Famed horror writer Stephen King was honored Wednesday night at the 69th annual Edgar Awards Banquet for his serial killer mystery novel, Mr. Mercedes.
The Edgar Awards — named after Edgar Allan Poe — are presented every Spring by the Mystery Writers of America, and are awarded to the very best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, film, television, and theatre from the previous year.
King was among other well-known, and not-so-well-known, mystery writers to be nominated for the top honors of Best Novel such as Ian Rankin, nominated for Saints of the Shadow Bible; Stuart Neville, nominated for The Final Silence; Wiley Cash, nominated for This Dark Road to Mercy; Mo Hayder, nominated for Wolf; and Karin Slaughter, nominated for Cop Town.
This wasn’t Stephen King’s first time being honored at The Edgars. In 2007, he was awarded the title of Grand Master, the highest honor given by Mystery Writers of America to recognize an author’s lifetime achievement, and in 2014, he was nominated for Best Paperback Original for his novel, Joyland, which was set against the eerie backdrop of a failing amusement park.
King’s winning novel, Mr. Mercedes, follows a retired cop still haunted by an unsolved case of a serial killer whose weapon of choice was his car. In this novel, King substitutes the mystical for the mundane. Where King’s antagonists are usually found in dark sewers and abandoned hotels, Brady Hartfield, the titular villain, is your everyday, normal (only in the sense that he’s not paranormal) human being, albeit with an urge to kill, and some intense mommy-issues. He is normal in the sense that as a killer, he’s believable in the real world. Stephen King wrote Brady’s character to be any other unnamed killer we may potentially fear when hearing about murders on the news. The Observer describes it best in a review of the novel.
“He represents a plausible evil; it’s impossible not to hear echoes in his story of other troubled young American men who have opened fire in crowded schools or cinemas, as King peels back the layers to understand how a killer like Brady is formed: ‘The truth is darkness, and the only thing that matters is making a statement before one enters it. Cutting the skin of the world and leaving a scar. That’s all history is, after all: scar tissue.'”
Though the night’s top honors went to Stephen King, his fellow nominees weren’t exactly upset at their loss. If anything, they seemed to be grateful for the opportunity to meet, and share the stage with the ultimate master of horror.
[Image Credit: the Guardian]