Friday, August 7, 2020


Congratulations to all. Winners will be announced on August 22, 2020.

Top 20 Finalists 

C.C. Anderson Sunday Split 
R.G. Belsky The Baghdad Conspiracy 
Alexander Bruce Of Empires and Eternities 
Mary Bush Crooked 
Kathy Cuddihy Safe Harbours 
Nicholas Holloway Three Houses on a Hill 
Geoffrey Hyatt A Coffin for Mr. Blackpoole 
Michael Jordan A Desperate Race 
William Kaufmann  Killing Bodhi 
Edson Knapp Ghosts of Kilimanjaro 
Grace Lawler Astral Exile 
Michael Byers Lewis The Pilate Scroll 
Lisa Malice Dead Ringer 
Kevin Maris Forged in Lightning 
William Burton McCormick Ghost 
Mark Renshaw Cyborn 
Steven Sanders War Wolves 
Sheila Sobel Time Flies 
J.B. Stevens The Red Exit 
Victory Witherkeigh The Girl

Thursday, August 6, 2020


CWA (Crime Writers Association - UK) Daggers Awards 2020 Shortlists. Winners will be announced on October 22.


Claire Askew: What You Pay For (Hodder & Stoughton)
Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)
John Fairfax: Forced Confessions (Little, Brown)
Mick Herron: Joe Country (John Murray)
Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)
Michael Robotham: Good Girl, Bad Girl (Sphere)


Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)
Tom Chatfield: This is Gomorrah (Hodder & Stoughton)
AA Dhand: One Way Out (Bantam Press)
Eva Dolan: Between Two Evils (Raven Books)
David Koepp: Cold Storage (HQ)
Alex North: The Whisper Man (Michael Joseph)


Steph Cha: Your House Will Pay (Faber & Faber)
Samantha Downing: My Lovely Wife (Michael Joseph)
Philippa East: Little White Lies (HQ)
Robin Morgan-Bentley: The Wreckage (Trapeze)
Trevor Wood: The Man on the Street (Quercus Fiction)


Alis Hawkins: In Two Minds (The Dome Press)
Philip Kerr: Metropolis (Quercus Fiction)
SG MacLean: The Bear Pit (Quercus Fiction)
Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)
Alex Reeve: The Anarchists’ Club (Raven Books)
Ovidia Yu: The Paper Bark Tree Mystery (Constable)


Marion Brunet: Summer of Reckoning, translated by Katherine Gregor (Bitter Lemon Press)
Hannelore Cayre: The Godmother, translated by Stephanie Smee (Old Street Publishing)
K Ferrari: Like Flies from Afar, translated by Adrian Nathan West (Canongate Books)
Jorge Galán: November, translated by Jason Wilson (Constable)
Sergio Olguin: The Fragility of Bodies, translated by Miranda France (Bitter Lemon Press)
Antti Tuomainen: Little Siberia, translated by David Hackston (Orenda Books)


Jeffery Deaver: The Bully in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
Paul Finch: The New Lad in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
Christopher Fowler: The Washing in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)
Lauren Henderson: #Me Too in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)
Louise Jensen: The Recipe in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
Syd Moore: Easily Made in 12 Strange Days of Christmas (Point Blank Press)


Peter Everett: Corrupt Bodies (Icon Books)
Caroline Goode: Honour: Achieving Justice for Banaz Mahmod (Oneworld Publications)
Sean O’Connor: The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury (Simon & Schuster)
Adam Sisman: The Professor and the Parson: A Story of Desire, Deceit and Defrocking (Profile Books)
Susannah Stapleton: The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective (Picador)


Christopher Brookmyre
Jane Casey
Alex Gray
Quintin Jardine


Anna Caig: The Spae-Wife
Leanne Fry: Whipstick
Kim Hays: Pesticide
Nicholas Morrish: Emergency Drill
Josephine Moulds: Revolution Never Lies
Michael Munro: Bitter Lake


Bitter Lemon Press
Harvill Secker
Head of Zeus
Michael Joseph
Orenda Books
Raven Books
Severn House

Cartoon of the Day: Dogs

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

St Hilda's College Crime Fiction Weekend Goes Virtual

St. Hilda's College Crime Fiction Weekend goes Virtual Crime this year, starting on Friday evening and running all day Saturday, live. August 14-15, 2020

Theme: ‘All Our Yesterdays’: Historical Crime Fiction. 

