I was thrilled and surprised to find my first contemporary detective novel HARMFUL INTENT had won this year’s Grace Award in the Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense/Historical Suspense category. The competition was stiff. I was up against two fantastic authors who had tremendous support from their readers.
The Grace Awards are reader driven literary awards in faith-based fiction. Readers nominate the finalists and then a panel of judges picks the winner.
I was touched and blown away by what the judges had to say:
Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller: crime fiction, there’s probably a body
HARMFUL INTENT by Nike Chillemi (Crime Fictionista Press)
From nearly the beginning of the story we knew we were into reading a potential award winner. Right off the bat, Nike Chillemi brings characters onto the scene that are real, with both strengths and weaknesses, and a plot that gets going right away. She has a real talent for spinning the “hard-boiled detective” kind of story. The fact that she takes her New York bred lady detective and lands her square in the outback of Texas adds real flavor to the tale. As the main character, Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, learns about her murdered husband’s double life and unravels the mystery of his death, we are thrown along with her through a gamut of emotions — anger, resentment, sorrow, and the promise of closure. The story does not lag. Nike has a great “voice” — that magical thing writers long for — in storytelling. Her use of setting, language, pacing, and especially dialogue sparkles. Nike does a bang-up job of weaving a delicious tale of suspense and romance, catching the bad guy, and tying up all the loose ends, even while leading us into the promise of a sequel to come. Nike set the course for these characters’ continuing journey (personal and spiritual) and it will be interesting to see how their character arcs continue. Nicely done!