Annal: 1998 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel

Results of the Macavity Award in the year 1998.

Book:Dead Body Language

Dead Body Language

Penny Warner

Thirty-seven year old journalist, Connor Westphal, has relocated from San Francisco to Flat Skunk, a mining-turned-tourist town in the foothills of the Sierras, to start up her own weekly paper. Suddenly, dead bodies begin turning up in the most unusual places, setting Connor on a hunt for a killer. You might say Connor has a sixth sense when it comes to investigating…but she only has four of the usual five senses. Connor Westphal is deaf. But being hearing impaired doesn’t stop Connor from pursuing the murderer. Without sound to distract her, she attends to subtleties that others overlook and ultimately unravels the mystery.

Book:Charm City

Charm City: A Tess Monaghan Mystery

Laura Lippman

As a practiced reporter until her newspaper went to that great pressroom in the sky, P.I. Tess Monaghan knows and loves every inch of her native Baltimore, even the parts being slobbered on by the sad-sack greyhound she’s minding for her uncle. It’s a quirky city where baseball reigns, but lately homicide seems to be the second most popular local sport. Business tycoon “Wink” Wynkowski is trying to change all that by bringing pro basketball back to town, and everybody’s rooting fro him—until a devastating, muckraking expose of his lurid past appears on the front page of the Baltimore Beacon-Light. It’s a surprise even to the Blight’s editors, who thought they’d killed the piece. Instead, the piece killed Wink—who’s found in his garage with the car running.

Now the Blight wants to nail the unknown computer hacker who planted the lethal story, and the assignment is right up…[more]

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:Off the Face of the Earth

Off the Face of the Earth

Aljean Harmetz

When eight-year-old David Greene climbs through his bedroom window and walks to a nearby suburban mall, he intends only to give his mother Drew a scare. But on this Southern California evening, David’s game turns into every parent’s worst nightmare.

Denver’s abduction of David is practiced and nearly perfect. A friendly “stranger” masking a deeply confused and dangerous mind, Denver woos David with stacks of baseball cards, swiftly undermining the boy’s trained responses. When David accepts the offer of a ride home, he disappears—off the face of the earth.

As the hours pass, Drew’s emotions escalate, from anger at her son’s disobedience to fear, to stunned disbelief when she realizes David is not with his father or friends. He’s gone. All too soon, the Sherwood Police charge a local schizophrenic…[more]

Book:The Salaryman's Wife

The Salaryman's Wife

Sujata Massey

Japanese-American Rei Shimura is a 27-year-old English teacher living in one of Tokyo’s seediest neighborhoods. She doesn’t make much money, but she wouldn’t go back home to California even if she had a free ticket (which, thanks to her parents, she does.) Her independence is threatened however, when a getaway to an ancient castle town is marred by murder.

Rei is the first to find the beautiful wife of a high-powered businessman, dead in the snow. Taking charge, as usual, Rei searches for clues by crashing a funeral, posing as a bar-girl, and somehow ending up pursued by police and paparazzi alike. In the meantime, she manages to piece together a strange, ever-changing puzzle—one that is built on lies and held together by years of sex and deception.

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