Sunday, March 19, 2023



Lefty Award Winners: Left Coast Crime 2023

The Lefty Awards were announced last night at the Left Coast Crime Convention in Tucson, Arizona. Congratulations to all!

Lefty Nominees for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
  • Ellen Byron, Bayou Book Thief (Berkley Prime Crime)

Lefty Nominees for Best Historical Mystery Novel

(The Bill Gottfried Memorial) for books set before 1970
  • Wanda M. Morris, Anywhere You Run (William Morrow)

    Lefty Nominees for Best Debut Mystery Novel
    • Ramona Emerson, Shutter (Soho Crime)

    Lefty Nominees for Best Mystery Novel

    (not in other categories)
    • Kellye Garrett, Like a Sister (Mulholland Books)

    Saturday, March 18, 2023

    Thriller Award Nominees 2023: International Thriller Writers

    International Thriller Writers
    announced t
    he nominees for the 2023 Thriller Awards.

    Best Hardcover Novel:
     The Violence, by Delilah S. Dawson (Del Rey)
     Things We Do in the Dark, by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur)
     The Fervor, by Alma Katsu (Putnam)
     The Children on the Hill, by Jennifer McMahon (Simon & Schuster)
     Two Nights in Lisbon, by Chris Pavone (MCD)
     Sundial, by Catriona Ward (Macmillan)

    Best Audiobook:
     Young Rich Widows, by Kimberly Belle, Fargo Layne, Cate Holahan, and Vanessa Lillie; narrated by Dina Pearlman, Karissa Vacker, Helen Laser, and Ariel Blake (Audible)

     The Lies I Tell, by Julie Clark; narrated by Anna Caputo and Amanda Dolan (Audible)
     The Photo Thief, by J.L. Delozier; narrated by Rachel L. Jacobs and Jeffrey Kafer (CamCat)
     Things We Do in the Dark, by Jennifer Hillier; narrated by Carla Vega (Macmillan Audio)
     The Silent Woman, by Minka Kent; narrated by Christine Lakin and Kate Rudd (Blackstone)

    Best First Novel:
     The Resemblance, by Lauren Nossett (Flatiron)
     Blood Sugar, by Sascha Rothchild (Putnam)
     Dirt Creek (aka Dirt Town), by Hayley Scrivenor (Flatiron)
     A Flicker in the Dark, by Stacy Willingham (Minotaur)
     The Fields, by Erin Young (Flatiron)

    Best Paperback Original Novel:
     The Lies I Told, by Mary Burton (Montlake)
     No Place to Run, by Mark Edwards (Thomas & Mercer)
     Unmissing, by Minka Kent (Thomas & Mercer)
     The Housemaid, by Freida McFadden (Grand Central)
     Anywhere You Run, by Wanda Morris (Morrow)
     The Couple Upstairs, by Holly Wainwright (Pan Macmillan)
     The Patient’s Secret, by Loreth Anne White (Montlake)

    Best Short Story:
     “Russian for Beginners,” by Dominique Bibeau (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine [EQMM], March/April 2022)
     “The Gift,” by Barb Goffman (from Land of 10,000 Thrills, edited by Greg Herren; Down & Out)
     “Publish or Perish,” by Smita Harish Jain (EQMM, September/October 2022)
     “33 Clues Into the Disappearance of My Sister,” by Joyce Carol Oates (EQMM, March/April 2022)
     “Schrödinger, Cat,” by Anna Scotti (EQMM, March/April 2022)
     “Stockholm,” by Catherine Steadman (Amazon Original Stories)

    Best Young Adult Novel:
     Our Crooked Hearts, by Melissa Albert (Flatiron)
     Sugaring Off, by Gillian French (Algonquin Young Readers)
     Daughter, by Kate McLaughlin (Wednesday)
     What’s Coming to Me, by Francesca Padilla (Soho Teen)
     I’m the Girl, by Courtney Summers (Wednesday)

    Best E-Book Original Novel:
     Evasive Species, by Bill Byrnes (Self-published)
     The Couple at Causeway Cottage, by Diane Jeffrey (HarperCollins)
     The Seven Truths of Hannah Baxter, by Grant McKenzie 
     The Hollow Place, by Rick Mofina (Self-published)
     Fatal Rounds, by Carrie Rubin (Self-published)

    Charlaine Harris and Walter Mosley will receive 2023 ThrillerMaster Lifetime Achievement Awards. Minotaur Books was named the winner of the 2023 Thriller Legend Award.

