Partners in Crime

Festivals and events may have shut down or gone virtual, but Cause UK is still busy! Over the years we’ve built a niche around our PR work for the crime…

Festivals and events may have shut down or gone virtual, but Cause UK is still busy! Over the years we’ve built a niche around our PR work for the crime writing genre.

The summer is awards season for the genre, and this month we’ve helped announce CrimeFest’s nominees for its annual awards. CrimeFest, sponsored by Specsavers, is one of Europe’s leading crime writing conventions, and as such, its awards are ones to watch.

Read the full Press Release below, or see coverage on The Bookseller and Writing Magazine’s website Writers Online, or on influential crime fiction blogs including CrimeTime and Shots mag.

By working with author publicists, we helped ensure @CrimeFest #CrimeFestAwards reached a potential audience of almost 350,000 on Twitter, with over 478k impressions in the first hour of announcing the awards.

Tomorrow (Friday 5 June), we’re also issuing to press and book bloggers the longlists for the highly regarded Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Daggers; the awards ceremony is due to take place in October this year.

Just in time for summer, the longlists are a great way to add to your ‘to read pile’ – even if we can’t get to a beach to escape into the pages of a criminally good book.


CRIMEFEST Announce 2020 Award Nominees

CRIMEFEST, one of Europe’s leading crime writing conventions, has announced the shortlists for its annual awards.

Now in its 13th year, the awards honour the best crime books released in 2019 in the UK.

New for 2020, in association with its headline sponsor Specsavers, is the Specsavers Debut Crime Novel Award. The winner will receive a £1,000 prize.

Adrian Muller, Co-host of CRIMEFEST, said: “Specsavers are passionate about the crime genre thanks to its founder Dame Mary Perkins, and their support ensures new voices in the genre will be recognised. We have really diverse awards reflecting the depth and breadth of the crime genre. Categories recognise e-books and audiobooks, humour, children and Young Adult crime fiction novels. We aim to be the most inclusive of awards to reflect the values of our convention.”

A further £1,000 prize fund is also awarded to the Audible Sounds of Crime Award, sponsored by Audible UK. Eligible titles are submitted by publishers, and Audible UK listeners establish the shortlist and the winning title.

Laurence Howell, Vice President, Content at Audible said: “We are delighted to continue as sponsor of the Audible Sounds of Crime Award. This is a prize that is very close to our heart and important for our members who are passionate fans of crime audiobooks. Crime and thriller remains one of our bestselling genres because of the intimate, immersive nature of audiobooks. Congratulations to all award nominees!”

All other category winners, which are judged by panels of leading British crime fiction reviewers, receive a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

The 2020 CRIMEFEST Awards were due to be presented at a Gala Dinner during the convention at the Bristol Grand Mercure Hotel this June. In light of Covid-19, the winners will be announced online at and via its social media pages on Tuesday 7 July.

CRIMEFEST was created following the hugely successful one-off visit to Bristol in 2006 of the American Left Coast Crime convention. It was established over ten years ago in 2008. It follows the egalitarian format of most US conventions, making it open to all authors and readers alike.

The convention has grown to become not only one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, but also one of the most popular dates in the international crime fiction calendar, with circa 60 panel events and 150 authors over four days.

Specsavers Crime Fiction Debut Award

One of the most anticipated categories showcases the next big names in the genre.

Shortlisted Holly Watt has already picked up the 2019 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for her debut, To The Lions. Another high-profile debut star is Alex Michaelides with The Silent Patient, which sold over a million copies and was a Richard and Judy book club pick.

Engineer Fiona Erskine’s debut Chemical Detective is also in contention for the best debut, alongside Katja Ivar for Evil Things. Katja who was born in Moscow, lives in Paris and has a Masters in Contemporary History; her debut takes place in Finland at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Carolyn Kirby’s The Conviction of Cora Burns was chosen by The Times as an historical fiction book of the month and was longlisted for the HWA debut crown award. Laura Shepherd-Robinson worked in politics for nearly twenty years before writing her thrilling debut historical crime novel, Blood & Sugar, set in 1781 amidst the British slavery industry also makes the shortlist.

