Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Lover’s Big Leap

Given the existing plenitude of annual awards presented for crime, mystery, and thriller fiction, you might think there was no necessity in establishing a brand-new one. Yet that’s exactly what the popular British Web site Crime Fiction Lover has chosen to do.

“These awards are different,” the site says in its announcement. “They’re international, with a very special judging panel. And you’re on it. That’s right, the winners of our awards are going to be chosen by readers. We’ve spent many long years building up a community of crime fiction lovers around our website and we believe this is the way it should be. As part of our gang, you will play a role in deciding who wins a Crime Fiction Lover Award in 2021.”

Nominations will be accepted between now and noon (UK time) on Wednesday, November 10, in six different categories:

Best Crime Novel
Best Debut
Best in Translation
Best Indie Novel
Best Author
Best Crime Show

The official nominating form can be filled out here. You need not enter a title or name in every category.

Books, authors, and TV shows will be ranked according to their numbers of nominations, with the biggest vote-getters earning spots on a shortlist of contenders. “To qualify for the shortlist,” explains Crime Fiction Lover, “your nomination will need to have been published in English between 1 November 2020 and 31 October 2021. In the Best Author category, the author needs to have published a work of crime fiction during this period. We know it’s difficult to define what an ‘indie’ crime novel is. For this category we’re looking for crime novels published by smaller independent companies or self-publishing authors with a turnover under £500,000 (US$690,000).”

Following publication of the shortlist, a second online poll will determine the winners. In addition, says the site, “our team will select an Editor’s Choice award from the shortlist—which may or may not be the same as the book, show or author that receives the most votes.”

Now, I’m always suspicious of prize selections based solely on public opinion; they tend to favor books that have received the most publicity, rather than those that are truly imaginative or distinctive. I place greater faith in programs that at least balance public votes with those of established critics and editors. Still, we’ll see what Crime Fiction Lover can produce here. The results could be enjoyable.

Again, click here to register your votes.

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