    Winners will be announced on Saturday, June 3, during ThrillerFest XVIII, in New York City.

    Wednesday, March 15, 2023

    CrimeFest Award Nominees 2023

    announced its 2023 Awards nominees. The 2023 CrimeFest Awards will be presented at the CrimeFest Awards Dinner on May 13. Congratulations to all!

     Specsavers Crime Fiction Debut Award nominees:

    – Amen Alonge for A Good Day to Die (Quercus)
    – Graham Bartlett for Bad for Good (Allison & Busby)
    – Nita Prose for The Maid (HarperCollins)
    – Oriana Rammuno (translator: Katherine Gregor) for Ashes in the Snow (HarperCollins)
    – Joachim B. Schmidt (translator: Jamie Lee Searle) for Kalmann (Bitter Lemon)
    – Hayley Scrivenor for Dirt Town (Macmillan)
    – John Sutherland for The Siege (Orion Fiction)
    – Stacy Willingham for A Flicker in the Dark (HarperCollins)

    Dunnit Award nominees:
    – Chris Brookmyre for The Cliff House (Abacus)
    – Michael Connelly for Desert Star (Orion Fiction)
    – M.W. Craven for The Botanist (Constable)
    – Sara Gran for The Book of the Most Precious Substance (Faber & Faber)
    – Ian Rankin for A Heart Full of Headstones (Orion Fiction)
    – Peter Swanson for Nine Lives (Faber & Faber)

    H.R.F. Keating Award nominees:
    – J.C. Bernthal & Mary Anna Evans for The Bloomsbury Handbook to Agatha Christie (Bloomsbury Academic)
    – John le Carré (edited by Tim Cornwell) for A Private Spy: The Letters of John le Carré 1945-2020 (Viking)
    – Martin Edwards for The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and their Creators (Collins Crime Club)
    – Barry Forshaw for Simenon: The Man, The Books, The Films (Oldcastle Books)
    – Sian MacArthur for Gender Roles and Political Contexts in Cold War Spy Fiction (Palgrave Macmillan)
    – Lucy Worsley for Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman (Hodder & Stoughton)

    Last Laugh Award nominees:
    – Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May’s Peculiar London (Doubleday)
    – Elly Griffiths for The Locked Room (Quercus)
    – Mick Herron for Bad Actors (Baskerville)
    – Cara Hunter for Hope to Die (Viking)
    – Mike Ripley for Mr Campion’s Mosaic (Severn House)
    – Antti Tuomainen for The Moose Paradox (Orenda Books)

    Nominees for the CRIMEFEST Award for Best Crime Novel for Children (ages 8-12):
    – Elly Griffiths for A Girl Called Justice: The Spy at the Window (Quercus Children’s Books)
    – Anthony Horowitz for Where Seagulls Dare: A Diamond Brothers Case (Walker Books)
    – Sharna Jackson for The Good Turn (Puffin)
    – M.G. Leonard for Spark (Walker Books)
    – Robin Stevens for The Ministry of Unladylike Activity (Puffin)
    – Sarah Todd Taylor for Alice Éclair, Spy Extraordinaire! A Recipe for Trouble (Nosy Crow)

    Nominees for the CRIMEFEST Award for Best Crime Novel for Young Adults (ages 12-16):
    – Holly Jackson for Five Survive (Electric Monkey)
    – Patrice Lawrence for Needle (Barrington Stoke)
    – Finn Longman for The Butterfly Assassin (Simon & Schuster Children’s)
    – Sophie McKenzie for Truth or Dare (Simon & Schuster Children’s)
    – Ruta Sepetys for I Must Betray You (Hodder Children’s Books)
    – Jonathan Stroud for The Notorious Scarlett and Browne (Walker Books)

    Monday, March 13, 2023

    The Unique Pleasures of Writing Both Non-Fiction and Fiction: Guest Post by John McNellis

