The Crime Writers’ Association has presented the most prestigious awards in the crime fiction field. The winners of this year’s Duncan Lawrie Daggers – including Frances Fyfield — were celebrated in London’s Fours Seasons Hotel in Park Lane.

This is the third year of the Duncan Lawrie Dagger, with a prize of £20,000. This is now one of the largest awards for crime fiction in the world. Duncan Lawrie Private Bank also sponsor the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger for the best crime novel translated into English, with £5000 going to the author and £1000 to the translator.

This year, the CWA Duncan Lawrie Dagger Awards were once again presented at a black tie dinner at the elegant Four Seasons Hotel on Park Lane in London, on Thursday, July 10th 2008. A drinks reception in the Oak & Pine rooms at 6:30 PM was followed by dinner in the ballroom at 7:45 PM. Guest of honour was the


For the best crime novel of the year. Dagger and cheque for £20,000 prize money, sponsored by Duncan Lawrie Private Bank, presented by Peter Ostacchini, Deputy Managing Director of Duncan Lawrie, to Frances Fyfield.

NOTE: Frances Fyfield previously won the CWA Silver Dagger for Fiction in 1991 for ‘Deep Sleep’.

Judges’ overview: ‘The entries at the top end were very strong, leaving the judges to struggle to narrow down to a shortlist. The longlist was impressively disparate; entries covered a remarkable range of areas in terms of location and themes, and some of the best had a notable critical take on contemporary society. No longer is crime fiction anchored firmly in the libraries of stately homes.’

Frances Fyfield – BLOOD FROM STONE – Sphere (Little, Brown)

Judges’ comments: ‘A subtle and elegantly written exploration of contemporary themes. The mystery behind the death of a troublesome female barrister is explored in ways that illuminate the dark corners of life in Britain today, while detailed attention to costume and dress as aspects of identity resonates with insights into the fabric of society.’

Synopsis: Marianne Shearer is at the height of her career, a dauntingly successful barrister, respected by her peers and revered by her clients. So why has she killed herself? Her latest case had again resulted in an acquittal, though the outcome was principally due to the death of the prime witness after Marianne’s forceful cross-examination. Had this wholly professional and unemotional lawyer been struck by guilt or uncertainty, or is there some secret to be discovered in her blandly comfortable private life? Her death reveals a paucity of friends, a grasping brother and a tenacious colleague, Peter Friel, who is determined to find out if that last trial held the reason for her taking her own life. The transcript holds intriguing clues, but it is another witness at the trial who holds the key to the truth and she is far from sure that she can reveal her secrets without releasing even more deceit and destruction.

Author biog: Frances Fyfield grew up in rural Derbyshire, but her adult life has been spent mostly in London, with long intervals in Norfolk and Deal. She studied English and went on to qualify as a solicitor, working for what is now the Crown Prosecution Service, and thus learning a bit about murder at second hand. The law and its ramifications still haunt her and inform many of her novels. Ms Fyfield is a novelist, short story writer for magazines and radio, sometime Radio 4 contributor, (Front Row, Quote Unquote, Night Waves,) and presenter of Tales from the Stave. Her work is widely translated and several of her books have been televised. She is the winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Silver Dagger and the Prix de Litterature Policière in France.

Sphere contact: Tamsin Kitson Email: Tel: 0207 911 8068

Also shortlisted:

James Lee Burke – THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN – Orion

Colin Cotterill – CORONER’S LUNCH – Quercus

Steve Hamilton – NIGHT WORK – Orion

Laura Lippman – WHAT THE DEAD KNOW – Orion


Judging Panel:

Richard Reynolds (Chair) – organiser of regular events for readers of crime fiction at Heffers in Cambridge, including the annual Bodies in the Bookshop, and expert in crime fiction

Heather O’Donoghue – academic, crime fiction reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement, and keen reader of all crime fiction

Barry Forshaw – reviewer, editor of Crime Time magazine, and editor of British Crime Writing: An Encyclopaedia

Margaret Kinsman – course director for BA English Studies at London South Bank University

Dr Ann Ferguson FRCA DHMSA – retired consultant anaesthetist, now working in medical history

Stephen Pound MP – Member of Parliament for Ealing North and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State at the Department of Work and Pensions

David Wilkerson – Business Manager at The British Library Bookshop with thirty years in bookselling, an avid reader of crime thrillers.


