Launched in 2019, the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize has already launched two early winners onto this year’s McIlvanney Prize longlist – Claire Askew (2019) and Deborah Masson (2020). That’s clearly proof of its ability to identify the wonderfully talented people that produce crime fiction in this small country year after year – so many it’s difficult to keep up with all of them! This year’s shortlist features two women and three men. One name will probably be well known to you, but not as a writer of crime fiction – although as a bestseller in other genres (and an ex-English teacher!), he can be regarded as well-qualified. There’s also a battle between the giant that is Thomas & Mercer, Amazon’s publishing arm, and Into Books, an indie so small they haven’t even published enough books to qualify for membership of Publishing Scotland – although they can, however, clearly spot a writer with potential!
So, without further ado, here are the five on the shortlist:
Tariq Ashkanani, Welcome To Cooper (Thomas & Mercer, Amazon) – A dark thriller set in small town America by an Edinburgh based solicitor and podcaster.
Frankie Boyle, Meantime (John Murray) – A picaresque detective story set against the backdrop of post referendum Scotland by one of Britain’s best-known comedians and writers.
Amanda Mitchison, The Wolf Hunters (Fledgling Press) – Set in a brutal, chaotic Scotland of the near future. The author is an award-winning journalist and author of several children’s books.
George Paterson, The Girl, The Crow, The Writer And The Fighter (Into Books) – An epistolary tale of murder and chicanery which spans continents and lifetimes by a writer, DJ and musician.
Sarah Smith, Hear No Evil (Two Roads) – Based on a true case from Scottish legal history about a young deaf woman accused of murder. Smith is a family history researcher and a creative writing tutor.
Well there’s certainly an interesting mixture there – a wonderful variety of novels! The winner will be announced on Thursday 15th September, after the torchlight procession. And look out for the McIlvanney Longlist and the Debut Shortlist getting promoted in bookshops all over Scotland up until then.
Best of luck to all shortlisted authors!