Master of horror Stephen King has won America’s top crime-writing award for his serial killer thriller “Mr Mercedes.” The novel sees King steer clear of paranormal elements to focus on a very human evil. The book beat titles by more traditional practitioners of crime writing including Ian Rankin, Stuart Neville and Karin Slaughter was named best novel at the Edgar Awards in New York at the end of April.
“He represents a plausible evil; it’s impossible not to hear echoes in his story of other troubled young American men who have opened fire in crowded schools or cinemas, as King peels back the layers to understand how a killer like Brady is formed,” said the Observer review of the novel.
Run by the Mystery Writers of America, the Edgars, named for Edgar Allan Poe, have been running for over 60 years, with the best novel prize won in the past by Patricia Highsmith, John le Carré and Raymond Chandler.
“Well, on the minus side I didn’t win the Edgar award – some young ruffian called Stephen King did. On the plus side … I got to meet Mr King,” tweeted Rankin after King’s win. The Scottish writer had been shortlisted for “Saints of the Shadow Bible,” part of his series of crime novels about the detective John Rebus. Neville, shortlisted for “The Final Silence,” in which a woman discovers a catalogue of victims in her late uncle’s house, wrote on Twitter: “I didn’t win the Edgar, but I got to meet @StephenKing, who was very gracious in tolerating my fawning.”
The best first novel by an American author award went to “Dry Bones in the Valley” by Tom Bouman. Gillian Flynn, author of “Gone Girl,” took the best short story prize for “What Do You Do,” from the Rogues anthology. The ceremony also saw James Ellroy and Lois Duncan named grand masters, an honor the Mystery Writers of America says represents “the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing”.
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