Audible Sounds of Crime Award

The Audible shortlist features bestselling novels including Kate Atkinson’s Big Sky, read by Jackson Brodie actor Jason Isaacs, Lee Child’s Blue Moon narrated by Jeff Harding and The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides featuring Sherlock actress Louise Brealey and Jack Hawkins.

The British-Nigerian actress Weruche Opia narrates Oyinkan Braithwaite’s Booker-longlisted My Sister, The Serial Killer. Also, in contention are Alex Callister’s Winter Dark, The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, T.M. Logan’s The Holiday, and Peter May’s The Man with No Face.

H.R.F. Keating Award

Barry Forshaw, one of the UK’s leading experts on the genre, is shortlisted for the H.R.F Keating Award for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction for his guide to the genre, Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide. He’s up against John Curran’s The Hooded Gunman, a celebration of the 2000 books published by the iconic imprint Collins’ Crime Club. Also on the shortlist is Ursula Buchan with Beyond The Thirty-Nine Steps. Ursula, the granddaughter of John Buchan, who wrote the classic thriller famously adapted to film by Alfred Hitchcock, draws on recently discovered family documents in her illuminating biography.

Last Laugh Award

Previous winners of the Last Laugh Award return on the 2020 shortlist as Christopher Fowler, the author of fifty novels and short stories, is shortlisted for his Bryant & May mystery, The Lonely Hour. Fowler won the Last Laugh Award in 2009. L.C. Tyler also won the award in 2010. He returns with his novel, The Maltese Herring.

Also battling for the best humorous crime novel is the king of Helsinki noir, Antti Tuomainen, William Boyle for A Friend is a Gift you Give Yourself and Hannah Dennison with Tidings of Death at Honeychurch Hall. Helen FitzGerald joins the shortlist for Worst Case Scenario, a deliciously dark, unapologetically funny psychological thriller by the international bestselling author The Cry.

eDunnit Award

Holly Watt (To The Lions), Helen FitzGerald (Worst Case Scenario) and L.C. Tyler (The Maltese Herring) are all shortlisted in their second category of the CRIMEFEST awards – the eDunnit award for best electronic crime novel. They’re up against Sarah Hilary’s Never Be Broken – her sixth book in the DI Marnie Rome series and Andrew Taylor for The King’s Evil, the hugely successful series from an author considered one of the best historical crime writers today. Also shortlisted is the American giant of twenty-one acclaimed, award winning international bestsellers, Don Winslow, for The Border, the concluding part of his Cartel trilogy.

Best Crime Fiction Novel for Children

Dark deeds, piratical plots and dastardly villains feature in the shortlist for the best children’s crime novel.

Welsh author P.G. Bell is shortlisted for The Great Brain Robbery, the second in his Train to Impossible Places Series. Acclaimed children’s author Vivian French is in contention for her adventures of a family theatre-troupe touring Victorian England by train in The Steam Whistle Theatre Company.

Librarian and author Sophie Green makes the list with her unusual investigative duo chasing ghostly goings-on in Potkin and Stubbs. Also shortlisted is A.M. Howell whose The Garden of Lost Secrets set in 1916 on a country estate was a Times Children’s Book of the Week.

The Haven, an adrenalin-fuelled adventure by top thriller writer Simon Lelic, also makes the shortlist, along with Malamander by Thomas Taylor, a quirky fantasy with a cast of characters in pursuit of a sea monster. An illustrator and writer, Taylor’s first job was the cover for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Best Crime Fiction Novel for Young Adults

An icon of the crime genre synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham, makes the shortlist for his Young Adult novel Theodore Boone: The Accomplice featuring a nosy thirteen-year-old half-boy, half-lawyer.

