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2023 Readers Award Winners

We are proud to announce the winners of the
2023 EQMM Readers Award!

1st Place, David Dean

What stood out most about the Readers Award ballots returned to us for 2023 was the number of comments accompanying the votes. We’re happy to report that the vast majority of the feedback was favorable, even inspiring to us, for nothing pleases us more than knowing EQMM’s readers have enjoyed the year’s selections. Your choices this year ran the gamut of the genre, from an historical homage to a crime classic to a heart-stopping short short dealing with a very contemporary crisis—with a thoroughly engaging tale of a scam with unexpected consequences in between.

First place goes to David Dean, for “Mrs. Hyde” (March/April 2023). With characters borrowed from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the New Jersey author constructed the most surprising of whodunits while simultaneously reinterpreting Stevenson’s classic tale and introducing a new series character—the “alienist” Dr. Beckett Marchland. This is the third time David Dean has placed first in the Readers Award voting. He’s been writing for EQMM for more than thirty years and his contributions to the magazine have been nominated for the Edgar, Shamus, Barry, and Derringer awards. The final of several collections of his stories from Genius Books, Shadow Lane and Other Tales of Dangerous Children, is now out, and we should not omit that he is also a novelist with several books in print.

2nd Place, Richard Holmes

Second place this year goes to Richard Helms, a former college professor and forensic psychologist who has been contributing to EQMM for nearly fifteen years. His earlier EQMM stories have won the ITW Thriller Award, the Shamus, and the Derringer. He’s also won a best-novel Shamus Award and has received numerous other award nominations for both his stories and novels. This is the first time the North Carolina author has placed in the top three for the Readers Award voting; “Spear Carriers” (Nov/ Dec 2023), his winning story, displays thoroughly believable plotting and the insight and empathy that runs through all his work, as we watch a couple of young actors stumble onto a small swindle that takes them unexpectedly into the world of big-time crime.

3rd Place, Paul Ryan O’Connor

For third place this year readers chose a story of just a thousand words. The story’s length is unusual for a Readers Award finalist, but what stands out even more is that “Teddy’s Favorite Thing” (Sept/Oct 2023) is the first published fiction of its author, Paul O’Connor. The California writer’s decades-long career in video games provided a source of inspiration for his debut story, for the tale’s mass layoff of staff on bring-your-kid-to-work day is something he actually witnessed while employed in the video-game field. The story gives the real situation a twist that is truly hair-raising. The ability to create such suspense in so few words is a sign of good things to come for this newcomer to the crime-fiction scene.


Congratulations to all the winners!

4th Place: “Snowbound” by Brendan DuBois and “Drinking in the Afternoon” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

5th: “A Small Mercy” by Alice Hatcher

6th: “The Night Walks” by Brendan DuBois, “Archie’s Been Stolen!” by Dave Zeltserman, and “Can the Cat Catch the Rat?” by Dave Zeltserman

7th: “American Night” by Zandra Renwick

8th: “Death and Omens in the Great Library” by Thomas K. Carpenter

9th: “Carver (and) [Company]” by Mike McHone, “Green and California Bound” by Curtis Ippolito, “The Pact” by G.M. Malliet, “A Flash of Headlights” by Ken Linn, and “Texas-Sized Vanity” by Travis Richardson

10th: “Crown v. Marchland” by David Dean, “The Secret Sister” by Doug Allyn, “Wait for the Blackout” by Libby Cudmore, “The Stars of Reality TV” by Brendan DuBois, “The Wendigo’s Spell” by Paul Halter, “The Ring” by Pip Thompson, “The Men Who Knew Too Much” by R.T. Raichev, “Miss Direction” by Rob Osler, and “Game Four’ by Travis Kennedy

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