Scottish author Chris Brookmyre has been named as the winner of a major crime-writing prize, beating renowned crime novelist Val McDermid to the accolade.
Brookmyre’s cyber-abuse effort Black Widow – which features his long-time character investigative detective Jack Parlabane – scooped the Theakston Old Peculier crime novel of the year award at the annual ceremony.
He was up against fellow Scottish writer McDermid for her 2016 novel Out Of Bounds, part of her Inspector Karen Pirie series, who previously won the title in 2006 and who last year won the ceremony’s top prize, the outstanding contribution to crime fiction award.
His novels have been adapted into a four-part drama for BBC1 – here the author reveals why his thrillers are the real deal.
By Mark Lawson
Tuesday 11 July 2017
The problem with novelists, says Mark Billingham, is that “as a rule, they tend not to play well with others. You spend a year on your own writing a book. So it’s difficult suddenly to be thrown in a room with loads of other people.”
But the bestselling crime writer is, in three senses, coming out to play at the moment. He spent time on the set and in the editing suite of In the Dark, a four-part adaptation of two of his novels featuring DS Helen Weeks, a young detective who investigates a child murder while heavily pregnant. The day after we meet at his north London home, he’s off to Liverpool to start a promotional tour for Love like Blood, his 14th novel featuring London homicide detective DI Tom Thorne, and, while there, he has scheduled the first rehearsal for a summer tour with his rock band, the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers.
The election of Donald Trump last November had an unexpected result in my household. My 16-year-old son developed a fascination with systems of governance. The disparity between the popular vote – won by Hillary Clinton – and the electoral college that propelled Trump into office offended his sense of justice.
It’s been a recurring topic of conversation ever since. We discussed monarchy versus republicanism over pizza. It took several breakfasts to cover communism satisfactorily. I hadn’t even had my second cup of coffee the morning we moved on to Julius Nyerere’s dream of pan-African socialism.
forced me to re-examine tenets I’ve tended to take for granted. Sure, I’ve grumbled about disproportional representation, raged over democratic deficits and moaned when the verdict of the people didn’t coincide with mine. But it took those conversations with a 16-year-old to remind me of the idealist I used to be, and to consider what true reformation might mean.