Find yourself unleashed upon the London of the Swinging Sixties, the winding backstreets of 1950s Bombay, the gin shops and brothels of Georgian London, and some dark doings as Brighton hangs out the bunting for the Coronation – and all in pursuit of Murder. They do say Time heals everything…

Participants, subjects, and speakers: 
Val McDermid, Mick Herron, William Shaw, Sarah Hilary, Abir Mukherjee, Vaseem Khan, Tom Wood, Sara Sheridan, Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Jill Dawson, Mary Paulson-Ellis, Elly Griffiths and Anna Mazzola. Alison Joseph and Jake Kerridge will be sharing the chairing with subjects ranging from Christie and Highsmith, Du Maurier and Vine, to CJ Sansom and Dr Who. Andrew Wilson will be celebrating Agatha Christie in this the 100th anniversary of The Mysterious Affair At Styles with Everything Agatha!

Puzzler and prize: 
No event exploring Historical Crime Fiction would be complete without Andrew Taylor. Not only our 2020 Guest Of Honour, he is penning this year's dramatic Whodunnit. The Murder of Lucy Ackroyd is a chillingly implausible whodunit set in Oxford. The demise of a famed literary novelist takes place in a former women’s college located in the academic badlands beyond Magdalen Bridge. Starring: Chief Inspector Taylor, Val McDermid, Sarah Hilary, Triona Adams, Abir Mukherjee, and Mick Herron. Blackwell's Bookshop have provided a splendid prize: a signed, first edition of PD James' The Lighthouse (Faber and Faber, 2005.)

One ticket buys access to all of the live sessions, and to all the recordings which will made immediately available and remain accessible for a month. In this way you can be flexible with what you view and when. Further details and simple joining instructions will be sent out to all attendees a couple of days prior to the big event. View the Program here

Register Here:

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

This #@%&#!! YEAR: Guest Post by Lise McClendon

Lise McClendon: 
This #@%&#!! YEAR 

This year, 2020, has been called many names, none of them complimentary. Yet the world still spins and we try to live our lives as best we can. This spring, as the severity of the pandemic was becoming clear, like many I struggled to make sense of it all. How to wring something positive out of such a huge negative? Although I had plenty of “free time” I couldn’t write very much— I was too worried about everything. America, and the world, had shut down, locked down, was sheltering in place like victims of a mass shooting. But this enemy was invisible. The coronavirus, COVID-19, had arrived.

Feeling helpless, unable to do anything to stop the spread of the virus, I did the only thing I could think of— gather writers to talk about their experiences, to channel stories about the pandemic, to release their anger and isolation through fiction, essays, and poetry. I reached out to three mystery writer colleagues, Kate Flora, Taffy Cannon, and Gary Phillips. They agreed to help, casting a wide net to their author friends. I called the anthology STOP THE WORLD because it felt that way: everything had just stopped.

I wondered if anyone would respond honestly. The pandemic was stifling creativity and plainly freaking everyone out. Some wrote back that they had nothing to say, or that their little corner of the world was unchanged. After a week or two I told my co-editors we would probably have to start cold-calling strangers, begging them to contribute. But then, as things happen, the pieces began to roll in. Through April, into May, gut-wrenching personal essays, dystopian fiction, and elegant poetry were submitted. By June we had 40 pieces from 10 countries.

The subtitle, Snapshots from a Pandemic, was Taffy Cannon’s idea, to reflect the short takes we requested. We wanted slices of life, nothing too heavy because our hearts were already plenty heavy. We asked for honesty, and we got it. We asked for emotion, and it’s there in spades. It’s the sort of anthology you can dip into, read a poem, read an essay, and set down. Another day you can read a wild tale of imagination from Romania, or listen to two farmers chatting in Ireland. You can see how others coped by walking, by trying to work, by focusing on the things you can actually deal with like an invasion of ants.

