I tried to get members of 4MA (For Mystery Addicts) to make Edgar Award Predicitions, but didn't get a lot of interest. Perhaps people are afraid to hurt authors' feelings.

So instead, I'm wondering if you have a favorite book nominated for an Edgar this year and why it is your favorite? Here are the books nominated in the three major categories:

The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard (HarperCollins)
The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Gentleman and Players by Joanne Harris (William Morrow)
The Dead Hour by Denise Mina (Little, Brown and Company)
The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard (Ballantine Books)
The Liberation Movements by Olen Steinhauer (St. Martin's Minotaur)

The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson (Random House)
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (Shaye Areheart Books)
King of Lies by John Hart (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith (St. Martin's Minotaur)
A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read (Mysterious Press)

The Goodbye Kiss by Massimo Carlotto (Europa Editions)
The Open Curtain by Brian Evenson (Coffee House Press)
Snakeskin Shamisen by Naomi Hirahara (Delta Books)
The Deep Blue Alibi by Paul Levine (Bantam Books)
City of Tiny Lights by Patrick Neate (Riverhead Books)

Got a favorite?? Gumshoe Carl

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I simply haven't read all of them, which is why it seems unfair to make a prediction. However, I do have some opinions on the Best First category. Two books I really enjoyed are nominated: Gillian Flynn's SHARP OBJECTS and Cornelia Read's A FIELD OF DARKNESS.

I believe that if the award goes to one of those two books, and the decision is down to the writing, AFOD will win, and it should win. It is my absolute favourite. That is, of course, my opinion. It is my personal opinion that if SHARP OBJECTS wins it will be the 'issues' factor that gives it the edge. As much as I enjoyed SO it had for me a serious flaw (which I touched on in my review of it so those who really want to know can read it there) and it also treads down rather familiar territory. It's one thing to be living in a place where a murder happened and find your family is involved. It's quite another to draw out the obvious coincidence of sending reporter "home" to cover a story and, of course, it has to hit her on a personal level.

The thing for me is that Cornelia's voice is the most distinctive, unique voice I've encountered in a debut in a long time. Knowing her, it's completely authentic. I just love the way she put words together.

I haven't read KING OF LIES, although I've heard good things.
I'm afraid I've only read two of these - and I read a lot! There are two I started but DNF'd - just not my cuppa. I'd make a terrible handicapper for this sport!
Expressing preferences publicly makes me nervous too, but I must say that I'd be happy to see Nancy Pickard's THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS win. I read it without any prior information--in fact, picked it up as a freebie at last year's Edgars--expecting not to like it as much as her series, with my usual bias against stand-alones. Instead, I thought it was brilliant. I was glad to discover that others thought so too. It's up for Best Novel at the Agathas as well as the Edgars.
Oh oh, and I have not read any of these. I read a lot too but somehow never seem to read the good stuff until well after the awards are done. So - for me there really is no opinion. Can I just point at you and say "I agree with him"?
It doesn't mean you haven't read the 'good stuff' Lynne. Nominations can be subjective, at best. I think it would be interesting to see a thread on books that you wish had been nominated.
I have read seven of these books. I would really like to see THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS win. I didn't want to leave this story. But for the author, this is work she has been building toward over the years but hadn't accomplished until now. It's outside her usual and should be rewarded.

PK the Bookeemonster
Of the ones I've read, I am partial to The Dead Hour by Denise Mina and A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read. I've been a huge fan of Mina's for several years now and Read was an amazing discovery last year. She absolutely blows me away.
It's not so much reticence in hurting author's feelings and not being in a position to comment on all of the books, but now desperately interested to get a lot of them. So far I've got copy of:

The Dead Hour, The Pale Blue Eye, The Liberation Movements and The Goodbye Kiss - but I've not had a chance to read any of them :)
As a few people have said, I've read very few. I've read (and enjoyed) Steve Hockensmith's HOLMES ON THE RANGE and I have SHARP OBJECTS on Mt TBR, so will hopefully get to that one soon. And the Carlotto is excellent. I was pleased to see Olen Steinhauer on the list. I haven't read the nominated book but have read his earlier ones. He's a really gifted writer.
Like most other posters I've read very few of these. (Field of Darkness and Snakeskin Shamisen are currently on my amazon wish list, and Sharp Objects on the TBR pile).

I read Janissary Tree soon after it came out last year, really enjoyed it, one of those books where the writer manages to ease you into the history/wealth of research into the period. (set in Ottoman Turkey). I far preferred Denise Mina's Garnethill Trilogy to the Paddy Hill/cub reporter series, but she would also be a deserving winner.

I also read the Goodbye Kiss last year - very good,very very noir- a real anti-hero who may even be more sociopathic than Ripley.
Gosh, I am somewhat uneasy about this topic. Is it me or are these writers suffering enough anxiety without reading here that other books are more read or favored? .
I think discussions of books we have liked is great and should be done here in most instances, but maybe not as possble recipients of awards.
It's not like writers are politicans and should have to endure a public discussion of their warts. But maybe it's just me being ultrasensitive.
"It's not like writers are politicans and should have to endure a public discussion of their warts. But maybe it's just me being ultrasensitive."

I think this opens a whole different topic. The reality is, this is happening more and more. Smear journalism on blogs, insults against other authors during panels at conventions, bickering on listservs... I'm not saying it's right or wrong. I'm saying that authors have to get a thick skin on a lot of levels. Any person who is in the public domain in that sense will have to deal with it on some level.

As to awards, it's like any other thing. People talk about who they think should win Oscars or Grammys or whatever. Part of the risk of the glory is the reality of assessment. Face it, the minute you produce a work you can be shredded online, in person, behind your back. This to me is one of the least harmless discussions. Fair enough for everyone to have a personal favourite and if they're so inclined be cheering for it. A sensible author (much as it can hurt) has to learn to accept they won't be everyone's cup of tea. I haven't said anything above that I haven't put in reviews in the public domain already, and said straight out to Cornelia. I'd say it to Gillian too, except she has about six layers of insulation between herself and the writing community. Despite the issue I did have with the book I absolutely loved her protagonist and did follow up with her publisher to find out about future work and whether or not Preaker would be back. Doesn't sound like it.


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