Sunday, October 04, 2015

Cleave Captures the Marsh -- Again

Five Minutes Alone (Penguin NZ), by Paul Cleave, has won New Zealand’s 2015 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. That announcement was made last night in Christchurch at the conclusion of the Murder in the Court event. This victory brings Cleave his second Ngaio Marsh Award; he previously won in 2011 for Blood Men.

The following is excerpted from a news release:
“In a year with a remarkable quintet of finalists, it’s fitting that Paul Cleave has become the first author to win the Ngaio Marsh Award twice,” said Judging Convenor Craig Sisterson. “For almost a decade he’s been leading our vanguard on the world stage in what’s becoming a new heyday of local crime writing.”

Five Minutes Alone, “wonderfully complex protagonist” Theo Tate has been resurrected, as a cop and human being, after recovering from a coma. He finds himself chasing a killer he can empathize with: a vigilante who is disposing of society’s worst offenders, giving victims of crime their “five minutes alone” with the culprits. But settling old scores is never as simple as it seems, as Tate knows well himself.
Five Minutes Alone triumphed over an impressive longlist of eight other contenders and a field containing four rival finalists to capture this prize, which has been given out annually since 2010 “for the best crime, mystery, or thriller novel written by a New Zealand citizen or resident.” Also in contention for the 2015 Ngaio Marsh Award were: The Petticoat Men, by Barbara Ewing (Head of Zeus); Swimming in the Dark, by Paddy Richardson (Upstart Press); The Children’s Pond, by Tina Shaw (Pointer Press); and Fallout, by Paul Thomas (Upstart Press). I was among half a dozen people asked to choose between this year’s nominees--the third year in a row I’ve been so honored--and I must confess that Five Minutes Alone was not one of my own top-five picks (I had in mind giving the commendation to another previous recipient). But this is a democratic process, and I respect the prevailing opinions of my fellow judges. So, finally, let me offer my congratulations to Mr. Cleave!

To learn about previous Ngaio Marsh Award winners, click here.

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