And the winner is... Chippy’s Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh
Clare Mackintosh

Her debut novel I Let You Go was named Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year last night, Thursday, so there are great expectations as Clare Mackintosh’s follow-up comes out next week.

The former Thames Valley police officer turned freelance writer found herself catapulted into the upper reaches of best-seller lists with her first book, a psychological thriller with a twist that thrilled readers.

Having grown accustomed to welcoming big-name writers to the area as founder of Chippy Lit Festival, she suddenly found herself sharing the stage with them at events – around the globe.

The Theakston’s prize is just the latest acclaim for her debut work. I Let You Go was a Sunday Times bestseller and the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015.

It was selected for both the Richard and Judy Book Club, and was the winning title of the readers’ vote for the summer 2015 selection, and ITV’s Loose Women’s Loose Books.

And it also won plaudits from her peers, plus an enthusiastic following on social media, where she engagingly shared thoughts on reactions to the book alongside her wry observations on everyday life.

Fans have been able to follow the evolution of I See You online for months with insights into the research and hints of how she is following up such a big hit. The wait will finally be over next Thursday, July 28, when it appears in hardback and ebook versions.

Reflecting on the story so far, she told the Banbury Guardian this week: “I’ve had so much local support for my books, from booksellers, libraries and from readers, and I’m very grateful to everyone who bought, borrowed, read or recommended I Let You Go.

“It’s been an astonishing couple of years, with book events all over the world - my feet have hardly touched the ground. I hope they enjoy I See You as much.

“As with my first book, I wrote most of it in my office at home in Chipping Norton, often retreating to a cafe for a change of scenery.”

But while the publication date of I See You is almost upon us, Clare is not resting on her laurels and her schedule also includes some exciting news for fans of I Let You Go.

She added: “Right now I’m working on my third novel, another psychological thriller, and writing the screenplay for I Let You Go.”

And while she may have become something of a globetrotter she will be staying true to her roots with a launch party for I See You at Jaffe and Neale in Chippy on August 8, from 6.30-8.30pm, open to all.