Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Critics Choose

The Strand Magazine has announced the nominees for its 2008 Critics Award for Best Mystery Novel and Best First Mystery Novel. Intended to recognize excellence in the field of mystery fiction, the Critics Awards are judged by “a select group of book reviewers from the nation’s top daily newspapers.”

For the 2008 awards, bookseller-editor Otto Penzler served as the award chair for Best Novel and Andrew Gulli served as the award chair for Best First Novel.

This year’s judges include Dennis Drabelle of The Washington Post, David Ulin of the Los Angeles Times, Lev Grossman of Time magazine, Carol Memmott of USA Today, Maureen Corrigan of National Public Radio, and Bruce DeSilva of the Associated Press.

In a press release, The Strand explained its award methodology:
“All judges sent to me, as committee chairman, a list of their 10 favorite books. I made a list that included all of these books--and a disparate selection it was--and the five with the most votes were to be the finalists,” said Otto Penzler, the world famous publisher and proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop. “As it happened, there were three books that made it onto the short list, with five others tied for fourth, so we had a runoff with an extra round of voting to determine the top five nominees. Judges were then asked to list these top five in order of preference, with a first-place vote awarded five points, a second-place vote four points, and so on.”

“I couldn't have been more pleased with this selection of nominees,” said Andrew F. Gulli, the managing editor of
The Strand. “When I read several of these books last year, I had a feeling they would be nominated for the Critics Award.”
The awards will be presented at an invitation-only cocktail party on July 8 in New York City. A lifetime achievement award will be given posthumously to English author John Mortimer.

Here are all of the nominees:

Best Novel:
When Will There Be Good News?, by Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown)
Master of the Delta, by Thomas H. Cook (Houghton Mifflin)
The Brass Verdict, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Lush Life, by Richard Price (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Hollywood Crows, by Joseph Wambaugh (Little, Brown)

Best First Novel:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson (Knopf)
City of the Sun, by David Levien (Doubleday)
A Cure for Night, by Justin Peacock (Doubleday)
Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central Publishing)
A Carrion Death, by Michael Stanley (Harper)

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