The four finalists have been revealed for the McIlvanney Prize – the award given for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year.
The winner will be presented with the honour at the opening reception of Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival at the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling on Friday 20 September.
The finalists for The McIlvanney Prize 2019 were revealed today. The prize is named after the godfather of Scots crime fiction, William McIlvanney.
They include the multi-talented Doug Johnstone who has a PhD in nuclear physics and moonlights as the manager and drummer for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, Manda Scott who studied veterinary surgery before turning to crime writing, a former McIlvanney winner Denise Mina and half a former winner in the form of Ambrose Parry – aka husband and wife writing team Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman.
The winner of the Scottish Crime Book of the Year will be awarded The McIlvanney Prize in memory of William McIlvanney at the opening reception on Friday 20 September and will lead a torchlight procession – open to the public – with David Baldacci on their way down to his event. The award recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.
The judges explained why each book made the final four:
Breakers – Doug Johnstone (Orenda)
A tightly written and compelling exploration of two sides of Edinburgh, touching on social topics rarely examined in crime fiction. A brilliant and moving portrait of family dynamics and loyalty as a young boy struggles to break out of his powerlessness.
A Treachery of Spies – Manda Scott (Bantam Press)
A powerful, complex and remarkable espionage thriller: a present-day murder links back to Resistance France. An intricately plotted novel which keeps the reader guessing right to the end.
Conviction – Denise Mina (Harvill Secker)
A highly original and timely rollercoaster of a read, a caper which takes the reader on an unforgettable journey from central Glasgow to the Highlands, France and Italy. The novel fizzes with energy and brims over with a love of storytelling.
The Way of All Flesh – Ambrose Parry (Canongate)
Intensely and brilliantly researched piece of writing, casting back to 19th century Edinburgh when the art of surgery was just emerging at the same time as body snatchers were at large on the streets. Vivid, original, compelling, playful.
This year’s judges are Alison Flood, books reporter for The Guardian and a former news reporter for The Bookseller; James Crawford, chair of Publishing Scotland and presenter of BBC series, Scotland from the Sky and Stuart Cosgrove, writer and broadcaster who was formerly a senior executive at Channel 4.
Previous winners are Liam McIlvanney with The Quaker in 2018, Denise Mina with The Long Drop in 2017, Chris Brookmyre with Black Widow in 2016, Craig Russell with The Ghosts of Altona in 2015, Peter May with Entry Island in 2014, Malcolm Mackay with How A Gunman Says Goodbye in 2013 and Charles Cumming with A Foreign Country in 2012. The 2019 winner will be kept under wraps until the ceremony itself.
Five authors are also shortlisted for the inaugural Bloody Scotland Debut Scottish Crime Book of the Year:
All the Hidden Truths, Claire Askew (Hodder); From the Shadows, G R Halliday (Vintage); Black Camp 21, Bill Jones (Polygon); In the Silence, M R Mackenzie (Bloodhound); The Peat Dead, Allan Martin (Thunderpoint).
- The winner will be revealed on the opening night of the Festival.