This is the awards season, with nominations and presentations starting now through August when Bouchercon 2021 occurs.
Of course, in-person ceremonies can’t be held just yet, but authors deserve to be rewarded for their good books.
Left Coast Crime kicked off the presentations with its awards a couple of weeks ago in a tidy ceremony. Details of who won are here at Mystery Scene.
The 75th Edgar Awards, sponsored by Mystery Writers of America, will be presented on Zoom at 1 p.m. (EST) on April 29. Meanwhile, MWA is having a series of interviews with the nominees and Grand Master and Ellery Queen honorees. Details here. In addition, authors are reading from their nominated books on Mystery Writers of America’s Facebook page.
Malice Domestic will have its ceremony in July.
I think the organizers of these virtual award ceremonies are doing a terrific job. They are focusing on the nominees—and let’s face it, it truly is an honor to be nominated—with the winners being allowed to discuss their book and offer their gratitude, often in a pre-recorded video.
The applause is missing, but I hope everyone watching is applauding at home.
And traditional buying of the drinks isn’t happening, but we can toast at home. And when we can do it in-person, winners should expect to be toasted many times.
The latest awards presentation was this weekend with the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
Full disclosure, I was a judge in the Mystery Thriller category along with my fellow judges Naomi Hirahara and Michael Nava. I was elected to present the award.
As I said in our presentation, our job was difficult because of the exceptional novels published during 2020.
The 2020 L.A. Times Book Prize in the Mystery/Thriller category was awarded to S.A. Cosby for Blacktop Wasteland. (This award is given out about 23 minutesLA Times https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhVwPQLu-KY in the ceremony.)
In presenting the award, our group statement was:
“Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby, published by Flatiron, centers on a young family man at a crossroad in his life. This compelling novel deeply explores race, responsibility, parenthood, moral complexities and identity. Set in economically strapped area of Virginia, Blacktop Wasteland also looks at how a family’s struggles with cash are acerbated by a financial downtown. Cosby’s noir story reflects concerns of the 21st century through a gripping plot accented by fully fleshed out characters with realistic motives.”
The five finalists in the 2020 L.A. Times Book Prize in the Mystery/Thriller category are:
Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron)
A Beautiful Crime by Christopher Bollen (Harper)
Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur)
And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge)
These Women by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco)
Congratulations to all.
For years, I wanted to attend Left Coast Crime (LCC) having heard such good feedback about the conference. The various western locations also interested me.
But the timing was never right as it always seemed I had previous commitments in the March/April time frame.
But 2020 was different.
Oh, so different as we were about to find out.
For the first time, the timing worked for me and, as an extra bonus, one of my dearest and closet friends lived in San Diego.
Tony and I had big plans—we would spend the day before the conference and, after LCC ended, we would either stay in San Diego, a city I love, or spend time in Los Angeles.
None of that was to be.
Tony and I spent the day before the conference together.
But then the pandemonium of the pandemic began to take hold.
The first day of LCC was terrific. Good panels, good authors, good discussion.
I moderated one panel, went up to my room to grab something and 10 minutes later came down to find out the city had shut down LCC because of the health risk.
Of course, the in-person 2021 LCC also had to be canceled. But LCC had a terrific virtual conference last month that featured the finalists in the Lefty Award categories.
And attention must be paid to those authors who have worked so hard on their novels to become Lefty Award finalists.
Last Saturday, LCC had its small but very good awards ceremony honoring those winners and finalists.
Each winner was given a chance to make an acceptance speech.
Between categories, LCC honored its past by showing the program cover and the guests of honor through the years.
Congratulations to all the Left Award winners, and to the nominees. Each author is a winner.
2021 Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
Mimi Lee Gets a Clue by Jennifer J. Chow (Berkley Prime Crime)
Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen (Alfred A. Knopf)
The Study of Secrets by Cynthia Kuhn (Henery Press)
The Pot Thief Who Studied the Woman at Otowi Crossing by J. Michael Orenduff (Aakenbaaken & Kent)
Skin Deep by Sung J. Woo (Agora Books)
2021 Lefty Award for Best Historical Mystery Novel
The Turning Tide by Catriona McPherson(Quercus)
The Fate of a Flapper by Susanna Calkins, (Minotaur Books)
A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington Books)
Riviera Gold by Laurie R. King (Bantam Books)
Mortal Music by Ann Parker (Poisoned Pen Press)
Turn to Stone by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street Books)
2021 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery Novel
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Ecco)
Murder Goes to Market by Daisy Bateman (Seventh Street Books)
Derailed by Mary Keliikoa (Camel Press)
Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer (Kensington Books)
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Viking)
The Lady Upstairs by Halley Sutton (Putnam)
Lefty Nominees for Best Mystery Novel (not in other categories)
All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
What You Don’t See by Tracy Clark (Kensington Books)
Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)
Blind Vigil by Matt Coyle (Oceanview Publishing)
And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge)
More good news, LCC 2022 is scheduled for April 7–10, 2022, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I plan to go, along with my other dear and close friend, Toni. (Yes, one is Tony, one is Toni). She and I plan to come in early, go to Santa Fe for a couple of days and then tour Albuquerque—something we did years ago.
Honorees for LCC 2022 will be:
Guest of Honor: Mick Herron
Guest of Honor: Catriona McPherson
Fan Guest of Honor: Kristopher Zgorski
Toastmaster: Kellye Garrett
Ghost of Honor: Tony Hillerman
I am hoping that by the time LCC 2022 rolls around, in-person conferences will be the norm.
And more good news, LCC 2023 also is in the works for Tucson, Arizona.
Planning is good!