The three co-editors and I all contributed our own pieces. Gary Phillips wrote a tale of a fictional epidemic where everyone is required to have six people around them at all times, the flip-side of isolation. Taffy Cannon chronicled her victory garden that helped her cope. Kate Flora and I both lamented being stuck at home and our lack of writing productivity, in our own different ways.

It was fascinating to see the variety of responses, and inspiring as well. This moment in time will pass but we will remember it, honor our sacrifices and those of others, and, if we’re lucky, talk about it for the rest of our lives.

The contributors are: George Arion, Meredith Blevins, Sarah M. Chen, Robin Burcell, Tim Cahill, Richard Cass, Eoghan Egan, John Shepphird, Gary Phillips, Adriana Licio, Lise McClendon, Mike Monson, Merrilee Robson, John Clark, Piet Tiegeler, Travis Richardson, Caitlin Rother, Naomi Hirahara, Kate Flora, Donna Moore, Tatjana Kruse, Dan Fesperman, Tami Haaland, Taffy Cannon, Matt Coyle, Marian Stanley, John Rember, J. Madison Davis, Wendy Hornsby, Sharan Newman, Jacqui Brown, Craig Lancaster, Z.J. Czupor, Gerald So, Allen Morris Jones, Wendy Salinger, Jim Nisbet, Paul Jeffcutt, and Keith Snyder. STOP THE WORLD: Snapshots from a Pandemic is available everywhere August 4. All profits go to charity. Find it in bookstores and online.

Lise McClendon is the author of 23 novels including the comic mystery, Beat Slay Love, written with Gary Phillips, Kate Flora, Taffy Cannon, and Katy Munger. Her long-running series, the Bennett Sisters Mysteries, is now 13 books strong. The most recent release is Dead Flat, featuring her French wine fraud detective. Coming in October is Lost in Lavender.

Cartoon of the Day: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Monday, August 3, 2020

Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award

Sisters In Crime Announces Winner of 2020 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award. The award benefits an emerging writer of color in the crime fiction genre.

New this year: Five runners-up receive funded Sisters in Crime memberships

Sisters in Crime (SinC) announced the 2020 winner of the annual Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award: Yasmin McClinton of Columbia, SC. The winning novel-in-progress was selected by judges Rachel Howzell-Hall, Alex Segura and the 2019 winner, Jessica Martinez. 

The award, which honors the memory of pioneering African-American crime fiction author Eleanor Taylor Bland with a $2,000 grant to an emerging writer of color, was created in 2014 to support SinC’s vision to serve as the voice for excellence and diversity in crime writing. The grant is intended to help the recipient complete a debut or early-career work of crime fiction. 

The winner may use the grant for any purpose, including developmental opportunities such as workshops, conferences and retreats, online courses, or research activities and travel.

“Authors like Ms. Bland show me that women of color—writers of color—can be authors in any genre they want and really bridge gaps,” said McClinton. “I shared with my daughters that I won this award. My daughters have been with me through the hardest times of my life. And I wanted to show them that their overly protective, annoying mom has dreams from her childhood coming true, even today. And, she can be chosen for prestigious awards like the Sisters in Crime Eleanor Taylor Bland award. So, Girls, no giving up. Ever!”

For 2020, Sisters in Crime expanded the Eleanor Taylor Award to also provide funded memberships to the organization for five runners-up. These are Christina Dotson (Nashville, TN), Tony Hernandez (Phoenix, AZ), Robert Justice (Denver, CO), Raquel V. Reyes (Miami, FL) and Manju Soni (Mystic, CT).

“The Eleanor Taylor Bland Award was expanded to provide assistance to more than the single winner, so that more writers of color could benefit from the community support Sisters in Crime can give a beginning writer,” said national Sisters in Crime president Lori Rader-Day. “Because of our commitment to inclusion, we heard from some of our current members who wanted to help us make a difference.”

Scholarships for SinC membership were funded in part by generous member authors Lisa Regan and Jess Lourey. Additional gifts from Alexia Gordon and Cathy Wiley will be granted later.

