Lee Child’s First Award was a Barry Award — for KILLING FLOOR

Lee Child accepting a Barry Award
from George Easter

I was reading a piece by Heather Martin, author of THE REACHER GUY the other day and I wanted to amplify it a bit. The article is worth reading.

Here is what I read:
“In October 1998, mere months after moving to New York, Lee Child attended Bouchercon XXIX in Philadelphia, scooping the prestigious Anthony Award for Best First Novel for Killing Floor as well as the Barry Award from Deadly Pleasures magazine. This was his first high-profile event and his first major introduction to the world of his fellow authors (in five years time he would be Toastmaster). He recalled sitting around with a bunch of other nobodies—Harlan Coben, Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman, George Pelecanos—thinking obscurity would be a step up, but if they just kept showing up maybe one of them one day might just make it big.”

This is accurate, but the “as well” is a little misleading in that I presented Lee with his first writing award a day or so before he received the Anthony and there is a subtle implication that the Barry Award isn’t “prestigious.” I have always been proud of the fact that Deadly Pleasures gave Lee his first award. The same is true for William Kent Krueger, Dennis Lehane and many others. A fond memory is getting a hug from Val McDermid and her whispering in my ear, “You were the first,” although in that case, the Barry was the first of many awards that A PLACE OF EXECUTION won. It’s always nice to be first!