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2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

 

The Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” written by former Alabama law student, Harper Lee. For the past several years, the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal have partnered to award the prize to a published work of fiction from the previous year that best demonstrates “the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.”

 

Congratulations to the finalists (chosen from a field of 21) for the 2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction:

Sujata Massey: “The Satapur Moonstone”

Victor Methos: “The Hallows”

Chad Zunker: “An Equal Justice”

Previous winners:

2011 – John Grisham, “The Confession”

2012 – Michael Connelly, “The Fifth Witness”

2013 – Paul Goldstein, “Havana Requiem”

2014 – John Grisham, “Sycamore Row”

2015 – Deborah Johnson, “The Secret of Magic”  

2016 – Attica Locke, “Pleasantville”

2017 – James Grippando, “Gone Again”

2018 – C.E. Tobisman, “Proof.”

2019 – Sharon Bala, “The Boat People”

 

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2020 Pulitzer Prize – Journalism

 

The 2020 winners of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Journalism were announced in early May, 2020. Congratulations to all the amazing writers and staffs!

Descriptions of the individual awards are credited to the Pulitzer Prize website. Links (in brown) will take you to more information about the winners.

The Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal is awarded each year to the American news organization that wins the Public Service category.


Public Service  
Anchorage Daily News with contributions from ProPublica
  For a riveting series that revealed a third of Alaska’s villages had no police protection, took authorities to task for decades of neglect, and spurred an influx of money and legislative changes.

 

Breaking News Reporting    Staff of The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.  For its rapid coverage of hundreds of last-minute pardons by Kentucky’s governor, showing how the process was marked by opacity, racial disparities and violations of legal norms.

 

Investigative Reporting   Brian M. Rosenthal of The New York Times   For an exposé of New York City’s taxi industry that showed how lenders profited from predatory loans that shattered the lives of vulnerable drivers, reporting that ultimately led to state and federal investigations and sweeping reforms.

 

Explanatory Reporting   Staff of The Washington Post   For a groundbreaking series that showed with scientific clarity the dire effects of extreme temperatures on the planet.

 

Local Reporting   Staff of The Baltimore Sun   For illuminating, impactful reporting on a lucrative, undisclosed financial relationship between the city’s mayor and the public hospital system she helped to oversee.

 

National Reporting  T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose and Robert Faturechi of ProPublica   For their investigation into America’s 7th Fleet after a series of deadly naval accidents in the Pacific.

 

Dominic Gates, Steve Miletich, Mike Baker and Lewis Kamb of The Seattle Times   For groundbreaking stories that exposed design flaws in the Boeing 737 MAX that led to two deadly crashes and revealed failures in government oversight.

 

International Reporting   Staff of The New York Times   For a set of enthralling stories, reported at great risk, exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime.

 

Feature Writing   Ben Taub of The New Yorker   For a devastating account of a man who was kidnapped, tortured and deprived of his liberty for more than a decade at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, blending on-the-ground reporting and lyrical prose to offer a nuanced perspective on America’s wider war on terror. (Moved into contention by the Board.)

 

Commentary   Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times   For a sweeping, provocative and personal essay for the ground-breaking 1619 Project, which seeks to place the enslavement of Africans at the center of America’s story, prompting public conversation about the nation’s founding and evolution.

 

Criticism   Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times   For work demonstrating extraordinary community service by a critic, applying his expertise and enterprise to critique a proposed overhaul of the L.A. County Museum of Art and its effect on the institution’s mission.

 

Editorial Writing   Jeffery Gerritt of the Palestine (Tx.) Herald Press   For editorials that exposed how pre-trial inmates died horrific deaths in a small Texas county jail—reflecting a rising trend across the state—and courageously took on the local sheriff and judicial establishment, which tried to cover up these needless tragedies.

 

Editorial Cartooning   Barry Blitt, contributor, The New Yorker  For work that skewers the personalities and policies emanating from the Trump White House. (Moved into contention by the Board.)

 

Breaking News Photography  Photography Staff of Reuters   For wide-ranging and illuminating photographs of Hong Kong as citizens protested infringement of their civil liberties and defended the region’s autonomy by the Chinese government.

 

Feature Photography  Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin of Associated Press  For striking images captured during a communications blackout in Kashmir depicting life in the contested territory as India stripped it of its semi-autonomy.

 

Audio Reporting Staff of This American Life with Molly O’Toole of the Los Angeles Times and Emily Green, freelancer, Vice News   For “The Out Crowd,” revelatory, intimate journalism that illuminates the personal impact of the Trump Administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.

 

For information about Prize winners in other categories (the arts and fiction) click on the link below.

https://www.pulitzer.org/news/announcement-2020-pulitzer-prize-winners

 

 

 

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Pandemic Themed Fiction and Nonfiction

 

You asked for it. A list of books that deal with pandemics. In the past, we’ve watched the pandemic movies and TV shows and a few thriller authors have addressed the topic in their fiction. But, here we are in 2020, fighting a real life pandemic. Don’t read any of these books if you want to be reassured. Some, although written decades ago, are eerily predictive of our current worldwide battle with the Coronavirus, Covid 19.

