ian Rankin: Song for the Dark Times (Orion Fiction, The Orion Publishing Group)

Rod Reynolds: Blood Red City (Orenda Books)

Craig Robertson: Watch Him Die (Simon & Schuster)

Michael Robotham: When She Was Good (Sphere, Little, Brown Book Group)

Catherine Ryan Howard: The Nothing Man (Atlantic Books)

Stuart Turton: The Devil and the Dark Water (Raven Books, Bloomsbury Publishing)

Ruth Ware: One by One (Harvill Secker, Vintage)

Holly Watt: The Dead Line (Raven Books, Bloomsbury Publishing)

Chris Whitaker: We Begin at the End (Zaffre, Bonnier Books UK)



Eva Björg Ægisdóttir: The Creak on the Stairs (tr. Victoria Cribb) (Orenda) 

Susan Allott: The Silence (Borough, HarperCollins)

Emma Christie: The Silent Daughter (Welbeck Publishing)

Catherine Cooper: The Chalet (Harper Fiction, HarperCollins)

Ben Creed: City of Ghosts (Welbeck Publishing) 

Judi Daykin: Under Violent Skies (Joffe Books)    

Egan Hughes: The One That Got Away (Little Brown, Sphere)

S W Kane: The Bone Jar (Thomas & Mercer)        

Rob McInroy: Cuddies Strip (Ringwood Press)    

Stephanie Scott: What's Left of Me Is Yours (Orion, Weidenfeld)

Stephen Spotswood: Fortune Favours the Dead (Headline, Wildfire)

John Vercher: Three Fifths (Pushkin Press)           

S R White: Hermit (Headline)



J M Alvey: Justice for Athena (Canelo Digital Publishing Limited)

John Banville: Snow (Faber)

Vaseem Khan: Midnight at Malabar House (Hodder & Stoughton)

Laurie King: Riviera Gold (Allison & Busby)

Chris Lloyd: The Unwanted Dead (Orion Fiction, The Orion Publishing Group)

S J Parris: Execution (HarperFiction, HarperCollins)

Ben Pastor: The Night of Shooting Stars (Bitter Lemon Press)

Michael Russell: The City Under Siege (Constable, Little, Brown Book Group)

David S. Stafford: Skelton’s Guide to Domestic Poisons (Allison & Busby)

A D Swanston: Chaos (Bantam Press, Transworld)

Nicola Upson: The Dead of Winter (Faber)

Ovidia Yu: The Mimosa Tree Mystery (Constable, Little, Brown Book Group)



Fredrik Backman: Anxious People, translated by Neil Smith (Michael Joseph, Penguin)

Roxanne Bouchard: The Coral Bride, translated by David Warriner (Orenda Books)

Marc Elsberg: Greed, translated by Simon Pare (Black Swan, Penguin)

Yun Ko-eun: The Disaster Tourist, translated by Lizzie Buehler (Serpent's Tail)

Volker Kutscher: The March Fallen, translated by Niall Sellar (Sandstone Press)

D A Mishani: Three, translated by Jessica Cohen (Riverrun, Hachette Book Group)

Jo Nesbo: The Kingdom, translated by Robert Ferguson (Harvill Secker, Penguin)

Håkan Nesser: The Secret Life of Mr Roos, translated by Sarah Death (Mantle, Pan Macmillan)

Mikael Niemi: To Cook a Bear, translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner (Maclehose Press, Quercus)

Agnes Ravatn:  The Seven Doors, translated by Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books)

Maike Wetzel: Elly, translated by Lyn Marven (Scribe UK)



Robert Scragg: ‘A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas’ in Afraid of the Christmas Lights, edited by Robert Scragg (Robert Scragg)

Elle Croft: ‘Deathbed’ in Afraid of the Light, edited by Robert Scragg (Robert Scragg)

Dominic Nolan: ‘Daddy Dearest’ in Afraid of the Light, edited by Robert Scragg (Robert Scragg)

Adam Southward: ‘Especially at Christmas’ in Afraid of the Christmas Lights, edited by Robert Scragg (Robert Scragg)

Christopher Fowler: ‘Head Count’ in First Edition: Celebrating 21 Years of Goldsboro Books (The Dome Press)

