Looking at the Big 3 awards, we have:
BEST NOVEL: The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR: The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson (Random House)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL: Snakeskin Shamisen by Naomi Hirahara (Bantam Dell Publishing – Delta Books)
I've only read one of the three: Naomi Hirahara's Snakeskin Shamisen, a book I enjoyed a lot. (I also reviewed it in the Chicago Sun-Times, although the link is no longer active.) Hirahara has been doing excellent work over the past few years, so it was pleasing to see her win.
I've heard good things about Alex Berenson's The Faithful Spy, although I never got around to reading it. I'd like to sometime, but who knows if I'll get the chance. At least my favorite first novel of the year (John Hart's King of Lies) was nominated, even if it didn't win.
As for Jason Goodwin's The Janissary Tree...Well, to be honest, I don't recall even hearing about it. (I didn't read any of the nominees in this category.) But that's part of the beauty of awards: they help call attention to books that otherwise might go overlooked.
All in all, not my favorite line-up of winners I've ever seen. But that's part of the beauty of awards as well: discussing who won, who should have won, and why. Oh, and bitching and moaning, too, of course.
Just in case you haven't had your fill of awards, we'll be announcing the winners of the Gumshoe Awards next week.