Mick Herron wins crime novel of the year award for Slough House

Mick Herron has won the Theakston Old Peculier crime novel of the year award, after his fifth time being shortlisted in six years.

Herron won the award for Slough House, the seventh instalment in his series of the same name, which follows a band of failed spies. In the book, a new populist movement is taking hold on London’s streets, and the spies find themselves on the run in the aftermath of a blunder by the Russian secret service that left a British citizen dead.

Related: Mick Herron: ‘I’m interested in incompetence, things going wrong’

The series was recently turned into an Apple TV+ show starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Herron received £3,000, as well as an engraved beer barrel provided by the sponsors.

The award was presented during the opening ceremony of the Theakston Old Peculier crime writing festival. Herron was chosen as the winner by a panel including Simon Theakston, executive director of Theakston, television presenter Steph McGovern, journalists Matt Nixon and Joe Haddow, representation from Waterstones and Sharon Canavar, chief executive of Harrogate international festivals.

The public also voted for their favourite book from the shortlist, with a record-breaking 11,313 readers casting a vote. The public vote contributed to the panel’s decision.

Theakston said Slough House “manages to combine intrigue, peril and humour in a deft exploration of international espionage”.

Joseph Knox’s True Crime Story was highly commended by the judges. The book blends fact and fiction to tell the story of a student who leaves a party in her Manchester university dorm and is not seen again. Knox was selected by Val McDermid as a New Blood panellist in 2017 and made the longlist for the award in 2018 for his thriller Sirens.

The other books on the shortlist were The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths, Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan and The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean.

The ceremony also saw Michael Connelly receive the Outstanding contribution to crime fiction award in recognition of his three-decade writing career. He follows in the footsteps of previous honourees Ian Rankin, Lynda La Plante, Lee Child, Val McDermid and PD James.

Canavar called Connelly’s career remarkable and said his “crime novels have kept readers on the edge of their seats for 30 years”.