The multi-nominated Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Reginald Hill and Lee Child will go head to head with some of the genre's newest stars including Rosamund Lupton whose debut novel Sister was the fastest selling debut of 2010; Simon Lelic who published his debut Rupture to much critical acclaim; and former journalist and screenwriter Belinda Bauer, whose debut novel Blacklands led her to be hailed as the woman most likely to lead the fight back against the Scandinavian crime-wave.
A third of this year's longlist is made up of women, continuing a trend from last year, as female authors even the gender balance in a traditionally male-dominated genre. As well as McDermid, Lupton and Bauer, the list also includes Laura Wilson, nominated for A Capital Crime, SJ Bolton for Blood Harvest and Sophie Hannah (A Room Swept White) whose poetry is studied by English students across the country.
Now in its seventh year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, in partnership with Asda, and this year in association with the Daily Mirror, was created to celebrate the very best in crime writing and is open to British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1st January 2010 to 31st May 2011.
A major accolade in the crime writing field, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award is unique in that it is the only one of its kind which is largely voted for by the general public. As of today (Friday 13th May), the public will have until Sunday 5th June to vote for their favourite title at www.theakstons.co.uk and the result of this vote will determine the six titles that make it onto the shortlist.
The longlist in full:
* Blacklands, by Belinda Bauer (Corgi)
* From the Dead, by Mark Billingham (Sphere)
* Blood Harvest, by S J Bolton (Corgi Books)
* 61 Hours, by Lee Child (Bantam Books)
* Winterland, by Alan Glynn (Faber)
* A Room Swept White, by Sophie Hannah (Hodder)
* The Woodcutter, by Reginald Hill (Harper Fiction)
* Rupture, by Simon Lelic (Picador)
* Sister, by Rosamund Lupton (Piatkus)
* Dark Blood, by Stuart MacBride (Harper Fiction)
* Fever of the Bone, by Val McDermid (Sphere)
* Fifty Grand, by Adrian McKinty (Serpent's Tail)
* Still Bleeding, Steve Mosby (Orion)
* The Twelve, by Stuart Neville (Vintage)
* Random, by Craig Robertson (Simon & Schuster)
* The Holy Thief, by William Ryan (Pan Books)
* The Anatomy of Ghosts, by Andrew Taylor (Michael Joseph)
* A Capital Crime, by Laura Wilson, (Quercus)
The shortlist will be announced on 1st July, and the eventual winner will be decided by a panel of judges including this year's Festival chair Dreda Say Mitchell, the journalist and novelist Henry Sutton, the winner of a Daily Mirror reader competition and Simon Theakston, Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd.
The longlisted and shortlisted titles will feature in a nationwide library campaign encouraging readers to vote, and will be promoted in Asda stores across the country.
The winner of the prize will be announced by radio broadcaster and festival regular Mark Lawson on the opening night of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate on Thursday 21st July. The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.