Annal: 2002 Barry Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2002.

Book:Open Season

Open Season: A Joe Pickett Novel

C.J. Box

Few first mysteries have been welcomed as enthusiastically as Open Season, or with better cause.

“When a high-powered bullet hits living flesh, it makes a distinctive -pow-WHOP-sound that is unmistakable even at tremendous distance.” And so it begins for Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game warden who, with the shot of a rifle, is thrust into a race to save not only an endangered species, but also the life and family he loves.

C. J. Box knows the wilderness and he knows how to create a wonderfully authentic, vividly alive sense of place. Most of all, he knows how to create a memorable new hero: a man who is full of failings, but strong and honorable. This is mystery writing at its best-and the beginning of a brilliant new career.

Book:Blindsighted

Blindsighted

Karin Slaughter

Interweaving knife-edge tension, superb characterization, and an evocative milieu, this thrilling novel of dark suspense, set in rural Grant County, Georgia, introduces engaging pediatrician and coroner Dr. Sara Linton.

The sleepy town of Heartsdale, Georgia, is jolted into panic when Sara Linton, the town’s pediatrician and coroner, finds Sibyl Adams, a young college professor, dead in the local diner. As well as being viciously raped, Sibyl has been cut: two deep knife wounds form a lethal cross over her stomach. But it’s only once Sara starts to perform the postmortem that the full extent of the killer’s brutality starts to become clear.

Police chief Jeffrey Tolliver—Sara’s ex-husband—is in charge of the investigation, and when a second victim is found, crucified, only a few days later, he has to face the fact that Sibyl’s murder wasn’t a single personal attack: They’re…[more]

Book:Bubbles Unbound

Bubbles Unbound

Sarah Strohmeyer

Meet Bubbles, the irrepressible heroine of this irresistibly entertaining new mystery series-a tall, blond, and gorgeous, local bleach-blonde with a wacky family, a hot potential lover, and a bad case of murder.

Convinced there’s more to life than giving blue dye jobs at Sandy’s House of Beauty, Bubbles Yablonsky has done what few in Lehigh, PA, would dare: she’s gone back to school. And if her day gig, journalism classes, and on-the-job training at a local paper aren’t enough, there’s always her family to liven things up-from her bottom-feeding, social-climbing ex-husband to her precocious teenage daughter to her gun-toting mother, who just escaped from the Polish Old Folks Apartments.

But when Bubbles stumbles on a crime scene on the way home from an assignment, she is suddenly up to her roots in a nasty murder investigation . . . with suspects ranging from a greedy steel tycoon to a sexy photographer named Stiletto. It could be…[more]

Book:Chasing the Devil's Tail

Chasing the Devil's Tail: A Mystery of Storyville, New Orleans

David Fulmer

Not New Orleans—but Storyville—noir…and all that jazz! 1907 Storyville. Cultures, races, and religions more often blend than clash in a rich gumbo only New Orleans could serve up. But trouble brews. In this red light district, prostitutes ply their trade whether in cramped cribs or elegant houses of French ancestry, while music surges through its streets and helps harmonize the light and dark elements. King Bolden rules the Storyville brass with his golden coronet and his gift—jasser—to blow a riff on the city’s music that pulses with new rhythms and notes. But the real King of Storyville is Tom Anderson, the district’s powerful property owner and political fixer, who employs Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr to dig into the deaths of a string of prostitutes. Each victim is found with a black rose. Is a serial killer leaving a calling card? Is King Bolden losing his mind as he stretches his genius to its limits? Why is an elderly priest sent away under care?

Book:Perhaps She'll Die

Perhaps She'll Die: A Chantalene Mystery

M.K. Preston

Chantalene has terrible nightmares from when she was a child: a dark barn in a wind-swept moonlit field. Her mother is inside, screaming; her father is hanging from the rafters for a crime he didn’t commit. She hides in the field, watching as four hooded figures emerge, their faces hidden in shadow. But deep in the recesses of her memory, she knows who they are.

Returning to her hometown of Tetumka in rural Oklahoma, Chantalene vows to learn the identity of her father’s killers. One man claims to have answers for her, but when she finds him slain on the floor of his butcher shop, Chantalene realizes the danger she faces in discovering the truth.

As Chantalene relentlessly searches for more clues, Tetumka’s quiet citizens grow increasingly hostile; her foster parents advise her to let the past lie. With the help of Drew Sander, a local boy back home from the big city, Chantalene uncovers the dark secrets of both her hometown and her own mind, bringing her closer to the faces behind the shadows that haunt her dreams.

Book:Third Person Singular

Third Person Singular

K.J. Erickson

Set against the black backdrop of a ruthless Minnesota winter, KJ Erickson’s debut novel is bursting with masterfully plotted suspense and intricately rendered characters.

Prickly but gifted Minneapolis Special Detective Marshall “Mars” Bahr is a man whose devotion to his eight-year-old son is eclipsed only by his love of the hunt. Mars hasn’t won any popularity contests among his fellow officers, but his commitment to his job and his investigative talents have gotten him a plumb assignment: Special Detective in charge of the First Response Unit, reporting directly to the chief.

On a winter morning, when Mars is called to the scene of a homicide near the outskirts of town, his first thought is that a homeless drunk passed out in the wrong place on a freezing cold night. What he finds turns out to be much more menacing, a nightmare…[more]

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