Four finalists have been announced in the nation-wide competition for the inaugural Jeremiah Healy Mystery Writing Award, to be presented at the 2nd Annual Mystery Writers Key West Fest, August 14-16, in Key West, Florida.
The finalists and their titles are: “All Hocked Up” by Jack Bates of Rochester, MI; “Portside Screw” by Gregory S. Dew of Ponce Inlet, FL; “Dark End of the Rainbow” by J.E. Irvin of Springboro, OH, and “Square Grouper” by Crichton Lewis of Key West, FL.
Sponsored by Absolutely Amazing eBooks, the award salutes the late author’s legacy as a beloved and influential mentor credited with helping and advising many aspiring writers. Writers from all over the country answered the call that invited award candidates to submit the first three pages of a finished, unpublished mystery manuscript.
“Jerry often said a book either captures a reader in the first three pages … or it doesn’t,” commented Shirrel Rhoades, who co-produces the MWKWF along with Mad Mick Murphy Key West Mysteries author Michael Haskins. “We agree with that assessment and decided to use it as a yardstick for a writing competition in his honor. He helped us get the first Fest off the ground, and this way we will keep him as a part of it in future years.”
The winner will claim a book-publishing contract with Absolutely Amazing eBooks, free Mystery Writers Key West Fest registration, hotel accommodations for two nights, and a bobble-headed Jerry trophy.
Submissions were judged by a committee headed by the late author’s fiancé, mystery author Sandra Balzo, along with film critic and publisher of Absolutely Amazing eBooks, Shirrel Rhoades; immediate past executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America, Ted Hertel; and Gary Warren Niebuhr, library director and author of numerous nonfiction works on crime fiction.
The Mystery Writers Key West Fest sponsors include the Mystery Writers of America – Florida Chapter, The Florida Keys Council of the Arts and the Key West Citizen daily newspaper and other local businesses. Event registration is $125 for three days of panels, presentations and social events with a Who’s Who of world-class mystery writers and true-crime experts, plus three meals.