Sunday, May 08, 2022

A Belated Spotting

I know it’s quite late to be reporting on the victor in this year’s Spotted Owl Award contest, but the announcement was made in late March, during my post-concussion convalescence, and I missed it.

Anyway, you will probably remember that the Spotted Owl is given out annually by the Portland, Oregon-based fan group Friends of Mystery (FOM) to honor what its members believe is be “the best mystery novel of the year by an author who lives in the Pacific Northwest (Alaska, British Columbia, Canada, Idaho, Oregon or Washington).” The 2022 recipient is Newburg, Oregon, resident Warren C. Easley, who won for No Witness (Poisoned Pen Press), the eighth in his series of novels starring Cal Claxton, who now runs a small law office in the small town of Dundee, about 25 miles southwest of Portland.

As The Newburg Graphic newspaper reports,
The book centers around the theme of immigration and the plight of the group of people known as “Dreamers,” who came to the United States as children but do not have citizenship. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's aggressive searches for undocumented immigrants loom in the story.

“The police are stymied because this is the immigrant community and they really don’t want to talk to the cops. All the undocumented people were scared to death. Since they won’t come forward they trust Cal, and he goes forward to solve the case,” Easley said. “In fiction it’s all about walking around in someone else’s shoes. In this book you’re walking around in shoes you may not have walked in before.”
The FOM released this list of runners-up for the 2022 Spotted Owl:

2. Robert Dugoni for In Her Tracks (Thomas & Mercer)
3. Martin Limón for War Women (Soho Crime)
4. Dana Haynes for Sirocco (Blackstone)
5. John Straley for So Far and Good (Soho Crime)
6. Tie — Valerie Geary for The Ophelia Killer (Broken Branch)
6. Tie — Michael Niemann for The Last Straw (Coffeetown Press)
7. Marc Cameron for Bone Rattle (Kensington)
8. Tie — Dana Stabenow for Spoils of the Dead (Head of Zeus)
8. Tie — Amy Stewart for Miss Kopp Investigates (Mariner)

Among the authors who have previously been honored with the Spotted Owl are Bill Cameron, Earl Emerson, G.M. Ford, Mike Lawson, Phillip Margolin, Jon Talton, and last year’s winner, Robert Dugoni.

An overdue congratulations to all of the 2022 nominees!

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