Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Top crime and controversy: Anthony Award nominees

Tana French, Louise Penny, and Laura Lippman are among the nominees for the 2015 Anthony Awards that were announced overnight (NZT). The Anthony Awards were established in 1986 and are presented at the annual Bouchercon conference.

Unlike many other awards, the Anthonys are determined by conference attendees rather than an expert judging panel. The Awards celebrate Anthony Boucher (a founder of Mystery Writers of America) and past winners read like a Who's Who of the crime writing community.

This year's winners will be selected and announced at the Bouchercon in Raleigh, North Carolina on 8-11 October. I know that organiser Ali Karim and his team are working very hard to ensure the Raleigh conference is a terrific event. Here are the nominations for this year's awards (with a few comments):

Best Novel
  • Lamentation - Joe Clifford
  • The Secret Place - Tana French
  • After I'm Gone - Laura Lippman
  • The Long Way Home - Louise Penny
  • Truth Be Told - Hank Phillippi Ryan

My take: Well, I haven't read any of those books, although I've read stories by Penny and Lippman and have a couple of Tana French novels on my TBR pile. I've heard some good things about Hank Phillipi Ryan too. Interesting quintet, given all the good and great crime novels that came out last year.

Best First Novel
  • Blessed Are the Dead - Kristi Belcamino
  • Ice Shear - M.P. Cooley
  • Invisible City - Julia Dahl
  • The Life We Bury - Allen Eskens 
  • The Black Hour - Lori Rader-Day

Best Paperback Original
  • Stay With Me - Alison Gaylin
  • The Killer Next Door - Alex Marwood
  • The Day She Died - Catriona McPherson
  • World of Trouble - Ben H. Winters
  • No Stone Unturned - James W. Ziskin
My take: 0 for 5 again here. But I've heard good things about Marwood. 

Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work
  • The Figure of the Detective: A Literary History and Analysis - Charles Brownson
  • Death Dealer: How Cops and Cadaver Dogs Brought a Killer to Justice - Kate Clark Flora 
  • Dru's Book Musings - Dru Ann Love []
  • Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe - J.W. Ocker
  • Writes of Passage: Adventures on the Writer's Journey - Hank Phillippi Ryan, ed.
My take: this category is already causing a bit of controversy, with the inclusion of a blog amongst the nominees, and in particular a blog that has been noted on some forums for focusing on cosy-style mysteries, giving only positive, publisher-friendly reviews, and has been accused by some of having too many ties to publishers or lacking objectivity. Some commentators seem to decry the inclusion of any blog, while others would be happy if it were a more critically substantive blog. It's certainly an interesting inclusion by the Bouchercon attendees and registrants - clearly Dru's Book Musings is valued by many people in that group. 

Best Short Story
  • "Honeymoon Sweet" Murder at the Beach: The Bouchercon Anthology 2014 - Craig Faustus Buck 
  • "The Shadow Knows" Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays - Barb Goffman
  • "Howling at the Moon" Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Nov 2014 - Paul D. Marks
  • "Of Dogs & Deceit" Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Nov 2014 - John Shepphird
  • "The Odds Are Against Us" Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Nov 2014 - Art Taylor
Best Anthology or Collection
  • FaceOff - David Baldacci, ed. 
  • Murder at the Beach: The Bouchercon Anthology 2014 - Dana Cameron, ed.
  • Trouble in the Heartland: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen - Joe Clifford, ed.
  • In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon - Laurie R. King & Leslie S. Klinger, eds.
  • Carolina Crimes: 19 Tales of Love, Lust, and Longing - Karen Pullen, ed.
My take: It's unsurprising that the Bouchercon registrants/attendees voted for the nomination of the Bouchercon anthology. The concept behind FaceOff is intriguing - pairing up famous mystery protagonists. The anthology that most piques my interest however is Trouble in the Heartland. I'm a big Bruce Springsteen fan, and one of the things I most enjoy is his poetic, storytelling style of song writing. Movies have been written inspired by his songs, and I'm very intrigued by the idea of crime fiction inspired by his music. I'll have to look into that anthology and grab myself a copy. 

Congratulations to all the nominees! Hat tip to the wonderful Janet Rudolph of Mystery Fanfare. 

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