Wiley Cash wins the CWA John Creasey Dagger
Wiley Cash has won the £1,000 CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2012 with A Land More Kind than Home, beating off competition from Tanya Byrne, Ewart Hutton and Tom Wright. The judges called his novel “A potent mix of religion, fundamentalism and murder in America’s Deep South … a powerfully written study of the places religious fanaticism can lead you.”
He responded “As an American writer, it’s a shock and a real honour to win an award in a genre with such a proud British tradition.”
He was presented with his cheque and Dagger at the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards, which took place in a glittering ceremony at Grosvenor House, London, on Thursday.
He spoke about the book to William Morrow Book videos:
A Land More Kind than Home
Synopsis: Religion is supposed to shield children from the evil of the world … One Sunday nine-year-old Jess Hall watches in horror as his autistic brother is smothered during a healing service in the mountains of North Carolina. Wiley Cash uses this haunting image - inspired by a horrific true event - to spin us into a spellbinding, heartbreaking story about cruelty and innocence, and the failure of faith and family to protect a child. This is a novel thick with stories and characters connected by faith, infidelity, and a sense of hope that is both tragic and unforgettable.
Wiley Cash is a native of western North Carolina, a region that features prominently in his fiction. He and his wife live in West Virginia where he teaches fiction writing and American literature. A Land More Kind Than Home was also longlisted for this year’s CWA Gold Dagger.
His website is www.wileycash.com
The John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger is an award for a previously unpublished novelist, and is sponsored by Goldsboro Books.
The other books on the shortlist were:
Synopsis: I think of all the things I could have been… a music student, in love, happy. But then Juliet stabbed my father and shattered everything I thought I knew about myself. She turned me into someone else, into this hard, angry, miserable girl who did the most terrible things. Things that make people take a step back when I walk into a room. That’s what hurts… that you all think you know who I am. But the one thing Google will never tell you is who I used to be… who I might have become. But I can tell you. So here we go - I’ll be me and you be the stranger on the bus.
The Judges said: “Listed as a young adult novel, this book has a much wider appeal. Byrne perfectly evokes the voice of 17-year-old Emily in this novel of guilt, identity and vengeance.”
Tanya Byrne was born in London and studied in Surrey, where she still lives with her cat who goes by several names, none of which he actually answers to. After eight years working for BBC Radio, she left to write her debut novel, Heart-shaped Bruise. She has a weakness for boys with guitars, drinks far too much tea and even though her mother tells her not to, she always talks to strangers.
Her Twitter handle is @tanyabyrne
Synopsis: INTRODUCING D.I. GLYN CAPALDI, MAVERICK COP He’s fallen from grace in Cardiff and exiled to be the catch-all detective in the big bit in the middle that God gave to the sheep. A place where nothing of any significance is meant to happen. A place where, supposedly, he can do no harm. But trouble has a way of catching up with Capaldi. Six men and a young woman disappear into the night. They don’t all reappear. The ones that do are ‘good people’ with a good explanation. Only Capaldi remains unconvinced. In the face of opposition from the locals, he delves deeper and starts to uncover a network of conflicts, betrayals and depravity that resonates below the outwardly calm surface of rural respectability. Capaldi is back in the saddle.
The Judges said: “A kick in the pants to the traditional maverick cop novel by a master of English prose. Good People breaks a stereotype in this pacey debut.”
Ewart Hutton was born and raised in and around Glasgow before slipping south to university in Manchester, and then on to diverse occupations in London. He has won numerous awards and prizes for his radio plays which have been produced for BBC Radio 4, RTE and Radio Clyde. He now lives on the Welsh Marches with his wife Annie.
What Dies in Summer
Synopsis: Jim Beaudry is a teenage boy trying to stay out of trouble. But trouble has a way of finding him. When he find his cousin L.A. on his porch one morning, bedraggled and shaking and unable to speak, he knows this can only mean bad news. Then Jim and L.A. discover the body of a girl in the wilderness. Over the course of one sweltering Texan summer, Jim and L.A. find themselves at the centre of events that will put both of their lives at risk, and force them to leave childhood behind once and for all.
The Judges said: “What Dies in Summer is a rites of passage novel of a young man on the cusp of adulthood. Tom Wright gives a vivid portrait of the relationship between teenage cousins in the face of an unnamed threat.”
Texan Tom Wright is a psychologist in private practice. He has won recognition for paintings and sculpture in regional juried art competitions, has had one of his paintings depicted on a US postage stamp, and has worked as a professional photographer, game warden, child protective services investigator and literature instructor. He met his wife in graduate school and the two are in clinical practice together. They have children but these days are mostly ignoring them in favor of the grandkids who, though small, are far more entertaining.
