The nominees for this year’s Anthony Awards have been announced. Bouchercon will be held in Minneapolis on September 8-11. 2022. To learn more about Bouchercon, visit the webpage here.
Chicago in the dead of winter can be brutal, especially when you're scouring the frigid streets for a missing girl. Fifteen-year-old Ramona Titus has run away from her foster home. Her biological mother, Leesa Evans, is a recovering addict who admits she failed Ramona often in the past. But now she's clean. And she's determined to make up for her mistakes--if Cass can only help her find her daughter.
Cass visits Ramona's foster mother, Deloris Poole, who is also desperate to bring the girl home. Ramona came to Deloris six months ago, angry and distrustful, but was slowly opening up. The police are on the search, but Cass has sources closer to the streets, and a network of savvy allies. Yet it seems Ramona doesn't want to be found. And Cass soon begins to understand why.
Ramona is holding secrets dark enough to kill for, and anyone who helps her may be fair game. And if Ramona can't run fast enough and hide well enough to keep the truth safe, she and Cass may both be out of time.
S. A. Cosby
Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.
The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah’s white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.
Derek’s father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed of his father's criminal record. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.
Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys.
Camille Gardener is a grieving—and angry—mother who, five years after her daughter’s death, is still obsessed with the privileged young man she believes to be responsible.
When her rash actions draw the attention of a secret group of women—the collective— Camille is drawn into a dark web where these mothers share their wildly different stories of loss as well as their desire for justice in a world where privilege denies accountability. Fueled by mutual rage, the collective members devise and act out retribution fantasies via precise, anonymous, highly coordinated revenge killings.
As Camille struggles to comprehend whether this is a role-playing exercise or terrifying reality, she must decide if these women are truly avenging angels or monsters. Becoming more deeply enmeshed in the group, Camille learns truths about the collective—and about herself—that she may not be able to survive.
Chicago, 1944: Twenty-year-old Aki Ito and her parents have just been released from Manzanar, where they have been detained by the US government since the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, together with thousands of other Japanese Americans. The life in California the Itos were forced to leave behind is gone; instead, they are being resettled two thousand miles away in Chicago, where Aki’s older sister, Rose, was sent months earlier and moved to the new Japanese American neighborhood near Clark and Division streets. But on the eve of the Ito family’s reunion, Rose is killed by a subway train.
Aki, who worshipped her sister, is stunned. Officials are ruling Rose’s death a suicide. Aki cannot believe her perfect, polished, and optimistic sister would end her life. Her instinct tells her there is much more to the story, and she knows she is the only person who could ever learn the truth.
Rachel Howzell Hall
Mickie Lambert creates “digital scrapbooks” for clients, ensuring that precious souvenirs aren’t forgotten or lost. When her latest client, Nadia Denham, a curio shop owner, dies from an apparent suicide, Mickie honors the old woman’s last wish and begins curating her peculiar objets d’art. A music box, a hair clip, a key chain—twelve mementos in all that must have meant so much to Nadia, who collected them on her flea market scavenges across the country.
But these tokens mean a lot to someone else, too. Mickie has been receiving threatening messages to leave Nadia’s past alone.
It’s becoming a mystery Mickie is driven to solve. Who once owned these odd treasures? How did Nadia really come to possess them? Discovering the truth means crossing paths with a long-dormant serial killer and navigating the secrets of a sinister past. One that might, Mickie fears, be inescapably entwined with her own.
Best First Novel
Stolen from her Ghanaian village as a child, Nena Knight has plenty of motives to kill. Now an elite assassin for a powerful business syndicate called the Tribe, she gets plenty of chances.
But while on assignment in Miami, Nena ends up saving a life, not taking one. She emerges from the experience a changed woman, finally hopeful for a life beyond rage and revenge. Tasked with killing a man she’s come to respect, Nena struggles to reconcile her loyalty to the Tribe with her new purpose.
Meanwhile, she learns a new Tribe council member is the same man who razed her village, murdered her family, and sold her into captivity. Nena can’t resist the temptation of vengeance—and she doesn’t want to. Before she can reclaim her life, she must leverage everything she was and everything she is to take him down and end the cycle of bloodshed for good.
Zakiya Dalila Harris
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.
From an early age, Sam Mayfair knew she was different. Like any young girl, she developed infatuations and lust—but her desires were always tinged with darkness. Then, when Sam was sixteen, her life was shattered by an abuser close to her. And she made one shocking decision whose ramifications would reverberate throughout her life.
Now, fifteen years later, Sam learns that her abuser has been murdered. The death of the man who plagued her dreams for years should have put an end to the torture she's endured. But when her stepbrother, Eric, becomes the prime suspect, Sam is flung back into the hell of her rural Oklahoma childhood. As Sam tries to help exonerate Eric, she must hide terrifying truths of their past from investigators. Yet as details of the murder unravel, Sam quickly learns that some people, including herself, will do anything to keep their secrets buried deep.
Mia P. Manansala
When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.
