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Monday, June 5, 2023

Using Awards Lists As a RA Tool: Thriller Awards Edition

This is part of my ongoing series on using Awards Lists as a RA tool. Click here for all posts in the series in reverse chronological order. Click here for the first post which outlines the details how to use awards lists as a RA tool. 

The International Thriller Writers Awards were announced over the weekend and it was a sweep by women! The results are here via File 770, but below is the list of all of the nominees (via the Thriller Writers site which hasn't been updated yet) where I have bolded the winners and added links to my reviews where applicable (more on that below as well)

After the awards list, please stick around for some comments by me that address the RA implications, and note, I have more to say than the usual things that come up in that link at the top of the page.

Click here for ITW Swards site


  • The Violence, by Delilah S. Dawson (Del Rey)
  • Things We Do in the Dark, by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur)
  • The Fervor, by Alma Katsu (Putnam)
  • The Children on the Hill, by Jennifer McMahon (Simon & Schuster)
  • Two Nights in Lisbon, by Chris Pavone (MCD)
  • Sundial, by Catriona Ward (Macmillan)


  • Young Rich Widows, by Kimberly Belle, Fargo Layne, Cate Holahan, and Vanessa Lillie; narrated by Dina Pearlman, Karissa Vacker, Helen Laser, and Ariel Blake (Audible)
  • The Lies I Tell, by Julie Clark; narrated by Anna Caputo and Amanda Dolan (Audible)
  • The Photo Thief, by J.L. Delozier; narrated by Rachel L. Jacobs and Jeffrey Kafer (CamCat)
  • Things We Do in the Dark, by Jennifer Hillier; narrated by Carla Vega (Macmillan Audio)
  • The Silent Woman, by Minka Kent; narrated by Christine Lakin and Kate Rudd (Blackstone)


  • The Resemblance, by Lauren Nossett (Flatiron)
  • Blood Sugar, by Sascha Rothchild (Putnam)
  • Dirt Creek (aka Dirt Town), by Hayley Scrivenor (Flatiron)
  • A Flicker in the Dark, by Stacy Willingham (Minotaur)
  • The Fields, by Erin Young (Flatiron)


  • The Lies I Told, by Mary Burton (Montlake)
  • No Place to Run, by Mark Edwards (Thomas & Mercer)
  • Unmissing, by Minka Kent (Thomas & Mercer)
  • The Housemaid, by Freida McFadden (Grand Central)
  • Anywhere You Run, by Wanda Morris (Morrow)
  • The Couple Upstairs, by Holly Wainwright (Pan Macmillan)
  • The Patient’s Secret, by Loreth Anne White (Montlake)


  • “Russian for Beginners,” by Dominique Bibeau (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine [EQMM], March/April 2022)
  • “The Gift,” by Barb Goffman (from Land of 10,000 Thrills, edited by Greg Herren; Down & Out)
  • “Publish or Perish,” by Smita Harish Jain (EQMM, September/October 2022)
  • “33 Clues Into the Disappearance of My Sister,” by Joyce Carol Oates (EQMM, March/April 2022)
  • “Schrödinger, Cat,” by Anna Scotti (EQMM, March/April 2022)
  • “Stockholm,” by Catherine Steadman (Amazon Original Stories)


  • Our Crooked Hearts, by Melissa Albert (Flatiron)
  • Sugaring Off, by Gillian French (Algonquin Young Readers)
  • Daughter, by Kate McLaughlin (Wednesday)
  • What’s Coming to Me, by Francesca Padilla (Soho Teen)
  • I’m the Girl, by Courtney Summers (Wednesday)


  • Evasive Species, by Bill Byrnes (Self-published)
  • The Couple at Causeway Cottage, by Diane Jeffrey (HarperCollins)
  • The Seven Truths of Hannah Baxter, by Grant McKenzie (Self-published)
  • The Hollow Place, by Rick Mofina (Self-published)
  • Fatal Rounds, by Carrie Rubin (Self-published)

Two other awards will be presented at ThrillerFest:


  • Charlaine Harris
  • Walter Mosley


  • Minotaur Books

First I do not want to underplay how every book award when to an author who identifies as a woman. Every single award. This might not shock some of you out there, but I have been at this since 2000 and "Thrillers" were so man driven back then, I thought I would NEVER see this day.

Of course, all  of us, the people who help actual readers, have seen this shift toward women dominating Suspense for years, but it is creeping into all of the genres that the ITW covers. From their about page:

The International Thriller Writers is an honorary society of authors, both fiction and nonfiction, who write books broadly classified as “thrillers.” This would include (but isn’t limited to) such subjects as murder mystery, detective, suspense, horror, supernatural, action, espionage, true crime, war, adventure, and myriad similar subject areas.

This statement about which genres encompass the ITW leads me to another huge point I want to make about the top category-- Best Hardcover Novel-- there are 4 Horror novels in that category out of 6. This is also in line with the Edgars top category this year which had 2 of the 6 titles being Horror and 2 of the 5 titles in the first novel category as Horror as well.

Nothing proves the current trend of Horror not only being in a Renaissance within the genre itself, but also, it is reaching its tendrils out and grabbing attention to a wider range of readers. This is more than Becky wanting Horror to be popular, this is more than sales statistics, this is proof from a wider view and one that comes with critical acclaim attached.

I want to also remind you to use this list for collection development, but in particular, look hard at the Debut, E-book Originals, and YA authors categories. Those are titles you should be aware of and make sure you are adding to your collections. Especially make sure you get those E-Books into your digital collections as Thriller readers as a group tend to read in higher numbers in "E." And the publishers in those genre know this and are often releasing "E Originals." 

Now on to your regularly scheduled displays and lists comments of these awards posts. Please check out the ITW Awards website for backlist links. "Thrilling Reads" is a great Summer Reading display for in building and online no matter what your "theme" is for Summer. And "Thrilling" is vague enough that many things can be included-- just like we see with this award. Use this link to consider the pat 5 years of nominees and winners-- including titles that won for audio or lifetime, and considering other books by these authors-- will get you an high interest display or list ready in minutes.

[You can also add into your search the last 5 years of "Adrenaline" winners from RUSA CODES Reading List  for more options that are sure to fit the bill.]

But it should also inspire you to think outside the box about what "Thrilling" means as well. And the more broadly we all think about what books to suggest readers, the more options we make available to them, and ultimately, the more titles in our collection that circulate, hopefully connecting someone with a book they would never have found on their own, one that brings them great happiness.

Let's start this week off right with some Thrills and Chills!

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