Danuta Reah (Chair) is a crime writer who also writes as Carla Banks. She is an educational consultant who has also taught creative writing. She lives in Sheffield and has written six novels and three non-fiction books.
John Lawton is the author of a dozen books, mostly novels. He has also directed some 40-odd programmes for Channel 4. He moves restlessly between the Peak District, the Crete Senese and New York – all of which figure in his fiction.
Chris Simmons is co-founder and, for the past six years, Online Editor of the highly successful UK review fansite, CRIMESQUAD.COM. He possesses an encyclopaedic knowledge of the crime and thriller genre and has a special interest in promoting the work of new authors.
The other four books that were long listed are:
The Doll Princess by Tom Benn (Jonathan Cape)
So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman (Century)
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante (Harvill Secker)
The Expats by Chris Pavone (Faber & Faber)
The Doll Princess
Synopsis: It’s Manchester, July 1996, and the Evening News is carrying reports of two murders. On the front page there’s a photograph of a glamorous Egyptian woman, heiress to an oil fortune, whose partially clothed body has been found in the basement of a block of flats. It would appear that she has been the subject of a sexual attack. In the back pages of the same paper there is a fifty-word piece on the murder of a young prostitute whose body has been found dumped on a roadside near the McVitie’s factory. For Bane - fixer, loanshark and legman for one of Manchester’s established ganglords - it’s the second piece of news that hits hardest. Determined to find out what happened to his childhood sweetheart, he searches through the tribes and estates of his bombed city for answers. It soon becomes clear that the two newspaper stories belong on the same page, and that Bane’s world belongs to others - those willing to profit from gun arsenals, human trafficking and a Manchester in decay.
The Judges said: “The Doll Princess is a fast-moving, noir journey through the streets of 90s Manchester. The start of a series that look set to make Henry Bane into a popular anti-hero. Benn has produced a ‘Get Carter’ for that decade employing an evocative prose style that creates a sense of hard hitting realism.”
So Much Pretty
Synopsis: When nineteen-year-old local waitress, Wendy White, disappears, the small town of Haeden, New York, is shaken to its core. Nothing like this has ever happened in this rural idyll and the police make little headway with the case, assuming that Wendy most likely ran away. But, six months later, Wendy’s tortured body is found in the nearby woods. And she has only been dead a matter of days…
Local reporter, Stacy Flynn, desperate for a big story, knows that Wendy’s case could be her big break. But, with little help from the local police, she’s forced to investigate alone - though no one in the town is willing to talk about it. Told from various perspectives - Wendy’s, Stacy’s and high school student Alice’s - this compelling tale of murder, revenge and violence builds slowly and eerily to a shocking and unforgettable conclusion.
The Judges said: “The generation gap is played out in blood in this thought-provoking novel which shows how one terrible crime can change a place – and lives – forever. What can happen when your children don’t reject your values, but build on them – in ways you’d never expect. An intelligent, provocative thriller.”
Turn of Mind
Synopsis: The police are convinced that Jennifer White has killed her best friend. Amanda’s body has been discovered in her home, stabbed to death and with four fingers from her right hand neatly removed. The murder is a horrifying shock to a quiet and genteel neighbourhood. Jennifer’s work as an accomplished surgeon and the stormy nature of her friendship with Amanda make her the prime suspect. However, even Jennifer cannot tell if she really is responsible. Her days are spent in confusion and her memories are fragmented thanks to the Alzheimer’s that is gradually destroying her once brilliant mind.
The Judges said: “A fascinating portrayal of the unreliable narrator suffocating in a prison of forgetfulness, yet suspected of murder. It is hard to conceive of a book from the point of view of someone with Alzheimer’s, but this is that book.”
Faber & Faber
Synopsis: Kate Moore is an expat mum, newly transplanted from Washington D.C. In the cobblestoned streets of Luxembourg, her days are filled with play dates and coffee mornings, her weekends spent in Paris or skiing in the Alps. Kate is also guarding a secret - one so momentous it could destroy her neat little expat life - and she suspects that another American couple are not who they claim to be; plus her husband is acting suspiciously. As she travels around Europe, she finds herself looking over her shoulder, terrified her past is catching up with her. As Kate begins to dig, to uncover the secrets of those around her, she finds herself buried in layers of deceit so thick they threaten her family, her marriage and her life.
The Judges said: “Love means never having to tell the truth. How many secrets can one wife have? No one is what they seem in this intricate story of espionage and deception that ranges from Washington to Paris and Luxembourg.”