Last weekend was the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention honoring Anthony Boucher, the distinguished mystery fiction critic, editor and author who helped found the Mystery Writers of America.
The highlight of this convention is the announcement of the annual Anthony Award winners, who are selected by those attending the convention. While an award is no guarantee that you’ll like a book, the two books on the list of winners that I read were definitely highlights of my 2018 reading.
So here, for your consideration are the 2018 Anthony Award winners, announced Saturday, Sept. 8, in St. Petersburg, FL:
- Best novel: Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke. See our upcoming review on Sept. 14.
- Best first novel: Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett. Semi-famous and broke, actress Dayna Anderson is only looking to help her parents keep their house when she witnesses a deadly hit-and-run accident. the $15,000 reward is enough to launch her into investigating the accident. Publishers Weekly praised it as a “winning first novel and series launch” whose author writes with “humor and insight about the Hollywood scene.”
- Best paperback original: The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day, who also wrote Little Pretty Things. Her character, Anna Winger, a graphologist, is called in to examine a note left behind at a murder scene in a small town she and her son have recently moved to. The crime forces her to examine her life, fears, mistakes and past.
- Bill Crider Award for Best Novel in a Series: Y is For Yesterday (the 25th Kinsey Milhone mystery) by Sue Grafton. This is the last book written by the late Grafton. Kinsey is hired to investigate a blackmail attempt on Fritz McCabe, who has recently been released from prison for his part in the 1979 sexual assault by four teenage boys of a 14 year old classmate, which they filmed. The film goes missing and the suspected thief, another classmate, is murdered. The ring leader has escaped without a trace for the past 10 years. Now the film has resurfaced and a ransom is being demanded of McCabe.
- Best anthology: The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir edited by Gary Phillips, an editor and award-winning African-American crime novelist. This is a collection of 15 stories of conspiracy noir featuring vigilante First Ladies, Supreme Court judges who can clone themselves and races of ancient lizard people revealing their true master plan — among other stories.
- Best short story: “My Side of the Matter” by Hilary Davidson, published in Killing Malmon, edited by Dan & Kate Malmon. Davidson’s first novel, The Damage Done, won the 2011 Anthony Award and the Crimespree Award for Best First Novel.
- Best online content: Jungle Red Writers, a blog written by eight writers: Lucy Burdette, Rhys Bowen, Deborah Crombie, Hallie Ephron, Julia Spencer Fleming, Jenn McKinlay, Hank Phillippi Ryan and Ingrid Thoft. The blog has been named one of the top 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writers Digest, one of the top 50 mystery blogs by CourtReporter and one of the top 100 creative writing blogs by Best Colleges online
- Best critical / nonfiction work: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. Read my review of this fantastic book.
Bouchercon (pronounced bough’•chur•con) brings together mystery and crime fiction readers, writers, publishers, editors, agents, booksellers and other lovers of crime fiction for four days of education, entertainment and fun. The first convention was held in 1970 in Santa Monica; the 2019 convention will be held in Dallas on Oct. 31 through Nov. 3.