John Hart wins Edgar Award for best mystery
By Deirdre Parker Smith
Author John Hart has won the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Mystery of the Year for his second novel, “Down River.”
Hart and wife Katie, of Greensboro, were in New York Thursday night for the presentation at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Hart’s first novel, “The King of Lies,” was nominated in 2007 for an Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Author, among many other nominations and awards. The Edgars are named for Edgar Allan Poe.
“Down River” was nominated in March for the SIBA Award, given each year by the Southern Independent Booksellers Association to recognize the best in Southern fiction, and for the Strand Critics Award, judged by some of the best critics in the nation, from such newspapers as The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and others.
Hart, who was raised in Salisbury, is now able to devote all his time to writing. Both “Down River” and “The King of Lies” made it to the New York Times bestseller list. He is at work on a third novel for St. Martin’s.
“Down River” earned positive reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and a variety of reviewers around the country. Set again in Rowan County, the book features another flawed but determined hero trying to reclaim his life and family after a false murder accusation. It also explores issues of farmland preservation.
Other nominees for the 2008 Edgar Best Mystery were Benjamin Black’s “Christin Falls,” Ken Bruen’s “Priest,” Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” and Reed Farrel Coleman’s “Soul Patch.”
Tania French won Best First Novel by An American Author for her book set in Dublin, “In the Woods.” Megan Abbott’s “Queenpin” was named best paperback original.
“Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy,” by Vincent Bugliosi, won Best Fact Crime Book.
Bill Pronzini, author of the “Nameless Detective” series, was honored as a Grand Master.
Mystery Writers of America (MWA) sponsors the Edgar Awards. It is considered the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre.