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  • John Marrs

The International Thriller Awards

Last week was a fantastic opportunity for book fans to meet their favourite authors in New York as part of ThrillerFest. It’s part of the annual conference of ITW, the International Thriller Writers. Created in 2004 by bestselling authors including James Patterson, it brings together thousands of writers, readers, publishers, producers, editors, and agents together to promote and support thriller authors everywhere.

And incredibly, my book The Good Samaritan, was nominated in the category of Best Original Paperback. Obviously, I wasn’t going to turn down the chance to attend something like this. So my husband – also called John – and I had our suitcases packed and were ready to fly when disaster struck. Or should I say a sickness bug struck. The morning we were due to fly, I was struck down by the norovirus, a contagious bug that put a quick end to my plans to travel. However, there was no point in the both of us missing out, so after some insistence by me that one of us attends, other John agreed to go and represent me there. Here, he writes about his first Thrillerfest experience …

“The first thing that struck me when arriving was the sheer size of the event. Having seen lots of people around my hotel, The Grand Wyatt, for the festival, I thought the awards night itself might be a smaller occasion, but I was wrong.


“It was lucky that the event was even able to go ahead as if it had been a few blocks to the west of the city, it would likely have been cancelled due to a massive power cut, which interestingly was on the anniversary of an infamous blackout in 1977. Sounds like the start of a good thriller to me...

“Prior to the event there was a cocktail party with authors, bloggers, editors and publishers mingling. Once it started, I was lucky to sit on the table with the Amazon and Thomas & Mercer teams, who published John’s nominated book, The Good Samaritan. They were so supportive and welcoming even though I was a technically a +1 who arrived without the actual invited guest!

“All the tables were covered with lots of the nominated books, including Samaritan. I was warned that those books are taken quickly by guests - free thrillers at a thriller awards ceremony? It’s a no brainer!



“After a three-course dinner, the awards began. John’s was in the Best Original Paperback category which was truly international category made up of British, American and Australian writers.

“Unfortunately John didn’t win, and the well-deserved recipient was Jane Harper’s The Lost Man. Congrats Jane.

“Along with meeting some great people from the Amazon team, I also had chance to chat with authors including John’s label-mate Mark Edwards and C.J Tudor, whose amazing book The Chalk Man won on the night.

“Apart from attending the awards - I have been wandering the city and taking in the sights. It’s an important place to John and I as this is where we got married in 2016 and where I celebrated my 30th five years ago. I was just gutted I wasn’t able to spend the time here with him.

“Hopefully John is feeling better for Harrogate this weekend, where his novel The Passengers is up for two Dead Good Reader awards. If you’d like to vote, visit https://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/dead-good-reader-awards-2019/