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Edgar Award-Winning Books Every Mystery Fan Should Read

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Edgar Award-Winning Books Every Mystery Fan Should Read

edgar winners

Are you looking for a good mystery book to read? Choose a book from the Edgar Allan Poe Award winners list. The Edgar Awards are considered the most prestigious awards specifically for mystery fiction, non-fiction, and film. The Mystery Writers of America have presented this prize every year since the 1940s.

Listed below are the winners for Best Novel, Best First Novel by an American Author, Best Paperback Original, Best Fact Crime, Best Critical or Biographical, and Edgar Award for Young Adult from 2019 to 2023. Happy reading!

Edgar Award for Best Novel:

2023

notes on an execution

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka

Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours. He knows what he’s done, and now awaits execution, the same chilling fate he forced on those girls, years ago. But Ansel doesn’t want to die – he wants to be celebrated, understood. Through a kaleidoscope of women – a mother, a sister, a homicide detective – we learn the story of Ansel’s life. As the clock ticks down, these three women sift through the choices that culminate in tragedy, exploring the rippling fissures that such destruction inevitably leaves in its wake.

2022

Five Decembers by James Kestrel  ebook

War, imprisonment, torture, romance…The novel has an almost operatic symmetry, and Kestrel turns a beautiful phrase.” New York Times Five Decembers is a gripping thriller, a staggering portrait of war, and a heartbreaking love story, as unforgettable as All the Light We Cannot See . “Read this book for its palpitating story, its perfect emotional and physical detailing and, most of all, for its unforgettable conjuring of a steamy quicksilver world that will be new to almost every reader.” Pico Iyer   December 1941. America teeters on the brink of war, and in Honolulu, Hawaii, police detective Joe McGrady is assigned to investigate a homicide that will change his life forever.

2021

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

Based on a true story–Nine-year-old Jai watches too many reality police shows, thinks he’s smarter than his friend Pari (even though she gets the best grades), and considers himself to be a better boss than Faiz (even though Faiz is the one with a job). When a classmate goes missing, Jai decides to use the crime-solving skills he has picked up from TV to find him. He asks Pari and Faiz to be his assistants and together they draw up lists of people to interview and places to visit.

2020

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favorite literature. To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case.

2019

Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley

After serving time in Rikers Island solitary for assault, Joe King Oliver, who is an ex-NYPD investigator working as a private detective, receives a note from a woman who admits she was paid to frame him, compelling him to investigate.

Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author:

2023

Don’t Know Tough by Eli Cranor

Trent Powers relocates his family from Anaheim to Arkansas to take over as head coach of the Denton Pirates, a high school football team powered by a volatile but talented running back named Billy Lowe. Billy comes from an extremely troubled home: a trailer park where he is terrorized by his unstable mother’s abusive boyfriend. Billy takes out his anger on the field, and it’s not long before he crosses a line.

2022

deer season

Deer Season by Erin Flanagan

Over a weekend a teenage girl goes missing. Hal, a mentally challenged farmhand, returns from a hunting trip with a flimsy story about the blood in his truck and a dent near the headlight. When the situation escalates from that of a missing girl to something more sinister, Alma Costagan and her husband are forced to confront what Hal might be capable of.

2021

Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen

Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they’re there. Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town.

2020

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

“A literary courtroom thriller about a mother accused of murdering her eight-year-old autistic son.” — Provided by publisher.

2019

Bearskin by James A McLaughlin

Rice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s found a job protecting a remote forest preserve in Virginian Appalachia where his main responsibilities include tracking wildlife and refurbishing cabins. It’s hard work, and totally solitary–perfect to hide away from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, the quiet solitude he’s so desperately sought is suddenly at risk. 

Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original:

2023

Or Else by Joe Hart

A secret love becomes a fatal affair in a twisting novel of suspense by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Joe Hart. When novelist Andy Drake returns to his hometown to care for his ailing father, a reconnection with his childhood friend Rachel escalates into a secret love affair. For Rachel, struggling to maintain the facade of a picture-perfect life, it’s an escape from an emotionally abusive marriage.

2022

Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks

July 1973. The Glasgow drug trade is booming and Bobby March, homegrown rock hero, has overdosed in a downtown hotel. Alice Kelly is thirteen years old, alone, and missing. Harry McCoy is quietly asked to find his boss’s niece, who’s fallen in with a dodgy crowd and hasn’t been seen for days. McCoy has a hunch that there’s a connection between all three events, but nobody’s interested in hunches: the clock is running, the papers are out for blood, and the department wants results.

2021

when no one is watching

When No One Is Watching: A Thriller by Alyssa Cole

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block — her neighbor Theo. But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. 

2020

The Hotel Neversink by Adam O’Fallon Price

Thirty-one years after workers first broke ground, the magnificent Hotel Neversink in the Catskills finally opens to the public. Then a young boy disappears. This mysterious vanishing–and the ones that follow–will brand the lives of three generations over the course of this novel. At the root of it all is Asher Sikorky, the ambitious and ruthless patriarch whose purchase of the hotel in 1931 set a haunting legacy into motion.

