Saturday, August 30, 2014

McIlvanney Takes the Marsh

Liam McIlvanney, a professor of Scottish Studies at New Zealand’s University of Otago, has won the 2014 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. Judges of this year’s competition applauded his tale Where the Dead Men Go (Faber and Faber, 2013)--the second entry in his series about Glasgow journalist Gerry Conway--as a “fascinating, brilliant, and challenging” work of fiction. The declaration of McIlvanney’s triumph was made on Saturday evening, following the Great New Zealand Crime Debate event at the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival. McIlvanney is the son of “Tartan Noir” novelist William McIlvanney (Laidlaw).

Judging convenor Craig Sisterson says of McIlvanney’s success: “In a year where we had our strongest, deepest, and most diverse longlist ever, and four truly fantastic finalists, Where the Dead Men Go got the nod for its terrific, page-turning storytelling powered by superb prose, fascinating characters, and an evocative sense of place. It’s the kind of book that lingers in your mind beyond the final page.”

A press release announcing the 2014 Ngaio Marsh Award results synopsizes the plot of McIvanney’s latest novel this way:
In Where the Dead Men Go, Glasgow stands on the precipice: of the Commonwealth Games, a national vote on Scottish independence, and an explosive rekindling of a brutal gangland war. Gerry Conway is a jaded, jobbing journo, the golden child fallen, clinging to the coat-tails of his former protégé, Martin Moir. When Moir’s body is discovered as a big story breaks, Conway steps into his shoes; a very dangerous place, as gangsters, politicians, and other predators swirl around.
The book is finally set for release in the United States on October 2.

To capture the Ngaio Marsh Award, Where the Dead Men Go had to surpass three other shortlisted works: My Brother’s Keeper, by Donna Malane (HarperCollins); Frederick’s Coat, by Alan Duff (Vintage); and Joe Victim, by Paul Cleave (Simon & Schuster). “In addition to the award itself,” press materials explain, “McIlvanney wins a set of Dame Ngaio’s novels, courtesy of HarperCollins, and a cheque for $1,000 from the Christchurch Writers’ Festival Trust.”

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