Monday, November 10, 2014

Fortunato’s Good Fortune

Mystery Fanfare brings the news that John Fortunato’s Dark Reservations has won the 2014 Tony Hillerman Prize for best debut crime novel set in the American Southwest. That announcement was made this last weekend during the 10th annual Tony Hillerman Writers Conference, held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Fortunato’s prize “comes with a publishing contract with St. Martin’s Press and $10,000.”

Here’s an online description of Dark Reservations’ plot:
Bureau of Indian Affairs Special Agent Joe Evers faces a forced early retirement thanks to a botched investigation a year earlier. But when the bullet-riddled sedan belonging to missing Congressman Arlen Edgerton is found deep in the Navajo Nation, Evers may finally get to escape his tainted past. Teaming up with tribal officer Randall Bluehorse, Evers investigates the Edgerton cold case, now twenty years removed from the headlines, and soon uncovers a conspiracy that leads him from the Office of the President of Navajo Nation to the halls of power in Washington D.C. But he’s having difficulty getting to the truth because the other agents on his squad no longer trust him. And he also must confront his new life as a widower and a single father to a college-aged daughter. When people around him start dying, he suspects Arthur Othmann, a crazed collector of Native American artifacts. The only person willing to help Evers is a disgraced archaeologist whose dig site was looted of the only artifacts that would have proven his controversial theory linking the fall of the Aztec Empire to the rise of the Anasazi in the Southwest.
Philadelphia native Fortunato, explains Mystery Fanfare, “was a captain in the U.S. Army, Military Intelligence, who served at the Pentagon during the early part of the Global War on Terrorism. He is now a Special Agent with the FBI and has earned an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.” Fortunato is described as a resident of Michigan, though his Facebook page says he moved to Gallup, New Mexico, earlier this year, and this FBI page lists him as “Special Agent, Gallup Resident Agency.”

The deadline for submitting manuscripts to next year’s Hillerman Prize competition will be June 1, 2015. For more information, click here.

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