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Bloody Scotland Reveals Final Four on Shortlist for McIlvanney Scottish Crime Book of the Year Prize 2019 @BloodyScotland @Brownlee_Donald

September 6, 2019

Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival
20-22 September 2019

A panel of judges including Alison Flood, James Crawford and Stuart Cosgrove today revealed the finalists for The McIlvanney Prize 2019.

They are the multi-talented Doug Johnstone who has a PhD in nuclear physics and moonlights as the manager and drummer for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, Manda Scott who studied veterinary surgery before turning to crime writing, a former McIlvanney winner Denise Mina and half a former winner in the form of Ambrose Parry – aka husband and wife writing team Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman.

The winner of the Scottish Crime Book of the Year will be awarded The McIlvanney Prize in memory of William McIlvanney at the opening reception on Friday 20 September and will lead a torchlight procession – open to the public – with David Baldacci on their way down to his event. The award recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.

This is what the judges had to say about each of the shortlisted books:

Photo of Doug Johnstone holding his book, Breakers
Doug Johnstone

Breakers – Doug Johnstone (Orenda)
A tightly written and compelling exploration of two sides of Edinburgh, touching on social topics rarely examined in crime fiction. A brilliant and moving portrait of family dynamics and loyalty as a young boy struggles to break out of his powerlessness.

Photo of Manda Scott
Manda Scott



A Treachery of Spies – Manda Scott (Bantam Press)
A powerful, complex and remarkable espionage thriller: a present-day murder links back to Resistance France. An intricately plotted novel which keeps the reader guessing right to the end.

Photo of Denise Mina
Denise Mina Photo: Ollie Grove



Conviction – Denise Mina (Harvill Secker)
A highly original and timely rollercoaster of a read, a caper which takes the reader on an unforgettable journey from central Glasgow to the Highlands, France and Italy. The novel fizzes with energy and brims over with a love of storytelling.

Photo of Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman who comprise Ambrose Parry
Ambrose Parry Photo: Alan Trotter



The Way of All Flesh – Ambrose Parry (Canongate)
Intensely and brilliantly researched piece of writing, casting back to 19th century Edinburgh when the art of surgery was just emerging at the same time as body snatchers were at large on the streets. Vivid, original, compelling, playful. 

Photo of the McIlvanney judges, Stuart Cosgrove, Alison Flood and James Crawford
McIlvanney judges

This year’s judges are Alison Flood, books reporter for The Guardian and a former news reporter for The Bookseller; James Crawford, chair of Publishing Scotland and presenter of BBC series, Scotland from the Sky and Stuart Cosgrove, writer and broadcaster who was formerly a senior executive at Channel 4.

Previous winners are Liam McIlvanney with The Quaker in 2018, Denise Mina with The Long Drop in 2017, Chris Brookmyre with Black Widow in 2016, Craig Russell with The Ghosts of Altona in 2015, Peter May with Entry Island in 2014, Malcolm Mackay with How A Gunman Says Goodbye in 2013 and Charles Cumming with A Foreign Country in 2012. The 2019 winner will be kept under wraps until the ceremony itself.

Five authors are also shortlisted for the inaugural Bloody Scotland Debut Scottish Crime Book of the Year:

All the Hidden Truths, Claire Askew (Hodder)
From the Shadows, G R Halliday (Vintage)
Black Camp 21, Bill Jones (Polygon)
In the Silence, M R Mackenzie (Bloodhound)
The Peat Dead, Allan Martin (Thunderpoint)
The winner will be revealed on the opening night of the Festival.

Tickets are available from www.bloodyscotland.com or at the Box Office in the Tolbooth Stirling or in the Albert Halls.
Download the Bloody Scotland programme here

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