Friday, February 14, 2014

Minnesota Book Awards

A flurry of e-mails and Facebook posts let me know back on January 25 that THE BOOK OF KILLOWEN was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards. It's truly such an honor and a thrill to be nominated! I was a finalist once before, for FALSE MERMAID, back in 2004, and cheered along with fellow finalists Judith Guest and William Kent Krueger for our friend and colleague K.J. Erickson as she took home the award.

This year, I'm nominated in the genre fiction category with fellow crime writers Brian Freeman, Cary Griffith, and William Kent Krueger. All three have won Minnesota Book Awards in the past, but Cary's latest is his crime fiction debut, so this is his first nomination in genre fiction — he's published in other fields. If you haven't read these great writers yet, you're in for a treat, and if you have, then you already know!

Just being nominated is wonderful, even if you don't end up taking home the trophy at the end of the night. It's great fun, not to mention great validation for what we do every day, to see people getting so excited about books and writing. And heck, there will be champagne and dessert!

The Minnesota Book Awards is all about getting great books into the hands of readers, and to that end there are lots of activities to raise public awareness of Minnesota writers and their books.

There's a "Meet the Finalists" night at Open Book on March 14, where nominees will give short presentations about their books. After the program you can chat with the authors and enjoy complimentary wine and refreshments. Finalist books will be available for purchase and autographing, and admission is free.

The really big party, the Minnesota Book Awards Gala, will be held at the Union Depot in Saint Paul on April 5. Here's what it says on the MNBA site:

Each April, authors, publishers and book-lovers celebrate the best of local literature at the Minnesota Book Awards Gala. The Gala returns to the capital city this year, to beautiful and newly restored Union Depot in Lowertown, Saint Paul. 
Books, autographs, wine, live music, and the announcement of the award winners make for an unforgettable evening. This year, the witty host of "Wits," John Moe, will emcee the event, and innovative jazz trio The Willie August Project will provide the music.  
Check the MBNA website for more details, and order tickets HERE.

And now, as a public service announcement, here's a little about the nominated books in the genre fiction category...

by Brian Freeman

As Jonathan Stride returns home to his cottage on the shore of Lake Superior after midnight, he finds a teenage girl hiding in his bedroom. She says that someone is trying to kill her. The girl isn't a stranger to Stride. She's the daughter of a woman he tried - and failed - to protect from an abusive, murderous ex-husband years earlier. With the guilt of that failure still hanging over his head, Stride is determined to protect this young girl, Cat Mateo, from a shadowy predator. However, Cat seems to have secrets of her own. A journalist who interviewed the girl has disappeared. Two more women are found murdered. Stride feels as if he is always one step behind a brutal killer who has Cat in his sights, and must find out why this young girl has been targeted for death - and why a decade-old crime is coming back to life.

by Cary J. Griffith

Sam Rivers, wildlife biologist and special agent for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, has a penchant for understanding predators. His expertise finds him returning to Defiance, Minnesota, his boyhood home on the Mesabi Iron Range, a place he hasn’t seen in twenty years. There, he investigates wolf depredation of local livestock—but wolves aren’t the only predators in Defiance. The mysterious death of his estranged father lands the agent on a case unlike any he’s worked before. His knowledge of cold, wilderness and wolves was bred in his bones. He learned his lessons well, and now he’ll need to use them.

by Erin Hart

After a year away from working in the field, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are back in the bogs, investigating a ninth-century body found buried in the trunk of a car. They discover that the ancient corpse is not alone—pinned beneath it is the body of philosopher Benedict Kavanagh, missing for mere months. Both men were viciously murdered, but centuries apart—so how did they end up buried together in the bog? While on the case, Cormac and Nora lodge at Killowen, a nearby artists' colony and organic farm and sanctuary for eccentric souls. Digging deeper into the older crime, they become entangled in high-stakes intrigue encompassing Kavanagh's death while surrounded by suspects in his ghastly murder. It seems that everyone at Killowen has some secret to protect.

by William Kent Krueger

As a blizzard swells just days before Christmas, the car belonging to the wife of a retired local judge is discovered abandoned on a rural road. After days without any leads, the search-and-rescue team, assisted by O’Connor, has little hope of finding her alive, if at all. Early on, Cork notices small details about the woman’s disappearance that tell a disturbing story. And when the beloved pet dog of a friend is found decapitated, he begins to detect a startling pattern of ominous incidents throughout the area. Then Cork’s son is nearly killed, and he knows this is no trick of his imagination. Someone is spinning a deadly web in Tamarack County. At the center is a murder more than twenty years old for which an innocent man may have been convicted.

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