Monday, December 21, 2009

The Decade in Review: Anthony Award winners (2000-2009)

Well, it turns out I have internet access and time to kill for the first couple of days of my Europe and Egypt Xmas/New Years adventure, so I thought I'd ignore my 'hiatus' post from Saturday temporarily; a hiatus from the hiatus, if you will (although it will kick into gear later this week). I'm off to see Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap" in London tonight, so I'll post about that later, but for now I thought I'd take another decade-long look back at some of the major crime writing award winners of the 2000s.

As I noted on Thursday and Saturday, as we get to the end of the year, we're starting to see more and more 'best of the year' lists and reflections - which can always provide some ammunition for debate and discussion. Given that it's 2009, we're also seeing a fair few 'reviewing the whole decade' type lists. Inspired by that, I thought I'd take a look (in something of a short series) at some of the crime fiction themes, highlights, or otherwise noteworthy happenings of the decade. And I'd be really interested to get your perspective in the comments section as well, on each topic.

For the third in this short series, I'm taking a look at one of the other most prestigious crime writing awards, the Anthony Award for Best Novel, voted on and presented each year at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. The awards are named for Anthony Boucher (1911-1968), one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America.

As I noted back in October, the attendees at this year's Indianapolis event voted Michael Connelly's THE BRASS VERDICT as the 2009 Anthony Award winner for Best Novel. THE BRASS VERDICT is Connelly's second novel to feature defence attorney Mickey Haller (who debuted in THE LINCOLN LAWYER), and also brings Haller and Connelly's most-loved main character, Harry Bosch, together - Bosch is investigating the murder of a Hollywood lawyer, while Haller has taken over that lawyer's most high-profile case, the defense of a prominent Hollwyood executive accused of slaughtering his wife and her lover. You can read an extract of THE BRASS VERDICT here.

The full list of winners this decade is:
Unlike the Edgar and Gold Dagger lists from my previous posts, there are plenty of multiple winners with the Anthony Award. In fact there were only 6 different authors sharing the ten Best Novel Awards this decade, with the past seven awards shared by just three authors; Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman, and William Kent Krueger. Connelly also won in both 1997 and 1999, meaning three authors have shared 9 of the past 13 awards - so the Bouchercon attendees and voters certainly have their favourites.

Also unlike the Edgar and Gold Dagger Award lists I have read most of these authors - in fact William Kent Krueger is the only author on this list I haven't read.

Have you read any of these titles? Which is your favourite? Which do you think is the best out of all ten Anthony Award winners this decade? Thoughts and comments welcome


  1. I have read five of these,
    In A Dry Season
    The Brass Verdict
    Mystic River
    Every Secret Thing
    Blood Hollow

    And rate them in that order. I have always thought Peter Robinson is much underrated compared to Ian Rankin for example.

  2. I'm afraid I'll never get what these award givers see in Lippman or Lehane - neither of whom would make my list of top writers (and certainly not with these books - two of which I really disliked). Which is one of the reasons I don't follow award winners - I tend to disagree with the judges :)

  3. Lippman certainly seems popular with several of the US-based awards givers, both for her novels and some short stories. I haven't read enough of her to comment yet, though do have 2 more in the TBR pile...

    As I've found doing these lists, I don't really follow award-winners either (see the fact I've read none of the CWA Gold Dagger or Edgar winning books of the past decade, although i have read some of the authors). However they are interesting to consider - often saying more about the particular organisations/judges than the books,perhaps?

    Though to be fair, the one book i was reminded to read this year, due to it winning the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger (it was in my TBR pile already, but jumped up the list when I read about it more), was excellent - THE LAST CHILD by John Hart

  4. Greetings,

    I've only read two of the books listed--_In a Dry Season_ by Peter Robinson and _Mystic River_ by Dennis Lehane. I have read others by Michael Connelly, but not the prize winners.

    My favorite would have to be Robinson's _In a Dry Season_. I haven't read that much by Connelly, but I do have several of his in my TBR bookcase.

    Since I've read so few of the titles, I would rate the authors as follows:

    1. Peter Robinson--I've read everything he's written so far.
    2. Michael Connelly--I like his Harry Bosch novels.
    3. Dennis Lehane--I will probably read more by him, but I have nothing of his waiting right now.