Chris Brookmyre wins McIlvanney Prize 2016


The late, great William McIlvanney described Bloody Scotland, which opens this evening, as the most ‘friendly‘ and ‘supportive’ festival he had ever been to.

Bloody Scotland 2016 is dedicated in his honour and tonight his online gambling brother Hugh McIlvanney OBE reveals that the winner of the inaugural Mclvanney Prize (previously Scottish Crime Book of the Year) is Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre.

The judges - journalist, Lee Randall, award-winning librarian, Stewart Bain and former editor of The Scotsman and The Times Scotland, Magnus Linklater – described Black Widow as:

like watching Olympic diving – just when you think the plot can’t twist again, it takes a new turn. Even the twists have twists. With a theme of cyber-abuse, this shows an author taking a long running series to new heights.’

Brookmyre first came to prominence in 1996 with his debut Quite Ugly One Morning which went on to be televised with James Nesbitt of Cold Feet fame in the role of Jack Parlabane. It won the Critics’ First Blood Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year and 20 years later Black Widow has not only won The McIlvanney Prize but is shortlisted for the prestigious CWA Gold Dagger Award to be announced on 11 October.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted in February that her husband had bought Black Widow for her as a Valentine’s present and she stayed up until 2am to finish it.

The McIlvanney Prize recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes an award of £1000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.

Buy Black Widow from Waterstones.

McIlvanney Prize finalists

We're excited to reveal the four finalists of the McIlvanney Prize 2016.


Black Widow - Chris Brookmyre
The Jump - Doug Johnstone
Val McDermid - Splinter the Silence
E. S. Thomson - Beloved Poison

Judges Lee Randall, Stewart Bain & Magnus Linklater said of the finalists:

Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre - this novel is like watching Olympic diving – just when you think the plot can’t twist again, it takes a new turn.  Even the twists have twists.  With a theme of cyber-abuse, this shows an author taking a long running series to new heights.

Splinter the Silence by Val McDermid - set in a totally believable world of internet trolling, this novel features established characters but moves their relationship into a new place, suffused with longing.  Easily accessible, even to those readers who have not been introduced to earlier books in the series.

The Jump by Doug Johnstone a taut psychological thriller with a powerful and absorbing narrative which makes this work a compelling read. The reader is drawn into a family drama, suicide, murder -- and a plot whose outcome remains nail-bitingly unresolved until the final pages.

Beloved Poison by E. S. Thomson - an ambitious and original novel, full of vivid historical detail about Victorian medicine, and a richly gothic atmosphere, with a large cast of wonderfully named characters, including the strong lead character.

The winner of the Scottish Crime Book of the Year will be awarded The McIlvanney Prize in memory of William McIlvanney at the opening ceremony of Bloody Scotland. His brother, Hugh McIlvanney OBE, will present the award on Friday 9th September to the winner and all four finalists will be presented with a full set of Laidlaw novels.

For full info on the longlist go here.

There is also more information available in the press release.

Chris Brookmyre: Top Five Scots Whose Dark Secrets Will Inspire Future Crime Novels

Chris Brookmyre believes he has sussed the five Scots whose dark secrets will shape the future crime bestsellers.

Lorraine Kelly
Nobody is telling me that woman doesn't have a head in her fridge and a blood- spattered altar where she makes horrific sacrifices to a grotesque effigy of Paul Sturrock.

Nicola Sturgeon
Only bloodlines riven with true evil emerge from Dreghorn. She pursued a path to high office to ensure she  had the power to suppress the truth about Ayrshire's hellmouth.

Ian Rankin
All that vinyl he buys is actually for melting down and coating his victims, House of Wax style.

Val McDermid
Workmen have to sign an NDA before they're allowed into her basement. It's a redundant measure as none of them ever recovers the power of speech.

Judith Ralston
The Scottish weather is HER FAULT. She has the power to control it but prefers to watch us suffer.



Chris will be at Bloody Scotland 2016 at the following events:BloodyScotland

Mark Billingham and Chris Brookmyre, Friday 9th September, 8:30pm
Crime Writers Football Match: Scotland v England, Saturday 10th September, 2pm
Chris Brookmyre and Stuart Neville, Saturday 10th September, 5:30pm