Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bouchercon Does it Again

It's a Baltimore kind of day here in Milwaukee. Cal is getting inducted this week. Jon and I have just rewatched Homicide in its entirety. Hairspray is doing well at the movies. I'm in the middle of the 18 day work week from hell and feeling a bit crabby. But oh, I can smell Anchorage in the air. And I love being a fan of the mystery world.
So Alaska came out with the nominations for Bearly Alive. What a great list. I was so excited to see a cast of books that were all top notch. I hope the Baltimore list will be just as impressive.
And I was reminded again that Bouchercon does indeed belong to the fans. I say this because those members who sent in their nominations came up with some lists containing anomalies to the "formula" not found in any other award list.
An all female list? Holy Cow, Veronica. But great books, each and every one. Reflective of all that is right on any fan's nightstand. Strong and long lived series (Spencer-Fleming, Lippman)that continue to pay off book to book. Authors who continue to allow their protags to grow and learn new truths. A newer series from an established writer that proves there is a new way to write this genre (Mina). A Stand-Alone from one of the genre's great that uses passion for a cause (missing children) to tell a horrifying story of one family. A book filled with facts and fiction that is astounding(Burke). And of course one of '06s biggest lovestory's. I'm talking about Nancy Pickard's opus. When a great writer throws it out there like this everyone is a winner.
Could an organization get away with not nominating at least one person of each gender? It hasn't worked out well for those who have, backlash is a horrible thing. But the bouchercon nods are, because of their very concept, pure.
Big Press, small press and yup, one book that could be defined as self published. And you know what? All of the books on these lists are highly readable. That's how they made the list. A Bouchercon member read the book, remembered it and when it was time to submit their individual lists to the Anthony committee they wrote it down. The award committee tallied up the nods and the list was born.
My own reading has, because of time commitments, trailed of. The 300 + books I read two years ago is down to about 200. Certain favorite writers are sitting on a very special TBR pile. To be savored after Judy and I see the tax man for the last time post 2008. And my own list would have been a bit different than the one from Alaska. But you know what? It couldn't have been better. There is not a group I'm prouder to be a member of, because together we come up with anomalies and truths you couldn't anywhere else.
It is why Bouchercon and the Anthony are special and will remain so.