Annal: 1997 Barry Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 1997.

Book:A Test of Wills

A Test of Wills: A Mystery

Charles Todd

In 1914, Ian Rutledge left a brilliant career at Scotland Yard to fight in the Great War. Now, in 1919, he is back, burdened with a heavy secret: he is still suffering from shell shock. With him almost constantly is the cynical, taunting voice of the young Scots soldier he was forced to have executed on the battlefield for refusing to fight.

In a desperate gamble to salvage his sanity, Rutledge takes up his duties at Scotland Yard. But a colleague, jealous of Rutledge’s prewar successes, has learned his secret and maneuvers to have him assigned to a case that promises to spell disaster no matter what the outcome.

In a Warwickshire village, a popular retired military officer has been murdered, and the chief suspect is, unhappily for the Inspector, a much-decorated war hero and a friend of the Prince of Wales. Rutledge, fighting his malady and the tormentor in…[more]

Book:A Brother's Blood

A Brother's Blood: A Novel

Michael C. White

In the final days of World War II, Dieter Kallick, one of 200 German prisoners of war pressed into service at a Maine logging village, escaped into the woods. His body would later be found washed up on the shore of Moosehead Lake.

Decades later, Wolfgang Kallick arrives in this same rural town, hoping to unravel the mystery of his brother’s death. His questions trigger disturbing, long-dormant memories in Libby, a flinty Yankee store owner, and she is drawn inexorably into the drama when she realizes that her own family is involved in the case. Then Libby’s own brother is killed. Suspecting that the two deaths, though nearly a half-century apart, are somehow linked, she undertakes her own investigation, not realizing that behind the sullen silence of her close-knit town lies a festering secret darker than she ever imagined.

Book:Fatal Gift

Fatal Gift

H. Michael Frase

Imagine that you were the secret witness to a sadistic killing, that only the victim was aware of your hidden presence at the scene, and that you were too paralyzed with fear to answer her silent pleas for help. This is Kasey Riteman’s dilemma.

Kasey had quit her job to escape the sexual advances of her hateful boss. Hoping to vent her anger, she drove aimlessly into the nighttime countryside, admonishing herself to begin to make adult choices about her life. Going from bad to worse, her old Honda quits running, and she’s stranded on an deserted rural road. Seeking help, she stumbles upon the grisly murder, becoming an accidental witness.

Paralyzed by fear, unable to help the woman, she cannot even figure out how to tell the police: realizing that if she goes to the authorities with her murderous tale, she will surely sign her own death warrant. Slowly the perfect solution presents…[more]

Book:A Killing In Quail County

A Killing In Quail County

Jameson Cole

There’s not much danger evident in Bob White, Oklahoma, in 1957. In a small town where doors are left unlocked at night, everyone knows your name, and alcohol is strictly forbidden, it’s difficult even for a fifteen-year-old boy to get in trouble. But Mark Stoddard has his ways, and with the help of his best friend Ferret and Ferret’s newly arrived tomboy cousin TJ, Mark is determined to spice up his summer—and win the respect of his older brother Jess, the local deputy sheriff—by catching a local bootlegger, an evil old man with a deadly grudge against Jess. When a man is murdered, and Jess looks like a suspect, Mark must catch the real killer and clear his brother’s name, learning some hard truths in the process.

Book:Lie Down With Dogs

Lie Down With Dogs

Jan Gleiter

Lie Down with Dogs is the story of two people caught up in events they can neither understand nor control. Successful Chicago businessman Robert Cooper dislikes inconvenience, challenges to his authority, and dogs, but he must deal with all of these and more when he befriends a small boy late at night on a desolate country road and is thrown into uneasy partnership with the boy’s caretaker, Lisa Jacobi, and her enormous Bernese Mountain Dog.

Cooper and the independent Lisa have just one thing in common: the protection of young Luke from the people who are after him. And the two have almost no knowledge of who could be after the boy or why. What Lisa does know is that Luke’s widowed father, Carl McCain, an old college friend, brought the boy to her rural cabin and begged her to keep Luke till he returned. Then Carl disappeared. When the hard-eyed men show up, Lisa and Cooper’s flight begins. Together they search desperately for the source of the danger threatening the boy. In the process they discover evidence of a well-organized conspiracy and—as their reluctant partnership stirs emotions they have protected for too long—of unexpected things about themselves.

Book:What the Deaf-Mute Heard

What the Deaf-Mute Heard: A Novel

G.D. Gearino

Ten-year-old Sammy Ayers woke up one morning on a bus that had reached the end of its run after an overnight trip. The night before, his mother had been beside him. Now, she was gone and he was abandoned, a lost child in a small Georgia town of the 1940s.

As the curious patrons of the Barrington Bus Depot bombarded him with questions, he just kept his mouth shut. He pretended not to hear. It was on that morning, in 1940, that Sammy Ayers became deaf and mute. Alone and lost in this strange new world, Sammy found safety behind a wall of silence, a barrier that sound could not penetrate from either side—at least that’s what everyone thought. Truth was, Sammy could hear as clear as a bell and probably talk even better. But he wasn’t going to let anyone know that. At least, not until he knew everything about the citizens of Barrington. …[more]

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