Parks, Author with SOMA Ties, Wins Prestigious Crime Fiction Award

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Brad Parks, a highly regarded crime writer and former Maplewood resident whose books are set in South Orange, Maplewood and environs, has been awarded the highly prestigious Shamus Award for Best Hardcover Novel.

Parks, who was a Star Ledger investigative reporter, beat out a distinguished shortlist that included works by Sue Grafton and Bill Pronzini, both Mystery Writers of America Grand Masters and three-time Shamus winners, according to a press release.

Parks won for his 2013 book, “The Good Cop.” The Shamus Award is the highest annual honor given by the Private Eye Writers of America and one of the most prestigious awards in crime fiction.

Renowned crime author Sara Paretsky presented Parks with the award on Friday at a banquet in Long Beach, CA. The award — which is named for the slang word for private investigator — is judged by a panel of authors.

“I’m mostly just stunned,” Parks said in the release. “Given who I was up against, I never expected they were going to call my name. This is way beyond anything I could have dreamed for myself when I started writing fiction.”

Here is the rest of the release:

Parks has previously won the Shamus Award in the category of Best First Novel for his 2009 debut, Faces of the Gone. By following that up with this year’s award, Parks achieved a historic first: no former Best First winner had ever gone on to win Best Hardcover Novel.

Past winners in Best Hardcover Novel include perennial New York Times bestselling authors Michael Connelly, Lawrence Block and Robert Crais.

The Good Cop, the fourth novel featuring Parks’ wisecracking investigative reporter Carter Ross, also won the Lefty Award for best humorous mystery earlier this year. No book has ever captured both honors.

All of the books in Parks’s Carter Ross series are set in Newark and the surrounding suburbs, including Maplewood, South Orange, West Orange, and other local communities. The series will continue with a sixth entry, The Fraud, in July, and Parks will be back in the area touring to support it.

This is the fifth national writing award for Parks, who has now won two Shamuses, two Leftys and the Nero Award, named in honor of legendary fictional detective Nero Wolfe. Parks remains the only author to have won all three of those prizes.

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