“Better Days” Named a Macavity Finalist

The 2020 Macavity Award finalists have been announced—and such a thrill to see my story “Better Days” from Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine among the contenders for Best Short Story! And “Better Days” is in great company too, alongside stories by Michael Chandos, Terence Faherty, Barb Goffman, G.M. Malliet, and Dave Zelsterman.

Below is the full list of finalists—and special shout-out as well to my wife, Tara Laskowski, whose One Night Gone has been named a finalist for Best First Novel too! Thanks to Janet Rudolph, Mystery Readers International, and subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal for their support of all these authors.

Best Mystery Novel 
Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha (Ecco)
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (Atria)
Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman (Wm. Morrow)
The Chain by Adrian McKinty (Mulholland)
The Murder List by Hank Philippi Ryan (Forge)
Sarah Jane by James Sallis (Soho Crime)

Best First Mystery 
The Ninja Daughter by Tori Eldridge (Agora Books)
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (Penguin)
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (Sarah Crichton Books)
One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House)
Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson (Random House)

Best Mystery Short Story 
“West Texas Barbecue” by Michael Chandos (The Eyes of Texas, edited by Michael Bracken—Down & Out Books)
“Alex’s Choice” by Barb Goffman (Crime Travel, edited by Barb Goffman—Wildside Press)
“The Cardboard Box” by Terence Faherty (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Jan/Feb 2019)
“Whiteout” by G.M. Malliet (EQMM, Jan/Feb 2019)
“Brother’s Keeper” by Dave Zeltserman (EQMM, May/June 2019)
“Better Days,” by Art Taylor (EQMM, May/June 2019)

Best Mystery Nonfiction/Critical
Hitchcock and the Censors by John Billheimer (University Press of Kentucky)
Frederic Dannay, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and the Art of the Detective Short Story by Laird R. Blackwell (McFarland)
Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan by Ursula Buchan (Bloomsbury)
Norco ’80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History by Peter Houlahan (Counterpoint)
The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and Her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women, by Mo Moulton (Basic Books)
Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall by James Polchin (Counterpoint Press)

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery
Murder Knocks Twice by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur)
The Pearl Dagger by L.A. Chandlar (Kensington)
A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
Charity’s Burden by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink)
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (Vintage)