The finalists are:
1.) My Sister’s Grave, by Robert Dugoni;
2.) Terminal City, by Linda Fairstein; and,
3.) The Secret of Magic, by Deborah Johnson
With previous winners being John Grisham (twice), Michael Connelly and Paul Goldstein there is going to be a new winner this year.
Dugoni was on the 2012 shortlist for his book, Murder One. I read that book and thought it an excellent legal thriller. I exchanged emails with the author on a legal ethics issue arising in the book.
I have read books by Fairstein but not for over a decade.=
I am not familiar with Johnson.
The members of the selection committee this year are Roy Blount Jr., author and humorist; Wayne Flynt, author and Alabama historian; Mary McDonagh Murphy, independent film and television writer and producer; and Michele Norris, NPR host and special correspondent.
Information on the books can be found on the ABA Journal website which announced the shortlist at http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/2015_harper_lee_prize_voting/. As in previous years readers of the Journal can help pick the winner by voting online at the Journal. The public, through the book attracting the most votes, effectively becomes a 5th selector whose vote is recognized as an equal vote to each of the selection committee members.
Unlike previous years none of the judges are practising lawyers. It does not make sense to me not to have at least one practising lawyer on the committee to judge a prize of legal fiction.
As I did last year I am going to read the books on the shortlist so I can prepare reviews and my choice for the Prize prior to September. As with this year’s shortlist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Canadian Crime Novel I have not read any of the books on the Harper Lee Prize shortlist.
The Prize will be presented on September 3 in Washington as a part of the Library of Congress National Book Festival.