Saturday, September 29, 2012

Award Winners: Bill Cameron & Johnny Shaw!

Bill Cameron and Johnny Shaw. (If Bill looks a little fuzzy around the edges, 
don't blame my camera. He always looks like that.)

Last Thursday night, right here in Stumptown (also known as Portland, OR), the highly esteemed Friends of Mystery presented their highly prestigious Spotted Owl Awards to authors Bill Cameron and Johnny Shaw.

I was there and witnessed the whole shebang with my own eyeballs.

The Spotted Owl is awarded annually for the best mystery novel by a Northwest writer. This year the judges read over 60 books, and presented the award to Bill Cameron for County Line, the fourth novel in his Skin Kadash series. But the judges were so impressed with Johnny Shaw’s Dove Season that they also gave him a Spotted Owl for the best first mystery by a Northwest author.

Johnny revealed that Dove Season is set in the area he hails from - down around the Mexican border near Calexico and Mexicali - and is based in part on his real-life relationship with his father. Johnny’s dad loved books, and had over 10,000 in his collection, so Johnny spent most of his childhood reading. It’s little wonder, then, that he became a bookstore owner, a screenwriter, a writing instructor, an editor, and eventually a novelist. He edits the very cool ‘80s retro men’s adventure fiction mag, Blood & Tacos, and has just seen the release of his second novel, Big Maria.

Bill then stepped to the plate, admitting that the first novel he ever read was Mystery of the Witches’ Bridge by Barbee Oliver Carleton, and displaying the book to prove it. From there he moved on to the works of Rex Stout, John D. McDonald and Harold Robbins. At 18 he wrote an epic sci-fi novel called The Hunter of Fishes, which was essentially Moby Dick in Space. He followed that with a literary novel consisting of a single chapter with no scene breaks, and a 1200-page fantasy novel (all unpublished) before meeting mystery writer Gordon DeMarco (a guy I knew, too), who set him on the right path. A mere eleven years later, his first published novel, Lost Dog, hit the bookstores.

If you haven’t read these guys, take it from me - and the Friends of Mystery - and check them out. You won’t be sorry.


Bill Cameron said...

It's true. I do always look a little fuzzy around the edges. :)

Thanks for the great write-up, Dave!

Deka Black said...


Anonymous said...

I look forward to reading Bill's book. I can vouch for Johnny Shaw's DOVE SEASON, which is one of the best books I've read this year. A five-star knockout winner that I recommend to all.

Stephen Mertz

Evan Lewis said...

I talked to Johnny at the ceremony, Steve. He's a big fan of your work, too.