It has been announced that the former Uber driver has won this year’s award for his book The Chain.

The Belfast born Adrian McKinty has been awarded the UK’s crime award, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, for his best-selling thriller, The Chain, that sees parents forced to abduct children to save the lives of their own.

Talking about the news, Adrian McKinty said: “I am gobsmacked and delighted to win this award. Two years ago, I had given up on writing altogether and was working in a bar and driving an uber, and so to go from that to this is just amazing. People think that you write a book and it will be an immediate bestseller. For twelve books, my experience was quite the opposite, but then I started this one. It was deliberately high concept, deliberately different to everything else I had written – and I was still convinced it wouldn’t go anywhere… but now look at this. It has been completely life changing.”

The Chain was chosen as this year’s winner by public vote and the prize Judges, against a shortlist that included books from Oyinkan Braithwaite, Helen Fitzgerald, Jane Harper, Mick Herron and Abir Mukherjee.

The news was revealed in a virtual awards ceremony on what would have been the opening night of Harrogate’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. Instead, the announcement of this coveted trophy has marked the launch of the HIF Weekender, Harrogate International Festival’s free virtual festival bringing world-class culture to everyone at home, featuring performances and interviews with internationally acclaimed musicians, best-selling authors and innovative thinkers.

Adrian McKinty was previously nominated in 2011, 2014 and 2016 for his Sean Duffy series will now receive £3,000 and an engraved oak beer cask, hand-carved by one of Britain’s last coopers from Theakstons Brewery.

The Chain is available to buy now.