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Middlesex author wins Nero Award

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Brad Parks with his Nero Award

By winning the prestigious Nero Award in New York City Saturday night, Virginia author Brad Parks of Middlesex County accomplished something no writer ever has. 

Parks, who also won the Shamus Award in October, became the first person to garner both honors for the same book in the combined 60-year history of the Nero and the Shamus. That work, Parks’ debut mystery, Faces of the Gone, features the exploits of investigative reporter Carter Ross. The next book in the series, Eyes of the Innocent, releases in February.

Parks also joined a select list of crime fiction authors who have won the Nero and the Shamus over the course of their entire careers: Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman, Walter Mosley and S.J. Rozan.

The Nero Award recognizes the “Best American Mystery” of the year and is named after Nero Wolfe, the protagonist of 72 books and novellas written by Rex Stout. The award is given annually at the Black Orchid Banquet by the Wolfe Pack, a literary society that venerates all things Nero Wolfe, who has been likened to the American Sherlock Holmes.

“Winning this award is really a crowning achievement in my young career,” Parks said during his acceptance speech. “I am deeply honored and grateful to the Stout family and the Wolfe Pack for this recognition.”

The Nero Award is determined in a two-step judging process. According to Wolfe Pack awards chair Jane K. Cleland, each publishing house is allowed to submit up to three works for consideration. A panel of six readers sends a shortlist of finalists to a second panel of four readers, which then selects the winner.

“We have very rarely given this award to a debut novelist,” Cleland said during the banquet. “But our readers loved this book.”

Brad Parks, 36, is a resident of Middlesex County and a former reporter for The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger and The Washington Post. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he is now a full-time novelist.

posted 12.06.2010

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