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2008 Edgar Predictions

Last year around this time THD was consulted by Vegas odds makers for our thoughts on the 2007 Edgar Awards. Many lost their shirt using THD's picks. Reports of valuable First Editions ripped in half and shelving destroyed by bookies who came to collect on ill formed wagers were a poorly kept secret in the Crime Fiction community. The underground betting scene for crime fiction awards is not pretty. Lot of tears... and a surprising amount of real blood

Needless to say, this year, THD is free of those leeches in Sin City and we are free to offer you our odds on this year's awards.

Best Novel

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black 7/1
by Ken Bruen 10/1
The Yiddish Policemen's Union
by Michael Chabon 20/1
Soul Patch by Reed Farrel Coleman 3/2
Down River
by John Hart 5/1

The inclusion of the Chabon book caused a significant amount of ruckus. But I don't think there will be a repeat of 2006 when Jess Walter's slightly out of genre, Citizen Vince, was a surprise win. Bruen should probably be nominated for this yearly, but sometimes we tend to over look those working on an unbelievably high level. I went with Soul Patch because I think that just about everybody loves Reed Coleman and they want to give him this award.

Best First Novel by an American Author

Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell 7/1
In the Woods
by Tana French 5/2
Snitch Jacket
by Christopher Goffard 30/1
Head Games
by Craig McDonald 25/1
by Derek Nikitas 15/1

A very quick scan of past winners in this category reveal a tendency to the bigger publishers and the book that got a larger marketing push. If I had to pick one of the three with the longest odds I would go with The Craig McDonald book, primarily because it is the book I would most like to read. In the Woods just felt like the safe bet here.

Best Paperback Original

by Megan Abbott 10/1
Blood of Paradise
by David Corbett 3/1
Cruel Poetry
by Vicki Hendricks 15/1
Robbie's Wife
by Russell Hill 7/1
Who is Conrad Hirst?
by Kevin Wignall 10/1

I think this is the hardest race to handicap. Lots of good books with tons of good press. Queenpin, and Conrad Hirst I would say are the big behemoths in this race, and Robbie's Wife is from the generally loved Hard Case Crime publishers. I decided to go with Blood of Paradise. Why? That time tested odds maker's friend, I like the look of it.

Best Motion Picture Screen Play

Eastern Promises
, Screenplay by Steven Knight 30/1
The Lookout
, Screenplay by Scott Frank 15/1
Michael Clayton
, Screenplay by Tony Gilroy 10/1
No Country for Old Men
, Screenplay by Coen Bros., based on the book by Cormac McCarthy 2/1
, Screenplay by James Vanderbilt, based on the book by Robert Graysmith 5/1

I look at this category in terms of my job. What film would I want to save in 30/40/50 years from now? This is also the first category where I have seen all five of the nominated. No Country is the clear favorite here. Scott Frank wrote Out of Sight, and I dug The Lookout. I loved Michael Clayton. It reminded me of when Hollywood made films for adults. If this wins it would not break my heart. But to go back to my original question, the answer is Zodiac. Zodiac was the best American made film last year. I think No Country is great. For me it was Zodiac, and I didn't even need to think about this decision..

As for the rest..... here are my picks.

Best Critical / Biographical
Chester Gould: A Daughter's Biography of the Creator of Dick Tracy by Jean Gould O'Connell

Best Fact Crime
Chasing Justice: My Story of Freeing Myself After Two Decades on Death Row for a Crime I Didn't Commit by Kerry Max Cook (HarperCollins - William Morrow)
*I wanna go with Reclaiming History Vincent Bugleosi exhaustive JFK book, but it is not 1992 so I can't. This life's work needs to be honored.

Best Short Story
"Uncle" - A Hell of a Woman by Daniel Woodrell (Busted Flush Press)

Best Young Adult
Rat Life by Tedd Arnold (Penguin - Dial Books for Young Readers)
*Cuz I have vaguely heard of this book

Best Juvenile
The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh (Hyperion Books for Young Readers)

Best Play
Books by Stuart M. Kaminsky (International Mystery Writers' Festival)

Best Television Episode Teleplay

"It's Alive" - Dexter, Teleplay by Daniel Cerone (Showtime)

The Simon & Schuster - Mary Higgins Clark Award.

Deadman's Switch by Barbara Seranella (St. Martin's Minotaur)
*From what I have read, Ms. Seranella was universally loved, and is universally missed.

Here is hoping I can redeem last years terrible showing. Good luck to all of the nominees. I'll post the winners and links to reports Friday morning.


I like your picks. Haven't read everything, but I would have voted the same, where I have any knowledge of the material.

In particular I really, really have my fingers crossed for Woodrell and Craig McDonald.
Linda said…

I agree with many of your picks. Chabon has my vote in that category -- loved that book!

I'd nominate this one for Best Juvenile (mystery) "Bitter Tastes" by V.B. Rosendahl. It's an old-fashioned mystery a la Nancy Drew, but set in our contemporary world. It has a gutsy heroine, with a physical disability to boot, who isn't afraid to do what is right. Great book for kids . . . and adults. I read it along with my daugher and we had a great time guessing what would happen next.

Really enjoy your blog too!

Dan Wagner said…

Thanks for the kind words. Your the second person today to recommend the Chabon so it is a good bet that it is in my near future. Cheers!


I had the MacDonald book in my hand a few months ago and for reasons unknown to me I didn't buy it. I've been kicking myself ever since. Grrr.....

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