Thursday, April 30, 2020



Minotaur Books and the Mystery Writers of America announced today the winner of their First Crime Novel Competition for 2020. Kelley Ragland, Vice President, Associate Publisher for Minotaur Books, made the announcement following the MWA’s naming of their Edgar® Award winners.

The competition winner is Rebecca Roque, a nurse working in Arizona. Her winning novel, tentatively titled Till Human Voices Wake Us, will be published in 2021. The books opens when Alice, the best friend of 17-year-old Silencia “Cia” Lucero, is found dead from a supposed suicide. But Cia knows three things must be true: Alice is dead, Alice could not have killed herself, and Alice, a budding journalist, must have found something. Cia is determined to solve the mystery Alice left behind, no matter who gets in her way. Silence might be her name, but it’s never been her style.

Ragland said of the winning entry, “We’re thrilled to have selected Rebecca Roque and her novel Till Human Voices Wake Us as this year’s competition winner. With a remarkable voice and a diverse cast, the book is an engaging mystery about the life of a town as well as the life of one teenage girl. And when we found out that Rebecca is also a nurse currently working on the frontlines of the COVID crisis, we were even more honored to be able to work with this amazing writer on her debut novel.”

Roque sold her first book at age five to her mother for some red Skittles and hasn’t stopped writing since. Her resume includes an intensive care unit at a busy metropolitan hospital, a juvenile detention center, a comic book shop, and several craft beer bars. She is constantly inspired by the lived stories of people from all walks of life, and believes in the power of tattoos and stories to bring down walls between people. Rebecca was raised in the Midwest, but has made her grown-up home in Phoenix, Arizona.

The First Crime Novel Competition provides a previously unpublished writer an opportunity to launch his or her career with the Minotaur Books imprint. The winner will receive a one-book, $10,000 contract.


About Mystery Writers of America: Mystery Writers of America (MWA) is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. MWA is dedicated to promoting higher regard for crime writing and recognition and respect for those who write within the genre.

About Minotaur Books: Minotaur Books is an imprint of St. Martin’s Press that launched in 1999, publishing 130 hardcover crime fiction titles annually. Minotaur Books grew out of a fifty-year tradition of publishing quality crime fiction at St. Martin’s Press, and has published several award-winning and best-selling titles.

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