For the second consecutive year, a novel by Naples author J.C. Bruce has won the gold medal for best mystery in Florida’s most prestigious writing awards.
The Florida Writers Association, the state’s largest literary organization, has announced that Get Strange, the third book in Bruce’s The Strange Files series, took top honors in the 2022 Royal Palm Literary Awards for published mystery novels.
Get Strange also was a runner-up for the awards’ Grand Prize in which published works from all genres compete for Book of the Year. It also won a bronze award in the “blended” category where books that cross genre boundaries (in this case mysteries and humor) compete.
The awards were announced at the Florida Writers Association’s annual awards ceremony in Orlando. The competition is in its 21st year. In all, the competition covered 28 adult genres and 5 youth genres, with published and unpublished entries considered separately. There were 422 entries.
“The quality of work submitted to our contest … was simply amazing,” said William Opperman, RPLA chairperson. “To be singled out for an award is a true achievement.”
J.C. Bruce is a journalist-turned-author living in Naples. During his newspaper career he served as a reporter, editor, and columnist at a variety of publications including the Miami Herald, the Palm Beach Post, the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times), the Dayton Daily News, the Austin American Statesman, and the Naples Daily News.
The five books in The Strange Files series include The Strange Files, Florida Man, Get Strange, Strange Currents, and Mister Manners. Alexander Strange, the protagonist in this series, is the world’s only full-time reporter of news of the weird living aboard his converted fishing trawler in Goodland, Florida.
In the 2021 Royal Palm Literary Awards, Strange Currents, the fourth book in Bruce’s series, won the Gold Medal for best published mystery. Mister Manners, at that point still an unpublished manuscript, won the Silver Medal in the unpublished category.
Earlier this year, Mister Manners also won the Silver Medal in the mystery category in the annual Florida Authors and Publishers Association’s President’s Book Awards.
The Florida Writers Association, 1,600 members strong and growing, is a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization that supports the state’s established and emerging writers. Membership is open to the public.