Victoria Selman: ‘Hunted’ in Afraid of the Christmas Lights, edited by Robert Scragg (Robert Scragg)

Clare Mackintosh: ‘Monsters’ in First Edition: Celebrating 21 Years of Goldsboro Books (The Dome Press)

Stuart Turton: ‘Murder Most Vial’ in First Edition: Celebrating 21 Years of Goldsboro Books (The Dome Press)

Livia Llewelyn: ‘One of These Nights’ in Cutting Edge: Noir Stories by Women, edited by Joyce Carol Oates (Pushkin Press, Pushkin Vertigo)

James Delargy: ‘Planting Nan in Afraid of the Light, edited by Robert Scragg (Robert Scragg)

Simpson Grears: ‘The Foot of the Walk Murders’ in The Foot of the Walk Murders, edited by Simpson Grears (Rymour Books)



Sue Black: Written in Bone (Doubleday, Penguin)

Amanda Brown: The Prison Doctor; Women Inside (HQ, HarperCollins)

Becky Cooper: We Keep the Dead Close (William Heinemann, Penguin)

Martin Edwards: Howdunit (Collins Crime Club, HarperCollins)

Andrew Harding: These Are Not Gentle People (MacLehose, Quercus)

Debora Harding: Dancing with the Octopus (Profile Books Limited)

Nick Hayes: The Book of Trespass (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)

Ben MacIntyre: Agent Sonya (Viking, Penguin)

Jax Miller: Hell in the Heartland (HarperCollins)

Daniel Smith: The Peer and the Gangster (The History Press)

Ravi Somaiya: Operation Morthor (Viking, Penguin)

Kate Summerscale: The Haunting of Alma Fielding (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)

Mark Townsend: No Return (Guardian, Faber & Faber)



Lin Anderson

Nicci French

Lisa Jewell

Erin Kelly

Peter May

Denise Mina

Margaret Murphy

James Oswald

L J Ross

C L Taylor



Bitter Lemon Press

Faber & Faber

Harper Fiction

Head of Zeus

Michael Joseph

No Exit Press

Orenda Books

Pushkin Vertigo




Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Blog Tour: Extract from Silenced by Solveig Pálsdóttir tr. Quentin Bates

Welcome to the second stop on the blog tour for Silenced by Solveig Pálsdóttir translated by Quentin Bates. The first stop was at the Nordic Lighthouse

I am very pleased to be able to share an extract from Silenced, the second in this Icelandic 'Ice and Crime' series which began with The Fox.

Silenced will be available to buy from 15 April.

As a police team is called in to investigate a woman’s suicide at the Hólmsheiði prison outside Reykjavík, to detective Guðgeir Fransson it looks like a tragic but straightforward case.

It’s only afterwards that the pieces begin to fall into place and he takes a deeper interest in Kristín Kjarr’s troubled background, and why she had found herself in prison.

His search leads him to a series of brutal crimes committed twenty years before and the unexplained disappearance of the prime suspect, whose wealthy family closed ranks as every effort was made to keep skeletons securely hidden in closets – while the Reykjavík police struggle to deal with a spate of fresh attacks that bear all the hallmarks of a copycat.

And here's the teaser extract:

Guðgeir had seen more than a few cells during his career. They were all much the same, with a bed, table and chair, as well as an overpowering sense of claustrophobia. But this one with its lively pictures on the walls was an exception, presenting a stark contrast to the lifeless woman on the bed. Leifur looked her over for a moment before he put his bag on the floor, pulled on a pair of gloves and set about gathering evidence.

‘Are these her pictures?’ Guðgeir asked.

‘Yes, she’s an artist,’ Svala replied in a low voice from by the door. ‘Was, I mean,’ she corrected herself. ‘Kristín had recently begun painting again after a long break. She was incredibly talented, fantastic stuff.’

Svala bit her lip and fell silent.

‘There’s something odd about all this,’ she said, hesitating, shaking her head slowly. ‘These last few weeks she had been working flat-out, as if she had been preparing for a big exhibition. She hardly even stopped for meals.’

