September brings countless clues and unsolved mysteries! Who will crack the case and emerge a winner? Stay tuned…

Thriller Suspense Fiction Award

The game’s afoot this September with thrilling adventure, nail-biting suspense, keen detective work, and more. Perhaps you’ll need a private eye on the case or follow police procedural to the letter. What’s certain, while authors work hard at crime solving, when September draws to an end, all of our cases will be closed! 

What are the CLUE Awards? Thrillers, Suspense, the grip of Mystery. CLUE is all about the uncertain– detectives and private eyes, cops and criminals; those who have something to hide and those who hunt to bring those dark secrets to light. CLUE novels thrive on questions and build suspense with each turning of the page. For writers who scatter pieces of a mystery throughout their stories, and readers who enjoy putting those pieces together, CLUE is the genre of choice.


The deadline is just around the corner! Who will survive the Slush? Who will be Longlisted and Shortlisted?
Who will take home the prize at CAC19 on April 27th?

Kaylin McFarren, CLUE Grand Prize Winner

Avoid the crime of letting this deadline slip by! Send in your stories of thrilling detectives, super sleuths, daring and flawed police detectives today. We will put them to the test and choose the best among them. 

 As the September 30th deadline for submissions draws closer, don’t miss this opportunity to earn distinction for your novel. Enter today!

All category winners have the opportunity to attend our Awards Ceremony on April 27, 2019,  that will take place during the 2019 Chanticleer Authors Conference. First Place category winners will be whisked up on stage to receive their custom ribbon and await to see who among them will take home the Grand Prize. It’s an exciting and electrifying evening of dinner, networking, and celebrations! 

First Place category winners and Grand Prize winners will each receive a stunning awards package well worth the price of entry into the CLUE Awards competitions.

The CLUE Awards for the best Thriller & Suspense Fiction novels


 The Grand Prize CLUE Winner in 2017:

Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren won the “Suspense/Thriller” category in the Clue Awards and then took home the Clue Grand Prize! Twisted Threads  is the fourth book in her Threads Series set on a cruise ship, “With killers on the loose and no avenue for escape, tension is ratcheted to a breaking point, forcing everyone to choose between love and loyalty – or deeply held honor – in order to survive.” 


Kaylin McFarren photo

Kaylin McFarren is a multi-award winning author who has earned more than forty national literary awards. “She keeps a glass of wine close by while writing love scenes, Kleenex on her desk while writing heartbreakers, and has been known to empty a box of chocolates when she’s completely stumped.


1st Place Category Winners in 2017:

  • Do Not Ask by Elaine Williams Crockett
  • 100 Days of Terror by Larry Temple
  • The Butcher’s Bill by SMartin Roy Hill
  • The Criminalist: A Novel of Forensic Science Suspense by John Houde
  • Aged in Charcoal by Jeffrey Ridenour

Grand Prize Winner of 2016:

A Matter of Justice by Keith Tittle won the “Suspense/Thriller” category in the 2016 Clue Awards and went on to win the Grand Prize! “Author Keith Tittle rings all the challenges in this complex, gripping mystery. His story combines diverse elements lending the story opportunity for multiple mayhems. Jeff Dawes is a believable hero – determined, diligent, dogged by past failures that spur him to try harder. The setting – Portland, Oregon, with its scenic natural environs makes for a variety of well-staged scenarios.


Keith Tittle's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, beard, eyeglasses and outdoor

Keith Tittle is “…a lifelong history buff, baseball fan, and resident of the Pacific Northwest, and lives with his wife in southwest Washington.” Keith is working on the second novel in this series.



1st Place Category Winners in 2016:



Grand Prize CLUE Winner in 2015:

Blood Relations by Lonna EnoxIn 2015, Lonna Enox’s Blood Relations won the CLUE Grand Prize. This is the second book in Lonna’s Sorrel Janes Mysteries series set in the contemporary Southwest. In Blood Relations, “… a tangled web of mystery and lies, [proves that] the truth can only be discovered if the seeker can survive.


Lonna Enox says this about herself, “I’m a ‘what if’ person. I’m also curious, and ask lots of questions, read about things, try things, & always investigate.”




