ITW Announces Their 2017 Thriller Award Nominees

Every year tons of authors, aspiring writers, and fans travel to New York City for ThrillerFest, a star-studded event hosted by the International Thriller Writers. This year, everything takes place between July 11-15th at the Grand Hyatt, and those looking to attend can register here.

The best way to describe ThrillerFest is that it’s a little bit like ComicCon, but for authors–specifically thriller writers. This year, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Heather Graham, John Lescroart, Steve Berry, C.J. Box, Sandra Brown, Nelson DeMille, J.A. Jance, Gayle Lynds, David Morrell, Karin Slaughter, John Sandford and Kathy Reichs are just a few of the names headlining the event.

On top of author panels and discussions, there are writer workshops–were hopeful writers have the chance to pick the brain of bestselling authors. There’s also something called Pitchfest, which gives new authors a chance to pitch their work to agents and editors. To top it all off, ITW has an awards ceremony each year–and they just released the list of their 2017 nominees.

Scroll down to see each nominee, broken down by category, below.

Best Hardcover Novel

Megan Abbott (You Will Know Me)
Reed Ferrel Coleman (Where It Hurts)
Noah Hawley (Before The Fall)
Laure McHugh (Arrowood)
Ben H. Winters (Underground Airlines)

Best First Novel

Bob Bickford (Deadly Kiss)
J.L. Delozier (Type And Cross)
David McCaleb (Recall)
Nicholas Petrie (The Drifter)
E.Z. Rinsky (Palindrome)

Best Paperback Original Novel

Robert Dugoni (In The Clearing)
Anne Frasier (The Body Reader)
Paul Kemprecos (The Minoan Cipher)
Jonathan Maberry (Kill Switch)
Stephen Maher (Salvage)

Best Short Story

Eric Beetner (The Business of Death)
Laura Benedict (The Peter Rabbit Killers)
Brendan DuBois (The Man From Away)
Joyce Carol Oates (Big Momma)
Art Taylor (Parallel Play)

Best Young Adult Novel

Pierce Brown (Morning Star)
Elle Cosimano (Holding Smoke)
A.J. Hartley (Steeplejack)
Billy Taylor (Thieving Weasels)
Kara Thomas (The Darkest Corners)

Best E-Book Original Novel

James Scott Bell (Romeo’s Way)
Sean Black (The Edge of Alone)
Sibel Hodge (Untouchable)
J.F. Penn (Destroyer)
Richard Thomas (Breaker)

First and foremost, congrats to all the nominees! It’s impossible to predict who will win each category, so we won’t even try. Though, I will point out that it’s surprising that from top to bottom there really aren’t any true military or spy thrillers mentioned.

Under the Best First Novel category, the only book we reviewed from the list of nominees was Nick Petrie’s The Drifter, which kicked off a great new series that continued with this year’s Burning Bright. Petrie’s character, Peter Ash, is Jack Reacher-like, and both books are fantastic. In fact, the front cover of Burning Bright features a blurb from Lee Child that says “Lots of characters get compares to my own Jack Reacher, but Peter Ash is the Real Deal.” If you haven’t read Petrie’s books already, definitely check them out! 

Surprisingly, though, neither of our top-two ranked debut authors from last year made the cut – with Matthew Betley (Overwatch) and Erik Storey (Nothing Short of Dying) each noticeably absent from ITW’s list. So too are Sean McFate (Shadow War), Paul Vidich (An Honorable Man), and another of our top-rated new writers, Ezekiel Boone (The Hatching). It seems a little odd that none of those guys made the cut, as each of them turned in a very strong first novel in 2016. 

And while it’s unclear, exactly how ITW’s voting system works, it’s too bad that the espionage side of the genre isn’t represented anywhere on the list. I would have thought Ben Coes, Gregg Hurwitz, Kyle Mills, Mark Greaney, Brad Taylor, Jeff Abbott, Daniel Silva, Joseph Finder, Brad Thor or any number of other top authors deserved to be mentioned.

For more details on ThrillerFest click here, and make sure to start making arrangements now if you’re planning to attend this July!

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