Forensics book cover2016…

  • Winner of – Anthony Award for Best Critical/Non-Fiction book at Bouchercon in New Orleans.

McDermid, Val. Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime. Grove. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780802123916. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780802191052. CRIME

Using historical examples, author McDermid brings to life the various subspecialties within forensic science to show how, and how well, the theories work in practice. The distinct treatment—one chapter on entomology, the next on pathology, and so on—and the juxtaposition within the chapters of histories and case studies produces the experience of reading an introductory forensic science textbook, minus all the colorful photos and elucidative marginalia. While this might leave academic readers feeling shortchanged, average readers will be more than satisfied with a no-frills primer. Additionally, McDermid’s experience as a crime writer and former journalist allows her to present the facts of the individual illustrative cases in compelling ways. Currency of the material is ensured through the use of recent court cases and consultation with practicing forensic scientists.

VERDICT: This title will primarily be relevant to readers with a general interest in forensic science/criminalistics, casual academics, true crime aficionados, and fans of McDermid’s other works.(LJ 6/15/16)Ricardo Laskaris, York Univ. Lib., Toronto

Click here for more information about this book…


  • The Mystery Writers of America have announced the 2016 Edgar Award Nominations, celebrating the 207th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe.


Val is among the nominees in the category of ‘Best Fact Crime’ for the book:

Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime (Grove Atlantic – Grove Press) – by Val McDermid

Read the full list of nominees and get more details on all categories on the PR Newswire website…



Others shortlisted for the award included:

The Defence – by Steve Cavanagh (Orion)
‘The Girl on the Train’ – by Paula Hawkins (Transworld)
‘The Nightmare Place’ – by Steve Mosby (Orion)
‘Let You Go’ – by Clare Mackintosh (Sphere)
‘Personal’ – by Lee Child (Transworld)


  • Trick of the Dark is shortlisted for the Galaxy National Book Awards this year. ‘Val’s critical acclaimed standalone novel, Trick of the Dark, has been shortlisted for the Thriller and Crime Novel of the year category at the Galaxy National Book Awards 2011. Fellow contenders include Ian Rankin, Martina Cole, S J Watson, Robert Morris and C J Sansom.’The Galaxy National Book Awards honour the best of British writing & publishing, whilst celebrating books with wide popular appeal, critical acclaim and commercial success.
  • The Retribution has won a place on the longlist for the Green Carnation Prize 2011
  • Val receives Pioneer Award at 23rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards – May 2011
  • Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the YearFever of the Bone (longlist)


  • Best P.I./Procedural Novel in the 2009 Romantic Times’ BOOK REVIEWS Reviewers‘ Choice Awards goes to A Darker Domain
  • Los Angeles Times Book Prize – Shortlisted – A Darker Domain
  • CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger 2010 – Winner in recognition of Val’s work over more than 20 years.



  • British Book Awards Crime Thriller of the Year (shortlist) – The Grave Tattoo
  • Alice B Award for sustained achievement

More awards…



  • Portico Prize for FictionThe Grave TattooOn Wednesday evening (8 Nov. 06), Val was awarded the Portico Prize for Fiction for The Grave Tattoo. This is a particularly notable victory, since the Portico Prize embraces fiction in its entirety. Announcing the result, author Melyvn Burgess praised The Grave Tattoo both for the quality of its storytelling and its prose style. The prize is awarded by the Portico Library in Manchester ( and is awarded to a book about the North West of England or set primarily in that region. Like the Whitbread, it is split into categories – fiction and non-fiction. The winner of the non-fiction prize and the overall winner was Andrew Biswell with The Real Life of Anthony Burgess.Val said, ‘I’m particularly proud to have won this prize because of its association with the Portico, which is one of the hidden gems of Manchester. It’s also very gratifying that the judges were willing to consider a genre novel for a prestigious literary prize. Let’s hope this is the start of a new trend!’
  • Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the YearThe Torment of Others‘We are delighted to announce that the Val has won the 2006 Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year prize with The Torment of Others, the fourth Tony Hill and Carol Jordan novel. The announcement was made on the opening night of the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, where Val was chair of the Programming Committee for the first three years.’Val said, ‘I was genuinely gobsmacked. It was a great shortlist and I really didn’t expect to win. It’s a particular delight for me because this award is voted for by readers and also because it is awarded at this festival. It feels very special to be honoured here because of the closeness of my involvement with what has become the best crime writing festival in the world.’