For crime, thriller, suspense or spy fiction novels which have been translated into English from their original language, for UK publication. Dagger and cheque for £5000 prize money for the author and £1000 between the translators, sponsored by Duncan Lawrie Private Bank and the CWA respectively, and presented by Duncan Lawrie’s Deputy Managing Director Peter Ostacchini to Dominique Manotti, and Amanda Hopkinson and Ros Schwartz, author and translators respectively.

Dominique Manotti (France) – LORRAINE CONNECTION – EuroCrime, Arcadia Books

translated by Amanda Hopkinson and Ros Schwartz

Judges’ comments: ‘Manotti seamlessly integrates a fine crime story with French provincial and national politics within the EU then matches it with an equally convincing grip on the characters of her northern landscape.’

Synopsis: A factory owned by the Korean Daewoo group in Pondage, Lorraine, manufactures cathode ray tubes. Working conditions are abysmal, but as it’s the only source of employment in this bleak former iron and steel manufacturing region, the workers daren’t protest. Until a strike breaks out and there’s a fire at the factory. But is it an accident? Autumn 1996, and the Pondage factory is at the centre of a strategic battle being played out in Paris, Brussels and Asia for the takeover of the ailing state-owned electronics giant Thomson. Contrary to expectations, the Matra-Daewoo alliance wins the bid. Rival contender Alcatel believes there’s foul play involved and brings in the big guns led by its head of security, former deputy head of the national security service. Intrepid private cop Charles Montoya is called to Lorraine to carry out an investigation, and explosive revelations follow – murders, dirty tricks, blackmail, wheeling and dealing.

Author biogs: Dominique Manotti is a professor of nineteenth-century economic history in Paris. She is the author of a number of novels including ‘Rough Trade’ (winner of the French Crime Writers’ Association Award) and ‘Dead Horsemeat’, both published in English by Arcadia Books.

Amanda Hopkinson is the Director of the British Centre for Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia. She is also a literary translator from Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Ros Schwartz has translated a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, and regularly publishes articles and gives workshops on the art of translation.

EuroCrime, Arcadia Books contact: Daniela de Groote. Email: Tel: 0207 436 9898.

Also shortlisted:

Andrea Camilleri (Italy) – THE PATIENCE OF THE SPIDER – Picador, Macmillan

translated by Stephen Sartarelli

Stieg Larsson (Sweden) – THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO – MacLehose Press, Quercus

translated by Reg Keeland

Martin Suter (Germany) – A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL – EuroCrime, Arcadia Books

translated by Peter Millar

Fred Vargas (France) – THIS NIGHT’S FOUL WORK – Harvill Secker, Random House

translated by Sîan Reynolds

NOTE: Dominique Manotti’s ‘Dead Horsemeat’ – also translated by Amanda Hopkinson and Ros Schwartz – was shortlisted for the inaugural Duncan Lawrie International Dagger in 2006.

This is also the fourth consecutive year that Fred Vargas has featured in these awards. She was shortlisted in 2005 for the last CWA Gold Dagger for Fiction for her novel ‘Seeking Whom He May Devour’, translated by David Bellos. Fred Vargas’s ‘The Three Evangelists’, and ‘Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand’ – also translated by Sîan Reynolds – won the 2006 and the 2007 Duncan Lawrie International Dagger, respectively.

Judging Panel:

Adrian Muller (non-voting Chair) – organiser of CrimeFest, a new international crime fiction convention held in Bristol. (

Peter Guttridge – crime writer and the crime fiction reviewer for the Observer

Ruth Morse – has written about post-colonial crime fiction, and is a reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement.

Susanna Yager – the crime fiction reviewer for The Sunday Telegraph


For the best thriller, £2000 prize money, sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, and awarded by their Managing Director, Corinne Turner, to Tom Rob Smith. The judges took the unique step for this award of Highly Commending David Stone.

Judges’ overview: ‘Amongst an avalanche of formulaic and derivative submissions, it was refreshing to find a core of distinctive and genuinely thrilling novels.’

Tom Rob Smith – CHILD 44 – Simon & Schuster

Judges’ comments: ‘This powerful debut evokes the double unthink disorientation and paranoia of the Stalinist era, while never losing sight of the more intimate story. Location and period take it a notch above the usual serial killer narrative.’

