Annal: 1998 Barry Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 1998.

Book:Killing Floor

Killing Floor: A Jack Reacher Novel

Lee Child

From its chilling opening page, you know all is not well in Margrave, Georgia. The sleepy, forgotten town hasn’t seen a crime in decades, but within the span of three days it witnesses events that leave everyone stunned.

An unidentified man is found beaten and shot to death on a lonely country road. The police chief and his wife are butchered on a quiet Sunday morning. Then a bank executive disappears from his home, leaving his keys on the table and his wife frozen with fear. The easiest suspect is Jack Reacher—an outsider, a man just passing through. But Reacher is not just any drifter. He is a tough ex-military policeman, trained to think fast and act faster. He has lived with and hunted the worst: the hard men of the American military gone bad. When authorities learn the first victim was someone from Reacher’s past, and he cannot convince them of his innocence, his patient self-defense becomes a raging crusade of revenge. …[more]

Book:Except the Dying

Except the Dying: A Detective Murdoch Mystery

Maureen Jennings

As the unforgiving cold swirled around the girl’s unclad body, the bleakness of malice reflected in her lifeless eyes.

There was something more sinister than the frigid Canadian weather responsible for Theresa Laporte’s death, and Detective William Murdoch was going to uncover it all. The girl had opium in her system and an unborn child in her belly—with evidence suggesting both may have been forced upon her unwillingly.

Retracing the frightened girl’s steps takes Murdoch through the high and low streets of Victorian Toronto, bringing him from a den of doxies to the well-appointed parlors of the city’s most influential families. Everyone has secrets lurking in the shadows—and Murdoch is caught between his own conscience and pressure from above to solve the murder while shielding the city’s elite.

Book:Flower Net

Flower Net: A Thriller

Lisa See

Lisa See’s stunning fiction debut pits an American attorney and a Chinese cop against a deadly conspiracy of Chinese gangs, government, and big business that lies behind a series of grisly murders.

First the U.S. ambassador’s son is discovered entombed in a frozen lake in Beijing. Then the son of a powerful Chinese politician is found dead in the hold of a smuggler’s freighter bound for California. The Chinese and American authorities suspect the deaths are linked and, in a rare move, join forces to solve the crime, and soon U.S. District Attorney David Stark is sent across the Pacific to team up with brilliant yet rebellious police detective Liu Hulan. Their investigation takes them into every corner of today’s China—from glitzy karaoke bars, where government leaders and mafia kingpins make their most unsavory deals, to Beijing’s labyrinthine hutongs, where working-class Chinese have eked out their livings for centuries. …[more]

Book:Free Reign

Free Reign: An Ellis Portal Mystery

Rosemary Aubert

The offbeat sleuth in this novel is Ellis Portal, once an esteemed judge, who was himself convicted of a felony and disgraced. He now lives as a vagrant in the river valley that is a wilderness preserve running through the heart of the city of Toronto.

One day, while working on his hidden vegetable garden, he unearths a severed human hand. On that hand is a ring that Ellis recognizes. Thirty years before, on the day he became a lawyer, he and four of his companions entered into a pact that was sealed by just such a ring. All the participants were white. The hand is black.

Ellis’ search to identify the victim and investigate the murder the severed hand must represent takes him back into the world that has cast him out. As he inches closer to solving the mystery, he senses he is being stalked. Then one of those who shared information with him is killed, another vanishes. Ellis discovers that one of the city’s most prominent attorneys appears…[more]

Book:Los Alamos

Los Alamos: A Novel

Joseph Kanon

Spring 1945. As work on the first atomic bomb nears completion on a remote mesa in New Mexico, Karl Bruner, a Manhattan Project security officer, is found murdered in nearby Santa Fe. Is Bruner the victim of a violent sexual encounter, as the local police believe, or is his death a crime that threatens to jeopardize the secret of the Project itself? This is the mainspring of Joseph Kanon’s Los Alamos, a supremely original and romantic new thriller that re-creates the most compelling real-life drama of this century.

Michael Connolly, the intelligence officer brought in to crack Bruner’s case—and then make it disappear—soon discovers that investigating a murder in Los Alamos is anything but routine. In a town so secret it does not officially exist, he must thread his way through a makeshift community of displaced migrs, soldiers, and idealistic scientists for whom murder is, at best,…[more]

Book:No Human Involved

No Human Involved: A Mystery

Barbara Seranella

A strung-out waif-cum-ace auto mechanic, Munch Mancini is trying to get clean and get her act together. But temptation and problems keep pushing her closer to the edge. Like the murder of her abusive father, “Flower George.” The cops have her pegged for the crime, and now she’s got to stay out of sight of a certain cop named Mace St. John. St first it’s easy because Mace isn’t looking that hard. But when his prime suspect becomes linked to the gruesome murders of several not-so-innocent women, the wearily homicide detective goes into overdrive. If Mace wants to solve these murders, he’ll have to find Munch. And if Munch wants a new life, she’s got to find a way to cut a deal. But as they will both discover, there’s a precarious line between trust and betrayal—and the temptation to cross it may be too strong to resist.

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