    John McNellis:
     The Unique Pleasures of Writing Both Non-Fiction and Fiction
    Switching to fiction after a lifetime of writing non-fiction is akin to a Parisian deciding to learn Spanish. It can be done, but not without effort. While many nouns are common to French and Spanish, even the occasional verb, they are different languages. Even within the world of non-fiction, there are different dialects, mostly having to do with timing. A reporter writing an ephemeral piece against a daily deadline has no time for polishing or rewriting, her style is subsumed within the facts, her voice is discouraged, she knows her words will be forgotten, all that matters is setting out the facts in a coherent, logical fashion. Who, how, what, where and why in the lead paragraph.  
    Writing a monthly essay allows one to use his voice, more time to choose words and phrasing with care, words that will hopefully resonate, perhaps even recalled by readers days and weeks later. Yet newspaper essays, too, must be timely, rooted in the moment, tied to a current event. 
    Writing a non-fiction book—in my case, a real estate primer—permits one all the time in the world to write, rewrite and rewrite some more. As opposed to articles and essays, the book must be timeless, its lessons hopefully evergreen. One’s voice can be relatively full-throated, but in business writing at least, everything must be explicit, the dots connected, nothing left to the imagination. The non-fiction is grounded in facts and informed opinion—flights of fancy would be as out of place as a rose in a wheat field. 
    Writing fiction is both liberating and terrifying. Freed from the gravitational pull of the real world, one can float in the clouds, writing whatever comes to mind, however implausible. This freedom is, however, more curse than blessing. Without a strong foundation in fact—if not in setting, then in realistic characters—fiction all often becomes unsatisfying fairy tale. 

    O’Brien’s Law is so heavily fact-based that some readers have supposed it my autobiography, while friends realize it’s a fiction, a painting stretched over a detailed and accurate canvas of time and place: the swinging 70’s of San Francisco. I’d say my novel is a bit like concrete, which is roughly half sand and half cement. With too much sand, concrete is loose and collapses; with too much cement, concrete is brittle and susceptible to stress fractures. That 50-50 formula works for writing; O’Brien’s Law is about half fact and half fiction. The fun part is guessing which is which. 

    Frankly, my novel is heavily fact-based because, not unlike my protagonist Michael O’Brien, I’m lazy and I truly dislike doing research. I lived in San Francisco for six years in the 1970’s, kept personal journals and could thus ground the tale with a verisimilitude impossible with any other city. Setting the story in San Francisco enabled me to write about what I know and, happily, to avoid any location research. While the story is dependent upon neither San Francisco nor the 1970’s—it could unfold anywhere at any time—the City in the 70’s was so alive, crackling with everything from great culture to mediocre professional sports to counter-culture events like the Fillmore to fabulous food, all in the most beautiful physical setting of any city in America. To a 25-year-old like O’Brien, the City promised—or at least gave the illusion of—endless possibilities. That this fabulous care-free setting would have a dark underbelly of suspense and murder is what—hopefully—makes the novel enchanting. 

    As for my writing process, I knew the basic story arc from the first, did an outline before any writing it and yes—spoiler alert—I always knew it would have a happy ending. But the rewriting upon rewriting upon rewriting would make even a persnickety line editor proud. 
    A journalism undergraduate at Berkeley, John McNellis went to Hastings Law College, practiced law in San Francisco for half a dozen years before until he switched to real estate. Despite his successful business career, John was always writing: comedy shows for a theatrical club, a monthly column for the Registry Magazine and the San Francisco Business Timesand, ultimately, a critically acclaimed real estate primer, Making it in Real Estate: Starting Out as A Developer, now an industry standard and taught in universities nationwide. 

    Sunday, March 12, 2023



    The International Association of Crime Writers, North America announced the 2022 Hammett Prize Shortlist. The Hammett Prize is given for literary Excellence in Crime Writing. Books must be published in the English language in the U.S. or Canada. Congratulations to All. Winner will be announced Summer 2023.

    Copperhead Road, by Brad Smith (At Bay Press)
    Gangland, by Chuck Hogan (Grand Central)
    Don’t Know Tough, by Eli Cranor (Soho Crime)
    Pay Dirt Road, by Samantha Jayne Allen (Minotaur)
    What Happened to the Bennetts, by Lisa Scottoline (Putnam)

    HT: The Rap Sheet