  • Crime Writers’ Association Dagger of Daggers Award (shortlist)
  • Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year (shortlist) – The Distant Echo


  • Barry Award for Best British Crime NovelThe Distant Echo Val was awarded the Barry for Best British Crime Novel for The Distant Echo at the Bouchercon (World Mystery Convention) in Toronto. The Barry is awarded by the readers of Deadly Pleasures magazine. Val previously won the Barry for A Place of Execution. Val said, ‘I’m thrilled to have won the Barry. But I was genuinely surprised – so surprised I hadn’t actually prepared an acceptance speech. It’s always an honour to win an award, but to win it in the teeth of such strong competition makes me feel even more pleased!’
  • Crime Writers’ Association Macallan Gold Dagger for Fiction (shortlist) – The Torment of Others
  • GLBTQ Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame
  • Mystery and Thriller Book Club People’s Choice Award (shortlist) – The Torment of Others
  • Scotland Magazine Icon of Scotland
  • Sherlock Award for Best Crime NovelThe Distant EchoThese awards, recognising the best in detective fiction, are presented by SHERLOCK magazine. They are unique because they are given to the detective rather than the author – the creation rather than the creator. Of course, the author is invited to the prize-giving ceremony and gets to keep the Sherlock, a stylish bust representing the Great Detective. The awards are given to books published in the previous year.
  • Spoken Word Publishing Association Awards (Best Crime Novel) – The Distant Echo More good news! The abridged audio version of The Distant Echo has won Gold in the Crime/Thriller category at the Spoken Word Publishing Association Awards. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there myself, but Peter Capaldi, who did a first-class job of narrating the book, collected on my behalf.


  • Anthony Award for Best NovelA Place of Execution‘The high point for me at this year’s Bouchercon was winning the Anthony Award for best novel for A Place of Execution. The Anthony Awards, and the convention itself, are named in tribute to Anthony Boucher, who was the most notable mystery critic of his generation. The awards are voted on by those who attend the convention, and it’s a huge honour for me to have been chosen this year. The people who attend Bouchercon are voracious readers who are hugely knowledgeable about the genre, so winning their votes is a real compliment for an author.’
  • Dilys AwardA Place of Execution
  • Edgar Award for Best Novel (shortlist) – A Place of Execution
  • Lambda Literary Award for Fiction (shortlist) – Booked for Murder
  • Los Angeles Times Book Prize (Mystery/Thriller) – A Place of Execution
  • Mystery Readers of America Macavity AwardA Place of Execution‘Bouchercon kicked off formally with an opening ceremony and awards celebration, at which I was awarded the Macavity for Best Crime Novel of 2000 for A Place of Execution. The accolade is voted on by the members of Mystery Readers International, and it was a particular thrill for me to win it because the very first event I ever did with US readers was at an MRI event at the home of Janet Rudolph, who runs MRI and edits its prestigious Mystery Readers Journal. It was Janet and her fellow enthusiasts who persuaded me to attend my first Bouchercon in 1994, and that was the convention that marked the real start of my building a US readership. I came away from that Bouchercon with a contract for paperback publication of the Kate Brannigan novels and a deal with Spinsters Ink for the Lindsay Gordons. So it felt almost like coming full circle to win the Macavity.’
  • Svenska Deckarakademiens Prize best translated crime novel (shortlist) – A Place of Execution/em>
  • WH Smith Thumping Good Read Award (shortlist) – Killing The Shadows
  • Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year (shortlist) – The Distant Echo



  • Crime Writers’ Association Macallan Gold Dagger for Fiction (shortlist) – A Place of Execution




  • Crime Writers’ Association Macallan Gold Dagger for Fiction (shortlist) – Crack Down
  • Crime Writers’ Association Macallan Short Story Dagger (shortlist) – The Writing on the Wall