CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2018 Shortlist
We are extremely pleased to announce the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2018 Shortlist. We have a great mix this year with a little bit of horror, a little bit of humour and a lot of politics. See below for a synopsis of each book.
Mick Herron – London Rules (John Murray)
The perfect, 21st century blend of John le Carré and Len Deighton, Herron lit a fire under the spy genre in 2010 with Slow Horses, the first in the series featuring Jackson Lamb, Herron’s world-weary but razor-sharp masterspy who’s not quite done yet. London Rules is the fifth in this series
Lamb heads up the Slow Horses team, a band of misfit MI5 agents, all of them in some way disgraced, sent to Slough House to see out their time as pen-pushers. This awkward squad of the British intelligence community, amongst all the service’s short-sighted tedium and bureaucracy, happen to be our best line of defence. Shot through with dark humour and authenticity, the plot is tight, the characters fully rounded.
Emily Koch – If I Die Before I Wake (Harvill Secker)
A stunning edge-of-your-seat debut novel with an unforgettable narrator.
Everyone believes Alex is in a coma, unlikely to ever wake up. As his family debate withdrawing life support, and his friends talk about how his girlfriend Bea needs to move on, he can only listen. But Alex soon begins to suspect that the accident that put him here wasn’t really an accident. Even worse, the perpetrator is still out there and Alex is not the only one in danger. As he goes over a series of clues from his past, Alex must use his remaining senses to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and try to protect those he loves, before they decide to let him go.
Attica Locke – Bluebird, Bluebird (Serpent’s Tail)
A powerful thriller about the explosive intersection of love, race, and justice from a writer and producer of the Emmy winning Fox TV/Channel 4 show Empire.
Deeply ambivalent about his home state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could; until duty called him home. So when allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, Darren Matthews is drawn to a case in the small town of Lark, where two dead bodies washed up in the bayou. First a black lawyer from Chicago and then, three days later, a local white woman, and it’s stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes – and save himself in the process – before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.
Colette McBeth – An Act of Silence (Wildfire)
A gripping psychological thriller with a shocking final twist. An Act of Silence is about the abuse of power, the devastating effects of keeping the truth buried, and the lengths a mother will go to save her child.
Politician Linda Moscow sacrificed everything to protect her son: her beliefs, her career, her marriage. All she wanted was to keep him safe. When the voices she silenced come back to haunt her, Linda is faced with another impossible choice. Only this time, it’s her life on the line . . .
C J Tudor – The Chalk Man (Michael Joseph)
An impressive debut from C J Tudor. Half horror, half thriller, Chalk Man is sure to send a chill down your spine.
You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you. It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran – the Chalk Man. He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body. Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure. Is history going to repeat itself? Was it ever really over? Will this game only end in the same way?
Don Winslow – The Force (HarperCollins)
From another previous Dagger winner, you will be hard-pressed to find a better police-force novel this year.
Detective Sergeant Denny Malone leads an elite unit to fight gangs, drugs and guns in New York. For eighteen years he’s been on the front lines, doing whatever it takes to survive in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean. What only a few know is that Denny Malone himself is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash. Now he’s caught in a trap and being squeezed by the FBI. He must walk a thin line of betrayal, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.