The finalists are:
1.) Ronald H. Balson for Once We Were Brothers;
2.) John Grisham for Sycamore Row; and,
3.) Elizabeth Strout for The Burgess Boys.
For what seems like the first time this year I have read a book on the shortlist for a major crime fiction prize. I read Sycamore Road at the beginning of the year. I consider it excellent legal fiction.
I have not read any books by either Balson or Strout.
Information on the books can be found on the ABA Journal announcing the shortlist at http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/2014_harper_lee_voting. As with 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 6th selector whose vote is recognized as an equal vote to each of the selection committee members.
The members of the selection committee this year are sports columnist, ESPN panelist and University of Maryland professor, Kevin Blackistone; New York Times bestselling author, Fannie Flagg; partner at Kornstein, Veisz, Wexler & Pollard and former Harper Lee panelist, Dan Kornstein; journalist, lawyer and Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times, Adam Liptak; and journalist, author and former Harper Lee panelist, Marianne Szegedy-Maszak.
The previous winners are Grisham, Michael Connelly and Paul Goldstein.
Strout becomes the first woman author to be on a shortlist for the Prize.
I read all the books on last year’s shortlist and agree that Goldstein’s book, Havana Requiem, was the best of the trio. I hope to read Once We Were Brothers and The Burgess Boys before the winning book is announced.
The Prize will be presented on August 28 in Washington as a part of the Library of Congress National Book Festival.