Bobby Akart series: Starts with “Pandemic: Beginnings: A Post-Apocalyptic Thriller Series”

Michael Crichton: “The Andromeda Strain”

Molly Caldwell Crosby: “The American Plague” (nonfiction)

Stephen King: “The Stand”

Dean Koontz: “The Eyes of Darkness”

Emily St. John Mandell: “Station Eleven”

William Maxwell: “They Came Like Swallows”

Thomas Mullen: “The Last Town on Earth”

Katherine Ann Porter: “Pale Horse, Pale Rider”

Richard Preston: “The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus” (nonfiction)

Mary Shelley: “The Last Man”

Karen Thompson Walker “The Dreamers”

Do you have a favorite pandemic themed book that’s missing from the list? Let us know in the comments below.
 

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Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2020 List

 

View from Blarney Castle

 

St. Patrick’s Day will be here soon! For those of you that focus your reading on holiday/cultural themed books, the list below features Irish writers, mysteries/suspense set in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day murders, or titles with Irish characters central to the plot. Some are modern classics, some are newbies, but all are entertaining reads. You’re sure to find a story in the updated list of 38 Irish Fiction & Mysteries–2020 List that you will want to read again and again. (Links included for bold titles)

 

Lisa Alber: “Path into Darkness
Maeve Binchy:  “Chestnut Street
S. Furlong-Bollinger: “Paddy Whacked
Declan Burke: “The Lost and the Blind
Steve Cavanagh: “Th1rt3en
Sheila Connolly: “Fatal Roots
Kathy Cranston: “Apple Seeds and Murderous Deeds
Sinead Crowley: “One Bad Turn
Kathi Daley: “Shamrock Shenanigans
Frank Delaney: “The Last Storyteller
Nelson Demille: “Cathedral
Patricia Falvey: “The Yellow House
Tana French: “Broken Harbor
Alexia Gordon: “Murder in G Major
Andrew Greeley: “The Bishop at the Lake
Jane Haddam: “A Great Day for the Deadly
Lyn Hamilton: “The Celtic Riddle
Lee Harris: “The St. Patrick’s Day Murder
Erin Hart: “The Book of Killowen
Jonathan Harrington: “A Great Day for Dying
Mary Anne Kelly: “Twillyweed
Amanda Lee: “The Long Stitch Good Night
Dan Mahoney: “Once in, Never Out
Caimh McDonnell: “A Man with One of Those Faces
Brian McGilloway: “Preserve the Dead/The Forgotten Ones
Adrian McKinty: “The Chain
Ralph M. McInerny: “The Green Revolution
Leslie Meier: “St. Patrick’s Day Murder
Stuart Neville: “So Say the Fallen
Carlene O’Connor: “Murder in an Irish Cottage
Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: “Death Takes Up a Collection”
Helen Page: “Equal of God”
Louise Phillips: “The Doll’s House
Janet Elaine Smith: “In St. Patrick’s Custody
Jo Spain: “Beneath the Surface
Patrick Taylor: “An Irish Country Family
Peter Tremayne: “Blood in Eden
Kathy Hogan Trochek: “Irish Eyes

 

 

 

If your favorite Irish Fiction & Mysteries titles are not on the list, let me know and I’ll add them! Happy choosing and reading!

 

 

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The Agatha Awards – 2019 Books

 

The winners of the Agatha Awards for 2019 Books (named for Agatha Christie) have been announced. The nominated books were first published in the United States by a living author between January 1 and December 31, 2019. Normally, the nominated titles would be voted upon by the attendees at the annual Malice Domestic conference for mystery and crime writers/fans in early May, 2020. But, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the conference was cancelled. The Malice Board  determined the voting protocol, with the winners announced on May 2, 2020.

The Agatha Awards recognize the “traditional mystery,” meaning that there is no graphic sex and no excessive violence in the writing. Thrillers or hard-boiled detectives cannot be found here, but instead, picture Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot at work.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners! (indicated in red)  🙂

 

Best Contemporary Novel (6 titles this year)
“Fatal Cajun Festival” by Ellen Byron
The Long Call” by Ann Cleeves
“Fair Game” by Annette Dashofy
“The Missing Ones” by Edwin Hill
“A Better Man” by Louise Penny
“The Murder List” by Hank Philippi Ryan

Best First Mystery Novel
“A Dream of Death” by Connie Berry
One Night Gone” by Tara Laskowski
“Murder Once Removed” by S. C. Perkins
“When It’s Time for Leaving” by Ang Pompano
“Staging for Murder” by Grace Topping

Best Historical Mystery
“Love and Death Among the Cheetahs” by Rhys Bowen
“Murder Knocks Twice” by Susanna Calkins
“The Pearl Dagger” by L. A. Chandlar
Charity’s Burden” by Edith Maxwell
“The Naming Game” by Gabriel Valjan

Best Nonfiction
“Frederic Dannay, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and the Art of the Detective Short Story” by Laird R. Blackwell
“Blonde Rattlesnake: Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrified Los Angeles” by Julia Bricklin
“Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee” by Casey Cep
“The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women” by Mo Moulton
“The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper” by Hallie Rubenhold

Best Children/Young Adult
“Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers” by Shauna Holyoak
“Two Can Keep a Secret” by Karen MacManus
“The Last Crystal” by Frances Schoonmaker
“Top Marks for Murder (A Most Unladylike Mystery)”
by Robin Stevens
“Jada Sly, Artist and Spy” by Sherri Winston

Best Short Story (links are highlighted)
Grist for the Mill” by Kaye George in A Murder of Crows (Darkhouse Books)
Alex’s Choice” by Barb Goffman in Crime Travel (Wildside Press)
The Blue Ribbon” by Cynthia Kuhn in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
The Last Word” by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
Better Days” by Art Taylor in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine


Happy Reading!

 

 

 

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