Annal: 2003 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel

Results of the Macavity Award in the year 2003.

Book:In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter: A Reverend Clare Ferguson Mystery

Julia Spencer-Fleming

It’s a cold, snowy December in the upstate New York town of Millers Kill, and newly ordained Clare Fergusson is on thin ice as the first female priest of its small Episcopal church. The ancient regime running the parish covertly demands that she prove herself as a leader. However, her blunt manner, honed by years as an army pilot, is meeting with a chilly reception from some members of her congregation and Chief of Police Russ Van Alystyne, in particular, doesn’t know what to make of her, or how to address “a lady priest” for that matter.

The last thing she needs is trouble, but that is exactly what she finds. When a newborn baby is abandoned on the church stairs and a young mother is brutally murdered, Clare has to pick her way through the secrets and silence that shadow that town like the ever-present Adirondack mountains. As the days dwindle down and the attraction between the avowed priest and the married police chief grows, Clare will need all her faith, tenacity, and courage to stand fast against…[more]
Book:The Blue Edge of Midnight

The Blue Edge of Midnight

Jonathon King

Featuring ex-cop Max Freeman, The Blue Edge of Midnight marks the debut of a powerful new crime series.

Max Freeman’s old life ended on a night that will haunt him forever. The night he killed a twelve-year-old child in self-defense in a Philadelphia shootout. The night he stopped being a cop. Now he lives an existence of solitary confinement on the edge of the Florida Everglades, where he answers to no one but the demons that eat away at his conscience.

Until the night he finds the corpse of a child beside an ancient river. The night Max Freeman’s past explodes into the present.

Suddenly, Freeman is thrust into the center of the search for a killer responsible for a string of grisly slayings that is baffling both local authorities and the F.B.I. Distrusted as an outsider by the longtime residents of the Glades and pulled into…[more]

Book:The Distance

The Distance: A Billy Nichols Novel

Eddie Muller

Morris White is a Sous Chef at a first-rate Philadelphia French restaurant. All he wants is to leave behind his past—the poor neighborhood and petty crime he knew as a kid—and open his own restaurant. His dream comes one step closer to reality when the affair he’s having with Vicky Ward heats up. Not only is she the manager of the restaurant, but she comes from money and a privileged background. The only thing that could stop them from turning their dream into a reality, is Morris’s half-brother, Vince Kammer, who is about to get out of Graterford Prison.

Vince may have done the time, but the crime is far from behind him. Soon poor Morris is stuck in the middle. His job is in jeopardy, his new relationship is in jeopardy, his dream is in jeopardy, all because he’s finding it harder and harder to escape his hometown roots, which, unlike the crisp, bright white linens of the restaurant, are black as hell and dark as night.

Book:A Valley to Die For

A Valley to Die For: The First Something to Die for Mystery

Radine Trees Nehring

Carrie McCrite and her husband, Amos, had dreamed of retiring to a home in the Ozark mountains. After Amos dies in a hunting accident, Carrie decides to go ahead with their dream, but alone. She needs to be someone—to prove she’s a capable woman who can take care of herself.

Carrie meets neighbor JoAnne Harrington, a man-hater who certainly provides an example of female independence. And there are important things to do when a stone quarry threatens to turn part of their beloved valley into heaps of gravel. The two women and their neighbors band together to fight for their valley.

But someone decides JoAnne must die.

Grieving over JoAnne’s death, Carrie feels compelled to uncover and destroy the mystery and darkness now swirling in…[more]

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