Even missing the festivities surrounding this year’s Bouchercon, I was extremely pleased to hear that Songs of Innocence by Richard Aleas (Charles Ardai) won the 2008 Shamus Award for Best Paperback Original. The book was one of the best crime novels I read last year, and I’ve foisted a couple of copies off on readers I thought would appreciate its dark and provocative story. (Also, having gone through an MFA program and teaching creative writing classes myself, I was interested to see the setting that starts the story off. That first chapter is available at the Hard Case Crime website.)
Other winners this year included Reed Farrel Coleman’s Soul Patch for Best P.I. Novel (hardcover) and Cornelia Read’s “Hungry Enough” for Best Short Story. That story was published in the anthology Hell of a Woman, edited by Megan Abbott, and it’s also available online as a podcast at CrimeWav.com.
— Art Taylor