Thursday, April 30, 2009

In Bruges wins the Edgar Award for best screenplay, and a word about Declan Hughes

Blue Heaven by C.J. Box has just won the Edgar Award for best novel, but I felt a certain attachment to one of the other short-listed books: The Price of Blood by Declan Hughes (titled The Dying Breed in the UK). The man is Irish, for one thing, right up Detectives Beyond Borders' alley.

Also, I wrote nice things about the book in the Philadelphia Inquirer, beginning my review thus: "A fist to the jaw carries with it an intimacy that a bullet to the gut just can't match." And Hughes' niece's husband played on my softball team. And someone snapped a photo of Hughes and me at Bouchercon 2008 in Baltimore.

(From left, J. Kingston Pierce, your humble blogkeeper, Declan Hughes. Photo by Ali Karim, courtesy of The Rap Sheet)

Hughes was not the only writer from beyond these shores up for the Mystery Writers of America's top award Thursday night. Also in the running were Karin Alvtegen for Missing and Morag Joss for The Night Following.

Christa Faust's Money Shot was up for best paperback original. She's American, but she wrote a book very much worth reading, and she was responsible for my favorite crime-fiction-related phrase of the year. Click this link to see and hear me using the phrase. (The Edgar for best paperback original went to China Lake by Meg Gardiner.)

Martin McDonagh won the Edgar for best screenplay for In Bruges, a beyond-borders nomination that I forgot to mention earlier.

Congratulations to the winners, and a hat tip to Sarah Weinman for providing up-to-the-minute news as the official Edgars chronicler. (See a list of all Edgar nominees here.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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18 Comments:

Blogger Dana King said...

I'm not a big follower of awards, but if The Night Following beats out The Price of Blood, I'm never looking at the Edgars again.

April 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ah, I don't know. I look at awards at a marketing boost, a spur to read books I have not yet read.

I was flabbergasted when Ken Bruen's Priest was shortlisted but did not win. But I had not read the winning novel that year.

April 30, 2009  
Blogger R. T. said...

You may be right about your prediction, but I wouldn't rule out Ferrigno's novel, though the reasons for its possible selection will have less to do with the quality of the writing and more to do with the problematic topicality of the premise: life and death in an Islamic America.

April 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That was no prediction; I haven't read all the books. I was merely noting that my path and Hughes' crossed in a number of times last year -- and that I did enjoy his book. He was the one who told me about his nephew-in-law and the softball team, for example.

April 30, 2009  
Blogger Dana King said...

Peter,
Funny you should mention Priest, as I just finished reading it on the subway to work this morning. (Swine flu? I laugh at danger!) That's the second Bruen I've read, and I think he may be an acquired taste, and I am definitely acquiring it. A great read, on multiple levels.

April 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've taken pubilc transportation every day for decades, and I feel no more swinish now than I did before.

Funny you should mention Bruen's being an acquired taste. I'd liked his Brant and Roberts novels and his collaborations with Jason Starr, but until I read Priest, I was not a huge fan, based on what I'd read, of the Jack Taylor novels, which I think are the main source of Bruen's reputation. But Priest was one of the highlights of my crime-reading life. One of the reasons is that Bruen refused to descend to sentimentality and victimhood-mongering when writing about a subject that could easily have lent itself to such treatment. I wrote about the book here.

April 30, 2009  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

Love all the Jack Taylor novels, esp. THE DRAMATIST. Few novels bring me to tears.

April 30, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Priest is one of the very few that have brought me close. Of the Jack Taylor novels, I've read just that, The Magdalen Martyrs and Cross.

April 30, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Can't comment on too much here, which shows how behind I am, but I did love In Bruges.

May 01, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're no further behind than a few hours; these awards are very recent.

I should see In Bruges a second time. I spent a good deal of my first viewing disoriented by the dramatic moments. I'd been misled by the trailer into expecting a slam-bang, comic caper, and that was just one part of the movie.

The movie was part of what seemed a largish non-American presence on the Edgar short lists. Even the best first novel was called The Foreigner.

My v-word is cullen, not a bad name for a post and string that touch down in Ireland and England.

May 01, 2009  
Blogger R. T. said...

Well, that's good news about Box's BLUE HEAVEN, which I reviewed earlier this year over at BookLoons: http://www.bookloons.com/cgi-bin/Review.asp?bookid=9050

May 01, 2009  
Blogger R. T. said...

Okay, so here is a question in the form of a request: Someone please explain the Edgar Awards process; I am congenitally suspicious of book awards/prizes, and wonder about how the Edgar's get nominated and awarded (i.e., There must be something tied into marketing, politics of publishing, and exchanges of favors involved, but perhaps that is just my cynicism showing through.) So, who can sort this out?

May 01, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T., it looks as if you approve that choice of Blue Heaven. Perhaps this one may deserve a post-awards boost.

I may take a look if I take a holiday from foreign mysteries. Thanks.

May 01, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T., here's something from the Mystery Wrters of America Web site about judging for the awards.

May 01, 2009  
Blogger R. T. said...

Thanks for the link to the judging criteria. Of course, I now feel more than a little sheepish for raising the question since I should have been resourceful enough to seek and find the answer(s) myself. Ah, well, now I can continue using my "spare time" for end-of-semester grading challenges.

May 01, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No need to feel like a sheep. I'd recently used the MWA Web site, so I had a good idea where to look.

May 01, 2009  
Blogger Sucharita Sarkar said...

I have a slightly plebeian awe of all awards, good, bad or ugly. Anyway, since you are recommending Declan Hughes, I'll try to find him on the bookshelves of Landmark, a great bookshop in Mumbai with an varied stock of books.

May 01, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And I hold out the possibility that awards can call one's attention to worthy books one might not otherwise read.

Hughes is worth reading. He's steadfastly loyal to the Raymond Chandler tradition, yet he keeps it fresh. I've made a post or two about some of the techniques by which he does this. Take a look at those posts, and consider them more recommendations for Hughes.

May 01, 2009  

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