Oline Cogdill

This is the book awards season, with nominations and presentations starting now through August when Bouchercon 2021 occurs.

Of course, in-person ceremonies can’t be held just yet, but authors deserve to be rewarded for their good works.

Left Coast Crime kicked off the presentations with its awards a couple of weeks ago in a tidy ceremony. Details of who won can be found here at Mystery Scene.

The 75th Edgar Awards, sponsored by Mystery Writers of America (MWA), will be presented via Zoom at 1 pm (EST) on April 29. Meanwhile, MWA is hosting a series of interviews with the nominees, Grand Masters, and Ellery Queen honorees. In addition, authors are reading from their nominated books on Mystery Writers of America’s Facebook page.   

Malice Domestic will have its ceremony in July.

I think the organizers of these virtual award ceremonies are doing a terrific job. They are focusing on the nominees—and let’s face it, it truly is an honor to be nominated—with the winners being allowed to discuss their book and offer their gratitude, often in a prerecorded video.

The applause is missing, but I hope everyone watching is applauding at home.

And traditional buying of the drinks isn’t happening, but we can toast at home. And when we can do it in-person, winners should expect to be toasted many times.

The latest awards presentation was this weekend with the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Full disclosure, I was a judge in the Mystery & Thriller category, along with my fellow judges Naomi Hirahara and Michael Nava. I was elected to present the award. The 2020 L.A. Times Book Prize in the Mystery & Thriller category was awarded to S.A. Cosby for Blacktop Wasteland. You can view the ceremony here. (This Mystery/Thriller Award is given out about 23 minutes into the ceremony.)

In presenting the award, our group statement was:

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby, published by Flatiron, centers on a young family man at a crossroad in his life. This compelling novel deeply explores race, responsibility, parenthood, moral complexities and identity. Set in economically strapped area of Virginia, Blacktop Wasteland also looks at how a family’s struggles with cash are acerbated by a financial downtown. Cosby’s noir story reflects concerns of the 21st century through a gripping plot accented by fully fleshed out characters with realistic motives.

The five finalists in the 2020 L.A. Times Book Prize in the Mystery & Thriller category were:
- Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron)
- A Beautiful Crime, by Christopher Bollen (Harper)
- Little Secrets, by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur)
- And Now She’s Gone, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge)
-These Women, by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco)

Congratulations to all.