Roger Hobbs wins the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger
Thursday 24 October: This evening, at the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2013, Roger Hobbs was awarded the CWA 2013 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, for best thriller of the year. His novel, Ghostman, is published by Doubleday. The awards ceremony is being televised on itv3 at 9pm on Sunday evening (27 October).
The Judges described his book as “…an assured and engaging novel which maintains suspense throughout and grips the reader to the very end.”
Roger Hobbs said: “I’m exceptionally honoured to have won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. It’s a dream come true. This award puts me in the company of so many writers I admire, like Steve Hamilton, Gillian Flynn, and Jeffery Deaver. When I was writing this book in the basement of my college library, scrounging off old pizza and bad coffee, I never imagined I’d end up here. I want to offer my sincerest thanks to all the family, friends, and co-workers who helped me make this dream possible.”
Synopsis: I make things disappear. It’s what I do. This time I’m tidying up the loose ends after a casino heist gone bad. The loose ends being a million cash. But I only have 48 hours, and there’s a guy out there who wants my head in a bag. He’ll have to find me first. They don’t call me the Ghostman for nothing…
Roger Hobbs is 24 years old and completed the first draft of this novel while still a senior at Reed College. He has worked as a radio host, a rifle range instructor, a note-taker and a security guard. He is a recent graduate of Reed College. He lives in Portland, Oregon. is website is www.rogerhobbs.com
The other three shortlisted authors were:
Stuart Neville for Ratlines (Random House)
Mark Oldfield for The Sentinel (Head of Zeus)
Robert Wilson for Capital Punishment (Orion)
Synopsis: Ireland, 1963. As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land of his ancestors, a German is murdered in a seaside guesthouse. He is the third foreign national to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey is desperate to protect a shameful secret: the dead men were all former Nazis granted asylum by the Irish government. A note from the killers is found on the corpse, addressed to Colonel Otto Skorzeny, Hitler’s favourite WWII commando, once called the most dangerous man in Europe. It says simply: ‘We are coming for you. Await our call.’ Lieutenant Albert Ryan, Directorate of Intelligence, is ordered to investigate the crimes. But as he infiltrates Ireland’s secret network of former Nazis and collaborators, Ryan must choose between country and conscience. Why must he protect the very people he fought against twenty years before? And who are the killers seeking revenge for the horrors of the Second World War?
The Judges said: “With a gripping plot and a colourful array of characters, this thriller masterfully evokes the tensions of post-war Ireland.”
Stuart Neville’s first novel, The Twelve, was one of the most critically acclaimed crime debuts of recent years. It was selected as one of the top crime novels of the year by the New York Times and it won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for best thriller. His next novels, Collusion and Stolen Souls, garnered widespread praise and confirmed his position as one of the most exciting new crime authors writing today.
Head of Zeus
Synopsis: They didn’t find the bodies until 2009, 56 years after they were hastily buried in a disused mineshaft. Fourteen had died from a single bullet to the back of the skull. The fifteenth was so viciously garroted that its head was almost severed from its body. For forensic investigator, Ana Mariá Galindez, it is her first encounter with the work of Comandante Leopoldo Guzmán. Head of the Brigada Especial, Franco's infamous secret police, Guzmán’s job is to hunt down opponents of Franco’s regime and destroy them. A monster and an enigma, he is responsible for engineering the fear behind Franco’s power. He is also a man who vanished from history in the great snowstorm of Madrid in 1953… until Galindez unearths his tracks.
The Judges said: “A very dark and chilling account of Spain under Franco, this novel is intensely atmospheric and a truly substantial work.”
Mark Oldfield has a PhD in Criminology and has worked in criminological research for over twenty years. He is passionate about Spain and its history and has travelled and researched extensively to produce this authentic and atmospheric series. Mark regularly attends the Pamplona fiesta, the home of bull running. Born and raised in Sheffield, he now lives in Kent.
He tweets as @CentinelaUK
Synopsis: Meet Charles Boxer - ex-army, ex-police and now a high-stakes kidnap recovery specialist, he knows only too well how the dark forces in the city can reach out and ensnare an innocent victim. The hostage is the beautiful Alyshia D'Cruz, daughter of Indian tycoon Francisco 'Frank' D'Cruz. After a boozy night out she gets into the wrong cab home and Boxer is the only man Frank will trust to go down into the criminal underworld to retrieve her. Boxer knows that Frank's crooked business empire has made him plenty of enemies, but despite the vast D'Cruz fortune, the kidnappers don't want his cash. They prefer a crueller, more lethal game and to have any chance of saving Alyshia, Boxer must play it out with religious fanatics, London's home-grown crime lords and Indian mobsters, as his trail crosses paths with a terrorist plot on British soil.
The Judges said: “Teeming with action and suspense, this riveting thriller explores a dark, Dickensian cross-section of the capital.”
Robert Wilson has worked across the world, including spells shipbroking, tour-guiding and exporting bathrooms to Nigeria. After escaping car crashes, civil wars and angry baboons, he and his wife settled in Portugal. Since then, he's written 10 acclaimed crime novels including the 1999 winner of the CWA Gold Dagger, A Small Death in Lisbon.
His website is www.robert-wilson.eu
Corinne Turner (Administrative Chair) manages intellectual property development and is Managing Director of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.
Josephine Lane is the Editorial Project Manager for Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.
John Dugdale is the Sunday Times’s thriller reviewer, and writes about books more generally for the Guardian.
Jessica Mann is a crime novelist, author of non-fiction and freelance journalist. She is also the crime fiction reviewer for the Literary Review.
Fergus Fleming is one of Britain’s leading popular historians and the author of five critically acclaimed histories of exploration. He is Ian Fleming’s nephew.
Three further books were longlisted:
Liz Jensen for The Uninvited (Bloomsbury)
Malcolm Mackay for The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter (Pan Macmillan)
Andrew Williams for The Poison Tide (John Murray)