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Edgar 2009 Predictions

Here we are again, and I'll be honest since their announcement last January I have hardly looked over the list. Elaborate plans to read more of the nominated fell through very quickly. The relative obscurity of some of these titles made it difficult to track down books via the library.

I am sure the books are all fine, written by gifted and talented writers. And I don't think anyone wants the Edgar's to turn into a popularity contest, but many of the noms in the 'Big Three' Fiction category are definite thinkers. They almost seem like a rejection of what was generally agreed as the best books of 2008. Still it awfully easy for me to 'Monday Morning Quarterback' the whole thing. So let me again wish all the nominees the grandest of congratulations and best of luck on the 30th of April.

The Hungry Detective's picks are in RED.

Best Novel
Missing - Karin Alvtegen
Blue Heaven - C.J. Box
Sins of the Assassin - Robert Ferrigno
The Price of Blood - Declan Hughes
The Night Following - Morag Joss
Curse of the Spellmans - Lisa Lutz

This is a tough race to handicap. BLUE HEAVEN is my pick for no discernible reason. I loved CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS I felt it was a real step up from the previous novel, but the comedic form is not generally awarded here. MISSING and THE NIGHT FOLLOWING could be THE JANISSARY TREE of 2009, but I'm guessing not.

Best First Novel by an American Author
The Kind One - Tom Epperson
Sweetsmoke - David Fuller
The Foreigner - Francie Lin
Calumet City - Charlie Newton
A Cure for Night - Justin Peacock

Why SWEETSMOKE? I don't know. I looked Mr Fuller's book over a few times, and my general feeling each of time was 'This is Crime Fiction?' The book has been called a hybrid novel. Which in this case should be code for there is just enough 'Crime Fiction' to sneak into the outer rings of the genre. However, the book does push the genre into themes and a time period little seen in Crime Fiction. I think the message of SWEETSMOKE will win the day.

Best Paperback Original
The Prince of Bagram Prison - Alex Carr
Money Shot - Christa Faust
Enemy Combatant - Ed Gaffney
China Lake - Meg Gardiner
The Cold Spot - Tom Piccirilli

I want to go with MONEY SHOT here, but Megan Abbott's win last year for QUEENPIN lessens the odds greatly. Not just because both are female authors, but mainly because both are 50's Pulp Noir. I'm going with the CHINA LAKE. Ms. Gardiner works is well regarded, and besides I dig women who write thrillers.

Best Fact Crime
For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder that Shocked Chicago - Simon Baatz
American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century - Howard Blum
Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution - T.J. English
The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Hans van Meegeren - Jonathan Lopez
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher - Kate Summerscale

Having just read Ace Atkin's WHITE SHADOW, I am intrigued by HAVANA NOCTUNRE, but the Leopold and Loeb case casts a big shadow in the crime fiction world. Sociopaths are endlessly fascinating

Best Critical/Biographical
African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study - Frankie Y. Bailey
Hard-boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Stories - Leonard Cassuto
Scene of the Crime: The Importance of Place in Crime and Mystery Fiction - David Geherin
The Rise of True Crime - Jean Murley
Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories - Dr. Harry Lee Poe

I seriously think any one of these books could win, but I'm going Poe cause of the whole 150 birthday thing.

Best Short Story
“A Sleep Not Unlike Death,” - Sean Chercover (from Hardcore Hardboiled, edited by Todd Robinson)
“Skin and Bones,” - David Edgerley Gate (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, October 2008)
“Scratch of a Woman,” - Laura Lippman (from Hardly Knew Her)
“La Vie en Rose,” - Dominique Mainard (from Paris Noir; edited by Aurelien Masson)
“Skinhead Central,” - T. Jefferson Parker (from The Blue Religion, edited by Michael Connelly)

I am one of many who thought Mr. Chercover's TRIGGER CITY would make the Best Novel list. No real choice here, however, Mr Parker is a two-time winner of the Best Novel.

Best Juvenile
The Postcard - Tony Abbott
Enigma: A Magical Mystery - Graeme Base
Eleven - Patricia Reilly Giff
The Witches of Dredmoore Hollow - Riford McKenzie
Cemetery Street - Brenda Seabrooke

Best Young Adult
Bog Child - Siobhan Dowd
The Big Splash - Jack D. Ferraiolo
Paper Towns - John Green
Getting the Girl - Susan Juby
Torn to Pieces - Margo McDonnell

Best Play
The Ballad of Emmett Till - Ifa Bayeza
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Jeffrey Hatcher, based on the story by Robert Lewis Stevenson
Cell - Judy Klass

Best Television Episode Teleplay
“Streetwise,” Law & Order: SVU - Paul Grellong
“Prayer of the Bone,” Wire in the Blood - Patrick Harbinson
“Signature,” Law & Order: SVU - Judith McCreary
“You May Now Kill the Bride,” CSI: Miami - Barry O'Brien
“Burn Card,” Law & Order - David Wilcox

Best Motion Picture Screenplay
The Bank Job - Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais
Burn After Reading - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
In Bruges - Martin McDonagh
Tell No One - Guillaume Canet, based on the book by Harlan Coben
Transsiberian - Brad Anderson and Will Conroy

Robert L. Fish Memorial Award
“Buckner’s Error,” Joseph Guglielmelli (from Queens Noir, edited by Robert Knightly; Akashic Books)

Raven Awards
Edgar Allan Poe Society, Baltimore, Maryland
Poe House, Baltimore, Maryland

The Simon & Schuster/Mary Higgins Clark Award
Sacrifice - S.J. Bolton
The Killer’s Wife - Bill Floyd
Stalking Susan - Julie Kramer
A Song for You - Betsy Thornton
The Fault Tree - Louise Ure

Awards are Thursday night. Once again my press credential have been lost in the mail, so I will not be in attendance. I'll be keeping an eye on the usually places for award reports, and I'll post the list of winners late Thursday or early Friday. Again best of luck to all nominees. Have a great night!


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