Synopsis: MGB officer Leo Demidov is a man who never questions the Party Line. He arrests whomever he is told to arrest. He dismisses the horrific death of a young boy because he is told to, because he believes the Party stance that there can be no murder in Communist Russia. Leo is the perfect soldier of the regime. But suddenly his confidence that everything he does serves a great good is shaken. He is forced to watch a man he knows to be innocent be brutally tortured. And then he is told to arrest his own wife. Leo understands how the State works: Trust and check, but check particularly on those we trust. He faces a stark choice: his wife or his life. And still the killings of children continue …

Author biog: Tom Rob Smith was born in l979 to a Swedish mother and an English father and was brought up in London where he still lives. He graduated from Cambridge in 2001 and spent a year in Italy on a creative writing scholarship. Tom has worked as a screenwriter for the past five years, including a six-month stint in Phnom Penh storylining Cambodia’s first ever soap.

Simon & Schuster contact: Emma Harrow. Email: Tel: 0207 316 1981.

David Stone – THE ECHELON VENDETTA – Penguin – Highly Commended

Judges’ comments: ‘The formulaic title doesn’t do justice to a truly exciting international thriller. Classy and sophisticated, this strange and unsettling novel takes us into some of the darker reaches of the genre.’

Synopsis: This is a highly original and chillingly suspenseful journey through the darkest alleys of international espionage. Micah Dalton isn’t paid to ask questions. He’s a "cleaner," a CIA fixer sent in to mop up the mess when an agent or situation goes bad. But when his close friend and colleague Porter Naumann turns up dead in an idyllic hill town in Tuscany, victim of an apparent suicide, Dalton’s curiosity gets the best of him. Other hard-nosed ex-CIA field men are found butchered across the globe and Dalton soon finds himself on the trail of a sadistic killer, who has a penchant for intricate knifework and Native American mysticism. The murders appear to be acts of retribution, but for what? The only link between the victims seems to be a global surveillance operation called Echelon. Dalton’s search for answers takes him from the fog-shrouded mazes of Venice to the beautiful big-sky country of the American West. At every turn he comes one step closer to discovering the truth behind the truth, a conspiracy so closely guarded that even suspecting it exists could prove fatal.

Author biog: David Stone is a cover name for a man born into a military family with a history of combat service going back to Waterloo. Stone, a military officer himself, has worked with federal intelligence agencies and state-level law enforcement units in North America, Central America, and South East Asia. Retired now, Stone lives in an undisclosed location with his wife, photographer and researcher Catherine Stone.

Penguin contact: Beverley Cousins. Email: Tel: 0207 010 3000.

Also shortlisted:

Mo Hayder – RITUAL – Bantam (Transworld)

Gregg Hurwitz – I SEE YOU – Sphere (Little, Brown)

Michael Robotham – SHATTER – Sphere (Little, Brown)

Judging panel:

Corinne Turner (Chair) – Managing Director of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.

Charlie Higson – author of four adult thrillers and the Young Bond series for children, as well as numerous TV comedy projects including ‘The Fast Show’.

Mike Jecks – author of twenty-five books in the Templar Series, founder of Medieval Murderers, ex-Chairman of the CWA and Morris Dancer!

Simon Robertson – Buyer for Waterstones Bookseller Ltd.

Zoë Watkins – Publishing Manager of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.

Gordon Wise – Former bookseller and publisher, now literary agent.


A biennial award for the best work of crime-related non-fiction, £2000 prize money, sponsored by Owatonna Media, who have recently acquired the Eric Ambler estate.

Presented by Simon Clegg, on behalf of Owatonna Media, to Kester Aspden.

Judges’ overview: ‘In a large field of entries – twice as many submissions as we expected – we found the standard to be very high. The wide range of topics covered meant that a variety of criteria had to be applied to each book, with such considerations as the contribution made to non-fiction crime literature, and the likely response of a general reader. Through many hours of dedicated reading, the judges did not disagree widely on the titles that met the requirements of the award.

‘The shortlist is extremely strong – all six books are very well written indeed, and each has great merit. We appreciate that those authors not selected will be disappointed, but we wish to stress that nearly all the submissions were well written and eminently readable. We are only sorry that we cannot recognise more than the six on the shortlist.’

Kester Aspden – NATIONALITY: WOG. THE HOUNDING OF DAVID OLUWALE – Jonathan Cape (Random House)

Judges’ comments: ‘An excellently well-written and engaging account of the brutal treatment of a Nigerian by two Leeds police officers. The book gives a new and

important insight into the recent history of British policing, with many powerful and disturbing implications for our society.’

