Gillian Flynn was chosen as winner of the 2007 New Blood Dagger from a shortlist of six, all of whom will receive a year's free CWA membership. The other five names on the shortlist were:
C.J. Emerson - Objects of Desire - Allison & Busby
Declan Hughes - The Wrong Kind of Blood - John Murray
Brian McGilloway - Borderlands - Macmillan New Writing
Andrew Pepper - Last Days of Newgate - Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Camilla Way - Dead of Summer - HarperCollins
The judges remarked on the interesting, well written novels they had read. There was a great deal to enjoy on the list. Here are more details about the runners-up, and why the judges chose them:
Social worker Jess Chadwick left London behind in the hope of escaping the distressing cases she has experienced in the past. But even here, on the idyllic Welsh borders, she cannot escape evil. When she gets news that a young child has been found dead in woods, just a few miles from her house, she discovers that the boy was once her client – a child she was meant to protect.
As her professional life becomes harder to cope with she is also forced to come to terms with her own past, when the daughter she gave up for adoption years ago unexpectedly resurfaces. Jess soon finds herself crossing the line from investigator to suspect to victim, and under pressure from all sides is forced to question the very basis of her identity.
‘This is a tale of lost children, child murder and change of identity with wonderfully tense scenes.’
CJ Emerson has been writing since her teens but a weakness for music and cars dictated a career with a steadier income. She has worked for BT, sold Encyclopaedia Britannica and worked on various projects for the UK government before starting her own IT consultancy and joining the executive board of an international telecoms provider.
She left London and business behind in 2001 and took an MA in creative writing, which she now teaches through her website Writing Forge. Currently working on her third novel, CJ lives in the Wye Valley with her partner, two border collies and four cats.
Author website: www.cjemerson.com
Ed Loy hasn't been back to Dublin for twenty years. But his mother is dead, and he has returned home to bury her. He soon realizes that the world waiting for him is very different from the one he left behind all those years ago. 'Tommy said you found people who were missing', Linda Dawson tells him the evening of his mother's funeral. Linda's husband has disappeared. She doesn't want the police involved. So reluctantly, Loy agrees to investigate. And suddenly in this place where he grew up – among the Georgian houses, Victorian castles, and modern villas of Castlehill – Loy finds himself thrown into a world of organized crime, long-hidden secrets, corruption and violence. And murder.
‘This fast pacy novel portrayed a family of convoluted relationships with a secret at its heart. Evocative of Dublin, the novel showed great splashes of humour.’
Declan Hughes has spent twenty years working in the theatre in Ireland, as director, playwright and helping to run Rough Magic, Ireland’s leading independent theatre company. The second Ed Loy mystery, The Colour of Blood, was published on 5th April.
The corpse of local teenager Angela Cashell is found on the Tyrone - Donegal border, between the North and South of Ireland, in an area known as the borderlands. Garda Inspector Benedict Devlin heads the investigation: the only clues are a gold ring placed on the girl's finger and an old photograph, left where she died. Then another teenager is murdered, and things become further complicated when Devlin unearths a link between the recent killings and the disappearance of a prostitute twenty-five years earlier - a case in which he believes one of his own colleagues is implicated. As a thickening snow storm blurs the border between North and South, Devlin finds the distinction between right and wrong, vengeance and justice, and even police-officer and criminal becoming equally unclear.
‘A wonderfully written novel with rhythmic prose. An easy and fluent style which suits the format of a fast moving crime thriller. It portrays scenes of violence among outsiders in society and reveals the seamier side of the detective’s private life which intrudes on his work.’
Brian McGilloway was born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1974, and teaches English at St Columb’s College, Derry. Previously he has written plays and short stories. He lives near the Borderlands, with his wife and their two sons.
St Giles, London, 1829: three people have been brutally murdered and the city simmers with anger and political unrest. Pyke, sometime Bow Street Runner, sometime crook, finds himself accidentally embroiled in the murder investigation but quickly realises that he has stumbled into something more sinister and far-reaching. In his pursuit of the murderer, Pyke ruffles the feathers of some powerful people, and, falsely accused of murder himself, he soon faces a death sentence, and the gallows of Old Bailey. Imprisoned, and with only his uncle and the headstrong, aristocratic daughter of his greatest enemy who believe in him, Pyke must engineer his escape, find the real killer and untangle the web of politics that has been spun around him.
‘A pre-Victorian bow-street runner hunts the killer of a young family. This was a novel of complex characters and sweeping themes of both persecution and religion which are as true to contemporary life as they were then.’
Andrew Pepper was born and raised in Redbourn, Hertfordshire. He now lives in Belfast where he is a lecturer in English at Queen's University. A second novel, The Revenge of Captain Paine, followed and a third, The Virtue of Greed, is under way.
It was hot everywhere that year. During the long summer holidays the days rolled by in blue and gold, the sun bouncing off the dustbins and burning into windscreens. By the end of that summer, three of us were dead. Anita's mother has just died. The family has moved to a new town, a new home, and a new neighbourhood. The long school holidays are about to start and the summer stretches out interminably in front of them. Kyle lives across the road from Anita. Cool, surly, laconic, he knows all the places to hide. He says the area between the houses and the river is littered with hidden, disused mines; a perfect playground for restless kids with nothing better to do. But what they don't know is that these mines will form the scene of the most unsettling crime this community has ever known. This summer everything will change. This summer, the dead days have come home to stay.
‘A lean, pacy novel, simply but powerfully written which saw crime from the point of view of an adolescent. An excellent portrayal of a charismatic leader.’
Camilla Way was born in Greenwich, south-east London in 1973. Her father was the poet and author Peter Way. After attending Woolwich College she studied modern English and French literature at the University of Glamorgan. Formerly Associate Editor of the teenage girls' magazine Bliss, she is currently an editor and writer on the men's style magazine Arena. Having lived in Cardiff, Bristol, Bath and Clerkenwell, she now lives in south-east London.
Chair: Marion Arnott - 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
Peter Walker - who also writes as Nicholas Rhea, author of the Heartbeat series