Annal: 2001 Barry Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2001.

Book:A Conspiracy of Paper

A Conspiracy of Paper: A Novel

David Liss

Benjamin Weaver is an outsider in eighteenth-century London: a Jew among Christians; a ruffian among aristocrats; a retired pugilist who, hired by London’s gentry, travels through the criminal underworld in pursuit of debtors and thieves.

In A Conspiracy of Paper, Weaver investigates a crime of the most personal sort: the mysterious death of his estranged father, a notorious stockjobber. To find the answers, Weaver must contend with a desperate prostitute who knows too much about his past, relatives who remind him of his alienation from the Jewish faith, and a cabal of powerful men in the world of British finance who have hidden their business dealings behind an intricate web of deception and violence. Relying on brains and brawn, Weaver uncovers the beginnings of a strange new economic order based on stock speculation—a way of life that poses great risk for investors but real danger for Weaver and his family. …[more]

Book:Death of a Red Heroine

Death of a Red Heroine

Qiu Xiaolong

Murder in Shanghai in the ‘90s presents Inspector Chen with a difficult choice.

The victim, Guan Hongying, was a National Model Worker, a celebrity of utmost probity. But perhaps her personal life was not so pristine. Inspector Chen Cao, a published poet and translator of T. S. Eliot, who has been assigned to head the Shanghai Police Bureau’s Special Case Squad, is urged by his superiors to consider the political implications of his investigation. Commissar Zhang, an old bureaucrat, doesn’t want Chen to peer under any stones. Does Chen dare to persevere?

Contemporary China is a society in turmoil. Faithful old party members, forced to retire, have lost prestige and perquisites; the new capitalists are on the rise. Still ensconced on top of the ladder are the High Cadres and, even above them, the HCC-High Cadre Children-their privileged status analogous to that of medieval princes. Chen is romantically interested in a newspaperwoman…[more]

Book:The Ice Harvest

The Ice Harvest

Scott Phillips

Loaded guns, ladies of the night, broken neon, broken dreams. Here is a world that is immediately recognizable—through a shot glass at three A.M. This is life with rough edges, in a novel that gives you the straight goods—point blank— one cold, snowbound Christmas Eve in Kansas. One single night, defined in shadings of black and white, when everything changes…

For most, the city is closing up. For a few outsiders, this night, Christmas Eve 1979, is just beginning. Charlie Arglist is a lawyer saying goodbye to Wichita by revisiting the landscape of his used up life: the cold stare of his angry ex-wife, the empty strip clubs and bars where loneliness turns a profit, the frozen glare of ex-lovers and cops long snuggled in his deep pockets. Club owner Renata, an elegant dish in a smoky dive, dreams of financial prosperity and holds a single frame of a stolen film that could help her achieve them. And there’s Vic. He’s got a reputation, a bad temper, and a secret worth half a million dollars. Not to mention a knack for bringing people together…for the last time. Before the night is over, the decisions they face and the choices they make will irrevocably alter the course of their lives—if they can live long enough to see Christmas Day sunrise.

Book:In Her Defense

In Her Defense: A Novel

Stephen Horn

A lawyer with an appetite for risk. A gorgeous socialite accused of murder. It’s the case of a lifetime—if only she were innocent.

Following in the blockbuster tradition of Scott Turow and Richard North Patterson comes Stephen Horn and In Her Defense, and intense, riveting debut thriller with a twist.

Frank O’Connell’s need to live on the edge cost him his family, his home, and a partnership in his father-in-law’s prestigious Washington firm. Now he combs the cell blocks for clients and wonders if he’s sunk too low ever to come back. His ex-wife wants to see less of him, his therapist wants to see more, and his last link to professional survival just gave him an ultimatum. …[more]

Book:Street Level

Street Level: A Mystery

Bob Truluck

When we meet private detective Duncan Sloan he’s just handed back a five thousand-dollar check meant as advance payment on a job. The wealthy prospective client wants Sloan to find a woman with an eyeball tattooed on her bottom. All he knows is the tattoo, that she’s very young, white and probably somewhere in or near Orlando, Florida, Sloan’s hometown. Thanks but no thanks; that’s not enough. But when the five grand reappears in Sloan’s mailbox, he uses it for a Costa Rican vacation and never mind the job.

Pike, however tracks him down. When he explains the assignment, Sloan finds it bizarre enough to say “yes.” Isaac Pike is the only son of a top-ranked tycoon. He is also gay. Because he genuinely wants to be a father, he has deposited sperm with a reputable clinic while he searches for a suitable mother. But a paroled convict working at the clinic steals the sperm, impregnates…[more]

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