Congratulations to Chicago mystery novelist Marcus Sakey, who has won the 2007 Strand Magazine Critics Award for best first novel for The Blade Itself. Laura Lippman won the best novel award for What the Dead Know. The winners were announced at an invitation only cocktail party in Manhattan, by bestselling author Jonathan Santlofer.
"This was such a great group of nominees, it must have been difficult to choose the winner," said Frank Simon, Associate Publisher of The Strand. "Laura and Marcus were worthy winners, in the past few years Laura has produced a fantastic body of work and Marcus is a new talent who I have no doubt in the future will be nominated for the best mystery novel award."
Marcus Sakey set his debut novel, The Blade
Itself, in Chicago, the city he calls home.
(John H. White~Sun-Times)
The Blade Itself, which has been optioned by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's production company, is about childhood friends who take different paths after they partner in a pawnshop robbery that ends up going horribly wrong.
Sakey spoke to the Sun-Times last year about the book's connection to Chicago:
"The book couldn't be set anywhere else," he said. "Chicago is really a character and something of a crucible, too. It's a beautiful city with tons of opportunity, but at the same time it's a city of tremendous divisions. South Side vs. North Side and white collar vs. blue collar and opportunity vs. lack of hope. I really wanted to make that into the frenetic backdrop of the novel."
Sakey has since been quite productive. His latest novel, At the City's Edge (St. Martin's Minotaur) came out in January, and another new one, Good People (Dutton), comes out next month.
Lippman a former journalist for The Baltimore Sun, has won several other top crime fiction prizes, including the Edgar, the Anthony, the Shamus, and the Barry. Her latest novel, Another Thing to Fall, was released in March by William Morrow.