Results of the Edgar Allan Poe Award® in the year 2001.
Today, the Sabine River runs as before, yet the bottoms have been drained. Long gone are the alligators, and the few birds that take to the air cast tiny shadows over concrete surfaces.
But way back then, during the thick of the Great Depression that squeezed Deep East Texas in its impoverishing grip, a boy could hear the crickets and the frogs in the star-studded southern night. And in this primordial time a killer stalked the land.
When young Harry Crane discovers the black woman’s body, mutilated and bound to a tree with barbed wire, he unwittingly unleashes a storm of uncontrolled fear, thinly buried racial animosities, and fearsomely escalating violence. Jacob Crane, Harry’s father and the town constable, struggles valiantly to see that proper justice gets done.
It’s February 1968, and tense race relations in Memphis are beginning to build into real conflict. The sanitation workers’ strike has been going on for almost three weeks, and marches are beginning to turn into riots.
African-American P.I. Smokey Dalton is hired by Laura Hathaway, a young white woman from up north, to look into her mother’s reasons for remembering Smokey generously in her will. Smokey reluctantly takes the case, as much to satisfy his own curiosity about these people he never knew as because he needs the work. What he uncovers is a thirty-year-old secret so powerful it will shatter both their lives.
Furthermore, this turning point couldn’t come at a worse time for Smokey. As February turns to March, then April, Smokey must watch his city crumble around him and deals with the approaching visit of his childhood friend, now estranged from him,…[more]
On a freezing day in December 1963, thirteen-year-old Alison Carter vanishes from her village. Nothing will ever be the same again for the inhabitants of the isolated hamlet in the English countryside. A young George Bennett, a newly-promoted inspector, he is determined to solve this case—even if it just to bring home a daughter’s dead body to her mother.
As days progress, the likelihood that Alison has been murdered increases when a gruesome discovery is made in a cave. But with no corpse, the barest of clues, and an investigation that turns up more questions than answers, Bennett finds himself up against a stone wall…until he learns the shocking truth—a truth that will have far-reaching consequences.
Decades later, Bennett finally tells his story to journalist Catherine Heathcote. But just when the book is posed for publication, he pulls the plug on it without explanation. He has new information that he will not divulge. Refusing to let the past remain a mystery, Catherine sets out to uncover what really happened to Alison Carter. But the secret is one she might wish she’d left buried on that cold, dark day thirty-five years ago.
It’s two years after the death of Tim Hess, her partner and the father of her child, and Merci is working hard to hold it all together. She and her son are living with her father. She’s also dating Mike McNally, a respected fellow officer. Merci and Mike are the golden couple on the force, and even if Merci doesn’t passionately love him, there’s a sort of comfortable inevitability to it all.
But everything explodes when a young prostitute is found brutally murdered and Mike emerges as the primary suspect. The lead investigator on the case, Merci must do the unthinkable—expose and arrest her lover. Sifting through the clues with a growing sense of panic and outrage in her gut, Merci has to work hard to balance where the truth is leading her against where her heart is telling her to go. Meanwhile, an old unsolved case from the sixties is thrown on her desk—the murder of Patti Bailey, another prostitute with ties to the force—and the two cases conspire to turn Merci’s world upside down.
Whether real like Ted Bundy, or imagined like Hannibal Lecter, few killers of our time are in the same league as Raymond Raintree. And as he stands flanked by lawyers in a Florida courtroom, waiting to be convicted for the murder of Natalie Mae McCullen, Marie Lightfoot is taking it all in. A small, gutsy blonde renowned for her true-crime bestsellers, Marie knows the graphic and disturbing case will make her best book yet—because Raintree’s shocking crime, vile beyond imagining, is also impossible to turn away from. But there is something about the case—and Raintree’s involvement—that bothers her.
No one knows where Raintree, a man as slight and immature as a preteen boy, took Natalie after he abducted her. No one knows how Natalie—bright, independent, and with no fear of the dark—could be lured into a stranger’s boat on a lonely waterway. And only one witness saw a man who may have been Raintree motoring along in a water taxi on the night Natalie disappeared. …[more]