Our Annual Beltie Mystery Prize and An Intro to Pete Mock
The 2023 list of nominees is out! What is the Beltie Mystery Prize you might ask? It’s an award given to the best mystery book of the year as chosen by Pete Mock, our Mystery Guru. We announce the finalists every fall, with the Beltie Prize Winner announcement at the end of the year. Want to read up on this year’s nominees and all the past winners and nominees (it’s a mighty fine bunch of mysteries, we can assure you)? You can find them all here. We thought that given his prestigious status as Guru you might like to know a bit more about him. Read on for an introduction.
Tell us about how you keep track of the 100 mysteries you read each year?
I don’t really keep a log. For The Beltie Prize I do keep what I call my super long list which is any book that stood out for me and which I consider when it comes time to whittle things down to the final eight. This past year I had 37 titles on that list.
That’s a lot of reading! Where do they grow readers like this?
Born in Vermont, grew up in New Hampshire, have lived in Chapel Hill since the 9th grade.
Where do you live exactly, now?
I live in Chatham county with a Chapel Hill address.
When did you first discover you loved to read?
I’ve been a reader since at least five years old. I remember reading Charlotte’s Web to my siblings when I was six.
Who are your favorite all-time writers?
Mystery-wise, James Lee Burke (one of the best writer’s in this country bar none), Jo Nesbo, and Mo Hayder. My favorite mystery ever is probably is Go With Me by Castle Freeman. Great plot, spot-on dialogue, and an ending that made me smile. Other than mysteries: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, historian Russell Shorto, Robert Penn Warren for All the King’s Men.
Why are you drawn to mysteries/suspense?
I love the suspense and intrigue. I grew up reading my dad’s books and he was always getting Robert Ludlum, Fredrick Forsyth, Ken Follett and I’ve never stopped. Instead of television, I relax with a good mystery/thriller.
Are there any true-crime stories (especially ones locally) that would make a good mystery novel?
My favorite would be a Carl Hiaasenesque frolic revolving around a very messed up drug bust in Pittsboro years ago. The cops busted a van load of guys moving tons of marijuana up from Florida to New York. They then parked the van behind the police station and someone stole it. The police recovered the van but some of the pot was missing. This time they decided to bury it and somebody dug it up. Again they recovered what was left and decided to burn it all. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, the wind shifted and most of the police department ended up stoned.
Which Carolina basketball player’s name would make a great character for a mystery novel (present and / or past)?
Dante Calabria is a good name. Also, Theo Pinson would make a great noirish detective.
What did you eat for lunch?
Cold pizza and mint chocolate chip ice cream
And there you have it, ladies and gents! Stay tuned for the big announcement on February 8th. Oh, the suspense!