Synopsis: When the body of David Oluwale, a rough sleeper with a criminal record and a history of mental illness, was pulled out of the River Aire near Leeds in May 1969, nobody asked too many questions about the circumstances of his death. A police charge sheet from three months before had ‘UK’ scored out, and his nationality replaced with a handwritten ‘WOG’. This ‘social nuisance’ went unmourned to a pauper’s grave. A year and a half later, rumours that the Nigerian man had been subject to a lengthy campaign of abuse from two police officers led to the opening of the grave and a difficult criminal investigation. Drawing on original archival material only just released into the public domain, and interviews with police officers and lawyers involved in the eventual prosecution of two Leeds City Police officers, Kester Aspden’s chilling book revisits one of the most notorious racist crimes in British history. David Oluwale came to Britain as a stowaway in 1949. He also came as a British subject and citizen with a belief that ‘the Mother Country’ was a place of fairness and liberty and law. ‘Nationality: Wog’ is not just the forensic examination of a crime; in his imaginative reconstruction of the life and death of this obscure man Kester Aspden exposes Britain’s belligerent and painful response to the fact that black people were part of the national story. It raises questions as relevant today as they were at the end of the 1960s.

Author biog: Kester Aspden was born in Toronto in 1968, and raised in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, and York. He has a doctorate in history from Cambridge University, and taught history of crime at Leeds University whilst researching this book. He now lives in Istanbul.

Jonathan Cape, Random House contact: Briony Nelder. Email: Tel: 0207 840 8518.

Also shortlisted:


David Rose – VIOLATION – HarperPress

Duncan Staff – THE LOST BOY – Bantam Press


Peter Zimonjic – INTO THE DARKNESS – Vintage Books (Random House)

*NB – please note updated information – Jean McConnell was inadvertently left off the judging panel list in previous press releases.

Judging Panel:

Brian Innes – (Chair) a regular non-fiction author on forensic matters

Lesley Grant-Adamson – teacher and author of crime fiction and non-fiction

Andrew Cresswell – until recently, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Devon and Cornwall

Professor Allan Jamieson – Director of the Forensic Institute, Edinburgh

Jean McConnell – dramatist, writer for television, radio and stage, CWA member since 1950


Formerly the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger and the CWA New Blood Dagger, this award – presented in the centenary year of John Creasey, founder of the CWA – is for first books by previously unpublished writers.

£1000 prize money, sponsored by BBC Audiobooks, and presented by former Chair of the CWA, Philip Gooden, to Matt Rees.

Matt Rees – THE BETHLEHEM MURDERS – Atlantic Books

Judges’ comments: ‘The intensity and integrity of the novel gave it credibility and placed the crime into its social and political context. The scenes of destruction and terror in Bethlehem are well explored and the characterisation excellent.

An excellent debut novel.’

Synopsis: For decades, Omar Yussef has been a teacher of history to the children of Bethlehem. When a favourite former pupil, George Saba, is arrested for collaborating with the Israelis in the killing of a Palestinian guerrilla, Yussef is convinced that he has been framed. With George facing imminent execution, Yussef sets out to prove his innocence. As Yussef falls foul of his headmaster and the local police chief, time begins to run out for Saba. Saba’s home is bombed, members of his family are murdered. But with no one else willing to stand up for the truth, it is up to Yussef to act, even as bloodshed and heartbreak surround him.

Author biog: Matt Rees is a mystery novelist who lives in Jerusalem. As a journalist, he has covered the Middle East for over a decade, with the vast majority of that time spent amongst Palestinians and Israelis. He was Time Magazine’s Jerusalem bureau chief from June 2000 until January 2006, and was previously Middle East correspondent for The Scotsman. He was born in Wales in 1967 and studied at Oxford University and the University of Maryland. Rees wrote award-winning stories about the violence of the Aqsa intifada for Time. ‘The Bethlehem Murders’ is published in the United States as ‘The Collaborator of Bethlehem’.

Atlantic Books contact: Emma Grove. Email: Tel: 0207 269 1610.

Also shortlisted:

Zoë Ferraris – THE NIGHT OF THE MI’RAJ – Little, Brown

Elena Forbes – DIE WITH ME – Quercus

Caro Ramsay – ABSOLUTION – Michael Joseph (Penguin)

Tom Rob Smith – CHILD 44 – Simon & Schuster

*NB – please note updated information – Caro Ramsay’s name was incorrectly spelt as ‘Ramsey’ on the previous release.

NOTE: The first chapter and synopsis of ‘Die With Me’ was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger in 2005.

