The Ned Kelly Awards (named for bushranger Ned Kelly) are Australia's leading literary awards for crime writing in both the crime fiction and true crime genres. They were established in 1996 by the Crime Writers Association of Australia to reward excellence in the field of crime writing within Australia.
The genre of crime writing has long been popular, but it wasn't until the early 1990s that a local growth of writing within the genre occurred in Australia. By the middle of the decade support for the field had grown sufficiently that it was decided to establish the Ned Kelly Awards.
The awards are affectionately referred to as 'The Neddies' within the community.
"Charlie Berlin is back, ten years older, now with a wife and family, but still haunted by his experiences in the war and still held back professionally. Officially on holiday he takes on a small case that quickly spirals into something much much bigger. McGeachin once again has created an atmospheric and evocative crime novel, still very personal but with a plot on a much larger scale than “Diggers Rest Hotel”. In jumping forward in time, McGeachin has created a surprising sequel in which his themes of the lingering effects of the Second World War are still beneath the surface."
"A flawless novel that offers everything one could wish for in crime fiction: an enveloping sense of time and place, well-drawn and compelling characters and a suspenseful story that rips along at a cracking pace while still allowing a thought-provoking theme to be explored."
Best First Fiction
The Midnight Promise
"I was totally blown away by this book. This is crime fiction at its absolute best. Zane Lovitt literally bursts on to the literary scene with this book and I can say without a doubt is destined for huge things. This is not a new writer who has potential, this is a new writer whose skill and talent just oozes out of the page. From the structure of the novel to Lovitt’s distinct style, from the black as night dark humour and cynicism to the deep recesses of human emotion and frailty this is the most original, absorbing and utterly compelling crime novel I’ve read in a long time."
"The jaded PI can be horribly clichéd, but in the hands of this author, there's something glorious about him. Self-aware, capable of extreme self-preservation, a really strong character with a wonderful sense of place, time and culture. "
The People Smuggler
Robin de Crespigny
"Beautifully written, the ‘first person’ format allows the recounting of a story without obvious embellishments or supposition. The story is horrifying and fascinating, presenting the reader with plenty of food for thought in contemplating the awful reality the protagonist is caught in and the decisions he makes."
"The first section of this book is stunning. The description of life in Iraq is hard to put down. The middle section is thrilling and the aussie denoument a joy. We have not read these stories before and they challenge the demonizing jargon and fear mongering of political spin. This adds a dimension to the discourse about refugees and 'the boats' which goes beyond rhetoric and forms part of our history. Brilliant."
"This harrowing story of a man desperately trying to get his family away from the brutality of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq reveals the inhumanity of Australia’s present political stance on asylum seekers. This man was tried, convicted, jailed and stigmatised in Australia fior something he did in Indonesia, where his actions were not illegal. That the author told the story through his voice added a very human dimension to our lead character."