2020 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Shortlist


The longlist for the 2020 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award has been whittled down to a shortlist of six thrilling titles. Here’s what our panel of judges had to say:

November Road by Lou Berney (Harper Fiction)

“Weaving together a love story and a chase thriller set against the backdrop of JFK’s assassination, Lou Berney’s sparse prose creates an atmosphere of jeopardy and terror interwoven with great tenderness and beauty. The period setting of November Road is skilfully realised, and the sense of dread laced through the story builds to an overwhelming conclusion.”

This is Gomorrah by Tom Chatfield (Hodder & Stoughton)

This Is Gomorrah is a sharp, fast-moving techno-thriller set against the chilling and murky backdrop of the dark net. The reader is swept along by Tom Chatfield’s great characters and unexpected moments of humour, as Azi, an unlikely hacker-turned-operative, is forced from the garden shed in which he manipulates cyber-space into the real world to become an unwitting player in a far bigger picture.”

One Way Out by A A Dhand (Transworld/Bantam Press)

“Tension keeps ratcheting up in A A Dhand’s thrilling exploration of a terrorist plot, and the racial tensions that are simmering in the world today. One Way Out skilfully combines wider world issues with intimate family conflicts. Harry, the family man, is a new and nuanced take on the concept of the flawed hero.”

Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan (Raven Books)

“Smart and absolutely contemporary, Dolan builds a twisting plot around the issue of illegal immigration, and the fault lines in the justice system. Set within a detention centre, Between Two Evils boasts a very strong sense of place that oozes with paranoia, fear and helplessness.”

Cold Storage by David Koepp (HQ)

“Koepp does a fantastic job of bringing his characters alive in a scant few sentences, and he manages to make the science understandable without ever talking down to the reader. Gripping, great fun and almost cinematically visual – Cold Storage is a wild ride.”

The Whisper Man by Alex North (Michael Joseph)

“This is a gripping and creepy novel, displaying a level of depth rare in crime fiction thrillers. Alex North pulls off the daunting task of creating a book which is both a spine-tingling serial killer thriller and a sensitive examination of father-son relationships. The Whisper Man stands out from the crowd.”

The winner of the 2020 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger will be announced in the Autumn. The tension mounts . .

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