A book about Mark Twitchell, the man dubbed the "Dexter killer" because of his admiration for the TV series about a vigilante serial killer, has won an Arthur Ellis Award for the best in Canadian crime writing.

Steve Lillebuen, an Edmonton-based journalist who wrote The Devil’s Cinema: The Untold Story behind Mark Twitchell’s Kill Room, won the Arthur Ellis Award for +best non-fiction book Thursday night in Toronto.

Twitchell used an online dating site to lure Johnny Altinger, 38, to a rented garage in south Edmonton in 2008 and then killed him. He was found guilty of first-degree murder in April 2011.

Twitchell was a suburban father and an aspiring filmmaker who wrote a script that featured a serial killer who impersonates women on an online dating site to lure unsuspecting men.

Lillebuen looked behind the police investigation at the centre of the lurid homicide trial and spoke to the killer himself about his obsessions.

The best novel prize went to Giles Blunt, who sets his crime novels in the fictional town of Algonquin Bay, which is very like his hometown of North Bay, Ont.

He won for Until the Night, a murder mystery involving investigator John Cardinal, who has starred in six murder mysteries. He took the prize in a field that included Carsten Stroud's Niceville and Linwood Barclay's Trust Your Eyes.

Other Arthur Ellis Awards winners named Thursday:

  • Best first novel: The Haunting of Maddy Clare, by  Simone St. James of Toronto.
  • Best novella: Contingency Plan by Lou Allin of Sooke, B.C.
  • Best young adult book: Becoming Holmes by Shane Peacock of Cobourg, Ont.
  • Best French book: La Nuit des Albinos, by Mario Bolduc of Montreal.
  • Best short story: Switch-blade Knife, by Yasuko Thanh of Victoria, from short story collection Floating Like the Dead.
  • Best unpublished novel: Sins Revisited by Coleen Steele of Bowmanville, Ont.

The awards are presented by the Crime Writers’ of Canada. When Canada still had the death penalty, the pseudonym for the official hangman was always Arthur Ellis.