‘Did she have much else to do with her time?’ Guðgeir asked, looking down at the woman on the bed. Her brown hair was cropped short and her face was made up of fine lines. Her ears were pierced, with a delicate silver ring in each one. Her arms were at her sides, hands closed. His eye was caught by the ring finger of her right hand, and a heavy silver ring with a striking emblem. He took a picture of it with his phone.

‘No, not exactly,’ Svala said. ‘There isn’t much to do, but all the same…’ she was about to place a hand on the body.

‘Don’t,’ Leifur said quickly. He looked up from what he was doing and glared at Svala. ‘Don’t touch anything.’

‘Of course, sorry,’ she muttered, withdrawing her hand.

Leifur gave her a smile, as if to soften his harsh words, and paused to inspect the pictures on the walls.

‘They’re beautifully done,’ he admitted.

‘That’s right. Kristín was artistic and a sensitive soul. I can’t understand why she did this. I just don’t get it at all,’ she sighed, a look of despair in her eyes. ‘She lived a life that was so much richer than most people you meet in here do. Spiritually, I mean.’

‘Creative people frequently tend to be vulnerable,’ Leifur said, sounding philosophical. ‘She wanted to leave something behind.’

‘Kjarr. Kristín Kjarr,’ Guðgeir said, as if to himself. ‘Did she have any children?’ he asked.

Svala shook her head. ‘I don’t think so, no.’

‘No suicide note to be seen here,’ Leifur announced.

‘Are any of the other prisoners aware of this yet?’ Guðgeir asked, stepping cautiously past a large plastic cup that lay on the floor.

‘No, none of them,’ Svala said, running hands through her reddish hair, pushing it back behind her ears, which gave her the look of a young girl. ‘But I’m sure some of them noticed that Kristín didn’t show up this morning.’

‘Could you let the priest know that he can go and see the family?’ Guðgeir said. ‘We’ll come down to the office when we’re finished, and it would be useful to have a chat with you then, Svala. You seem to have known Kristín well.’

She nodded, anxious to be helpful, but also relieved to be released from the discomfort of being present. Guðgeir waited for her footsteps in the corridor to fade away before he turned to Leifur.

‘Don’t you think this is all weird?’ he asked, rubbing his chin, the dark bristles rough against his hand.


Don't forget to follow the tour!

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

CrimeFest Awards 2021 - Shortlists

Here are the shortlisted titles for the CrimeFest Awards 2021.

From the Press Release:

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

The awards feature the Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award, the winner of which receives a £1,000 prize.

A further £1,000 prize fund is also awarded to the Audible Sounds of Crime Award, sponsored by Audible.

Up for the hotly-contended Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award is Richard Osman, who ruled the bestseller lists with his smash-hit, The Thursday Murder Club. The shortlist also features Trevor Wood, who won the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger in 2020, for The Man on the Street.

Sheila Michell's biography of her husband - and namesake of the H.R.F. Keating Award – is in contention for the best biographical or critical book in the genre. Michell’s HRF Keating: A Life of Crime has been hailed as the definitive portrait of the artist and man.

The H.R.F Keating Award also features Martin Edwards, editor of HowDunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club, which has also been nominated for the 2021 Edgar Allen Poe Award. Also in contention is Heather Martin, an academic, linguist and author of the definitive Lee Child biography, The Reacher Guy.

The Last Laugh Award sees debut-author Richard Osman return as he is pitted against stalwarts of the genre, including Elly Griffiths and Carl Hiaasen.

Osman, who dominates the shortlists, is also up for the Audible Sounds of Crime Award. The Pointless TV-star is up against veritable giants of the genre, including Robert Galbraith, Ian Rankin and Lynda La Plante. Voted by Audible subscribers, the shortlist also sees last year’s winner Lee Child return, with his brother Andrew, for The Sentinel, read by Jeff Harding.

Laurence Howell, Vice President, Content at Audible said: “We are delighted to continue as sponsor of the Audible Sounds of Crime Award. With the isolation and social distancing of the last year, audio books have been a great comfort to many because of the intimate, immersive nature of audiobooks. Crime and thriller audiobooks remain one of our bestselling genres, as perhaps more of us seek escapism and entertainment in these trying times. Congratulations to all award nominees.”

