The winner of the 2011 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel is BLOOD MEN by Paul Cleave. The award was presented at the end of the fantastic "Setting the Stage for Murder" event in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon (I apologise for the delayed post - I had no Internet access the past 36 hours). It was a truly terrific event, with a great crowd first enthralled by Tess Gerritsen and John Hart (a session chaired by Ngaio Marsh Award judge Graham Beattie), then the four Ngaio Marsh Award finalists: Cleave, Paddy Richardson, Neil Cross, and Alix Bosco (Greg McGee).
Here are some of the judges' comments about BLOOD MEN:
- "Cleave is an original, a writer with his own distinctive voice"
- "Incredibly well written ... Excellent pace & black humour. It has stayed with me for ages"
- Cleave tells a gruesomely gripping story in clean, sharp prose, with authentically laconic dialogue and flashes of very dark humour. The twists and turns of the fast-moving plot are often surprising but never illogical. This is world-class writing."
- "Cleave's prose crackles with energy. He gets you deep inside the head of a troubled man, and takes you on a great ride, story-wise, with plenty of twists in plot and character to keep you on your toes."
- "This thriller moves at a furious pace. Paints a detailed, dystopian picture of Christchurch which I hope is not accurate."