Judging Panel:

Marion Arnott (Chair) – short story writer, winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger, 2001 and shortlisted twice

Dreda Say Mitchell – winner of the 2005 CWA John Creasey Dagger

Danuta Reah – crime writer, former Chair of the CWA from 2005-2006, and winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2005, also writes as Carla Banks


Nominated and judged by librarians and awarded to an author for a body of work, not one single title. £1500 prize money, sponsored by the Random House Group and presented by Jonathan Gibbs, Chair of Judges, to Craig Russell. CJ Sansom was Highly Commended.

Judges’ overview: ‘We were pleased to discover new names amongst the more well-known authors, and delighted to see a wealth of new talent emerging in this, the most popular genre in public libraries. Over 65 nominations came in from twenty-five separate sources across the UK, and the shortlist was hotly debated.’

Craig Russell

Judges’ comments: ‘This author, highly rated by readers’ groups, deals well with German society and issues which remain sensitive even today. His works provide a persuasive portrayal of German mores, while providing lots of tension and good pace. Fabel’s character is memorable and the style of writing gripping. Russell’s research, plotting, engaging characters and use of setting combine to make the reader want to go back for more.’

Bibliography – the Jan Fabel series:

ETERNAL – Hutchinson (2007)

BROTHER GRIMM – Hutchinson (2006)

BLOOD EAGLE – Hutchinson (2005)

Hutchinson, Random House contact: Louisa Gibbs. Email: Tel: 0207 840 8564.

Author biog: Russell was born in Fife, Scotland in 1956. His career has included serving as a police officer and working in advertising as a copywriter and creative director. He has a long-standing interest in the German language, culture and post-war German history. Russell has been a freelance writer since 1990 and in 2007 he was awarded the highly prestigious Polizeistern (Police Star) by the Polizei Hamburg. Russell’s best-selling Jan Fabel series of thrillers has been published in twenty languages around the world.

CJ Sansom – Highly Commended

Judges’ comments: ‘CJ Sansom’s novels stand head and shoulders above most historical crime fiction. The narrative voice is strong and engaging and historical events are brought to life by his exceptional research, which is integrated quietly into the stories. His novels are richly populated with interesting characters and the standard of his writing makes for rewarding reading. He is justifiably popular with readers.’

Bibliography – the Shardlake series:

REVELATION – Macmillan (2008)

SOVEREIGN – Macmillan (2006)

DARK FIRE – Pan Books (2004)

DISSOLUTION – Pan Books (2003)



Macmillan contact: Thalia Suzuma. Email: Tel: 0207 014 6039.

Author biog: CJ Sansom was educated at Birmingham University, where he took a BA and then a PhD in history. After working in a variety of jobs, he retrained as a solicitor and practised in Sussex, until becoming a full-time writer. He lives in Sussex. Sansom also won the 2005 Ellis Peters Historical Dagger for ‘Dark Fire’, and was shortlisted for the 2007 Dagger in the Library. The Shardlake series is being adapated for TV by the BBC, with Kenneth Brannagh playing Shardlake.

Also shortlisted:

Elizabeth Corley

Andrew Martin

Denise Mina

Chris Simms

Judging Panel:

Jonathan Gibbs (Chair) – IT Librarian for City of London Libraries

Mark Benjamin – Team Librarian with Northumberland County Libraries, based in Hexham

Will Cooban – Senior Librarian, London Borough of Bexley

Karen Fraser – Customer Service Librarian with Shetland Library

Cheney Gardner – Framework for the Future Support Officer at MLA Council, on secondment from Lewisham Libraries

Wendy Molyneux – Community Access Librarian, Warrington Libraries, heritage and Learning

Guest judge: Stephanie Kenna – Manager, Regional and Library Programmes, The British Library


For best short story, £1500 prize money, presented by Lesley Horton, Chair of the CWA, to Martin Edwards. Highly Commended went to Danuta Reah.


From ‘The Mammoth Book of Best British Mysteries’ edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Constable Robinson Publishing

Judges’ comments: ‘A subtle, insidious, and disturbingly creepy tale of how an Englishman in Venice finds himself offered the job of apprentice to a bookbinder with unusual methods.’

Synopsis: Leading crime critic Maxim Jakubowski presents this year’s must-have collection of British crime fiction. This latest volume of the acclaimed annual collection presents over 20 short stories of murder mystery, selected from the very cream of new British crime fiction. Contributors include Lee Child, Colin Dexter, Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Len Deighton, John Harvey, and many more. This is an ideal present for anyone who has ever enjoyed a good murder-mystery. A page-turning compendium of British talent to capture the imagination of readers around the world.

