The Old Peculier Crime Novel of The Year 2020 #shortlist is revealed!

…and it’s a magnificent selection!

The longlist had some brilliant titles in:

…And now they’ve whittled it down to a shortlist of very deserving titles!

Here’s a roundup of which books are in it to win it…

Theakston Crime Award shortlist

Smoke and Ashes (Sam Wyndham #3) – Abir Mukherjee

India, 1921. Haunted by his memories of the Great War, Captain Sam Wyndham is battling a serious addiction to opium that he must keep secret from his superiors in the Calcutta police force.

When Sam is summoned to investigate a grisly murder, he is stunned at the sight of the body: he’s seen this before. Last night, in a drug addled haze, he stumbled across a corpse with the same ritualistic injuries. It seems like there’s a deranged killer on the loose. Unfortunately for Sam, the corpse was in an opium den and revealing his presence there could cost him his career.

With the aid of his quick-witted Indian Sergeant, Surrender-not Banerjee, Sam must try to solve the two murders, all the while keeping his personal demons secret, before somebody else turns up dead.

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The Chain – Adrian McKinty

You just dropped off your child at the bus stop. A panicked stranger calls your phone. Your child has been kidnapped, and the stranger explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger. The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child within 24 hours. Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child, and most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don’t kidnap a child, or if the next parents don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered. You are now part of The Chain.

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Worst Case Scenario – Helen Fitzgerald

Mary Shields is a moody, acerbic probation offer, dealing with some of Glasgow’s worst cases, and her job is on the line.

Liam Macdowall was imprisoned for murdering his wife, and he’s published a series of letters to the dead woman, in a book that makes him an unlikely hero – and a poster boy for Men’s Rights activists.

Liam is released on licence into Mary’s care, but things are far from simple. Mary develops a poisonous obsession with Liam and his world, and when her son and Liam’s daughter form a relationship, Mary will stop at nothing to impose her own brand of justice … with devastating consequences.

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Theakston Crime Award shortlist

The Lost Man – Jane Harper [read my review]

Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland, in this stunning new standalone novel from New York Times bestseller Jane Harper

They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…

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Joe Country (Slough House #6) – Mick Herron

‘We’re spies,’ said Lamb. ‘All kinds of outlandish shit goes on.’

Like the ringing of a dead man’s phone, or an unwelcome guest at a funeral . . .

In Slough House memories are stirring, all of them bad. Catherine Standish is buying booze again, Louisa Guy is raking over the ashes of lost love, and new recruit Lech Wicinski, whose sins make him outcast even among the slow horses, is determined to discover who destroyed his career, even if he tears his life apart in the process.

Meanwhile, in Regent’s Park, Diana Taverner’s tenure as First Desk is running into difficulties. If she’s going to make the Service fit for purpose, she might have to make deals with a familiar old devil . . .

And with winter taking its grip Jackson Lamb would sooner be left brooding in peace, but even he can’t ignore the dried blood on his carpets. So when the man responsible breaks cover at last, Lamb sends the slow horses out to even the score.

This time, they’re heading into joe country.

And they’re not all coming home.

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My Sister the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

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You can shop for all the titles selected for the longlist at WHSmith.com.

Vote for your favourite to win over on the website – and let me know your favourites!


DON’T FORGET… FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM @SNAZZY_BOOKS / GOODREADS LAURA / AND TWITTER @LAURANAZMDEH!

3 comments

  1. I’m happy to see The Chain got shortlisted. It was such an addictive read, and the ending was satisfying, too.

    Not so sure on My Sister The Serial Killer. I kind of felt like that was lacking something.

    • I haven’t read it yet but heard mixed reviews – mainly positive but some people saying similar to you. When/ if I do get around to reading it I’ll be interested to see if I feel the same!

      • I’ll keep an eye out for your review then 🙂

        I might give it a reread at some point, to see if my view changes on it.

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