2013 Al Blanchard Award
2012 Al Blanchard Award
A young woman discovers the perils of going home again in “Out to Sea,” winner of the 2012 Al Blanchard Award for short crime fiction by a New England author or featuring a New England setting.
The story, by VR Barkowski, is set on Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine. After her twin sister's suicide, Vivienne Jamison returns to the island home where they were raised, only to find that someone will stop at nothing to make sure she doesn't stay.
(To the right: VR Barkowski, right, accepts the 2012 Al Blanchard Award for New England short crime fiction from committee chair Leslie Wheeler. “Out to Sea” is published in Best New England Crime Stories: Blood Moon from Level Best Book.)
“Out to Sea” is one of 31 tales of mystery, suspense, and wrong-doing published in Best New England Crime Stories: Blood Moon from Level Best Books.
The award was announced Nov. 10, 2012, at the eleventh annual New England Crime Bake conference for mystery writers and readers in Dedham, MA.
VR Barkowski is a third generation Californian transplanted to Atlanta, who writes about New England. A finalist for the 2012 Daphne Du Maurier and Claymore Awards for her unpublished novel, “A Twist of Hate,” VR’s short fiction has appeared in “Mysterical-E” and “Spinetingler.” Visit VR’s website at www.vrbarkowski.com.
(To the left: Winners of the Al Blanchard Awards for New England short crime fiction are announced at the opening of the 2012 New England Crime Bake mystery conference. From left: Honorable Mention Christine Bagley, Al Blanchard Award Winner VR Barkowski, committee chair Leslie Wheeler, Honorable Mention Christine Eskilson, and Ben and Beth Oak, writing as B.B. Oak. Not Pictured: Frank Cook.)
The authors of four stories received Honorable Mention in the Al Blanchard Awards contest.
Beth and Ben Oak of Easton, CT, writing as B.B. Oak, were honored for “Death from a Bad Heart,” an historical mystery in which Henry David Thoreau solves a crime that would have gone undetected but for his remarkable observational and deductive skills. The story is published in Blood Moon.
The husband-wife writing team met in a literature course at Boston University and have been enthralled with Henry David Thoreau (and each other) ever since. Thoreau at Devil’s Perch, their first novel featuring “the Sherlock Holmes of Walden Pond,” is scheduled for release by Kensington Books in the fall of 2013. For an excerpt and more information, visit www.bboak.com.
Christine Eskilson of Charlestown, MA, received an honorable mention for her first published story, “They Call Me Mr. Fussy,” about an aging misanthrope whose planned peaceful retirement in a seaside New England town is disrupted by his criminal past. The story is published in Blood Moon.
Frank Cook of Portsmouth, NH, was honored for “The Project,” a suspense story about how life can change in a second in the cut-throat corporate jungle. The story is published in Blood Moon, the third of his stories to appear in a Best New England Crimes anthology from Level Best Books.
Frank’s story, “The Gift,” was selected in open competition for the Mystery Writers of America anthology, The Rich and the Dead edited by Nelson DeMille. Cook has also written and co-written five non-fiction books. He is married to the 2007 Al Blanchard Award-winning author Pat Remick.
Christine Bagley of Andover, MA, received honorable mention for “The Madness of Ida Mae,” a dark comedy about a woman in her late seventies who reinvents herself, donning push up bras, tight pants, and movie star wigs, when her husband leaves her for another woman. But don’t underestimate a woman scorned.
Christine is a freelance writer who has completed two novels and numerous short stories, and is currently working on an anthology featuring resilient, often unpredictable, female protagonists. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University and teaches writing to English as a Second Language (ESL) scientists and clinicians.
The Al Blanchard Award honors the late author of two mystery novel series and numerous short crime stories. Al was president of the New England chapter of Mystery Writers of America and co-founder of the New England Crime Bake.
The award is presented annually at the conference cosponsored by the New England chapters of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
For more information on Blood Moon and the nine previous anthologies of Best New England Crime Stories, visit www.levelbestbooks.com.
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