Friday, April 23, 2021

Plenty of Plaudits to Go Around

Any veteran journalist who covers a beat, as I do here at The Rap Sheet, knows there’s never a perfect time to go out of town. It’s always when you are off your patch that some development you really ought to be keeping track of takes place, and you can’t report on it. That was certainly what happened late this week, when my wife and I decided to spend a few days away, celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. Not just one, but four crime-fiction-award-related stories broke in our absence. I’ll go through them individually below.

* * *

The Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) has announced the shortlists of contenders for its 2021 Awards of Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing, formerly known as the Arthur Ellis Awards. These annual prizes, introduced in 1984 (and named most colorfully in honor of Canada’s first official hangman), “recognize the best in mystery, crime, and suspense fiction, and crime non-fiction by Canadian authors.” Winners are to be named on May 27.

Best Crime Novel:
How a Woman Becomes a Lake, by Marjorie Celona (Hamish Hamilton Canada)
The Historians, by Cecilia Ekbäck (HarperCollins)
The Finder, by Will Ferguson (Simon & Schuster Canada)
Obsidian, by Thomas King (HarperCollins)
Hurry Home, by Roz Nay (Simon & Schuster Canada)

Best Crime First Novel:
And We Shall Have Snow, by Raye Anderson (Signature Editions)
The Transaction, by Guglielmo D’Izza (Guernica Editions)
True Patriots, by Russell Fralich (Dundurn Press)
The Woman in the Attic, by Emily Hepditch (Flanker Press)
The Nightshade Cabal, by Chris Patrick Carolan (Parliament
House Press)

The Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada:
Payback, by Randall Denley (Ottawa Press)
Rabbit Foot Bill, by Helen Humphreys (HarperCollins)
The Dogs of Winter, by Ann Lambert (Second Story Press)
Two for the Tablelands, by Kevin Major (Breakwater)
Stay Where I Can See You, by Katrina Onstad (HarperCollins)

Best Crime Novella:
The Unpleasantness at the Battle of Thornford, by C.C. Benison
(At Bay Press)
Coral Reef Views, by Vicki Delany (Orca)
• “Salty Dog Blues,” by Winona Kent (from Crime Wave: A Canada West Anthology, edited by Karen L. Abrahamson; Sisters in Crime-
Canada West Chapter)
Never Going Back, by Sam Wiebe (Orca)

Best Crime Short Story:
• “Cold Wave,” by Marcelle Dubé (from Crime Wave: A Canada West Anthology, edited by Karen L. Abrahamson; Sisters in Crime-
Canada West Chapter)
• “Days Without Name,” by Sylvia Maultash Warsh (from A Grave Diagnosis: 35 Stories of Murder and Malaise, edited by Donna Carrick; Carrick Publishing)
• “Used to Be,” by Twist Phelan (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine [EQMM], January/February 2020)
• “Killer Biznez,” by Zandra Renwick (EQMM, September/October 2020)
• “Limited Liability,” by Sarah Weinman (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, May/June 2020)

Best French Crime Book (fiction and non-fiction):
La mariée de corail, by Roxanne Bouchard (Libre Expression)
Inacceptable, by Stéphanie Gauthier (Éditions Québec Amérique)
Le printemps des traîtres, by Christian Giguère (Héliotrope NOIR)
Les cachettes, by Guy Lalancette (VLB éditeur)
Les Demoiselles du Havre-Aubert, by Jean Lemieux (Éditions
Québec Amérique)

Best Juvenile or YA Crime Book (fiction and non-fiction):
Red Fox Road, by Frances Greenslade (Puffin Canada)
Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House, by Janet Hill (Tundra)
Fight Like a Girl, by Sheena Kamal (Penguin Teen)
Magic Dark and Strange, by Kelly Powell (Margaret K. McElderry)
Hope You’re Listening, by Tom Ryan (Albert Whitman)

The Brass Knuckles Award for Best Non-fiction Crime Book:
Murder in the Family: How the Search for My Mother’s Killer Led to My Father, by Jeff Blackstock (Viking Press)
Horseplay: My Time Undercover on the Granville Strip, by Norm Boucher (NeWest Press)
Blood in the Water: A True Story of Revenge in the Maritimes, by Silver Donald Cameron (Viking Press)
Missing from the Village: The Story of Serial Killer Bruce McArthur, the Search for Justice, and the System That Failed Toronto’s Queer Community, by Justin Ling (McClelland & Stewart)
Cold Case North: The Search for James Brady and Absolom Halkett, by Michael Nest with Deanna Reder and Eric Bell (University of
Regina Press)

The Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript:
The Future, by Raymond Bazowski
Predator and Prey, by Dianne Scott
Notes on Killing Your Wife, by Mark Thomas
A Nice Place to Die, by Joyce Woollcott
Cat with a Bone, by Susan Jane Wright

In addition, the CWC has declared that Marian Misters, co-owner of Toronto’s Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore, will receive the 2021 Derrick Murdoch Award, “a special achievement award for contributions to the Canadian crime-writing genre.”

* * *

Meanwhile, the International Thriller Writers (ITW) has put forth its roster of rivals for the 2021 Thriller Awards, in six categories.

Best Hardcover Novel:
Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron)
Hi Five, by Joe Ide (Mulholland)
The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman (Penguin)
These Women, by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco)
Confessions on the 7:45, by Lisa Unger (Park Row)

Best First Novel:
The Opium Prince, by Jasmine Aimaq (Soho Press)
Without Sanction, by Don Bentley (Berkley)
The Bluffs, by Kyle Perry (Michael Joseph)
Ghosts of Harvard, by Francesca Serritella (Random House)
Winter Counts, by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Ecco)

Best Original Paperback Novel:
When No One Is Watching, by Alyssa Cole (Morrow)
Unknown 9: Genesis, by Layton Green (Reflector)
What Lies Between Us, by John Marrs (Thomas & Mercer)
The Girl Beneath the Sea, by Andrew Mayne (Thomas & Mercer)
Either Side of Midnight, by Benjamin Stevenson (Penguin Random House Australia)

Best Short Story:
• “The Death and Carnage Boy,” by Steve Hockensmith (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, July/August 2020)
• “Slow Burner,” by Laura Lippman (Amazon Original Stories e-book)
• “Rent Due,” by Alan Orloff (from Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir, edited by Michael Bracken; Down & Out)
• “Dog Eat Dog,” by Elaine Viets (from The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell, edited by Josh Pachter; Untreed Reads)
• “The Mailman,” by Andrew Welsh-Huggins (from Mickey Finn:
21st Century Noir

Best Young Adult Novel:
Last Girls, by Demetra Brodsky (Tor Teen)
Throwaway Girls, by Andrea Contos (Kids Can Press)
I Killed Zoe Spanos, by Kit Frick (Margaret K. McElderry)
Teen Killers Club, by Lily Sparks (Crooked Lane)
The Distant Dead, by Heather Young (Morrow)

Best E-Book Original Novel:
Avenue of Thieves, by Sean Black (Sean Black)
A Killing Game, by Jeff Buick (Novel Words)
Full Metal Jack, by Diane Capri (AugustBooks)
Mongkok Station, by Jake Needham (Half Penny)
No Hesitation, by Kirk Russell (Strawberry Creek)

This year’s Thriller Award winners are to be announced on Saturday, July 10, during Virtual ThrillerFest XVI (June 28-July 10).

* * *

The British Crime Writers Association (CWA) released most of its inventories of 2021 Dagger Award nominees back in mid-April. However, only this last Thursday did it finally follow up with its longlist of contestants for the Debut Dagger, “a competition for the opening of a crime novel by an uncontracted writer.”

Savage Games, by Peter Boland
The Tonganoxie Split, by Zack Daniel
Long Egg, by Kerry Eaton
The Looking Glass Spy, by Ashley Harrison
Under Water, by Fiona McPhillips
Sister Killer, by Karen Milner
The Lying Days, by Julie Nugent
Rough Justice, by Biba Pearce
Deception, by Hannah Redding
Lightfoot, by Edward Regenye
The Tunnel Runners, by Elizabeth Todman
Mandatory Reporting, by Jennifer Wilson O’Raghallaigh

* * *

Finally, this week brought news that Virginia author Barb Goffman has won the 2020 Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Award Poll. Readers of that publication selected “Dear Emily Etiquette,” her story from the September/October 2020 issue, as their favorite of last year. The second- and third-place finalists were, respectively, John M. Floyd’s “Crow’s Nest” (January/February 2020) and Gregory Fallis’ “Terrible Ideas” (September/October 2020). The complete rundown of 2020 EQMM finalists can be found here.

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