At the 66th annual Edgar Awards banquet held last night at Manhattan’s Grand Hyatt hotel, several presenters joked about the recent Pulitzer Prize debacle in which no fiction winner was named. Unlike the Pulitzer committee that only had to pick one winner from three final nominees but couldn’t come to an agreement, the Edgar judges (all members of Mystery Writers of America) successfully selected their top books from 35 titles nominated in seven categories.
Garnering the top prize as Best Novel was Mo Hayder’s gritty thriller Gone (Atlantic Monthly), while Lori Roy’s gothic and haunting Bent Road (Dutton) was honored as the Best First Novel by an American Author. [Roy’s suspenseful literary debut was one of my favorite books of 2011, although I also rooted for Leonard Rosen’s compellingly cerebral All Cry Chaos (Permanent Pr.) to win in this category.) In a sign of ever-increasing genre blending, Robert Jackson Bennett’s sf noir The Company Man (Orbit: Hachette) won the Edgar for Best Paperback Original. In his acceptance speech, the author was surprised to win, let alone be nominated, since he considered his book to be more science fiction than crime fiction. For a full list of the night’s other winners, see TheEdgars.com.