And the winner of the 2019 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger is…

We’re delighted to announce that this year’s CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger goes to To the Lions by Holly Watt.

Last Thursday, at a glittering awards ceremony in London, Watt’s debut novel was crowned the best thriller published in the UK this year.  The judges read through 137 entries and whittled the list down to a longlist of 10, followed by a shortlist of 6, with Watt finally scooping the win.

Here’s a little taste of what To the Lions is all about:

An international thriller featuring a female journalist who stumbles upon a dark conspiracy, and her determination to follow the clues, no matter how far that takes her.  Casey Benedict, star reporter at the Post, has infiltrated the lives and exposed the lies of countless politicians and power players. Using her network of contacts, and her ability to slip into whatever identity suits the situation, Casey is always on the search for the next big story, no matter how much danger this might place her in, or what the cost might be, emotionally.  Tipped off by an overheard conversation at an exclusive London nightclub, she begins to investigate the apparent suicide of a wealthy young British man whose death has left his fiancée and family devastated. The young man’s death, however, is only the tipping point of a much more sinister and dangerous scandal involving the world’s most powerful leaders and magnates—men who are gathering in northern Africa for an extreme and secret hunt. With fellow reporter Miranda and combat veteran Ed by her side, Casey’s determined hunt for the truth will take her from the glitz of St. Tropez to the deserts of Libya and on to the very darkest corners of the human mind.

Our judges were very impressed with To the Lions and described it as, ‘A deeply uncomfortable read which lingers long in the memory, this tautly plotted and timely thriller shines a light on the role of the journalist as witness or protagonist and asks devastating questions about the value of human life before culminating in a life or death chase through the desert to Libya.   This is a highly accomplished debut that marks Watt out as a fresh and important voice.’

The Crime Writers Association hold their prestigious awards ceremony every year, handing out the the Gold Dagger (crime), John Creasey New Blood Dagger (best debut) and the Diamond Dagger (lifetime achievement award) amongst others.  Winners this year include M W Craven, Chris Hammer and Robert Goddard.

We’d like to congratulate Holly Watt on her win, and if you haven’t read it yet, why not pick up a copy here.