The eDunnit Award, for best e-book, sees established names of the genre Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke up against the young Australian Gabriel Bergmoser, a multi-award-winning screenwriter, playwright and author who is already a phenomenon in his own country.

Best Crime Novel for Children, aged 8-12, features giant of the genre Anthony Horowitz for Nightshade, from the popular Alex Rider series. The shortlist also sees the founder of Making Herstory, a human rights organisation working to end trafficking and abuse, and bestselling children’s author, Onjali Q. Rauf, for The Night Bus Hero.

Best Crime Novel for Young Adults, aged 12-16, features Enola Holmes: The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer, which was released last year to coincide with the Netflix adaptation, starring Millie Bobby Brown. The list also features the multi-award-winning author Patrice Lawrence, who won the CRIMEFEST award in 2018 for Indigo Donut. Lawrence is in contention this year for Eight Pieces of Silva, an addictive tale of a teenager’s hunt for her missing sister.

Now in its 14th year, the awards honour the best crime books released in 2020 in the UK.

Adrian Muller, Co-host of CRIMEFEST, said: “CRIMEFEST usually takes place in May, and although we had to cancel our physical convention this year, it’s important to continue these awards. They’ve built up a strong reputation after so many years, and we are thankful to both Audible and to Specsavers for their on-going support.”

CRIMEFEST has had to postpone its 2020 and 2021 conventions, due to Covid restrictions. Hosted in Bristol, it is one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, and one of the most popular dates in the international crime fiction calendar, with circa 60 panel events and 150 authors over four days.

In light of Covid-19, the 2021 winners will be announced online at and via its social media pages this summer.

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

Leading British crime fiction reviewers and reviewers of fiction for children and young adults form the CRIMEFEST judging panels, aside from Audible Sounds in which Audible listeners establish the shortlist and the winning title.

Co-host of CRIMEFEST, Donna Moore, added: “As well as the debut awards, we are one of the few genre awards that recognise e-books and audiobooks, humour, children and Young Adult crime fiction novels. We aim to be the most inclusive of awards to reflect the values of our convention.”

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


The Shortlists 


Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir for The Creak on the Stairs (Orenda Books)

Marion Brunet for Summer of Reckoning (Bitter Lemon Press)

Robin Morgan-Bentley for The Wreckage (Trapeze)

Richard Osman for The Thursday Murder Club (Viking)

Mara Timon for City of Spies (Zaffre)

Trevor Wood for The Man on the Street  (Quercus)



Lee and Andrew Child for The Sentinel, read by Jeff Harding (Transworld)

Lucy Foley for The Guest List read by Olivia Dowd, Aoife McMahon, Chloe Massey, Sarah Ovens, Rich Keeble and Jot Davies (HarperFiction)

Robert Galbraith for Troubled Blood read by Robert Glenister (Little, Brown Book Group)

Anthony Horowitz for Moonflower Murders read by Lesley Manville and Allan Corduner (Penguin Random House Audio)

Peter James for Find Them Dead read by Daniel Weyman (Pan)

Lisa Jewell for The Invisible Girl read by Rebekah Staton (Penguin Random House Audio)

Lynda La Plante for Buried read by Alex Hassell and Annie Aldington (Zaffre)

TM Logan for The Catch read by Philip Stevens (Zaffre)

Richard Osman for The Thursday Murder Club read by Lesley Manville (Viking)

Ian Rankin for A Song for the Dark Times read by James Macpherson (Orion)


Mark Aldridge for Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World (HarperCollins)

Martin Edwards (editor) for Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club (Collins Crime Club)

Colin Larkin for Cover Me: The Vintage Art of Pan Books: 1950-1965 (Telos Publishing)

Andrew Lycett for Conan Doyle’s Wide World (Tauris Parke)

Heather Martin for The Reacher Guy (Little, Brown Book Group)

Sheila Mitchell for HRF Keating: A Life of Crime (Level Best Books)

Craig Sisterson for Southern Cross Crime: The Pocket Essential Guide to the Crime Fiction, Film & TV of Australia and New Zealand (Oldcastle Books)

Peter Temple for The Red Hand: Stories, reflections and the last appearance of Jack Irish (riverrun)



Ben Aaronovitch for False Value (Gollancz)

Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May - Oranges and Lemons (Doubleday)

