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Duluth novelist up against heavy hitters in national book contest

Duluth novelist Wendy Webb is up for a Goodreads Choice Award for her horror novel, “The Fate of Mercy Alban.”

Move over, literary elite. A Duluth author is in contention for Best Horror Book of 2013 in the Goodreads Choice Awards.

Wendy Webb’s “The Fate of Mercy Alban” is one of 16 books in the semifinal round of the contest on the Amazon-owned social networking site dedicated to book reviews.

Webb is up against some biggies in the biz: Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep,” “The Accursed” by Joyce Carol Oates and Anne Rice’s “The Wolves of Midwinter.”

Benjamin Percy, writer-in-residence at St. Olaf College in Northfield, is also in contention under the Horror category, for his novel “Red Moon.”

“The Fate of Mercy Alban” is the story of Grace Alban, who returns to her childhood home on Lake Superior after the death of her mother.

The old mansion is filled with secrets, lost paperwork and unfinished business from a long-ago party-gone-wrong. And, per Webb’s signature style, expect ghosts.

The book was a Midwest Connections Pick, an IndieNext Pick and spent five weeks on the Indie Bestseller list.

Webb’s debut novel “The Tale of Halcyon Crane” was published in 2010. Her third novel, “The Vanishing,” is scheduled for release in January.

Other Minnesota authors in contention for the Goodreads Choice Awards include William Kent Krueger in the mystery/thriller category, for  “Ordinary Grace,” Christina Baker Kline in the Fiction category, for “Orphan Train,” Helen Wecker in the Fantasy category, for “The Golem and the Jinni,” Chuck Klosterman in Nonfiction, for “I Wear the Black Hat,” and Neil Gaiman in three categories, including Fantasy, for “The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” Middle Grade, for “Fortunately, the Milk,” and Picture Book, for “Chu’s Day.”

In the Poetry category, both “Black Aperture,” by Matt Rasmussen and “Incarnadine,” by Mary Szybist are in the running, both for the Goodreads Choice Award, and a National Book Award (those will be announced this coming week, according to the Star Tribune).

To vote, go to