Grisham is up against last year’s winner for the best crime fiction novel for young adults, Nikesh Shukla. Shukla hopes to hold onto the title with The Boxer, the story of seventeen-year-old Sunny who takes up boxing to protect himself after a racist attack.

Simon Mason, who won the CRIMEFEST Best Young Adult novel in 2017 for Kid Got Shot is also back with Hey Sherlock! which stars teen slacker and crime-solving genius Gavin Smith.

Kathryn Evans is no stranger to awards as her debut More of Me won the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award – the first Young Adult novel to do so. Her latest, Beauty Sleep, a dark thriller that plunges a pre-tech girl into a futuristic world, makes the shortlist. Also, in contention is the dark, twisty, fairy tale world of Samuel J. Halpin’s The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods and Heartstream, a taut thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal by Tom Pollock.


The Shortlists (as a list in full)


– Fiona Erskine for The Chemical Detective (Point Blank)

– Katja Ivar for Evil Things (Bitter Lemon Press)

– Carolyn Kirby for The Conviction of Cora Burns (No Exit Press)

– Alex Michaelides for The Silent Patient (Orion Fiction)

– Laura Shepherd-Robinson for Blood & Sugar (Mantle)

– Holly Watt for To The Lions (Raven Books)


– Kate Atkinson for Big Sky narrated by Jason Isaacs (Penguin Random House Audio)

– Oyinkan Braithwaite for My Sister, the Serial Killer narrated by Weruche Opia (W F Howes)

– Alex Callister for Winter Dark narrated by Ell Potter (Audible Studios)

– Lee Child for Blue Moon narrated by Jeff Harding (Penguin Random House Audio)

– Lisa Jewell for The Family Upstairs narrated by Tamaryn Payne, Bea Holland, Dominic Thorburn (Penguin Random House Audio)

– T.M. Logan for The Holiday narrated by Laura Kirman (Zaffre)

– Peter May for The Man with No Face narrated by Peter Forbes (Quercus, Fiction)

– Alex Michaelides for The Silent Patient narrated by Louise Brealey, Jack Hawkins (Orion)


– Ursula Buchan for Beyond The Thirty-Nine Steps (Bloomsbury Publishing)

– John Curran for The Hooded Gunman (HarperCollins Crime Club)

– Barry Forshaw for Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide (No Exit Press)


– William Boyle for A Friend is a Gift you Give Yourself (No Exit Press)

– Hannah Dennison for Tidings of Death at Honeychurch Hall (Constable)

– Helen FitzGerald for Worst Case Scenario (Orenda Books)

– Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May – The Lonely Hour (Transworld)

– Antti Tuomainen for Little Siberia (Orenda Books)

– L.C. Tyler for The Maltese Herring (Allison & Busby)


– Helen FitzGerald for Worst Case Scenario (Orenda Books)

– Sarah Hilary for Never Be Broken (Headline)

– Andrew Taylor for The King’s Evil (HarperFiction)

– L.C. Tyler for The Maltese Herring (Allison & Busby)

– Holly Watt for To The Lions (Raven Books)

– Don Winslow for The Border (HarperFiction)



– P.G. Bell for The Great Brain Robbery (Usborne Publishing)

– Vivian French for The Steam Whistle Theatre Company (Walker Books)

– Sophie Green for Potkin and Stubbs (Bonnier Books)

– A.M. Howell for The Garden of Lost Secrets (Usborne Publishing)

– Simon Lelic for The Haven (Hodder Children’s Books)

– Thomas Taylor for Malamander (Walker Books)


– Kathryn Evans for Beauty Sleep (Usborne Publishing)

– John Grisham for Theodore Boone: The Accomplice (Hodder & Stoughton)

– Samuel J. Halpin for The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods (Usborne Publishing)

– Simon Mason for Hey Sherlock! (David Fickling Books)

– Tom Pollock for Heartstream (Walker Books)

– Nikesh Shukla for The Boxer (Hodder Children’s Books)


For further media info, please contact Ann: M: 07534892715