Elly Griffiths for The Postscript Murders (Quercus)

Carl Hiaasen for Squeeze Me (Little, Brown Book Group)

Richard Osman for The Thursday Murder Club (Viking)

Malcolm Pryce for The Corpse in the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Khurrum Rahman for Ride or Die (HQ)

Olga Wojtas for Miss Blaine's Prefect and the Vampire Menace (Contraband)


Gabriel Bergmoser for The Hunted (Faber)

Sharon  Bolton for The Split (Trapeze) 

J. P. Carter for Little Boy Lost (Avon, HarperCollins)

Steve Cavanagh for Fifty-Fifty (Orion Fiction)

Michael Connelly for Fair Warning (Orion Fiction)

James Lee Burke for A Private Cathedral (Orion Fiction)

Ian Rankin for A Song for the Dark Times (Orion Fiction)

Holly Watt for The Dead Line (Raven Books)



Sophie Deen for Mission Shark Bytes (Walker Books)

Elly Griffiths for A Girl Called Justice - The Smugglers' Secret (Imprint - Quercus Children's Books)

Anthony Horowitz for Nightshade (Walker Books)

Jack Noel for My Headteacher is an Evil Genius (Walker Books)

Serena Patel for Anisha, Accidental Detective (Usborne Publishing)

Serena Patel for School's Cancelled (Usborne Publishing)

Onjali Q. Rauf for The Night Bus Hero (Imprint - Orion Children's Books)

Dave Shelton for The Pencil Case (David Fickling Books)



William Hussey for Hideous Beauty (Usborne Publishing)

Lauren James for The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker (Walker Books)

Matt Killeen for Devil Darling Spy (Usborne Publishing)

Patrice Lawrence for Eight Pieces of Silva (Imprint - Hodder Children's Books)

Simon Lelic for Deadfall (Imprint - Hodder Children's Books)

Robert Muchamore for Hacking, Heists & Flaming Arrows (Hot Key Books)

Patrick Ness for Burn (Walker Books)

Nancy Springer for The Case of the Missing Marquess (Hot Key Books)

Friday, April 02, 2021

New Releases - April 2021

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in April 2021 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). April and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.