1st Place Category Winners in 2015:

Grand Prize CLUE Winner in 2014:

The Red Ribbon by Rachel B. LedgeThe Red Ribbon by Rachel B. Ledge won the 2014 Clue Grand Prize. This historical fiction thriller set in London 1773 about a young woman who struggles to adjust to life after witnessing the murder of her closest friend by the man she loves.

Rachel B. Ledge is an award-winning author of historical novels with elements of suspense, romance, and time travel. She grew up in Idaho, Texas, Utah and California due to circumstances that didn’t involve the military. An expat since 2008, she and her husband lived in Sydney for five years before sailing to Singapore, where they lived on a boat for a while before transitioning onto terra firma. She can be found sitting up late at night, reading anything with a compelling storyline.”

1st Place Category Winners in 2014:

  • Historical: Rachel B. Ledge for The Red Ribbon  
  • Romantic Suspense: Mimi Barbour for Special Agent Francesca  
  • International Intrigue/World Events: Lawrence Verigin for The Dark Seed
  • Contemporary Mystery/Suspense: Pamela Beason for The Only Clue
  • Private Eye/Noir:  Keith Dixon for The Bleak
  • Police Procedural: Jode Susan Millman for The Midnight Call
  • Spy/Espionage: Michelle Daniel for The Red Circle
  • Psychological Thriller: Rebecca Nolen for Deadly Thyme
  • Cozy/Amateur Sleuth: JoAnn Basset for I’m Kona Love You Forever
  • True Crime: Gayle Nix Jackson for Orville Nix: The Missing JFK Assassination Film 


Grand Prize CLUE Winner in 2013:

Raggedy Man by Clyde CurleyIn 2013, Clyde Curley took home the Grand Prize for his novel Raggedy Man, the first in the Detective Toussaint Novels.  Here’s a top-notch detective murder mystery set in the Pacific Northwest, Portland Oregon, to be exact. “His novels are prodigious—yes they come in at more than 500 pages, but you will be wishing it were longer—and are page-turners that tackle and explore the big ethical and societal issues of today.  Curley’s deft use of murder mysteries to microscopically explore society’s ethical issues is nothing short of brilliant.” – Chanticleer Reviews


Clyde Curley tells us “…this is all that matters: I’ve grown up and now I’m an author. For me, the permanence of art stands as a bulwark against the slings and arrows of outrageous real life. The highest, richest form of art is that which is formed from words—the first and most important attribute of humans striving to behave less like animals and more like gods.



1st Place Category Winners in 2013: 

  • Romantic Suspense: Small Town Storm by Elise K. Ackers
  • Steamy/Action/Thriller: Buried Threads by Kaylin McFarren
  • Debut Novel: The Last Dance by Lonna Enox
  • Historical Mystery: Forevermore by Jim Musgrave
  • Caper/Adventure: Too Many Violins by Mark Reutlinger
  • Private Eye: Fire Trap by Richard Mann
  • Police Procedural: Eleven by Carolyn Arnold
  • Classic Detective: Raggedy Man by Clyde Curley
  • Mystery/Crime: Deadly Recall by Donnell Ann Bell
  • Amateur Sleuth: Death Over Easy by Toby Speed
  • Thriller/Suspense: Grind His Bones by Richard Newell Smith
  • Medical: Without Consent by Bev Irwin
  • Psychological Thriller: The Grave Blogger by Donna Fontenot

The Grand Prize CLUE Winner in 2012:

Pamela Beason’s Mystery/Thriller, The Only Witness tied for Grand Prize in 2012. The Only Witness is a marvel of story-telling. Pamela Beason’s novel is one of those rare gems that is intelligent and informative but also embracing and charmingly accessible. 


A former private investigator, Pamela Beason “…lives in the Pacific Northwest. Pam challenges the human assumption that we are the superior species. Each of her titles takes readers on an adventure while reminding us that drifting through life is not enough; you have to live it…”



1st Place Category Winners in 2012: 

  • Shadow Games by Jeanette-Marie Mirich
  • Corporate Insanity by Tom Pors
  • New Smyrna Swing by D.D. Queens
  • Made in China by Mark Reutlinger
  • Mrs. Kaplan in the Soup; The Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger
  • Murder Strikes a Pose, A Downward Dog Mystery by Tracy Weber



Your book could earn a place in our CLUE hall of fame for the CIBA 2018 Best Books.

All you have to do is to enter your manuscript or published novel.