Annal: 1998 Barry Award for Best Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 1998.

Book:Trunk Music

Trunk Music: A Harry Bosch Novel

Michael Connelly

Back on the job after an involuntary leave of absence, LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch lands his first case: a Hollywood producer found in the trunk of his Rolls-Royce, shot twice in the head. It looks like “trunk music,” a Mafia hit. The LAPD’s organized crime unit is oddly uninterested, but Harry thinks they’re wrong. He follows the money trail from the producer’s office to Las Vegas, where he quickly finds evidence of Mafia involvement. But something about the case doesn’t add up, and Harry follows a string of odd clues—glitter in the producer’s cuffs, an over-the-counter medication in the Rolls’s glovebox—in a different direction entirely. Just when Harry thinks he’s on firm ground, the bottom falls out. Blindsided again and again, at odds with his superiors, and overwhelmed by a romance that has cropped up in the middle of the case, Harry is as off balance as he’s ever been.

Book:Cimarron Rose

Cimarron Rose

James Lee Burke

Texas attorney and former Texas Ranger Billy Bob Holland has many secrets. Among them is Vernon Smother’s son, Lucas, a now-teenaged boy about whom few know the truth—Lucas is really Billy Bob’s illegitimate son. When Lucas is arrested for murder, Billy Bob must confront the past and serve as the boy’s criminal attorney.

Billy Bob knows the propensity of the town, Deaf Smith, Texas, to make scapegoats out of the innocent and to exploit and sexually use the powerless. During Lucas’s trial, Billy Bob realizes that he will have to bring injury upon Lucas as well as himself in order to save his son. As a result, Billy Bob incurs enemies that are far more dangerous than any he faced as a Texas Ranger.

With the same electric language and hard-edged style that brought James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux novels to the forefront of American crime fiction, Cimarron Rose explodes with a new, evocative setting that will establish Billy Bob Holland as James Lee Burke’s next great character.

Book:The Death and Life of Bobby Z

The Death and Life of Bobby Z: A Novel

Don Winslow

When Tim Kearney draws a license plate across the throat of a Hell’s Angel, he’s pretty much a dead man. It’s his third crime and, according to California law, that gives him “life without the possibility of parole.”  Killing a Hell’s Angel also makes him a dead man on any prison yard in California. That’s when the DEA makes Kearney an offer: impersonate the late, legendary dope smuggler Bobby Z so that the agency can trade him to Don Huertero—northern Mexico’s drug kingpin—for a captured DEA agent. Tim Kearney bears an uncanny resemblance to Bobby Z, and, with some training, he might be able to pass.

Or not. But, really, what choice does he have?

So, he’s off to a compound in the middle of a desert that’s been designed by Huertero’s number-two man to look like the Arab fort in his favorite movie, Beau Jeste (“The Santa Fe thing had been done to death.”) Kearney’s surprised…[more]

Book:Dreaming of the Bones

Dreaming of the Bones

Deborah Crombie

After twelve years, the last person Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid expects to hear from is his ex-wife Victoria. But this is no social call. In her biographical research on troubled poet Lydia Brooke, Vic’s uncovered reasons to believe Lydia’s death five years ago was not suicide.

Much to Kincaid’s surprise—and the unease of his partner and lover, Sergeant Gemma James—he finds he can’t refuse Vic’s request to look into the long-closed case. The police report raises questions, but not enough to reopen the investigation—until a second death occurs, this one clearly murder.

Now Duncan and Gemma must sift through a tangle of relationships, secrets, and lies to find not just a killer, but a secret which will change their own lives forever.

Book:Hocus

Hocus: An Irene Kelly Mystery

Jan Burke

Sometimes, things at Irene Kelly and Frank Harriman’s house get tense. She’s a tough investigative reporter in southern California and he’s a no-nonsence city detective who likes to hear the bad news first. But their personal and professional lives merge in the fast lane when Frank is kidnapped by Hocus, an unpredictable group of merry pranksters whose tricks turn dirty. Irene is given three days to give them what they want in exchange for her husband or he dies.

While Hocus sends Irene on one wild goose chase after another for clues about its identity and mission, precious minutes and hours tick by and Frank is nowhere to be found. Then Irene takes matters into her own hands, leaving the police stumbling for a solution, and catapulting herself directly into the line of fire of two madmen with long-held grudges and two ripe victims ready to take the fall.

Book:No Colder Place

No Colder Place

S.J. Rozan

Bill Smith is going undercover again as a favor to an old friend who wants him to investigate thievery on the 40-story Manhattan site of Crowell Construction’s latest project. His bricklaying is a little rusty, but passable as he checks out the foreman who’s under suspicion. A crane operator has disappeared—along with some heavy machinery. But when a well-orchestrated riot causes the foreman’s “accidental” death, Smith plunges into a morass of bribery, blackmail and blood looking for answers. With the help of his Chinese-American partner Lydia Chin, he follows a trail of twisted loyalties, old-fashioned greed and organized crime to its heart-stopping conclusion. Murder—with no end in sight.

Book:A Wasteland of Strangers

A Wasteland of Strangers

Bill Pronzini

Set in an isolated town in Northern California, A Wasteland of Strangers begins with the arrival of John Faith in Pomo. Who is he? Why has he come here now, during the off-season when there is nothing to do but get into trouble? What is it he wants? Everyone has an opinion of him, and only a few of them are favorable. For everyone he helps, there are two who question his motives, who see danger to themselves and their way of life in his continual presence in their town. And then, when a beautiful, lonely woman is brutally slaughtered after spending time with him, Faith is the prime and logical suspect. Discovering the identity of the killer becomes as important to Faith as to anyone else, except the murderer.

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