Dennis Lehane, Chris Pavone Take Mystery’s Top Prizes

At the Mystery Writers of America’s  67th Annual Edgar Allan Poe Awards Dinner, held Thursday evening at Manhattan’s Grand Hyatt Hotel, Dennis Lehane’s historical crime novel Live By Night won the Edgar for Best Novel. Surprisingly it was a first win for the veteran author of ten books. In his acceptance speech, Lehane  acknowledged the influence of the “three James””—James Lee Burke, James Cromley, and James Ellroy—and saluted the librarians who offered “a light in the darkness for a kid from the wrong side of the tracks.”  He noted that getting his library card  was “act of benevolence, or, as the Tea Party would have called it, socialism.”

Chris Pavone’s debut espionage thriller The Expats was named Best First Novel by An American Author. [Pavone participated in the espionage thriller panel at  at last year’s  LJ Day of Dialog program.}. Ben Winter’s dystopian mystery The Last Policeman was honored as the Best Paperback Original.

On the nonfiction front, Paul French’s Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of China. took  the Edgar for Best Fact Crime, while James O’Brien’s The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics won in the Best Critical/Biographical category.

Best-selling author Karin Slaughter garnered the Edgar for  Best Short Story with her “The Unremarkable Heart,” which she described as “the meanest story she has ever written.” She also praised the short story form as a great tool for teaching writers how to write.  [Her story  can be found in the anthology Mystery Writers of America Presents: Vengeance.] Poet Patricia Smith received the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for her short story “When They Are Done With Us” from Staten Island Noir. Continuing the short story theme, indie publisher Akashic Books earned the Ellery Queen Award for its contributions to the mystery publishing industry, including re-energizing the mystery short story with its Noir series. Honored as Grand Masters were Ken Follett and Margaret Maron. For a full list of the winners and nominees, go to,




Wilda Williams About Wilda Williams

Wilda "Willy" Williams ( is LJ's Fiction Editor. She specializes in popular fiction and edits the Mystery, Science Fiction, Christian Fiction, and Word on Street Lit columns.