Tenth Annual Award
The Serialist (Simon & Schuster)
By David Gordon
Harry Bloch is a struggling writer (a self-proclaimed hack) who grinds out pulpy serial novels—from vampire books to detective stories—under assorted pseudonyms. His life begins to imitate his fiction when he agrees to ghostwrite the memoir of Darian Clay, New York City's infamous Photo Killer. Soon three young women turn up dead, each one murdered in the Photo Killer's gruesome signature style. With the help of a self-appointed manager still wearing the plaid skirts of high school, and working with a sister of one of the original victims, Harry plays detective in a real-life murder plot full of twists and deconstructive bricolage as he tries to avoid becoming the next victim—or the next convicted killer.
In the Los Angeles Times, reviewer Owen Hill called this "A killer debut . . . funny, with a satirical edge." David Ebershoff, author of The 19th Wife and The Danish Girl, sums up Gordon's achievement: "The Serialist is a book about many things but above all it's about storytelling—why and how we tell stories to stay not only sane but also alive. David Gordon writes with style, bite, suspense, humor, and heart. Remember his name. The Serialist is great fun to read and the beginning of a noteworthy career."
David Gordon was born in Queens and lives in New York City, with stops in New Jersey, London, and Los Angeles. He attended Sarah Lawrence College and holds an MA in English and comparative literature and an MFA in fiction writing, both from Columbia University. He has also worked in film, fashion, publishing, and several fictional genres.
Judges: Tim Hulsey (Dean of the VCU Honors College), Victor Lodato (author of Mathilda Savitch and recipient of the 2010 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award), and Marcela Valdes (critic and books editor for The Washington Examiner)
Finalists: Richard Harvell for The Bells (Broadway Books) and Heidi Durrow for The Girl Who Fell from the Sky (Algonquin)