Thursday, April 30, 2020

Caregiver Captures First-Novel Prize

Following closely on the heels of this morning’s news about the recipients of this year’s Edgar Awards comes the announcement that Phoenix, Arizona, nurse Rebecca Roque has won the 2020 St. Martin’s Minotaur/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition. That prize includes a one-book, $10,000 publishing contract.

Roque’s victorious submission to this annual contest was an unpublished work tentatively titled Till Human Voices Wake Us. According to a news release, the book “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 has never been her style.” Till Human Voices Wake Us is slated for release in 2021.

“We’re thrilled to have selected Rebecca Roque and her novel, Till Human Voices Wake Us, as this year’s competition winner,” says Minotaur associate publisher Kelley Ragland. “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.”

Previous winners of this Best First Crime Novel Contest include Stefanie Pintoff (in 2008, for In the Shadow of Gotham), Eleanor Kuhns (in 2011, for A Simple Murder), John Keyse-Walker (in 2015, for The Drowned Land), and in 2019, Nev March, whose Murder in Old Bombay is due out from Minotaur this coming November.

Minotaur is now accepting submissions for its 2021 First Crime Novel Competition. Click here to find rules and deadlines.

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