I'm reading the recent Edgar winner: C.J.Box, BLUE HEAVEN. I wanted to know what makes this book worthy to be a winner among the many, many mysteries of all subgenres.
This one is a thriller. That was a tad surprising. Almost by definition, a thriller doesn't have much going for it but violence and suspense. The characters are black and white. There's frequently some evil conspiracy. And the violence is nasty -- in this case torture.
Mind you, it's not badly written and he has a multiplicity of character types. The threat is specifically against two children who saw too much. That would make it meaningful to men and women alike.
But what appalled me in this book (and once again raised the idea that writers have some sort of moral obligation) is the fact that the evil in this case is the LAPD. And lest you think that it involves only three retired officers, the book makes it clear that the Idaho community is the retirement village of large numbers of crooked LA cops: their Blue Heaven.
What does a book like that do to a decent police officer anywhere, let alone in L.A.? And in spite of the attention given to the occasional bad cop by the press, the vast majority of policemen are surely decent and doing a very tough and dangerous job.
There is very little here that, to my mind, deserved an award.