Monday, July 11, 2011

ITW Announces 2011 Thriller Awards

During a gala banquet and celebration held on Saturday, July 9, at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, the International Thriller Writers announced the winners of the 2011 Thriller Awards. They are:

Best Hard Cover Novel: BAD BLOOD: A VIRGIL FLOWERS NOVEL, John Sandford - When 19-year-old Bob Tripp hits farmer Jacob Flood in the head with a T-ball bat at the outset of Sandford's exciting fourth thriller to feature Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers (after Rough Country), Tripp's subsequent attempt to make murder look like an accident fails. The morning after Tripp's arrest, he's found hanging in his cell. Warren County sheriff Lee Coakley seeks Flowers's help to investigate what role, if any, deputy Jim Crocker, the officer on duty at the jail at the time, played in Tripp's death. A link to the earlier murder of a young woman leads Flowers and Coakley to members of a small church with strange ways. As the pair become aware of the magnitude of the unspeakable crimes behind the deaths, they search desperately for a lever to pry open what turns out to be Flowers's biggest, if perhaps most unlikely, case to date.

Best Paperback Original Novel: THE COLD ROOM, J.T. Ellison - Fusing gritty cop drama with dark psychological thriller, Ellison distinguishes herself with exceptional character development, consistently breakneck pacing and a sense of authenticity throughout. Her fourth Taylor Jackson thriller finds a serial killer murdering young women in both the United States and Europe. Such an international crime brings New Scotland Yard Detective/profiler James Memphis Highsmythe into the investigation, causing an unexpected hitch in homicide detective Jackson's romantic involvement with fiance FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin. But personal feelings or no, the trio must pool their resources to find the serial killer known as the Conductor in the United States and Il Macellaio across the Atlantic, before he can strike again.

Best First Novel: STILL MISSING, Chevy Stevens - On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals — sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape —her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor. Still Missing is that rare debut find — a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted debut novel.

Best Short Story: "THE GODS FOR VENGEANCE CRY," Richard Helms - Published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in November 2010, this is a new Pat Gallegher story. In this one, Gallegher travels to a flyspeck town in North Carolina called Prosperity to search for the parents of a woman who was killed in New Orleans. There, he teams up with Judd Wheeler, the protagonist from Helms' new novel, Six Mile Creek, to delve into the woman's troubled past in her hometown, and whether it may be linked to her tragic death.

Also receiving special recognition during the ThrillerFest VI Awards Banquet:

R.L. Stine, Thriller Master, in recognition of his legendary career and outstanding contributions to the thriller genre

Joe McGinniss, True Thriller Award

Karin Slaughter, Silver Bullet Award