Thriller author Rachel McLean has won the £20,000 Kindle Storyteller Award for her novel The Corfe Castle Murders after a "record number" of submissions.
The book is the first in McLean's Dorset Crime series, following the story of DCI Lesley Clarke, a straight-talking city cop who has been transferred to the supposedly calmer location of Dorset after being injured in a bomb attack. However, things don’t stay calm for long as Lesley is dragged into investigating a murder at Corfe Castle and must hit the ground running to solve the murder before the killer strikes again.
McLean was given her award by judge and host Clare Balding at a virtual ceremony in London. In addition to the £20,000 prize money, she will receive a marketing campaign to support the book on Amazon as well as a Golden Kindle.
The author said: “I’m over the moon to have won! I was encouraged by friends to independently publish with KDP, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The whole experience has been brilliant, and I want to thank Birmingham Writers Group, my editor, Joel Hames, and my wonderful readers for supporting me. It’s such an unexpected surprise!”
The 2021 judging panel comprised of broadcaster and author Clare Balding, bestselling author Nicola May, 2020 Kindle Storyteller winner Anna McNuff, Sacha Black from the Alliance of Independent Authors, Darren Hardy, author and editorial programmes manager at Amazon UK, and Michaella Parkes from the Amazon books editorial team. The award was open to any work in the English language published on Kindle Direct Publishing between 1st May and 31st August 2021. Amazon readers help decide which titles make it to the final round with customer purchases, reviews and pages read in Kindle Unlimited helping to determine the shortlist.
Hardy, chair of the judging panel, said: “It is always a tough decision to choose a winner, as they’ve all done well to get to this stage. Rachel McLean’s story hooked us the most from first page to last — capturing our imaginations. It left us wanting to stay in the story and follow DCI Lesley Clarke on her next adventure. Rachel is a worthy winner and congratulations to all our shortlisted authors. It will be exciting to see how all their careers develop in the coming years."