The Black Spring Crime Fiction Prize has a winner - who will receive a cash prize and publication in 2021! Thank you to all the entrants - we hope to read more of your entries in future.
After an adventure of thrilling reading and the discovery of many talented writers, our head judge, crime writer Martin Penny, has made the difficult decision to pronounce one a winner:
Rob Smith - Cowan
Rob McClure Smith was born in Scotland. He currently lives in Galesburg, Illinois, and teaches film at Knox College where he is John and Elaine Fellowes Professor of English. His fiction has appeared in Gettysburg Review, Manchester Review, Chicago Quarterly Review,Barcelona Review and many other magazines.
'I'm delighted to be the winner of the Black Spring Crime Fiction
Prize. Small Independent Presses like Eyewear/Black Spring are the lifeblood of new fiction. For some years now, I've been an expatriate working in the United States, caught between two worlds. It was interesting to imagine a Scottish detective adrift in a New World, investigating the corruption on Capitol Hill and how nations come to lose their innocence. He comes to realize what we all suspect: that the difference in the criminality of the mean streets of Glasgow and that of the upper echelons of Washington D.C. is only a matter of degree.' - Robert Smith
It’s taken a very long time to work my way through all the entries and select a winner. This is a testament to the quantity and quality of entrants. We took the decision to slightly extend the deadline and were rewarded with a host of late entries.
Every one was read and duly considered. The overall standard was remarkably high. The 10 novels included on the long list were all thoroughly enjoyable and wouldn’t have been out of place on a shelf in any bookshop.
The four novels on the short list were excellent and any of them would have made a worthy winner. Like any competition, the successful novel will always be the one that most resonates with the judge. Cowan by Rob Smith was the kind of novel I look forward to reading. More than a simple detective story, it is packed with action. It has a great lead character, good dialogue, a solid storyline, and a satisfying ending. The greatest compliment is that the pages sped past. Never once did it drag.
A special mention should be made to the following:
Salma’s Shoesby Alan Evans: Great international story with a poignant ending.
The Hawaiian Missionaries by Timothy Sever: A true detective story with just about everything.
Corpse Pose by Daniel Ward: Terrific plot with a great twist at the end.