Eleanor Taylor Bland (1944-2010) paved the way for fresh voices in crime fiction by showcasing complex characters that had previously been peripheral to or simply missing from the genre. Dead Time (1992), the first in her series of novels, introduced African-American police detective Marti MacAlister, an enduring and beloved heroine who overturned stereotypes that had been perpetuated in much of American popular culture. Bland also published several works of short crime fiction and edited the 2004 collection, Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Cartoon of the Day: Cats

My Unexpected Author Journey: Guest Post by Khurrum Rahman

Khurrum Rahman:
My Unexpected Author Journey 

Authors are supposed to be worldly, well-spoken and able to hold court on various subjects with a firm grasp of the English language. I’m none of those things. I achieved an F grade for GCSE English and English Lit. Maybe achieved isn’t the right word. Becoming an Author was clearly not on my radar.

My failure in the subject never stopped me from writing. It was for my own entertainment and I enjoyed the process of spilling my fantasies onto a blank page. Similar to patting a toddler on the head, my wife, and the few friends I would show would come back to me with a glowing report. I knew it was biased. In the back of my mind there was doubt whether my stories were actually any good, but who cares, I was in the zone and enjoying the process. I never once believed that the character and world I was creating would have a wider audience.

I wasn’t expecting what happened over the next twelve months. At the time I was reading a lot of books by Stephen Leather, an author whose work I hugely admire. Like any fan would, I started to follow him on social media, not knowing how that simple action would change my life.

One day, out of the blue, Stephen sent me a direct message. He wrote that he was working on his next book which involved a Muslim character and he wanted to know if I would read over his first draft and advise if this character rang true. He chose me, possibly, because I was one of a few Muslims that were following him. It didn’t matter, I was buzzing with excitement. Stephen Leather! This best-selling author whose books I’ve devoured, is asking me, me, for advice.

Stephen emailed across the first draft and I spent a week going through it whilst making notes upon notes. I typed it all up, read over the notes a hundred times and then sent it back to him. A day or so later he replied back telling me how helpful it was. I was glowing in the knowledge that when his book is published, it would have a very small part of me in it. And that should have been that - But somewhere knocking around in my head was a thought. Maybe, just maybe Stephen Leather could return the favour.

I got back in touch with him and told him that I’m somewhat of an amateur writer and would love to know what he thought about my work. His reply was no nonsense but fair, telling me in no certain terms that everyone seems to think they have it in them to write a book, and in almost every case, they’re deluded. I could feel the incredulous shake of the head and the eye roll in his reply. But as his back had been scratched, he kindly agreed to look at my work.

The reply from Stephen came a week later.

I stared at the screen, reading and rereading his words, laughing to myself like a mad man. He told me that he loved it. That my characters felt real and my writing style was unique. He said that I had talent.


If that wasn’t enough to send me in a spin, Stephen informed me that he’d passed on my work, my shaky first manuscript, to his agent, who also loved it, and who wants to set up a meeting with me.

Seriously, what?!

Things moved quickly. Somehow I had myself a literary agent, and the book which I imagined would be for my eyes only, was bouncing from publisher to publisher. My friends and family, I think, were just as mystified as me. It was a strange time, exciting and nervy, wondering how far my luck would take me. I was turning up to work with my head in the clouds, but I dared not tell my colleagues in fear of jinxing it. I remember getting the call. Yeah, that call.

I remember meeting with HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins UK. Sitting in a large meeting room with views over the London skyline. In front of me was a glass of water which I didn’t dare touch in fear of spilling it. Around the table was my agent, editor, publicist, marketing and the executive publisher. Every eye was on me as they laid out the plan to promote my book. I honestly don’t think I heard a word of what they were saying, because for the first time, in my hand, was the first edition of East of Hounslow.

I couldn’t make sense of it and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I’d been riding the wave blindly allowing it to take me places where I never expected. If things weren’t already beautifully bizarre, East of Hounslow is now being published in the US, and I cannot wait for you all to meet Jay.


KHURRUM RAHMAN is a west London boy and he now lives in Berkshire with his wife and two sons. East of Hounslow is his first novel and the first in the Jay Qasim series.