Derek B Miller wins the CWA John Creasey Dagger
Thursday 24 October: This evening, at the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2013, Derek B Miller was awarded the CWA 2013 John Creasey Dagger, for best new crime writer of the year, for his book Norwegian by Night, published by Faber and Faber. The awards ceremony is being televised on itv3 at 9pm on Sunday evening (27 October).
The judges praised the book, saying “Tension, humour and tragedy are combined in this beautifully-written contribution to Nordic noir with a twist from an English-speaking author. With a central character who is original, wonderfully humane and convincing, this debut novel cleverly avoids many the genre’s clichés and pitfalls and emerges triumphant as a fully-dimensional gem.”
Derek B Miller said: “My sincere thanks to the judges and the Crime Writers’ Association. This award feels less like a victory than a wonderful form of encouragement. And I appreciate that, deeply, because no one has ever encouraged me to write before. Tolerated me writing … sure. But encouraged me? Not as much. So thank you.”
Synopsis: Eighty-two years old, and recently widowed, Sheldon Horowitz has grudgingly moved to Oslo with his grand-daughter and her Norwegian husband. An ex-Marine, he talks often to the ghosts of his past - the friends he lost in the Pacific and the son who followed him into the US Army, and to his death in Vietnam.
When Sheldon witnesses the murder of a woman in his apartment complex, he rescues her six-year-old son and decides to run. Pursued by both the Balkan gang responsible for the murder and the Norwegian police, he has to rely on training from over half a century before to try and keep the boy safe. Against a strange and foreign landscape, this unlikely couple, who can’t speak the same language, form a bond that may just save them both.
Norwegian by Night is the last adventure of a man still trying to come to terms with the tragedies of his life. Compelling and sophisticated, it is both a chase through the woods thriller and an emotionally haunting novel about ageing and regret.
Derek B. Miller is the director of The Policy Lab and a senior fellow with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. He has a PhD in International Relations from the University of Geneva, and an MA in National Security Studies from Georgetown University, in cooperation with St Catherine’s College, Oxford. He lives in Oslo with his wife and children. Facebook page
The other three shortlisted authors were:
Hanna Jameson for Something You Are (Head of Zeus)
Malcolm Mackay for The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter (Mantle)
Thomas Mogford for Shadow of the Rock (Bloomsbury)
Something You Are
Head of Zeus
Synopsis: Nic Caruana is paid to kill people. Once, he was destined for a white-collar job in a middle-class area. But like many kids, he made a fatal mistake. Now, he inhabits the bleak, dark city that runs like a seam beneath ordinary London. Nic has been hired to track down the killer of an arms dealer’s daughter, using any weapon necessary to get the truth. But Nic becomes obsessed with beautiful damaged Clare – the wife of his employer and definitely not for the taking. This stricken mother has her own twisted agenda, and Nic has nothing in his armoury to save himself from what is to come.
The Judges said: “Fast, uncompromising and violent, Jameson’s debut evokes classic thrillers such as Get Carter. Dark and atmospheric with a bedrock of powerful and memorable characters. This is London noir with a subtle punch.”
Hanna Jameson drafted Something You Are when she was just 17, and by 21 had written two sequels. She grew up in Winchester and has lived in Australia, travelled Europe, Japan and the USA with bands such as the Manic Street Preachers and Kasabian, and has worked for three years in the NHS. She is currently studying American History and Literature at the University of Sussex and lives in Brighton.
The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter
Synopsis: A twenty-nine-year-old man lives alone in his Glasgow flat. The telephone rings; a casual conversation, but behind this a job offer. The clues are there if you know to look for them. He is an expert. A loner. Freelance. Another job is another job, but what if this organisation wants more? A meeting at a club. An offer. A brief. A target: Lewis Winter. It’s hard to kill a man well. People who do it well know this. People who do it badly find out the hard way. The hard way has consequences. This is an arresting, gripping novel of dark relationships and even darker moralities.
The Judges said: “Tartan noirer than noir with a cast of characters who range from grey to black and all ambiguous shades in between, this is a refreshing tour through the dark side of Glasgow and the promising initial volume in a trilogy that could mark the crime landscape for years to come.”
Malcolm Mackay was born and grew up in Stornoway where he still lives. The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter is the first of a trilogy set in the Glasgow underworld.
Shadow of the Rock
Synopsis: One humid summer night in Gibraltar, lawyer Spike Sanguinetti arrives home to find an old friend, Solomon Hassan, waiting on his doorstep. Solomon is on the run, accused of a brutal murder in Tangiers. He has managed to skip across the Straits but the Moroccan authorities want him back. Spike travels to Tangiers to try to delay Solomon's extradition, and there meets a beautiful Bedouin girl. Zahra is investigating the disappearance of her father, a trail which leads mysteriously back to Solomon. Questioning how well he really knows his friend, Spike finds himself drawn into a dangerous game of secrets, corruption and murderous lies.
The Judges said: “Well written, beautifully crafted with a wonderful sense of place and voice. This fast moving adventure is more than just another accidental private investigator racing through an exotic landscape, this is a first-class thriller in which lawyer Spike discovers the underside of the Gibraltar dream and establishes a major new character in the criminal pantheon.”
Thomas Mogford has worked as a journalist for Time Out and as a translator for the UEFA Champions League. He is married and lives with his family in London.
His website is www.thomasmogford.com
These are the judges for the 2013 CWA John Creasey Dagger:
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.
Peter Guttridge is a novelist, critic, writing teacher and a chairperson/interviewer at a wide range of literature festivals and events. He is a former Director of the Brighton Literature Festival and for eleven years - until 2011 - was the Observer ’s crime fiction critic. He is the author of ten novels, two works of non-fiction and numerous short stories His website is www.peterguttridge.com
Maxim Jakubowski worked for many years in book publishing as an editor and launched the Murder One Bookshop, which he owned and ran for over 20 years. He now writes, edits and translates full-time in London. The series The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime Volume, which he edits and now at volume 10, has printed many winners of the CWA Short Story Dagger. His website is maximjakubowski.co.uk.
Four further books were longlisted:
Roger Hobbs for Ghostman (Doubleday)
Becky Masterman for Rage Against the Dying (Orion)
Michael Russell for The City Of Shadows (Avon)
M D Villiers for City of Blood (Harvill Secker)