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*Extract* The Five Things – Beth Merwood.

Blurb; For nine-year-old Wendy, the summer of 1969 will never be forgotten. Local kids have always told stories about the eerie wood on the outskirts of the village, and Wendy knows for sure that some of them are true. Now the school holidays have started and she’s going to the wood again with Anna and Sam, but they soon become convinced that someone is trying to frighten them off. When a terrible event rocks the coastal community, the young friends can’t help thinking there must be a connection between the incident, the tales they’ve heard, and the strange happenings they’ve begun to witness. As glimpses of a darker world threaten their carefree existence, they feel compelled to search out the underlying truth.

Extract; Rural England, 1969. The three main characters are on their school summer holidays, going about their carefree lives. Soon an event is to occur that will change their world for ever …

The following day Anna, Sam, and I went to look for the camp on the beach. It was a cooler day and a little misty. The sea lapped against the shore, otherwise everything was quiet and still. We went to the end of the wall and climbed the first steep section of rock to the level area. We couldn’t hear anyone else up on the cliff. The pine trees were giving off their pungent smell. We walked along, holding on to branches to steady ourselves, up a little hill and down again. We didn’t need to walk far. In a gap between the trees, we found the camp. There was definitely no one else there. “Wow!” I said. “It’s a really good place,” said Sam. “It’s really fab!” said Anna. “How did they get all the stuff up here?” I said. We admired the work that had gone into it. There was actually a sort of building made from pieces of corrugated iron. “Those crates must be for sitting on,” said Sam. “There’s even a carpet!” Anna said. Sam went to the corner and took three crates from the pile. We arranged them on the sack matting and sat looking out. “No one would ever find you here,” said Sam. “Oi!” We heard a shout, the cracking of vegetation breaking underfoot, and the swishing of branches. Someone rapidly approached. It was Robbo. “What are you doing in the camp?” He pretended to be annoyed with us but soon forgot and started to show us around. “Oi!” We heard a shout, the cracking of vegetation breaking underfoot, and the swishing of branches. Someone rapidly approached. It was Robbo. “What are you doing in the camp?” He pretended to be annoyed with us but soon forgot and started to show us around. “Look,” he said, “we put up a swing.” He pulled a long, thick length of rope down from an upper branch of the tree opposite. It was tied to the branch at one end and there was a knot in the other, so you could sit astride it and go for a ride. You could swing quite a long way to and fro. He demonstrated. “Not only that,” he said, “we can also make tea.” He scrambled over and revealed an old kettle, pushed into a hole in the cliff face behind. “There’s water, and I have matches.” He pulled over another wooden crate, which had been camouflaged under some foliage, and took off the makeshift lid. It contained a box of tea and some enamel mugs. He uncovered a jerry can filled with water. He set about gathering some sticks and trying to light a fire. Robbo was older than we were. He had a reputation for being a bit of a tough guy, but we knew that in fact he was quite friendly. He was a big, strong-looking boy with lots of curly, dark hair and already had the first signs of a dark hair growing on his chin. We watched him in admiration. “Shall I help you?” I asked. “I might have messed up,” he admitted. “I think the matches have got a bit damp.” He smiled at me, a warm-hearted sort of smile. We all liked Robbo and we trusted him. “You won’t tell the others we were here? They might be mad,” I said. “Nah,” he confirmed. “You know I always look out for you lot.”

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LONGLIST – THEAKSTON OLD PECULIER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2021

LONGLIST REVEALED FOR UK’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS CRIME WRITING PRIZE

THEAKSTON OLD PECULIER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2021

 

harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com | #TheakstonAward | @HarrogateFest |

MARK BILLINGHAM | LOUISE CANDLISH | JANE CASEY | STEVE CAVANAGH | WILL DEAN  

EVA DOLAN LUCY FOLEY ELLY GRIFFITHS DOUG JOHNSTONE ROSAMUND LUPTON

VAL MCDERMID BRIAN MCGILLOWAY ABIR MUKHERJEE LIZ NUGENT IAN RANKIN

SUSIE STEINER | CHRIS WHITAKER | TREVOR WOOD

Harrogate, 5 May 2021: Today, the longlist of the UK and Ireland’s most prestigious crime novel award is unveiled with literary legends and dynamic debuts in contention for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.

Now in its 17th year, the most coveted prize in crime fiction, presented by Harrogate International Festivals celebrates crime writing at its best. This year’s longlist transports readers around the world from California to Sweden and Calcutta to a remote Irish island and explores every subgenre from Scandi noir to murderous families.

The line-up of returning champions is led by crime fiction titan Ian Rankin, who has received a nod for his A Song for The Dark TimesMark Billingham, hoping for a third win with his Cry Baby, and Steve Cavanagh looking to beat the competition with Fifty Fifty.