Author biog: Martin Edwards was born at Knutsford, Cheshire in 1955 and educated in Northwich and at Balliol College, Oxford University, taking a first class honours degree in law. He trained as a solicitor in Leeds and moved to Liverpool on qualifying in 1980. He published his first legal article at the age of 25 and his first book, about legal aspects of buying a business computer at 27, becoming a partner in the firm of Mace and Jones in 1984. He is married to Helena with two children and lives in Lymm. Martin is a member of the Murder Squad of crime writers and is chairman of the nominations sub-committee for the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger, crime writing’s most prestigious award. In 2007 he was appointed the Archivist of the Crime Writers’ Association.

Danuta Reah – GLAZED – Highly Commended

From ‘Getting Even: Revenge Stories’ edited by Mitzi Szereto, Serpent’s Tail

Judges’ comments: ‘A well-executed tale of comeuppance and revenge in unusual circumstances.’

Synopsis: If you’ve ever been betrayed, this is the book for you: ‘Getting Even’ is a collection of stories about passion and the sweetness of revenge. From the re-writing of Echo and Narcissus by Rosie Jackson to the practical tips for achieving widowhood in How to Kill an Aries by Tony Fennelly, these are tales of the unexpected for the twenty-first century. If you need a lesson in love, or the end of love, take a cathartic trip through the murky waters of vengeance with these unsettling stories.

Author biog: Danuta Reah, who also writes under the name Carla Banks, is the author of four novels of pyschological suspense. She also publishes academic books, valued as resources for the study of language. Her most recent novel is a Carla Banks title, ‘Strangers’, in January 2007. Danuta Reah is past Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association.

NOTE: Danuta Reah won the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2005 for No Flies on Frank.

Also shortlisted:

Robert Barnard – PROVENANCE

From ‘The Mammoth Book of Best British Mysteries’ edited by Maxim Jakubowkski, Constable Robinson Publishing

Michael Connelly – ONE DOLLAR JACKPOT

From ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ edited by Otto Penzler, Quercus

Laura Lippman – ONE TRUE LOVE

From ‘Best American Mystery Stories 2007’ edited by Otto Penzler and Carl Hiaasen, Quercus

Judging Panel:

Ayo Onatade (Chair) – reviewer

Ali Karim – reviewer

Jerry Sykes – novelist and short story writer


For unpublished novels by unpublished authors, £500 prize money, sponsored by Orion and presented by Jon Wood, Editorial Director of Orion to Amer Anwar. Highly Commended went to Belinda Bauer.


Judges’ comments: ‘Set in London’s Asian community, with a story that explores family ties as much as criminal behaviour, Western Fringes shows good narrative control and a talent for creating suspense and an atmosphere of menace. The central character is well-drawn, sympathetic and appealing.’

Synopsis: ‘Western Fringes’ is a novel set in and around West London’s Asian community. When ex-con Zaq Khan is asked to find his employer’s runaway daughter, he has no idea that his search will draw him into a violent dispute between robbers, and a hunt for £6million in cash.

Author biog: Amer was born, brought up and still lives in West London. He was reading and writing stories from an early age but didn’t pursue writing as a career early on. Since leaving college he has worked as a warehouse assistant, a comic book lettering artist, a chalet rep in the French Alps and in the print and design industries. He is currently a freelance graphic designer and working on his first novel.

Belinda Bauer (UK) – BLACKLANDS – Highly Commended

Judges’ comments: ‘UK-based psychological suspense story of deceptive simplicity, with good dramatic potential. The writing is atmospheric, visual and insightful, and the family dynamics well-drawn.’

Synopsis: ‘Blacklands’ describes the dangerous cat-and-mouse game a twelve-year-old boy plays with a serial killer.

Author biog: After zig-zagging through journalism, dishwashing, gardening and bookmaking, Belinda Bauer has worked for the past ten years as a full-time screenwriter. Finally frustrated by the near-impossibility of getting features made, she decided to write all her script ideas as novels first, so that she would at least have something tangible to show for many months spent hunched over a keyboard. ‘Blacklands’ is the first of these novels.

Also shortlisted:

Russell Colman (Canada) – DESERT STORM


Bill Harrison (Canada) – NITE LITE


James Oswald (UK) – THE BOOK OF SOULS




Judging Panel:

Lesley Horton – CWA Chair (Chair of judges)

Krystyna Green – Constable & Robinson

Jane Gregory – Gregory & Company Authors’ Agents

Selina Walker – Transworld

Jane Wood – Quercus

Jon Wood – Orion (sponsor)

The Ellis Peters Award for best historical crime novel will be announced and presented later in the year.

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