The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (popularly called the Edgars) are presented every spring by the Mystery Writers of America to honor the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, and film. Lists of all the nominees are available on the Edgar Awards website, theedgars.com.
The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she even teaches a course on him. But when one of Clare’s colleagues is found dead, with a line from Holland’s iconic story “The Stranger” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with her favorite literature.
The police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her diary, the only outlet for her suspicions and fears. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo Clare. You don’t know me.”
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Best First Novel by an American Author
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.
Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.
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Best Paperback Original
The Hotel Neversink by Adam O’Fallon Price
Thirty-one years after workers first broke ground, the magnificent Hotel Neversink in the Catskills finally opens to the public. Then a young boy disappears.
This mysterious vanishing-and the ones that follow-will brand the lives of three generations. At the root of it all is Asher Sikorsky, the ambitious and ruthless patriarch whose purchase of the hotel in 1931 set a haunting legacy into motion. His daughter Jeanie sees the Hotel Neversink into its most lucrative era, but also its darkest. Decades later, Asher’s grandchildren grapple with the family’s heritage in their own ways: Len fights to keep the failing, dilapidated hotel alive, and Alice sets out to finally uncover the murderer’s identity.
Best Fact Crime
The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity by Axton Betz-Hamilton
In a powerful memoir, identity theft expert Betz-Hamilton tells the shocking and unsettling story of her family, betrayal, and deceit. Convinced that the thief had to be someone they knew, Axton and her parents completely cut off the outside world, isolating themselves from friends and family.
Small-town Indiana in the early ’90s. Betz-Hamilton’s parents both had their identities stolen; their credit ratings were ruined. The family changed all of their personal information and moved to different addresses, but the identity thief followed them wherever they went. Convinced that the thief had to be someone they knew, her parents isolated themselves from friends and family. Betz-Hamilton spent her formative years crippled by anxiety; her mother became paranoid, consumed by how others perceived the family. Herself a victim of the identity thief, her credit ruined, Betz-Hamilton vowed to find the thief who broke the unwritten rules of love, protection, and family.
Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by Susan Vaught
When the cops show up at Jesse’s house and arrest her dad, she figures out in a hurry that he’s the #1 suspect in the missing library fund money case. With the help of her (first and only) friend Springer, she rounds up suspects (leading to a nasty confrontation with three notorious school bullies) and asks a lot of questions. But she can’t shake the feeling that she isn’t exactly cut out for being a crime-solving hero. Jesse has a neuro-processing disorder, which means that she’s “on the spectrum or whatever.” As she explains it, “I get stuck on lots of stuff, like words and phrases and numbers and smells and pictures and song lines and what time stuff is supposed to happen.” But when a tornado strikes her small town, Jesse is given the opportunity to show what she’s really made of—and help her dad.
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Best Young Adult
Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer
Because her mother is always on the move, sixteen-year-old Steph hasn’t lived anywhere longer than six months. Her only constant is an online community called CatNet–a social-media site where users upload cat pictures–a site whose admin is CheshireCat, a sentient AI who loves cat pictures. When a threat from Steph’s past catches up to her and CheshireCat’s existence is discovered, it’s up to Steph and her friends–both online and IRL–to save them. A near-future thriller about online privacy and out-of-control technology, and the importance of making connections in an increasingly fragmented society.
Best Television Episode
Line of Duty “Season 5, Episode 4” Teleplay by Jed Mercurio
This consistently thrilling drama returns as the internal affairs investigators of AC-12 face their most vicious adversary yet. Led by Superintendent Hastings, DI Kate Fleming and DS Steve Arnott probe the hijacking of a seized-drugs transport that left three officers dead. They suspect corrupt cops leaked information to a ruthless organized crime boss. When they learn that an undercover officer is embedded in Corbett’s group, AC-12 come closer than ever to discovering the identity of the ringleader within the police department-but what they find could tear their team apart.
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Robert L. Fish Memorial Award
“There’s a Riot Goin’ On,” by Derrick Harriell from Milwaukee Noir
Presently, Milwaukee is going through a renaissance–abandoned factories being converted to condos, craft breweries and distilleries pushing out corner taverns–yet at the same time it is among the most segregated and impoverished big cities in the country. The gentrification of neighborhoods outside of downtown bear the impact of twentieth-century redlining efforts, forcing residents out due to housing demand, adding fuel to the affordable-housing crisis. Such an environment and atmosphere make excellent fodder for noir fiction…
The Mary Higgins Clark Award
The Night Visitors by Carol Goodman
ALICE gets off a bus in the middle of a snowstorm in Delphi, NY. She is fleeing an abusive relationship and desperate to protect. OREN, ten years old, a major Star Wars fan and wise beyond his years. Though Alice is wary, Oren bonds nearly instantly with. MATTIE, a social worker in her fifties who lives in an enormous run-down house in the middle of the woods. Mattie lives alone and is always available, and so she is the person the hotline always calls when they need a late-night pickup. And although according to protocol Mattie should take Alice and Oren to a local shelter, instead she brings them home for the night. She has plenty of room, she says. What she doesn’t say is that Oren reminds her of her little brother, who died thirty years ago at the age of ten.
But Mattie isn’t the only one withholding elements of the truth. Alice is keeping her own secrets. And as the snowstorm worsens around them, each woman’s past will prove itself unburied, stirring up threats both within and without.
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The Sue Grafton Memorial Award
Borrowed Time by Tracy Clark
Sitting in cold cars for hours, serving lowlifes with summonses . . . being a P.I. means riding out a lot of slow patches. But sometimes the most familiar paths can lead straight to danger-like at Cass’s go-to diner, where new delivery guy Jung Byson wants to enlist her expertise. Jung’s friend, Tim Ayers, scion of a wealthy Chicago family, has been found dead, floating in Lake Michigan near his luxury boat. And Jung is convinced there’s a murderer on the loose.
Cass reluctantly begins digging only to discover that Jung neglected to mention one crucial fact: Tim Ayers was terminally ill. Given the large quantities of alcohol and drugs found in his body, Ayers’ death appears to be either an accident or suicide. Yet as much as Cass would like to dismiss Jung’s suspicions, there are too many unanswered questions and unexplained coincidences.
Why would anyone kill a dying man? Working her connections on both sides of the law, Cass tries to point the police in the right direction. But violence is escalating around her, and Cass’s persistence has already attracted unwanted attention, uncovering sinister secrets that Cass may end up taking to her grave.
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