Michael Connelly, Tana French, and Fiona Barton headline the nominees for the Strand Critics Awards and Clive Cussler receives the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Recognizing excellence in the field of mystery fiction, the Critics Awards were judged by a select group of book critics and journalists from news venues such as The Associated Press, NPR, TIME, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and several other daily papers.
This will mark the fifth best-novel nomination for Tana French (The Trespasser) and the fourth nomination for Michael Connelly (The Wrong Side of Goodbye).
• You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown and Company)
• The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown and Company)
• The Trespasser by Tana French (Viking)
• What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin (William Morrow)
• Out of Bounds by Val McDermid (Atlantic Monthly Press)
• The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (Gallery)
Best Debut Novel:
• The Widow by Fiona Barton (NAL)
• IQ by Joe Ide (Mulholland)
• The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell (Touchstone)
• A Deadly Affection by Cuyler Overholt (Sourcebooks Landmark)
• The Homeplace by Kevin Wolf (Minotaur)
• The Lost Girls by Heather Young (William Morrow)
“It’s nice to see some new faces in our best-novel list, such as Val, Alison, and Ruth,” said Andrew F. Gulli, the managing editor of The Strand. “And, 2016 also was the year where several debuts really hit it out of the park.”
Past recipients of the Critics Awards include Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman, Richard Price, Megan Abbott, George Pelecanos, Joseph Finder, Lauren Beukes, and William Landay.
Nine out of twelve nominees were female authors. “We’re happy that women have dominated the list of nominees this year and we hope that that trend will continue for a very long time,” said Gulli.
Clive Cussler was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In a career spanning forty-two years and over sixty novels, Cussler has a firm reputation among hundreds of millions of fans as the grandmaster of the adventure thriller. Not only are his works a constant presence on the New York Times Best Sellers list, but they have earned him comparisons to Alistair MacLean and Ian Fleming.
The awards will be presented at an invitation-only cocktail party in New York City, hosted by The Strand on July 12, 2017.
Val McDermid, chair of this year’s judges, hails a selection that crosses divide between arts and sciences.
Crime writer Val McDermid, who is chairing the judges for this year’s Wellcome book prize, has criticised the divide between arts and sciences in the UK’s education system, speaking out as the longlist for the £30,000 award was announced.
In an interview with the Guardian about the longlist, which identifies the best science writing across fiction and nonfiction, The Wire in the Blood author said: “Science is clearly something that we need to be focusing our energy on, because that is where the economic future of the country lies and we really should be driving our education towards it – but that does not mean we should turn our back on the arts.”
Citing her own education in Scotland, McDermid said she feared the modern curriculum left little opportunity for students to be creative and investigate things that engage their interest “for the joy of it”.
“I have concerns about what is happening in education,” added the author, who has a son at school. “Everything is so curriculum-led now that there is very little opportunity for teachers to encourage students to go off and discover things for themselves.”
Developments in education, she added, meant that the Wellcome prize – one of the richest in the UK – was more important than ever because it focuses on making science accessible through both fiction and nonfiction.
The 12 books chosen for the 2017 longlist are split between seven factual and five fiction titles, ranging from Victorian gothic in Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent to Jo Marchant’s Cure, which investigates how the mind can cure the body. French novelist Maylis de Kerangal’s blow-by-blow account of a heart transplant in Mend the Living is also longlisted, and is the first foreign-language book to be considered for the award.
Winner of – Anthony Award for Best Critical/Non-Fiction book at Bouchercon in New Orleans.
McDermid, Val.Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime. Grove. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780802123916. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780802191052. CRIME
Using historical examples, author McDermid brings to life the various subspecialties within forensic science to show how, and how well, the theories work in practice. The distinct treatment—one chapter on entomology, the next on pathology, and so on—and the juxtaposition within the chapters of histories and case studies produces the experience of reading an introductory forensic science textbook, minus all the colorful photos and elucidative marginalia. While this might leave academic readers feeling shortchanged, average readers will be more than satisfied with a no-frills primer. Additionally, McDermid’s experience as a crime writer and former journalist allows her to present the facts of the individual illustrative cases in compelling ways. Currency of the material is ensured through the use of recent court cases and consultation with practicing forensic scientists.
VERDICT: This title will primarily be relevant to readers with a general interest in forensic science/criminalistics, casual academics, true crime aficionados, and fans of McDermid’s other works.(LJ 6/15/16)—Ricardo Laskaris, York Univ. Lib., Toronto