Books

Derry writer Brian McGilloway shortlisted for crime novel of the year

The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway

BRIAN McGilloway's novel The Last Crossing is one of just six books shortlisted for the prestigious Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021.

A compelling story that moves seamlessly from past to present, The Last Crossing, is a bloodstained tale of violence, betrayal, murder and redemption, which centres on one of the 'disappeared' from the Troubles.

"It's the book of mine most firmly rooted in Northern Ireland and our recent history, charting the journey of three members of a paramilitary cell, returning after 30 years to try to locate the body of a fourth member whom they killed, believing him an informer," explains McGilloway, creator of the popular Benedict Devlin and Lucy Black books.

"It's a little different from my other books in that it's not a whodunnit as such, but rather looks at the consequences of violence on those who perpetrate it.

"I was interested to explore how each of the three had reconciled themselves to what they had done and how it had impacted their lives since.

"I'm so pleased then to see that it has resonated with readers beyond the north, as well, who have helped it make the shortlist."

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year is the most coveted prize in crime fiction.

Now in its 17th year, it celebrates crime writing at its best, transporting readers around the world.

This is the second Theakston nomination for McGilloway, who also teaches English in Holy Cross College, Strabane. His second book, Gallows Lane, was shortlisted in 2010.

"I'm thrilled and honoured to be among so many friends and peers whose work I admire, both on the initial longlist of 18 and now the shortlist of six," he says.

"The Last Crossing had a difficult road to publication, not least because of the lockdown which happened just as the book was released last year," he adds.

The books on this year's shortlist encompass a vast array of themes and topics, from white supremacy and radicalisation to PTSD and homelessness, and from nail-biting hostage situations to tales of addiction, desperation and rehab.

The other titles are: Rosamund Lupton's Three Hours; Elly Griffiths with The Lantern Men; Chris Whitaker's We Begin at The End; Abir Mukherjee's Death in the East; and Trevor Wood's The Man on the Street.

Votes can be cast at Harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com, with the winner announced on the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday July 22.

The 18 books longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021 have been whittled down to six, with Brian McGilloway's novel The Last Crossing on the shortlist

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