It's that time of year again, where the judges of the Ngaio Marsh Award start enjoying some good and great New Zealand crime, mystery, and thriller writing - crime writing in the broadest sense, beyond traditional notions of detective fiction. Books that wander the entire mansion of crime storytelling, poking about in various rooms from modern serial killer thrillers to historic cosy-style mysteries, tales set at home and abroad, from police procedurals to tales stretching the genre boundaries.
I continue to be pleased by the growth of the genre in New Zealand. The quality of our writers is ahead of the curve, waiting for the reading and book-buying public to catch up, particularly at home. Although there are several great authors currently in hiatus who I'd love to see return to the crime writing page (see here and here), including past winners and finalists, each year we seem to have a growing selection of tales to consider for judging. It turns out 2016 is by far our biggest year for the awards yet, with more than 30 novels delving into crime released by New Zealand authors last year.
As Paul Cleave, twice-winner of the Ngaio Marsh Award and 'defending champion' for FIVE MINUTES ALONE, said when he was named an NZSA Honorary Literary Fellow earlier this year, there are many up and coming authors starting to hit the market, and "the best is still yet to come".
Along with the increase in eligible books, this year we're seeing an expansion in the Ngaio Marsh Awards, with the introduction of a new category especially for debut authors, the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel. I'm very pleased that once again the winner of this year's awards will be announced and celebrated at an event at WORD Christchurch Writers Festival in late August.
Before then, however, we'll be announcing a longlist for the Best Crime Novel award and then finalists for each of the Best Crime Novel and Best First Novel awards. Following on from the success of last year's 'Murder in the Library' series celebrating longlisted authors, we'll be expanding that event series at libraries throughout New Zealand (and possibly the UK). So keep an eye out for announcements about author events in your local area. We'd love to see you there.
It's certainly exciting times here at awards HQ, and I'm looking forward to sharing more cool news with you all in the near future. But for now, here's a list of New Zealand books released last year for you to peruse. You can click on links to read a review of the book.
- INSIDE THE BLACK HORSE by Ray Berard
- ELEMENTARY: THE GHOST LINE by Adam Christopher
- MADE TO KILL by Adam Christopher
- TRUST NO ONE by Paul Cleave
- RUNNING TOWARDS DANGER by Tina Clough
- ERASERBYTE by Cat Connor
- MURDER & MATCHMAKING by Debbie Cowens
- THE FIXER by John Daniell
- LOSING & WINNING by Thomas W Devine
- SASSAFRAS by Richard Gooch
- STARLIGHT PENINSULA by Charlotte Grimshaw
- BREATHE AND RELEASE by Katherine Hayton
- SKELETAL by Katherine Hayton
- RETURN TO LUCIFER CREEK by Gary Joll
- THE OMEGA SEQUENCE by Nelson King
- NOTHING HAPPENS HERE by DJ Lane
- THEY CALL ME ALEXANDRA GASTONE by TA MacLagan
- THE MURDER TRAIL by Leonie Mateer
- COLD HARD MURDER by Trish McCormack
- THE DEATH RAY DEBACLE by David McGill
- THE HOUR OF THE GREY WOLF by Christodolous Moisa
- THE MISTAKE by Grant Nicol
- THE ALO RELEASE by Geoffrey Robert
- THE DEVIL'S WIRE by Deborah Rogers
- THE MARK OF HALAM by Thomas Ryan
- AMERICAN BLOOD by Ben Sanders
- SOMETHING IS ROTTEN by Adam Sarafis
- THE GENTLEMAN'S CLUB by Jen Shieff
- FOOTSTEPS FROM THE SHADOWS by Gareth Solomon
- HOODWINKED by Ken Smith
- BLOOD, WINE & CHOCOLATE by Julie Thomas
- JUMPING TRACKS by HTR Williams
- TWISTER by Jane Woodham
How many have you read? Just who will our finalists and winners be?