Thursday, January 22, 2015
Is this the best Edgar Award shortlist in years?
With today's announcement (NZT) of the finalists for the prestigious MWA Edgar Awards, I'm prodded to muse whether this may be the best overall shortlist the Best Novel Award has seen in quite some time.
As someone who loves crime fiction, reads a lot, and runs a crime fiction award myself, I'm always keeping an eye out on the crime fiction award happenings around the globe each year. It's great to see great books being recognised, whether they are well-known bestsellers or underappreciated hidden gems. But sometimes some of the awards lists leave me scratching my head - did the judges not consider certain books? Were they determined not to reward bigger name authors who'd put out brilliant books? Or previous winners.
I've often called the Edgars the Oscars of the crime writing world, and they - along with the Daggers in the UK, are probably still seen as the big daddy of the English-speaking crime awards. But in recent years I've often been left wondering when I read the shortlists (despite some absolutely tremendous and well-deserving winners like John Hart's DOWN RIVER and THE LAST CHILD). Am I just on a completely different page, reading-wise, to these judges? (though it is nice to be pointed to other great books I'd not heard of).
This year though, I have no such thoughts. I've read two of the six finalists, and have them both in my top five books from 2014 (Wiley Cash's THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY and Karin Slaughter's COP TOWN). Both are exceptional, layered, evocative crime fiction tales that truly show off what is great about this genre. I've also read terrific crime fiction from the other finalists, and see them all as modern masters.
So my question is, personally, is the best Edgars shortlist we have had, across the board, in quite some time? It very well could be. I'd love to get your thoughts, and picks for a winner. And your own favourites, whether mentioned or overlooked this year.
You can read the shortlists for all the Edgar Awards here.