• Arriaga, Guillermo - The Untameable
• Bailey, Anna - Tall Bones (apa Where the Truth Lies)
• Barnes, Kerry - The Choice #3 Hunted
• Bilal, Parker - Whitehavens
• Blau, Sarah - The Others
• Blok, Rachael - Into the Fire #3 DCI Jansen, St Albans
• Bodrozic, Ivana - We Trade Our Night for Someone Else's Day
• Bridgestock, R C - Condemned #2 DI Charley Mann, Yorkshire
• Camilleri, Andrea - The Cook of the Halcyon #27 Inspector Montalbano, Sicily, Italy
• Carne, Ros - The Stepmother
• Chong, Mairi - Death By Appointment #1 Dr Cathy Moreland Prequel
• Clare, Alys - The Lammas Wild #10 Lassair, 11thC, East Anglia
• Cox, Helen - A Witch Hunt in Whitby #5 Kitt Hartley, Yorkshire
• Cummins, Fiona - When I Was Ten
• Davis, Lindsey - A Comedy of Terrors #9 Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco
• de la Motte, Anders - Rites of Spring #4 Seasons Quartet • Delargy, James - Vanished
• Eccles, Marjorie - Darkness Beyond #5 Detective Inspector Herbert Reardon, 1928
• Elliott, C M - Sibanda and the Black Sparrow Hawk #3 Detective Sibanda
• Faulkner, Katherine - Greenwich Park
• Gallagher, Charlie - The Friend #1 DI Joel Norris
• Gerlis, Alex - End of Spies #4 Richard Prince, 1945
• Greenwood, Ross - Prisoner (ebook only)
• Guttridge, Peter - Butcher's Wood #8 Brighton series
• Harris, C S - What the Devil Knows #16 Sebastian St. Cyr, Regency England
• Hawksley, Humphrey - Man on Fire #3 Rake Ozenna
• Hollingdrake, Malcolm - Catch as Catch Can #1 Merseyside Crime Series
• Huber, Anna Lee - A Wicked Conceit #9 Lady Darby, Scotland, 1830s
• Hunter, Cara - The Whole Truth #5 DI Adam Fawley, Oxford
• Hunter, M A - Trafficked #3 The Missing Children Case Files
• Isaka, Kotaro - Bullet Train
• James, Christina - De Vries #9 Detective Inspector Tim Yates, South Lincolnshire Fens
• Jones, Philip Gwynne - The Venetian Legacy #5 Nathan Sutherland
• Kelly, Erin - Watch Her Fall
• Kirk, Margaret - In the Blood #3 ex-Met Detective Inspector Lukas Mahler, Inverness
• Kot, Danuta - Someone Who Isn't Me
• La Plante, Lynda - Judas Horse #2 DC Jack Warr
• Landers, Brian - Exodus of Spies #4 Thomas Dylan, MI6 agent
• Lewis, Susan - The Lost Hours
• Longworth, M L - The Vanishing Museum on the Rue Mistral #9 Verlaque and Bonnet, Aix-en-Provence
• Lynch, Rachel - The Rift
• MacBird, Bonnie - The Three Locks #4 Sherlock Holmes Adventure
• Maitland, Karen - The Drowned City (as K J Maitland) #1 Daniel Pursglove • Marston, Edward - Tragedy on the Branch Line #19 Det. Insp Colbeck, Scotland Yard, mid 19th Century
• Maslen, Andy - Land Rites #2 DI Ford
• McDonald, Christina - Do No Harm
• Mendoza, Elmer - Kiss the Detective #4 Detective Edgar "Lefty" Mendieta
• Mir, Saima - The Khan
• Mistry, Liz - Dark Memories #3 DS Nikki Parekh
• Morgan, Phoebe - The Wild Girls
• Mullins, Louise - Kiss Me, Kill Me #2 DI Emma Locke
• Naughton, Sarah J - The Festival
• Nordin, Karen - Where Ravens Roost #1 Detective Kjeld Nygaard, Sweden
• Paris, B A - The Therapist
• Pattison, Nell - The Silent Suspect #3 Paige Northwood, sign language interpreter
• Pearce, Bryony - The Girl on the Platform
• Perks, Heidi - The Whispers
• Perry, Anne - A Darker Reality #3 Elena Standish, Photographer, 1930s
• Perry, S W - The Heretic's Mark #4 Nicholas Shelby, Elizabethan Era
• Pinnock, Jonathan - Bad Day in Minsk #4 Tom Winscombe
• Porter, Henry - The Old Enemy #3 Paul Samson
• Power, Kevin - White City
• Redmond, Lissa Marie - The Parting Glass #5 Cold Case Detective Lauren Riley
• Richards, Malcolm - Circle Of Bones #1 PI Blake Hollow, Cornwall
• Scarlett, Helen - The Deception of Harriet Fleet
• Seddon, Holly - The Hit List
• Seymour, Gerald - The Crocodile Hunter
• Shaw, Alex - Total Fallout #2 Jack Tate, ex-SAS
• Siger, Jeffrey - A Deadly Twist #11 Former Athens police chief Andreas Kaldis & local police chief Tassos Stamatos, Mykonos
• Silver, Abi - The Rapunzel Act #4 Burton and Lamb
• Skördeman, Gustaf - Geiger
• Smith, Nikki - Look What You Made Me Do
• Stafford, David - Skelton's Guide to Suitcase Murders #2 Arthur Skelton, Barrister
• Takamura, Kaoru - Lady Joker
• Taylor, Andrew - The Royal Secret #5 Ashes of London series
• Taylor, C L - Her Last Holiday
• Thomas, Russ - Nighthawking #2 Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler, South Yorkshire
• Thomas, Will - Dance with Death #12 Barker and Llewelyn, Victorian London
• Thomson, E S - Nightshade #5 Jem Flockhart, Apothecary, 1850s
• Tyler, L C - Farewell My Herring #9 Ethelred Tressider, author & Elsie Thirkettle, agent
• Valentine, V L - The Plague Letters
• Walter, B P - The Dinner Guest
• Weaver, Tim - Missing Pieces
• Wharton, Anna - The Imposter
• Wolff, James - How to Betray Your Country