With the cops treating her like she's the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila's left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…
Wanda M. Morris
Ellice Littlejohn seemingly has it all: an Ivy League law degree, a well-paying job as a corporate attorney in midtown Atlanta, great friends, and a “for fun” relationship with a rich, charming executive, who just happens to be her white boss. But everything changes one cold January morning when Ellice arrives in the executive suite and finds him dead with a gunshot to his head.
And then she walks away like nothing has happened. Why? Ellice has been keeping a cache of dark secrets, including a small-town past and a kid brother who’s spent time on the other side of the law. She can’t be thrust into the spotlight—again.
But instead of grieving this tragedy, people are gossiping, the police are getting suspicious, and Ellice, the company’s lone black attorney, is promoted to replace her boss. While the opportunity is a dream-come-true, Ellice just can’t shake the feeling that something is off.
When she uncovers shady dealings inside the company, Ellice is trapped in an impossible ethical and moral dilemma. Suddenly, Ellice’s past and present lives collide as she launches into a pulse-pounding race to protect the brother she tried to save years ago and stop a conspiracy far more sinister than she could have ever imagined…
Best Critical or Nonfiction Work
At the end of the 1976 football season, more than forty Harvard athletes went to Boston's Combat Zone to celebrate. In the city's adult entertainment district, drugs and prostitution ran rampant, violent crime was commonplace, and corrupt police turned the other way. At the end of the night, Italian American star athlete Andy Puopolo, raised in the city's North End, was murdered in a stabbing. Three African American men were accused of the crime. His murder made national news and led to the eventual demise of the city's red-light district.
Starting with this brutal murder, The Combat Zone tells the story of the Puopolo family's struggle with both a devastating loss and a criminal justice system that produced two trials with opposing verdicts, all within the context of a racially divided Boston. Brogan traces the contentious relationship between Boston’s segregated neighborhoods during the busing crisis; shines a light on a court system that allowed lawyers to strike potential jurors based purely on their racial or ethnic identity; and lays bare the deep-seated corruption within the police department and throughout the Combat Zone. What emerges is a fascinating snapshot of the city at a transitional moment in its recent past.
Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell
Why is it so much fun to read about death and dismemberment? In Murder Book, lifelong true-crime obsessive and New Yorker cartoonist Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell tries to puzzle out the answer. An unconventional graphic exploration of a lifetime of Ann Rule super-fandom, amateur armchair sleuthing, and a deep dive into the high-profile murders that have fascinated the author for decades, this is a funny, thoughtful, and highly personal blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and true crime with a focus on the often-overlooked victims of notorious killers.
The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.
He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.
Nor will he be his last.
The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.
Mystery Writers of America; Lee Child (Editor); Laurie R. King (Editor)
Mystery Writers of America (MWA) is known for providing unparalleled resources on the craft, art, and business of storytelling, helping writers of all levels improve their skills for nearly a century. Now, this handbook helps authors navigate the ever-shifting publishing landscape—from pacing, plotting, the business side of publishing, to the current demand for diversity and inclusivity across all genres, and more.
London, 1938. In the suburbs of the city, a young housewife has become the eye in a storm of chaos. In Alma Fielding’s modest home, china flies off the shelves and eggs fly through the air; stolen jewelry appears on her fingers, white mice crawl out of her handbag, beetles appear from under her gloves; in the middle of a car journey, a turtle materializes on her lap. The culprit is incorporeal. As Alma cannot call the police, she calls the papers instead.
After the sensational story headlines the news, Nandor Fodor, a Hungarian ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical Research, arrives to investigate the poltergeist. But when he embarks on his scrupulous investigation, he discovers that the case is even stranger than it seems.
By unravelling Alma’s peculiar history, Fodor finds a different and darker type of haunting, a tale of trauma, alienation, loss and revenge. He comes to believe that Alma’s past has bled into her present, her mind into her body. There are no words for processing her experience, so it comes to possess her. As the threat of a world war looms, and as Fodor’s obsession with the case deepens, Alma becomes ever more disturbed.
Best Paperback Original/E-Book/Audiobook Original Novel
The Ninja Betrayed by Tori Eldridge
Warn Me When It’s Time by Cheryl A. Head
Bury Me in Shadows by Greg Herren
The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski
Bloodline by Jess Lourey
Best Childrens / YA
Cold Blooded Myrtle by Elizabeth Bunce
Bury Me in Shadows by Greg Herren
The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur
I Play One on TV by Alan Orloff
Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer
Best Anthology or Collection
Under the Thumb by SA Cosby
Midnight Hour: A Chilling Anthology of Crime Fiction from 20 Authors of Color by Abby L. Vandiver
Trouble No More: Crime Fiction Inspired by Southern Rock and Blues by Mark Westmoreland
This Time for Sure: Bouchercon Anthology 2021 by Hank Phillippi Ryan
When a Stranger comes to Town by Michael Koryta
Best Short Story
The Search for Eric Garcia by EA Aymar
The Vermeer Conspiracy by VM Burns
Lucky Thirteen by Track Clark
Doc’s at Midnight by Richie Narvaez
Not My Cross to Bear by SA Cosby
The Locked Room Library by Gigi Pandian
Burnt Ends by Gabriel Valjan