This year’s longlist recognises a number of authors who have previously never been listed by the prize. Hoping to claim the trophy on their first appearance are Lucy Foley with her No.1 Sunday Times Best Seller The Guest List, Chris Whitaker with We Begin at The End, Scottish author Doug Johnstone with The Big Chill and Liz Nugent with Our Little Cruelties, and Jane Caseywith herlatest Maeve Kerriganinstalment The Cutting Place.

The longlist also features several previously nominated authors hoping to go one step further and clinch the trophy with Elly Griffiths securing her seventh pick for her much lauded The Lantern Men and Susie Steiner getting her third nod for Remain Silent and Brian McGilloway’s second nomination for The Last Crossing, and best-selling author Louise Candlish hoping to win on her second pick with The Other Passenger.

Joining these outstanding names is the undisputed ‘Queen of Crime’herself, Val McDermid with her newest Karen Pirie novel Still Life. Celebrated in the industry for her impeccable ability to select emerging talent for the annual New Blood panel at Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, McDermid find herself competing against many New Blood alumni including: Will Dean for his latest Scandi noir Black River; Eva Dolan for the newest instalment of her critically-acclaimed Zigic and Ferreira series,Abir Mukherjee’s new Calcutta and Assam-inspired Death in the East, and finally Trevor Wood – who has gone from the 2020 New Blood panel to longlisted for Crime’s biggest award.

 

The full longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2021 is:

–          Cry Baby by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown Book Group, Sphere)

–          The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish (Simon & Schuster)

–          The Cutting Place by Jane Casey (HarperCollins, HarperFiction)

–          Fifty Fiftyby Steve Cavanagh (The Orion Publishing Group, Orion Fiction)

–          Black River by Will Dean (Oneworld Publications, Point Blank)

–          Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan (Bloomsbury Publishing, Raven Books)

–          The Guest List by Lucy Foley (HarperCollins, HarperFiction)

–          The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

–          The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone (Orenda Books)

–          Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton (Penguin Random House UK, Viking)

–          Still Life by Val McDermid (Little, Brown Book Group, Sphere)

–          The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway (Little, Brown Book Group, Constable)

–          Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee (VINTAGE, Harvill Secker)

–          Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent (Penguin, Sandycove)

–          A Song For The Dark Times by Ian Rankin (Orion, Orion Fiction)

–          Remain Silent by Susie Steiner (HarperCollins Publishers, The Borough Press)

–          We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker (Bonnier Books UK, Zaffre)

–          The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood (Quercus, Quercus Fiction)

Executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said“The way the global obsession with the crime genre continues to grow year on year is simply astonishing and this year’s longlist proves the remarkable talent on offer in crime writing– from legends of the craft to eager-eyed newcomers. The shortlist is already too close to call so we encourage all to get voting! A hearty toast of Old Peculier to all longlisted authors for this coveted award – and we look forward to what we know will be a fiercely fought competition!”

Run by Harrogate International Festivals, the shortlist will be announced in June and the winner on 22 July, at the opening evening of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – with the public able to vote for the winner on harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com.

The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with WHSmith and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback 1 May 2020 to 30 April 2021 by UK and Irish authors.

 The longlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee, and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd, the Express, and WHSmith.

The public are now invited to vote for a shortlist of six titles on www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com, which will be announced in June. The winner will be revealed on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 22 July, and will receive £3,000, and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.

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My Top Reads of 2020 ❤

2020 Has been a tough year for us all but I must admit I have emerged myself into many fictional worlds to keep myself going. Books have really helped me get through it all. Nothing better than curling up with a book and a brew. So in no particular order here are the books that stood out to me this year. After reading 174 books this year (one was my daughters) this is my top 18 reads.

The 24 Hour Cafe – Libby Page.

Are You Watching? – Vincent Ralph.

Dead Lovely – Helen Fitzgerald.

Sleep – C.L. Taylor.

Circe – Madeline Miller.

Letters on Motherhood – Giovanna Fletcher.

The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary.

The Switch- Beth O’Leary.

Mix Tape – Jane Sanderson.

Sunny Days & Sea Breezes – Carole Matthews.

Aria’s Travelling Book Shop – Rebecca Raisin.

The Midnight Library – Matt Haig.

The Minders – John Marrs.

This is Me – Mrs Hinch.

And Every Morning the Way Home gets Longer & Longer – Fredrik Backman.

The Inheritance Games – Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Sophia Princess Among Beasts – James Patterson & Emily Raymond.

The Hopes & Dreams of Libby Quinn – Freya Kennedy.

Have you read any of these? Got any suggestions for me next year? I hope you all have a lovely New Year & I will see you on the other side. That’s me done for 2020. Gemma – BTPBOOKCLUB.