2019

If I Die Tonight by Gaylin, Alison

Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime:

2023

Tell Me Everything by Erika Krouse

Fans know her as the spoiled, rich cheerleader Lyla Garrity on Friday Night Lights or as the affluent, mysterious Samantha on the HBO megahit Euphoria. But as revealed for the first time in these pages, Minka Kelly’s life has been anything but easy. Raised by a single mother who worked as a stripper and struggled with addiction, Minka spent years waking up in strange apartments as she and her mom bounced around the country, relying on friends and relatives to take them in.

2022

Last Call by Elon Green

In this astonishing and powerful work of nonfiction, Green meticulously reports on a series of baffling and brutal crimes targeting gay men. It is an investigation filled with twists and turns, but this is much more than a compelling true crime story. Green has shed light on those whose lives for too long have been forgotten, and rescued an important part of American history.” -David Grann, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer and the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon. 

2021

Death in Mud Lick : A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic by Eric Eyre

“An urgent and heartbreaking investigation into the corporate greed and governmental corruption that pumped millions of pain pills into small Appalachian towns” — book jacket.

2020

less people know about us

The Less People Know About Us : A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity by Axton Betz-Hamilton

Axton Betz-Hamilton grew up in small-town Indiana in the early ’90s. When she was 11 years old, her parents both had their identities stolen. Their credit ratings were ruined, and they were constantly fighting over money. This was before the age of the Internet, when identity theft became more commonplace, so authorities and banks were clueless and reluctant to help Axton’s parents.

2019

The Tinderbox by Wendy A Simpson

Isbet returns home to find the witch who raised her murdered and her prized possession, the Tinderbox stolen. She discovers a common man has used it to seize the throne. The same who conquered Prince Bram’s kingdom. Isbet’s goals are vengeance and reclaim the Box. 

Edgar Award for Best Critical/Biographical:

2023

The Life of Crime by Martin Edwards

The Life of Crime is the result of a lifetime of reading and enjoying all types of crime fiction, old and new, from around the world. In what will surely be regarded as his magnum opus, Martin Edwards has thrown himself undaunted into the breadth and complexity of the genre to write an authoritative – and readable – study of its development and evolution.

2022

The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock by Edward White

A fresh, innovative interpretation of the life, work, and lasting influence of the twentieth century’s most iconic filmmaker. In The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock, Edward White explores the Hitchcock phenomenon-what defines it, how it was invented, what it reveals about the man at its core, and how its legacy continues to shape our cultural world. The book’s twelve chapters illuminate different aspects of Hitchcock’s life and work.

2021

Phantom Lady by Christina Lane

The untold story of Hollywood’s most powerful female writer-producer of the 1940s, Joan Harrison, who grew from being the worst secretary Alfred Hitchcock ever had to one of his closest collaborators, critically shaping his brand as the “Master of Suspense”.

2020 

Hitchcock and the Censors by John Billheimer

From 1934 to 1968, the Motion Picture Production Code Office controlled the content and final cut on all films made and distributed in the United States. Code officials protected sensitive ears from standard four-letter words, as well as a few five-letter words like tramp and six-letter words like cripes.

2019

crime fiction 1920s

Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s 

A riveting collection of five of the most famous crime novels of the 1920s, presenting anew some of the most admired authors of the era–with insightful annotations by the Edgar-winning anthologist Leslie S. Klinger.

Edgar Award for Young Adult:

2023

The Red Palace by June Hur

While investigating a series of grisly murders, eighteen-year-old palace nurse Hyeon navigates royal and political intrigue and becomes entangled with a young police inspector. Includes author’s note.

2022

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother and reluctantly becomes involved in the investigation of a series of drug-related deaths.

2021

Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer

Because her mother is always on the move, sixteen-year-old Steph hasn’t lived anywhere longer than six months. Her only constant is an online community called CatNet–a social-media site where users upload cat pictures–a site whose admin is CheshireCat, a sentient AI who loves cat pictures. When a threat from Steph’s past catches up to her and CheshireCat’s existence is discovered, it’s up to Steph and her friends–both online and IRL–to save them. A near-future thriller about online privacy and out-of-control technology, and the importance of making connections in an increasingly fragmented society.

2020

Catfishing on catnet by Naomi Kritzer

Because her mother is always on the move, sixteen-year-old Steph hasn’t lived anywhere longer than six months. Her only constant is an online community called CatNet–a social-media site where users upload cat pictures–a site whose admin is CheshireCat, a sentient AI who loves cat pictures.

2019

Sadie by Courtney Summers 

Today, WNRK is launching the first episode of our new serialized podcast, The Girls, created and hosted by West McCray.” When popular radio personality West McCray receives a desperate phone call from a stranger imploring him to find nineteen-year-old runaway Sadie Hunter, he’s not convinced there’s a story there; girls go missing all the time. 

Hongmei, Adult Services & Acquisitions

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