The Theakston's Old Peculier shortlist is now public knowledge. Making the list:
All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses and Eye - Christopher Brookmyre
The Dead Place - Stephen Booth
Two Way Split - Allan Guthrie
Blood and Honey - Graham Hurley
The Death Ship of Dartmouth - Michael Jecks
Cold Granite - Stuart MacBride
Well, what can I say? I personally know three of those authors. Stephen Booth was nominated last year, and since I was at Harrogate I had the pleasure of seeing him on the panel.
The dark horse of UK crime fiction, Allan Guthrie, has made it to the final cut. This is fantastic news, because the longlist included a number of leading, established names, including Ruth Rendell, PD James and Reginald Hill. And it's even sweeter, knowing the tough road he had to publication in the UK, unable to get an agent or a deal until Ian Rankin declared it a tragedy he was being published in the US and not the UK.
And... I predicted Stuart MacBride would make the list, about a year ago. It's funny to think that almost two years ago I met Stuart at Harrogate, interviewed him, and of course caught up with him last year. I can't help feeling a bit disappointed that this year he's up for the Theakston's prize and I can't be there.
No matter what happens, I'm thrilled for all of them to be on the list. And it really sucks to have friends up against each other. Last year, I had to decide who to vote for and it came down to Rankin and Val McDermid... and I voted for the winner. Tough choice, though.
Maybe it's a good thing I won't be there. I don't have to buy anyone a drink after to commiserate.