Annal: 2003 Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2003.

Book:The White Road

The White Road: A Novel

John Connolly

After years of suffering unfathomable pain and guilt over the murders of his wife and daughter, private detective Charlie Parker has finally found some measure of peace. As he and his lover, Rachel, are awaiting the birth of their first child and settling into an old farmhouse in rural Maine, Parker has found the kind of solace often lost to those who have been touched by true evil.

But darkness soon descends when Parker gets a call from Elliot Norton, an old friend from his days as a detective with the NYPD. Now practicing law in Charleston, South Carolina, Elliot is defending a young black man accused of raping and killing his white girlfriend, the daughter of a powerful Southern millionaire. Reluctantly, Parker agrees to help Elliot and by doing so ventures into a living nightmare, a bloody dreamscape haunted by the specter of a hooded woman and a black car waiting for a passenger…[more]

Book:The Business of Dying

The Business of Dying

Simon Kernick

It’s a typical cold November night and Detective Sergeant Dennis Milne, a very atypical policeman, waits in the Traveller’s Rest Hotel parking lot for the arrival of three men. Cynical and jaded, Milne earns money on the side by doing what he does best: punishing the bad guys. But this time he’s been duped. Instead of blowing away drug dealers, he kills three innocent people, their deaths starting an investigation that sees him and his conscience heading for trouble.

Less than twelve hours later, Milne is out on the streets again. Eighteen-year-old Miriam Fox has been found dead by Regent’s Canal—her throat slashed. Desperate to find Miriam’s killer, Milne uncovers a web of depravity far more shocking than he could ever have imagined. Can he evade arrest for his own crimes and solve a case so sickening that it may provide the key to his personal redemption?

The clock is ticking and everyone’s watching their backs as a war of morality is fought in the mind of one renegade policeman in this gripping first novel by a talented young crime writer.

Book:Diamond Dust

Diamond Dust: A Peter Diamond Mystery

Peter Lovesey

A detective learns to suppress his feelings when a verdict is announced. Peter Diamond, the head of Bath’s murder team, reveals no joy when the gang leader Jake Carpenter is sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. But the next day, when a woman is shot dead in Royal Victoria Park, Diamond’s self-control dissolves in an instant.

The dead woman is Stephanie, his own wife.

Traumatised, grief-stricken and angry for justice, Diamond is told that the case he is desperate to solve is the one he won’t be allowed to work on. Not only that. As the victim’s spouse, he must face the ignominy of being treated as a suspect.” While the police put their efforts into checking him out, Diamond starts his own unauthorised investigation. Might someone be getting back at him? Starting with Jake Carpenter, he begins examining recent cases to see who might have exacted this cruel revenge. Soon he is sifting the dust of his entire career.

Book:The Master of Rain

The Master of Rain

Tom Bradby

For Richard Field, a young Englishman new to the international police force, Shanghai represents a brave new world away from the past he is trying to escape. But his naivete is quickly dashed when he is called to the scene of a brutal crime, in which a young Russian woman, Lena Orlov, has been found sadistically murdered in her bed. Field’s idealistic instincts push him to investigate the case, but his attempts are met with apathy—then menace—from his colleagues. He beings to recognize that some cases in Shanghai are intended to remain unsolved, and, in a matter of days, he glimpses the murky depths that lurk beneath a luminous city.

Field’s drive to find the murderer leads him to Lena’s neighbor, Natasha Medvedev. A stunning beauty who fled her charmed life in tsarist Russia, Natasha escaped the Revolution but landed, like many of her counterparts, in a treacherous life in Shanghai. Natasha travels in an elite circle—one that orbits, Field knows, around the city’s most feared drug lord, Lu Huang.…[more]
Book:Scaredy Cat

Scaredy Cat: A Detective Thorne Mystery

Mark Billingham

It was a calculated, vicious murder. The killer selected his victim at Euston station, followed her home on the tube, and then strangled her to death in front of her child. At the same time the dead woman is found, a second body is discovered at the back of King’s Cross station—killed in identical fashion. It is a grisly coincidence that eerily echoes the murders of two other women, both stabbed to death months before on the same day.

Introduced in Sleepyhead, Detective Inspector Tom Thorne sees the link and comes to the horrifying conclusion that it is not one serial killer the police are up against: it is two of them. Now each time a body is found, Thorne must live with the knowledge that somewhere out there is a second victim, waiting to be discovered. But while the methods might be the same, the killers are very different—one submissive and terrified, the other ruthless and in control. To stop them both, Thorne must catch a man whose need to manipulate is as great as his need to kill; a man who will threaten those closest to Thorne himself; a man who will show him that the ability to inspire terror is the deadliest weapon of all.

Book:The Yeare's Midnight

The Yeare's Midnight: A Psychological Thriller

Ed O'Connor

An international sports star is found murdered—her face mutilated in a bizarre, ritualistic manner. What is the significance of the poetic text the killer has left at the crime scene? Why did he surgically remove the victim’s left eye? And can a Cambridge lecturer help the police reconstruct the killer’s fantasy in time to save her own life? As Inspector John Underwood and his team work frantically to piece together the last hours of Olympic athlete Lucy Harrington, events take an unexpected turn. Harrington’s murderer contacts English literature lecturer Heather Stussmann and invites her to explain his actions to the police. But another murder will take place before Stussmann finds the key to understanding the killer’s terrifying motive, which lies buried in the works of a poet who has been dead for nearly four hundred years.

In The Yeare’s Midnight, author Ed O’Connor has created a villain with an intellect as cunning as it is monstrous. Donne’s cerebral poems, such as “The Feaver” and “The First Anniversary,” are ingeniously transmogrified into a thriller that melds metaphysics and mortality.

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