Every year, the Mystery Writers of America bestow Edgar awards in various categories, including Best Novel, Best First Novel by an American Author, Best Short Story, and so on. The nominees come out in January and the Edgars are given at a star-studded banquet (think Oscars, but with a lower glamour quotient). This year’s ceremony is April 28; as always, it’s in New York City. Oh, I wish I could go! As an MWA member I get an invite and it. would. be. a. thrill.
This will be my sixth year of reading, reviewing, and ranking the nominees for Best Novel and Best First Novel. My track record, in terms of agreeing with the MWA, has been mixed. But since I’m not trying to predict who WILL win, but instead, letting you know who SHOULD win, that’s not a big deal. Although when we agree perfectly (which has actually happened), I feel a certain smug satisfaction.
And the list of finalists is out! I’m pretty excited to get started reading. I see some familiar names, including Michael Robotham, Philip Kerr and Lori Roy. On the newbie side, I’ve only read Jessica Knoll’s Luckiest Girl Alive.
- The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
- The Lady From Zagreb by Philip Kerr (Penguin Random House – A Marian Wood Book)
- Life or Death by Michael Robotham (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland Books)
- Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy (Penguin Random House – Dutton)
- Canary by Duane Swierczynski (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland Books)
- Night Life by David C. Taylor (Forge Books)
Best First Novel
- Past Crimes by Glen Erik Hamilton (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
- Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
- Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll (Simon & Schuster)
- The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Atlantic – Grove Press)
- Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm (Penguin Random House – Viking
I may even attempt to get to the Best Paperback Novel, but don’t hold me to it. Here are those nominees.
- The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
- The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter by Malcolm Mackay (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland Books)
- What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
- Woman with a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)
- Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)
- The Daughter by Jane Shemilt (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
To the nominees: I know the tension is killing you… who will receive the Literary Lunchbox Edgars? Watch this space over the next three months to see how you fare against your brethren. May the odds be ever in your favor.
To the readers: Ditto. And for this who are not up for the tension of reading without knowing who won… Here’s a list of last year’s nominees AND the winners for your enjoyment.