2015 Nominees: fiction

CITY ON FIRE by Garth Risk Hallberg
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"The very-damn-good American novel."
Rough-edged mid-1970s New York provides the backdrop for an epic panorama of musicians, writers, and power brokers and the surprising ways they connect. Read full book review >
PRETTY GIRLS by Karin Slaughter
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"Slaughter (Cop Town, 2014, etc.) is so uncompromising in following her blood trails to the darkest places imaginable that she makes most of her high-wire competition look pallid, formulaic, or just plain fake."
Twenty-four years after a traumatic disappearance tore a Georgia family apart, Slaughter's scorching stand-alone picks them up and shreds them all over again. Read full book review >
EVERLAND by Rebecca Hunt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"As much a cerebral story as an action-driven one, and sometimes dry in its scrupulousness; nevertheless this is an intricate, resonant novel, both immediate and arrestingly thought-provoking."
Pushed to their physical and psychological limits, the three members of a grueling expedition to an Antarctic island, following in the footsteps of a similar but failed venture a century earlier, experience disturbing echoes of the mysterious, fated past. Read full book review >
WHITE LIGHT by Vanessa Garcia
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 23, 2015

"A lush, vibrant portrayal of the creative process, a daughter's love, and the unstoppable maelstrom of grief."
A young painter on the verge of success is waylaid by the sudden death of her complicated father in this debut novel. Read full book review >
THE KILLING LESSONS by Saul Black
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"Aficionados may fault Black for allowing the police at least one major oversight, but most readers will likely be too engrossed or happily grossed out to do anything but whip through the pages."
Ending the rampage of two sadistic serial killers may depend on a substance-abusing homicide detective facing an old lover and an unknown nemesis in this raw and utterly readable thriller. Read full book review >
LIGHTLESS by C.A. Higgins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A suspenseful, emotional story that asks plenty of big questions about identity and freedom, this is a debut not to be missed."
A tense psychodrama set on a malfunctioning spaceship. Read full book review >
AFTER THE PARADE by Lori Ostlund
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"An example of realism in its most potent iteration: not a neatly arranged plot orchestrated by an authorial god but an authentic, empathetic representation of life as it truly is."
A middle-aged man leaves his partner of more than 20 years for an uncomfortable new life, where he's forced to confront the nuances of his past in this debut novel by Flannery O'Connor Award-winning Ostlund (The Bigness of the World, 2009).Read full book review >
UNDER THE UDALA TREES by Chinelo Okparanta
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"Written with courage and compassion, this debut novel by Okparanta (Happiness, Like Water, 2013) stunningly captures a young girl's coming of age against the backdrop of a nation at war."
In 1968, during the second year of the war between Biafra and Nigeria, 11-year-old Ijeoma is sent away from her home in Ojoto for safety by her mother, Adaora. Read full book review >
THE LOWER QUARTER by Elise Blackwell
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 21, 2015

"An artful, gritty love story, eulogy, and survivor narrative for the city of New Orleans post-Katrina."
A man arrives in post-Katrina New Orleans, looking to solve the mystery of a missing painting and a related murder. What he finds is nothing less than love, sacrifice, survival, genius, depravity, and hope. Read full book review >
THE STORMS OF WAR by Kate Williams
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"A new perspective on an old war. Gripping, thoughtful, heartbreaking, and, above all, human."
Members of a wealthy British family with German roots meet with prejudice and hardship as World War I cuts its terrible swath through Europe. Read full book review >
FINALE by Thomas Mallon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"Mallon's version of history is close enough to fact to revive faded memories, while his imagining of who thought and said what presents some of the coherence and delights of fiction without the excesses of those 'what if' rethinks scribbled by Newt Gingrich et al."
Covering a momentous several months in 1986, this is an intriguing, humorous, even catty backstage view of the Reagan presidency from an artisan of the historical novel. Read full book review >
THE KILLING KIND by Chris Holm
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"Who will best whom is by no means obvious in this fast-moving, witty tale of good guy versus bad guy versus worse guy."
A fast-moving thriller with a clever premise. Read full book review >

SEARCH NOMINEES

ABOUT THE KIRKUS PRIZE

The Kirkus Prize is one of the richest literary awards in the world, with a prize of $50,000 bestowed annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. It was created to celebrate the 81 years of discerning, thoughtful criticism Kirkus Reviews has contributed to both the publishing industry and readers at large. Books that earned the Kirkus Star with publication dates between November 1, 2014, and October 31, 2015 (see FAQ for exceptions), are automatically nominated for the 2015 Kirkus Prize, and the winners will be selected on October 15, 2015, by an esteemed panel composed of nationally respected writers and highly regarded booksellers, librarians and Kirkus critics.