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Readers' Choice Award (2002-)
Subcategory of Davitt Award
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Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2021

winner y separately published work icon The Shifting Landscape Katherine Kovacic , Melbourne : Echo Publishing , 2020 18474763 2020 single work novel crime

'Art dealer Alex Clayton travels to Victoria's Western District to value the McMillan family's collection. At their historic sheep station, she finds an important and previously unknown colonial painting - and a family fraught with tension. There are arguments about the future of the property and its place in an ancient and highly significant indigenous landscape.

'When the family patriarch dies under mysterious circumstances and the painting is stolen, Alex decides to leave; then a toddler disappears and Alex's faithful dog Hogarth goes missing. With fears rising for the safety of both child and hound, Alex and her best friend John, who has been drawn into the mystery, join searchers scouring the countryside. But her attempts to unravel the McMillan family secrets have put Alex in danger, and she's not the only one.

'Will the killer claim another victim? Or will the landscape reveal its mysteries to Alex in time?' (Publication summary)

Year: 2020

joint winner y separately published work icon The Scholar Dervla McTiernan , Sydney : HarperCollins Australia , 2019 14975069 2019 single work novel crime

'From the author of The Ruin comes a compulsive new crime thriller set in the fiercely competitive, cutthroat world of research and academia, where the brightest minds will stop at nothing to succeed.

'When Dr. Emma Sweeney stumbles across the victim of a hit-and-run outside Galway University early one morning, she calls her boyfriend, Detective Cormac Reilly, bringing him first to the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. The dead girl is carrying an ID that will put this crime at the center of a scandal--her card identifies her as Carline Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland's most successful pharmaceutical company. Darcy Therapeutics has a finger in every pie, from sponsoring university research facilities to funding political parties to philanthropy--it has even funded Emma's own ground-breaking research.

'As the murder investigation twists in unexpected ways and Cormac's running of the case comes under scrutiny from the department and his colleagues, he is forced to question himself and the beliefs that he has long held as truths. Who really is Emma? And who is Carline Darcy?

'A gripping and atmospheric follow-up to The Ruin, an "expertly plotted, complex web of secrets that refuse to stay hidden" (Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King's Daughter), The Scholar is perfect for fans of Tana French and Flynn Berry.' (Publication summary)

joint winner y separately published work icon Darkness for Light Emma Viskic , South Melbourne : Echo Publishing , 2019 17237946 2019 single work novel crime

'After heartbreak and trauma, Caleb Zelic is beginning to rebuild his life. He has a new home, a new business and the chance of a happy love life. But people in power have other ideas. Caleb's double-crossing business partner, Frankie, has something they want, and they're after Caleb to get it. On the hunt for Frankie and information, Caleb is drawn into a world of high-level corruption and dark political deals. The secrets he uncovers could endanger him and everything he holds dear.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon The Lost Man Jane Harper , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2018 14706327 2018 single work novel crime

'The man lay still in the centre of a dusty grave under a monstrous sky.

'Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland.

'They are at the stockman's grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last chance for their middle brother, Cameron.

'The Bright family's quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn't, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects...'

Source: publisher's blurb.

Year: 2016

winner y separately published work icon Resurrection Bay Emma Viskic , South Melbourne : Echo Publishing , 2015 8683019 2015 single work novel crime

'Caleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside - watching, picking up telltale signs people hide in a smile, a cough, a kiss. When a childhood friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can’t do it alone. Caleb and his troubled friend Frankie, an ex-cop, start with one clue: Scott, the last word the murder victim texted to Caleb. But Scott is always one step ahead.

'This gripping, original and fast-paced crime thriller is set between a big city and a small coastal town, Resurrection Bay, where Caleb is forced to confront painful memories. Caleb is a memorable protagonist who refuses to let his deafness limit his opportunities, or his participation in the investigation. But does his persistence border on stubbornness? And at what cost? As he delves deeper into the investigation Caleb uncovers unwelcome truths about his murdered friend – and himself.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2015

winner y separately published work icon Tell Me Why Sandi Wallace , Bittern : Clan Destine Press , 2014 8237600 2014 single work novel crime

'Melbourne writer Georgie Harvey heads to the mineral springs region of central Victoria to look for a missing farmer.

There she uncovers links between the woman's disappearance and her dangerous preoccupation with the unsolved mystery surrounding her husband.

'Maverick cop and solo dad John Franklin is working a case that’s a step up from Daylesford’s usual soft crime; a poison-pen writer whose targets are single mothers.

'Georgie’s investigation stirs up long buried secrets and she attracts enemies.

'When she reports the missing person to the local cops, sparks fly between her and Franklin. Has he dismissed the writer too quickly?

'A country cop, city writer, retired farmer and poison-pen stalker all want answers.

'What will they risk to get them?

'What will be the ultimate cost?' (Publication summary)

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